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Evensong Pomeranians
by Teresa G. White

    A song sung in the evening is the contemporary definition of Evensong.  I have been asked many times, why Evensong for a kennel name?

    I grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  During my youth it wasn't unusual to hear hymns being played on an organ.  My grandmother Althea was very religious, and she was a beautiful organist.  As my childhood home was located directly behind my grandparent's house on the same long driveway, all a person had to do was walk by their home to hear the most beautiful music.  It was always a delight to hear what I thought of as cathedral music wafting from the windows of their modest home.  I'll never forget my grandmother, as she was always there for me until she passed away.  She was my rock, solid and steady.  It wasn't a surprise that she passed away during Holy week.  Consequently, the name Evensong came to mind when thinking of a kennel name.

    Animals were always a part of my life while growing up.  We had horses, dogs, cats, chickens, pigeons, and we raised our own beef for consumption.  I wasn't, however, very fond of the chickens.  The roosters could be quite mean.  Horses and dogs were my passion, especially horses.  I was never without a horse to ride, and I read every book about horses that I could get my hands on.

    Dogs ran a pretty close second to horses.  I didn't like little dogs, though.  I thought they were noisy little animals.  My mom and grandmother liked the little ones, especially Toy Poodles.  Everyone in my family, except my brother who only liked fast cars and motorcycles, were fond of different breeds.  My dad liked Springer Spaniels, my sister liked Boxers, and I loved Irish Setters.

    The first dog I ever owned was an Irish Setter.  I purchased her with my own money at about the age of 17.  She was, to me, the best dog a person could ever own, and I will never forget her.  Her name was Natasha of Irish Mist.

    I didn't know anything about showing in conformation, but I knew that I wanted to give it a try.  I went to a few local club meetings, but they didn't offer much by way of handling classes, and there weren't any classes where I lived.  So, I entered my first show without any type of training.  I've always been a fast study, and I quickly learned ring procedure by watching other handlers and exhibitors.  I showed Natasha briefly in conformation, but it wasn't long before I figured out that my girl was too small.  I knew, however, that I wanted to participate in sporting events with my dog, so I decided to try training her for obedience.  With daily training sessions, and after several weeks of classes, we entered our first obedience trial and placed second.  A few trials later and Natasha earned her CD.

My Irish Setter Natasha, my dad, and my daughter Heather on a hunting trip.

    Life has its way of taking different turns, and shows were left behind for a husband, new baby, and new job.  Now, after raising two children, a divorce, remarriage, an early retirement from the Portland waterfront where I worked as a Longshoreman for 20 years, and a college degree, I've returned to showing, albeit this time in conformation.  And with a different breed.

    Poms have been in my life now for eight years.  My first Pom was given to me by my sister.  I was hesitant to take her at first because of my dislike for little dogs.  My sister, however, was pretty insistent that I take a puppy from her.  She told me, I don't know how many times, just how loving and loyal this breed was.  I lived alone at that time with my youngest daughter, Jenna, who is now a freshman in college, and we didn't have a dog in our household.  So, after much contemplation, we decided to take the puppy that my sister offered us.

    I've never regretted that decision.  Baby is still with us, and she converted me into a small dog lover.  Well, at least a Pom lover.  Even though she's unregistered and weighs close to 15 pounds, Baby wormed her way into my heart, and I know for a fact that I could never live without a Pom in my life.  She is, undeniably, the smartest and most loyal dog I've ever owned.  Of course, she has become somewhat of a traitor.  When I remarried a few years ago, Baby latched onto my husband, Kevin, and she's now his dog.

My first Pom, Baby.

    While my girls were growing up, they both participated in beauty pageants.  My oldest daughter, Heather, was Miss Oregon Teen USA in 1996, and my youngest daughter, Jenna, was Miss Oregon Teen USA 2005.  Because they competed in pageants, it was only natural that I become a children's beauty pageant director.  It was a way to be involved in the field that they enjoyed.  I directed pageants for almost 10 years, and my girls participated in pageants for twice that amount of time.  Directing was a hobby, however, that I didn't find to be very rewarding.  I loved working with the young girls, but it wasn't easy having to explain to upset mothers why their daughters didn't win.

    After an early retirement from the waterfront and a return to college, I decided that I needed a new hobby in my life other than directing pageants.  That's when I decided to start showing dogs.  At least they don't get upset with you when they lose.

    My husband and I had purchased a Pom for my daughter.  We were in the process of moving, and she had to change schools, so we thought a dog of her own would help with the transition.  The dog was hers, but it has since bonded with my husband too.  It was this dog that made me decide to start showing in the conformation ring; however, I had no idea what a real show Pom looked like.  It was fortunate for me that I decided to enter an IABCA show as my first show.  I was told by a dog groomer that the International shows were great for newbie's such as me.  The International show atmosphere is much more relaxed than AKC shows.  The emphasis is on the dog and not on how well you handle the dog.  I quickly learned that the dog we purchased for my daughter was not a show Pom as compared to the other dogs we were showing against.  Needless to say, the search was on for a dog that would be competitive in the ring.

    It wasn't an easy task finding the right dog to show.  The next dog I purchased was through a breeder in Alabama.  I wanted a black Pom to show, and I thought I'd found one via the Internet.  I learned a good lesson.  Don't buy a dog off of the Internet without checking references.  The dog I purchased had the worst overbite that I, and a specialist, had ever seen.  He now lives the life of luxury as a neutered pet with my parents.

    For some people this may have been so discouraging that they would have given up.  Not me.  I started looking again.  This time I was more careful and found a show prospect Pom from the Great Elms lines to purchase.  He also came from a reputable breeder and APC member.  As luck would have it, he grew to be a bit too big, and I didn't have much success showing him.

    I met Laura Newbold from LaRajus Poms while showing my boy at the Columbia Pomeranian Club Specialty show in 2003.  My husband and I had talked about finding someone to evaluate my boy, and we were told by another exhibitor to go talk to a handler that was there for the specialty.  My husband went to the handler to see if she would look at him, and he went to the wrong person.  That's when we met Laura.  She went over my boy, and the rest is history.  The next thing I knew I was going home with another puppy.  That puppy's name was LaRajus Palisades Van Gogh.  Vinnie would later become my first champion and the foundation male at Evensong.

    Shortly after putting my first points on Vinnie, I decided to join my local Pom club, which is the Columbia Pomeranian Club.  I was hoping I could learn more about the breed, plus make a few new friends.  My thanks go to Christy of Beavercreek Poms for offering to sponsor my membership.  Currently, I am the club secretary.  My decision to join the Pom club is still the same at this time, because one can never learn everything there is to know.  At this time, though, I feel that I've learned enough to be able to offer tips to those that are new to the breed.

    Vinnie finished his championship in September 2004.  I didn't intend to special him, but he's such an incredibly sound Pom with fantastic movement that I decided in late April 2005 to show him for the rest of the year.  It ended up being a rewarding experience but also mentally exhausting.  Long, long days at fairgrounds waiting for groups can be very draining; however, the long days are worthwhile when you can come home with not only a breed win but a group placement as well.

    Champion Vinnie finished 2005 as the No. 6 Pom in breed with multiple group placements and a best in specialty show win.  My thanks go to Mr. David M. Krogh for the fantastic specialty win.  That was a day that I'll never forget.  Vinnie also qualified for the Eukanuba Invitational, which took Laura Newbold and me to Florida.  It was a wonderful experience, and we made the cut!  That was quite an honor as there were so many beautiful Poms in the competition.


My favorite show picture of Ch. Vinnie.

 BISS Ch. LaRajus Palisades Van Gogh, Vinnie.

     Not only did I have a great year showing Vinnie, but I finished, for Laura, Vinnie's litter brother Petie.  I also finished my first female, Finch's Char's Amazing Grace, which I purchased from Charlotte Meyer and Diane Finch.  As I write, Grace - bred to Vinnie - just delivered three babies by emergency c-section.  She gave us two boys and a girl.  If they turn out, we will have a new generation of Evensong bred-bys.  Another girl that I own, Char's Burnin Me Down, Gladys, which I purchased from Charlotte Meyer is major pointed and will be shown later this year after she recoats.


BOSS Ch. Finch's Char's Amazing Grace, Grace.

Char's Burnin Me Down, Gladys (Major Pointed).

     In 2005 I also became a member of the American Pomeranian Club thanks to two very nice ladies; my sponsors, Marlene Presser of Apolloette Poms and Terry Rothell of WOW Poms.  I can honestly say that 2005 was an amazing year.  I have been truly blessed with a hobby that I love, a wonderful husband, great children, and a number of new friends and acquaintances.

    In order to become a serious breeder, I made a decision to test my dogs for hereditary health conditions.  Late last year I began testing my dogs for conditions such as eyes, heart, and thyroid.  I vet check patellas, and I'm always on the look out for coat issues.  So far I haven't had any serious untreatable health problems with any of my dogs with one exception.  I have one boy with Alopecia X.  He is now a much loved pet, my husband's best buddy, and he goes to work with my husband almost every day.  Thankfully he wasn't used for breeding, as I don't believe we should use any dogs with coat issues in our breeding programs.  Hopefully in the near future a test and cure will be found.

    So far 2006 is looking good for us at Evensong.  I attended my first winter national specialty and was thrilled to place third in the bred-by class with one of my own girls, Evensong's Sugar Plum Fairy.  Sugar is out of Laura's Petie and my female, Whisper, which I bought from Cynthia Wallen of Beau James Poms.  Sugar is currently major pointed and half way to her championship.

Evensong's Sugar Plum Fairy, Sugar (Major Pointed).

     If shows go as well as they have at the beginning of 2006, I'll make my goal of finishing two of my own bred-bys this year.  Ronald, Evensong's Win N For Z Gipper, just picked up his first seven points, including a major, a group three, and a bred-by exhibitor group two.  Ronald is from my first show litter and is out of my Beau James girl and Ch. Vinnie.


Evensong's Win N For Z Gipper, Ronald (Major Pointed).

Ronald and me in the group ring.

    The sport of showing has been a great venue for bonding with my dogs and for making new friends.  Showing dogs, on the other hand, is just as subjective as beauty pageants.  It has it politics to be sure, and I think there are some judges that lack a complete understanding of our breed standard.  However, I do believe that the majority of judges judge the dog to the best of their ability.  We are all human; the "type" of Pom that I like may not be liked by certain judges, or other exhibitors and breeders for that matter.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it is as simple as that.  It wouldn't hurt, though, to offer more educational seminars for judges, with hands on training with live dogs, and continued testing on our standard.  And not open book testing either.  Just as we - breeders and exhibitors - continue to learn about our breed and continue to change our way of thinking about our breed over time, it only makes sense for judges to be further educated and tested from time to time.

    The most important thing I've learned since I began my show adventure is to have fun!  As an owner handler when I win, I know I've earned that win, and it is the icing on the cake.

    If you are new to the sport of showing dogs and reading my story, hang in there.  Don't give up, because this is an incredible sport filled with great people!  If there is any advice I could give right now to anyone thinking of getting a start in Poms, it would be to study, study, and study.  Do your research before getting started.  Research pedigrees, learn structure and movement, go to dog shows in your area to see what is winning, talk to other exhibitors and breeders, and be prepared to work hard.  I jumped into this sport really fast and was just lucky to meet the right people.  I was able to get a good start with my foundation Poms.  The rest I worked for by going to handling classes and watching professional handlers in the ring, both of which helped me learn how to show my dogs to the best of my ability.  I also spent many, many hours learning how to groom my dogs.  The hard work has paid off for me.

My husband Kevin and the Presidential trio. 
Evensong's President Reagan, Reagan; Evensong's
 Win N For Z Gipper, Ronald;
Evensong's Vision For America, Wilson.

Kevin's mom giving the dogs some treats on a
 summer visit to Oregon from Connecticut.

     I'd like to thank Laura Newbold for taking a chance on a newcomer and selling me one of her best puppies.  Vinnie is not only my first champion, he is my heart dog!

Vinnie's favorite hobby is chasing golf balls.

     To Roxanne Mellem and Lori Solomon of So-Me Poms - You have become my best friends in the dog show world.  Your passion for showing is inspirational.  I love our dinners out on show weekends, the helping hands you lend when I'm showing more than two dogs at each show, and for the early morning phone calls, or late night calls, when bitches are in labor.  I hope our friendship continues well into the future.  Thanks, too, for one of our recent show hopeful girls, So-Me Crisco Parti at Evensong, Butter.

So-Me Crisco Parti at Evensong, Butter.

     Thank you to Robert and Celeste Solano of CR Poms for our newest show hopeful girl, CR N Rodi's Sapphires N Gold, Mighty Mouse.  Mouse is a blue and tan girl full of attitude, and I'm looking forward to her upcoming show career.  I'm also looking forward to the challenge of showing color in the ring.  I'm definitely ready for it.

      CR N Rodi's Sapphires N Gold, Mighty Mouse.

     There are some people that I haven't mentioned in this writing that I would like to thank for their support, advice, and or friendship.  J.R. Stoltenberg of Sweet Luv Yorkies, Lori Cole of Lydon Poms, Lora Heil-Frone of Atlantis Poms, Cindy Sickler of Red Hot Poms, and Ellen Smith of Palisades Poms (co-breeder of Vinnie).

    I'd also like to thank Sharon and Benson for the opportunity to tell my story.  I didn't think I had much of a story to tell, but after I started writing, I found out otherwise.

    In closing, I'd like to thank my husband.  He supports me in everything that I do.  He watches our dogs on the weekends so that I can show, he helps socialize puppies, is the resident pooper scooper, and he's great at whelping!  What more could I ask for?  Nothing - because my life has been truly blessed.

The Pom Reader - June 2006
Evensong Pomeranians - June 2006

The above may not be reprinted without written permission.

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