Pala came to us from Beth & Bob Johnson from Abby's last list. The litter theme was 'last' so all pups in the litter had 'Last' in their names hence Elfin's Last Word From Feliz. Pala is short for "Palabra" which is Spanish for Word. I was going to call her La Ultima Palabra (The Last Word) but switched to English then kept the Pala part. Pala is Pearlie's little sister, born a year later.
Pala started life as a black/tan Irish pied but, over the years has developed into a blue/tan Irish pied. The "blue" in the Silk Dog starts out life as black and changes to blue over a period of years. There are two gene loci responsible for 'blue' in the Silk Dog. One causes premature greying...as the dog matures, hair follicles which previously produced black hairs produce non-pigmented hair causing a mixture of black/white hairs that is perceived as shades of grey. The other blue locus actually causes black hairs to eventually grow out less pigmented, as grey hairs. These dogs appear more uniformly coated in shades of grey. During the transition, the previously black dogs can appear brownish, or rust colored as they change from black to blue. It should be noted that this blue is NOT the dilute blue found in some breeds which has grey pigment as well as coat...these dogs are born blue, unlike the Silk blues which always have black pigment.
Pala at eight weeks
Pala's black coat turning brown at the roots
Pearlie with baby Pala
Pala, more blue but still with brownish cast at 18 months.
Pala, cutdown and 8 weeks pregnant shows the lovely, clear shade of dove grey of her mature coat.
Pala in mature coat at 4 years of age. A true blue Silk Dog
Pixie, a blue Havanese changes color. This is the premature greying type of blue.
Rally on, Pala! After completing her conformation championship, Pala set her sights on a much more fun activity, Rally Obedience. Rally is like obedience 'light', a less structured, less precise, less demanding venue than the more rigid obedience ring. In obedience competition, for example, a command can be given only once and correct placement of the dog during the exercises is narrowly defined. At heel, the dog must be right next to the handler, nose level with the handler's leg. When the dog sits at heel it must be perfectly in place or be penalized. With rally, communication between handler and dog is allowed, even encouraged...handler can talk to the dog throughout the exercises, praise, repeat commands if needed. Dog's position is not required to be as precise...heeling is acceptable if the dog is within a few feet of the owner. It's designed to be fun for the team and to encourage more people to participate as interest in traditional obedience has waned. The Silk Dog personality is very well suited to Rally as they do like to have fun (Silk Dogs participating in traditional obedience often make their own fun if they are bored...much to their handler's embarrassment...grin.)
Pala loves Rally...it suits her perfectly. She is such a team player...all one has to do is make her understand what is needed of her and she is there! She breezed through Rally titles with ease...always wagging her happy tail and smiling. Of course she brought her own sense of humor to task, occasionally taking the time to go say 'Hi, I'm Pala" to a judge (who, thoughtfully turned her back so that Pala would not be rewarded for losing focus) or, occasionally, to disagree with what my interpretation of the exercise should be.
Pala completed her Rally Advanced title with a score of 97 and FIRST place at the National Specialty in Richmond, VA in 2006.
Pala at RDOC Rally competition in Richmond VA, 2006
Doc says "down", Pala lodges a protest.
At home in Goochland...
Snow sticks to Silk Dogs!
After finishing her Rally title, Pala took a break from competition. After completing all her health testing, Pala was bred to Multi Ch Bydand In the Mood At Concordia, "Curtis", and had her first litter of puppies in Nov 2006. Nothing to do with puppies or career but the picture at left illustrates why we are glad that it does not snow very often in Goochland, VA!
In 2007, I took Pala, Posy and Ginny to an ATTS temperament test and it is a testament to Pala's willingness to work with me that she passed the test to add the "TT" title to her name. While Posy and Ginny saw absolutely NO reason to stick their heads in a bucket of bolts, Pala, with some reluctance, decided to humor me, thus passing the exercise. In this test a bucket of bolts is dropped in front of the dog, making a loud noise and the dog is supposed to investigate after the initial reaction (which is to be startled.) Silk Dogs are smart and have a good nose. Posy and Ginny looked it over, sniffed and decided that there was nothing of interest in the bucket. Pala also knew it but, after the examiner insisted that I get down and express great enthusiasm over the interior, Pala finally came over and did her best to make me feel less idiotic by sticking her head in it, too.
Pala's first litter is pictured below. These pups were sweet and sassy with Pala's delightful personality and lovely coats inherited from both parents. Her second litter, Pala's Players, can be found under 'Our Puppies'.
The Leonard Cohen litter. All these pups' registered names were Leonard Cohen song titles.
Sue became Roxie and went to live in NYC with a professional photographer who sent this lovely study in black and white.
Handsome Curtis, sire of Pala's 1st litter
Pala returns to the show ring!
In January of 2009, Pala attended her first HSDAA show in Durham, NC. I guess she was ready for this new venue as she won the Adult Bitch class both days, was awarded an AOM on Saturday then, won Best in Show on Sunday! She needed 3 more points to finish her HSDAA championship so, in June 2009, she showed at the Blue Ridge Silk Lovers' Classic, again won the Adult Bitch class and finished with a perfect score, 5 points. She is now Multi CH Elfin's Last Word From Feliz RA CGC! What's next for Pala? Who knows...this little girl can do it all!
Pala's 2nd Silk Show -Best of Breed!
Pala's 1st Silk Show - Award of Merit!
3rd Silk Show - New Champion!
Pala soaps, July 2007
Pala's Health Profile...
Pala is a moderate bitch with balanced angles. She could use a little less loin and a little more neck. She has a lovely tail carriage and beautiful head and expression. Height: 10" Weight: 12 lbs
There are dogs that are happiest when they have a job. Pala is such a dog...at the end of the summer, 2011, Pala found a new job. It started as a day job but quickly became a full time position. Pala is now the beloved companion of a couple who really needed her special talent...she loves to be loved and they needed a dog to love. Pala lives just a jog away from my animal hospital and comes to visit every few weeks for grooming and to visit with her Elfin family.
Update Nov 2014! Pala's 'daddy' Frank passed away in 2013 but Pala continued on as cherished companion to his wife, OliveJean. In Nov, Pala came to visit Elfin for a bit and, while she was here we brushed up her Rally skills and competed at HSDAA's very first Rally Trial at the National Specialty in VA Beach. At 10 years of age, Pala did great, winning high in trial at both runs with scores of 94 and 97. With only one week to refresh she said it's like riding a bike. So proud of Pala. She returned home to OliveJean in January and Pala was so happy to see her 'mommy' again...and I know her mommy is glad to have her back! Pala is such a love and comfort. We'll have to ask to borrow her back again to finish the third leg so she can get her HSDAA RN title!