August 16, 2010

Her name is Maggie.  A beautiful, spirited black Labrador Retriever. Maggie, ABA Jake was Maggie’s registered name.  Owned by Lowell and Marilyn Summers, Southern Illinois.

Maggie, RU Spring Hunt Test 2010

Maggie, RU Spring Hunt Test 2010

I first met Maggie this past spring in Southern Illinois at Gun Creek’s HRC Hunt Test. I saw her again at RU and at SIHRC Hunt Test, fully expecting to watch this little gal run this fall for her HR Title.   Maggie is such a dream to watch.  She was fun, spunky and a darn good retriever.  I always looked forward to watching Maggie at the line the next time.  This past spring when I knew Maggie would be at a hunt test that I was attending, I would look for her and Lowell.

We see people and retrievers at hunt tests each spring and fall.  Before we leave, we say our goodbye’s until the next hunt test.  We take for granted that we will see our friends and their retrievers at the line the next time around.

I sent Lowell an email a few weeks ago telling him about a litter that a friend knew about, asking him to pass it on to anyone who was interested in a well-bred puppy this fall.  I was not expecting the reply that I received.

Maggie, Gun Creek Spring Hunt Test 2010

Maggie, Gun Creek Spring Hunt Test 2010

Lowell wrote back to me.  Maggie was 13.5 months old when she was struck by a vehicle last month and killed.  When the door was open, she got out of the house and ran towards the road.  Lowell (Buzz) and Marilyn brought Maggie home when she was 7 weeks old.

Maggie had just finished her SHR in April. This past year she had retrieved 107 ducks and 47 geese. Four times she traveled with a group of hunters and Buzz in a 500 horse power 24 foot air boat across the frozen reaches of Rend Lake to hunt geese.  Buzz wrote to me that Maggie was something to see retrieving geese over ice.  I believe it!

Buzz took her everywhere he went each day. She loved to ride in a golf cart that Buzz used each day to take her to the water.

Buzz had a dog blind set up in the house and each night he would tell her to go to  her blind and she would enter it and lay down.  When Buzz told her to come out, he would give her a treat. After a while she would sit down in front of him and if he said nothing she would go to her blind and lay in it.  Maggie’s favorite toy?  The three rubber rings you see in every pet store was her favorite.

Buzz never had children and his wife Marilyn has one grown daughter from a previous marriage.  I am sure each of you reading this can see how important Maggie became to Buzz and Marilyn.

Maggie and Buzz SIHRC Spring Hunt Test 2010

Maggie and Buzz SIHRC Spring Hunt Test 2010

Buzz has now placed a deposit on a pup from David James, a well-known trainer in Central Illinois.  He is going to name her Casey Fork’s Junkin.  I asked Buzz why that name.  As we all know, almost all dog’s names come with a story or some sort of meaning.

Buzz and Marilyn reside near the  North end of Rend Lake.  Actually a thousand feet from a boat ramp that gains access to the Casey Fork Sub-impoundment area that becomes 2000 acres of flooded crop fields in the fall. Nearly 5000 ducks are killed there each year.

Buzz retired as a Park Ranger at Rend Lake after 30 years and now hunts 60 or so days each year.  Hence the Name Casey Fork.  Junkin is a combination of the pup’s Dam (Jump) and Sire (Duncan).

I wish the best for Buzz and Marilyn and their new Labrador Retriever, Casey.  I am looking forward to watching little Casey at upcoming hunt tests.

Maggie RU Spring Hunt Test 2010

Maggie RU Spring Hunt Test 2010

Any of us who knew Maggie and had the pleasure of watching her work will miss her very much.

Buzz, Casey & myself will see you at the line,

Wendy Porch
Shadowhill Retrievers
Total Retriever Photography And Supply Store

All of us look for the best laundry soap for our camo that doesn’t smell like flowers and that won’t ruin our expensive camo.  I have a solution.  I have made this and love it.  You don’t smell it, it’s very inexpensive and it works well!

The cost of this laundry soap is approximately 11.00 per 576 loads of laundry.  I use it at home and with my camo.  You can purchase the ingredients at most grocery stores.  They can be found at Rural King stores and most farm and home stores as well as Schnucks in the laundry isle.

You need the following:

  • 1 box of 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
  • 3 bars of Fels-Naptha
  • 1-5 gallon bucket with a lid (I purchased mine at Home Depot)

The three bars of Fels-Naptha with the two other boxes will make enough laundry soap for approximately 576 loads of laundry.

Note:  I also put a half of a cup of Oxy-Clean in my mixture for a little extra boost.

Many people say that they have made and used this laundry soap and are very pleased and impressed with the recipe.  Mostly, they like the cost because it is inexpensive and works as well as Tide, if not better.

Step 1:  Finely grate approximately 1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha bar soap and put it into a sauce pan with 6 cups of hot water. Do not boil the water.  Keep it hot though and stir it until the soap melts.

Step 2:  Once the soap is dissolved, Add 1/2 cup of Borax Laundry Booster and  1/2 cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda to the sauce pan.  Stir until all powder is dissolved.  This is where I also add 1/2 cup of Oxy Clean.  You do not have to but I do.

Step 3:  Add 4 cups of hot water into your bucket.  Once you have added the 4 cups of water to your bucket, add your soap mixture from your sauce pan and stir briefly to mix.

Step 4:  Add 22 cups of water to the bucket.  Make sure the water is room temperature.  Stir to mix and let stand COVERED for 24 hours.  Contents in bucket should gel.


Note:  If it doesn’t gel, it will still work fine.  if it doesn’t gel, I would stir it before using it.  Store product in your closed bucket.  If you don’t, the water will evaporate out of the mixture.

For home use, once the mixture is cool, I add 15 drops of Geranium Essential Oil and 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil.  I then stir it up and let it sit with lid shut tight for 24 hours.

Last Summer I had the pleasure of training quite a bit with Deb West of Brownwaterdogs.  Work has not allowed me to train with much of anyone this summer and I do miss it!  Deb has several beautiful, hardworking, talented and very smart Chocolate Labrador Retrievers.  Deb has owned, loved, trained, competed and has hunted with Chocolate Labrador Retrievers for 25 years.

I asked Deb, “In your eyes is there any other color than a Chocolate Labrador Retriever?”  Not for Deb!  Deb believes that any color lab is great but she  just prefers the chocolates.  Her love for Chocolate Labradors started in 1989 with her first chocolate dog, Snickers.  Deb was one of VERY few chocolate owners at the time to run hunt tests.  She took a lot of ridicule for owning a Chocolate.  When she would walk to the line at a hunt test, she could hear snide remarks such as, “What is that?  Would ya look at that dog, what is it?”  Deb said, ” They have no brains.”  The one that got to Deb the most  was the comment, “Here comes that short woman with that ugly brown dog.”  At that moment Deb decided it would always be brown dogs for her and that eventually she would have some of the best around.

Deb’s dogs do not have dual titles but their breeding and health certs speak for themselves.  Deb has Brownwaterdogs in IL, MO, AR, MS, TN, NY, AL, and Canada.  Many are HRCH’s, MH’s and GRHRCH’s.

Brownwaterdogs Brave of Heart Tic

Brownwaterdogs Brave of Heart Tic

The man who made the statement to her about being short and owning an ugly brown dog is a judge and judges her often.  Deb said, “He has probably forgotten he ever said that to me.  Maybe one day I will tell him how he inspired me and gave me a goal in dog  life.  What is funny is…I have one male dog who every time this man judges us, as we are leaving the line, my dog runs over and pee’s on his chair!  Hilarious.”

Deb now owns 6 Chocolates and she co-owns one.  She has 2 males, the rest are females and the co-owned Labrador is a male also.

I asked Deb why she likes Labradors so much.  She replied,  “Hunting waterfowl and upland was the main reason.  I also like larger dogs.”

Deb trains her Labradors mostly by herself up through the HRCH title.  At the Grand Level she hires and works with Scot Barnette in Eldorado Arkansas. Deb still works to afford her dogs so when it gets to the level that they need a lot more time afield than she can give them, they go to Scot.  Deb did say, “Although next year I am going to run the Grand myself with one of my girls that is not going for outside training.  Going to try it at home!”

Tic’s full registered name is GRHRCH Brownwaterdogs Brave of Heart.  She is 6 years young and still a beautiful hardworking Retriever.

As each of you well know, most dogs have a story behind their names.  I asked Deb if Tic had a story.  Tic’s story is amazing and I knew the story before I asked her but I love hearing and reading it over and over again.

Deb had a litter due out of GRHRCH Ouchita River Squeler at the same time her husband was to have his 4th open heart surgery.  Four open heart surgeries are almost unheard of.  Tic was born 2 days before Tom’s surgery.  While Tom was recuperating, Tic gravitated to Tom and they became great friends.  They named her “Brave of Heart” for her husband Tom and Tic for ” heart.”  Brave of Heart was coined by Deb’s friend, and cheap kennel help, Barb Wedemeyer.

Tom and Squeler Fall 2009

Tom and Squeler Fall 2009

Tic has a Grand Hunting Retriever Champion.  The highest you can go in HRC.  Deb’s dogs only run in HRC Hunt Tests.  Deb had run dogs in field trials but that was many moons ago and very unappealing for Deb.  Deb loves the HRC organizations and although she believes there are many great organizations out there, HRC is her family and dear to her heart.  The fact that HRC handles the gun and the realism of the tests is also another reason that Deb only runs her dogs in the HRC Hunt Tests.  Deb stated, “We train to hunt, hunt testing just means our season never ends.  The ribbons and the titles are just a plus!”

Deb does handle her own dogs at the hunt tests and says, “That’s the fun of it. And I encourage all women to do so.”

Tick  is the daughter of GRHRCH Ouchita River Squeler, also Deb’s dog,  and her sire is GRHRCH Gator Pts Magnum Gentle Ben.

When she was a puppy Deb realized that she had what it takes to go all the way to the Grand.  She had great desire to hunt and to please as well as trainability.  Deb told me that the three are the basic ingredients to start.

I asked Deb what kind of preparation did it take for Ticker to train for the Grand.  Her reply, “First you must have at least 100 points on your dog to enter a Grand Hunt. Normally that is a Hunting Retriever Championship title.   You have to pass the Grand test at least 2 different times.  Each Grand hunt test is 5 days long. It consists of 2 water series, 2 land series and an upland test.  You have to then have at least 300 points on the dog to be actually awarded the title.

Preparation actually starts when they are puppies, making sure that they are allowed to be pups while young, and not pushing them to hard while at the same time training them for good manners, good marking, and good lining drills.  Then once a HRCH is achieved, you start fine tuning even further.  Longer marks, blinds, then even shorter marks and blinds, obsticals, in all-weather conditions and terrains.  You never know what you will find at the Grand in a hunt scenario.  A lot of people think it is the longest marks and longest blinds…not necessarily so….they can be short, and they can get very technical.”

Tic has passed the Grand twice now and has earned her GRHRCH Title with UKC/HRC.  Scot Barnette in Arkansas trained and handled Tic for her Grand Title.  “Scot isn’t a big name trainer but he is very good.  He has taken several dogs through to the Grand to earn their titles,” said Deb.



I asked Deb to tell me a little bit about Tic’s temperament.  Deb stated that Tic is very mild-mannered.  She does get a long with most dogs.  At home, Tic is very protective.  Tic, like her mother is a people dog.  Tic would rather be with other humans than other dogs.  Deb said, “That’s funny cause I would rather be with dogs than a lot of people I know!”

Deb is planning on breeding Ticker in the future,  in fact this fall.  A southern gentleman named Cash has been courting Tic!  Tic very well may become a “Southern Belle” soon!  Cash has passed the Grand once and is running this October for his title.

If anyone is interested in a puppy, they can contact Deb via email at

Deb does have an application process that potential owners must complete before they can purchase a puppy.  Deb likes to screen the folks who her pups go to.  Her pups are bred for hunting so she wants to make sure that hunting will be a part of their lifestyle.  A deposit will be required to hold one’s spot on the list for male or female.  Deb did tell me that the first 2 females are already spoken for from her next litter.  The price is not set yet, but there is a break to HRC homes!!

Now that Tic is a GRHRC, she will be working towards earning her 500 points with UKC/HRC.  If any of you have a chance to watch this dog work, she is a must see.

I asked Deb how owning Tic has changed and/or added to her life.  In Deb’s own words, “Tic is one of my favorite girls.  She is very much like her mom, Squeler and one day I will probably get her licensed as a therapy dog as well when Squeler retires.  She is great to run in tests.  You have to have confidence in one another and we certainly have that.  She is also a very beautiful chocolate, very dark, in fact some people ask if she isn’t black! She is a pleasure to have.  I cherish everyday with all my children!!”

Deb and I hope to see you at the line!

Wendy Porch
Shadowhill Retrievers
Total Retriever Photography and Supply Store


August 8, 2010

I had my computer fixed.  Just got it back but am still having problems with my local outgoing server.  Hopefully that will be fixed tomorrow.  It looks like my internet provider shut down the outgoing email due to all of the spam that was being sent out.

The problems that I had on my computer was a bot and trojans.  It wasn’t cheap to fix and a big pain.  I bought Norton 360, it’s supposed to be the best anti-virus protection.  I had McAfee.  I guess it didn’t work. 😦

At least it’s all done and over with, finally!

Make sure your computer is locked and loaded.


It’s been a beautiful day.  I’ve been rather lazy today, just resting and relaxing for a change.

I think I”ll get the boat out and go fishing this evening after I eat supper.  If I catch the big one, I’ll take a photo and upload it for you to see!


Training Ducks

August 4, 2010

Is anyone else around the United States having a hard time finding good live ducks for retriever training?

A man from the state of Washington drove all the way to MO to find good flyers.  Many trainers and hunt clubs  in the Mid-West are having trouble find flyers.

If you know of any places you know of, will you please post on this blog?

Thanks so much,


Hi everyone.  I have another announcement and a tip for you!

Nothing is worse than smelling the left overs of a wet Labrador Retriever in your vehicle.  A friend of mine sells Scentsy wickless candles.  I bought a bunch of them and my dogs have one in their sun room, I have them all over the house and I put travel tins in my dog car.   The car smells wonderful and I don’t smell wet dog!

I like the product so much that I joined Scentsy and now I sell it.  You can go to my Scentsy web page and because this is my launch month, if you purchase online, Scentsy will give you a 10% discount.

I use the travel tins and the Scentsy circles that hang in my rear view mirror.  They have manly scents and I like Peligro.  It smells like a men’s cologne.  Leather smells good in the car as well and a lot of men like that one.  It makes the car smell like a new car.  They have winter and Christmas scents.  They have floral scents, romantic scents, you name it.  They have a scent that smells like a fireplace and cabin.  So yes, you trainers and duck hunters can have a vehicle that smells nice too!

Go to my Scentsy site and browse around!  Wendy\’s Scentsy Site The plug in’s and wickless candles, as well as sprays make great Christmas and birthday gifts.

Thank you everyone for your support.  I certainly appreciate it very much.

Wendy Porch
My Scentsy Site

Hello all.  I have great news!  Kimber had her hips, elbows and eyes tested last week.  Everything checked out!  I mailed her x rays to OFA Monday and I mailed her eye report to CERF as well.  I should have her reg numbers soon to post on my website.  She is EIC Clear and now that her hips, eyes and elbows are great, I will have her tested for CNM, although she is cleared by parentage.

Kimber, my girl is out of Cuda Blue Ryder.  As soon as she comes into season, I am breeding her with Ten Bears Road Trip QAA “Tick.”

I do not have Kimber’s pedigree attached on my website because I do not have it scanned.  However, her mother and her father’s pedigree both are on my web page.  I did add links that will take you directly to both pedigrees.  The link to Tick’s pedigree is also on the page.

I posted a lot of information that you can read about each of the dogs.  I also posted several photos of Kimber and Tick.  In fact, all photos on the page are of Kimber and Tick.

Please enjoy and contact me if interested.  I don’t think these puppies will last long.  You can see my upcoming litter by going to Shadowhill Retriever\’s Upcoming Litter Enjoy and happy reading!

Thank you,
Wendy Porch

Hello everyone.  I’m sorry I have not blogged lately.  I have promised interviews of spectacular dogs and training tips.

My email server has been hacked.  It has been sending thousands of spam emails.  I cleaned my computer myself.  I thought I had it fixed as we changed all passwords on servers and such.  The next day, Outlook 2007 wouldn’t send again and was acting up. My interviews are in my Outlook and I do not want to open it up.  Email from my iPhone is okay.  I can send photos from my iPhone.  I can upload photos to here from my iPhone.  I just can’t upload photos from my computer until I know they are safe.

I called and have to take my computer into be cleaned, scanning each and every file and I think they scan them individually.  I had to back all of my hunt test photos tonight and they are still backing up.   There are over 25,000 photos from hunt tests backing up and that is just since last fall.  Once they are on the external hard drive, I have to scan them before I put them back onto my computer once it is cleaned professionally.

It will take 4-6 days to have my computer cleaned.  So please be patient with me until I am able to open up my Outlook to access my interviews in order to write my Retriever Line-up, post photos and write my Training With Mitch articles.

I can’t post photos from my computer but I can get online.  I can write a few words on my iPhone and I can also access my Mac.  My photos are not on my Mac, though!  They are on my laptop that is being taken into the shop tomorrow!

I know, it’s a mess.  It’s not fun and I have no clue what kind of kicks people get from upsetting people’s lives.  It’s going to be rather expensive to clean the computer.  I can almost purchase a new one for what one store was going to charge me to clean.  I’m almost tempted to just restore my computer back to the factory settings and start fresh.

One thing they told me to NOT to do that will help to not get a virus is the following:  You know all of those forwarded emails you receive and the addresses are not in the BCC field?  Well, don’t open them.  If you send an email to several people who you know at once, make sure you put their addresses in the BCC field before you send.  If you forward email to people, make sure you use the BCC field.  This way, hackers can not get the email addresses because you have sent them as a blind carbon copy.  When all of these emails are forwarded, they sometimes get forwarded to the wrong people.  The wrong people now have access to each and every email address in the mass forwarded email and can hack every email box.  It will then send thousands of spam from all of these accounts.  They can also send you Trojans because they have your email address.  Trojans will infect many files on your computer. Before you know it, your computer is attacked.  Just don’t mass email, period, especially if you use web email a lot and don’t have a virus protection for web-based email.

I’m sorry for all of the trouble and hopefully everything will be back on track soon!

Wendy Porch

Blu trained with his litter mate, Honey Sunday at Busch Wildlife. If I can get it to load, I am going to add it to this blog! I think it’s only going to let me add photos. 😦