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Ebony qualifies as perhaps “the best” dog in the kennel, although her origins are a sad mystery. When we had a second Lab for a time that we showed, people always assumed it was Ebony that was the show dog. Always perfect, true Lab in type, Ebony is all heart.

It was Ebony that came first, so she can rightfully be called the “foundation bitch” of Blyss Kennels. In August 2002, while visiting friends in Montrose, PA, we visited the new county animal shelter that had just had its grand opening. It had been a big social event in the town at the time. I was surprised not only by the quality of this facility but by the high quality of dogs it housed. One would not have seen this in New Jersey, where most of the dogs would have been mixed-breeds. I was drawn to a beautiful black Lab bitch named Ebony and I could tell she was drawn to me. It was obvious that she had just weaned a litter of puppies and she was grossly obese. Although she had a beautiful face with a sweet expression, her overall circumstances broke my heart. I thought because she was not “beautiful” in the conventional sense, many people would have passed her by, although her overall quality was clearly apparent to me. I was overcome with a great awareness that she had been wronged and I had to get her out of that situation. Upon speaking to the shelter’s staff, I learned she had been there for three weeks. In another week, if she was not taken or rescued, the shelter would have euthanised her.

I had never owned a large dog, and since I was not traveling with Bob, I knew I would need his cooperation. After a few phone calls, I had his support, and Ebony took the ride back to New Jersey with me. She was painfully polite and well mannered, too perfect, it seemed, but always willing to jump in a car, waiting to go for the ride back home. There was no question that although she adored us, for a long time to come, she was looking for her family. Her head turned from side to side and her eyes roamed the landscaped whenever she was outside, clearly looking for the people she lost. It was particularly painful for us, whenever we were outdoors with her, when we encountered children. Ebony would become very alert and animated, and want to go to them, clearly expecting to recognize them, only to be disappointed. These scenes were always heartbreaking for us to witness. For ourselves, having owned many dogs between us, we never had such a lovely, kind, well mannered dog. We wondered how such a thing could have happened to Ebony.

Perhaps time heals all wounds. We hope so. It has been over three years since Ebony arrived. She knows Blyss Kennels is her home and the searching behavior has ceased. Blyss Kennels has acquired several other dogs. Ebony has welcomed all of them with her steady love and kindness. Her health has greatly improved, she has lost the excessive weight she had when she came, and she can run like a puppy without becoming winded. She is still a great beauty, and what I saw in her that first day is even more apparent to me today. She is as dear to me as the others, even though I do no t know her kennel name or have her pedigree. It is sad because I wish I could thank her breeder for breeding such a fine Lab for me.