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Helen Haas – She’s Seen It All!

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100 – May 2017

by Amy Fernandez

These days fake news is well…all over the news. Thank- fully, there’s never any need for that nonsense in the dog world. The real stuff is way too good. Helen Haas has seen this sport from every angle for 70 years. Bored? No way!

The latest big thing in her life is the Ibizan, Gr. Ch. Charikar Here Comes The Sun. “I dearly love him. He is so funny, he never barks, just does his thing. I had this Afghan who was getting old and naughty and one day I was out in the back with my grand- daughter and Gabriel decided he would jump up and nibble her nose and he scared her to death. The Ibizan walked over and rolled Gabriel on his back and stood over him and growled and then just walked away. Gabriel got up, put his head down and went the other way. The Boy is my alpha dog and he has every- body organized, so life is good around here because I have some- body in charge. He is just marvelous!”

What? This is not a breed generally credited for its stabilizing influence on the home environment, but every successful relation- ship comes down to personality dynamics. And as Helen admits, “I’ve always been a Sighthound person. I think I was an Afghan in another life.” It takes one to know one. She says, “Most of the Sighthounds are really independent and if you let them be them- selves they’re a joy to live with.” Basically, keep a lid on those misdirected expectations. “The Afghans are so gorgeous and glam- orous people never really give them a chance to be real dogs. When you get to know them, they’re so kooky and funny.”

For her, it was love at first sight and her first experience was no run of the mill Afghan sighting. “It was back in the early ‘50s. I was in my early twenties living out in Encinitas and one day I was driving down the street with my kids and this strange creature ran by. It turned out to be one of the Pamir dogs; they had clipped it down except for the head and the feet. I thought it was the most exotic animal I had ever seen,” she says.

It was still stuck in her brain when they moved to Denver a few years later. “I paid $35 for my first Afghan. Shari was the only blond brindle I’ve ever seen. She went back to some of those really old lines from the 1930s and she was as close to a feral hound as you could get.” Yes, some people might fail to see the appeal of that, however Helen says, “Another reason I like the Afghans so much is because they are their own dogs. They say hello to you in the morning and then go off and do their own thing.” And Shari definitely had stuff to do. “We lived out in the country and she would chase cars,” she says, which inexplicably proved quite popular with the neighbors. “They would come back and tell me ‘boy we got her up to 40 mph today.’ Then she started hunting and, oh God… she discovered the neighbors chickens. However, she never killed them. She would bring them home alive and lay there in the front yard plucking their feathers out. My neighbors would get so pissed. Of course, it was always their very best laying hen. So I would pay for their very best laying hens, then after awhile we started eating them.” After all that car chasing and chicken pluck- ing, Shari needed to cool off. Helen recalls, “We kept a laundry tub filled with water out back for the horse and when she got hot she would jump in and sit there with just her head sticking out. The horse wouldn’t drink the water after the dog had been in it. He’d get so pissed. So we’d always be refilling it for him.”

If that doesn’t say show potential, what does?

Click here to read the complete article
100 – May 2017

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