The ends justify the means: way of a junior handler
Julija Jeršova, junior handler from Vilnius, Lithuania, passionately in love with German Shepherds, shared with us history of her handling carrier
My first acquaintance with a dog happened long ago when I was a small child. Then I couldn’t imagine that dogs will become so important to me. Since I was born the German Shepherd Dik was always beside me. His favourite place at home was near my bed, and in the street – always by my side. My parents were joking that they could let me outside with the dog and stay themselves at home as Dik was following me everywhere, never let any stranger to come close to me and was worrying about me all the time.
I think that in every dog lovers’ life there is this special dog that turns a life upside down. Dik was such dog to me. During my first five years of life Dik was my best friend, but time passes by and when I was 5 and Dik was 10 he came across the Rainbow Bridge. I cannot describe how deep did that affect all our family. So since that time I started bothering by parents... First it was a simple childish “Mom, I want a dog”, then I became more insistent. But there was always a reason to say “no”: grief after Dik’s death, then my younger sister was born, then there was no money, then “I was too small”, and those things continued for 10 years.
When I turned 11 I learned about such people as handlers. I learned that children also could do that and found a school for Junior Handlers. When I asked my parents to let me attend this school they answered me that “this is stupid, won’t be useful for you” etc... Maybe, after 7 years of gymnastics, several years of swimming, dancing lessons, karate and taking into account that I didn’t have a dog, for my parents a dog handling seemed to be something unnecessary. But who cares what your parents think especially when a child really wants something? The child certainly doesn’t care. I treasured up some money and when I was 12 went to the Handling school. Parents understood that they couldn’t stop me, so they didn’t forbid me as they thought that I was just a little girl who wants to go somewhere and in a month my enthusiasm will be over. But they were totally wrong...
I started my lessons with the trainers’ dog – the Zwergschnauzer, and in half a year I entered the ring for the first time. After this there was the second, the third, the tenth time. After a year my parents understood they couldn’t stop me. Working year after year I started to score some success. Dog owners trusted me their dogs, I got acquainted with many breeders, and every time when puppies were born in my acquaintances’ homes I ran to my parents shouting, “Mom, lets go and visit them just to have a look”. Of course, every time I was secretly hoping that they will buy me a puppy. The breed was not question to me; I definitely wanted the German Shepherd. And I took my parents in German Shepherds’ kennels. But during all that time my mom and dad didn’t even gave me a little hope that this miracle could happen.
I didn’t despair and kept on asking, but at the same time I started thinking whether I liked dogs that were around me. Maybe I could find a better and more beautiful dog abroad? I found a Russian forum of German Shepherds and started studying kennels, their dogs. Of course, I liked most of them, but there was no kennel, after thorough study of which I would feel “that’s what I was looking for”. Until one day, by a mere chance I clicked somewhere and came across the website of the kennel “Zavist Bogov” (which is translated from Russian as “the Gods’ envy”). I decided to look through their website, read about their dogs, which were all very beautiful, of course. All dogs were of a great quality, but among them there was THE ONE. That was that very dog that conquered my heart from the first sight - Zavist Bogov Je T’Aime. And what a name... (From French “Je T’Aime” is translated “I love you”.) At that moment I felt an urge to know her better and closer. I look through all her photos, all her videos, her children, brothers, sisters, read a story about her, and after all that there was no doubt – I NEED A PUPPY FROM THIS DOG. Not because of her conformation or pedigree, just she was THE ONE. I didn’t care who will be the father, where the set of puppies is, how much the puppy will be or what my parents would say.
I wrote a letter to the breeder, told about myself and that I wanted a puppy form Je T’Aime. The answer was very simple: “Hello, very nice to meet you! Je T’Aime is now in labour, so, as Germans say – willkommen!” Half of work was done, now I had to inform my parents. I wrote them a letter too, in which on four pages I described thoroughly the kennel, puppies’ parents, and not asking for permission I just wrote: “I will sell everything I have and buy this puppy, or you can buy me him.” I left this letter on a table and went to training. When I came home parents were in a very bad mood, but we still had to talk about this puppy. After a long discussion they finally agreed! I cannot say I was jumping high because of happiness. I was so shocked that I even didn’t tell my friends who knew about my plans. I was acting like nothing happened. Only when we started choosing a puppy, when began talking to breeders Irina and Polina I began to realize what was happening and I cannot describe all my emotions at that moment...
The story of puppy’s travel from St. Petersburg to Lithuania is another pretty long article. However, everything turned out to be fine and as a result of a coincidence we had to meet on the border of Latvia and Russia. So here we are staying, me, my mom, Ira and another girl from the kennel, and in front of us are running to small cute puppies, and one of them is mine!
And here we are travelling back home, and on my laps the puppy is sleeping, MY puppy, which I was waiting for 10 years, my dream that finally came true. The puppy was named Martin and from the very first seconds of his arrival he was feeling himself completely at home.
Now Martin is more than two years old and I never regretted about my choice. He is precisely the dog I dreamt about and as his mother Je T’Aime is: extremely loyal, bold, never tired, and always ready to do any work. We had victories and losses, we travelled a lot, had many adventures, visited 5 countries and this is only the beginning. Now I keep on handling dogs specializing on German Shepherds, but I have other favorite breeds, which I would like to know better, maybe, welcome to my home to live there for some time, or travel with them to take part in dog shows.
Next year I will finish school and I am still not sure in what domain I want to work, but one thing I know for sure – the German Shepherd will always be by my side. With the appearance of Martin I understood that dream could come true, that even impossible is possible, you just need to make a concrete aim and achieve it. And I would like to wish everyone who still didn’t reach his/her dream to go only ahead and never despair!