Charting the history of a successful career is a very difficult task indeed. Too much can be overlooked and unaccounted for. It was Thomas Jefferson who said, "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." Still, the dreams of the future must have a launching pad. In an effort to provide my own version of that starting point for the next generation of handlers, I'll attempt to plot the key elements of my travels through this world.
- Honey was sweet
I had collies when I was a young girl, the Silver Ho Parader line. My best friend for 13 years was Dutchess. That experience inspired me to give my children the same relationship I had with Dutch. However, we then lived in a town house development in Annadale, VA that did not allow large dogs. But small dogs were permitted. So if I could not have a collie, I was willing to try the smaller version, the Shetland Sheepdog. That was in 1974, and I have never looked back.
We purchased a family pet named Chandless' Maid Of Honey at 8 weeks of age who was down from Connie Hubbard's Astrolat line. Honey was the perfect family member. She went on every vacation, helped to raise each of my three children, and supervised every family event. Honey had a paper route with my eldest son, Steve, through the dark winter of Maine. She was there to cheer him on at every football and baseball game. Honey was the constant companion and playmate to my youngest son, Jim. Riding in his wagon, sharing lunch in the sunny spot on the porch, and barking all the way down the big hill sitting at the front on his toboggan sled. It was the personality and soul of that dog that drew me to the Sheltie. But the most pivotal relationship began with my daughter, Michelle, who was training Honey in obedience. When I took Michelle to the obedience trials and 4H competitions, my interest focused on how dogs responded to their owner's body language. I noted how a dog's body language often told the tale of how much the dog was enjoying what he was doing and the performance resulting from that feeling.
- Change of venue needed
Through my earlier years as a licensed equestrian instructor, I began to notice how often the training of horses and dogs coincided. Each seeks guidance from the leader of the pack. As my daughter and I continued on our journey through obedience, my daughter began noticing the shelties in the breed ring. She wanted to have a sheltie she could show in breed competition. After purchasing several almost show-able prospects from supposedly experienced breeders, we finally found Charlotte McGowan at a local match. With that meeting, our world changed forever. Charlotte advised us that our current shelties would not make the journey with us from obedience to breed competition. She offered to find us a good sheltie, but we would have to find alternative paths for the other dogs. Keeping our beloved Honey, we placed the others in good homes and returned to Charlotte with anticipation. Through her guidance we obtained a daughter of Ch. Rorralore Mickey Dazzler. She would later become the dam of BIS/BISS Am/Can Ch. Sir Joshua Of Winslow ROM CC.
- Royalty shines through
Sir Josh, as most friends referred to him, captured his breed championship in 7 shows taking Best of Breed three times from the classes including a Best of Breed win over 9 specials at the Ladies Dog Show Club under judge Sandra Macintosh. Following six months to mature, I began showing Josh to his legendary career. Amassing 177 Best of Breeds with multiple Group and Best In Show wins including 17 BISS wins and the 1990 and 1991 ASSA Award of Merit and BOS at the National Specialty at twelve and thirteen years young. Not bad for a first champion! As impressive as his ring performance was, his real legacy is his line. Josh's son Am/Can Ch. Winslow Summit Raise A Ruckus CC followed his dad into the ASSA Century Club as did Josh's grandson BIS/BISS Am/Can Ch. Winslow Summit Rob Roy, also an ASSA Merit Award winner and Best Of Breed at Westminster Kennel Club. Champions continue to come out of the Josh line throughout the breed. In fact, there are five generations beginning with Sir Josh who have achieved ASSA Register of Merit status. Beginning my handling career by showing Sir Josh's offspring, I began my professional career in 1981, having since finished countless breed titles, specialty, and group winners across the country.
It has been said that winning is a habit. Through years of practicing and refining winning habits it is with great humility that I am able to acknowledge a few of the successes I have enjoyed over the years I been on this amazing path.
- First breeder to have bred, owned, and shown three individual dogs who were enrolled in the ASSA Century Club.
- To date, the Winslow name has appeared on 28 breed champions, the vast majority specialty winners and most are Canadian breed champions as well.
- The only handler in ASSA history to have piloted five individual shelties into the coveted ASSA Century Club. My own 3 home bred champions and 2 client dogs. Am/Can Ch. Linden Keynote Takin' It Easy is a Pedigree Award Winner. Am/Can Ch. Classy Tresta's Torment is an ASSA National Specialty Merit Award Winner.
- For the past five years I had been the ASSA National Chairman and organizer of the three popular ASSA National Specialty programs: Ringside Mentoring, Adult Handling Clinic, and Breeders Workshop.
- I was the National Coordinator of the ASSA Regional Advisory Program which appointed and monitored over 60 advisors across the country who assisted in educating the general public and local clubs about our breed.
- Elected by the ASSA members, I judged our 2001 National Futurity as well as countless specialty and all-breed matches.
I remain an active member of my local AKC chapters, South Shore KC and Cape Cod KC in Massachusetts, as well as an active member of ASSA for the past 22 years. Achievements like this happen as a result of hard work, experience, a willingness to learn, and a determined spirit. But never had I imagined accomplishing so much. Over the 25+ years I have been handling and training show dogs, I have been fortunate enough to earn many honors both in and out of the ring. It is an honor to be recognized by my peers as a leader and teacher in the industry. These accomplishments could not have happened without the love and patience of my family combined with the guidance of those special few who were willing to share their knowledge and skills to help get me started. Through these generosities, I have enjoyed countless times of happiness and joy, not to mention a most successful career. I am most sincerely appreciative and forever in their debt.
- Continuing and improving the line
It has been my motto at Winslow Kennels – "Quality over Quantity". Following that philosophy I have never kept more that 5 shelties at home at any one time. Winslow Kennels has always bred no more than 2-3 litters per year, as that continues to this day. Holding true to my motto, we only show quality. One of our most recent homebred champions, Ch Sweetbriar Winslow Adonis. won BB from the classes twice and captured BOS from the classes at the Colonial SSC Specialty Show under respected breeder judge, Charlotte Tull, finishing his title that same weekend. We continue to find that quality, nurture it, and go into the ring fortified with decades of experience. Our newest endeavor is Winslow Good to Go who has already taken back to back Best of Breeds for his first points.
- Passing it on
It is through my ring experience I have developed a handling technique that has prevailed time after time, champion after champion. Over the past 10 years, I have perfected this technique through teachings at numerous clinics across the country. I have enjoyed the apprenticeship of a number of newcomers and am very proud of the up and coming handlers who have graduated from my training. I am happy to offer my skills and talents to any one who truly has the love for the dog and the heart for competition. I wish they too can enjoy the sweetness of success doing what they truly love to do. In February of 2008, my first DVD titled Winslow Way I – Tools of the Trade was made available at my clinics and through my website. Winslow Way II – Prepare to Win, the second DVD in the series, was released not too long after. A third DVD, Winslow Way III - Prime Time, is in production and planned for release in the spring of 2011.