How do you explain the first time that you see ‘perfection’?   It was late fall of 1969, and Tuffy was a flashy, tight bodied, wide eyed, blackbody, very correct yearling colt.  He was special, very special, perhaps he was “HOLLYWOOD” His every movement oozed regal presence, and commanded everyone’s’ total attention.

          The very large Arabian Breeders had two young stud colts for sale, IBN PHAROS and RASRAN.  RASRAN was born with a unique character, he knew who he was, tough, he was one of the “Proud Breed” It was really inevitable that he should be given the nickname “Tuffy”, which to this day still fits him.

          Unfortunately, Tuffy was $1,000 more expensive than Ibn, and in those days budgets were very tight, and spending $3000 for a horse was considered folly.

          Therefore, after many negotiations, and much mind searching, I was the proud owner of Ibn, and Tuffy in all his magnificence still remained for sale.  Never a week passed when I did not ride by the big Arabian Ranch to ensure that he had not been sold.  I took scores of people, prospective buyers to see him, promising them I would train him for them at no charge if they just agreed to keep him at my ranch.  He was very spirited and quite obviously not a mount for most, however, I continued my search for a buyer.  Then, one spring morning the phone rang, “Mary, I am very sorry, they stopped by and fell in love with him”.  Tuffy had been sold…

          In the following months, I tried very hard to forget him.  Riding past the big Arabian Ranch on my way to the hills was, to say the least, painful.  It seemed so wrong when I loved him so much.  Why was I not born rich?!

          Early in the summer, the owner of the big Arabian Ranch called me.  She told me to come over, as she wanted to show me something.  I drove down and went to where she was standing over a large trunk.  The trunk was very beautifully hand painted and on the lid was the name “Tuffy”.  She explained how the young couple that had bought him were seeking a divorce and could not keep him.  I ran to the hill and there stood Tuffy, a little older and more mature, and even more perfect than I could remember.

          This time my quest for a buyer would be much more intent, I would not lose him a second time.  Positive thinking and determination being two of my stronger points I succeeded in talking one of my best friends into buying him.  The deal was set, and he was to come home.  However, bringing home a rank two-year-old untrained stud colt was a little more than I had bargained.

          The months that followed were filled with a carefully planned training program for Tuffy.  Of course, there was a two week period I sat in a tub of hot water to mend my broken body from a fall, from the cute, but sometimes too smart young stallion.  However, he was good, he learned his lessons well and soon impressed all my friends.  Of course, my friend who owned him was not allowed to ride him!

          Over the next two years, Tuffy was shown extensively at Class A shows in Southern California and did lots of winning. 

          My friend and I formed a partnership, he owned half of Ibn and I owned half of Tuffy, it was really friendly so no papers were drawn up, we even registered our Ranch name!  

          However, circumstances changed, and my once best friend became my worst enemy.  The partnership was dissolved, Tuffy was legally his, and we went our separate ways.  I did ask him if I could buy Tuffy, and his response was “I will geld him before I sell him to you”.  This seemed like the end.

          Being of a stubborn nature, I would never call him my friend again.  However, nine months later one of his mares gave birth to a filly by my stallion Ibn.  He called me at work and invited me over to see it.  He also informed be that he thought that the afterbirth had been retained by the mare.  I told him I would arrange to meet the vet at his ranch and handle it for him, as he could not get away from work.

          While waiting for the vet to arrive at his ranch I walked around, I knew somewhere I would find Tuffy.  I was excited; it had really been a long time. I could not find him in any of the corrals, the only place he could be was one box stall that was completely shut off, and all the doors and windows were firmly closed.  I peeked in, and there he was…he was lot looking as I have ever seen him before.  He was fat in all the wrong places, his stall was very unkempt, and he was very much in need of some TLC.  At first he did not remember me and tried to intimidate me from his presence as he must have done so many other people.  He was a mature stallion and aware of his strength.  I spoke in a calming voice and I saw a look of peace in his eyes – yes, I was back and he could not trust me.

          I took him from the stall and looked him over.  I found a very large infested puncture wound in his near fore.  I cleaned it off and while the vet was there I made sure he got a tetanus shot.  I then gave him a bath and cleaned him up.  I sure was good to see him again.

 My friend and I were talking again, and I immediately propositioned him, “please let me buy Tuffy off you”.  This time he was ready, Tuffy was a stallion and certainly not a horse form someone with limited time and experience.  My friend agreed to sell him to me for the same price he had paid since I had done all the training.  However, I had no money, so the deal was $100 down and the balance paid off in a year.

          Life was wonderful, Tuffy was mine, but the months rolled by and the money did not roll in.  When the year was up I went to my friend and told him that I did not have the money, and although I didn’t want to give him up, I would understand if he did not want to wait for me to have the balance of the money.  At the time I did not have anything promising, and certainly not ventures that would make me a million overnight.  My friend was very understanding, he told me that he was happy to see Tuffy used again and that he would be patient with me.  Boy, what a relief!!

          Shortly after my purebred black Arabian mare and a gorgeous black filly by International Champion “Gayronek” When the fill was only two days old, my friend stopped over to see her, fell in love, and immediately traded the filly for the balance owing on Tuffy.  HE WAS REALLY MINE!!  The filly was named MISIRONEK.

          The papers were sent in the Arabian Horse Registry, and at the age of six, Tuffy was legally mine.  During the years that followed he was shown in the Park, Driving, Jumping, and Native Costume.  We took lost of fun trips on weekends – he was home to stay.

          During this time I felt he had served his need as a stallion and so in 1976 he was gelded.  It should be noted that a pillow was placed under his head during the operation.

          Then, on March 24, 1979 a scout for a Movie Livestock Company came see Tuffy, and they signed him up for the movie “HEAVEN’S GATE” Which starred Kris Kristofferson, John Hurt, Robert Walken, and other big stars.  He would be required to pull a buggy.  They promised me faithfully that he would be treated like a king.  I thought it would have not been a fair to stand in his way, this was his big break.  He was so good the Director, Michael Cimeno ( Deerhunter Oscar fame) fired the lead horse and Tuffy easy replaced the star horse of the movie.  His paycheck soon increased to indicate that he was now the star, he impressed everyone.  He was stunning, yet easy to work with.  All reports were glowing.

          During the six months that he was gone, I raved about my ‘movie star’.  I was so proud and excited.  Even my parents and friends in England would see my beloved Tuffy.

It was hard to imagine what was to follow – he was returned home in a condition that left me in tears.  He had obviously not been treated the way I was promised.  He was injured, covered in pussy lumps, white marks on his back thoropins, high splints, dehydrated, down 200 lbs in weight, no muscle tone and blood test showed him anemic.  I was MAD!!!

          At first a fervent apology would have been sufficed, however, but when I became painfully obvious that no one had bothered to return my $2,000 worth of equipment, it left me no alternative but to hire an attorney and proceed worth a law suit.   

          Tuffy had been home for 9 months, he had recovered and was no longer anemic, but his adventure took a heavy toll on his mental condition, and he had some permanent problems which would take years of time and patience to resolve.

          It was really a happy ending, he is living in a box stall with shavings up to his knees, he wears custom blanket with his name on it, he gets “bunny munches” daily and is truly loved be all who know him.  When the motion picture, “RASRAN aka TUFFY” is made he will just have a cameo role!  




          The phone rang; I answered it “Good morning, Shepherd’s of Leybourne”.  “You don’t know me, but I met someone who was walking a beautiful black shepherd on the beach in Marina Del Rey, and they told me about your kennel” Within a short time I learned that this very special man, Bret Bartak, wanted to purchase a surprise wedding anniversary gift for his wife, Karen.  He was calling from his office and  this was to be kept a secret.  He prepaid for his puppy and sight unseen trusted me with the selection of his wife’s life long dream – a black shepherd.

          As the puppy grew older and the Anniversary weekend got closer I kept Bret posted on the progress of his puppy.  All arrangements were made through his office.           When the day finally arrived, Karen was supposedly going to Pismo Beach for the weekend to celebrate their Anniversary.  Even when they drove onto the property, she still had no idea.  I had prebathed, dried and fluffed this little black female puppy.  Around her neck was a pink ribbon.  I had watched for their car to drive up the street; Bret had given me an approximate time of arrival and so I was ready.

          It was love at first sight.  How refreshing to see a young couple truly in love, and so caring toward each other.  Even though I had never met either Bret or Karen, we had an instant rapport.  Bret was thrilled with my selection, and what a special and exciting day.

          It all seems like yesterday, how the time fled, and that was two years ago.  About a month ago Bret called be to tell me that he and Karen had decided to let  “Anna” have a litter of pups.  They only wanted one make pup from the litter and hoped that I would work a deal to breed “Anna” and keep from the litter.  The timing of my breeding program was such that “Anna” fit right into the master plan.

          Being that she was already in season, and being that Bret and Karen lived in Redondo Beach, we arranged for he to be brought up immediately so that she could get to know her prospective groom.  She was to have the honor or being married to “Troy Built”.

          Within a week, she was settled at Shepherd’s of Leybourne.  As the time for breeding became closer, she spent more time playing with “Troy Built”.  She really liked him.  It was the weekend that my best friend’s sister, Norma, had come up for the weekend.  Norma’s Christmas present to me was unlimited lessons on my computer.  Actually unlimited lessons may not be enough!

          It was Saturday, January 25, 1992, the time 6:00 p.m.  It had been a very busy day with visitors and only after the lull, were we able to take time to handle the breeding.  Erica had agreed to stay late.  She was actually looking forward to the experience.

          When breeding we use a very well engineered piece of apparatus called a “Bitch Hitch”. The female is supported and strapped safely in so that she will remain still during the breeding.  When Erica went to lift “Anna” onto the Bitch Hitch she was apprehensive, but this was very usual behavior for maiden females.

 She was settled in, and Norma, who was at her head, constantly reassured her.  “Troy”, who is a very gentle male, came excitedly out to see his new special lady; he kissed her face, then gently mounted her and penetrated her.  Even though he is a young stud he works very efficiently.  Within a few minutes he was tied with “Anna” A tie usually lasts anywhere from five minutes to an hour.  The three of us made sure the two dogs remained quiet during the tie.


This is the Bitch Hitch, but not Anna Bear

          Suddenly, “Anna” went limp.  I said, “She’s dead”.  “Anna” had a heart attack.  Neither Norma nor Erica believed me.  We were all silenced in total disbelief. I privately panicked – my beautiful “Troy” was still tied.  I remained calm and patient, saying a prayer that this would not turn into a disaster for “Troy” also.  I had no idea what happened inside a female that died in this position.  Fifteen long long minutes later “Troy” released from “Anna”.

          How would I tell Bret and Karen that “Anna”, who was like their ‘child’ had gone to heaven? I came into the house, called – I was subjected to leaving a message on the answering machine.  Thank goodness for the companionship of Norma.  No one could image the immense stress waiting for my call to be returned.

          Eventually at 9:30 p.m. Bret called.  Karen was in Palm Springs and would not return until 2:00 p.m. Sunday.  Bret’s first concern was what this would do to Karen who was missing “Anna” tremendously.  He told me that he would call me after he had told Karen.  At 2:30 p.m. Karen called me.  In tears she asked me to tell her exactly what happened.  In tears I told her the whole story.  I assured her that “Anna” never suffered – she never knew what hit her.  She had enjoyed her visit to Shepherd’s of Leybourne and she most certainly approved of “Troy”.  I told Bret and Karen that I felt they should get another puppy immediately, and of course I would give it to them.  I described a very special black female puppy by Whitney Houston and Phantom, and told them I would not sell her until they had decided what they wanted to do.  They told me that they would get back to me toward the end of the week.

          However, early Monday morning, I got a phone call from Bret.  They had decided that they would come up immediately.  I know it was absolutely the best medicine.  When they arrived I went up to Karen and hugged her, we locked in embrace for about six minutes, both crying. I showed them around the property and all the pups.  I told them they could have any puppy they wanted; I even offered them one of “Brooke Shields” pups (they were priced at $2,500!).  It was so touching to see the love and caring that Bret showed for Karen.  So refreshing to see that true love still does exist.  After lots of deliberation, they decided that they would accept my offer of the Phantom/Whitney Houston black female.  They had also fallen in love with the beautiful litter by “Sheba”, who was shipped in from Texas to be bred with Phantom.  This male was the best puppy in the litter.  They decided to buy him to make their new family complete.  She is called “Princess”; he is called “Bart Simpson”.  They have been home for two weeks, and I spoke with Karen tonight, who told me they were wonderful and exactly what they needed.

          “Anna” is gone, but certainly not forgotten.  In her short life, she knew true love.  She may not have had longevity, but she certainly had a quality of life that few dogs experience.  Even “Troy” acted, as I have never known him to behave after breeding.  He would escape out the back door every chance he got.  First, he would go into the garage looking for her, and then he would go to the run where she lived.  I know that he loved her, just the way Bret loves Karen.  True love is a very rare and special gift.  Those who have not loved have not lived.  “Anna” lived.


“Leybourne’s Doc Med”

January 6, 1986/ March 2, 1993


            It all started so very long ago.  Dr. Richard Medof from Palos Verdes, who had purchased his first German Shepherd “Leybourne’s Judson” from me, was calling to ask if I had a friend for Judson.  It was at a time that I was regrouping from my move to Arroyo Grande, and had not, nor was planning to have puppies.  I told him of a very exciting litter that Tim Hille, the owner of the Legend “Ch. Caralon’s Phantom v LeBarland”, had available.  I, myself, had put a deposit on the pick of the litter female.  Dr Medof purchased a puppy from that litter. The puppy he got was my puppy and Tim Hille did not have one for me – I was really mad at Tim.  I thought we were good friends!  When Dr. Medof had a question he could never reach Tim for Advice.  Furthermore, Tim never returned his calls.  He called me.  I happily helped him and talked him through all the little problems that occur when raising ‘canine kids’.

Without permission, Judson had a secret affair with Exquisita.  “Lost Hills Exquisita” was the beautiful daughter of “Phantom” that Dr. Medof had purchased from Tim Hille.  The affair resulted in a litter of 8 pups, 3 solid black and 5 colored.  Dr. Medof was so grateful for my constant help, he insisted that I have the pick of the litter.

 It was February 14, 1986, a day that I will not easily forget.  Along with Robin, a friend from Alaska, I drove to Palos Verdes.  When I arrived, the drizzle had caused fog (certainly one of my favorite driving conditions!!).  I selected the best solid black male puppy.  Being that Dr. Medof was not in the puppy business, he insisted that I take another two.  So I set off back to Arroyo Grande with three pups, Robin, and of course Demon, my constant companion, was in the back seat.

The pending storm was no longer pending…  Further, it was obviously much more severe that the weatherman had predicted.  It was fair to say, that it was one of the worst storms in the history of Southern California.  I, also known as the travel wimp – was accompanied by Robin, the ‘wimp’s wimp’.  The further we traveled, the worse it got.  The defroster was not working, the car was fogged up, the windows were open, I was soaked, it was dark and I felt I was in the Twilight Zone!!  I remember as if it were yesterday.  You have no idea how happy I was to have the support of Demon – he was always such a tower of strength.  The worse part of the trip was just before the rest area on 101 shortly after Santa Barbara.  The car in front was literally hit by a boulder about 4 feet in diameter.  Total WOW!!  By some kind of miracle, I managed to avoid slamming into it. You cannot believe just how happy I was to drive onto my property.  When I did get home, the area was suffering with a power outage, so I had absolutely no lights, what a great feeling to be home sweet home.  My little 5-week-old puppies had slept all the way home and were fine.

 It was during the time that ‘Club Med’ vacations were very popular, so with that in mind, and by way of thanking Dr. Medof, my new very special puppy was registered as “Leybourne’s Doc Med”.  He grew to be one of the most obedient dogs that I have ever owned.  He worked off hand signals.  He had a passion for the ocean.  Once we crossed the railroad tracks, he would know he was going to the beach.  The railroad tracks are approximately  a mile from the ocean.  He was a happy dog.  His very sweet disposition was second to none. He was obvious magnificence was evident by all who had the privilege of knowing him.


 At our first Playday/Picnic fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence, he came in 4th with Brett.  Brett wanted to join the fun, so I loaned him Doc.  The same thing the following year, he came first with Justine who again borrowed him for the day, again with no practice.  Las year it was Chris’s turn – he did work with Doc, and he came in 2nd.  Each Playday had between 30 to 40 entrants.  He always gave everyone his very best.

Doc possessed a very acute ability to know when things were not the way they should be.  Some years ago, I had a young man, Casey, renting a room.  He had lived with me for over three months, my dogs loved him.  He had never had any alcohol, but one Sunday he had a couple of beers…He turned into a monster – it was hard to believe he was the same person.  I was so scared I called the police.  They could only do something about him after he had killed me!  I called Linda, told her what was going on and that if I was killed during the night to make sure that my animals got good homes. She called me the next morning just to make sure I was okay.  I even had her convinced of the seriousness of the situation.  That night Doc came into my room, got on my waterbed and stayed next to me all night.  Never before, nor even again, did he ever do that. The only time he ever got on the bed was the night after “Winston” died.  Then he stayed only two hours.  He was so in tune with my needs.  I later found out the Casey had been a heroine dealer, and was at one time into really bad drugs.

In 1992, Doc contracted Perianal Fistulas.  Dr Levine did several surgeries, and was ardent about weekly monitoring him.  He was on pills and flushed three times daily.  For a while, it seemed that we had the fatal disease stopped.  Alas, it was not to be, and for this happy healthy vital dog was taken off all medication and painful treatments and left to enjoy some short, but quality time.  He went on every car trip; Chris always took him to the beach with his dog Mac.  Guess who got the biggest piece of steak when it was shared?  I certainly in denial – still believed that a miracle could happen.   I had decided that I would weigh him weekly and at the point he started losing significant weight, it would be indicative of time to make the decision.

 After all the rain, came the sunny break of weather.  Doc’s weight was maintaining, and in fact he had gained a pound.  As I looked at the cement in the front yard, it was seriously covered in blood.  I looked at my housedogs, all happily playing in the front yard.  I then saw Doc, happy but his back legs were covered in blood.  I immediately applied cold compress to stop the bleeding.  I called Dr. Levine.  He said he feared this would happen, and it would happen again.  I said I am still not ready.  However, soon after we stopped the bleeding, it started again.  God was telling me, “It’s time, Mary.”  Chris and Jennifer offered to help. 

My final dream was for Doc to have a special day.  Chris and Jen took him to the beach.  This was probably was very favorite thing to do.  He loved the ocean, he was incredibly brave with the ocean and would swim, and teach all his buddies, including Puff, to have no fear of the water.  After his fun in the ocean and playing ball on the beach, Chris have him a sedative so that by the time he reached the vet he would not know or fear what was ahead.

Chris and Jen carried him into the vet, and stayed with him.  He was in Dog Heaven.  His last day was very special, he was happy, he was with his special friend, Chris, who frequently took him to the beach, and he quietly went to sleep.

My pain is personal, I feel cheated, he was only seven years old, but they were great years.  I have a headache from all the tears.  It was the right time and his last day went smoothly.  A perfect day for Doc was taking a friend, (with a strong throwing arm) down to the ocean with two or three good sticks.  Without fail, the friend would tire before doc.  We all loved him, and he will be missed.

I still have 6 housedogs, yet there is such emptiness in my home.

“The King of Gypsies”

             I recall it as if it were yesterday. I had made a decision to purchase my very own German shepherd.  It was time; I had been in America four years.  I owned a Shetland Sheepdog, (Sheltie) called Heidi and knew that she needed a friend!

             The year was 1969; I was a resident of Glendale, California. After checking our local newspaper, I found several advertisements for German shepherd puppies.  The first ad was for a Burbank telephone exchange, so I called.  The gentleman who answered the telephone described a litter of ten pups, which to me sounded perfect.  I put the phone down, grabbed my car keys, and with Linda (my long time best friend) in tow, I was off to get my puppy.  I knew I was to bring a puppy home – it was fate.

             Two gentlemen showed be the litter of puppies.  I watched them move, play and I picked the one I wanted.  I paid for my puppy and left with “Shepherd of Leybourne”.  

I am and was an ardent Elvis fan.  One of my favorite recordings of his was “Shep”.  I wanted to name my new puppy Shep after his very beautiful ballad.  You know how it goes “when I was a boy, ol Shep was a pup, we grew up together that way…” The song is a real tearjerker, but certainly one of the best Elvis ever recorded – at least I think so.  However, Shep, even though a one-syllable word is quite difficult to say, and Shepherd, even though two syllables, was a lot easier.  For training purposes it is always smart to pick a quick easy name to say.

            As many of my older readers know, Shepherd was the beginning of my kennel which subsequently would be known as “Shepherd’s of Leybourne” Even though he was not the quality of the dogs I have to day, hw was a wonderful dog, with so many very outstanding qualities.  He was my first dog and my first OFA Excellent.  That rating is and was very rare.  Demon was my second OFA Excellent, Kipp my third, his daughter Maya, my fourth, and my present OFA Excellent is my largest dog, “Monogram” For any breeder that is a very impressive record.

 At the time I owned him I lived in a home with a large swimming pool.  Shepherd would dive off the diving board; he would dive to the bottom of the pool (in the shallow end) to retrieve his toy.  He was something else.  In those days I was into riding my horses for hours at a time, usually up in the hills on the Los Angeles National Forest behind my home.  Shepherd went on all outings; in fact, try to leave home without him – no way.  I thing he would go to work with my.  I worked for a Real Estate Appraiser in a very ritzy part of Encino.  Shepherd would lie under my desk and not move all day, just happy to be with me.  Clients would come into the office and not even know there was a German shepherd under my desk.  It was so cool!  It is no wonder I never got married, with a companion like that who needed a man!  It was actually at work that Shepherd died.  It was quick.  He went into a deep sleep and seemed to be dreaming, in just 30 seconds he was gone.  It was a nightmare.  He was only seven years old.  I felt cheated.  I wanted to die.

I took my very hard to handle stallion (who had not been ridden for two weeks) up into the hills.  I had decided to ride off the cliff on my horse, “Tuffy” and join Shepherd!!  Crazy, yes, but I was in a terrible state.  Tuffy, usually a feisty hard to handle young stud horse, felt my pain, and gave me the best ride of my life.  I went up in those hills and cried and screamed.  It was the first time that I had ever been riding up there without Shepherd.  Due to the fact the Tuffy was being the perfect horse, I could not ride him off the cliff, so we came home to face another day.  Tuffy became a big movie star, by being the star horse in the very famous movie, “Heaven’s Gate”.  It starred Kris Kristofferson and was the biggest financial failure into the history of the movies!!  However, Tuffy was great in the movie.  You may have read his story, “A Star is Born, aka Tuffy”, in an old newsletter.

I was so in love with Shepherd that I mad a plan to have him cremated and I was going to take his ashes to Switzerland.  I would scatter them on the hills of St. Moritz.  My idea of the most beautiful place in the world.  My parents thought I was crazy and were trying to talk my out of it, but had sent my money for the airline ticket to Switzerland – never did I understand their logic.  Well after three months, my ashes had not been delivered to me.  I called to find out the delay.  They informed me that they would get them to me immediately.  I somehow did not trust I would really be taking Shepherd to Switzerland.  I immediately cancelled my planned trip.  I certainly would not want to make the long trip only to scatter St. Moritz with a Heinz 57!! I never did receive my ashes, nor did I call to find out where they were.

This was a turning point in my breeding program.  It was now 1976, I had learned a lot about American dogs.   I had carefully followed what was hot, and what was not, and had actually purchased some very outstanding bitches.  To this day, I feel that these bitches created a very solid foundation for my current breeding program. 

Even though I had no interest in getting another dog, friends convinced me that I must move forward and start a search for my new ‘best friend’.  I knew that I wanted a “Caralon’s Phantom v LeBarland” son.  “Phantom” was a Pacific Coast Grand Victor and Champion son of the Legend “Hein”.  He was also solid black.

In those days, Black was quite rare, and not too many people knew that German Shepherds came in black!  I contacted all the right people, and I found a very exceptional black son of “Phantom” in San Diego.  The lady who owned him, now my dear friend Roz, was going through a divorce and was forced to sell this “keeper” puppy.  We met at the Beverly Hills Dog Show, and I was the proud owner of “Demon”

It was a start of a bigger and better “Shepherds of Leybourne” With the help of “DEMON”, the most beautiful stud dog in the history of Shepherd’s of Leybourne, the Kennel’s name and reputation spread.  We were certainly on the map.

In 1979, I received a phone call from a gentleman who seemed very interested in my dogs.  He told me that he used to breed German Shepherds and had got out of them form a while and was now looking for some quality breeding stock.  I was very excited.

         As the appointment time arrived, so also did a black stretch limo into my driveway.  I was really excited.  A stretch limo with passengers who wanted to buy some quality breeding stock!!  Stock in which I was able to supply.

The somewhat formidable passenger and his driver became mesmerized with my stories and explanations of my breeding program.  He listened intently to everything.  He then showed my a pedigree of a very special dog he had lost recently and how those blood lines were so very special to him.  I took the pedigree and there was something very, very familiar about it.  It was Shepherd’s identical pedigree.  What a Kodak moment!  It was suddenly evident that this was the man who sold me my first German shepherd in America.  The level of our relationship was immediately raised.  The flood of memories and stories of our very special dogs were shared.  He then told me about himself.   

          He was the “King of Gypsies” A book by Peter Maas was written about his life.  Also, Dino De Laurentiis mad a film entitled “The King of the Gypsies” starring, Judd Hirsch, Shelly Winters, Susan Sarandon, Sterling Hayden, Annette O’Toole, Annie Potts, Eric Roberts and Brooke Shields.  What an impressive cast!  He was definitely a very handsome young man, probably ten years younger than me.  Before reading the book or seeing the movie, we became very thick friends.  If I had known then what I know now – wow!!



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