Today, as part of the Dash & Albert 10 Wooftastic Years celebration, we’re taking a look back at a decade of memorable photos. We’re also chatting with our good friend Sally Underwood-Miller, who worked at Dash & Albert during the company’s earliest days and is a diehard dog lover who helped Annie’s own Daisy deliver and raise her ten puppies.
Fresh American: You worked with Annie back in the early days of Dash & Albert. How has the company or its products evolved since then?
Sally Underwood-Miller: When Dash and Albert went to our first trade show, there were very few options—several of the early Potluck stripes and a few prints. We had a small corner in the corner of one of the rooms. But the rugs were reasonably priced and well made, and people loved them! Annie’s greatest strength is her boundless innovation and her refusal to be deterred by obstacles. Now there are so many fabulous patterns and styles—I have many in my own house! There’s also the online component, so people can see all the different styles and colors and know immediately what’s available.
FA: What do you love the most about Clumber spaniels?
SUM: Their faces! Next, the eyes. They are so soft, and that little freckly nose is irresistible. But you have to be prepared to deal with a stubborn and willful dog. That oh, so adorable puppy will soon be a force to be reckoned with! So do your research. When you get a dog, you’re making a decision that will last, with luck, at least 12 to 13 years. Purebreds have specific traits, something you can count on; make sure it’s right for you. If you opt for a mixed breed, make sure you’re ready for “come what may”!
FA: How did you first get involved with the Clumber Spaniel Club of America?
SUM: It was important to know what we were getting into when Annie decided to breed Daisy. I wanted to know about the breed. The puppies’ sire had been pretty consistently ranked one of the top ten Clumbers in the country. I got into showing my own dog as a result of his owner’s encouragement, and became involved with the CSCA at the same time. The CSCA does important work to educate people about the breed and how to avoid getting suckered into buying from a puppy mill.
FA: How has your role changed?
SUM: I’ve been less involved since I’ve stopped showing, but I expect that will change again as we become more involved with tracking. I’m also a member of the Great Barrington Kennel Club, which is the only AKC club in the Berkshires. We do educational work, assist in funding dog-related projects (such as equipping search-and-rescue dogs, police dogs, shelters, etc.) on the local level, and put on competitions. The annual GBKC All-Breed Show is held the first weekend in February at the Big E.
FA: What was it like helping with Daisy’s 10 puppies?
SUM: It was a party from the beginning, but hard work. It required 24/7 care for several weeks. Daisy was a wonderful mother who kept possibly the cleanest puppies ever. You could just hear them saying, “Oh, Mom . . .” when she’d start. Sadly, we lost the “little purple girl” (Annie’s daughter, Charlotte, devised a color scheme to identify each pup) early on. It was heartbreaking. Nearly as bad was the final step, sending them off to their new homes. You’ve fallen in love with each and every one, each with a distinct personality. We all cried when Eloise, the first to go, left for Calgary, Canada. She lives nearby to the family who owns the puppies’ grandsire (a multinational champion himself), and they keep a watchful eye on her. We get reports and/or photos from the rest. Five live here in the Berkshires.
FA: Tell me a bit about the dogs you have now.
SUM: I have three dogs. My gorgeous Kyra, our fifth German shepherd, is nine now. When she, Dash, and Daisy were young, she kept trying to herd them. Daisy, especially, thought it was way beneath her dignity to be herded! Kyra thought they looked like sheep.
Delilah, aka AKC GCh/UKC Ch Millerwood’s Court Hill Delilah, is one of Daisy’s puppies, and, along with her littermates, is now six. She is spoiled, imperious, and the “princess,” but I love her beyond reason. I showed her for a time. She has achieved her AKC Grand Championship, her UKC Championship, and shown at the Westminster Kennel Club in New York. She’s retired now, and we’re working on tracking. So far she’s proven to be very adept. Clumbers are multitaskers, capable of going from the show or obedience ring to the hunt or tracking test.
And there’s “Big,” aka AKC/UKC Ch Bella Vita Sex in the City. He’s a big, goofy, lovable boy who will turn five the end of this month. I thought it was such a silly name until I saw him. He was a year old when he came to us from Washington State. When I picked him up at the Newark airport, I had every intention of calling him Baron. But then when he emerged from the travel crate, I said “Oh, my God, he’s big!” so the name stuck.
In celebration of Dash and Albert Rug Company’s 10 Wooftastic Years, Annie is giving away a Zigzag Natural rug, size 5’x8′ from Dash and Albert! Check out the Rafflecopter entry form below for 4 easy ways to enter! Contest ends on Sunday, October 27 at 11:59 p.m. EST. View the full details.
Congratulations to our winner, Serena from Washington!