King's Ransom Kennels
Hello, I am Bernadette M. Brown
Welcome to the story of how my King's Ransom Kennel began. An aspect of my kennel which people initially find most perplexing is the origin of its name. The origin of the name "King's Ransom" and my initial involvement with Labradors have a direct relationship. You see, as a child I longed to have a horse of my own. Finally that day arrived, and with the help of my father and uncle, I was the proud new owner of a yearling thoroughbred gelding. This thoroughbred's name was King's Ransom, a/k/a Randy. The name "King's Ransom" reflects the price God paid to save human souls. Randy and I grew and learned together, a bond few people could understand. I trained and competed Randy in shows, hunting, jousting, and even long-distance competitive trail riding. We were a winning team.
Unfortunately, time took its toll and the day arrived when God called Randy to rest. This, of course, was a terrible loss for me of a very special companion. Two weeks into my grieving, life's troubles then compounded. I was in a car accident with my mother, and though we were not terribly hurt, I was left with a painful, swollen knee. Luckily, the accident was not my mother's fault, and the other driver was a kind man who wanted to make sure mom and I had proper medical attention.
I remember, oh so well, being handed a check for $250 to visit a specialist regarding my knee. However, that specialist visit never came about. Instead, I spent my time reading Labrador books and visiting kennels until my final decision had been made. Instead of paying a specialist, in August of 1979 I paid $250 for a yellow Labrador puppy from Betty Fisher of Belhaven Kennels in Sparks, Maryland. The puppy was from English ancestry, half from the Zelstone field lines and half Sandylands show lines. Even from this early stage, I knew I wanted a dual purpose Labrador and so the blend of field and show bloodlines suited my needs. During the summer when this yellow pup entered my life, I worked at an Arabian breeding farm and was able to take the pup to work with me, which allowed her to swim and play during the day. My initial instinct, because of the loss of my horse, was to name this puppy "Randy," but I quickly came to realize that the pup could never "be" Randy. Instead, I chose for her to be named in honor of Randy. It was during my lunch break on the Arabian farm that I found the Arabic dictionary, which was used annually to name the foals. Without complication, my pup's new name materialized, "Sukha Tepienah KR," which in Arabic, meant "in remembrance of the freest horse in the barn, King's Ransom." And so, a new era in my life began.
Sukha Tepienah KR, "Tepie," quickly stole the hearts of all those around her, especially mine. She showed a warmth and devotion through her eyes that was so similar to that of Randy. I knew from the beginning that I was truly blessed with yet another wonderful companion. Tepie went with me everywhere, and I do mean every-where! She accompanied me to all my college lectures and even stayed in my dorm room. The dorm leaders liked her so much that they never even thought of "squealing" on me, even though dogs were not allowed. Tepie was also a very good judge of character. I knew, for example, that if Tepie didn't like my boyfriend, he'd never prove out to be a keeper. Somehow, Tepie just knew! I finished college and graduated with an animal science degree, and I appreciated Tepie's support the entire way.
I competed Tepie in obedience trials and we did extremely well. Her Open work was her favorite and it showed through her top scores. Tepie was trained for Utility work, but was never competed due to the time I had to put into my new career. Tepie was field trained and was a superb hunting companion. In those days, there were no AKC hunting field events, so she never held a title that equaled her ability. However, of all Tepie's accomplishments, I was the most thankful for the love she shared during nursing home visits. I gave small obedience and retrieving demonstrations with Tepie, and the patients would just glow. How wonderful it was to bring love into others lives while using the dog that brought love into my own life. For me, this giving of unconditional love is what the Labrador breed is all about.
Tepie became my foundation bitch and was a great beginning for my breeding program. I felt with anticipation that my breeding of Labradors needed a purpose. By purpose, I meant its reason for being, or that "something" toward which the breeding program would always strive. I felt a purpose was more appropriate than a goal, in that a purpose would not have a beginning or an end, but would be ongoing, bringing with it new definition and balance. My purpose in breeding Labradors had to tie into my personal beliefs if it was to be utilized and maintained daily. Thus, it was decided. My purpose in breeding Labradors would be to breed dogs of sound mind and body that would love humans unconditionally, no matter what the task, and that would help awaken the presence of spirituality in their lives. Now I had a purpose and was ready to continue breeding program.
My first breeding of Tepie's granddaughter, sired by Ch. Sandylands Markwell of Lockerbie, was to Ch. Follytower Sabre WC. From that litter, I kept a black female that I named "Ransom's Repeted Aloe Wishes." in remembrance of my dad, whose middle name was Aloysius. "Wishes" went on to easily become a CDX.JH. Like Tepie, Wishes was trained through Utility level, but I was unable to compete her due to my nursing schedule. I occasionally handled Wishes in the Breed ring, and I earned all the RWB ribbons I would ever need! Since I would not part with her, a handler was out of the question, and so these ribbons became satisfying.
My first breeding of another of Tepie's granddaughters, this one sired by Ch. Allegheny's Eclipse, was also to Ch. Follytower Sabre WC. A particular yellow female from this breeding caught my attention from the onset of personality development. She was very birdy and as smart and witty as could be at that young, tender age. I thought it would be foolish for me to keep another pup, especially one only two months younger than Wishes. So I agreed to sell her with breeding rights to a couple who actively hunted and competed in hunt tests. Arrangements were made, and I was to have dinner at their home and sign over this pup. As I arrived, the acid churned in my stomach. Dinner was a blur and with the last flip of my stomach, I decided that I absolutely could not sell this bitch puppy. I had to be selfish, for I just HAD to keep her! This bitch puppy was later named Ransom's Perpetual Pursuit CDX, JH, SH, MH, "Peaches," and she never left my side.
Peaches taught me more than I ever taught her about life, love and the bond that can exist between a human and a dog that most people only experience at the movie theater. Peaches was an extremely intelligent and trainable retriever. I titled her through the Junior, Senior and Master levels of hunting tests without any electronic devices. We learned together through trial and error, repetition and by wearing out the ol' tennis shoes! I devised my own training program, which was step by step, and Peaches could easily comprehend the concepts of upper level training, giving her a solid foundation on which to build.
Well, it all worked. Peaches finished her Master title after five consecutive tests and then came back in 1991 to qualify to run the Master National. I feel that training Peaches the old fashioned way gave me a solid foundation for the understanding and communication necessary to achieve a high quality performance from all retrievers. Peaches was also competed in obedience, with her career highlights being first place wins in Open A. I can also remember entering Peaches in the Field Trial Classes at the local specialties. Even though winning first place was a breeze, since she was the only bitch entered in the class. I still was extremely proud of her as she gaited around the ring carrying with her a Master Title. How wonderful to view that class today, just filled with hunt test titled dogs.
Peaches and Wishes, both of whom passed away at the age of 14 years, will never be forgotten. It is through these two brood matrons that I have been blessed with all my subsequent generations. They will always remain close to my heart.
My interest in retriever training began with the purchase of Tepie, but was never-ending. In 1989, I trained directly with D.L. Walters in LaCyne, Kansas for approximately two months. I have attended many seminars given by top professionals to continue my education. My most recent venture was five days with my bitch Praise, being instructed one-on-one by Mike Lardy. This was an exceptional experience for both Praise and myself, for we became fine-tuned.
I am extremely fortunate in that my training ability has given me the opportunity to work with some very special dogs, owned by very special people. I absolutely love working with the show bred dogs and competing them in hunt tests. There is so much hidden talent in the show lines, and I am truly proud of all the Labs I have had the opportunity to work and title. I learned many years ago, while competing my horse, that it is very important to maintain my priorities in proper order. Once I let go of the "achievement game," I was free to compete dogs for the proper reason, i.e.. helping others feel good about themselves and the dogs they love.
In the winter of 1995, I was asked to write an article by the Labrador Quarterly about my kennel and my accomplishments. I also wrote multiple training articles for the International Labrador Digest, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I presently own over 125 acres in Camden, SC. This land has been turned into "dog training heaven!" Full land and water hunt test training as well as agility, obedience, and show rings are available for training.
My dogs are my life, and their training, my passion.
I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity.
My future is in His hands
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