There are 3 words on this trophy. They are Teamwork, Perseverance and Achievement. How does Nick The Dog and his handler meet these criteria? His formal name is Grand Champion MACH JK Blackngolds Nick of Time SH RN MXS MJB WC VCX ADHF.
Teamwork. Teamwork began with Nick’s show career when he was about 18months old. In limited showing he finished his Breed Champion (CH) the day after his 2nd birthday. The next five years were spent training and competing in agility, which didn’t come as easy. Forced time off due to injuries to both himself and his handler, delayed things a bit. However, he went on to become a Master Agility Champion (MACH) in 2012. In route he also accumulated multiple other agility titles and became a member of the Agility Dog Hall of Fame (ADHF).
He did go back to confirmation long enough to obtain his Grand Champion Title (GCH) and show in select Golden Retriever Specialties. His wins include Best of Opposite Sex (BOS) at the 2012 Western Regionals and several Veterans’ classes including his Veteran Class win at the 2016 National Specialty. He also won several Group placements accumulating Show Dog Hall of Fame Points.
His diverse achievements earned him a Versatility Excellent title (VCX) from the Golden Retriever Club of America.
Nick has obtained his Novice Rally (RN) title and at 13 years old is working toward other Rally and Obedience titles, as well as doing canine scent work.
Perseverance. Nick’s field career was possibly the biggest feat of all. Not defined by titles achieved, but by the obstacles overcome. His field training began at a late age. Bad experiences early on with birds and water retrieves were never forgotten and lead to other training issues. It took 25 tries to get his four Senior Hunter (SH) legs, the last Hail Mary attempt when he was 11 years old.
Achievement. There are 2 components to achievement. The first is the record you have compiled. Nick The Dog titles are testimony to that. The second part of achievement is what you give back. An older gentleman, my hunting partner and I were flying into San Francisco from the duck club and he wanted to talk. He refused to waste his time on small talk. I was under pressure to sound intelligent so to buy some time I asked him "In your long and storied life of what are you most proud?" He said "Let me think about that." I heaved a great sign of relief. I was off the hook for awhile. I thought could it be the billions he made, all the golf clubs he joined including Augusta and Cypress Point, the houses he owned? Instead he said "The thing of which I am most proud is the number of jobs I helped create by the number of companies I founded." So it is with Nick. Achievement is what you give back.
Nick is a competitor, but more importantly, a gentleman with a special loving talent. He is a Pet Partners registered pet therapy dog. A cancer survivor himself, he has been visiting hospitals with Sutter Paws On Call since 2013. His technique is amazing and intuitive. In the hospital he will slowly approach an elderly person and let them make the first move. Perhaps they may just touch his ears or rub his head. In the next room he may be playful with a teenager. In November of 2017 he spent four days visiting children in elementary schools in the burn area of Santa Rosa. Many of these children had lost their own pets in the fire. Nick with his boundless energy and effusive nature instilled a much needed emotional lift. Smiles and laughter helped replace the heartache.
Nick’s accomplishments go far beyond winning the most points in Field Trials and Hunt Tests. We all should be so fortunate to have such a teammate.