My lovely Satchmo (BE, NL Ch Grafmax Louis Armstrong ShCM RL3Ex) was 11 on 14 May. He was from my first litter by Int, Lux Ch Aritaur Histabraq (Bracco) ex my Cosajoro Nina Simone at Grafmax (Nina). This was a litter of 4 and the three with which I'm still in touch are all still alive. This photo was taken by Gruff Morgan when Satchmo was ten and a half, and shows he still had his excellent side gait.
Little did I guess when breeding my first litter, and deciding at the very last minute to keep a pup, that this would be the start of a journey that would take us to the big ring at Crufts, having won Best of Breed and then getting shortlisted in the group; that we'd travel all round Europe gaining him his Belgian and Dutch titeles; also that he would be the first dobermann to reach level 3 Rally in the UK. What a journey it's been! He's a special boy, soft and strong-willed at the same time, annoyingly clingy and wonderfully loyal.
He's had his health issues. A trauma to his shoulder in 2016 led to a serious operation that went wrong and left him temporarily paralysed and not expected to live. Five months later he was placed Reserve in Veteran Dog at Crufts. Then, earlier in 2020, it was discovered that he had a squamous cell carcinoma in a rear toe, which therefore had to be removed. Given that he'd had had little exercise for about six weeks, I was worried that he'd have permanently lost condition, but he's building himself back up and is now doing walks up to one and a half hours. A magical dog and it's been a privilege to own the annoying little toad!