The Bear Country Kennel prefix was started in the early 1980’s while I was residing in Hollywood, Florida. My first dog was a golden retriever named Sinbad that got me hooked on obedience and conformation, even though Sinbad was well short of being competitive in the breed ring. He was a pet store golden and was deep red in color, but he was the cause of my addiction to the retriever breeds and sporting dog competitions. My next golden, Bear (CH Sandpiper’s One Helluva Bear CD) was my first bench champion as well as my introduction to field. I briefly owned a black cocker spaniel (Teddy) that was a bench champion and specialty show winner, and later, a sheltie (Chipper) that she was very competitive with in obedience. I acquired my first Flat-coat, Rodney, in 1986, from Patty Kennedy Pace, who ultimately became AM/CAN CH Sandpiper’s Lickerish Stix CDX JH CGC. In a deviation from the sporting group of dogs, I had the opportunity to co-own, train, and campaign to a bench championship, a white bull terrier named Banjo (CH Athena’a Alabama Banjo). Piper (CH Wildwood’s Sandpiper Destiny CD JH WCX), was acquired from Patty Pace as a 6 year old, and all of her suffix titles were added by me thereafter. However, it was the purchase of Windy (Renaissance Tropical Storm MH CD WCX), from Linda Randall DVM, that really got me deeply involved in the fieldwork. Windy was initially pro-trained by Gates Kirkham and James Brengosz of Thomasville, GA, and demonstrated lots of talent, desire, and speed. She was ultimately co-owned with Kass Goulding who helped campaign her to a Master Hunter title (my first ever).
I have bred several OTCH Golden Retrievers and have put multiple CH MH or CH SH titles on several Flat-Coated Retrievers. I strive to breed that truly multi-purpose dog that can do it all. My license plate reads CHMHFCR and I am proud to be in that elite club.
I relocated to Oak Grove, Tennessee, in October, 1995, only to find that Middle Tennessee was a “hot bed” for retriever field training and very convenient to many conformation shows. Best of all, “no alligators”! I bought a black male flat-coat in 1997 from Margot and Mitch Brown who became HRCH UH CH Hardscrabble Feath’r Fetch’r MH WCX (Jamie). Jamie was completely owner handled and trained. Along the way, Eleanor Trew offered Fever (CH Twin Oaks Spring Fever MH WCX ***) to me in 1999 at the age of 6. The bench championship, master title and working certificate excellent were all earned during her stay me, prior to an untimely accidental death at the tender age of nine. Additionally, in 1997, I bought my first lab also earned his Master Hunter title, and competed in two Master Nationals. He was Big Mac of Ebonstar MH (Mac) out of NAFC FC Ebonstar Lean Mac x FC AFC CNFC Free Trade.
I was involved in establishing the South Florida Retriever Club in about 1985 (around the inception of the hunt test program), and I was also the secretary for that club. I am a past president of both the Everglades Golden Retriever Club and the Dog Obedience Club of Hollywood, and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Golden Retriever Club of America. I was also a past president of the Everglades Golden Retriever Club. I have been an Officer or Board Member of the Middle Tennessee Amateur Retriever Club since 1996, and am currently serving on the Board as Secretary, as well as being the club’s perpetual hunt test secretary.
In an effort to continue my canine education over the years, I have attended field seminars and workshops by such individuals as Perry McDaniel, James Brengosz, Jim and Phillis Dobbs, Dennis Voigt, Mike Lardy, Danny Farmer, Andy Attar, Pat Burns, Dave Rorem, Jim Van Engen, Evan Graham, Bill Hillmann and Kevin Cheff. Additionally, I have attended conformation seminars by Quentin LaHam and Patricia Trotter among others; obedience/behavior seminars by Connie Cleveland, Robert Self, Nancy Patton, Ian Dunbar; and puppy evaluation seminars by Pat Hastings. I am currently an 8 point AKC Hunt Test & Field Trial judge. I was also instrumental in working with the American Kennel Club in organizing the first AKC Advanced Hunt Test Judges Seminar which was held in LaVergne in 2004.
I am retired from Contracting/Provider Services for CIGNA Healthcare and United HealthCare, and prior to that, worked in banking in South Florida.
Over the last couple of years I have been sidetracked by traumatic personal issues that made me question where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. With the help of many friends/clients and their amazing dogs, I have rebounded and put advanced hunt test titles on some amazing animals and well as qualifying them for national events. I have found that while I love training the DOGS, I truly have a passion for helping PEOPLE train their own dogs and watching them achieve successes as amateurs.
So, here we are. 2019 and feeling better about myself and knowing what I want to do going forward!