Thursday, July 24, 2008

Reflections and a Tribute

I lost my older sister yesterday. She was 58 years old. She'd battled brain cancer for years. For a while, she'd been winning. Yesterday, she didn't.

Yesterday, I received a call from the hospital near the nursing home she'd been living in for the past 2 years. She'd been in the hospital since Sunday night. I had no idea she was in such bad condition, or I would have made the 4-hour drive sooner. I'd been told she had a urinary infection. What she really had were massive blood clots in her heart and lungs. No one at the hospital told me that until it was too late.

My husband and I rushed up there right after the doctor called. He didn't hold out much hope that we'd make it. We didn't. We were 1/3 of the way there when the doctor called us to let us know that she'd suffered a fatal heart attack.

My sister was 9 years older than me, never married, never had children. For the majority of her life, she'd raised Rottweilers and was the founder of Ebonstern Kennels. She loved those dogs more than anything else in her life and dedicated her entire life to them. Ebonstern had a reputation of raising high quality dogs. My sister was very picky about who bought one of her dogs. I used to say that it was easier to adopt a child than to pass her stringent "vetting" of prospective parents for her beloved puppies. She was a responsible dog breeder and had an extensive contract she required that new owners sign. Only show quality dogs could be bred if they were AKC champions. Her pet quality dogs were to be fixed.

One of her "babies" still lives with us. He is partially blind and deaf but seems happy and healthy for a 16-year-old Rottweiler.

So what does this have to do with horses? Nothing on the surface, but my sister instilled in me a love of horses and animals from the day I was born. That is her legacy. That, and her beloved Ebonstern rottweilers.

May she finally rest in peace and live happily in heaven with her canine children once again.


Mrs. Mom said...

I am so sorry for your loss Jami. May her legacy live on in her dogs, and in YOU.

Anonymous said...

Jami and family,
I met Cheryl over 20 years ago when I first got into Rottweilers. She was always the ultimate sportswoman, and I never heard her say a bad thing about anybody.

She established herself as one of the TOP breeders in Rottweilers, and Ebonstern will always be talked about with reverance.

Sincere condolences, and remember how much she was liked and admired in her world of dogs.

Laura Rosinski
Roslar Rottweilers

mugwump said...

It is always hard to lose a loved one, whether expected or not. I'm sorry for your loss.

Jami Davenport said...

Mrs. Mom and Mugwump, thanks so much for your kind words. I truly do appreciate it.

Laura, It's a small cyberworld, isn't it? I know that my sister would love your comments on her and her dogs. Thanks so very much.

Anika Hamilton said...

I am sorry for your loss. I am glad you had someone to instill something in you that eventually became your own passion.

My thoughts are with you.

Mary Paine said...


I'm so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family.


Morgan Ashbury said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. I pray that you will find comfort in fond memories, and that the light she kindled in you will be a lasting tribute to her.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss Jami. Your sister sounds like a wonderful person. I'm sure you will miss her deeply, as will all who knew her and her dogs.

Renee Knowles said...

I am so very sorry, Jami. Loss is never easy. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Your love for her is obvious in your words.


Tara S Nichols said...

Oh Jami my heart goes out to you. When I was talking to you earlier about your banner I hadn't read that far in the forum. I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. How unexpected. It sounds as though she was a very generous and kind hearted woman. Feel free to contact me via email if you need someone to talk to.
((HUGS)) Tara

Anonymous said...

I got my first Rottweiler from Cheryl in 1972 and owned 7 of her dogs over a 25 year period. Our long friendship had many ups and downs. Her strong personality and determination to control all aspects of her dogs made it difficult to work with her and ultimately ended our friendship.

While most people knew this side of Cheryl, I want them to know the other side.

Afer I purchased my first companion and Obedience dog (Nada) from Cheryl, she signed Benjie over to me for $1.00.
He and Nada lived for 7 years on a farm where they herded sheep, cattle and the occassional pig.

After my divorce in 1984, I purchased Daemon as my 1st show dog. He had problems that made that impossible. Because the vet bills were so high, Cheryl told me that I would never have to pay for another dog. And I didn't. I owned or co-owned 4 more Rottweilers and never paid for one of them.

One of the those Rottweilers was AM/Can Ch. Ebonstern Karma v Abra. It was through Cheryls mentoring that I was able to handle a very tough bitch through 2 Conformation titles and 2 legs on her CD. Without Cheryl's support I would not have been able to work with such a hard bitch as my 1st conformation Rottweiler. And again, I never paid for her.

I'm going to jump to the last Ebonstern bitch I co-owed with Cheryl. Am/Can Ch. Ebonstern Brava v d Lieb, because many people may still remember her. She was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I was told by someone that she was a once in a lifetime dog. If you are lucky enough to get one, you will never have another.

Not only, did I not pay for her - I didn't even have a contract with Cheryl. I could have done whatever I wanted with Glory, Cheryl having no legal means to stop me. But, she trusted that I would keep my word and I trusted that she would want to do what was best for Glory.

I am so very glad that Cheryl was able to handle Glory to her Am/Can titles and wins that made Glory the #5 Rottwiler bitch in the US.
Glory came from the very last true Ebonstern line bred litter. And it was fitting that Glory be the last Ebonstern Rottweiler Cheryl went into the ring with.

Unfortunately, Cheryl ultimately became dependent on others and lost control of what she most cared about.

When I fall back in time and remember all our disagreements, and lost friendship I look through my scrapbooks. The photos that show the history of the Ebonstern Rottweilers I loved makes me grateful I met her, because without her I would not have had them.

Kristiann Olsen

Jami Davenport said...


I know as well as anyone that Cheryl wasn't easy to deal with and I can understand why you would have had so many disagreements with her. I, too, have been in that boat and was just in the process of moving her closer to us when she died. We'd been estranged for a while, but I did feel she needed to be closer as I didn't feel anyone was watching out for her were she was.

I'm so glad that you got your wonderful dogs to remember her by. We no longer have any Rotts, and probably never will again as our neighbors are deathly afraid of them. But some of the best dogs I've ever had came from her bloodlines.

Thanks for stopping by.