I’ve known Beri since she was a pup. Steve and I are honored and thrilled to become the keepers of this special girl. Living a more serene, slower life on our flatland should lead to green pastures for Beri and for us.
Beri is an 8 1/2 year old retired show and performance Golden Retriever that has led an extraordinary life. At the hands of my dear friend and Golden Retriever expert Laurie Doumaux she became a breed Champion (Ch.), a Junior Hunter (JH), a Companion Dog (CD), holds a Working Certificate (WC) and a Canine Good Citizenship Certificate (CGCC). All this is in addition to being a devoted, funny, and loving companion.
Beri found herself in early retirement because of an elbow injury. Her wonderful life with Laurie was aggravated by many stairs and a dog yard (acres) that is full of steep hills. Also keeping up with two younger housemate dogs results in Beri’s elbow constantly irritated which leads to pain. Add into the equation that Laurie is heading into her 11th year of battling stage 4 ovarian cancer that has pushed her to reduce the number of dogs she has at home. It would appear that the past few months have all been worked out so Beri could come home to us and our little farm.
Beri isn’t just another pretty face. For those who aren’t familiar with the sport of dogs, there are many areas you and your dog can work together, train and compete for titles. It takes deep dedication, time, $$$, and the ability to communicate with a dog– something that few people achieve. Goldens have a deep desire to please the one they love–so they make training a dog very rewarding and fun.
Beri the Champion. Dogs compete on their physical structure, movement, and overall type as compared to the breed standard. Beri was 2 years old when she and Laurie headed to Louisville,KY to storm the completion and bring home not one, but two 5-point majors. Any dog show person will recognize this is the kind of thing that dreams are made of in the dog show world–Beri not only has near perfect structure, but has the showboat attitude to take the wins.
Beri the hunter has 2 titles. The WC is equivalent to a high school education. It tests their basic abilities to hunt and retrieve as the breed is intended to do. She also has a JH which is more advanced kind of like college. The dog has to watch two separate throws drop and then pick them up separately in all kinds of terrain. The dog must pass 4 tests to receive a title.
Beri the obedience dog. The CD is an AKC title that the dog must pass 3 different times. Basic obedience which isn’t so easy when doing it in a strange place amongst strangers and do it perfectly right 3 different times! Heel off leash, long down stays, stand perfectly still while being examined by a stranger—Beri had no fails!
Beri the good citizen. Passing this test is what makes a dog eligible to visit nursing homes, schools and other places. They must do things like sit quietly when left with a stranger, not jump up when approached, and not react to loud noises. While Laurie knew Beri was a good citizen, this test shows the rest of the world the she is!
All this adds up to a great dog that listens, understands and is beautiful to boot. I look forward to sharing Beri with you all. (Y’all will not believe the the stacks of rosettes and ribbons that Beri and Laurie earned together!)
Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut-flower farmer in Newport News, Virginia; she lectures and writes about organic and sustainable gardening. You can email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org , call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website www.shoptgw.com .