Since Keke was away, I will let her breeder Nigel Clark tell all about Keke’s great adventure.
As Keke’s breeder and co-owner, it was such a treat to be able to have her here and show her to her AKC Championshipfrom the Bred By Exhibitor Class in only a few short months. Keke is a beautiful girl and the judges always told me so when we stayed to get a picture. Even the few times she didn’t get the points, she was given some very nice compliments.
I picked up Keke at the Chicago airport on July 30 and we headed home for some grooming, as we were entered in a small dog show that weekend in Marshall MI. Keke knew exactly what to do and she was a dream to show — happy and reliable. I am pleased to report that Keke took Best of Breed twice and Best of Opposite the other two days and picked up her first 3 points. There was no female competition at one of the BOS wins.
The next shows we attended were in Milwaukee, WI at a lovely showsite along side beautiful Lake Michigan. Keke again took Best of Opposite and picked up two points, and took Reserve the second day with some very nice compliments. We then attended a one-day show in Muncie, Indiana and picked up another point. Points were scarce — be it the economy or time of year, or maybe a little of both, we needed to find majors!
We ventured to the Minnesota Club’s supported entry at the St. Croix cluster in Lake Elmo later in August and took Reserve Winners Bitch there to 22 bitches at the Supported Entry and again to 18 bitches the next day. The competition was amazing and we were thrilled to be recognized for these Reserve wins.
In early September, I entered Keke in the Overboard Club’s water trial. I really wanted to try her in water, but when she first came to me, I couldn’t get her to bring me ANYTHING – even on dry land or across the living room floor. We really worked at this and used lessons I learned from Debra Lee Miller Riley at the early July water seminar. Soon we were getting good retrieves on land, but Keke refused to even TOUCH a dummy while she was in the water. I filled my little 4′ wading pool with about an inch of water and sat in a lawn chair reading the paper, tossing small pieces of hot dog into the water. Keke ventured in and cautiously got the bites — but only after contemplating it for what seemed like forever. Next day, I added another inch of water and made the hot dog bites a tad bigger. She went for them. I began to throw the dummy across the yard and she brought it back every time. But when I threw it into the pool, she went in, looked and came back without it. I was pretty sure we would NEVER get a retrieve in the water. But the weekend before our water trial, Karen Moench came up with me and we were working with little Winnie and with Keke. We began throwing the dummy right at the waters edge and finally into the water, and lo and behold, Keke finally retrieved IN THE WATER. At the water trial the first day, I hurt myself before our turn and asked someone else to throw the dummy for me. Keke did not retrieve it — but we continued with the remainder of the Junior exercises and she completed everything like a super star! On the second day, she did the retrieve beautifully— she did everything beautifully until it was time for the last exercise — swim to buoy and back. Keke must have been watching her brother, Sailor, because she got the zoomies and left me in the water. So close….. We tried again (had one shot) at the National Specialty. I watched as the judge told people they were not throwing far enough and when it was our turn, DARN ME!!! I threw it far enough for Apprentice. Keke went a few feet and turned and looked at me like, “You have got to be kidding me! I am not going that far away in the water — You threw it — YOU get it!” The rest of the test was perfect – even her swim! So I hope that Lesley will work with her and get those titles. I am sure she will go on to Apprentice and do a super job with some gentle and consistent training with lots of rewards and praise!
Back to the Championship…At the National Specialty we made the cuts in the HUGE classes in Futurity, Sweeps and the Bred By Class—- but we just missed getting ribbons. Again, there were some absolutely stunning girls there, and it was an honor to be in the ring and have her show so beautifully. I showed her in BBE and used a handler in Sweeps and Futurity. I am not sure if it wasn’t harder to watch this year than to show myself! 🙂
After the Specialty, we trekked to Springfield IL for ONE DAY, as that was all we could schedule…took Reserve to a lovely field with a nice major. We went to Delaware Ohio where we won Winners Bitch both days and took a GROUP ONE in the Bred By Exhibitor Competition! What a thrill! Still in search of those majors, we went to the Fort Wayne Shows and picked up a four-point major, going BOS over Specials! I wasn’t able to stay for all of the shows as Laney and Oreo had puppies due…And finally, at the Columbus OH shows in November, our last opportunity to finish before Keke’s flight back to Canada, she did it again….another four-point major to finish her AKC Championship in style.
It was bittersweet sending Keke home. I hope that she will accept the challeng of Eukanuba in the BBE class as I would be honored to show her there. I know that Lesley and her family were happy to have Keke back home for the holiday season, but we do miss her here at OreoBay! She was a lot of fun — a very spirited loveable girl who likes to cuddle and likes to show off!