Page 202 - ShowSight, March 2020
P. 202

1. Where do you live? How many years in dogs? What do you do “outside” of dogs? Any other hobbies or interests?
2. Current overall quality of the Group?
3. Most of these breeds were developed for particular (and almost always outdoor) purposes, but now find themselves leading primarily indoor, air-conditioned lives. How do you think Sporting Dogs have adapted to this change?
4. Any particular challenges Sporting Dog breeders face in our current economic/social climate?
5. What makes a Sporting Dog the ideal companion in these 21st-century times?
6. What advice would you give a newcomer to the sport?
7. What’s the largest health concern facing your breed today?
8. Any trends you see that you believe need to continue? Any you’d like to see stopped?
9. To whom do you owe the most? In other words, which mentor helped you the most as you learned the ropes?
10. Biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges?
11. And for a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing experience you’ve ever had at a dog show?
12. And, of course, anything else you’ d like to share would be welcome.
Firewater Labradors is located in the mountain- ous region of Northern Arizona. Our small town is nestled in the beauty, seren- ity and privacy of the Kaibab National Forest.
I was born and raised in Broken Bow, Oklahoma
to a working commercial farming and ranching family. I’ve been involved in some form of animal husbandry my entire life. I will always be grateful for an upbringing that was surrounded by ani- mals. I started learning about the Conformation of animals and showing at six years old, when I showed my first of many Hamp- shire pigs at our local county fair. I made the sale with my pig that year. Awarded Best Junior Showmanship, I was hooked! I also have shown sheep and horses, and have appreciated a beautiful well-bred animal my entire life. Any animal doing its job is a beautiful thing
to me.
Our family was also a big rodeo family. Every weekend we could
get away from the farm, we were at a rodeo where I participated in barrel racing starting at five years old. In my teen years, someone gave us a male black Labrador, Buddy. Well-bred, he was a hand- some boy with the epitome of a Labrador temperament. Buddy was our family dog, and oh did he love us! He excelled in that area and lying on the front porch. I think it’s safe to say—Buddy made an everlasting impression on me.
My husband, Tom, and I share six children and three grand- children together. I had a wonderful 20 year career working as a Registered Nurse, specializing in pediatric critical care for special- needs children, and retired in 2017. Tom is a Veteran and served 25 years in law enforcement before retiring. I am thankful that Tom
also enjoys and supports our amazing dogs and the journey they continue to take us on.
I live in Parks, Arizona and I have seven years in dogs. We have a fantastic large family that keeps us busy. We travel as much as possible—something Tom and I truly enjoy doing together. We enjoy horseback riding and gathering cattle on our ranch. We also raise and breed Highland Cattle. I am an art enthusiast, paint/draw myself. Something I plan to do more of as I slowdown a bit in the years to come.
Overall I would say the quality of the Sporting Group is strong. It is always a super competitive Group.
How I think Sporting Dogs have adapted to the change to pri- marily indoor living? I feel they have adapted very well. Sporting dogs have stable temperaments suitable for a variety of activities beyond hunting and outdoor activities. A very versatile Group!
Economic challenges are always something we must be consci- entious of. To exhibit and breed proper health-tested purebred dogs is not cheap. It requires extensive planning, budgeting and many other sacrifices.
I feel our social climate is great. With the introduction of social media, we are now capable of expanding our gene pool by being introduced to a much broader selection of dogs from all around the world. I feel we have also been given a wealth of information through mentor and educational forums on social media.
What makes a Sporting Dog the ideal companion is even tem- peraments and trainability.
Advice to a newcomer: you must educate yourself extensively. Read every book recommended on your breed, then read more! Comprehend your breed standard. Ensure you understand the anatomy and philology of your breed. Attend seminars, observe and listen! Join your local breed and all-breed clubs. This will help you to get to know people you can learn from. Choose your mentors wisely, not every opinion is correct. I seek the advice of the consis- tently successful breeders, exhibitors and handlers.
The largest health concern for my breed is Tricuspid Value Dysplasia (TVD)—It is suspected that TVD has a complex inheri- tance pattern. However, the mode of inheritance is still unknown. We utilize the Echocardiogram to determine if a dog is clear or affected. Active research is being conducted through the AKC Canine Health Foundation. The research intends to determine the genetic variant that is responsible for TVD. The Labrador Retriever Club and the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac Top Twenty Gala Foundation are supporting this research. Through continued research, genetic insights will be obtained that will enable affected dogs to be recognized earlier and enable breeders to know if they are producing an affected puppy.
The trends that I believe that are excellent for the breed and need to continue: a properly proportioned, well-balanced Labrador. Strong straight tail sets. This is paramount to me, as silhouette is the first thing you see when the dog enters the ring. Improvements in coats—eliminating open coats.
Trends to see stop: generic dogs. Utilizing DNA tools incor- rectly, e.g., only breeding to a clear dog.
I owe the most to Norma Turk of Paloma Labradors and Sherry L. Anderson of Sher-Mi Labradors.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is the avail- ability of educational seminars to meet judging requirements.
The most amusing experience at a dog show? At the 2018 Atlan- ta LRC Specialty, our 15 month bitch—Paloma’s Linda Look It @

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