Mat and Abby's Incredible Winston
Loveland, Colorado USA
Team Winston arrived to The Spinone National in Loveland looking to have some fun, sniff some birds, catch up with friends old & new, and watch my dog run around the show ring a few times. It was Sir Winston's grand finale, he'd not been in the ring for over 3yrs and as a Veteran would be entered in the Veteran Gun Dog Class. So we were joking the whole time, telling him to "enjoy the ride".
We had a lot of fun in the Sweepstakes and hunt seminars, and Sir Winston sure seemed to be enjoying himself more than usual in the show ring! I don't know what it was but the brighter the lights got to be, the more he seemed to shine - to me, anyway.
As The National Specialty got under way, Sir Winston kept advancing, and to make a long story short, he advanced all the way to the final cut! Surrounded by the most beautiful Spinoni in the nation, word spread quickly that the Italian Judge Riccardo Laschi had made his decision and was now going to pick his best dog - Best In Show. He walked to the center of the ring, glanced around, stared straight at Winston and approached his handler with a single hand extended - the congratulatory hand shake for selection of Best In Breed!! For us dog nerds, it was quite a moment! This is the type of thing that's supposed to happen to someone else!!
A brief word on me inside of the dog show world - I never know what in the world is going on! I'm famous for jumping up in celebration as my dog is dumped, or stifling a curse word under my breath as the judge is actually selecting him for a win - I am a complete basket case! So when The Judge selected Winston I immediately jumped up, only to sit right back down as he pointed to the side of the ring! I was at that moment under the impression that Winston had been dumped! Pretty funny, but thankfully some kind-hearted dog show folks (you know who you are: Gayle - Erica - Kay - Leslie) calmed me down and told me what had actually happened! Somehow, some way a "rustico" old hunter, a Veteran Gun Dog had just won Best In Show at The Spinone National!! 🏆🥇
What followed was an absolute blur... the dog show world has a reputation for a lot of factions/in-fighting/back-stabbing/general meanness. I would be lying if my 2nd thought after realizing he won was "oh no people are going to be disappointed a Veteran won". I didn't pick up on any of that - so many folks - what felt like everyone in the building! - sought us out to congratulate us, offering kind words and hugs!! That was just so awesome!! Thank you to everyone that shared in our fun times - it is a rare and beautiful thing in this life when a once-in-a-lifetime event occurs and as soon as it does, you're realizing it right away. What a whirlwind, what a ride! THANK YOU
A word about Sir Winston: 8+ years ago I was a very different dude. I loved dogs but didn't work with them professionally. I was looking for a job and didn't know hardly anyone in the state. I was rudderless in general and sad a lot. Once Sir Winston arrived, doors began to open. I trained him a lot, started walking dogs, then started boarding dogs, then started doing Dog Day Care, then a year or so later I was so unhappy with his experience at two area Rattlesnake Avoidance Training clinics that I looked into putting on a training myself. This dog has improved and changed my life in ways that can't be stated with mere words... sound ridiculous? Perhaps, but Sir Winston is my Spirit Animal and he is such a special soul, he is always there for me and has well over 100 days in the field hunting birds to his credit - he is a Working Man's Working Dog!!! So much of ANYTHING good about me comes from lessons learned from Sir Winston.
A huge thank you to the myriad of mentors I've had along the way... I've had a lot of questions over the years and answers have not been hard to find!!
Debby Forry - thank you for trusting the Red Puppy to a rookie, and for your tireless dedication to this breed. Well deserved Debby!!
Charles Cready Forry - Granolas will hunt? YES WE WILL (but you'll need to show us how)
Susie Pool - so fortunate to know you, you are one of my favorite people favorite��
Reyna Hull-Walton - achievedived the impossible: the only person without the initials DF to show Sir Winston successfully - THANK YOU
Michelle Brustein: thank you for all of your work behind the scenes in the breeding related arena!
Rebecca Butler Koch
Liz Siener Bodell
Mauricio Ernesto Duran
Congratulations to all who entered and showed their beautiful Spinone, and of course to all of the many that took home prizes. When they're all in the ring at The National, what a sight it is to behold! Thanks to the judge and all the volunteers that put in the hard, boring, long, tedious hours behind the scenes to make this event fun and successful. Thanks to everyone that threw down a bid at the auction to support our club.
A shout-out to Renada Teesdale for the ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS and one-of-a-kind felted wool trophies!! You are an incredible artist! She will kill me for saying this publicly but she told me "I'm glad you like it, I was worried that no one would like the trophies" Well Renada, we don't like them - WE LOVE THEM!
One last final thanks to each and every person that trusted us to put your beloved canine through our Rattlesnake Avoidance Training course. It means the world to us!!
From a humbled old hunter: THANK YOU