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Our History








My passion for dogs began at a very young age.  From the time I can remember, I have had a dog at my side--whether it be my first dog, Charlie Brown, whom we rescued (see picture above left), or my second dog, Honey (see pictures above center and right), who was my best friend and confidante for several years, or the strays that my friends and I would hide in our bedrooms at night and feed leftovers from dinner (see pic below), to my first real "show dog" that I finally brought home when I was nine years old (Ginger as a pup below).




When I was 6 years old, I picked out my second dog from the Humane Society.  Or rather, she picked me.  Honey was one of the best dogs I ever owned.  She put up with my novice grooming techniques, my incessant training, pet shows and dressing up.  I even conned my younger brother into pretending he was a dog; "Jo Jo" we called him, and he participated in the neighborhood dog shows I would host every summer.












As my family can attest, I was a dog fanatic growing up, studying breed books, attending dog shows by dragging any family member that would take me, memorizing every recognized breed and which group they belonged to, and begging my mom for a "real" show dog.  Finally at age 9, my mom said I could pick whatever breed of dog I wanted. It was between a Saluki and a Golden Retriever. A BIG difference! After my family weighed in, I chose a Golden Retriever. We researched our breeder well, knowing my interest was show and performance in obedience. We were lucky to obtain a show potential puppy from Jackie Mertens, of the well-known Topbrass kennel originally from Illinois, now in Northern Florida.


From the moment I brought Topbrass Tawney Ginger CD home, I was smitten with the dog show bug—the training, the atmosphere, the handlers, the dogs, the grooming, and the nerves. My mom was a trooper, hauling Ginger and me, and sometimes several of my Junior friends, around the Midwest to all of the dog shows. I competed in Junior Showmanship for 5 years, and was lucky enough to earn enough first place wins in my first year of showing to qualify for the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show in New York City. Through my local Golden Retriever breed club, I was able to meet some wonderful Golden breeders and traveled the Midwest showing their dogs with them in the breed ring. It was a privilege to show Ch. Meadowpond Trojan's Pride. 














It was all a wonderful experience, and I learned so much.  My younger sister even became "fleetingly" interested in showing dogs as well, and helped show my neighbor's Boston terriers at local matches.  And to round out the family involvement, my mom became interested in obedience and trained Ginger to the Open level. She obtained her CD and two legs on her CDX. Moving back East and other parental duties precluded Ginger from ever obtaining her CDX title.  Ginger taught me so much about responsible dog ownership, humility, patience, and devotion. She has been gone for many years, but she will always hold a very special place in my heart.



When I was ready to absorb myself in dogs again, it was many years later—after college, while I was in graduate school. My first Labrador came in 1992.  My passion for Labradors was confirmed the moment he came home. "Roman", Cloverdale Chocolate Hitman CD CGC TDI, embodied the true Labrador in every way: in temperament, drive, trainability, and appetite!








I purposely chose not to get involved in breeding Labradors right away.  I wanted to study pedigrees extensively, research genetics and heritable diseases, attend Labrador Specialties and meet wonderful Labrador breeders.  I wanted to train, compete and title the dogs that I had: Roman and his son, Zachary. And perhaps most importantly, I wanted to make sure I had the time for the commitment and dedication necessary to do it right. As a planner and analyst by profession, getting all my ducks in a row was second nature. I wanted to understand my "mind’s eye" to be clear about what "style" of Labrador I admired and wished to produce. And I wanted to be able to find a solid foundation bitch with whom to begin this journey.


Lisa Weiss of Lobuff Labradors bred Roman to one of her Ch. Jayncourt Ajoco Justice daughters and I took a stud puppy home who was to become my beloved Lobuff Nycoma’s Moonshadow JH CDX CGC TDI. When I was at her home picking up "Zachary", I saw the most beautiful yellow bitch and my heart melted. This bitch was her Am.Can.Ch. Lobuff’s Sundown at Kerrymark, "Sunny". I had always admired Lisa’s dogs, and decided that I would like to build my foundation with this bitch in mind. After much study and homework, I was able to find a Sunny daughter, Ch. Lobuff’s Onyx Alexandra, "Alex", who caught my eye in the Labrador Quarterly.

Through this bitch, I was able to meet Bob and Terrilyn Shober of Pembroke Labradors. They are wonderful people with wonderful hearts. Bob and Terri were kind enough to offer me second pick bitch out of a litter planned with Alex bred to Ch. Tabatha’s Drifter at Dickendall JH. My foundation bitch became Am.Can.Ch. Pembroke’s Sweet Alyssum JH WC CD.   My journey begins here, and what a ride it has been. I hope you enjoy a glimpse of this journey on the attached web pages. My Labradors make my life complete, and I feel blessed every day to share in their being.

Heather Johnson
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