Showsight Express - July 1, 2021

ALESSANDRA FOLZ, RISSANA WEIMARANERS

Me: Ummmmm, hi, Ms. Colan? This is Alessan- dra Folz. I’m sure you don’t know who I am, but I… Judy (in her gravelly voice that was terrifying to a kid): Of course, I know you. What do you want? Me: Ummmmmmm… so, my Juniors dog came in season, and I need a dog to show at Westminster, and I thought that a Weim might be a good replacement, and it’s just that, you know, yours are so beautiful and I was just hoping that… Judy: KID! Me: Yes, Ma’am? Judy: Sure. Just show Fergie (Ch. Aria’s Allegra of Colsidex; the top-winning Weimaraner at that point). Me: Ummmmmmmm… I’m pretty sure Mr. Flow- ers doesn’t want me showing his special in Juniors… Judy: Fine. Come pick up Doogie then (Ch. Col- sidex Whiz Kid). I got off the phone, and my mom asked me what happened. “I have no idea,” I replied. In the years after I picked up the phone to ask the unparalleled Judy Colan if I could borrow a dog, I was humbled to show the best line of Weimaraners you can imagine. They were stunning and sweet. Quirky and hilarious. Challenging, but once I won them over, they were loyal and devoted enough to let me show them. But that isn’t really the important part of my relationship with Judy at all. Judy Colan was not the greatest at making conver- sation with a kid. She didn’t seem to mind having me around and she’d take me to handling class with the dogs, so we had plenty of time for chatting. To begin with, I can remember her looking sideways at me, like I was some kind of alien. So, I devised a plan. Judy always had tons of Weimaraner Club of America magazines lying around. So, I would sit at the breakfast bar in her kitchen, while she stood on the other side, smoking cigarettes, and I would ask her a thousand questions about every single dog in the magazines, and every single Weim breeder’s lines. I’d ask about health and temperament, style and stan- dards, breeding and husbandry. And she would talk. For hours. And I would sit there, be quiet, and listen. Judy really is, in my opinion, the Godmother of the American Weimaraner. Before she brought Joga on the scene (Ch. Colsidex Standing Ovation), I believe that Weimaraners still kind of looked like Ger- man cast-offs; a little all over the place in type. There are a few dogs in our history that, obviously, were wonderful dogs and producers. After all, Judy’s line had to come from somewhere, too. But it was really Joga that catapulted Weimaraners into their modern style and into the breed we know today. After the Garden, that infamous year, I asked Judy when she wanted me to sign off of Doogie. She told me not to worry about it. And so, as you see, I became quite the happy accidental Weimaraner breeder. There are so many other mentors I’ve had. Every time you see a beautiful dog, of any breed, you are getting a master class in someone else’s breeding. And those words were never truer than the day I saw Ch. Greywind’s Phoebe Snow. Phoebe was bred by Mrs. Ellen Grevatt. I have been lucky enough to have a

My niece, Marguerite, showing (and I quote for you here) Galaxy Best in Show Winning Sparkle Grand Champion Auntie’s Pup Pup. I’ll admit, he may not make standard height...

been involved in showing. So, Kelly graciously extended me the use of her older Weim, Anna, to train me. It is only now that I realize that Anna loved me sim- ply because I had either a ball or a treat with me at all times, but as a kid, it was mesmerizing. And like a true Weim, she had me trained in no time! However, when it came to the shows, everyone felt I was too little to show a Vizsla, let alone a Weim, in Juniors. I ended up with a Basset from Kathy and Jim Sommers, also members of Belle-City Kennel Club. It was a time when the village was committed to helping raise a child, but that’s a story for a different day. While I was at the shows with my Basset, I would haunt the Weim ring and watch Christine Grisell (Nani Weimaraners) show her dogs. They were fabu- lous—big-fronted, huge rears behind them, and they always looked one step from marvelous mayhem. We moved from Illinois to New England when I started high school, and it really was a happy accident that got me into breeding Weimaraners. It was my last year in Juniors at Westminster, and about a week beforehand, the Vizsla bitch that I showed came in season. And as you know, you can’t show a bitch in season in Juniors. I was heartbroken (you know, in that way only a teenager can be), but I still had an older Vizsla that could fit the bill—until a couple of days later when he got a high fever and went lame (Lyme Disease). I was sure that the Westminster God of Shenanigans and Broken Dreams just wanted me to fail. It should be noted here that the Folz family crest has written on it, “I strive regardless.” I have, in my more recent years, decided that it should really say, “Folzes don’t know when to quit.” I digress, though. Undaunted—well, slightly daunted—I plucked up the courage to call Judy Colan, of the revered Colsidex Weimaraners, and asked if she had a dog I could show in Juniors. Here’s how that conversation went:

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