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Kids That Look Like Their Dogs


 

POM CHAMPS

By NANCY VICKERS-PYLE - Highlands Today
Thursday February 5, 2004

Local Breeder Takes Pomeranian To The Ultimate Dog Show

SEBRING — Oh, that look.

She's a tiny ball of fur with a pedigree of champions.

She is Jewell Lee, who is headed to show with the world's best at the exclusive Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.

Roy and Lorene Staats are the breeders and owners of Jewell Lee, the latest in a growing line of champion Pomeranians the couple has both bred and shown.

For Lorene Staats, the nature of the pomeranian itself is well-suited to the show ring. It is the "look" and the quality that she and her husband Roy breed for.

"Some breeders prefer the look of the fox. We prefer that teddy bear look," Staats said Wednesday, just two days before she leaves for the Big City and the big show at Madison Square Garden. That "look" and the quality the Staats have worked into their breeding program is not just any mix and match of the pomeranian breed. It is something they research and study, and something they look for. "We work like a team. Roy looks at (dog industry publications) and he just memorizes everything from the pedigree (or family history) to the kennel," Lorene Staats said.

To get to the show, the Staats not only had to breed to produce a dog capable of winning a show, but they had to learn how to show the dog, according to veteran dog breede and show class instructor, Laura Van Horn.

Van Horn said Wednesday that the Staats, who own and operate Premier Pomeranians, attend­ed classes she instructed several years ago. "She is a 'bred-by exhibitor, owner and handler.' That's a biggie. She competes against all of those professional handlers. The professionals, that is all they do is show the dogs," VanHorn said.

Van Horn has been there before. She has a German pincher whose sire won the best of group at Westminster. One of her dogs was the local mascot for the D.A.R.E. program.

Lorene Staats credits Van Horn for a positive start in the show program. But it was a small pomeranian called Shelby who began the love affair for the Staats several years ago. Shelby was from Texas and was, "one of my first."

She said owning a pomera­nian is like having the cute, cuddly puppy that never grows up. And a dog that totally dedi­cates its life to its human owner. "They learn your schedule. They know what time you are supposed to get up in the morning. They'll never break your heart," Lorene said.

When she got the invitation to go to Westminster, it was an offer from someone who wanted to show Jewell Lee for her. "She wasn't going anywhere without mommy," Lorene said.

So, Jewell Lee in her carrier and Lorene Staats, holding her on the plane, are leaving Friday for the big adventure. There are several basic dog classes and Jewell Lee will show in the toy dog class along with 24 other pomeranians and several other breeds con­sidered 'toys.' There are a total of more than 2,500 in the show.

One dog will make the "best of' in each class. And only one dog will make the "best of show." To get the invitation, each dog has to earn a champion­ship status based on points earned in smaller shows.

Jewell Lee is a work in progress in achieving as near a perfect pomeranian as possible for the Staats. The Staats "finished" Jewell Lee's grandfather Dexter, which means Dexter scored enough points at dog shows, shown by Lorene Staats, to attain a champion status.

Jewell Lee and Lorene Staats take the stage at 1 p.m. Monday. Highlights and winners will be shown on the USA Network, Monday, from 8 to 11 p.m. and during the same hours Tuesday.

The Staats can be reached on their web site at www.lightningstrikestwice.com

While the Staats do breed for shows, not every dog is show quality but might be kept for breeding purposes, so the Staats have foster homes for them, with the only stipulation being that the dogs are available when needed for breeding.

The reason for the foster homes is that each dog benefits greatly, by nature, by a lot of individual attention. Jewell Lee, for instance, works as a therapy dog and visits local area nursing homes where people who used to own dogs just fall in love with her pretty little face and her sweet disposition, Staats said.

Jewell Lee at Westminster February, 2004

 

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