{This Moment} See Beautiful~SS 2014 Reflections

{This Moment} See Beautiful~SS 2014 Reflections

Sand Spring Chesapeakes Year In Review 2014

With 2015 already upon us I’m taking a moment to reflect on 2014 with the Sand Spring Chesapeakes.

My first reflection is on my old gal Nellie.

Nellie turned 10 in 2014. She is still going strong, she has a few more grey hairs and some extra pounds that she is carrying around but it doesn’t slow her down out in the field. She got to a little training with Gambler and Glory as well as some pheasant hunting . We had one scare while out pheasant hunting on public property, we were in heavy tall cover and we lost Nellie in it for over a hour. It was the longest hour of my life wondering if we were going to find her. The moment I saw her running back to me was the happiest moment of my life. I learned when you take a senior dog hunting you can’t let them out of your site and the conditions and environment need to be acceptable for them so nothing happens to them. Nellie doesn’t hear as well as she used to so I figure she got on a track and didn’t hear us calling and got messed up in the tall cover. A happy ending to what could of been a sad ending. Nellie’s puppies are all growing up, their ages are 7, 5 and 3. I’m happy to say everyone is doing great and that their families are all enjoying and loving them.

My second reflection is on Gambler and Glory and the year we’ve had together. We had a year of many highs and many lows. Gambler and Glory received their Therapy Dog Inc. certifications in December of 2013. We kicked off our therapy sessions right away in January 2014 and what a amazing adventure it has been. Each dog visited 10 times during the year, according to AKC at 10 visits  you are awarded the novice therapy title (THDN) that will proudly be displayed in my home and forever on their registered name. Therapy work is work like no other work. The joy and heartwarming feeling you get from the kids interacting with your dogs is like no other joy in the world. I leave there in such a high it rubs off on my gang and they are proud that they made a difference in the life of a child and to me. We will continue our therapy work in the days, months and years ahead.

Besides receiving their AKC Novice Therapy title Gambler and Glory also received their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and American Temperament Society Test (TT) title. These titles are great as it shows my Chesapeake’s have good manners and temperament which back in the day temperament was a big issue with Chesapeake’s. It’s nice to be able to breed the undesirable out of them and focus on the desirable.

My third reflection is on conformation shows. I took a year off from showing Glory in AKC & UKC venues. Gambler was only being shown in UKC conformation shows, back in 2013 he received his Grand Champion show title (U-GRCH). At the end of 2013 he was again for the second year in a row the #1 Chesapeake Bay Retriever for the UKC Top Ten Breed And Dog Standings with 16 points. We were then invited to the 2014 UKC Premier in Kalamazoo, MI to compete in the Top Ten Invitational. Sadly we didn’t  make it to the invitational but it doesn’t make his prior year any less of a accomplishment. I am still in awe that “my dog” did so well and held the Top Ten position for two years in a row. Gambler is now retired from UKC showing.

My fourth reflection is the reflection if you have been following along with our hunt test training and testing that brought me highs and the most lows during the year. I’ve shed more tears during hunt tests then I have done before. I’ve also learned a lot during this time. We train weather permitting March – August. During this time we compete in UKC and AKC hunt tests. Each venue is slightly different so you need to train differently. I’ve learned that there is only so many hours in a day and it’s hard to train for and compete in multiple venues. I understand now why some people only do one venue a year. Does that stop me no, I have high hopes and goals so I push to do both because that is who I am.

John and I both train and run Glory, we both shared in the joy that came from Glory receiving her UKC Hunting Retriever Seasoned (HR) title during the summer of 2014. She also competed in AKC Senior level tests passing 3 out of the 4 she needed for her title. I so wanted her get her Senior Hunter title before I bred her in the fall but it wasn’t in stars. The breeding wasn’t in the stars either as I did breed her but the pregnancy didn’t take. They say everything happens for a reason, I don’t have any idea what the reason was but I have to believe it was for the best and march on.

I have done all of Gamblers training. John has run him in competition when I was at my low and couldn’t run him. We had a tough year, a tough year because again I have high expectations and thought my dog was ready for testing when he probably wasn’t. My theory on hunt test’s are you get a pass/fail. So it’s a 50/50 chance that you will pass/fail. We are running dogs and you just never know what they are going to do on a given day so I always say go for it and see what happens. Gambler is the first dog I trained by myself, the first dog I ran in UKC Finished and AKC Master level tests. We are talking big stakes here. If anyone says these stakes are easy I will have to say they are wrong. It really puts you to the test and can humble you like you have never been humbled before. This summer we ran Gambler in five UKC Finished tests passing only one, we also ran him in 7 AKC Master level tests not passing any. What I learned from this hunt test season is that even know I feel I have a good dog I need to take a step back and make sure we both are ready for the big guns. We need to work better as a team and Gambler needs to realize there is no “I” in team. He has to mature enough to realize and trust me to guide him where he needs to be and to become a team player. I think one of the biggest challenges in running hunt test competition with a fabulous hunting dog is that the hunting dog comes out in them and they want to work for themselves because they think they know where it is and that they can find it faster. After each fail I would be depressed, wondered what was wrong with me and my dog. I’ve learned that there is nothing wrong with me or my dog and that it isn’t the destination it is the journey we travel together whether we pass or fail it’s all about the time, love, joy and companionship we have for each other. We may not get that title anytime soon but we will get it and we will get it just me and him and in the end I will look back on all the shed tears and I will shed one tear as I hug him and tell him we did this together. As I am typing this Gambler has his head rested on my keyboard so hopefully he is taking this all in and 2015 will be a better year.

My fifth reflection is on our hunting adventures. We are truly blessed to be able to take our dogs on a big hunting trip. Our big hunting trip is in the fall when we travel with friends to Saskatchewan to hunt snow geese. Gambler and Glory got to travel with us this year again and what a year we had. We hunted one week and the hunting group got 307 ducks, geese and a couple cranes. It’s a week spend hanging out with friends, their dogs and hunting what could be better than that? Along the way we meet up with our other Canadian friends from Facebook and that is just another highlight of the adventure. When we get home from Saskatchewan the waterfowl season is underway and upland hunting starts. The gang didn’t get to hunt ducks too often, they got to hunt some geese and many days pheasant hunting. We are fortunate to live near so many acres of DNR public hunting that there is always some where’s to take the gang to do some hunting. Gambler had a fabulous hunting season as he was used by my friend who has a guide service in WI. Justin Kohn from All Seasons Adventures In Wisconsin kept Gambler and took him hunting the month of October. This is a dogs dream to be out hunting everyday and getting birds every day. They say Chesapeake’s are a  one person dogs but after Justin and Gambler figured out the routine they hit it off and when I would go pheasant hunting with them Gambler didn’t care about me and he stuck by Justin like glue and hunted great for him. Once Gambler was back home with me he then thought I was his best bud and hunted for me. It shows the versatility with him as he can  train for different competitions, run different competitions and hunt for different people and still do a good job doing it.

All in all I do have to say now the highs of our year really do outweigh the lows. I will leave you with this quote my friend shared with me:

I close with this poem that says it all! My motto for 2015 and the years ahead.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
― Neil Gaiman

Here’s to 2015!

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28 thoughts on “{This Moment} See Beautiful~SS 2014 Reflections

  1. Here’s to making lots of mistakes together this year!

    You have accomplished so much with these dogs. I know that it’s hard to see when you are in the thick of it.

    Keep at those goals — they are attainable!!!

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  2. It was great to wander through 2014 with you. I remember the hunt contests… I was sad with you and I hope that in 2015 Gamber will get ice cream after efurry test. And I remember the moment Nellie was MIA… that’s the nightmare of all dogpawrents… and I’m really happy for this happy end ….

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  3. All of those are great moments to remember, success or failure! You can tell the SS Gang is one big, loving family who enjoy their time together whether it is training, hunting or just playing around. I sure hope 2015 is the best year yet! Here’s to making some mistakes along the way!
    Oz

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  4. I really enjoyed this past year with you and the “Gang”! The stories, the hunts, the mischief. The great moments and the sad moments. Wonderful reflections and reminders of how quickly time passes. Looking forward to the next one with you~

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  5. Hi Y’all,

    Just an aside to the remark about never knowing how your dog will feel and test on any given day…I’ve had performance horses all my life. I grew up on a breeding farm. The mares were more expressive of their feelings and it seemed easier to tell if they would give a good performance. I always kept my thoughts to myself, but mentally I used to say they were PMSing. LOL. Most of the stallions and geldings never revealed their feelings. You found out when they either did something stupid or just plain had a bad performance.

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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  6. How scary about Nellie. So glad she found her way back to you.

    Congrats about earning the novice therapy dog titles. It is such special work, glad you are going to continue doing visits with the dogs.

    Top ten, two years in a row? Wow…that was quite an achievement! Hope he’s enjoying his retirement.
    Showing in two venues must be tough! I had a hard time competing in two different rally venues at the same time (AKC and APDT), and Rally is nothing compared to the hard work and dedication to do hunt tests. Good thing you and your hubby are a team!

    Great poem, very fitting for the new year. Thanks for sharing it!

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  7. Congratulations on a great year. Most of the Master tests that Thunder failed were because the hunting dog came out in him. Many people will not hunt a dog until they are done with Masters, but we have hunting dogs and honestly IMO a good hunting dog is better than a good hunt test dog.

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  8. Great reflections and great closing notes! 2015 is going to be a great year, full of yet more achievements. Those that you enjoyed in 2014 were pretty great! *wags* – Gilligan

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