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2014 Obedience

2014 OBEDIENCE SPRINGER OF THE YEAR
OTCH BIRCHROSE'S ROCKET MAN UDX2 OM4 VER
Gunner
Owned by Shannon Shepherd

Stats: Average 396.83 out of 400

Photo by AKC 2014

There is no greater illustration of teamwork than in the competitive obedience ring. A dog and handler moving as one on a heeling pattern, a dog running in with his dumbbell or article to present it to his handler, or the invisible lines of communication between the team, all of these magical things are what make up great teams. While I work for precision, I strive for engagement and attitude. More important than scores, is the joy that I experience in working with this wonderful dog. Together, Gunner and I have continued to improve and excel in the obedience ring since we first entered the Novice ring in August 2011. I have lofty expectations for obedience, and Gunner continues to meet all of them with his animated style and love of the game.

2014 was a year filled with exceptional runs and awards. Gunner picked up 10 High Combined awards and 11 High in Trial awards, including both High in Trials at the 2014 ESSFTA National Specialty. He also earned an additional 257 OTCH points and two UDX titles.

Even more important than the awards and accolades is the fact that Gunner has taught me a lot about my training and how I want my dogs to perform in the ring. The hours and hours of practice is where our relationship is built, the 7-8 minutes that we spend in the ring is just where we get to show it off.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Yvonne Stickelman at Birchrose Kennels for entrusting me with my boy, as well as Rob Satoloe at Birchwood Kennels for vouching for me when I first walked into his home to meet his wonderful Springers. Gunner is first, and foremost, a loved and very spoiled member of our family and I feel very privileged to be representing the Springer breed in the ring. As my first Springer, he has set the bar very high, and he’s not even finished yet. Earning a single parent club award is an incredible feat in our breed, which has many outstanding dogs, but to win all three top awards in one year is definitely something I will not forget.

Thank you to the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association for recognizing the work of ALL of the obedience and performance teams.


2014 UTILITY SPRINGER OF THE YEAR
OTCH BIRCHROSE'S ROCKET MAN UDX2 OM4 VER
Gunner
Owned by Shannon Shepherd

Stats: Average: 198.67 out of 200

Photo by Pawsitive Impressions

Gunner’s favorite class, by far, is Utility. Scent articles, go outs and directed jumping…so much fun to be had. For those who have not shown in Utility, there are over 52 ways to fail this class. So, the fact that anyone passes, is sometimes amazing just by itself. But for a thinking dog, which loves to work, it is a chance to show off his skills and technical ability in the ring. It is a chance to show how well he can work away from his handler, and how he can do it quickly and accurately.

Gunner is a dog that people cannot help but stop and watch work. His love for the exercises is evident, both in the obvious joy during the exercise and his Springer bounces in between them.

Thank you to the ESSFTA for awarding Gunner the Utility Springer of the Year award. He has been an amazing partner in the ring and I look forward to continuing to impress judges and spectators with his working style and love for obedience.


2014 OPEN SPRINGER OF THE YEAR
OTCH BIRCHROSE'S ROCKET MAN UDX2 OM4 VER
Gunner
Owned by Shannon Shepherd

Stats: Average: 199.0 out of 200

Photo by Pix 'n Pages

One of the most impressive and challenging parts of Open is the eight minutes of out of sight stays that dogs must perform in a line up of other dogs. Asking a dog to have utmost attention and engagement during the class exercises, and then stay in the ring without you, is hard for many dogs, including Gunner. However, his commitment to this exercise and his obvious joy at performing the class exercises, earned him two coveted UDX titles in 2014.

The love Gunner has for obedience is visible on every exercise in the ring…the drive and animation in his heeling, his drop on recall (sometimes with an accompanying bark!), and his dumbbell and jump work are fluid and seamless. He is a natural retriever and loves his dumbbell, so the fact that he gets to chase it down twice in one class is even better.

I would like to thank the ESSFTA for awarding Gunner the 2014 Open Springer of the Year.


2014 NOVICE B SPRINGER OF THE YEAR
MILO MCGEE FROM HIRDLER HILL CD
Milo
Owned by Jon Pidde and Sandy Pidde

Stats: Average: 198.67 out of 200

Photo by Sandy Pidde

I am thankful to the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association for the recognition of Milo’s achievements in novice obedience. In 2013 Milo had to have the TPLO surgery to repair a torn cruciate ligament. We have had to overcome the effects of having Milo on leash for a long time. After 9 months of Rehab he was ready to start training for competition. On leash was fine but off leash had turned into FUN TIME. All of my previous dogs were really into keeping me happy and Milo is more into having fun his way. He is just now starting to get serious about working as a team with me. My wife is convinced that Milo will be the best dog I have ever had. She might be right because he went High in Trial on his first novice leg at an all breed show.

Going forward, this summer Milo will be starting to do hunt tests and working dog events as well as competing for his open obedience title. I am looking ahead to many years of field and obedience with Milo.


2014 NOVICE A SPRINGER OF THE YEAR
CEDARWOOD'S MCQUEEN CD BN CGC
Potter
Owned by Myron & Carol Scharkey & Patricia K Welch

Stats: Average: 192.83 out of 200

Photo by Laurie J Erickson Photography

Potter was born 8/30/2011 in Rochester, MN (Sire A/C CH Cedarwood’s Storm Watch ex Dam CH Cedarwood’s Chocolate Diamond). Potter was 10 weeks old when we got him from Cedarwood Kennel. Like his sire DJ and grandsire James, Potter is slow to mature for the conformation shows.

While waiting for Potter’s physical maturity, he has attended Sioux Falls, SD Empire Kennel Club conformation classes, obedience training and received his Therapy Dog (TDI) Certification. He is a very adaptable lovable dog and people friendly. His ever-charming good looks, poise and ability to adapt to any environment allows him to compete with ease. His first meet at Ham Lake, MN “Beginners Novice” average score was 196.33/200. Present daily routine includes fun outdoors, obedience training and therapy visits at VA hospitals. Plans for a AKC Championship remain in the future.


2014 RALLY SPRINGER OF THE YEAR
KIRWIN ALL AMERICAN CARY GRANT CDX RAE3 OA OAJ
Owned by Ruth Burgart

Stats: Average 199.66 out of 200

Photo by Cathy Baker

Thank you so much for honoring Archie with the 2014 Rally Springer of the Year Award. From day one, Archie has been a loving, "larger than life" presence in our household, and very attached to me. When we moved to Florida, he quickly became the mascot of our gated community. It seemed that everyone knew him and greeted him eagerly on our walks, or yelled "Hi, Archie!" from a passing car. As a young dog, he loved Rally, almost always placing in the top four dogs, and mostly First. In Lakeland, FL the judge announced to the audience that Archie was the best working dog he'd ever judged.

When he was two years old, that came to a dramatic halt. Two weeks after my husband died, Archie was entered in a Rally trial in Greenfield, MA. As we started the course, he ran out of the ring. A month later at the Nationals in Lexington, KY he acted like I had never trained him at all. Due to this drastic change, I stopped trialing Archie for almost three years, wondering why he had changed. I thought he didn't like competition anymore, but a dog communicator informed me that his world had crashed around him because my world had crashed when my husband died. Very sensitive to my emotional state, Archie couldn't concentrate on anything else. Finally, we tried competition again and I saw the old Archie.

His accomplishments included High in Trial obedience awards at the Chattahoochee ESS in Atlanta, HIT Obedience and Rally awards at Eastern ESS specialties in RI and trials in Melbourne and Davie, FL, to name a few. I can always count on Archie's consistency in the ring and I love how he's so focused on me. Now, if he'd just let me go to the bathroom by myself!