Halle was a bit of a surprise.

In early December, 2006 while on vacation in Miami we received a phone call from our breeder and mentor, Sandie Gordon. "Deb, I have bad news. I don't think Garnet is bred. I'll send her back to you." We were so disappointed, we had sent our beloved Garnet back to her first home in Philadelphia to be bred and have a litter of puppies at Sandie's house. As always, great hopes rested on this breeding and Sandie's call was definitely not what we had hoped to hear. But, excited to get our girl home, we quickly made arrangements for Walter to fly east and pick up Garnet and drive her home the following week.

When I met Walter at the car rental drop-off back in Denver and saw my darling girl for the first time in 4 months, she looked a little, well, plump. I scheduled her for a check-up with our reproductive vet and lo and behold... we found two puppies on the ultrasound! At that point, we estimated that Garnet was about 12 days from delivering which put us right smack in the middle of Christmas. True to form, Garnet went into labor on Christmas Eve and after a long night she delivered two puppies on Christmas morning. Our Christmas gifts were Halle and Sid.

Our intent was not to keep a puppy from this litter and Halle was all set to go back east to a home. However, as sometimes happens, we grew too attached to her to let her go. Early on, she got very good at using "cute" to her advantage, whenever she did something naughty and got caught in the act she turned on the charm and wrapped us right around her little paws. She fully lives up to her nickname of "Princess Halle" and she insists on getting special treatment. We started her out in the show ring for practice at about the age of 7 months to get her used to the sights and sounds of a dog show. She surprised us by taking her first championship points in two consecutive shows at the age of 8 months under respected judges, her ringside antics making one judge laugh out loud! We showed her a couple times over the next few months, but with a series of injuries she was taken out of the ring in February 2008. 

At that time, we realized Halle wasn't just sore but was seriously injured. Over the course of 4 months, she slowly got worse to the point where she wouldn't bear weight on her left rear leg and was unable to even jump on the couch. Her demeanor got very subdued and she prefered to lay on her dog bed rather than go run and play with the other dogs. It was heartbreaking. After visiting multiple vets and getting different assessments of the problem and doing treatments that didn't work, we found a wonderful veterinarian named Dr. Robin Downing in Windsor Colorado who helped us finally solve the mystery. Halle had a partial tear to her left ACL. After an in-depth assessment, Dr. Robin told us that Halle was a good candidate for a non-surgical approach and we gladly agreed to give it a try. Using medication, dietary changes, and physical therapy, Halle's pain was quickly brought under control and we started the rehab process which included work on an underwater treadmill (water being anathema to most Ridgebacks, the Princess included!). Within two days of starting treatment we saw a change in her personality, our Princess was back! Her progress was tremendous and we have hopes for an almost complete recovery someday. She was able to do her ASFA certification run and has earned her AKC Junior Courser title in 2009, but we do not want to risk further injury so Halle will hang up the coursing blankets . We have tried to bring her back to the show ring, however since she still has good and bad days we have regrettably had to put her show career on hold again. After consulting with many respected "senior breeders" about Halle's quality, we feel comfortable that with the right mate Halle has something to offer the breed so we are considering a 2010 litter for her.