Introduction to Val's Book

by Cathy Wilson, Val's mom

How Val came to live with us

We wanted a dog.  We wanted a Whippet.  We thought maybe we should get a Greyhound, you know, rescue one that is through racing and has no place to go.  But we really wanted a Whippet because they are the perfect size.  And so elegant!  Some say that you either love the look of a Whippet or you think they look weird!  They are skinny, but in a graceful, elegant way.

We decided that we should wait until after vacation.  We were planning on going to Los Angeles and didn't want to get a new dog, then leave if for a week.

Eric made some inquiries and left our number with Jo Soward.  She called back in a few days and told us about a Whippet that needed a new home.  The dog was at Laurel Wilkes, in Lacey, WA (near Olympia, about an hour drive south).  We called her and got the information.  It was a female.  She was black and white.  Her name was Val.  Actually Blarneystone Miss Valdez.  No, not the ship, the town.  All the puppies in this litter were named after towns in Alaska.  She was 3 1/2 years old.  We decided to drive down to see her.  We met her, along with all the other Whippets and the poodle and the cat in Laurel's household.  I sat in a chair and she put her front legs on me.  I fell in love.  Laurel told us about a couple of other people who were considering her.  At one home, Val would be kept in the garage.  The other people weren't sure if they really wanted a Whippet.  I heard myself saying, "Well, we want a Whippet.  We want this Whippet."

It was February 1999.  Our yard wasn't fenced (well, the old fencing was not usable).  We had to have a fenced yard to have the Whippet.  It cost too much to have the fence made by someone else, so we did the measurements, went to Eagle Hardware, bought the parts and started building a fence.  In the rain, in the wind, in the cold, in the SNOW!!  It was a true labor of love.  In the concrete for one of the fence posts for the gate leading to the upper level, we put "Feb 1999."  In the other, we wrote "For Val."

We went down to visit her one more time.  She fell asleep on Eric's lap.  Then, when the fence was done, Laurel brought her up to us.  She had to check out the yard to make sure it was Whippet proof.  It was in the evening and dark, so she examined the yard with a flashlight.  We passed.  We let Val check out the back yard.  Then we brought her in through the back door.  We had a "Welcome Home, Val" sign on the fridge, down low.  On the floor in the dining room, we set a stuffed bunny.  As she breezed through, she grabbed it!  She knew it was for her.

Then there was the matter of her AKC registration.  We knew Val was full blood, but didn't have any paperwork.  This was important if we were going to lure course her.  There was another alternative, but Jo checked with Bev McKibbin, Val's breeder.  We found out that Val was still registered to Beverly!

Here's what happened as near as we can figure it.  Beverly kept Val for about a year, then decided that since she didn't have any lure chasing instinct, so she sold her to a woman.  Bev as a rule doesn't sign over the registration until she gets all her money.  The woman made a partial payment with a check.  The check bounced.  She ended up never paying for the dog.  The woman was rooming with a couple.  The woman moved out and left Val with the couple.  Later the couple was going to move someplace back east and didn't want to take Val with them.  So she ended up with Laurel to find a home for her.  And Bev still had her AKC registration.  So Bev signed Val over to us.  Now she was completely and in every way ours.  Val was home at last.

Val's Home