Every dog show person wants to grab the brass ring. In AKC conformation classes, that is the title of Champion. I’ve been competing with Labrador Retrievers for over twenty years. Every time one of my dogs completed a championship, it was a big event. It is a title that is not easily earned. This weekend my Orchid finished that title with two major wins in three days. I know people that are not involved in the show world may not understand how much this means to somebody like me. My non-dog friends humor me, not understanding why, but know this is really a big deal to me.

I have to admit, I got very discouraged at times along the journey. From birth, Orchid was all I want in a Lab. Her structure was as close to my idea of perfect as I think I could ever expect. From her tight feet to her straight off the back tail set, her balanced body with her dense coat, she was what I look for in a quality Labrador. Add to that her easy to live with temperament and her outstanding trainability, she is simply a great dog.

Friend and retired professional dog show handler, Kitty Burke, has always been in Orchid’s corner. Kitty took Orchid out early for her first outing with a pro and nearly won Best Puppy in Show with her! But, hey, being in the top three wasn’t bad! I knew Orchid was good. I really thought she was THAT good. But, as luck has it, she took her time accumulating the points she needed. After Kitty’s retirement, I continued to show Orchid and also put her with professional handlers Heather Bremmer and Kevin Bednar.

Orchid never seemed to mind going on the road; I was always glad to have her back home. I am pretty sure she missed her spot on the couch when she was away. But, those days are over. She will attend shows in the performance events with me from now on. No more beauty pageants. Champion Canterbury’s Pink Orchid Diamond CGC RE WC is on to the next phase of her life.