Jabba has had a checkered life. He was an irresistible puppy from the same dam as Sandra's Giant bitch, Kontessa ­- only he had lots of hair, whereas Tessa didn't (she was a hard-coated Schnauzer). He was born in August, 1989 and became a member of the Davis household at 7 weeks of age.

Sandra started his dog obedience training right away and he was a very tractable and eager learner, as long as food was in the offing. His breeder wanted him shown in conformation, so he was put in some local shows while training for obedience. He picked up two majors (6 points), but would not continue in the conformation ring since he was never going to be bred and was badly in need of some adjustments (neutering) to help him keep his attention on his obedience work.

Jabba's obedience competition career started in May 1991 with a High in Trial (HIT) his first time out in Novice B. He earned his CD CDX and UD in nine months and it took him the next three and a half years to get his Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH).

Showing Jabba was either an exciting or embarrassing experience.  In reading notations from his record book: at one trial in just the utility class, he sniffed the mat during the signal exercise, clenched a scent article that had to be pried out of his mouth, walked in with the second article, dropped, picked up, and wouldn't let go of the glove, scratched his chin on the stand and ticked the high jump on directed jumping. He was pointed out. Yet he could earn 197s and 198s on occasion. He almost always went down on the long sit in Open, so when he got that first place out of the way, with a 199 and HIT we might add, he was shown mainly in utility where the rest of his OTCH points came from--eventually.

As a dog that didn't work for free, he learned early that obedience rings were doggie sweatshops, offering only meager pay--praise.

Musical Freestyle was much more interesting to Jabba because there was always a treat or ball at least within smelling distance. Since he was never going to be in a canine freestyle competition, he would never suffer withdrawal pains.

He was the perfect candidate to use in Sandra's instructional videos. He was big and visible; he was slow enough so that each stage of training could be demonstrated; and he was in the training stages himself and could be portrayed as more like the average dog than Pepper could. Even though he was 8 years old, he rose to the occasion..

Jabba had one real moment of glory in freestyle when he performed his New York, New York routine for a sympathetic audience made up Giant Schnauzer fanciers. It was back in August 1996 at the Giant Schnauzer Club of America's National Specialty show in San Antonio. The dressy evening affair that featured judging of the top 10 Giants of the year, as well as the top 5 obedience Giants, was held at the Hilton Riverwalk ballroom. Following the competition, Jabba, who had been invited as one of the top 5 obedience dogs of the year, danced amid screams and applause in a setting that he had never encountered before, and did a great job.

Afterwards one lady said, "That was wonderful! That was a religious experience!" It certainly was -- prayers HAD been answered!

At the banquet the following evening, Jabba was presented with the trophy for winning the Top 5 obedience competition. What a weekend! What a retirement party for Jabba!

On December 26, 1999 at the age of 10, Jabba was euthanized due to a cancerous tumor in his nasal passage.  When breathing became too difficult it was time to let him go.  His clownish personality and devotion to Sandra will never be replaced.


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