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BISS Ch. Harley Davidson Hardt's CGC, ROM, HOF

Harley's pedigree

harley & tonie
photo by ashbey

What can we say about Harley?  Well, actually..............quite a lot.  Our love for her is immeasurable, her list of accomplishments is long, and our memory of her is eternal.  To borrow lyrics from a song, she was, quite simply, "a one in a million, chance of a lifetime."

Harley was bred by Tonie Gerhardt, by Ch. Maher's Top Gun v Hardt's out of Cullinane's Holly v Hardt's.  She was one of a litter of 10 and Tonie had already decided on keeping a male (Ch. Hardt's Zackly The One) for herself, but she was hoping for that perfect "show home" to come along for "pink collar girl" who she knew was a lovely puppy bitch.  She waited and waited, and it didn't come.  A couple of months passed and then Stephanie Gallups called Tonie Gerhardt looking for a Great Dane puppy.  Stephanie already had a dog.......a Cairn Terrier baby harley in her crate named "Fred."  But Fred had chosen to attach himself to Stephanie's boyfriend, Mike.  Stephanie decided she needed another dog, one who would love her best, and that dog was going to be a GREAT DANE!    For Stephanie, meeting "pink collar girl"  was love at first sight.  She wanted "pink" and she wanted her yesterday!  Since "pink collar girl" was already 4 months old and that perfect show home had not come along, Tonie decided to let Stephanie (who had NO intention of showing) become the perfect companion home. Stephanie took "pink" home and chose to name her new puppy "Harley."  Stephanie & Harley bonded immediately and within months they were nearly inseparable.  Any place Stephanie could take Harley, Harley went.  Stephanie loved Harley so much that she changed a lifestyle she was perfectly happy with------the convertible red sports car was traded in for a nondescript minivan; the house with a small yard in an intimate neighborhood 10 minutes from downtown DC was abandoned for a 12 acre farmette an hour west (Stephanie didn't even know a world existed beyond the capital beltway).  Stephanie adored Harley and the feeling was mutual.

At that time, Stephanie also had a horse.  She would go to ride or check on her horse, and of course, young Harley always came along.  One day when Stephanie  went to the stables to ride, there happened to be an all-breed match show taking place in the horse fred, stephanie & harley arena.  She figured, "well, as long as I have Harley here......."  Into the ring went Stephanie and Harley and Harley's 6 foot walking lead.  Stephanie tells the story today, 10 years later, "I had NO idea what I was doing.  I had this crazy long leash and I wadded it all up in my hand.  Everybody said, 'run around in a circle.' So I'd run around in a circle and stop.  Then the people would say, 'YOU WON!'  I'd say,'I DID??'  I came out of the ring, and then somebody told me to go back in.  Again, they said to run around in a circle.  Again, they said,'YOU WON!' and again I said,'I DID??' "  Harley, who had never been to a handling class, let alone stacked, was BOB that day (going on to Group 2), and it probably goes without saying that Stephanie's & Harley's lives were changed forever.  Stephanie was "hooked" on dog shows and Harley would now wear two hats---one hat as the loving and beloved companion she already was and now also that of a showdog.  Stephanie now laughs at herself, "Boy, was I a stage mother or what?"    

Stephanie asked Tonie how she would go about showing Harley.  Tonie explained about show schedules and entries and Harley began showing in the classes as her first birthday
approached.  Initially, Stephanie handled Harley herself, and showed her only occasionally at very local shows.  Stephanie says with a shrug, "We weren't too successful.  But, Tonie had been the handsome chase-sire of harley's first litter showing Zack and she finished him not long after I started going to shows with Harley so after that I asked her if she would show Harley."   Tonie handled Harley exclusively to her championship.  With that, Stephanie thought Ch. Harley's show career was finished and she & Tonie started planning Harley's future as a brood bitch.  They tried to breed Harley once and she missed.  They tried to breed her again, and she missed.  In the meantime, between these breeding misses, they entered Harley in the breed on a limited basis, Tonie handled, and Harley did her fair share of  winning including a Best in Specialty Show at the GDC of Metropolitan Washington under breeder-judge Ken Doeg, and BOS at The Garden under Lester Mapes.  But specialing wasn't the objective for Harley; Stephanie &Tonie really wanted Harley puppies.  And finally on their third attempt, Harley graced them with 9 beautiful babies sired by BISS Ch. Primrose Chase The Clouds, ROM (pictured at left)Out of this litter 5 were to become champions, with one more major pointed and another pointed who did not go on to complete their championshps.  

By this time, Stephanie also had a 13 month old brindle harley & terry male, Ch. Laurel Springs H Super Glide (out of Harley's sister) who, handled by Tonie, had finished very easily with breed wins from the classes and the breed & group 2 his first day as a move-up.   Harley was being the "perfect mother" but after the initial misses at breeding Harley and the showing they had done in the interim, by the time Harley did whelp a litter and Stephanie needed to stay home for 3 months, she found she kind of missed going to dog shows.  When Harley's litter was 4 months old, Stephanie decided to try her luck at specialing but she wasn't sure whether to special Harley or Glide.  Glide had already done well, but he was young & immature.  Harley was Stephanie's heart, but she was a bitch and had just had a litter.  Stephanie entered them both in a show and let the judge decide:  Harley was BOB, Glide was BOS and that suited Stephanie & Tonie just fine.  Harley, athough already special, would be their "Special."

There is plenty to say about Harley's specials career, but I'll try to be brief......before Harley was a mother she was already a BISS winner, already had group placements and had already gone BOS at The Garden.  And when Stephanie & Tonie decided to special Harley "for real" it just got harley & marie better.  Coming out at the end of June, Harley attained the #12 ranking for Great Danes (breed system) by December 1996 in just 6 months of specialing (quite an accomplishment if you think about it and one wonders what more she might have done in a longer period of time).  During that time, she had many group placements including multiple Group 1's, which were incredibly thrilling!  For 5 of the 6 months Harley was specialed, she was handled by Terry Hundt, and Stephanie & Tonie both feel that Terry presented Harley to her best, and they are extremely grateful for what Harley & Terry accomplished together in a very short time.  Six months of specialing in 1996 was the extent of Harley's serious specials career.  After 1996 she was to come out twice more.  Once in February 1997 for Westminster and again in October '97 for the GDCA 1996 Top 20 Competition.   Her first time back in February, she won Best of Breed at The Garden, and Stephanie and Tonie couldn't have been more ecstatic.  

After that, it was decided that Harley would be a mother once more, and she was bred to BIS BISS Ch. Jamara's High Voltage, ROM HOF (pictured at right)the handsome wattson-sire of harley's second litterBred to "Wattson," Harley produced 5 more puppies who all went on to become champions.  Harley's "Wattson" kids were whelped in May 1997 and she was a wonderful mother to them just as she had been to the "Chase" kids.  She appeared vigorous & healthy through whelping and the 2 months of raising her litter.  And by July 1997, Stephanie & Tonie were looking forward to getting Harley back in shape and the 1997 GDCA National where they would show Harley in the Top 20 competition.  But soon after Harley's 2nd litter of puppies had all found homes she developed a limp in her front left leg.  Stephanie & Tonie took her to NUMEROUS vets who could not diagnose the problem.  Finally, in September, an orthopedic specialist said, "it's osteosarcoma, and she won't make it to Thanksgiving."  Stephanie & Tonie were CRUSHED.  They thought it was just some weird funny thing, they never dreamed they were looking at losing their beloved Harley so young.

The specialist was right and Stephanie & Tonie reconfirmed it with other vets after the initial diagnosis.  Harley's condition worsened, but she was SO dignified to the very end when Stephanie & Tonie had to make the agonizing decision to let her go.  Harley left THIS world in November of 1997, just days before Thanksgiving as the specialist had predicted (it hurts very much to remember that).  She was 5 years & 4 months old........far too young.  There will never be another and Stephanie & Tonie, and all of those who knew her, will never forget her.

Harley's accomplishments:
she exemplified the expression:  "if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well!"

as a companion, as a show dog, as a producer
there is nothing she didn't do

"a one in a million, chance of a lifetime"

your heart does go on

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