Both of us grew up surrounded by dogs, but our love affair with Labradors started with the adoption of two rescue Labs, "Tara" and "Little", while we were still in veterinary school. As a senior veterinary student, John did a theriogenology externship with Dr. Fran Smith of Danick Labradors, in Burnsville, Minnesota. John fell in love with a black bitch named Ruby of Cinnaman Creek JH CD and ended up bringing her home with him. Ruby was a field type Lab, very willing to please and with the lovely Labrador temperament. We bred Ruby three times and kept one yellow bitch puppy, Melissa of Ruby Ridge CD, WC, CGD, TT. We did everything with Melissa, we showed in conformation and obedience. We did field tests, temperament tests, canine good citizenship tests and took her with us to visit schools and nursing homes.
Today, our kennel is almost entirely made up of Tabatha Labradors. A few years ago, we imported a bitch from Colombia, BISS CH Vishnu Whoopi Goldberg del Cypres, a very similar type of bitch! Whoopi has continued the tradition by becoming a multiple specialty winning champion! We are now on our sixth and seventh generation of specialty winners. We are just as proud of the dogs we have bred that have become leader dogs for the blind and service dogs with Paws with a Cause and Indiana Canine Assistance Network. One of our boys, Jax, is one of the first dogs to become a grief counselor at a funeral home!
No breeder can become successful without a great mentor or two. We are privileged to call three top breeders our mentors: Carol Heidl, of Tabatha Labradors, who has been a friend and mentor since 1997; Chris Grisell of Nani's Weimaraners, who started out as our handler and, along with her husband, Ted, has become a dear friend as well as an important mentor; and Doug Johnson, Jeane Haverick, and Jamie Hubbard of Clussexx Kennels who have all taught us so much about everything to do with dogs and showing!!!