is Jack Sterling..???
Here you can see the many faces of JACK STERLING over the past 6 decades.. From being a popular kid in a small Minnesota town to those unforgettable military days in the 1960's. Then came the music and all those great rock n roll days in Southern Germany and London as a roadie for big name bands. Then came my handmade silver jewelry days as a street artist in London and then in 1995 on the streets of San Francisco. Then came all that mass production, the gift business, the pet supply business, the dog shows, the dogs....all those wonderful pets over the years and also a life of travel throughout the world. So, to find out who I am, please read my on going saga in the "STERLING STORY"...
From BALD to BALD in just 60 short years... it has happened so fast...
The Jack Sterling Story...
Most people who sell you a puppy or a dog will NEVER tell you who they really are or what they have done to get to that point in time with that puppy they are trying to sell you... It's like they are trying to hide something or just do you wanna buy or not??
I truly believe I wanted to hear the story about who that person was who sold me my dogs.. That was the case when I bought my German Shepherds in Germany in 1966, my Pharaoh Hounds in London in 1969, my Chinese Shar Pei in San Francisco in 1985 and also these awesome BLUE THAI DOGS in Krueng Tep (Bangkok) Thailand in March 1994...
But lets back up a bit to the beginning of the 1990's in san Francisco, CA..
It all began quite by accident in 1990. I received a phone call from a young man in Florence, Italy. He wanted to purchase the "best Chinese Shar-Pei puppy" I had at that time for his mother. I had been breeding the Chinese Shar-Pei since 1984. [I was into Pharaoh Hounds before that. I got my first Pharaoh Hound in 1969.] Since I had a buyer in Europe, I made a few calls to other CSP breeders to find out who was who in Europe and if any one wanted any of my stock. I found the President of the CSP club of Germany was interested in my bloodlines. I had only 6 pups to sell and they were all Top Quality. Now my trip to Europe was truly in order.
I sold 3 pups in Germany the first week. Then I knew the Italians were waiting for me. Once I got to Florence and met the families who wanted my pups, I knew I had them all sold. While I was there I fell in love with my translator Marta. Within 2 years we were married and living back in San Francisco, CA.
Jack Sterling and Marta Martini in 1990-1993... I will love you forever...
This was the best 2-3 years of my life. I was finally very happy for a change and felt like I had a new future. We both traveled back to live in Italy for a honeymoon while which was the time of my life. driving in Italy was almost like driving in Thailand. Everyone drove like maniacs and had little regard for the other driver. Rome was the craziest of all. Back on that mountain of love we both had a great time and we both will never forget it. We rents a car that cost us over $1300 for just a few days... that was nuts I though back in 1992.. But Italy was fast becoming more expensive than America. We drove to visit with the Chinese SharPei I had sold to Peter and Isolda in Germany. That was exciting to drive to German autobahn... lucky for me I traded in the tiny bug of a car for a bigger and more powerful car to make the long drive throughout Southern Germany... I drove to where I once was a young soldier 25 years before and bred my GSD's... nothing was the same... all was gone.. only a big open field where once was 100's of HAWK missiles during the Cold War with the Soviets in 1966-1968. Once we had enough of sightseeing we both decided we both wanted to go back to America and do some sightseeing. We left Germany and went back to see mama and papa Martini and all the family and tell them it was time to go home.. After all the sad good byes we invited them to come back to San Francisco for them to visit us. So, now we were off again to America leaving the old world and the old cultures behind. It felt great landing in SFO and looked forward to a new and great life in California... Life goes on...
But all good stories seem to find some darker times and in time they all do come to a end. Due to respect to my beautiful 2nd wife... I realized it was not working and I was not giving her what she needed. I have too many dogs and need to get a new business as my old business had failed. Money is the root of all evil and evil was slowly creeping into my marriage.
Unfortunately, it didn't last and I found myself in Hawaii trying to mend this broken heart I had created in San Francisco. That's when a guy from Texas named Eric Coggins wanted to purchase my most prized vehicle: a 1931 Model A Ford Town Sedan. So, I left my beloved city of San Francisco for Honolulu
He wanted it for taxi business in Honolulu. He lived on Oahu with his Japanese girl friend and they were trying to get the money together to start his new taxi service using old American cars...He told me he had the money to buy the old 1931 Model A FORD while I was still in San Francisco. So, I decided to fly out to the Hawaiian Island once again as I have done so many times before and visit him as well as go see my old buddy Danny who was big in jewelry there. Once I got to Honolulu I realize this guy Eric had no money and was trying to borrow it from me... Eric had come to me in San Francisco and drove my FORD and fell in love with it as I did. So he would call me all the time asking how "his" car was.. I was almost sure he wanted it. So, while I was waiting on Eric to get the money, my old friend, Daniel Foxman, (Foxy) from New York, who I knew from the jewelry business in the 70's, invited me to dinner at his home with his new THAI family. He found out about my failed marriage and told me to go to Thailand and find my future. Within 2-3 days I found myself on an airplane heading to Bangkok. The rest is to become TRD HISTORY....
It took 24 hours to get there and once I got there I didn't know what to do. I went down to retrieve my luggage and the I just sat wondering, Now what? A fellow traveler saw me sitting with some Thai people and asked me directions, thinking that I must know Bangkok. I laughed and told him I was very lost and didn't have a clue on what to do or where to go. He suggested we share a taxi and go to a hotel that was on his list of "cheap hotels." I agreed and we were on our way. This hotel named the Rose Hotel would soon change my life forever.
We checked into the hotel a little after midnight. We decided to stay only one night an then go to another hotel I was told to go to. After taking a shower I laid down and fell fast asleep. I dreamt I heard dogs barking, playing, or fighting outside my hotel room. This brought back the thoughts of my dogs back home in S.F., CA. I also drifted back to 1966 when I first heard of the Vietnamese Phu Quoc dogs while I was in the ARMY. Then to 1988 in Oakland , CA where I met the guy who was responsible for introducing the Chinese Shar-Pei to the Neman Marcus Catalog. He told me of a silver-blue dog from Thailand being used in the creation of this first blue Chinese Shar-Pei.
The next morning I got up to the noises of a very busy city. I was anxious to go out to investigate the "noisemakers" of the night before. I searched the area for these creatures. As I was about to check out and go to the next hotel I heard them again. I walked to the back out the hotel to find a large patio area. There they were. Oh, my lord, what were they? They were unbelievable! So beautiful! They were AWESOME! So sleek and fast as they moved about the compound. As I approached them , two barked with great vigor while the other two came close enough for a sniff or two. My first question was the same question that everyone still asks me to this day: "WHAT KIND OF DOG IS THAT?" I was told it was "a sisawad mah thai lung ahn," a silver-blue dog Thai back ridge--also known as A BLUE THAI RIDGEBACK DOG.
Before I go on with this story about the dogs of Thailand, I would like to re-start at the beginning of my "Sterling Story". When I was just a young boy growing up in St. Paul, MN in the Early 1950's, my father was breeding dogs as did his father and his grandfather did in England in the last Century. Over 150 years of dog breeding can be traced in our family. My father bred Mexican Chihuahuas in the 1940's and 1950's. When I was five he purchased his "pride and joy," "Nitas" in 1952. He finally successfully bred Nita in 1954 and had two pups.
During my childhood I always wanted a larger dog. This didn't happen until I was eighteen and serving my country in the US Army in Europe. I got my first German Shepherd pup when I was assigned to a Hawk missile base in Southern Germany in 1965. Buddy became the mascot of our missile site.
While stationed in Southern Germany, quite a few "Vietnam" soldiers were sent to our unit after their tours in Southeast Asia. One such soldier told me of the Vietnamese dogs he had seen while stationed in the Southern part of Vietnam. He spoke of a "ridged-back" dog called a Phu Quoc dog. He said they were dingo-like and very aggressive. This was my first knowledge of a "ridgedback" dog in Asia.
When my tour of duty was over, I decided not to re-enlist and just go home to Minnesota. I gave my dogs to the "unit" I was calling home for two years. They had no problem in keeping them. Now, back to civilian life after 36 months of soldiering. America was going through lots of changes in the Spring of 1968. My father had decided to change breeds and had gotten into another small breed.
After, four months back in the states I had to go back to Europe. I decided to "hitchhike" across Europe. It was a BLAST! Back then it was easy because people trusted people.
I eventually went back to Southern California to finish my Junior College, but after one year I returned to London. There I worked as a "roadie" for several rock bands--"JHE," "The Who" and the "JUST US." This was real fun for a boy from Minnesota. Soon, I fell in love with a beautiful English girl Judy Jackson and a very ancient breed of dog called "The Pharaoh Hound." Robert was Judy's youngest brother. Thus the idea of Jackson-Sterling was born. He taught me how to make jewelry. I continued in jewelry making and showing my Pharaoh Hounds until December 1993, when I decided to bring my hounds back to America. I had a litter of puppies just before I was to leave London. I waited until they were old enough to ship them.
My band "JUST US" 1968 tour of Europe
My BIG bosses in 1968-1969 and me at the "WHO" studio 1969
Back in London, just before I left to venture into new uncharted for me waters, I had the good fortune to be in the "right place at the right time!"I was at the goldsmith hall in Gutter Lane in Southeast London and I had the good fortune to hear her royal Highness was in the same building look at some jewelry that was made for her...I ran very quickly with my two Pharaoh Hounds "RA & TYI" to try to see her and was luck to have met the Queen Elizabeth with my dogs. It was awesome and I will never forget it....she just said "Oh, what lovely dogs!" and that was it and she was gone in her green Rover...it was so cool...
I met lots of famous people in London because of those two Pharaoh Hounds. Everyone thought they were so different and so beautiful. I thought I would try to start a new life again in California with my hounds. So I made the big trip back to California after almost four years in London. I spent Christmas of 1973 at home in Minnesota with my family and my Pharaoh Hounds.
My Pharaoh Hounds lived from 1969 through 1984. My male died in 1981 and my female passed away in 1984. Their pup "Nile Pharaoh Nila" went on to become an International Champion and the "background" of most Pharaoh Hounds today in America.
But let back up once again...I saw a movie that did this same way of telling a story.. I thought the movie was cool so I guess I am doing the same in telling you this story....
The real beginning was on Feb 12th 1947, at Miller Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. My wonderful and loving mother Inez Mae Wharton-Jackson gave birth to her 3rd and final child..... James Edward Jackson-Sterling...
The temperature was really cold they said outside, but it was very warm indoors that day as I was told. My mother was very careful to do it all the right way this time as it was the first of her three children born in a hospital and not by a midwife in her home.. She was only 28 years old and my dear old dad was 30.. (Both now have been married for over 67 years and currently live in Mesa AZ.) He was 21 and she was 19 when they first got married in 1939.
In a few years, I was able to put a few words together.. but could not speak until I was almost 5 years old.. I was a very quiet kid who was a extreme loner... or later to learn the word maverick... I liked being alone and usually I had one of my dads puppies with me at all times.. My dad loved small dogs and Poms and Chihuahuas were to dominate my early years.
After 18 years of living small town Minnesota, I joined the US ARMY in 1965. Now being a US soldier was a real eye opener back then.. and was very hard for me, but soon I learned to love the army and not hate it as most others did. I found myself with a great job on a Hawk missile base (in So. Germany) in a radio van.. for days I would pull duty and never see other people except my GSD "Candy"who later was bred and gave me BUDDY Boy.. These were learning and training times for my future and I really never realized it..
After 3 years serving my country.. I decided to get out and travel more as I loved to see the world...where would life take me???
Well first it took me back home to Minnesota.. to see my family who had missed me so I discover for the past 2 1/2 years as a GI in Germany. I got a job at the local slaughter house called Swift & Co. killing pigs... gawd that was awful.. seeing all those pigs die daily. In just one week of killing we would slaughter 5000 pigs. That was 100 pigs per hour....5 days a week. soon this work really got to me and I never ate pig meat again...chicken and fish okay but I have never had PIG again...
This "killing pigs"was not what I wanted for a life long job. I then tried working in a hospital as my brothers wife was a nurse and she got me a job in the hospital she worked in in St. Paul. BORING...I was so bored with this job.. I needed something better.. Education is what I was lacking at 21...all I had was 3 years as a soldier in the commo trade.. So, I tried the phone company... do you believe they would not hire me way back then because I wore glasses..
Feeling down and dismayed one of my best High school buddies had just enlisted at 21 to do his time in the army...I told him he was in for a more horror than I can tell him. He needed a ride to California to report of overseas shipment to Vietnam. this was the summer of 1968. We drove my 1958 Chevy Bel Air all across the western states... I dropped him off in Oakland for his deployment and I was off to have fun in LA LA Land... Little did he realize the horrific times he would live through in the Army in Vietnam as a young fighting machine. We met up again, later in the 1980's and we discussed our lives we had lived since that journey from Minnesota to California the summer of 1968.
He went to war and became a killing machine... I went to So Cal and became a music bum.. Working in a men's clothing shop... I soon realized I like sell people stuff and the commissions were great. I also worked in a night club called the POSH in Pomona, CA for the fun of it and the few extras it supported me with. There I lived for the weekends and the music... Hippies were coming into power with all their flowers in their hair.. I loved the big concerts and always help out for free behind stage with any and all bands. Then Jimi Hendrix came to town to play " Monterrey" and Devonshire Downs in Northridge in San Fernando Valley. He was great.. and of course the "WHO" was there as well... playing small crowds as well as large crowds.. I was hooked... selling clothes and tending bar was not enough... I needed more...So a few guys told me about a big concert in New York called WOODSTOCK and then after that that we go to the ISLE of WIGHT on the Devonshire coastline in the UK. Jimi will play both gigs and then I will be apart of the new movie they would make on the two gigs.. They need people to help do the grunt work...These two concerts changed my life for ever back then.
Soon, I was living life as a American Rocker living in London. Then the most horrible thing began to happen.. we lost Jimi... he died tragically in his hotel room in London. Then Jim Morrison died in Paris and Janis Joplin in LA. Later Mama Cass died from eating a ham sandwich... and I did say to my friends .. I am glad I do not eat pig.... Music was changing the Beatles had just broke up and we watched it all from the street below on Saville Row... What the hell was happening?? I lost my best friends in a senseless war in southeast Asia and now my music idols... What will I do about my own live at 22... ???
Well as you already read previously... I just am a guy who lived life as a young man. as so many other young men of the day... in music and some times drugs...
Drugs was fast becoming the past time of everyone... pot, hash, coke, acid were the drugs of choice back them.. The summer of love was over and now the evil people seem to move in...I saw the writing on the wall.. I have to escape this life of sex, drugs and Rock'n'Roll... I needed something better.... DOGS!!!
My life took a twist again with DOGS.. I have discovered the Pharaoh Hounds in London working for Miss Judith Iffy DVM at 55 Elizabeth St in Belgravia SW2. She taught me a lot about dogs and cats and all I did was be one of her servants/slaves in her vet clinic. She had come from a very rich family in eastern Europe and was one of the youngest vets in London back in 1960's... I found my Pharaoh Hound "RA" locked up in a caged room on here top floor at her vet practice. It was horrible to see him like that.. so I would take him out for walks and soon I realized the owner was not coming back for him... So I nick'ed him...yes.. I felt I was doing everyone a big favor... but I know my job was over with the vet as she would be rather bent out of shape if I stole her clients dogs... months later I went back to see her to see if we were cool and she said we were cool as I put it. She only wondered why did I not report back to work?? Some rich people wee bit crazy.. and she was more than a wee bit touched as in 1984 I came back to London after my two Pharaoh Hounds had died from old age and found she was also very dead. A single shot 9mm bullet to the temple... took her out...everyone was shocked...when telling me her story's end, but I wasn't... When it is your time.. it is your time... and she was tired of it...so bye bye... But she was always nice to me and I learned a lot from her about dogs and the treatments.
Well, we go back to the time, 1974 in London.. I was getting to weird with the rock 'n roll drug scene and I needed to find a new life. So, I headed back to America the winter of 1974 to visit my family once again after 6 years on the road. Once, I got back to freezing cold Minnesota that winter of '74.... I knew had to get back to So-Cal and try that great California Sun again.
I found it very hard in trying my hand at working a straight job.. and doing what I did in London was totally out of the question.... so, I thought I would try that "small town" up north that "city by the bay" on the "Dock of the Bay" The land of "Flower Power"... Home of the "Jefferson Airplane," "Santana," "Journey," so many timeless music groups...."San Francisco"...
Little did I realize this was to be my new home for the next 19 years...
San Francisco...what a great time to be alive and live there 1974-1993....
SAN FRANCISCO 1975
Well, I finally arrived in the "city by the bay" in January 1995. My old army buddy from LA helped me drive up with my 3 Pharaoh hounds and all my stuff in a rented trailer from U-Haul in the back of his 1965 VW bug.. It was quite comical thinking back now what I had to start over with.. I have started over so many times and so many more times in the future as well.
I rent a 2 bedroom apartment near the Fairmont hotel for only $150 a month. Today something similar to that space in the same area would cost over10- 20 times that. Back in 1975, San Francisco was still a inexpensive place to live and apartments were available... but not with 3 dogs.. But the lady renting it was from London and was actually on the same plane coming over when I was coming back.. I was just in luck.. and my luck with the dogs continued for years to come. I found myself wandering around Fisherman's Wharf and the end of Market St. looking at all the street vendors and how they were able to sell on the streets at they did in London..
Since I had learned the jewelry trade in London and had a small business of selling handmade sterling-silver jewelry on the Portabello Rd., at the edge of Green Park and Hyde Parks.. I thought I could apply the same talent in selling my designs on the streets of San Francisco. Soon the law came crashing down on all street vendors.. Telling them they needed to stop trying to make a living in such a fashion... then a few of us banded together and formed a group and fought for "Prop. J" to be put on the ballot... soon with lots of loyal supporters we were able to get it passed and thus the start of legal street vendors.. I was the 8th person and my new girl friend Teresita De la Rosa was the 13th person in line that day they were handing out street vendor licences.
Together we grow a business from street vending for retail to mass produced hand made jewelry at shows and eventually selling wholesale to stores. I created a line of small post earring which I called "studs" which eventually became everyone staple in small ear posts. I started out hand cutting small stars and crescent shapes.. and called it "Stars & Moons" made by Cosmic Jewelry. I made millions of them for pennies and sold them at $2.50 each. I went to Rhode Island and found a fusion welding machine and soon had 6 machines pumping out millions of studs.. to supply all those millions of ear lobes of both men and women getting pierced daily... I moved my jewelry plant to San Rafael and did a reverse commute from the "city" to "Marin" daily... I worked it to death day in and day out.. affording me trips all over the globe.. I did trade shows and was able to actually take a holiday back to London 10 years after I left it.
I was always looking for something new to make me more money and I found it in NYC at a trade show.. I came up with a idea of a bumper sticker which read..
I LOVE (with a BIG red heart) NY... then I did the same for SF, LA, and in time over 2500 different ideas. I did dogs and cats, rock stars names, cities, states, you name it I had a bumper sticker for it.. I did over 20 million stickers in 5 years. by 1985 I has run this idea to death... I then was tired of so many people to manage and had thought of investing in a new idea the personal computer.
This is were failed to jump in time and lost my entire fortune in the stock market. I was soon penniless.. and looking at eviction from my rented Victorian, so, I had to take in boarders and soon was working my dream out of my basement. By 1988 I was in the pet supply business and was selling small line of pet supplies. Then i got the call from Dennis markel in Texas who gave me a chance of survival. He called me and asked me yo help sell his new brand of cat litter called EVERCLEAN scoopable cat litter... SCOOPABLE? what the hell was he on about??
Well, I did what he said and soon with lots of hard work and tons of weight-lifting cat litter from big trucks that would drop off pallet after pallet for 2 years.. was selling his cat litter all over the SF Bay area.. tons and tons of the clay cat litter.. His partner Anan was into selling to the mass market and make millions over nite.. He asked me what he should call his supermarket brand.. I told him it was simple.. all people did was "scoop it up" and "threw it away"... simple call it "SCOOPAWAY" and he like the idea... in 2 years they sold out for $55 million cash.. and they were gone... The rest of us were out of jobs within a month. So, back to the drawing pad.. 4 year later it was sold again for over 3 billion USD..
During this time I was always showing and breeding my new breed of dog call the Chinese Shar-Pei. I was winning at all the shows and scores of people wanted my puppies offspring. But this breed came with many health problems.. I really wanted to help breed a better quality dog.
In 1988, at a CSP speciality I saw a crossed CSP and dog from Thailand called the Mah Lung Ahn... or simply a Thai Dog.. When the guy told me what was used to breed his dog.. I was so interested and want to know more, it was my turn to show my CSP called POTATO and then the guy was gone.. and so was the rest of his story.. The rest of the story was never told and was left in a state of limbo about the BLUE colored dog from Southeast Asia for 6 more years..
Okay here I go at a real attempt to tell you all about my first real meeting of a BLUE TRD... I was on a chance trip to Thailand on 1993.. Looking for some answers...
It was called the Rose hotel.. a shabby hotel somewhere in Krueng Tep (Bangkok) .
There I saw them... 4 grey colored dogs that looked like Pharaoh Hounds crossed with Chinese Shar-Pei and maybe some Dobie. They were stunning.. They just took my breath away.. I was in love in Thailand.. but not with a Thai girl or a Thai woman.. as so many men come here to do.. but with the dog breed no one knew about in the western world. What kind of dog is this is all I thought those very few brief moments I saw them running in that hotel courtyard.... they were amazing.. darting in and out and acting like they were going to attack me but would run away as soon as I approached them. I had to find out what they were... There was a guy washing a car and all he could mutter in a language so bizarre to me as if he was speaking Marsian... was
MAH THAI... or translated THAI DOG...
So, thus my new idea of the American THAI DOG began..
Well.. times flies while you are having fun... 19 years has pasted.. yeah.. I did say 19 years.. When I first saw this creature it was in March of 1994. I was just a guy looking for his future of 47 years.. Mid life had begun and doing it alone was about to begin.. After seeing the Mah Lung Ahn as a breeder's kennel or puppy farm as they commonly call them here in Thailand, I knew I had to have one or maybe more... So, I picked out the TRD I wanted and told the breed I would go home to get the "money" which was in a old 1931 Ford that I was trying to sell. I had a buyer so all I was doing was heading back to Hawaii to get the money and then back to the USA to get the old car shipped off to the island of Oahu or the main island.
After all that was done I took a huge leap of faith in some Thais I think back now that I would have never trusted if it was today. I got the 3 dogs in April of 1994 and within a week I was in Washington DC at the ARBA Cherry Blossom Dog Show on April 30 - May 1st of 1994. When I got to the show grounds I was approach by so many people asking the question that everyone have asked since day one... "WHAT KIND OF DOG IS THAT?"
The two dogs I has shown at that show became part of THAI DOG history.. They were the first. I had become the very first man to bring this breed of dog to be seen at one of the rarest events in America. They were certainly the "hit" of that show.. And as I continued to show them I realized we need a lot more stock to compete with than those two. Lucky for me my mom and dad raised no dummie.. I bought one male called SAKORN a 8 month old male and two females, BENT at about 5 years of age and NUM NGERN a 4 month old puppy. It was such a gas to just walk them..