MONICA COLVIN ON MARY WILD
Owner of Akita that died in handler Mary Wild's care following gross neglect when left with other show dogs in Wild's van in blazing sun.
July 2010 | TheDogPress.com
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
First, tell us something about yourself, Gekko Akitas, and the Akita bitch so tragically lost. For example, your profession, when and why you got into Akitas, do you owner handle, and especially, what was Jersey like to live with?
I am a graphic designer, I designed for print but now work from our home on a freelance basis designing websites on a small scale. My first encounter with an Akita was in 1980, as a 19- year old college student in NYC. As I was waiting for my bus one afternoon, I met a beautiful Akita named "Teddy". He was so calm, dignified and accepting of love -- I fell in love on the spot. However, I had to wait until (in my mother's words), I was grown up and out on my own, in order to have a dog. Two years later, and I had my Akita!
"Pablo" was a companion, and we shared life for the next 12+ years. Showing and breeding was a dream for the future. I wanted to learn about the breed by owning an Akita for his lifetime so I waited and got my first show prospects in 1994 and 1995. I love showing in conformation, yet the first title I put on a dog was a CD on "Thor" when he was 2 1/2. The best feeling of all is to show breeder/owner/handled! I currently enjoy competing in Rally and am training our "BB" in agility, as well as showing in conformation.
Why did you choose Mary Wild as your handler?
Mary Wild was a very talented handler that lived relatively nearby, about a 50-minute drive. I didn't like the idea of sending a dog off with someone for weeks or months on end. Short weekend trips to shows allowed Jersey to go show and come home to keep happy and fit. I had frequently seen Mary Wild show and her talent could not be disputed. She presented dogs beautifully and always worked while in the ring. If she were headed away, I got Jersey to Mary's home and back. If she were coming this way, we would meet off an interstate en route. And if I was going Jersey would show with Mary and come home. Jersey was always happy to go, and equally happy to come home.
How long did she have your dog and was it Mary Wild who built Jersey’s career?
Mary put the majors on Jersey, which were ringside pick ups. Since Jersey was likely to finish the year in the Top 20 so we did a variety of ringside pick ups, and sending Jersey for a couple of weekends. I put a couple of Breeds on her, but Mary's presentation of her surely built Jersey's career. December 2008 my father passed away, he lived in New Jersey, so I needed to go back east early in 2009 for a bit of a long trip. Additionally we had a long-planned trip to California surrounding a wedding the end of June and I knew Jersey would not get to many shows with me. In 2009, other than normal show weekends, Jersey was in her care for 2 weeks in early March, and in June it was to be slightly more than 2 weeks when we had our trip out west. It ended up being a mere 4 days.
Did you ever have any reason to be concerned about your dog?
I had no reason to be concerned about Jersey. Mary really loved her, and Jersey loved Mary. Mary had recently acquired a new Sprinter van to replace her older Ford van. I mentioned earlier how happy Jersey was to go. The last day I saw Jersey we met Mary off I-55 nearby in Illinois, Jersey happily greeted Mary and jumped into the crate in her Sprinter, and off they went.
Is that why you weren’t called to testify against Mary Wild?
I was not called to testify against Mary Wild because I was across the country at the time of the crime, therefore not witness to anything. I was in Montana enroute to a family wedding in California when Mary Wild called to tell me Jersey had "gotten hot" and was on I.V. fluids at Dr. Laura Ivan's clinic but that she would be fine. The next day, when we were at Yellowstone, Mary called and said Jersey had passed away. It wasn’t until the day after that, that Jersey’s breeder called to tell me that the 6 dogs were dead on the scene, 2 days earlier, at the Wild residence.
I couldn’t have testified anyway because Samba was due to whelp during the trial and my husband was out of town. I have never left dogs outside during hot weather so I have to walk them and keep a close eye on my bitch that was due. This is CH. Gekko's Dancin' In The Moonlight, CCG, little did we know she was carrying our future when Jersey was killed.
I understand you have a new litter. Are they related to Jersey?
Our new litter is only very distantly related to Jersey. However, our November litter was sired by Jersey's littermate, CH. Mystik's CowBoi. In that breeding we knew we could not bring Jersey back but at least we had a shot at capturing those great characteristics that CowBoi shared with his sister. From that litter we kept "Morgen", who has a look in her eyes that is so similar to Jersey, it makes me think there was some spiritual transference! We can't change the past, but we can be happy for today and tomorrow based on a loose linebreeding on some greats from the Minda line, we are really excited about them.
I know it’s hard to talk about but can you tell us something about Jersey?
Jersey was as close to perfect as an Akita bitch can be in form and spirit. What people don't know is what a dear sweet girl she was. She was a perfect pack member, never petty, came when called, never did anything wrong (other than destroy a bed or two). If there was a person she felt was not good enough to approach me, she would bark in her wonderfully deep and compelling way. This was rare, and I trusted her assessment. I called her our "good little duck" -- one day my husband was working in the yard, sort of marching here and there. She tracked steps behind him as he walked and followed his steps foot by foot just like a duckling behind the duck! She was truly a joy to live with, cute, loveable, entertaining, beautiful inside and out.
Will you campaign another dog?
I will never send a dog with anyone else, other than one personal friend, ever again. I will continue to enjoy showing our dogs. I would do only ringside pick-ups with a handler.
What advice would you give other owners?
Trust your instincts, do what is in the best interest of your dog. We had no reason to worry about Jersey, which proves you can't always know or get a gut feeling about impending doom. I did a lot of driving to and from interstates, to and from Mary Wild’s home, so that Jersey could be shown and also be at home. Jersey was not living in a crate in the back of a box truck, hauling across the country for months on end. And still it ended in tragedy. If you REALLY want to be sure your dog is in the best care, learn to show it yourself, or find a handler that will do a ringside pick up, that can show it for you. Then, bring the dog home where it belongs.
Dig for gold in Chronological Coverage of Mary Wild Case
Mary Wild Kills 8 Dogs - charged with 8 felony counts of Animal Abuse
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