As I get more photos scanned from the extensive collection of photos in Chessie's library, all in old-fashinioned photo albums, locked away safely in storage, I will post more and more.
I remember the first time I saw Chessie as an eight week old terrorizing puppy. It was somewhere around the year 1986. I was still working at Pro Train in Oakland. I had already met Patricia Cook, and I still had Prezo, though he was around 14 years old. I no had longer at Louie because I had to find him another home because he was dog and cat aggressive and to unpredictable.
Pat had referred me to a woman with a female Staffordshire Bull Terrier in San Francisco who Pat had heard about from a Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeder/friend of hers in Oakland. This breeder in Oakland had supplied the male to breed with this woman's female. The female only had one puppy, and it was Chessie.
I went to the apartment and there was this butterball of a puppy running around reeking havoc. Since she was the only puppy in the litter, she had all the food and was sassy about it too. I said that is the puppy I want.
I named her Chessie because she had a huge Cheshire Cat smile all the time, even when she wasn't panting. Her registered name was Woodacre's Cheshire Smile. Chessie was the first to have the kennel name "Woodacre" attached to her registered name. Woodacre Avenue is the street that my parents lived on in San Francisco, and I thought it sounded really nice.
At the time I got Chessie, I was renting a large room in a large house in Oakland. I had a set of french doors that opened up to a deck. The puppy picture I have of Chessie is taken on the deck when she was about four months old. I was on my stomach shooting that photo, and it has always been one of my favorites. I still had Prezo with me, and the three of us lived in that room until we moved to San Francisco's Mission District, to a flat in one of my dad's buildings.
Chessie was several months old when we moved to San Francisco. The apartment had no yard so we had to go for walks several times a day down to the end of the street for bathroom breaks. On one of these trips, Chessie cut the tendon in her left front wrist on some glass on the sidewalks. I rushed her to emergency but the tendon had already schriveled up and could not be repaired.
We did a lot of things together. We worked with Pat Cook to teach her and me about competitive obedience training. Since she was registered with the AKC, we showed in obedience and eventually got a CD, which is the first level of competition. We did training for the CDX and showed once in that.
That show was the Golden Gate Kennel Dog Show, the massive two day benched show in Daly City at the Cow Palace. This was truly a dream come true for me to show there with a great dog, even a "pit bull." I had been going to this show as a spectator ever since my parents would let me go alone, which was probably around eighth grade. They would drive me there, drop me off, I would spend the whole day there and then I would call at the end of the day and they would pick me up. Eventually I rode the bus there and once I even drove the car once I had my license!
I benched with Pat Cook with her dog training company, Companion Dog Training. There were several dogs there in the same bench. I know I have pictures of that day. As soon as I dig them out of my storage unit and scan them, I will post them here.
The big news of the weekend is that Chessie was the only dog who qualified in her class and she won first place! Every other dog did not qualify for one little reason or another and there also was a huge storm that weekend and many dogs could make it through the mountains into CA. I remember Pat Cook just staring at me outside the ring in disbelief as we figured out what was happening. Not only were we in first, but it was with a pit bull. Now this was around 1985 and there were many things going on the try to ban pit bulls from the state.
Other dogs from Pat's group did well also. It was a memorable weekend. I still have the ribbon and the photo of me and Chessie next to my car in the parking lot.
(Much more to come 8/10/09. Stay tuned)