Xena - Our First German Shepherd Dog
VCD1 UAG1 Zamboni's Princess Xena UDT, NA, NAJ, BH, TC, FD

6/1/1996 to 11/3/2010

By Tony Montagano


Iím writing this tribute for Xena because Kris just hasnít been able to do it without breaking down in tears. She was our first German Shepherd and to date our only one. What a magnificent introduction to the breed. She also allowed us to become members of the Lincolnwood Training Club and development many new friends, some which will be life long. We also worked with our friends at the Rand Park DTC.. What a wonderful experience watching Kris and Xena work so hard toward their training goals. They would work early, at lunch, and many evenings with experienced handlers who were so open to share their knowledge, Ralph Sneve, Paul Wendt, Mary Ann Riecke, Paul Voltrauer, and Paul Koch, to name the main mentors. Molly and Clipper were her fellow students, always together in class. Sadly this is the end of that era of a great group of GSDís. Xena and Kris were 3 for 3 in Novice and Open and 3 of 5 in Utility, with a number of placements along the way. Kris would comment that more experienced handlers would say you canít do this so quickly, but her mentors would say ďdonít listen, you are!Ē Then Kris started tracking with Ralph Sneve. I never thought I would see her out in the woods in winter, but they were on a mission. They entered a TD test hosted by LTC and passed on their first try. Thank goodness Ralph had trained Kris to follow the dog, if itís wrong, let it be her mistake. Kris so wanted Xena to take a different direction on that last turn, but she followed Xena and they did the glove dance! I had the honor of training Xena in agility and for the TDX with Paul Koch of RPDTC. We never quite got that TDX, but I wouldnít trade those early Sunday Fall and Winter mornings for anything. She was so beautiful with her leather harness working in the snow, doing what came naturally. Xena did a little agility as well, becoming the 5th GSD to earn a VCD1. She had a little hip dysplasia in one hip so jumping was a challenge for her. We maintain our memberships in both clubs, just to stay close to those memories. If youíre at LTC maybe take a moment to look at her, proudly displayed on the UDT Wall of Fame, you canít miss her picture with its aqua background. Xena enjoyed a well deserved and long retirement on our hobby farm in Tennessee, along with a little sheep herding and a little tracking in some beautiful wilderness, her favorite past time was chasing the laser pointer. There was a little tune I would hum and she would know itís time to play, I think she could read lips, because she still knew after becoming deaf. One of Krisí favorite pass times was relaxing on the benches under the trees at the LTC field after training, maybe sharing lunch with Xena. We have a silver statue in our Fourier with a similar scene, I often see Kris looking at it and remembering those wonderful days.

Forever in our hearts, stay close to Zamboni and Tessie at the bridge.

Love Tony, Kris, and Anthony