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A Year in Review 2023

This year has not been remotely kind to me. There have been a lot of highs and a lot more lows.

Our cat Osiris passed about a week into the year. He had just turned sixteen and had largely been healthy up until the last few days of his life. He was the snuggliest cat I've ever met and I still miss him cuddling at night. He was Tabiri's best buddy and Tabiri looked for him the first few nights after he passed.

A week later we found out that Amalu had lost her litter because of a case of vaginitis. She continued to have the worst false pregnancy in the history of ever and it made even my vet question whether she truly was pregnant after all.

One of our new neighbors called animal control on us because our dogs were "so skinny". Thankfully between seeing the dogs in person, very current vet records, a letter from my vet, the breed standard, and a huge number of win pictures and ribbons the ACO happily told us she wished all her mornings started so pleasantly and that she would follow up with our neighbor.

In February I got COVID for the second time, I ended up missing Rose City because of it, and while I was only very mildly sick it had more consequences than I could have ever realized. I largely pushed through the winter and spring, but by the time I hit summer my body had had enough.

Long COVID is no joke. Let me tell you. My symptoms include: huge fatigue. Intermittent fever. Severe heat intolerance. Like high 60s is pushing it. Fainting. Body aches and overall muscle weakness. Brain fog and memory issues. Insomnia and trouble staying asleep. Every now and then tachycardia. This also covers many symptoms of POTS, but with hope far everyone has been pushed out, I'm waiting on a diagnosis still.

Long COVID has absolutely impacted my ability to live my life. I've cut my planned events way back and I still end up having to miss at times when I miscalculated what I'm capable of. I'm working almost entirely virtually. I barely hiked this year so the dogs are out of condition. And I've missed a ton of social events because I just haven't had the energy. More than just about everything else, it's changed my life for the worse.

Add to that at the beginning of September, Gem and Amidi collided hard. Both girls seemed fine afterwards so I thought nothing of it, but the next few days Ami was clumsy and awkward. She fell hard four days later and that finished the cervical disc herniation that had started with her collision with her sister.

That has been one of the hardest journeys I've ever been witness to. For a long time I felt like I'd completely lost my dog. Two rounds of prednisone later and she's doing pretty well and her ventral slot surgery is now under two weeks away. She'll actually be going into to it with better muscle tone than I'd previously hoped.

There were a few other minor inconveniences we struggled with this summer. The big one was fleas which I'd only ever seen once before in the Pacific Northwest. And of course they were chemical resistant, so that was a fun journey. Our you're female cat Ginger also ended up with an abcess we've had a heck of a time getting to heal even with medications. Both things that are very treatable but annoying on top of everything else.

And then November on my husband and I have both been dealing with family members in bad health. Five days after Thanksgiving my father-in-law lost his four plus year battle with pulmonary fibrosis. And, both my mom's parents were in the hospital over Thanksgiving. My grandfather recovered well from aspiration pneumonia. My grandmother has Alzheimer's that is advancing very quickly and a horrible wound on her leg that won't heal. It's been a hell of an end of the year.

That being said, our last week, as always, is spent at the beach with my husband and our dogs. It's Imboran and Epiphany and Nina's (who were borrowing) first Oregon Coast trip and watching them run on the beach brings me so much joy. It wasn't the greatest vacation ever - too many people - but it was still a way to decompress.

And the year wasn't remotely a complete wash. It's just all the good has been overshadowed by the rest.

The first few months of the year I was mostly showing Gem, Birdie, and Ami. Birdie ended the year in the Top 10 for breed and NOHS.

Anubi traveled to the International Show of Chicago with a good friend where he swept Best of Opposite Sex all four shows. I was so proud of how he handled the travel.

In February I visited Atlanta and brought Anubi and Birdie along to show. Both took their first major on that trip.

In March, Yahya came to visit for a few months. He passed his eyes, heart, and thyroid tests. He also qualified to run in straight racing, though he never competed. I bred Ami to him in late April, but unfortunately none of the puppies were his. He joined us at Kalaloch and in general was a very charming house guest.

Imboran joined us in April and though it took him longer to warm up, he's a very good boy. He absolutely loves showing (sometimes too much even). And he has started running in LGRA and has certified in NOTRA and he is blazing fast. Maybe the fastest Azawakh I've ever met once he gains done confidence. Since he joined us he earned his second major in AKC in addition to five singles. He only needs two more points to finish.

We had two truly lovely litters this year. I'm not sure if I'm getting more fluent at puppy raising or if the two litters this year were just lovely puppies, but they were a delight to have and see grow. My D Litter ended up being Tabiri x Amidi (had tried dual sired with Ami) and the puppies are loving life in their new homes. I retried my E litter (Anubi x Amalu) over the summer and this time ended up with one girl and three lovely boys. The boys are recently off to their new homes and the girl, Epiphany stayed with us at my service dog prospect.

Ami got to play some impromptu flyball at the beginning of April when our new team needed a dog and as green as she was, she blew me away. She ran with three dogs she didn't know, in the pack, and was running in the mid-4s line to line. She also picked up her first two Grand Champion legs at UKC the following weekend and took a lovely Best of Breed over all my other dogs.

Amalu finished her UKC Grand Championship that same weekend and took Best of Breed the other three shows. Both Tabiri and Birdie also finished their UKC Championships that weekend. Tabiri remains the dog I have finished the quickest of all my dogs in any venue.

The following weekend, Anubi became my first dog to finish his AKC Championship and what's more the next day we went Group 2 and OH Group 4. He continued to sweep Best of Breed until August which landed him in the Top 10 all systems, including #2 in Breed. He'll earn a Westminster invite for next year. He finished his AKC Grand Champion title in the beginning of June.

The third weekend of April was a large AKC cluster. Haris and Chimanage walked away with both their majors. Imboran earned his second major, Ami earned four majors across two weekends, finishing her AKC Championship. The final day of the cluster, Birdie finished her AKC Championship, my first Champion exclusively from the Bred-by class. The C Litter puppies all tried Fast CAT practice too.

The last weekend of April we went out racing and Azhidar finished his Mixed Breed Racing Championship and looked absolutely beautiful doing so. While we didn't get out racing much this year we had some really nice overall successes. Ash is almost to his Turtle Racing Championship with AOK9. Moss (co-owned with Megan Churry) debuted in LGRA and has 4 Champion points in only two days of racing. Birdie only needs .75 points to her Gazehound Racing Championship and Tabiri finished his GRC. This was particularly touching because he adores racing but was never particularly fast in the beginning. However, he's come a long long ways from when he first started. Nina (co-owned with Simone Karr) also debuted in LGRA this fall and in her three days of racing is sitting at 3 points towards her GRC with two BOS and a BOB.

This year has truly been interesting watching Gem and Anubi's puppies grow and thrive. It hasn't been a smooth path always. Adolescence especially comes with some bumps and tribulations. But I'm so very impressed with what the C Litter others have achieved.

In addition to earning her first major by going Best of Breed over her sister and both her parents, Nina is singled out in AKC conformation. She also has been competing in UpDog and Toss and Fetch. She is the first Azawakh to have points in both. We're looking forward to getting her out on the field more next year because she thrives on performances.

Haris has been a rockstar with his owner this year. He earned both his majors in April and then finished his AKC CH at ten months old. He's also a third of the way to his UKC CH and has done well in racing practice. Not only that but he became the first dog I've bred to earn their AKC GCH.

Chiminage has earned both his majors as well as three singles. He is also working as an assessment job for his person's shelter and is growing into the role so nicely and he's looked great running with another dog in racing practice.

Oiseau got to show in the puppy classes and will be returning to the AKC ring next year. However, his focus has been performance. He earned his Coursing Ability title this fall and is looking really lovely on the full course. He's also in training for flyball.

I knew from a young age Voltaire (Volt) would be successful in the show ring, but he's blown away my expectations. He's placed in multiple groups and owner-handled groups. He's actually won multiple OH groups and took an Owner-Handled Best in Show to his and his owner's huge credit. He is ranked all systems and finished his IABCA CH while also taking a Best Puppy in Show. I was delighted to see him and his people in Orlando this December and honored to share the ring with them both.

Finally, Orpheus has been training for the show ring. Debuted in a B Match and hits the AKC ring next year. He is a fantastic hiking buddy for his person.

I'm so very proud of those puppies and their owners and I love seeing similar promise in the D And E litter puppies. A number of them are started in racing, nosework, agility and conformation. And while it's been a very hard year, seeing puppies I bred achieve big things (including loving happily with their people) is everything. Both my D and E litters are F2 dogs, which means they can't show in regular AKC classes. However, puppy owners are getting them out in front of judges so the full range of the breed is seen, and I couldn't possibly ask for better than that.

I will also add as a final note, I was very blessed to have my dogs photographed by some incredibly talented photographers this year and I will cherish those memories forever.

Credit Katherine Winrich

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