Thirteen-year-old, Marisa Melo, and her seven-year-old dog, Dolly, became teammates a couple of years ago when Marisa's beloved dog, BJ, with whom she titled in Senior as a Junior Handler, was forced to retire, and so was unable to run the Master with her. Marisa qualified Dolly for last year's Master National and made the trek from California to Alabama!
Since then, Marisa has yearned to try her hand at field trials. She observed the Qualifying stake at the Lassen Club's trial in February, then immediately went to work to prepare both herself and Dolly for the Chesapeake Club's all-breed trial in March. Although Dolly has run the qualifying stake before, this was Marisa's first time stepping to the line in a field trial.
Was she nervous? Not in the least! She was relaxed, poised, and confident! When she walked off the line after the combined water marks and blind, tears of joy flowed freely. She knew she and Dolly had a good run. She humbly commented, "I wasn't expecting to get through the first series. Now, I just hope we get a JAM." She knows how tough the competition is!
After the ribbons were awarded, one of the judges approached Marisa and said, "You are a terrific handler!" Many other handlers and observers warmly congratulated Marisa, which will surely encourage her to continue in the game.
Dolly has been trained via Mike Lardy's "Total Retriever Training" program. Marisa has become a student of Mike's program so she can better understand, and effectively maintain, Dolly's training. Marisa will be attending Mike's Basics/Transition workshop, this April, in Corning, CA, to further her education, as she wishes to have an integral role in the training and handling of the next family puppy.