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Rip Wins the VS Award

Julie Hogan

As the breeder and the friend of Rip and Janet Kolakoski respectively, I am so proud of their accomplishments. Janet has always enjoyed her dogs to the fullest extent by participating in many aspects of canine activities. Her first Springer, "Honor", had American and Canadian CDX, TD and Canadian TDX, and Senior Hunter Title. Her second "Clue" is an American and Canadian Champion, American and Canadian TD, and CD and American CDX. Her youngest ESS, "Fly" is a JH, NA,NAJ,JH,CD,U-CD, U-AgI at 2 years.

But our focus is on "Rip" who is one of the special dogs in both Janet's and my life. She was the "puppy no one wanted"…with her all white face. She was one of 11 puppies from the third repeat of FC/AFC Pondview's Windy Acre's Yankee and FC/CFC Sunrise Ringer, CD,MH. She grabbed Janet's attention from birth. She went to Puppy Kindergarten and started her field introduction…her debut being the Pee Wee Puppy Derby when she was 5 months.

Everything Rip was introduced to, obedience, agility, field, was met with equal enthusiasm, if not a little too much at times. Janet wanted to do the hunt test program with Rip so in July of 1995, while she at the beach, she left Rip for a month's vacation with friend and professional trainer, Jeff Brooks, for her introduction to formal field work. A gifted student, Rip quickly learned the basics and earned her Junior Hunter that fall, with Janet handling.

1996 was a busy year, Rip and her older sister Taz and mom, Ringer, all went to Spaniel club to begin the quest for their CDs. Ringer and Rip qualified. They both completed their CDs that winter/spring. June of 1996 Janet broke her ankle running in Agility so Rip went to Uncle Jeff's early and showed such promise, Janet left her longer for steadying, while her ankle healed. That fall she let Jeff run her in a few puppy stakes, taking a 1st and 3rd. Janet handled her to finish her SH, her UKC AgI. Janet decided to put Rip's field trial career on hold while pursuing other interests. 1997 Janet was more involved in Agility and Obedience. She completed Rip's Novice Agility title. I had two knee replacements in January and February, so dog activities were on hold until fall. Then on September3,1997, Ringer was killed in a tragic accident. Late that fall I asked Janet if she would allow me to start running Rip in Amateur and Master Hunter, wanted a connection with Ringer again. We started working together but Rip was "a lot of dog" for me, and I had very limited experience in field trial handling.

February of 1998 Jeff Kitson a friend I train with, asked if I thought Janet would let him run Rip in Amateur, since I decided I would run in Master Hunter tests first. So Janet "allowed" Jeff to pay the entry fee and as long as I delivered Rip at the trial, he could handle her. It was her first All Age trial, and they won it!

I handled her to her first two Master Hunter legs that next month, and that is when I truly had a spiritual experience with Rip…I saw and felt Ringer in her. The experience of being with Rip in the field, and feeling the presence of Ringer, made me realize I needed to handle her. We qualified seven times in Master Hunter and got a 4th Place at another All-Age Amateur. I was convinced Rip had a destiny to fulfill. Janet graciously "shared Rip with me, and Jeff Brooks took her for training off and on that summer. Jeff ran Rip in Canada, getting a Open Win, and then Won the Open All-Age in Maine. She ended 1998 with three All Age Wins, her MH and her U-CD.

Jeff and I agreed it was hard to run Rip in both Amateur and Open, so we agreed I would do the Amateur first. But it was a rough spring, and in June we found Rip had Lymes disease and had had it off and on for months. Aggressive treatment finally got it under control, and she was able to return to field trials in the fall. Jeff Brooks was to run her in three fall trials in Open. They won the second one, and by passing her water test on 10/02/1999 Rip became a Field Trial Champion. With that completion she qualified for the ESSFTA's Versatile Springer award. It was a family affair, and I am so proud of both Janet and Rip, and so pleased to participate. It is never the end of the story…there's more fun ahead.

Julie Hogan