THE ADVENTURE started almost four years ago in 2000 when we imported our first American bred Maltese Angels Vision for Khanthav grandson of the famous Marcris Risque Business from our good friend Bonnie Palmer in Palm Beach, Florida, USA. Having shown Maltese successfully for about fifteen years, we decided it was time to introduce some new blood into our kennel and what an adventure it turned out to be!
Firstly we had to arrange for quarantine, as the Pet Travel Scheme did not then exist between the U.S.A. and the U.K. After a lot of phone calls to various official bodies, visits to our only quarantine kennel in Northern Ireland, arranging flights from Florida to Heathrow and Northern Ireland and many others besides, Vision duly arrived in March 2000 at the grand age of 10 months. We were so delighted with the quality and soundness of our new boy that we immediately set about securing a son of Marcris Risque Business, the famous sire of over 100 American champion Maltese and holder of many prestigious titles such as Am. PR. FCI Intl Ch. & ROM. He duly arrived the following month in April 2000 at the tender age of five months. We were just as delighted with Angels Sparkle at Khanthav as we were Vision.
The following six months was a complete re-arrangement of life, as we knew it! With daily visits to the quarantine kennel 40 miles from home, reorganising of our daily work schedules with employers to facilitate grooming and socialising of our new boys. All of this was only made possible by the kind co-operation and understanding of Eileen and Wesley Petrie owners of Breeny Boarding and Quarantine kennels.
On the release of our boys from quarantine, we started to show Vision but after only four shows, having won Toy Groups and BIS, the Foot & Mouth epidemic hit the U.K. ending all dog shows for a considerable time! With the all-clear announced, we resumed showing with Vision and just as he left off, he won more Toy Groups. By now Sparkle had made his debut and was nipping at the heels of Vision by also winning Toy Groups and BIS himself.
CRUFTS 2002 was upon us before we knew it and Vision took C.C. and B.O.B. under Maltese specialist Chris Turner (Quantos Maltese). It was a fantastic feeling watching Vision on TV being short-listed in the Toy group by Mr Albert Wight, himself a BIS judge.
Both Vision and Sparkle continued their winning ways throughout that year and beyond, up until Crufts 2003, where Sparkle took command of the ring and won C.C. and B.O.B. under Maltese specialist judge Richard Haynes. We were absolutely astounded to have taken B.O.B. for a second year at Crufts with a different dog - one also solely owned, groomed and handled by ourselves. The interest in our Marcris Risque Business boys had now reached fever pitch! What next? Could we possibly purchase some girls from America? So a new chapter began
Along came two girls, Giggles and Secret with another young boy, Rumour and so it all started over again with another six months quarantine prior to Crufts 2003. Just our luck!
The Pet Travel Scheme was put in place between U.S.A. and U.K. only one month after we get our new kids out of quarantine.
Not to miss any opportunity, we started right away to obtain four Pet Passports to enable us to travel to U.S.A. and show Sparkle, Vision, Secret and Rumour ourselves we just didnt want to miss a chance like that. Meanwhile, all four were being shown with success, Sparkle continuing his winning ways at S.K.C. by taking dog C.C. under another breed specialist Gail Yanez and further groups including a tough toy group at Belfast all breed Ch. Show under the renowned judge Dr. Bogia Black. Not only that, he won a further strong toy group under respected judge Liz Cartledge. What a year this was!
October rolled around -the time had finally come, so it was off to America with our three boys and girl firmly holding onto their shiny new Pet Passports for their return. We arrived in Florida at Miami airport and, after clearing customs, we took all our dogs and headed for Palm Beach where we stayed for a few days to aclimatise, before setting off and spending the rest of that month showing at as many shows as we could.
The epic journey began in earnest as we travelled as far north as New York, staying in dog friendly hotels and exhibiting in many States on the way up country, before turning round and doing the same on the way back down to Palm Beach. With the All Breed Championship Shows mostly back to back, there was very little time for sight seeing with us handling, grooming and travelling.
"What an experience" driving over 5000 miles, stopping in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington DC, New Jersey, and Virginia and also many, many counties. It was totally exhausting but enjoyable for us and the dogs, who really loved the whole adventure including the shows.
Before we knew it, the whole 31 days of October 2003 had flown by and it was now time to return home to Northern Ireland triumphantly with Sparkle, Vision and Secret having gained their American Champion titles.
This it was that the very first Marcris Risque Business son, grandson and granddaughter to be imported from U.S.A. into Great Britain, complete six months quarantine here, gain several major show titles, obtain pet passports to return to their birthplace in the USA where they gained their American Champion titles, returned to Northern Ireland without having to go into quarantine for a further six months.
Never in our wildest dreams did we think when we imported our Maltese that we would be returning with them to USA to handle ourselves at all breed Championship Shows to obtain their American Champion titles. That really is a case of full circle!