Back to Home About the Handler About Wylie About Shine About Dart About Flick About Totem About Wylie


June 8, 2002 - October 30, 2018


BISS TC AFC Red Oak Totem from SnowRidge MH, ROM

NAVHDA: Prize I, Natural Ability
USDAA: Performance Dog I

Dart-Dart was a once in a life-time dog. My goal was to get a field trial dog that I could finish in the show ring myself. What I got was the best ride of my life. I picked a couple of dual field trial dogs and waited until they were bred to a dual field trial bitch. When the breeding of Celtic, owned by Laura Bauman, to Sassy, owned by Randy and Sue Boggs happened, I knew would have the dog I wanted. Here's her story:

When was Dart was about 14 weeks old, I got my first pair of verilux glasses. We went into the backyard to work. The glasses bothered me so much I took them off and hung them off of my back pocket. Hours later, when I went into the house, I realized I'd lost the glasses in the back yard. The back yard is an acre. I knew I couldn't retrace all my steps to find them. I just stood by the back door and looked at the huge back yard thinking I had lost my new glasses.  When here comes Dart running up to me with my glasses in her mouth.  And that was the start of wonderful relationship.


How did Dart-Dart get her name? As a puppy, she didn't respond to "Dart" so I called her Dart-Dart-Dart like pup pup pup. She responded to Dart-Dart-Dart.

When she was about five months old, Pam Williams and I exchanged Roady and Dart. My goal was to introduce Roady to birds and Pam's goal was to get Dart's ears and tail up for the show ring.

When we gave each other our dogs back, Pam said, "I've got her name down to Dart-Dart. That name stuck.


Put Dart on 10 birds a week each week from the day she came home for the first six months, at the conservation club. She would lessen her intensity on point if I touched her, so I just let her figure out what she wanted to do. I never flushed a bird for her. If the bird flushed on its own, she just watched it go. By the time she was four months old, I timed one of her points at four minutes. I had time to go to the car and get Flick to work on his backing. More often, however, she believed the routine was 1) she finds the bird, 2) I take her picture, and 3) the bird flies away.

Flick backing puppy Dart-Dart

There are several field trial runs that I remember. One of the ones I loved the best was when Dart was entered in Puppy Derby at the Cleveland walking trial at the Brittany Grounds in Pennsylvania.

She was braced with a guy who'd never been to a field trial before. I told him, "we stand here, let the dogs go run over there, and don't let your dog play with mine."  When the judges told us to release the dogs, I tooted my whistle twice. Dart took off.  He said to his dog, "go get her".

Dart outran the other puppy. He couldn't keep up or reach her. But then, she went on point. The puppy ran and jumped on her broadside. She held her point.

The puppy melted off. Then he ran circle around her barking at her to play. She held her point. The judges finally told the other handler to get his dog. Took him a while to catch it. Dart held her point.

Then the judges told me to flush the bird. I was sure there was no bird left, but I found it and flushed it. Dart watched it fly away. The other puppy did too.

For the next release, they separated us by the width of the 10 acre field. Dart took off again hunting. The puppy followed, once again, not catching her. The other handler finally separated his puppy.

Dart won that stake, but the puppy got fourth place because of the run he did following Dart.


Dart placing first in puppy an derby stakes.

This is my favorite video of Dart.

Wylie was born with an extra blood vessel in his heart that restricted food from going down his esophagus. Once we figured it out he was scheduled for heart surgery. In the meantime, he had to eat in an upright position so that gravity would move the food past the restriction. We put him into a waste basket to keep him upright. Then he had to stay in the upright position for about 10 minutes after he ate to make sure all the food went down. Dart helped him stay in the waste basket.

Another favorite video

Dart hadn't seen her pups for over a week as we were weaning them. So, I let her have some quality time with them with supervision so that they would not nurse. Whenever one attempted to suck, I said, "Dart Dart move". See what happens.

We had the perfect workout.

Deborah Lynn and I would meet weekly at the conservation club and work Jeb (left), Dart (right), Shine & Bea. Debby was working Jeb for his AFC and I was working Dart for her FC.

When we arrived, two of the club's good ole boys were just sitting by the field. They were there to avoid their Honey Do lists, so they yielded the field to us and went into the barn to light the wood burning stove. Debby and I planted six birds on the 23 acre field. We agreed we'd work pointing, backing through..., steady to wing and shot, and retrieving.  More often the dogs backed each other without assistance.  If not, we'd bring in the backing dog after the first dog established point.

It was a beautiful workout. Each dog pointed and backed. Each dog remained steady whether backing or pointing.  Each dog had perfect retrieves.  We only missed shooting one of the six birds.
When we got back to the barn those two good ole boys ran out saying, "that was the best bird work we've ever seen".   It was for us too.

We all had quail for dinner.


Dart is known as the dog that fell into the Goose Pit during the second series at the Wye Island National Amateur Field Championships in 2006. A Goose Pit is a 6 foot hole in the ground about 5' x 12' on the surface.

Dart had just completed her third bird find and took off to find more. She was running across the horizon. All of a sudden she was gone. She had fallen in the pit.

Six feet down. No Garmin would have found her that deep in the ground. But all of us saw it happen. The judge rode his horse to the pit as fast as he could. He bolted off like he was tackling a rodeo calf. He reached down. You could see her head jumping up. He caught her on one of the jumps up and brought her out.

We checked her over. No broken bones. She took off before we could look more closely. I let her finish the stake. She ran so beautifully that day. It was probably her best field trial run ever. She placed a National Championship!

What a dog.

She was really sore after. Dr. Bonny Bonnie Pilbeam, canine chiropractor, fixed her.


Randy Boggs broke Dart to wing and shot.....using only clicker and treats. I think she may be the only Field Champion/Amateur Field Champion broke with clicker and treats. Most trainers use electricity.

He also taught her to retrieve to his belly….my chest.  She'd jump up and present the bird to my chest.  Randy thought the judges would be impressed. It only impressed the gunners.

She came home with only three commands. Clap twice to call her to me following the flush. Tap on the head to release for the retrieve or go on or relocate. Tap twice on my thigh for heel. She had no verbal commands except aakk. She never learned the word Whoa.

The scent of the bird meant whoa. The flush of the bird meant whoa. The shot of the gun meant whoa.

It all worked quite well through two field championships and master hunter.

Thank you Randy Boggs!

Once Dart finished her Dual Championship, I offered Randy Boggs a gift, in thanks for training her. I gave him a choice between 1) a half day private lesson with George Hickox on how to use electricity positively or 2) a Karen Pryor four day clicker seminar. Randy chose the clicker seminar.

So, I called Pryor and told her I was giving her seminar as a gift to a bird dog trainer who had trained my dog, with clicker, to its championships. I asked if he would be accepted (socially) into the seminar. She thought it was a great idea and said she would take him.

I called Randy and told him he could "come out of the closet" and tell people he was a bird dog trainer. Though, I warned him against telling them he shoots birds. To prepare Randy, I told him he would probably be the only man. All the dogs would be in soft crates and fed homemade, natural organic treats.   All the participants would be in soft fold up chairs.

Dart finishing her Dual Championship

So, what does Randy do? He takes his swivel desk chair and plastic airline crate. He also took Dart's sister, Quinn, to the clinic. Apparently, there was an activity where the whole group participated in a circle game where each handler in the circle used their own treats to reinforce a given behavior. Seemed like all the dogs loved Randy's treats. Afterwards, the participants asked Randy what kind of treats he was using. His response, "ole Roy's from Walmart."

Anyhow he loved the seminar and used the techniques he'd learned to break Shine a few years later.

Thanks again, Randy Boggs.


Hunting at Rend Lake was her favorite place. Her first visit was at five months old. She was about the size of large pheasant herself. In fact, when she found a huge cock pheasant under a bush on the tree line in field two, she backed out, keeping her point with the cock hissing and flapping his wings at her.

That didn't phase her.  She ran and ran, pointed and pointed.  Then, when I put her back in her crate to drive around to another field, you could hear her playing with her squeaky toy.  Big hunting puppy from the beginning.

Dart was one of the few field trial dogs that knew the difference between field trialing and hunting. We were a real team.

I remember one day when Randy Boggs and a friend of his and I were hunting at Rend Lake.....sometime 2006 or 2007. Randy would always wait for the others on our field to go out first before we would start hunting. We didn't leave the parking lot on field 22 until after a couple of hunters had come back. The three of us took off with Dart and Quinn. Within 50 yards of the parking lot, Dart went on point. I flushed the bird. One shot, the bird fell. Dart ran out and retrieved. Randy teased me about showing off for the guys in the parking lot.

Wylie (Garthee) backing Dart

That day we hunted all the way to the lake. Hunted through the woods of young birch trees. The trees were so tight we had to walk sideways at times. Then on the way back to the parking lot, again, in about the same place, Dart went on point again. I flushed. I shot once. The bird fell. Dart retrieved it with all the enthusiasm she always showed. Once again, Randy teased me about showing off for different guys in the parking lot.

Flick was seven years old when Dart came into our lives. That year he was diagnosed with PRA and was supposed to be totally blind in the next year. Flick never did go completely blind. He could see shapes and shadows especially if the lights were on or the sun was out.

Dart became Flick's seeing-eye dog. When we were in the back yard, Dart would point the squirrels. Flick would eventually "see" her point and would back her. As she crept toward the squirrels, she would slowly move one foot at a time. When Dart moved her front right foot, Flick would move his front right foot. When she moved her left, he would move his left. Then Dart would take off to the squirrel and chase it up a tree. Flick would run to the nearest tree and think he had the squirrel treed.

Flick at 10 years old

Because Flick was blind, he could not run and play with Dart. He and Dart would lay on the ground and do head play. That's how Dart learned to play with other dogs. She never ran and chased, or played chicken. One day, Christina Freitag was over with her boys (dogs). They were in the back yard. One of her boys wanted to play hard with Dart. She didn't know how. She just stood there. He ran around her and broad sided her (she didn't know she was supposed to move). She ran into the house and would not go outside with him again.


Dart, placing second in NASTRA field trial

The Glenns Valley Conservation Club is a NSTRA (National Shoot To Retrieve Association) club. They hold NSTRA field trials in the spring and fall. One day they had fun trial to get more members involved. I entered Dart.

In NASTRA, a dog isn't broke to wing and shot. They release on the wing. By the time they get to the bird, the dog looks like a tight end receiving the pass. Dart, being broke to wing and shot, does not retrieve until told.

I picked Charlie Parrot, the most "good ole boy", to be my gunner. But, I told him Dart was broke to wing and shot and hoped that wouldn't bother him. Just like a good "good ole boy" he lectured me on how the breaking to wing and shot ruins a retrieve. I said, "OK", but will it bother you. He said, "NO".

So, we took off. Dart found at least three birds and backed her bracemate. On one bird, when I went to flush it, it only hopped about a foot. Dart stayed on point and I could hear Charlie mumble, "boy, that dog is really broke."

Another one of our finds was near the pond. The bird flew over the pond and landed in the pond. I released Dart to fetch and she "darted" out, swam almost as fast as she ran, and brought the bird back to hand. With that retrieve, Dart earned a 90 on retrieving and was scored the best retrieve of the trial. She got second place. And Charlie ate his words, "breaking a dog ruins the retrieve".

I loved it.


Juli, Troy, Lily Tess, Copper, Shine & Jake

Dart never let pregnancy get in the way of her career.

Shine is from her first litter which was with Kitty Pullen's Marty. Seven puppies born on the vet's birthday in 2007. Four of the seven pups went to performance homes. Two, Jake (Mark Rothhaar) and Juli (John Morris) produced litters.


Wylie, Sage, Savvy, & Vala

Wylie is from her second (and Last) litter with Diane Fazio's Ozzy. In 2011. All the pups in this litter went to performance homes. Savvy (Sheryle Tepp) produced two litters.

We've seen family all over the country.

Celtic (dad) competing in Stud Dog with Flynn (brother) and Dart, Oklahoma, 2009.

Flynn and Dart winning Field Trial Dog and Field Trial Bitch, Oklahoma, 2009.

Dart & sister Quinn, Illinois 2014


Jake & Dart winning Florida field trials, 2008

Juli, Shine and Dart, Ohio 2008

Lilly, Dart & Shine placing in Michigan field trials, 2007


Dustin (grandson out of Juli), Dart and Julie, Ohio

Dart & Pete (grandson out of Jake) in Florida


Jake, Dart & Shine placing in field trials in Florida


Nieces & nephews (out of Dart's brother): Race, Flare, Dart, Synapse, and Radar, hunting at Rend Lake


Sage (Wylie's sister), Lily (Shine's sister), Shine, Dart & Wylie, Ohio

Dart, backed by Wylie and nephew (by brother Flynn) Radar

Best in Speciality Show

Poor Shine. It was supposed to be his day. I took him up to Wisconsin for a NAVHDA Natural Ability Test. I thought I'd swing by the Illinois Vizsla Club specialty, say hi to everyone, and put Dart in the Field Trial Bitch class just for fun.

But, Dart took best of breed from the field trial bitch class. She didn't even have a bath. I didn't trim her nails. I don't think I even trimmed the end of her tail.

But, she took it. When the rest of the Vizsla world found out, the conversation went as follows:

Everyone: who was showing her?
Me: me
Everyone: what were you wearing?
Me: shorts, but not a tee shirt

Apparently I have a reputation.

And poor Shine had a perfect score the day before. No one congratulated him


I met Sheryle Tepp at that NAVHDA Natural Ability Test in Wisconsin in July 2008. Shine was 15 months old and Sheryle's Barron was 6 months old. The natural ability test is a field test for 1) bird finding, 2) swimming for an object, and 3) tracking a pheasant. Both Shine and Barron earned perfect scores. As we talked we discovered both dogs were from Comynara lines.

Sheryl was interested in getting a pup from Dart, who had stayed at Randy & Sue's house while I went up to Wisconsin. So, she did not get to meet Dart. A couple of years later, when Barron qualified for the NAVHDA invitational Sheryl made arrangements to meet Dart. The Invitational was in Ohio and we met at the conservation club as she traveled home.

I believe she had three dogs with her husband Matt and Bill Gurney. We let the three dogs out at the conservation club with Dart....and walked toward the pond. All of her dogs ran right into the pond, jumped in and swam around, but Dart just ran up to the pond. Sheryle asked me if she swam. I said, yes, she needs something to swim for. So, I threw a couple of sticks in the pond and she retrieved them all.

So then we moved onto bird finding and retrieving. I knew Dart would nail her "interview" on a bird. She found the bird, pointed. When I sent her for the retrieve, she couldn't find the bird. The first time in her life she couldn’t find the bird.  I knew she had blown her "interview".  However, when they let the other three dogs out to find the bird, they couldn't find it either. I felt better, but I was sure Sheryle wouldn't be interested in any pups from her.

About a year passed and Sheryle called interested in Dart's second litter. She hadn't failed her "interview" after all. I was so happy. I gave Sheryle pick bitch.

She chose Savvy. Savvy also made it all the way to the NAVHDA invitational. I would have loved to have one of her pups with Barron, but that was not in the cards.


Dart & Flick

I hesitated to take Dart as a puppy because she was the only dog in the litter afraid of Flick. All the other puppies went over to greet him whereas she hid behind the door. Randy kept telling me she was the best dog in the litter. She already pointed.  He really wanted to keep her, but Sue Boggs wanted to keep Quinn.  So I took her.

When we got home, as soon as she saw the standard black poodle next door she screamed in fright and ran, screaming across the whole acre back yard. The only thing that stopped her was the fence on the other side of the yard.   She ran into it and bounced off.  So, I decided to sign her up for two puppy classes, take her everywhere, and expose her to as much as I could.

After Pam Williams and I had traded dogs for a couple of weeks, Pam recommended I take her agility. "It would make her more bold." When she was old enough, we started our first agility class. She loved it. From then on her agility career began.

I wasn't always the best agility handler. Dart would always let me know I didn't give her the next obstacle fast enough. She would bark at me. It was difficult to find agility pictures where she wasn't barking.
I got better over time....after all, she kept reminding me every time we ran.

Dart was animated whether she ran in the field and in agility. Field trial judges loved her animation. It always caught their eye. People used to love to watch her run in both agility and in the field. Even though we continued our agility lessons all year round, we would skip agility trials for the fall and spring field trial season as well as pheasant hunting.

One time, after the spring field trial season had finished, when I returned to a summer agility trial, Judy Kowarsch, a seasoned agility handler, asked me where I'd been. I told her we were doing field work. Judy stood up and walked around a bunch of crates and down an isle, over to me. She looked me in the eye and pointed her finger in my face and said, "That dog is too good for the field. You should be doing agility."

I smiled and said, "OK".


Dart's injuries in agility were worse than falling into the goose pit. At the Hoosier agility trial she banked the tunnels so high that she got her leg caught in those blue tunnel supports. I heard her cry. She limped out of the tunnel to me. Mona Gitter hurdled the ring ropes to grab her and carry her out of the ring to help her. She was out for a while on that one.
Several years later we were at a trial in Evansville. They took the tire out of the ring and put it up against the wall. As we walked by she decided to take the tire to hit the wall. Once again she hurt her shoulder....limping home from the trial. She was out for a couple of months.

Dart finishing her Dual Championship, 2008

Dart finishing her MACH and Triple Championship, 2013

Dart placing Best Veteran in the All Star Review, 2016

Being a dual champion and, later, a triple champion were highlights of her career.  She didn’t retire until she won Best Veteran in prestigious the All Star Review.  After that win, there was nothing more she could achieve. Like Payton Manning, she retired on the top, at 14 years old.

Her Last Day

It was day like any other.  After Shine’s agility class we stopped at the conservation club to run dogs.  It was a clear, crisp and sunny fall day.  Great dog weather.  She was so happy to run.  You could see the smile on her face.  I decided to walk a little farther that day because she was so spry.  She still had that smile when she jumped into the pond.  She swam out about 3-5 strokes (if you can call them strokes for a dog).  In an instant she turned on her right side, facing back to the shore.  Her head was half in the water and half out.  She was breathing through the side of her mouth.  The whites of her eyes showed her fear.

I went into the water to get her.  I was about one step from her when she turned back over and began to swim again.  Parallel to the shore, yet an increasing distance from it.  As she swam about 10-12 more strokes, I yelled (hoping she may hear me) and waved my arms to get her attention to swim toward me.  But then, in another instant she turned on her side again.  This time with her head and tail hanging down under water and her chest floating.

I waded out to her.  I was about an arm’s length away when the water reached my chin.  I did a little leap toward her.  Grabbed her collar.  But then, I couldn’t move.  I was still wearing my field boots and all my clothes and sweat shirts.  I could tread water but I could not propel us to the shore.  I had the horrible thought that we’d drown together.  I don’t know why, but I rolled and floated on my back and pushed with the one arm to reach a place where I could stand up.  As I waded back to the shore, I was crying,


I laid her on the shore.  Watched her chest.  It was not moving.  I gently pushed it down.  It recoiled.  I pushed it down again.  A couple times more.  She came to.  Her eyes were open.  Her gums had color.  Not gray or blue.  But not pink either.  I felt relieved and took a breath myself.    Then I had to get her up the bank.  The bank was about a 45 degree angle.  It wasn’t high, but it looked like Mt. Everest now.  I got her into my arms.  Stood up.  But my boots were stuck in the mud.  I couldn’t move.  I had to put her back down and pull my feet out of the mud one at a time.  I could only lift her up the bank about 1-2 feet at a time.  On the top of the bank I laid her down in the sun.  The car was still about 400 yards away and I didn’t want to leave her there in case she stood up or rolled back down into the water.  We were alone at the conservation club.  I had always liked it there when we had the whole place to ourselves.  But, now it became a nightmare. 

I tried to carry her.  I could only carry her about 10 yards before I had to put her down.  She was heavy for me.  She did stand up.  So we walked about 10 yards.  Then I carried her about 10 yards. Then a guy drove down the road.  I waved him down.  When he came over, I asked him if he could stay with her while I got my car.  He did.  We couldn’t put her in his truck because he had dogs in there…and Shine and Wylie were just running around.  He might hit them with his truck.  I ran to the car, put Shine and Wylie in the crates and drove back up.  He helped me put her in the car.  I still had two sleeping bags from the agility trial and we put her between them to keep her warm.  She was shivering.  Not sure why I wasn’t shivering too.

Drove her to the nearest emergency vet.  She had pond dirt/mud coming out her nose.  They put her on oxygen and gave her strong anitibiotics for pneumonia.  Tried to clean out her nose.  But, that same soot must have been in her lungs too.  Her little heart stopped about 12 hours later.  And broke my heart.

I lost my soulmate.






Last Updated: 24-Nov-2018
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