|Group Winning, Ch. Sharrah’s Zhunghatoh (Z)|
For seasoned veterans, Group Winning Ch. Sharrah's Zhunghatoh was THE Logansport dog and the reason why ALL judges must mark their books before handing out ribbons. The following flew around the world via phone calls, publications, and snail mail. There was a conscious effort by breeder-judges from the Afghan Hound Club of America to communicate the importance of the issue. There was a fear Logansport would set a precedent that judges would not be protected against highly charged, disgruntled exhibitors.Sidebar before Logansport: To enter the show ring with Zhunghatoh was huge. My husband attained Ch. Shangrila Pharaoh Kauravya's first points and Major (my first Afghan), a Major BOB over 6 specials - back then it took over 30 dogs for a Major and 16 dogs for a single point. One such special held the #1 Afghan title, and he was NEVER beaten by ANY class dog until Kauravya. Then, Kauravya was severely injured. He died on the operating table, was revived, and 2 ˝ years later re-entered the ring with handlers. I still lacked confidence. Why is that important? It took 8 years for Sharrah's FIRST litter out of Ch. Kauravya, but Parvo struck. We had the FIRST confirmed case in the Midwest - not something to brag about. I lost everything except Ch. Kauravya and ONE red puppy alive somewhere. I went on a long pursuit to find him and bought "Z" back from his 5th home. But, who would show my lovely boy? Mentors, like handler Bill Liles and Fred Alderman of Dynasty Afghans, helped me through mistakes. Though both of these men are gone, they were my figureheads in the showring. Logansport: On Sept. 13, 1980, I entered Zhunghatoh in Open under breeder-judge, and previous President of the AHCA, Mrs. Judy Fellton. It was my first time showing to her and it was late in the day and other rings were empty. Groups were underway in another building. Ms. Fellton awarded "Z" the Breed from the classes over 5 specials. They were all big winners in their own right. Before the win was marked in the judge's book, so technically she was still judging, several people charged into the ring. Fists flew and voices rose. Accusations of a "trimmed" dog were made, but the complaining couple also claimed their dog was the "old type like Zhunghatoh". The judge advised that nowhere in the Standard did it confirm trimming was a fault, or reason to deny her pick. Though I slightly trimmed the side coat, because of a problem on a recent Oklahoma circuit, most of the look came from meticulous grooming which serves me well to this day. The AKC Rep and Club President were called, but did not show up. After harassment from the losers, the judge advised me she was afraid for herself, me and "Z" as lynch mob-like actions amplified. With "Z" sitting at my side, a woman approached. Her steely finger poked close to my eyes. As the owner of the losing Special, she reiterated she should have won. In an instant, I reflected why I pursued finding "Z" and fought diligently to help others worldwide with the Parvo campaign and fund? I stuttered, "I don't believe this is happening to me". Her comment, "You'd better believe it; if you can't take it, honey, then get out of dogs!" Still, no Club officials came. The judge repeated she didn't want anything to happen to me or my "beautiful, red boy", and then she stared at the boisterous woman who grabbed at my dog's coat. With glassy eyes, Judy Fellton panned the ring then boldly announced she would rerun the Breed in an attempt to stop the chaos. A well-known breeder told her "no, don't do that" then showed where she trimmed her special. Smug smiles spread across naysayers' faces. People re-stacked their dogs and without moving an inch, a new Breed dog was chosen. Mrs. Fellton clutched her judge's book close to her chest and quickly noted it, then tearfully yelled, "This dog [she pointed to Zhunghatoh] is my BOW, and I will NOT deny him that!" The Breed went to a respected breeder-judge's Special male, and the woman announced again with her broken speech where she clipped her dog. She defended Mrs. Fellton's original decision, along with the other big winning Breed exhibitors. With no Rep or Show Chairman present, it was over. After Logansport: I filed a complaint with the AKC against the complaining couple, not Judy Fellton. Others with Specials wrote to the AKC with similar stories. The AKC did not have jurisdiction over non-benched shows, because responsibility fell at the Club level. They punished the couple to the degree they could - a mere 3 months. (Sidebar: Decades later, she's back). Shortly after the chaos, the President of the AKC pressed why I did not file a complaint against Judy Fellton when I lost the most. Very simple: Sometimes it's not about the numbers. For years after Logansport, this judge lost her ability to advance with additional breeds, groups, and BIS. Consequently, her assignments suffered. It was painful to watch as her health also declined. I finished Ch. Sharrah's Zhunghatoh and his Specials career soared. He loved to show and adored me. I was finally in the ring with my dog! But, darkness still loomed. I was cautioned to pull "Z", due to threats on his life since Logansport. My friend showed her special to the #1 Afghan (yes, owner handled) and she experienced tragedy with her new puppy that was given ground up glass in a treat at a show. This callous act sent them out of dogs. I heeded her warning and pulled "Z". Judy Fellton made the mistake of NOT controlling her ring, but she was also a victim. I did not penalize her for trying to do the right thing. I lost the most, but gained a dear friend. While Judy is gone, her contributions speak volumes. From the early beginnings of our beloved Afghan Breed in the US, to her nationwide rescue efforts, and Presidency of the Afghan Hound Club of America, they serve as testament to this great lady's positive impact. Logansport: It's NOT about the numbers.
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