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I would like to thank Ray Cataldi of DANELINKS.COM for asking me to share some insight about who I am, and the BOB win at the 2004 Great Dane Club of America National Specialty. I also would like to thank all the hands that made this National a very welcoming place to exhibit. The hard work and dedication by everyone to produce a successful, and memorable show, I personally appreciated.
D.P.

DANELINKS.COM                          12/01/04 


"I have brought you to this ring, now you must dance."
-Robert the Bruce-

LIVE YOUR DREAMS

By DAN PALANTINO

Now, some of you have known me for a while and some were left wondering “Who is the handler Dan Palantino?” 
I was born in the late fall of 1981 to a family who had an enthusiasm in dogs which predated my birth.  I was raised with two very separate breeds, the Chow-Chow and Field Spaniel.  In 1990 we acquired a very great Field Spaniel which began my personal journey and path in dogs. 
With this dog, I learned to handle.  I spent my early childhood engrossed in breed books, standards, and pedigrees.  I had a fire inside burning for knowledge of not just one breed, but all breeds.  This eagerness to learn everyday has never fallen by the wayside and continues this very day.  The more knowledge I can consume about all breeds enables me to work my own craft within my breed, and importantly my handling.  Learning what has made others successful has given me insight on what my own goals should be.


My affair with the Great Dane started at about the age of ten.  I would have never suspected that a dream that started thirteen years ago would have been brought to life so quickly.  My own love for this breed started with a fascination with Lina Basquette and the Honey Hollow Great Danes.  I watched her judge only once before her death, but her energy inspired me to become a force in my own right.  In those early years, I studied everything both old and new which included the breeders, the pedigrees, and of course, the dogs.  If it was something of value, I would study for my own advancement.  I have always been interested in the Great Dane standard, seeing it as being one of the best written of any breed.  My theory is if you can adhere to a standard and know the past, you can hopefully predict the future.  Well, I too have set a standard of my own.  My standard as a handler has been to be a quality sportsman with skill, personal style, charisma, and intensity. The most important part of my standard is to have a passion for the dog I show. The final area which plays a roll in any competitive sport is to never let mean-spirited people stand in your way.  If for some reason one part of these intentions are missing then I may as well not show, for winning would have no meaning.  With this in mind, combined with my competitiveness, positive karma, and optimism…I knew one day my aspirations to be successful in Great Danes would prevail.

I met Joe and Yvette Kornfield through a mutual friend and mentor, Leanne Landis of Nightwatch Great Danes.  Leanne taught me if you are willing, and never stop trying, you will succeed.  I owe much of my current success to her for seeing my abilities.  I became a member of the Great Dane Club of Pennsylvania, and currently hold a board position.  Because the Kornfields are also members of the GDCPA, I was well aware they owned “Kevlar.”  I was showing a few class dogs/bitches around the time “Kevlar” was ranked number one breed and group and was familiar with his success. 

The Great Dane we know as BIS, BISS Ch. Keystone's To Protect & Serve, “Kevlar” had an amazing record, one that so few get to experience.  His career was kicked off by Sue Capone, and he was piloted to number one by Mari Somershoe.  These two people worked tirelessly, and are truly a part of “The Kevlar Legacy.” 

In early 2004, I was selected to handle “Twaron,” a Kevlar son,  who was the Kornfield's newest edition.  I worked harder than I have ever worked to bring out the best in this new prospect.  When I began with “Twaron” we were like two ships passing in the night, and he knew how to create a challenge.  I knew if I could work my way into his mind, with a bit of strategy, he would finish easily.  Within a few months we had connected, and he became a machine in the ring.  It is amazing no matter what breed of dog I show they become one with me, only because it is not a job.  I truly love the dogs.  We decided to start showing “Kevlar” in March.  The first time I took the lead we won both the breed and the group.  This was a first for me with a Great Dane.
 
From that time when I began showing both dogs until October, it was a positive experience.  Basically I would not have it any other way.  As you get to know me, you'll see I don't fall easily, and I never give up. You'll see why win or lose my outlook remains positive.  Sometimes new people get taken in by the ill fated levels or evils of the sport. This has never appealed to me.  I believe showing dogs should be a sport of integrity and class.  So with all of this in mind, we entered the National.  I did not have the most settled feelings at first, but as I boarded my flight to Dallas I had no choice but to make sense of why I was attending.  The night before the show was a sleepless one.  I think anticipation got the best of me.  

October 23, 2004 was a day in my life that I will always cherish.  I have never felt more respected as a person than I did that day.  I competed all of my life in sports, playing four years on an “A” list lacrosse team, where I maintained a starting position from freshman year.  All the time I competed in sports, which includes the sport of dogs, I have never experienced such an incredible win, as winning the Great Dane Club of America National Specialty.  The remarks and congratulations were overwhelming, but importantly, most people acknowledged this as a deserving win.  A win is never truly a win unless it is deserved.  At this point I have to thank another legend, our Judge Ed Lyons.  He is a man of truth, character, and most importantly a man of fairness.  His judging throughout the very long day was done with knowledge of the breed, feeling and years of dedication to the sport.  I will always be thankful to him for this win. 

I turn twenty-three in only a few weeks. My hope is to be of importance to the future of this breed.  I come away from such a win making sure I continue to outdo nobody else but myself.  My future plan is to always remember theory and to strive for excellence.  My intent will always be to help those who need my assistance, no matter how young or old the person may be, or how little time I may have to lend.  I at last will always listen more then I speak…because we learn more in silence's truest form.
 
Live your Dreams,
Dan Palantino