Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where it All Started.....for Me, Anyway

My father, Moses Acosta, saw Willy, George Patton's bull terrier during the war. It was love at first sight for him. Fast forward to 1970 and my father arranged to purchase his first BT from Michael Sottile of Alaric Kennels in Somerville NJ. He found Alaric through Eva Weatherill, whom he had visited in England. He had hoped to obtain a puppy from her, but once she found out that he was from the states, she suggested he follow up with Alaric Kennels, which happened to be close to our Manhattan home. Soon enough, Alaric's Loverly Lily, a small-ish terrier style smut fawn and white came into our lives. We drove over to NJ in a friend's old VW van to pick up the new baby. For my mother and me, these were the first bull terriers we had ever seen in the flesh. My dad had sent us to see the move Patton, so our only reference was the screen version of Willy, who was portrayed as a bit of a wuss. Patton's widow, by the way, was not happy about the portrayal as she knew it was not accurate. Anyway, while my mom and dad were inside brokering the deal, someone, I dont remember who, took me out to the kennels. I was handed a bowl of food and they suggested I go into the kennel-run with Lily's father, Alaric's Frandas Brandy Snap, a 70 pound red and white stud. He had a full-size tire swing for a toy....or so my Mom remembered; I dont remember that part. She does because she said her heart fluttered to think that I was in there with this big, strange dog! Well, he couldn't have been sweeter and so my relationship with bull terriers was born. We gathered up Lily and drove back to the city.

It was school night and we got home late and my dad suggested he go out to get Chinese take-out while my Mom and I brought Lily upstairs to the apartment to get settled. My dad exited the apartment and strolled a mere 30 feet to the corner, where, low and behold, a man was waiting for the light and holding a bull terrier on a leash! This was more than fortuitous - and odd - because literally up to this moment, we hadn't seen any bull terriers in the neighborhood. My dad, who had wanted a bull terrier since 1947, was terribly excited and went up to this stranger:

"Excuse me sir, I just got a bull terrier! My first bull terrier," my dad said. "Just now! We just brought her home!"

The guy eyed him up and down as my father babbled a bit more, gaining momentum with his excitement.

"Sir, did you just say you got a bull terrier?" asked the man

"Yes, yes that's what I'm telling you. Just now, we brought her upstairs for the first time," exclaimed my father.

"Sir, you are In Trouble! This little trouble-maker just ate my couch!"

And with that, a Legacy was born. Lily was my first, but far from my last, and I hope to never be without a BT in my life again.

These pictures are of me with Lily about 7 months later at a match in LI put on by the Knickerbocker Bull Terrier Club. If Anyone knows any of the other folks in the pictures, I would love to know! We are pretty sure it was May 1971. Lily won her class. Of course she was the only one in her class, but that didn't matter. I studied and read-up - remember this was the days before the internet, so it was pretty enterprising for a 9 year old - and I told them what kind of show-leash I needed. I practiced with her every day for quite a while leading up to the match. I remember when the judge wanted her to stand still, so that he could look at her bite and body, she jumped up and kissed him. I didn't even know these pictures existed until just this year. My daughter, rummaging around my dad's apartment, found them and gave them to me. I cherish them and the years I spent with this very special dog. 

1 comment:

St George BT said...

Hey, is that Freeman with a wig on?????