June 10, 1995 - June 7, 2010

Death leaves a heartache
no one can heal,
Love leaves a memory
no one can steal.
- from an Irish headstone

Willie's picture Willie at 4 with a pheasant Willie as an 8-year old jumping in agility Willie as test dog at 2005 Master National

The pictures above show Willie as a 9-month old, at age 4 with a pheasant, jumping in agility at age 8, and running as test dog at the 2005 Master National at age 10.

Willie was whelped 6-10-95 and was a black son of Chance, a chocolate male bench champion and Tarn, a black female. Tarn had difficulty with this litter since the puppies were so large, being almost twice as big as the puppies in her first litter. Willie was born in the car on the way home from the vet's office, hence the name, 'On The Road Again', based on the song by that name by Willie Nelson, another Texas original. Although there are yellow dogs in Willie's pedigree, he produced only black and chocolate puppies.

Willie retrieved pigeons, chukars, guineas, ducks, and pheasants in training as well as doves, ducks, and crows in real hunting. He had the wild retrieving desire from his mother's side of his pedigree and showed the conformation qualities of his father's side of his pedigree. His nose (scenting skill) was superb and caused the only real problem for me in his training (he sometimes believed his nose more than me when I wanted him to handle).

Willie completed the requirements for his Junior Hunter title at Brazosport, TX on May 12, 1996. He travelled with me and his older half-sister, Classy, to the Longmont, Colorado area shortly after that. Classy needed one more master pass to qualify for the 1996 AKC Master National and it was a perfect chance for Willie to gain experience in conditions other than his native Texas. After the trip, his Junior record remained a perfect 6 for 6. On our return, he won the title of Best Junior Hunter at the Alamo Retriever Club annual Chris Conrad Memorial event. He qualified in his first (and only) attempt at a senior hunting test at the Alamo Retriever Club event held September 7-8, 1996. He ran the WCI (Working Certificate Intermediate - requires land and water double) and WCX (Working Certificate Excellent - requires land triple, land blind, honor, and water double) at the Dallas-Fort Worth Labrador Club test held October 5, 1996 and passed both to earn those titles before he was 17 months old.

He passed two master hunter tests in the spring of 1997 before the age of two. Willie completed the requirements for his AKC Master Hunter title on Halloween day, October 31, 1998. While picking up the second bird of a land triple in the last series of this test, Willie drove too deep and went through a barbed wire fence. He was stopped by whistle and brought back to pick up the bird, then saw a diversion bird thrown while on his way in. It was obvious when Willie got to the line that he was bleeding from the abdominal area but Willie was only interested in the birds still in the field. A brief look indicated it was safe for him to continue and he picked up the diversion bird and the third bird of the triple with no hunting required. He then picked up a long land blind with only one whistle correction necessary. After walking off the line, Willie was hustled to a nearby vet for anesthesia to close a deep, two inch gash in a very sensitive area. Willie continued his field work in the spring of 1999 to qualify for the 1999 Master National. Although he never competed in the Master National, he also qualified to run in 2000 and 2001.

Although Willie never earned any points in conformation, he was selected reserve winners dog four times, including twice from the puppy class and twice in majors, in very limited showing. Willie much prefered field work and focused on that most of the time. Despite his preference for the field, Willie passed the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test to earn that certificate on December 6, 1997.

Willie completed the requirements for his CD (companion dog) obedience title in Corpus Christi, TX on June 6, 1998. Willie entered four obedience trials and placed each time, earning a fourth, a third, and two second places in the Novice ring. Tresha did the competitive obedience training on Willie, then let me campaign him a couple more years in hunt tests before she began, during late spring of 2001, training him in agility. Willie was entered in his first 2 agility trials in April of 2002. He got 4th the first day and 3rd on the second day in Novice Jumpers with Weaves, leaving one more pass required for his NAJ title. He failed to qualify the first day in Novice standard when he did not clear the broad jump, then got 1st place the second day. At the same time Willie was running agility, his daughter Lulu was qualifying in the master hunter stake, and his grandkids, Clint, Luna, and Riser, were all qualifying in the junior hunter stake...all on the grounds of Triple Crown Dog Academy in Hutto, TX.

Willie completed his NA (Novice Agility) title with a 2nd place, finishing behind his son Yoda, at the Labrador Retriever Club national specialty in Sturbridge, MA in October, 2002. He completed his NAJ (Novice Agility Jumpers) title with a 2nd place, while earning his first two Open standard legs during the agility trial held at Hutto on November 30-December 1, 2002. At the Victoria agility trial on January 11, 2003, Willie completed his Open Agility (OA) title with another 1st place, making him 3 for 3 in Open standard runs with two 1st places and one 2nd . Willie also got 1st place in his first Open JWW entry at the Victoria trial. He completed the OAJ title at an agility trial April 19-20 where he also got his first two excellent standard legs. Tresha thanks Becky Saltwick and Lyons Agility in Austin for helping train her and Willie (and to a much lesser degree, me).

On the same weekend Willie was earning his Open Jumper title, his only son in a field trial home, Keemaka's Follow Your Bliss MH (Pete), owned by Salima Brown, won the Piney Woods Retriever Club's Qualifying stake.

As a sort of reprise, Willie earned his Agility Excellent (AX) title on Labor Day Weekend, 2003, while his son Pete was finishing second in a large Amateur All-Age stake in Colorado. Click here for agility pictures of Willie. Willie completed his Agility Excellent Jumper (AXJ) title in Victoria, TX in January 2004.

Willie came out of his semi-retirement in the spring of 2005 to finish his HRCH (Hunting Retriever Champion) title at the Colorado River Retriever Club test on June 5, 2005.

In the summer of 2006, after turning 11, Willie let us know that he STILL did not want to be retired. Tresha gave him a couple of refresher lessons in agility and some very basic exercises at Rally Obedience and Willie came back out in the fall to earn three more titles. He earned his Novice Agility Preferred (NAP) and Novice Jumper Preferred (NJP) titles at a Labor day trial, including 2 1st places and a 2nd. He earned his Rally Novice (RN) obedience title at Victoria on September 16, 2006, finishing 3 for 3 in Rally. At that same trial, Yoda, his son, also finished his RN title in 3 for 3 fashion, ending with a 2nd place.

Refusing to quit working, Willie passed 3 of 4 HRC upland tests (quartering, flushing, and retrieving pheasants) at age 11 1/2, then came back in December, 2007 to pass 3 (of 3) more to earn his HRC Upland Hunter (UH) title at the age of 12 1/2.

Willie's Title Progress:

05-12-1996 Junior Hunter
10-05-1996 Working Certificate Intermediate
10-05-1996 Working Certificate Excellent
12-06-1997 Canine Good Citizen
06-06-1998 Companion Dog
10-31-1998 Master Hunter
02-09-2002 Hunting Retriever
10-13-2002 Novice Agility
12-01-2002 Novice Agility Jumper
01-11-2003 Open Agility
04-19-2003 Open Agility Jumper
08-31-2003 Agility Excellent
01-08-2004 Excellent Agility Jumper
06-05-2005 Hunting Retriever Champion
09-02-2006 Novice Agility Preferred
09-03-2006 Novice Agility Jumper Preferred
09-16-2006 Rally Novice
12-08-2007 Upland Hunter

Willie had OFA approved hips (good) and elbows and his PennHIP DI scores (distraction index which rates hip joint laxity) were better than 70% of the Labrador Retrievers examined. His eyes were checked first at 6 1/2 weeks of age and again at 21 months, then annually until he was 137 months of age and he is CERF registered. His sire's last CERF was done at age 12+, two months before his death and his dam's was just after age 11. Willie was also Cardiac normal, as examined by a cardiac specialist and he was seizure free with no family history of epilepsy. He was tested to be genetically clear of CNM as well as EIC.

Willy began showing evidence of decline in liver function in November 2009. Willie fought valiantly and stayed in reasonably good shape until the last week of his life. He lost his final battle just 3 days short of his 15th birthday on June 7, 2010.

We collected semen from Willie at the age of 4 and have a number of straws frozen for future use.

Willie's Pedigree

                                CH KIMVALLEY WARRENTON
                        AM/CAN CH EXMOOR'S OUTLAW CD
                                Baroke Ms. Galadriel of Loren
                Exmoor Jordache Super D CD
                                Whiskey Creek's Jack Daniels
                        Frolickin' Flirt at Exmoor
                                Baroke Cinderella
                                ENG/AM CH LAWNWOOD'S HOT CHOCOLATE
                        Killingworth Alot O' Chocolot
                                Stonewood Killingworth Katie
                Bounty Grant's Instant Cocoa
                                CH WINGMASTER'S SUPER SLICK UD
                        Exmoor Love A Rainy Night
                                Ayr's Chocolate Gum Drop
                                FC-AFC TRUMARC'S RAIDER
                        NFC-AFC SAN JOAQUIN HONCHO
                                Doxie Gypsy Taurus
                FC-NAFC TRUMARC'S ZIP CODE
                                NFC MI-CRIS SAILOR
                        Seymour's Windjammer Mist
                                FC WANAPUM SHEBA
        Bakbay Cody's Tarnhunter MH CD WCX (9.5 all-age points, including amateur win)
                                NFC-2xNAFC SUPER CHIEF
                        Super Powder
                                FC MARTEN'S BLACK POWDER KATE
                Doc's Country Classic
                                FC-NAFC RAY'S RASCAL
                        Twiggy's Classy Rascal
                                Wanapum Twiggy

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