Showsight Spring Edition, February/March 2021


My husband, Len, and I met Julie Desy in 1985, when we were know-nothing wannabe dog show people. We had traveled from the Chicago area to Kalamazoo, Michigan, for a match with two Shelties, which we thought were good prospects. Julie treated us so nicely. She told us to find our local specialty club and attend shows to observe the Shel- ties and talk to other breeders. That is the type of leader- ship and quiet personality that Julie had through the years. There are many adjectives, nouns or verbs to describe her. However, the thing that I admired about her the most is that she could admit her weakness and send you to the per- son who knew the “how to” or had the answer you needed. Julie did the same when describing her dogs. She would show you their attributes, but also let you know where they lacked—and why, overall, they were quality specimens. It has been our great honor to have had Julie in our life as a friend, a mentor, and occasionally, as a handler. We credit Julie for improving our dog-related skills, and for our still being involved to this day; all because of that first meeting and the many interactions over the last 35 years.

Linda Kunicki Starlite Shelties

Ch. Ilemist As It Should Be, Armitage Adelaide O’Barwood and (Ch.) Starlites Echelon Take Command



her. I don’t think their conversation lasted more than a min- ute. In Julie’s typical direct manner, she told my mom that this dog was the perfect fit for me and that she needed to come home with us for a few months. Much to my shock, my mom quickly obliged. As you may have guessed, Ollietta lived out her life with us, eventually becoming GCh. Starphire Olliet- ta. I showed her to her championship, and we qualified for Juniors at Westminster, all under Julie’s guidance. She won several Groups and Specialties as a veteran, shown by both Julie and me. I love this story because it highlights some of my favorite things about Julie. She was so willing to teach anyone who was prepared to learn, as long as they were willing to put in the work. She was decisive and didn’t waste time hemming and hawing when she knew something was right. She was the best kind of mentor; the kind whose greatest reward is watch- ing those she’d help to succeed, whose motivation was never praise or recognition. She seemed to always be there for Ollie’s most notable days, yet she never took any credit for her role in bringing this dog into my life. I can remember her spending all day at a show in ninety-degree heat just to watch her in Best in Show, but she never once referred to this dog as any- thing other than mine. She was always there to support us. Like any truly great dog person, her actions were motivated purely by her desire to give back to the breed that we all love.

I began helping Julie at shows, off and on, when I was about fifteen years old. One of the first show weekends that I can remember spending with her was in Troy, Ohio. I didn’t have a dog to consistently show in Juniors at the time, and Julie wasted no time in letting me know that the dog I had brought with me was simply unsuitable. Less than 24 hours later, Julie called me into the hotel room after walking dogs and asked me to take a specific bitch out and see if she would show for me. Those who know Shelties know that being asked to do anything by a stranger is generally not their cup of tea. This bitch, however, was more than happy to oblige. Not more than a minute passed before Julie said, “Okay, that will do.” She went back inside and, a few hours later, Julie said that she had a proposal for me. The bitch in question was owned by Nancy Ager and was co-bred by Nancy and Julie. Julie had already talked to Nancy and they agreed that “Ollietta” would come home with me on loan, because she was the dog for me—there was no question about it. That was the arrangement. Those who knew Julie know that if she came to you with a plan, you made absolutely sure that you followed through without question. Prior to that weekend, my mom had instituted a strict “no more dogs” rule, which I had begrudgingly told to Julie. She was unphased and told me to call my mom. She would talk to

Katie Grohowalski


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