There is so much less than ideal about the way I went about finding my first puppy (7 years ago) - I just didn't know enough at the time... All things considered, everything obviously turned out remarkably well, and when I look back at photos of the dog that sealed the deal for me - Oscar's pop, Ruger - there's no doubt in my mind that this dog would have the power to sway my decision all over again, still today.
Ruger, aka MBIS MBISS BIF Am/Can CH Camelot's Promise to Bakari, SC, is, without a doubt, Drop. Down. Gorgeous. He really is. Knowing all of nothing about perfect Ridgeback type way back then, my opinion was based on some personal vision of a canine ideal, though Ruger is also a record-setting champion. Since the handsome son of his that I'm lucky enough to call my own doesn't even posess the hallmark of the breed (the ridge) it's obvious I wasn't in this game for the wins, but between his looks, his impressive CV*, and the lovely lady he was paired with, I fell hard for Najahari Rhodesian Ridgeback's 2005 "Easter Litter".
Ruger was bred by the highly esteemed Camelot Rhodesian Ridgebacks (California) and is owned by Bakari Ridebacks (Oregon) - and he wasn't the only champ in his family: in 2005, he and his littermate, Mojave (Camelot's Code Red) ended the year in an unprecedented even tie for breed points. Again, my experience with conformation shows pretty much starts and ends with televised coverage of Westminster, but for those in the know, that's kind of a big deal.
So, on behalf of my most wonderful Oscar:
Happy Father's Day, Ruger, you sexy beast.
*To top things off, Ruger has the fine distinction of being the only Rhodesian Ridgeback in history (to date) to have won Best in Show and Best in Field, the latter of which is achieved through lure coursing trials - a test of drive, stamina, and athletics, vs. correct form alone.
*After attaining his championship, Ruger was shown as a sSpecial (racking up all the abbreviations before his name) by professional handler, Don Rodgers, who appears in each photo above. (All photos courtesy of Clayton Heathcock & Camelot Rhodesian Ridgebacks.)