Dr. Melissa Goodman, Philadelphia, PA (Conformation - Gun Dog Sweepstakes)
While I am convinced that I’ve been a dog lover since birth (my parents report my crawling up to every dog I saw), my interest in the sport of purebred dogs didn’t begin until the age of 12, when my father took me and our Basset Hound puppy to training classes sponsored by the local Basset Hound club. I quickly became hooked on dog training, but not with a Basset! When Patches died during my first year of college, she was replaced with a Golden Retriever. Careful investigation had convinced me that this breed had the traits I desired: a sweet and loving nature, intelligence and trainability, desire to please, beauty and athleticism. I attended the most prestigious benched shows, talked to several breeders of winning dogs, and purchased a puppy with an impressive pedigree.
Emily became my constant companion through the stressful years of college and veterinary school. An eager learner and a born performer, she taught me what the breed is capable of – from High in Match as a youngster at our first obedience competition in Novice A to the first recipient of the San Francisco Gypsy Joy CD,WC Memorial Trophy as a veteran at the 1987 National. Unfortunately, Emily also taught me about limitations. Hip dysplasia and severe allergies kept her out of the breed ring and advanced obedience and field work, and lymphoma ended her life. More “careful investigation” showed me that “careful breeding” would have decreased the chances of these problems. I became fiercely dedicated to the preservation of the Golden – one which conforms to the standard in conformation, temperament, soundness and working ability, and still maintain good health.
My dogs are first and foremost beloved members of the family, and I only breed occasionally. I have been fortunate to have bred and or owned Goldens that have excelled in all areas of competition, have produced working guide dogs and service dogs, and have been excellent family pets and hunting companions. I have also bred and owned several Goldens who have lived past 17 years of age! Many thanks for the honor of judging Gun Dog Sweeps.