SureShot Happenings

Gordon Setter news and general chatter

Introducing the Lovely Winston

Bluewin’s & SureShot Winning Design

At just 12 months of age, Winston is strutting his stuff and continues to show the promise we all saw when he was just a puppy. Winston went RWD at the GGGSC Specialty from the Bred by Exhibitor Class a week ago and then picked up RWD again the next day. Winston is by Am Can Ch SureShot Flying Colors TT x Ch Bluewin’s Wild Child. Breeder owners: Bob & Dianna Ellis, Norah Burrows & Bev Holoboff.  He’s a real looker and, yep, we’re pretty excited about him.


Winston on the move


May 1, 2011 Posted by | Conformation, Puppy News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Photographers Challenge

I’m not sure if there’s a more challenging camera situation than trying to capture a black dog on white snow on a sunshine-y day.  It’s a balance between getting detail on a black coat but not blowing out the definition in the snow.  Lynn Fleming, a friend of Barrett’s owner, Brenda Juskow used Barrett (Ch. SureShot Privateer, RN) to play with the settings and captured some amazing action shots.  Here are my three favourites.  You can see lots more at

Great job, Lynn!!

If I'm careful, I can balance on one foot!

No fair! That snowball caught me by surprise!

The eyes are the window to the world....

February 4, 2011 Posted by | General Dog Chat, Puppy News | , , , , | 2 Comments

And it all starts up again! Yay!

New trials and doggy activities are already underway for 2011.  The girls and I went to a PACE AAC trial for our first runs of the year.  I don’t take too many AAC trials in so wasn’t sure how we’d do.  But it was a really great weekend with the girls super glad to be able to run around after weeks of being trapped indoors thanks to the crazy snow we’ve been getting.

I had gone into the trial determined to keep my focus on the fun and to stop worrying about whether or not we got Q’s.  And it paid off with a weekend that just felt and looked happy.  The best part was that we’ve been struggling with contacts and weave entries at trials and those improved immensely.  Tatum had one of the prettiest Snooker runs I’ve ever had with one of the girls, exactly how I’d planned out the course and making it to the end of the course with a 49 pt score.  The next day she also had a really nice Advanced Gamble run as well.  Not to let down her end of the happy-bargain, Echo had a nice Q in Advanced Jumpers (which is quite surprising as she’s seldom fast enough for Advanced times) as well as getting the final Snooker she required for her Game Dog title (SGDC).

A very nice start to the year and a NADAC trial calls out to us for the next fun weekend together.

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Agility | , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter is just around the corner….

Our planned agility trials for the next few months start to lessen as winter roads and travelling with several dogs become a bit problematic.  However, the girls have been making the last few trials count.  A week ago, we had a wonderful weekend in Red Deer at the Hot Diggity Dogs NADAC trial.  The club puts on a really nice trial and judge, Kirsty Pearson made the runs lots of fun.  In all, we picked up four new titles, a new Award, and a great recognition:

Tatum, controlled her enthusiasm long enough to get her weaves and complete her Novice Weavers title.  That was the final requirement we’ve been waiting for to get her Novice Versatility Award so was cause for celebration.  And, she also managed the final Q’s for her Superior Novice Regular title to top that off.  Strangely (or not, since, really…who cares about the Q’s), her most exciting run of the weekend was an NQ in Chances where she missed a very simple discrimination right off the start line but went on to do the actual Chances portion flawlessly.  Tatum’s official (titled) name is now:  Ch. SureShot Paper Moon, AgNS, AgNJS, S-TN-N, O-TN-O, S-NAC, O-NCC, TG-N, S-NJC, HP-N, WV-N, Nov Vers.

Ticket also managed several Q’s which completed her Outstanding Open Jumpers and Outstanding Novice Weavers.  The most surprising celebration was for her Top Open Dog presentation.  Very cool!  Ticket is now: Ch. Drumdaroch Sure’sHot, AgNS, AgNJS, S-NAC, S-NJC, O-OJC, O-NCC, O-TG-N, O-WV-N, S-TN-N, HP-N, O-TN-O, SGDC, Nov Vers.

Echo picked up three Q’s in Open Regular at what appears to be her last trial for the year.  She’s showing some tenderness in her back so she’ll be on rest and rehab while we try to get a handle on that issue with, hopefully, a return to trials in the new year. This looks like the perfect opportunity to try out her roommate, Denham, to see how he takes to this sport when he’s not running at our practice barn. Could be really interesting as he’s got quite a different approach to things than his female friends!  It’s also possible he may be put to shame by Afton who also plans to make her debut that weekend.

Meanwhile, in another reminder that fall has come and gone, I got this lovely picture of Buck from his family, the Burkes, who put Buck’s talents to good use this season.  Buck is one of the offspring of our Erin’s litter and sibling to Mira, Clay, Logan, Clark and Afton.

Buck's got the nose!

October 30, 2010 Posted by | Agility, General Dog Chat | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Babies…

They aren’t all grown up but, at six months of age, a few of the Bentley x Smarty puppies are posing for pictures!  Here’s how Winston looks – he has really stolen my heart and, if he could talk hubby into it, would easily be hard for me to resist.





Awwwww... I love that expression.


And then there’s his darling sister, Winnie:




Dianna also got this picture from the owner of their brother, Solar, who is also looking mighty nice:




October 12, 2010 Posted by | Puppy News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Connections that Make for Smiles!

Over ten years ago now, I imported a couple of dogs from Australia with hopes that they would set a breeding direction for all my future endeavours.  As time and circumstances can do, things changed and my own plans have had to slow down a bit.  However, with just a very few breedings from Swagger and just one from Erin, it’s amazing how many events have resulted in celebration in just the last couple of weeks.

The most recent and hugely exciting was the completion of her Canadian Championship for Skye, Ch. Vanora SureShot Highland Skye (BIS BISS Am Ch Firethorn Sandpiper Easy on the Eyes x Can Ch FCC Ch SureShot Chosen One CGN).  Showing in an area with only a few points ever available, it was really exciting that she was able to add to her point count with three exciting group placements (a Group I, a Group II and a Group IV).  All this at the ripe old age of 13 months.  I am fortunate to be a co-owner and co-breeder of Skye along with the guy who shepherded her to these wins by his expert handling, Keith O’Flaherty, Vanora Gordon Setters.

Skye is a granddaughter of Erin who had also taken the showring by storm as a youngster so it was gratifying to see this success being repeated and taken even further.   In between the two of them is Mira, Can Ch FCC Ch SureShot Chosen One CGN, who has been no slouch herself in the showring.  Here’s a picture of Skye’s finishing photo which was also a Group II win.

Skye's a New Champion!

Congratulations to Skye and also to her very deserving handler/owner, Keith O’Flaherty who has steadfastly tried to make all the right decisions in his foray into Gordon breeding and showing and has now been so deservedly rewarded with success.

Then we were able to enjoy the fun of watching another “grandchild”, SureShot Georgia on My Mind, pick up a couple of points at a recent show, handled by her owner, Kathleen Gazey.  Here’s a great shot taken outside the ring which really sums up one of my primary desires … to see great, ground-covering movement.  Lovely.


Georgia On The Move...

Another “connection” that ended up with a huge win was that of Edward, BIS Am.Can.Ch. Sassenach King of the Castle (Ch Sandpiper’s Castles by the Sea x Ch. Sassenach Ringwraith SureShot), another of Swagger’s grandchildren, who recently was owner/breeder handled to Best of Breed at the Gordon Setter National in the US.  This is only the second time that a Gordon has won both the US and the Canadian National Specialty.  My connection to this isn’t just through Swagger as I was also co-breeder of that litter and now shepherd his sister, Echo, Ch SureShot Caisteal Sassenach, through her agility paces.  Many, many congratulations to both Edward and to Judith Brown who was smiling on the other end of his leash for that win.

At that same National, another Swagger grandchild, Can. Ch. Sassenach Caisteal a Tor was shown by her owner Bobby Tucker to a 3rd in the large open bitch class and to a first place in the Brood Bitch class.  And a daughter of Swagger’s, AmCh Moonsetter Balwyn SureShot made the final cut, handled by her owner and junior handler Livi Moon.

I was also happy to receive new pictures of another Swagger grandson, Doc, whose owner Margaret Legg was proud to announce his brand spankin’ new title, a NADAC NAJ title which, just being an agility title, makes me all warm and fuzzy 🙂

The past weeks have also been one of enjoyed “connections” as I was able to watch from a distance as a co-bred litter was whelped and photographed in California.  The litter sired by Ch. SureShot Flying Spur TT (another Swagger grandchild) out of Bluewin’s Wild Child, has shown promise from their first days and continue to exhibit that promise as they grow.  All along, the plan had been to keep a girl and that’s still the plan but there’s a lovely show boy that’s still looking for a show/performance home that we can’t keep our eyes off.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that one import was the only reason any of this happened.  Other people and other dogs have had a major influence in what transpired.  However, it is certainly gratifying to see the connections that have developed and resulted in so much good news for so many people.  And the things listed are simply what has happened in the past few weeks.  When one really looks at the connections that happen over time, it’s quite mind-boggling.

July 10, 2010 Posted by | Agility, Conformation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wish You Were Here!

Well, that’s not exactly what they said but it sure felt that way.  A week ago, I was at an agility trial.  It wasn’t a complete bust but the dogs were feeling the effects of the first warm day and were particularly sluggish.  A few dropped bars, a few slow turns and we weren’t exactly tracking towards picking up new titles.  However, thanks to my iPhone the day was still fantastic as news started to come in from extreme opposites of the country as I sat in the barn waiting my turn on course.

The first report was from Dianna Ellis in California, reporting that lovely Bentley, Can. Ch. SureShot Flying Spur TT had picked up Winners Dog/ Best of Winners/ and Best Opposite Sex at the Golden Gate Gordon Setter Club Specialty show for a wonderful 4 point major.  Here’s a picture of him motoring around the ring on his way to this win:

Wheee, here we go, Norah!

Here’s another picture of Bentley as he was getting groomed, waiting for his chance in the ring:

I'll just sit here looking 'dorable.

Bentley ended up making it a two-fer that weekend by repeating that performance the next day.  He now has all his majors and 14 points towards his American Championship.  He’s from my litter of Rokeena Balthazar x Ch. SureShot Keep the Faith and now lives in California with co-owner Dianna.

The next call was as far in the other direction, all the way from Nova Scotia, and came in from my friend Keith O’Flaherty.  He had some really exciting news. Not only had he shown Skye (who is just 11 months old) to a Puppy in Group Win, she also was awarded a really lovely Group 4th in the adult group.  Wow, doesn’t get much more exciting than that.  Here’s her show photo:

Just Lovely!!

Skye is Vanora SureShot Highland Skye (BIS BISS Firethorn & Sandpiper Easy on the Eyes x Can Ch. FFC Ch. SureShot Chosen One, CGN).  All in all a pretty thrilling weekend.  And, thanks to the magic of technology, I actually, almost, felt like I really was there.  There – a definitely fun place to be.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Conformation | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pretty Skye

Just wanted to share a photo of Skye, Vanora SureShot Highland Skye, that was taken of her recent Puppy in Group. Congratulations to Skye and Keith!

Lovely win for a first time in the ring!

I’m the lucky co-owner and co-breeder of the litter (BIS BISS Am Ch Firethorn & Sandpiper Easy on the Eyes x Can Ch FCC Ch SureShot Chosen One CGN) and very excited to see what she has in store for us in the future.

April 10, 2010 Posted by | Conformation, General Dog Chat | , , , | Leave a comment

Signposts for love

Recently I added an article to our main website on the value of titles by Sandra Mowrey – see it at

In response to her article, someone else made the point that it was the road travelled with the dog that was important and titles were just the signposts long the way.  Both the article and that comment resonated with me because, while I would value a dog regardless of whether or not it had a title, I’ve always felt the achievement alone means a lot.  Not as much about the dog, nor about me, but about the relationship we shared to get there.

This Way

So it is with great joy in my dogs and my relationship with them, I celebrated the seven new signposts we reached in the course of two weekends.

Echo and I reached a milestone with a first place Q in CKC Excellent Standard which finalized that elusive title for her, the first Gordon in Canada to achieve that so far.  I think I was as much relieved as I was happy with her performance that day.  The following weekend at a NADAC trial, she finished her Superior Novice Weavers title with a 1st place in a class of 16 dogs, moving on to the Open levels for her first Q there.  In addition, she also finished her Superior Novice Touch N Go title.  Her new “official” name reflects the many signposts that represent her agreement to humour me and do something that likely makes no sense to a doggy-brain.

Echo, Ch. SureShot Caisteal Sassenach, AgXS, AgIJS, S-NAC, ADC, S-NJC, O-NCC, S-TG-N, S-WV-N, HP-N, TN-N


Ticket thrilled me all weekend at the NADAC trial because she was so happy just to keep running and jumping (sometimes, actually in the direction I was pointing).  She completed her first Open title in her favourite game Tunnelers and also wrapped up her Superior Novice Touch N Go title.

Ticket, Ch. Drumdaroch SureShot, AgNS, AgNJS, O-NAC, S-NJC, O-NCC, S-TG-N, WV-N, S-TN-N, HP-N, TN-O:

And then Ms. Randomness herself, my brave and effervescent Tatum, picked up her Novice Hoopers title as well as her Outstanding Novice Touch N Go. And, if there was a title for sheer fun, Tatum would be at the Masters level in that one.

Ch. SureShot Paper Moon, AgNS, AgJNS, S-TN-N, O-NAC, NCC, O-TG-N, O-NJC, HP-N:

Tatum with ears flying

No matter what all we manage to accomplish in the, hopefully, many years to come, I will always be glad to know that the time we did have together was spent learning, loving, growing, and most of all in developing as a team.  They really are my special girls.

The same weekend  got even better when I heard that one of last year’s litter ( BIS BISS Am. Ch. Firethorn & Sandpiper Easy on the Eyes x Can. Ch. FCC Ch. SureShot Chosen One, CGN) reached his first signpost by showing real teamwork with his co-owner/breeder Keith O’Flaherty.  That proud little baby, Kole, added a CGN to his name:

Kole, Vanora SureShot Coal Town Boy, CGN:

Kole, the happy heeler

And no, I would never have been as brave as Keith to attempt this with a 10 month old puppy so high fives to both Keith and Kole!

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Agility, General Dog Chat | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blooming in Alberta

Interesting day I had.  Wanting a break from the winterscapes of the view from our windows, a dear friend and I went on a plant-outing.  First stop was the Muttart Conservatory where each pyramid provides a unique experience – escapes to tropical, arid, and temperate climates.  Not everything was in bloom but there was still an abundance of greenery and bright colour.  A real day-brightener.  From there, we headed off to a local greenhouse, where I found a lovely cactus/succulent arrangement and my friend picked out some little pots of bright blooms.  A quick way to bring the cheeriness of our day home.

Winter in Alberta?

It struck me at the time that most of the plants we saw, left to their own devices here, would be either dead or dormant.  However, with care, the proper environment and loving attention, anything is possible.  So much can be accomplished when people care enough to make it happen.  Brightly flowering plants in the middle of an Alberta winter are just one example.

So it felt like no real coincidence, that, on the same day, I had a very enjoyable visit from Logan (Erin’s son and Denham’s father) and his owner Laurie Foster.  What an incredible transformation!  Just one year ago, when he arrived at the Fosters, I was stunned to see the skinniest Gordon ever – a darling dog but painful to look at and very, very unsure of himself.  At 8 weeks of age, I’d been in awe of this puppy.  He was just what I hoped the breeding would have produced but, here I was a few years later, cringing at this poor little guy that was a shadow of what I thought he could be.

Now, flash-forward a year and this happy dog was in full, showable, weight and looked magnificent (well, ok, he could have used a show groom) .  A hunky, solid, well-constructed dog with a waggy tail.  Not totally confident in our house, he still was willing to try out a few of his newly learned tricks in this strange surrounding as well as go exploring and he definitely knew that Laurie was “Mom”.  His confidence grew with the length of the visit and it was wonderful to hear how comfortable and secure he feels and acts at his home.  He’s now becoming the dog he was meant to be and it just made me smile.  Here’s a few of the pictures I took (next round we’ll do some groomed ones).

Enjoying the view from the dog perch

I'm the king of my domain

Again, confirming…. With care, the proper environment and loving attention, anything is possible.  You just need to make it happen.  Thank you, Laurie, for taking Logan under your wing and bringing out the dog that was always within him.  He’s now blooming in Alberta.

All's right with my world

February 20, 2010 Posted by | General Dog Chat, My Musings | , , | 1 Comment