Spaniel Field Rep’s Dog Gets Inducted into the Bird Dog Hall of Fame

A brief biography from Executive Field Representative Tom Meyer whose dog "Shadow" was inducted into the Bird Dog Hall of Fame February 7, 2010. Congratulations Tom on this wonderful achievement!


FC/AFC Bluff Creeks Shadow
6/79 to 6/94

Shadow had an interesting path to our family, to my heart and ultimately to his successes.

My father-in-law farmed across the road from a training field used by members of the Minnesota English Springer Spaniel Club owned by Gordy and Grace Madsen. As most families did back then there always seemed to be a get-together on Sundays. I remember many of those days watching this group train their Spaniels while I sat in the front yard.

In 1977 John, my then 13 year old started asking for a hunting dog, naturally a Springer Spaniel was his first choice. My comment was "well you’ll need to start saving your money" – simple enough comment. A few months later he said to me "I have a hundred dollars, there is a litter for sale in the paper. When can we go pick out a pup?" As it turned out "Maggie" was a pretty nice pup. A few months after she arrived we went over to the training group, not knowing anyone, with puppy in tow and started asking for help. Kerm Gillund, Bill Boeckman, Henry Kober and Carl Strandjord were there. The history of our/my involvement in the Spaniel world began. The new pup being trained by my son John and funded by me did well placing and winning in the Minnesota Club fun trials and a few puppy stakes over the next year, as it turned out Carl Strandjord owned the pups’ sire FC Deb’s Peppermint Schnapps. I soon found out a new litter was being planned with Dusti Lady Ann, a really nice female owned by Bill Boeckman.

In 1979 Shadow’s litter was born. I had the good fortune to be able to care for the litter for a couple of weeks while the Boeckman family was on vacation. The bond began, rather than one pup I decided I wanted two. One pup was the mirror image of "Schnapps" his sire, so "Shadow" seemed to be an appropriate name, the other, bigger male resembled the Mom, we called "Dozer". The training began on a regular basis with both pups on our twice a day walks-one dog (Shadow) always stayed in contact, he would hunt around check out the bushes, brush piles and grass clumps, then return for a pat on the head or eye contact and be off again. In the summer of 1980 at a year old I decided that two more dogs in training was more than the family budget would allow, I had someone interested in a started dog. I made the decision that the somewhat smaller of the two was to be sold, Shadow. John, my now 16 year old was very adamant and made the comment "why would you do that, Shadow does everything you want immediately, you don’t have to show him twice he just does it". It made me rethink the choice, for that comment I am eternally grateful, he was right! Shadow stayed.

Fall of 1980 was our first go at field trials. I entered three trials, Shadow placed 3rd in the second trial and 1st in the third. He also won the only puppy stake he ran in. He also made it to the fourth series of his first National amateur, all at 17 months. In the spring of 1981 he won his next Amateur to complete his Amateur Field Championship, then proceeded to place 1st and 2nd in the Open. In the fall he won back to back Opens and an additional 2nd, ended up 4th high point Open dog and his Field Championship completed. On the training day prior to the 1981 Nationals, Shadow sustained and eye injury from a multi-floral Rose bush and nearly lost the eye, fortunately with the aid of a very good local Veterinarian the eye was saved and he only lost partial sight. He was scratched from the Amateur and rested 5 days until the Open with the hope of competition. He completed the National Open later that week and received a Certificate of Merit, mentioned at the awards ceremony was his bird finding ability and pin-point marking. All this at only 28 months.

From 1981 thru 1983 Shadow finished 27 of 31 trials and placed in 17, in addition he finished 6 Nationals with a 2nd in both the Amateur and Open in 1982, a Certificate of Merit in the 1981 Open. 1982 high point Amateur, 5th Open high point.

In 1984 while living in Indiana Shadow was diagnosed with Lymes, this was the first such case at Purdue University Veterinary school. It took considerable testing and some education on everyone’s part to come up with the diagnosis. It was an article in "Gundog" magazine that made us aware. Due to the length of time trying to find the problem the side effect was that he was virtually sterile from that point on. While the Lymes did shorten his career somewhat and may have taken off his edge, he continued to run two more years and placed in 12 more Opens, finished three more Nationals and received two Certificates of Merit.

Shadow’s accomplishments to me were many, here are but a few that carry-on.

Shadow was only bred five times twice to notable bitches, he was:

  • Sire of a National Champion
  • Grandsire of a National Champion
  • Sire of two different High point dogs
  • Sire and Grandsire of several High point contenders

Additionally:

  • Finished nine consecutive Nationals
  • 29 placements for a total of 92 points (63 Open)
  • High point Amateur
  • FC/AFC at 27 months

Shadow ran at a time when frequency of events was not a luxury, although we did travel outside the inter-club we usually placed. He was my first field trial dog and I have had many good ones since, but he was an unusual animal the likes I have yet to come across again. He was easy to train, loved every minute of it and always wanted more. He never let me down, he failed two retrieves that I can remember both were in the fourth series of the Nationals, his first and last, but finished nine in between. Shadow is with me everyday, his ashes are in his first trophy and share a spot in my office.