Lifelong dog owner Gail Harlamoff has owned several different breeds of dogs throughout her lifetime and started showing dogs when she was just eight years old. Her first show dog was an English Springer Spaniel and they competed in conformation, obedience and Junior Showmanship.
In addition to participating in dog shows, Gail often spent Sunday mornings watching Shirley Temple films. One morning, however, the television station played the movie “It’s a Dog’s Life” which told the tale of a bull terrier and his rise from a tough dog on the streets to a show dog. “I remember the moment I wanted a Bull Terrier” Gail said, “At the end of the movie an old man was walking a Bull Terrier and throwing a ball for it. The dog dove through a big hedge to get the ball and for some reason that stuck in my head and I said ‘I have to have one of those’”.
In 1980 Gail’s mother came across someone giving away Bull Terrier pups at the local flea market. By the time Gail arrived to pick out a pup there was just one scraggly puppy remaining. “He was sitting between his mother’s legs and she looked very worried” Gail said, “I patted her on the head and told her I’d take good care of her baby”.
Gail named the puppy Tucker and she fell in love with the breed as much as she fell in love with Tucker. Describing the qualities that she loves about the breed, Gail said, “Bull Terriers are very, very loving, have a great sense of humor and have a great mix of silliness, naughtiness and joy for life. In spite of their tough looks, they are so sweet and caring.”
Now an adult, Gail is an owner/breeder/handler of Archie, aka Bronze GCH Soquel Millenium Seafarer ROM, and her other dogs. She has been breeding Bull Terriers for the last ten years and also owns Archie’s mother Tallulah, his sister Rachel and his newest little sister, Willamina. In addition to the family of Bull Terriers there is also Zipper, a Rat Terrier who Gail describes as “my little farm dog, show dog and buddy.”
When Archie’s litter of puppies was born two and a half years ago Gail had a waiting list of people who were interested in one of Tallulah’s puppies. Some of the puppy buyers on the list wanted boys and others were waiting for girls. According to Gail, “When the pups were born there was ONE boy! I started at the top of the list and started calling my ‘boy’ homes. For different reasons each home changed their mind about taking this boy pup home.” As the weeks wore on and the puppies grew closer to the age at which they could go home she still did not have a buyer for the only boy from the litter. “Finally, my dog breeding partner Naomi and I looked at each other and said, we can’t even GIVE this pup away, we might as well keep him” she said, adding “Naomi’s mentor, the late Bull Terrier expert Dr. David O. Harris told us that we should hang onto that pup, that he was a good one. We listened.”
When a new litter of puppies is born Gail sleeps in the same room with them for the first few weeks to make sure that all is well during the night. While watching over the puppies she watched a Scottish television show called Monarch of the Glen. All of the puppies received temporary baby names from the show, including Archie who was named after the monarch on the show.
Gail described Archie as a kind and gentle soul right from the start of his life. “My favorite photo of the pups is at about four weeks old. The girls are trying to climb in the front door. Archie figured it out and instead of running off, he’s standing inside cheering the girls on. He’s still a very kind and patient boy. He’s just as happy to play with my sheep as he is with any dog.”
Not only is he sweet and intelligent, Archie knows how to impress the judges in the conformation ring. Conformation shows are dog shows in which judges evaluate dogs against the breed standard that has been determined for each breed. There is considerable training that goes into preparing for a conformation show so that the dog will stand calmly and allow the judge to approach and examine him or her.
Archie has been extremely successful in conformation shows and has earned the title of Bronze Grand Champion. Gail explained, “Dogs earn points by defeating dogs in their own breed. Currently Archie has the most points in the breed standings (for Bull Terriers) and number 3 “all breed”. All breed points are determined by the number of dogs defeated in the Terrier Group.” Archie recently participated in the Walla Walla Kennel Club show in Walla Walla, Washington and was on televised during the Golden Gate Kennel Club dog show. Although he has not yet been to Westminster his grandmother Fern won Best of Opposite Sex to the Best in Show winner Rufus when the Bull Terrier won that coveted title. “Archie has the kind of personality that would fit going to Westminster, “Gail said, “It’s a big, loud show and not all dogs could handle that. Archie is very mellow and patient and would be a good one to take.”
Canine Caviar holistic pet food fuels all of that mental work in the show ring, as well as the physical exercise that Archie gets from playing with his sisters. Between burning so many calories from his daily play sessions as a young dog and the fact that he has a sensitive stomach, Gail struggled with keeping enough weight on him and could not find a product that firmed up his stools. “I started feeing him raw, which worked for his guts but he was still too thin,” she said, “Remi (Canine Caviar sales representative) came into my store and spoke with me about Canine Caviar.”
Since switching to Canine Caviar alkaline PH based dog food Archie has reached the proper weight, has good stools and loves his food. “His coat is beautiful, the whites are white, white, white, his skin is good and his color is vibrant,” Gail said. As an added bonus the picky Zipper also enjoys it and has put on muscle and weight and developed a beautiful shiny coat.”
Gail is now a Canine Caviar natural dog food retailer in her store Westside Farm & Feed. “I do recommend it to people, I’ve had numerous people come back and tell me how pleased they are.”