Someday Retrievers

Picture
by Linda Cline
It’s a sunny fall morning, and there is a slight breeze that drives a chill down my spin.  The fields are calm but just up ahead I can see a hawk hovering. The pheasants have been released and just up ahead a rooster is checking things out. The dogs are now unloaded and ready for their big day.  Jeepers is barking in the truck for fear he will be left behind.  I for one fully understand how that dog is feeling because the same adrenalin rush is within me.

Hello, my name is Linda Cline.  I am owner/operator of Someday Retrievers in beautiful Kamloops, British Columbia.  I am an avid upland pheasant hunter who offers packaged pheasant hunts at Twiggs Lodge just outside of Merritt, BC.

Breeding and training top gun dogs and upland hunting is my passion.

I grew up in West Vancouver with parents who owned a jewelry store and it would have seemed highly unlikely that one of their daughters would have chosen such a career.

In 1984 we adopted a dog that was later identified as a chocolate Labrador Retriever.  Chocolate colored labs were so rare back then that they were often mistaken for a Chesapeake. This incredible dog, Brownie, stuck to our three year-old like glue.  It was almost as if she knew Jesse, who had been born deaf, needed supervision.  She became his ears.  When Jesse was not in sight, I would call for Brownie, and Jesse would tag along. I was sold on this breed from then on.  They are loyal, loving, caring animals and so trustworthy with children.

 

Picture
Our second chocolate lab was purchased from people who considered her a washout in Field Trials. In those days, chocolate labs were considered inferior. Some breeders went so far as to destroy them at birth.  The old school mentality decreed that black labs were superior by far. We purchased Chelsea along with registration papers for $300.00.  We had been informed that this dog had approximately $2,000.00 worth of field training which meant nothing to us at the time.

I met a group of people while they were training their field dogs at Campbell Valley Park who immediately recognized Chelsea and offered to show me what she was capable of doing.  I was blown away to see how this dog was doing double retrieves, sitting on a whistle, doing hand signals and bird nuts.

Since this dog seemed to be pretty good at her job, perhaps there was a market for chocolate labs after all. While phoning around to find a stud for this dog, I accidently called upon a local breeder who also ran field trials.  They knew the dog quite well and informed me that I really was wasting my time. Chocolates were good for nothing and no one would want them.

Well, if there is anything I have learned in the dog business over the years, is that you really don’t want to tell someone who loves their dog that it’s good for nothing.  We all love our faithful companions.


 

Picture
I found the only Field Trials Champion chocolate stud at the time in Woodinville, Washington.  Luckily, this was just across the Canada/US border.  With the breeding done, 63 days later we had an all chocolate litter of gorgeous pups. 

Since chocolates were so rare, I had a line up of people waiting to take one home.  I was getting $700.00 for my pups where black lab breeders were getting only $400.00 – $500.00.  One gentleman was so desperate to get one of these chocolate labs that he offered me $1,500.00 cash.  It did not take long to see that I had a gold mine.  Other breeders got wind of the beautiful animals that I was breeding and selling.  It did not take long after that for the chocolate frenzy to take off.

To this day there are numerous chocolate labs all over North America competing in trials, used for K9 detection work, agility, hunting and as family companions.  I guess in the long run I was not the only breeder who had it figured out.

My husband liked to bird hunt so I felt the need to experience this rugged outdoor lifestyle too.  After all, I had the dog.  I got my hunting license and was immediately hooked.  I started with the local gun dog training groups in the lower mainland where I joined clubs and was overcome by the sport.  At that time there were few women in the game compared to today.I traveled on weekends throughout BC, Washington and Oregon to compete and couldn’t get enough of it.

Watching those dogs take a line to the bird with such tremendous enthusiasm and speed, I was in awe.  They are incredible intelligent dogs.  Before long, I knew the next chapter of my life was to become a pro gun dog trainer. Many of the old timers I had trained under had retired and there was a real need for new trainers.  I was now on a mission to produce the best chocolate labs possible and create top gun dogs.

One of the most amazing dogs in the sport is National Field Trial Champion Ebonstar Lean Mac who was born in Canada.  Before receiving his title, he was sold to a gentleman in the USA $50,000.00. That’s right, fifty thousand dollars!  He became the top producing sire in North America.  He won the National Field Trail

Championship four times which was unheard of, plus he had the most offspring ever to compete against a sire at that level of competition.  Fifty-four of his children, out of 100 dogs entered in the trial, were competing at the same National Field Trial one year.

 

Picture
Lean Mac was bred to Field Trial Champion Gator Points Sweet Potato Pie.  She was the first chocolate female in history to win a Field Trial Championship title.  This would mean that these pups would be black but chocolate factored and the first chocolates ever to be produced out of such an outstanding stud.  I had to have one.

The pup I bought from this breeding cost me $3,000.00 US at 7 weeks old.  I felt that I had bought the ultimate dog and never again would there be such a great breeding.  I named my pup BROKE.  I wonder why.  The total bill for this pup back then with shipping and exchange was $5,000.00 Canadian.  Yikes.

It became apparent to me that once a dog was trained that the owner needed some hands on experience. They need to become a team. I came up with the concept of offering pheasant hunts.  If there was an opportunity to get a young trained dog on lots of birds at one time, I would then be able to send the team home with not only a love of the sport, but with a close bond between the two that would become an everlasting friendship.

We set up waterfowl and upland hunts in Saskatchewan for three years. The long drive from BC got old real quick.  Now we are only 1.5 hours from our home in Kamloops and 3-4 hours from Vancouver at Twiggs Lodge on Salmon Lake just outside of Merritt BC.

To date we see mostly men who make bookings at Twiggs, however, I know there are women hunters out there too.  If you ladies like to hike and hunt, keep your nail polish on, put on your hiking boots, and let me show you an experience of a life time with man/woman’s best friend.  I have dogs available for those who don’t have the time or space for a furry friend at home.

I have trained numerous labs over the years, too many to count.  I started to make a name for myself and sold many dogs over the years; chocolate, yellow and blacks that became titled dogs in the Field and Hunting Trials.  Today I am still producing top Labrador Retrievers that are also sought after by the Police Department and RCMP for drug, bomb detection and search and rescue animals.

Eighteen years later, I know that I have mastered what I set out to do in my career.  The majority of my puppy sales come from referrals, which has enabled me to become one of the largest gun dog breeders in BC.

I could go on and on about dogs, as many will attest. I never shut up. Ladies, this is my passion and I’m thrilled you heard my story.

Go online to www.somedayretrievers.com to learn more about Linda and her remarkable dogs. You can email her at: lcline@somedayretrievers.com


Picture
Picture