In 1983 I was a typical dog owner with very little knowledge about training dogs for any of the performance events, never mind the conformation ring. One of my mixed breeds (A Sheltie Poo named Dynamite) had recently died. When I adopted my new mixed breed from the humane society, I wanted to know why Dynamite didn't always come when she was called. My vet at the time told me he had a trainer offering group lessons in the evenings. I signed up. This was the beginning of the wonderful world in which I live for each day (besides my children and grandchildren).
My trainer was Candace Hammack. She took this little fdog out of her car (at that time I discovered Shelties), and told us to watch what she did. She went through an obedience pattern. I was amazed at how her Boffy didn't move out of position even once. I learned later that Boffy, was for years ranked nationally in the top ten for obedience. When she was done she asked those of us in the group, "how many of us want to do this?" Before I could think about it my hand shot up in the air, and I was hooked.
In 1993 I went looking for a reputable breeder of Shetland Sheepdogs. After going to a local dog show I met Dori Gibbs (now Stadler). I bought one of her puppies with all the health guarantees for obedience. Shelby (WarmWinds Push and Pull CD, CGC, Therapy Dog), was a a constant loving companion for years.
A year after I bought Shelby, Dori offered me a co-ownership in my first show dog. Her name was Taffy, BISS Ch. WarmWinds Sunspun Delight. She had a great attitude and a tremendous love for the conformation ring. She made it easy to learn how to handle. She was always one step ahead of me.
Shelby and I earned an CD (Companion Dog) obedience title. We trained all the way through Utility but never competed in open nor utility. Shelby decided she just wanted to be my loving companion. So at three years old she was retired from competition training and spent the rest of her life making me laugh.
My Shelby "Ellby" went to the Rainbow Bridge in my arms just as she was turning ten years old. I still "feel" her in her special spots in the house.
I first met Taffy at 6 weeks old and I took her home into my heart at 8 weeks old. As my first conformation dog we had a lot of "firsts." My Taffy "Waffy" turned 15 years old years old on June 4 (2009), and on June 8th, 2009 at 15 years old, I held her as she went to the Rainbow Bridge.
In 2003 my Teddybear came to live with me and he stole a piece of my heart that will never fill in. He is a loving dog that just wants to please me. He has his American Kennel Club (AKC) breed championship, his United Kennel Club Breed Championships (all group wins and two Best In Shows.) We had a lot of fun in the agility ring and was retired from the agility ring in 2010. Teddy has since passed on and I miss him still to this day.
My younger dogs are still in training and yet to have one serious bone in their bodies. We will have lots of fun along the way to their championships and performance titles.