A look back at 2012

Another year has passed at Sand Spring Chesapeakes. We have had a wonderful blessed year with a number of accomplishments. Our blessed 2012 started December 4th 2011 with the birth of Glory. Glory was one of four girls in a litter by our girl Nellie. This was a special litter as it was going to be Nellie’s last litter and we were going to keep a female from this litter. So Glory was the one we kept. Here is a picture of her only 4 weeks old on January 4th 2012.



Glory is the precious girl in the front. So our year started out with a bang and a 4 week old to share our home. At the time Glory was 4 weeks old our home consist of Norman 11 yrs old,  Nellie his daughter 7 years old & Gambler, Normans son at 8 months. A full house to say the least.

January 5th 2012 Gamblers littermate Marie took a plane ride across the pond to live in the United Kingdom. Gambler and Marie grew up together until the law passed in the UK where as of January 1st dogs could be imported easier than in the past. She had all her health clearances, vaccinations up to date so she was ready to go. Marie is the first dog out of a litter of Sand Springs that has gone international. Hopefully she will turn out to be a candidate that will improve the Chesapeake lines over in the UK and the Sand Spring line will continue there as well as in the US. This was a very sad day for me as I had grown very attached to Marie but I knew she was going to a great home and that one day I would see her again on her own home territory. Here is a picture of Marie.



Spring time was right around the corner and it was time to start training Gambler for his upcoming hunt tests. We had a great hunt test season with Gambler adding a prefix and a suffix to his name.

His registered name is now SHR  Sand Spring Ev’ry Paw’s a Winner JH.


Gambler competed in AKC (American Kennel Club) and UKC (United Kennel Club)  hunt tests during the summer of 2012. He first got his AKC Junior Hunter title on June 10th 2012. Here is a picture of us with his ribbons.

Gambler Junior Hunter

Gambler Junior Hunter

July 1st 2012 Gambler received his UKC started title. Here is a picture of us with his title ribbons.


Gambler Started title.

Gambler Started title.

Here is the start of Gamblers ribbon wall in our laundry room.

The ribbon wall.

The ribbon wall.

July 15th 2012 my friend from North Carolina came up and showed Gambler and Glory in UKC conformation. I have never shown any of my dogs as we were into running hunt tests and didn’t have money for both venues so we stuck to the field work as our dogs were hunting dogs. This was a whole new world for me. Kathy did a great job showing them, she got 2 competition wins and 120 points needed towards their titles. Kathy then showed me what I needed to do at the next show so it was up to me to get the last remaining win on them. August 25-26th 2012 was the day those wins happened. I first titled Gambler on Saturday then I titled Glory on Sunday. It was a fabulous weekend and I couldn’t of been prouder of my to puppies.

Our big news for the UKC show ring is that Gambler was in the number one spot and Glory was in the 6th spot for the 2012 Top Ten Breed and Dog Standings. Since they are in the top ten they will get invited to the UKC Premier in June 2013. So that is an event we will be looking forward to and will be going to.

Gambler added another prefix to his name. He is now SHR U-CH Sand Spring Ev’ry Paw’s a Winner JH.

Glory added a prefix to her name also. She is now U-CH Sand Spring No Guts No Glory.

Here are their show pictures.






Nellie was the chosen dog to go to Canada this fall since she didn’t get to go last year. John and Nellie went on their way to Saskatchewan with our friends to go snow goose hunting for a week. This was my first year I didn’t get to go. I had bigger plans for later in the month. They had a great time and got a lot of geese. This year was the most birds that John had gotten since going up there. I was sad that I didn’t get to go with but there is always next year. Here are a couple pictures from their trip.

huntwed nelcan2


Nellie isn’t in the above photo but her daughter Pearl is. She is the dog in the middle. Nellie was camera shy this day.

Nellie blessed me also with another year of life. She turned 8 on Oct 7th 2012. She just got home from Saskatchewan and had a big old party with hats and cake. Can’t get better than that!

Norman blessed me with another year of life too. As he gets older we take one day at a time and cherish each moment. He turned 12 on November 3rd 2012. Norman was even able to go pheasant hunting with us in December and retrieve a pheasant for me. He is such a love. I hope to have many more years with him.




Glory turned 1 on December 4th 2012. She has turned out to be such a pretty young lady. She has a different personality than the other dogs we own which is unique and gives her character. This coming year we hope to get some hunt test titles on her. So let the training begin.


We close this year with over a foot of snow. The dogs are having so much fun in it. I take them on walks around the property to try and tire them out and as you guessed it doesn’t work. These two young adults have so much energy. Hopefully we can channel it together come hunt test time and add some more ribbons to the wall. I am so blessed to have a wonderful  healthy fur family.

I leave you this year with a picture from our walk. Gambler was trying to catch the snow flakes.


Goodbye to 2012 and Hello to 2013, may all my blogging friends have a safe and blessed 2013.


My UK Adventure – Day 8

My UK Adventure – Day 8

This morning is my last morning in the UK, for the last of my trip I got to spend the morning with Marie in the park. Steve took me to the park near their house so he could do a little training with Fender and Marie. He wanted me to see how Marie was doing before I went back to the states. The dogs get to come to this park quite often as there aren’t many spots to take your dogs to do any running let alone any training. They are fortunate that they have a couple of parks nearby their house where they can take the dogs and they work out  quite nicely since there are trails threw out the woods so you can toss marks and have the dogs retrieve in a straight line. There are open meadow areas where they can do marks or blind work.

I had great fun watching and taking pictures of the dogs working. This was another highlight of my trip; the time I spend with Marie was priceless. She is such a different dog than my own Gambler who is her brother. I raised both of them from 7 weeks to 7 months when Marie went over to the UK. When Marie and Gambler were growing up I called them the Terrorist as they would get into everything. I know now that it was mainly Gambler and Marie was just following along. She is the sweetest most quite dog ever. All she wants to do is please you and love on you. In the UK your dog needs to be very obedient and make no noise when competing, well Marie has that licked. Hopefully she will do well with her field work overseas. I can’t tell you how proud I am as a breeder to have a dog out of my breeding overseas. It’s something that one only dreams of and now I am living the dream as well as Marie.

Training time was done and time for me to grab my bags and head to the airport. Zoe was nice enough to take time off to drive me to the airport so I didn’t have to take the train by myself. We weren’t sure if my plane would be taking off or not since Hurricane Sandy was reaching the East Coast of the states and flights were being cancelled. The internet said my plane was on time so we shall see.

I said my goodbyes to Steve and Fender. I said my goodbyes and gave big hugs and kisses to Marie. I got in the car, Steve sat Marie he crouched down next to her and held up her right paw and waved her paw goodbye to me as Zoe was backing out of the driveway. At that moment a tear was shed. I was leaving my girl for the second time. It was bittersweet as I was leaving her with 2 people that loved her so much and I left knowing I would always have my memories of our time together.

We made it to the airport and my flight was on time. I hugged Zoe and thanked her for the great hospitality and great time. A friendship was made between 3 friends and I.

I boarded the plane and was ready for my 8 hr flight home. As the plane was taxing down the run way and I was staring out the window I thought to myself as I was watching London go behind me that I was one lucky girl to be able to have taken a trip of a life time and that it was. I have many people to thank for making this trip possible. Without great friends, family co-workers this wouldn’t have happened. This was indeed something I could cross off my bucket list but I’ve decided that I’m not crossing it off my bucket list until I make my return trip which I hope is very soon.

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My UK Adventure – Day 4 & 5

My UK Adventure – Day 4 & 5

 Today was another day I was waiting 5 months for. An English driven pheasant shoot, I was so excited to see how the English hunt their pheasant. I hunt pheasants in America so this was going to be a real treat.

 This is a English driven pheasant shoot thru the eyes of a traveling American, I may have this all wrong as I’m not good at remembering what I was told but I will give it a try.

 Jacky is a dog handler at these shoots and uses her dogs as well as sets up other handlers with their dogs to help pickup. This is a job for them as the hunt club pays them for their time. This is how it goes down (again this might be all wrong but it is my story and I’m sticking to it). There is a hunt club, the hunt club buys baby pheasants and English partridge each spring, this can be around 30,000 birds more or less. The pheasants are raised by game keepers that have 5 ft chicken wire fence around a wooded area that has no net on top. The pen will also have an electric fence around 2 ft of the bottom of the pen to keep predators out. There are various game keepers in hence various properties’ to hunt on. The game keepers take care of the birds by having cover crops on their agricultural land; they have bird feeding stations positioned around their property as well as the feeding stations in the pen. The birds are placed in the pen, they grow and when able to fly they can fly over the 5 ft chicken wire to outside the pen. They can go wherever they want but usually stick around in the cover crops around the pen. They learn to go to the feeding stations outside the pen for food and water and learn to fly back to the pen when need be.

 The English hunting season is October thru February. They can hunt each day but Sunday. The day is picked, the hunters are picked, the location is picked, the beaters are picked, the handler and their dogs are picked and the hunt is on. For those of you that don’t know who the beaters are, they are a group of 25-35 people that get hauled out to a field to walk thru the field with sticks and flags beating the cover crop chasing the birds to the shooters. The shooters are usually positioned near the bird pen so that the birds are flushed up and over the shooters and can go back to the pen for safety. The shooters are positioned in the field spread out in a line with maybe 20-30 yards between each one, they may be positioned in a valley so the birds fly over them at great height so it is a challenge for the shooters to shoot them, the maybe positioned in a little strip of grass between 2 woods or they may be staggered through out a open field, whatever is available that day on that property. They are donned in their English attire, have their expensive guns, some have little seats to sit on while they wait and their ammo. Ear protection is optional but after seeing what goes on and how many times they shoot I would wear hearing protection. So the drive begins, the beaters are doing the beating and in no time the birds start a flying, then the steel starts a flying. This is the most amazing thing to watch as literally hundreds of birds can fly over the shooters at one time. Birds are dropping out of the sky like you wouldn’t believe if the shooters shooting eyes are on. They may be a lapse in shooting as they wait for more birds to come over, or there may be no lapse as the birds are plentiful. When the beaters have walked thru the field and are done they blow a horn to alert the shooters that they are done and no more shooting. This would be a safety measure I would think. The shooters are also safe by not shooting the low flying birds and only sticking to shooting the high flyers, plus that gives the sport more of an advantage to shoot the harder birds.

 The handlers and their dogs are positioned around the shooters in different locations so that the entire field behind the shooters is covered. The dogs usually don’t go pick up the birds in the field while the shooters are shooting unless there is a bird near them that is a cripple and getting away. The shooters pick up the birds in the field as they are easy picking and the dogs are used to retrieve the birds that have landed in the woods or that have made it back to the bird pen and have died in the pen. A handler may have any number of dogs with them so that the dogs can cover more ground and keep up with retrieving as there are a couple different locations that the shooters go to in one day. The number of birds shot can vary to as to how good the shooters are that day and how many birds are in the fields being flushed to them. The day’s I went along 300 birds were shot each day. The day I left Jacky tells me that 600 birds were shot so it just depends. Jacky’s dog Mara was a hoot to watch, this lives for this game and if a bird lands in a tree she will stand by the tree and bark at the bird trying to scare it down. When the bird won’t come down she will either climb the tree to get at the bird or she will start grabbing low limbs and pull on them to shake the bird loose. Cooper was a joy to watch also as he is older and he reminded me of my boy Norman who would nonchalantly go about his business sniffing out the birds and oh all of a sudden here one is and bring it back to Jacky. Thursday when I went I was an observer and video taker. Jacky had Mara, Cooper and the pup I bred Marie picking up birds. I got to see Marie work in the UK. On Friday I got to stand by myself with Marie in the field and I got to run Marie that is one memory I will forever cherish. On Friday Jacky’s other dog Robby who is Marie’s age 1 ½ years old got to come along on his first hunt. He wasn’t so keen yet as to what was going on but after a couple of hunts he will have it down pat no problem.

Jacky and Marie

The Gang

 In between hunts breaks and lunch are taken. Each group will stick to their own groups, the beaters will do their thing, the shooters will do their thing and the handlers will do their thing. I believe the shooters will have a meal for them at the club house on the game keeper’s property and will have lunch there. The beaters and handlers eat out in the field. I was in the handlers group and each person brought something to eat and their tea or coffee as well has some homemade sloe gin. I realize that sloe gin was the drink of choice there. The food that was brought was sausages of some kind. I had a couple different sausage rolls which were delish even know they were cold, warm sausages that were in honey and mustard. There were also pastries called cheese sticks or something like that as well as cookies or chocolate or whatever one brought. The fondest memory is watching a handler go to their land rover (that is the handling vehicle of choice) come back with an English shot glass holder and some slow gin. While we were all standing around eating it was customary to have a shot of slow gin, or two or three. The two days I was there it was cold and raining so the slow gin warmed me up for a brief period of time. After our lunch was done we moved to another field and did it all over again.

 The handlers will carry yellow string with them and once they have their birds collected they will put two birds on a string, one on each end and sling the string over their shoulders and carry the birds out. I found out that this is so they can then hang the birds in the bird wagon when it comes around and so they can have an easier time counting the birds. All the birds have to be counted so they know what to charge the shooters. Some days the shooters can pay around 3000.00 pounds to shoot. It’s not a cheap sport by any means. After the birds are counted then a game dealer will come along and buy the birds and then resell them to the local restaurants or butchers. This whole hunting season and the way they do it is a source of income for many. I even got paid 40 pounds for handling Marie on Friday. Not bad for an American in a foreign land (do I need to claim that on my income tax?).

Mara and her 2 birds.



I wasn’t able to get may pictures as my camera battery was dead and the video camera didn’t take good pictures. I did get some great video of the hunts even know it was foggy and raining the day’s I went with but nonetheless it all turned out fine. Here is a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAfj55-IQcM&feature=relmfu

 Thursday night Jacky took me to The Three Horseshoe for supper. It is an English pub walking distance from Jacky’s house. I had bangers and mash with onion gravy. Oh my… was it out of this world good. For dessert I had berry crumble with custard. The custard was warm and you poured it on top of your berry crumble another out of this world good experience. My memory of this place was that it was a true English pub with the English atmosphere; English pictures on the wall, English candle on the table and of course the slow English service. It was such a relaxing dinner, so peaceful and the company was great!

 Friday night Steve and Zoe met Jacky and I at her house, from there we went to a Thai restaurant and had another nice dinner with great company once again. After dinner we went back and packed up Marie and my suitcases and off I was to spend time in London.

My Heart Belongs To A Chesapeake(s)


A rough and ready sporting dog,
With loyal, loving ways-
My Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Puts sunshine in my days.

A dog that’s sure to follow its nose,
until the chase is done.
When that pup looked up at me,
I knew my heart was won.

Roaming happily by my side,
or resting at my feet-
My Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Makes my life complete.