Windham County Kennel Club match brings together dog-lovers
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Tue., Jul. 16, 2013
Jerry Dog lay in the warm grass, contentedly chewing on a chunk of moose antler. His owner, Hebron resident Dave Carr, stood nearby chatting with a customer. Carr, an Oma’s Pride sales representative, had set up a tent at Jillson Square in anticipation of a Windham County Kennel Club match.
Jerry is a very large golden retriever, and his adoption several years ago - along with challenges presented by the 2008 financial crisis - changed Carr’s life. Carr, recently divorced and working in the window and door industry, was beginning to realize that something needed to change. “The recession dried the market up,” he said. He learned from a friend that Jerry was looking for a new home.
“He was 11 months old and 110 pounds,” said Carr. Realizing the overweight, untrained pup needed an outlet, Carr got him involved in agility. “But he wasn’t very good at it,” said Carr. So Carr began making his own agility equipment to help Jerry practice. That led to selling equipment at pet expos and other events. At one such event, Carr met a woman who made her own dog treats. He offered to help her market them - which led him to a connection with Avon-based Oma’s Pride. “I kind of made my own job,” said Carr.
Currently, Carr spends his weekdays distributing products for Oma’s Pride, and his weekends networking at events such as the kennel club match. “It’s because of this rescued golden retriever that I’m in the business at all,” said Carr. But Carr also believes in his product. “The beef is as good as anything we feed ourselves,” he said.
Carr said Jerry and Oma’s Pride have opened up a whole new world to him, and a network of friends, including several who stopped by to say hello in Windham.
According to kennel club match chair Kim Holmes, the July 13 match was intended as a practice session for local dog owners, as well as a socialization opportunity for dogs. There were breed-specific specialty matches open to boxers and collies, and other matches open to any breed. Matches focused on breed confirmation and obedience. “This is an opportunity for younger handlers to gain experience with junior showmanship,” said Holmes, adding that several local 4-H members were expected to take part in the event.
One of those 4-H members, Lebanon resident Hannah, is a member of the New London County 4-H Club. She participated in a free one-hour class with her Chihuahua puppy, Jewel. Jewel was friendly and enthusiastic in the ring.
“She was a little bouncy,” observed Hannah’s sister, Natalie, at the end of the session.
“A little?” countered Hannah, with a laugh.
Natalie planned to work with her dog, rat terrier mix Pippy, during the event. Fellow 4-H member Salena, a Lisbon resident, was working with her sheltie, Fudge.