A bit more than 20 years ago I went to my first dog show. Back then I didn't have a dog of my own, but really wanted one. I'd enjoyed watching the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on TV for years, but I never went to see one until that March in Columbia, MO. The dog that caught my eye was this Afghan Hound:
His name was Ch. Casbar Turbo-Charge. His call name was Turbo. I had never seen a dog as splendid as he was. The next weekend, there was a dog show in Kansas City, MO and I decided to go watch that dog show; in part because I wanted to see this dog again. I worked up my nerve to go meet the people behind this dog. At first I thought that the man didn't understand a lick of English because as I was complimenting him on his dog, he was motioning for his wife, Carol, to talk to me. I thought that he needed her to translate for him. Actually, if Le Hedstrom had known I thought that, he would have played it up because he was quite the joker.
Over the years, I became kind of a groupie of the Hedstroms and their dogs. I went to see them almost every year at the Columbia dog show, but I also would sometimes go to Kansas City, and St. Louis. I would get to hold their brushes and conditioning spray. And I also became friends with Le & Carol. I've never met people who were nicer and friendlier than the Hedstroms. They have influenced me in ways that I'm only now realizing.
I would have gotten a dog of my own even if I hadn't gotten to know the Hedstroms, but I don't know if I would have gotten my first Siberian Husky (Misha Meepenstein) had I not seen them at all the dogs shows I went to. I can say with absolute certainty that I would not have gotten my Turbo had I not become friends with the Hedstroms because I wouldn't have been at the dog show in March 2003 where I saw my Tubey's sire, Jessie, and met his person. Jeanne told me that she had bred Jessie and had some pups that were available. I decided to get one and to name him after Le & Carol's Turbo.
If I hadn't gotten my Turbo, then there wouldn't be this blog, and maybe none of my other blogs. And I wouldn't have gotten to know any other dog bloggers and their people over the past 10 years.
Sadly, Le Hedstrom passed away this past Wednesday. As I've read the many tributes his friends have posted to Carol on Facebook and on Legacy, I am struck by the great amount of love he and Carol have shown to people and they back to him and Carol. I think the best tribute any of us can give to Le and also to Carol is to be a great friend to others as they have been to us.