Showsight Spring Edition, February/March 2021


Kentucky, when Julie Desy was campaign- ing “Jay Jay” to his 200 BOBs. We were showing a couple of dogs that we’d acquired at the time, and were mak- ing sure that we were at the show site early so that we could help Julie and others. We became “very helpful,” with Mary pre- preparing lunches for the shows and Walt hauling the gear and helping to set up, etc. After months and months, it became apparent that we were serious about this, so Julie took us under her wing and started mentoring us. More time went by and Julie saw that Mary had an “eye” for grooming. So, it was decided that, maybe, Mary could actually go on the road and help Julie at the shows with the Ilemist Dream Team. The following week, Mary went to her first shows with Julie. It was a five show cluster in Kenosha Wisconsin. There were two Breed Specialty Shows and three All-Breed. It was a momentous weekend. Julie said that she had never lost so much is such a spectacular fashion. They did not think they’d even won a class. Mary called me several times during the week- end, wondering if she was ever going to be invited to travel with Julie again! ! ! (It was already planned for Mary to go the follow- ing weekend, but then everyone started

wondering if she was “bad luck.”) That weekend, however, their luck was a com- plete reversal of fortune and the girls were victorious every day of showing. One of Julie’s favorite conversation starters at dinners during these weekends with friends at the shows was to ask about where you want to see yourself in the future with dogs or how you got started in the sport. At one of these dinners, the conver- sation starter was, “How did you get your start in dogs or in the sport?” Mary shared the story about looking for a Mini Col- lie; how she was calling around; how her vet had given her a woman’s number; and how she’d argued with the woman about wanting a Mini Collie and not a Sheltie. While she was recounting the story, Mary and Julie looked at each other. They both realized that that was the first conversation between them. Julie was instrumental in everything. Our relationship grew over the next 20-plus years. If it were not for Julie Desy, we would not be as active in the breed as we are now. She was our mentor, our friend, our family.

persisted that we should go to the library and research Shetland Sheepdogs. After going to the library and getting a book on Shetland Sheepdogs, we decided that the breed was exactly what we wanted. We found a groomer at Super Pets, who turned out to be Trisha Fausel, and asked her if she thought “Monique” was good enough to show. She suggested that we come to a dog show at the Michigan State Fairgrounds and look around. We went and saw all the dogs, and how there were all these families and couples there. So, we decided that maybe this “dog show thing” could be the next thing that we could “DO together.” Tricia’s friend (whose voice sounded awfully familiar) went over our little girl and said that she had “nice feet.” (We learned later that she would say this when she really had nothing better to say. It was synonymous with “kiss of death” … he he!) We could do better, she said. If we were serious about starting to show dogs, she would introduce us to a couple of local breeders. Later (after we were hooked into the show world), we started following the groomer’s friend around. Once, we even went all the way to a show in Lexington

Mary and Walt Christensen Neahm Shelties


It is almost impossible to capture all that Julie was to the sport of purebred dogs and her beloved Shelties. She was truly an icon and one of the most unassuming people I have ever met. She dedicated her life to her breed and was passionate about it on so many levels. She always had a soft spot for the junior handlers and she wanted to be instrumental in giving them tips or lessons to help them succeed. Sometimes it was not just the mechanics of handling, but empowering them to believe in themselves and their dog. She wanted them to aspire to be great caretakers of the breed and to love the sport as she did for over six generations. I truly admired that Julie was a woman of conviction and was not afraid to stand alone for what she believed in. She also had one of the kindest hearts and quickest wits, and she made spending time with her memorable. Julie was intelligent, confident, honest, inspirational, and so much fun. She gave back each and every day. These traits served her well in her chosen profession, and she was a steadfast and fiercely loyal friend. She was proud of her children and she loved her dog, Buddie, more than life itself.

On a personal note, my life in dogs will never be quite the same without my mentor, dear friend, and confidant. She will be missed more than I can express in words, and her influence on myself and on others will be everlasting. It is still difficult for me to believe she is gone, but I have to accept that she left us on her terms while gifting those who loved her with countless fond memories and a legacy that makes us feel grateful to have known her.

Kim Furlong Masterpiece Shelties/Stirling Bichons


Powered by