While struggling with the tragedy of the death of my 1st husband, Jeff, in 1994, I was given a Black Lab puppy for my 2-year-old son, Jeffrey. This puppy was quite a handful, but he provided a source of unconditional love for us. He was a great little companion during a challenging time in our lives; "Jesse" was the beginning of my journey with Retrievers.
In 1998, my children were very young, and I wanted to work from home to spend as much time with them as possible. I decided to raise a litter of puppies from our two dogs, Jack & Lady. After a couple of litters of puppies, I realized that I had a lot to learn if I wanted to become a successful dog breeder. I began to do a good bit of research on raising puppies. I surrounded myself with people who knew the ins and outs of the dog business. Our veterinarian strongly encouraged us to breed high-quality Retrievers free of health defects. We also learned that the temperament and work-ability of the Labrador Retriever were essential. Over time we purchased a couple of well-bred puppies that would become our future foundation dogs.
Our family became involved with a local Hunting Retriever Club. This club consisted of hunters and folks who challenged their dog's ability to hunt by competing with them in mock duck hunting scenarios known as Hunt Tests. I challenged myself to learn as much as I could about duck dogs and hunt test competitions. We began working with our dogs, and in time we have had many dogs achieve AKC and UKC Hunt Test titles.
I didn't set out to become a dog trainer through the years of learning. I was content with breeding puppies and training my dogs. As our puppy sales increased, we began to have owners ask us for help with their pups.
Looking back, it's ironic that my oldest child was just a toddler when we got our first Lab pup, and now my youngest child has only ever known this life we live. The one thing that has never changed is my passion and love for dogs. When I have had a stressful day, I can often be found in the whelping room with my puppies.
Our family has seen trying times over the years, but there has been so much joy along the way. It is humbling to think back on how it all began and how our breeding program and kennel have grown over the years.
I am thankful to have a family that is supportive of my dreams! Jen
Our daughter Madison Hope Welch passed away on Nov. 21, 2014, in an auto accident after a duck hunting trip. Maddie was the most talented and driven young woman we have ever known. She loved to hunt, fish & be outdoors. Maddie was also a gifted writer and artist.