The Fossils Invade Kalamazoo!!

It was a rainy Friday afternoon in Kalamazoo, Michigan. You could feel the wave of anticipation. They were coming. All two hundred forty years of combined experience thundered along the drive.

Gloria, Dick, Linda, Connie, Teri and Marcia

The "Fossils" had arrived!!

And the fun ensued....

On the evening of August 8th, there began a "Golden Experience" not seen in generations. Connie Gerstner Miller, Dick Beckwith, Gloria Kerr, Linda Willard, Marcia Schlehr, Teresa Kocher, and a most experienced "Fossil-To-Be", Geri Gerstner Hart, all came together under one roof to provide some of the most exhilarating and educational presentations and discussion forums - focusing on the breed standard, structure and movement, and the lost art of breeding a proper Golden Retriever.

The "Fossils" shared experiences and presented ideas on the status of the breed; fielding questions during frank discussions on where the breed stands today and what can (and should) be done by today's breeders to maintain the Golden Retriever as a premier family companion.

On Friday evening, there was a special presentation by the "Fossils" on what it takes to develop a successful breeding program. All attendees were encouraged to participate in a discussion on the finer points of breeding a better dog, highlighted by a PowerPoint slide show reviewing the importance of canine structure, conditioning and movement, with emphasis on the all all important pedigree - and what it really means to a breeding program.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early, and Marcia brought everyone up to speed with on overview of the development of the Golden Retriever as we see it today.

Then the work really began - for both the participant and their dog!

This part of the weekend focused on improving the owner's ability to show their dog to it's advantage and understanding just what a judge is looking for when a dog is presented to him or her in the ring. Participants brought their dogs and all had a real workout experience! For the better part of a day and a half, they learned the canine basics through discussion and practice. A special session was devoted to grooming. Leash handling, gaiting, and baiting techniques were all practiced in a ring setting.

Paddy and Linda show how it should be done!


Grooming sessions are always a favorite with Twister and Teri.

And Paddy is ready to strut his stuff!

Gloria, Geri and Teri work the dogs in a demonstration on handling and baiting technique.

Geri works Libby to show how it is done! And the little puppy above says "Me next!"


The Cooks!

After the Saturday night Bar-B-Q, there was an additional presentation and discussion on the Golden Retriever Breed Standard - with a PowerPoint slide show highlighting the various points within the standard. Knowledge of the breed standard is vital to breeding a proper dog and all appreciated the "photographic" description of the Golden Retriever standard!


Sunday morning found everyone gathered at the Malagold home to view and evaluate puppies. This was exciting, as there were puppies at various stages of development and those in attendance were privy to the commentary and perspective of each of the "Fossils"- quite a unique experience!

Puppy evaluations at the Malagold home.


The weekend ended with an open "Q&A" session - with no topic left untouched! Thoughts on feeding and supplementing, concerns on health issues within the breed, current breeding trends and practices - a wide ranging discussion was had by all.

We want to thank ALL of the participants for their hard work and continued enthusiasm for the Golden Retriever breed. We need more opportunities to share ideas and mentor those willing to work towards that all important goal of breeding the best dog that we can. Thanks to everyone for participating in such a unique and wonderful experience!

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