After Jane and Alan’s hiatus from dog showing for Heather’s gymnastics career was over, they decided to get back into dogs. During those years, we still had a Samoyed pet named Puppet and had acquired a Doberman named J.R. Now only J.R. was left, so we decided to add another Sammy. Drifter came from Mardee Ward-Fanning in Montana in 1988.
Drifter was very much Alan’s dog. They went everywhere together. Drifter would come to work with us every day and some of our customers would think he was a bear rug in the lobby until he lifted his head at their arrival. The only time that dog was on a leash was in the show ring. He was extremely obedient and I’m afraid we were very spoiled by him. He did have a few naughty moments, here is one of our favorites…
As I said, Drifter was ALWAYS with Alan, so when he did get left at home, he would generally find some way to pay us back for having the gall to leave him. On one occasion, we were gone for maybe four hours. Drifter was very smart and very pissed, so we came home to a dog that had methodically taken off every sprinkler head, gathered them in the middle of the lawn, and barked standing over them until we got home!
Drifter finished his American and International Championship fairly quickly and then started to get on a roll in the Groups. He was the first Samoyed in California to ever be awarded Best In Show. What a fun day that was! He got an Award Of Merit at the 1993 National and went 2nd in Veterans at the 1998 Samoyed Club of Los Angeles Regional Specialty. He obtained his International Championship his first weekend out, going Best In Show on the first day and Reserve Best In Show the next day. Drifter LOVED to show and was our robot show dog. One of our favorite show stories of him was when he was being shown in the breed. Alan took a fall when they started the go around, but Drifter continued around the ring and came back to the judge into a perfect stack! After going Best Of Breed, Alan walked out of the ring to about four professional handlers lined up, dying to take Drifter into the Group. He didn’t even need a handler!
Drifter never aged and was very healthy and lively until the night before he died. We believe he had a stroke. Alan layed on the floor with him all night, struggling with the decision of what to do. The next morning when there was no improvement, we brought Drifter into the front yard under his favorite tree, his head on a pillow on a beautiful, breezy day, and we said goodbye to our dear friend.