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American & Canadian CD, RAE, NJ

9/15/95 - 4/2/10

(FC AFC River Oaks Way-Da-Go Rocky x Dusty River Jessico SH)

Bred by Richard & Susan Taylor

~ A tribute to Carley ~
When I purchased Carley in the fall of 1995 I had already been “in Labs” for over 12 years. All of my Labs to that point had been from show bloodlines. I decided it was time to add some field trial bloodlines to my kennel. A friend had a handsome chocolate male sired by FC AFC River Oaks Way-Da-Go Rocky so I found a litter also sired by Rocky and made arrangements to purchase a chocolate female. My plan was to compete in hunt tests and obedience trials with her and also to breed her to show bred males and hopefully get the best of both worlds in the puppies. But you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men…
Compared to my other Labs Carley had so much energy and enthusiasm that she couldn’t control herself and earned the nick-name “Wild Thing”. I can’t count the number of times she smacked me in the face with her head when I would try to put a collar on her. We attended obedience classes and started the basics of field work. Carley earned her American and Canadian CD titles without too much trouble. About that time she turned 2 years old and her x-rays were sent to the OFA for certification. Sadly Carley was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and all my hopes and dreams for her crumbled. For many years Carley was retired to being just one of the pack, even though by her estimation she was the TOP DOG. She was great for putting unruly youngsters in their place. If they got in her face she would be all over them barking, growling, dominating them and sending them yelping for cover but she NEVER put a mark on them. Carley has always been very bonded to me and she would beam with pride when she would occasionally get to go to work with me when we lived in Florida. Carley never appreciated being scolded for inappropriate behavior especially if I would shake my finger at her. She would respond with the smallest of lip curls that made her look like she was smiling and I’d always break down and laugh at her.
In 2005 when the AKC started the Rally obedience program I took Carley out of retirement and she easily earned her Novice title. The Advanced and Excellent titles were a little harder because she learned that there might be toys on the floor as distractions. She would enter the ring and immediately look for toys “to retrieve”. Even so we persevered and managed to complete her RAE title in January 2006 just a few months after her 10th birthday.
In 2007 I got the urge to try Dock Dogs Big Air jumping. The first two of my Labs that I attempted to compete with couldn’t make the transition from running down the bank into murky pond water to leaping from a dock into crystal clear water in a pool. So in March 2007 at 11 years of age Carley gave it a go. She was too unsure to run and leap into the pool but she would run to the edge of the dock and with me urging her on she would teeter on the edge crying and barking and then finally jump into the water. That weekend Carley earned the Dock Dogs Novice jumpers title and the respect of the announcer at the event who said that he had never seen a dog with more HEART. It was also that weekend that made me really appreciate Carley’s dedication to me all those years.
Throughout her life I’ve often said to Carley, “You make it really hard to love you, but I do anyway.” Carley has never looked or acted like my show bred Labs but being unique also makes her special. As I write this in late July 2009 we are rapidly approaching Carley’s 14th birthday. Her hip problems are finally catching up with her and she can no longer jump and leap in the air with excitement. She has to eat only soft food now and she’s gone stone deaf. But when I look into those cloudy old eyes of hers I still see her undying devotion to me and I hope she sees the same thing in mine.
Janine Winings ~ Botar
(Note: Yes, I know Carly Simon doesn’t spell her name with an “E” in it but that’s just another way that my Carley is unique.)


January 2003 - 7 years old


Halloween 2005 - 10 years old


New RAE title - Jan. 2006 - 10 yrs old