One Proud Grandpa

by Milton Holcombe, AKC Field Rep

Charlie Hines of Hinsdale, Illinois, was one proud Grandpa at the Madison Retriever Club of Oregon, Wisconsin's retriever field trial on August 1-3, 2008. It had nothing to do with how the dogs he was running performed. It had everything to do with how his granddaughter, Riley Spain, of Los Angeles, California, performed as a handler in the Qualifying stake with his dogs, FC/AFC Windy City's Secret Signal (Cody) and FC/AFC Nick of Time Wild Wind Dusty (Dusty).

This eleven year old, soon to be sixth grader, had only a couple of days to learn to handle a dog on blind retrieves with hand signals. Last year at this event Riley handled the dogs in the Derby, but didn't have to deal with hand signals. This impressive young lady, with a few lessons from her Grandpa, who happens to be a pretty fair trainer and handler himself, got both dogs through a pretty demanding Qualifying.

Riley is also a competition snow skier and competes in slalom, downhill and speedtrap where last year she was clocked at 65 miles per hour.

Riley has a younger brother, Whit, who is nine, but she says he is not cut out for field trials as there is too much sitting around time between runs. She says Whit couldn't handle that as he likes to be busy.

When Riley was awarded her two Junior Handler ribbons by Club Secretary, Susan Exo, Grandpa was grinning like he had just won a Doubleheader. Quite a team, this young lady and her Grandpa and a genuine pleasure for all to watch.