In her elder years, when Juliette de Baïracli Levy made arrangements to stay with her daughter Luz Lancha de Baïracli Levy in Switzerland, she needed to find a home for her 18-month old Turkuman sighthound, Nuh Belae Turkuman Hennah. She chose a kennel in Switzerland called Daruma’s, owned by sisters Heidi and Iren Roher.
In February 1996, Heidi says, “We received a peculiar phone call. A gentleman explained that Juliette de Baïracli Levy had chosen us to receive and keep her last Turkuman bitch. She wished to visit us immediately.”
Heidi and Iren invited Juliette and her family for tea. The weather was nasty—rain and snow as Heidi recalled—nevertheless, their four Afghans (a bitch named Binah and three males) sensed some excitement on the day of the visit. Juliette’s hound was black and tan: small, skinny, full dentition but sort of shaggy, according to Heidi. When Juliette dropped the dog’s belongings, the hound, called “Puppy,” sat on her towel, serenely awaiting her fate.
Despite the inclement weather, the dogs were let into the garden, where Binah took charge, gently showing Puppy around. The three boys took a close look, and seemed pleased with the newcomer, Heidi said. There was no doubt that Puppy would stay at Daruma’s, though she needed a proper name. In honor of Juliette, she was renamed “Julie.”
When Heidi and Iren asked for Julie’s vaccination passport, they received a lecture from Juliette on the evils of vaccinations. Juliette also shared her Natural Rearing feeding plan. However, as a member of her new family, Julie would need to follow the Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) and Swiss Kennel Club rules, as well as eat the same food as the other dogs, Heidi explained. Juliette was clearly unconvinced, but relented somewhat.
Julie quickly earned the respect of her new friends with one single dramatic act: “She bit off half the tail of a neighbor’s cat that regularly jumped into our garden, endlessly teasing the dogs,” Heidi related. “The astonished eyes of our Afghans over that tail are unforgettable; it was like shooting a goal after years of trying.”
After some challenges, Julie was registered at the Swiss Kennel Club by special presentation to before a judge. In April 1997 she received her racing license. “She was fast,” Heidi said, “37.46 seconds on 450 meters. Average Afghan time is from 39 to 43 seconds, except for the especially fast bred.” Julie twice won the Gold Rush, a difficult race on the frozen lake of St. Moritz. She was courageous, fast, and much admired and envied, according to her new owners.
Julie’s easy-going and unusual upbringing—traveling and running free with Juliette much of her life—led to some breeding license issues, which were also overcome. In accordance with Juliette’s wishes, Julie was bred to keep the Turkuman line going. The sisters chose Daruma’s A’Motec-Zuma, a seven-time champion and also a St. Moritz-winner. In June 2002, Julie became a mother of four boys and one girl, all gold with prominent jet black masks. Julie’s heritage continues through two of her sons, one of which was bred into the Ghazni Kennel in the United States.
In the spring of 2005, Julie won the Senior Best-of-Breed and later the Senior Best-in-Show in Swiss national competitions. Sadly, four months later, she fell ill with spinal cell sarcoma. Julie was treated daily with various holistic methods and medications, but on December 14, 2005, she fell into coma and died.
Although taking on the free spirit of Nuh Belae Turkuman Hennah, “Julie Turkuman,” may have been seen by some as a questionable undertaking, Heidi and Iren have only kudos for Julie and her line. “Thank you, Juliette de Baïracli Levy, for lovely Julie! And your life-wish is fulfilled: Julie and the Turkumans live on!”
Adapted from an article written by Heidi Rohrer of Daruma’s Afghans, Switzerland. Revised with permission. For information about Juliette’s Turkuman line, visit www.darumas.com or send an e-mail.