The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.

Dear LRC Member,

 

I would like to be considered for a position as Director of the LRC.  I have been a LRC member since 2002.   My intent is to give back a small part of what I have experienced with this wonderful breed. 

 

First a bit about myself.  I currently live in Brookhaven, Georgia on the north side of Atlanta with my wife Connie.   We have two teenage boys Andrew and Colton.  I am originally from the Chicago area, but I have moved around quite a bit growing up and then a few times after college before I settled in Atlanta. 

I have spent time living in Downers Grove, Illinois, Huntsville, Alabama, Little Rock, Arkansas, Tallmadge, Ohio, Lisle, Illinois, Aberdeen, Maryland, Hinesville and Richmond Hill, Georgia and Houston, Texas.

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I have a BS in Finance from Bradley University.  After college, I joined the Army as a maintenance and logistics officer and served 4 years, most of which I was stationed at Ft Stewart, Georgia.  I have enjoyed a diverse professional career and currently, I am Pricing Director for WestRock, a major manufacturer of paper, consumer and corrugated packaging. 

 

I started with the breed at an early age.  I grew up with a black Labrador in the 70’s and 80’s we named Ruffer.  Don’t name a dog Ruffer, he will live up to his name. My six year old self did not know that!  After college, I brought home a Labrador of my own.  Black, of course, her name was Norway.  She was a wonderful dog. Of course, I did everything wrong. I did not know about health clearances at the time and she had challenges with her hips and elbows later in life, but I would not have traded her for the world.  Her permanent spot was the back seat of my SUV. We traveled everywhere together. 

I always knew I wanted to do something more with dogs.  Growing up a close family friend had Brittany puppies. And my favorite teacher in high school was easily distracted to tell stories about his English Setter puppy he bred, Scooter.  Many of the stories were about Scooter training for field trials.  Little did I know where those stories would lead me. After settling in Atlanta in 1999, I started visiting breeders and quickly found my way to conformation and the GALRC.  My first show dogs were acquired from Jenny Eppinga of Ophir Labradors.  I have also been helped by many other wonderful breeders who have shared their dogs with me along the way, including Tina Barks, Scott and Becky Dannaker, Jerry and Joan Saldana and Liz Martin.  I should also mention Carol Quaif. While we have never shared a dog, I consider Carol a valuable mentor.

 

I primarily show in conformation events, but I strongly believe in the all round Labrador and am committed to learning and supporting all events including obedience and hunting. All my dogs swim and retrieve. I have participated in hunt training events with my local club, and I have placed dogs in companion homes who hunt with their dogs.  And one of Ryeder’s sons, bred by me, is a titled hunting retriever in Montana.  I am committed to increasing my participation in hunting events. I think this will better equip me to support the greater membership.  And I know that both the dogs and I will enjoy the training.

 

My first champion was GCH Lachlan’s Wild Flower “Daisy”, a black girl whose first show happened to be the National that was hosted in Atlanta during 2008.  A couple months later Daisy and I won the 12-18 months class a Potomac 2009, with an entry of 36 in our class, and then we proceeded to make the final cut of 4 in Winners Bitch from an entry totaling over 400 - a highlight of my show career.  Almost two years later after her first litter, Daisy was WB and BOW at the Piedmont Specialty, another special moment. 

 

GCHB Lachlan’s Low Ryeder is a dog who I was lucky enough to have co-bred and have at the end of my lead.  Ryeder has had many accomplishments under breeder judges.  He finished going Winners Dog, Best of Winners & BOB at the Mid Jersey Labrador Retriever Club in October of 2016.  Ryeder was also BOB at the LRC Piedmont 2017.  Many of the Select Dog points he earned were at Specialties under breeder judges.  Ryeder, Lucie Lu and their brother Wilson, GCH Nipntuck Blame it on Fame were co-bred with Becky Dannaker.

 

Ryeder’s sister Lucie Lu was not shown a lot and only had two litters. I didn’t know at the time that she would become the cornerstone of my breeding program.  She produced a champion in each of her litters, CH Lachlan’s Reign of Fire “Rain” and CH Lachlan’s on the Road Again to Popway “Willie”.  This past year I finished her granddaughter CH Lachlan’s Platinum Edition “Carly”.  Carly has done well at both specialties and all breed shows.  I like to call her my “Tiger Slam”.  Carly finished in 6 straight all-breed shows, with 4 majors and multiple best of breeds over specials.  She has her first two Grand Champion majors including one as Select Bitch at GALRC 2021 under a respected breeder judge.  I’m looking forward to getting her back out as soon as she grows coat again.  I have a small kennel and I try to keep no more than 4-6 Labradors at any one point. I feel this is a good number for me and my family while making sure that my dogs get the socialization, stimulation, love and attention they deserve. 

 

I recently started a new journey that I am also excited about.  Last October, I judged Sweepstakes at the Spirit of St Louis Specialty.  And this coming October I am judging sweepstakes at Mid Jersey LRC and GGLRC in California.  What excites me most about these invitations is having been selected for these assignments by my peers, breeders I have admired and respected for a long time. 

 

I am an experienced leader who has made significant contributions to my regional club, The Greater Atlanta Labrador Retriever Club.  I am past President of the GALRC, current Vice-President, former Specialty Show Chairman, current Assistant Show Chairman.  I served in all these positions for multiple years.  I hope to bring this experience to the LRC.  I have been an LRC member for close to 20 years, and feel the time is right, having gained the experience as a leader to give back to the Club.

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What do I want to accomplish as a LRC Director?  I would like to help raise the visibility of the Club on a national level and promote the truth about our breed to the public.  We are the caretakers for the most popular breed and there is a lot of misinformation out there.  While I don’t agree with the philosophy of an organization like “Good Dog” that supports mixed breeds and silver Labradors, they are visible on social media platforms to the public and breeders alike.  They also provide educational events for their members.  There is no reason the parent club for the Labrador can’t be just as visible.  I don’t think we need to defend our position or engage with those parties who embrace misinformation, but rather focus on becoming more effective by raising the visibility of LRC and promoting awareness of the essence of our breed. 

 

I’d also like to help increase participation in LRC sponsored events. Best time to start is now and I encourage all members to attend the National Specialty this coming October in Frederick, Maryland.  There will also be a LRC Specialty this coming December in Florida!!!

As you can see, I am a bit obsessed with our breed but in a good way.  Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.  I am motivated, energetic and willing to roll up my sleeves and go to work.  As a side note, I am organizing the raffle at the upcoming National Specialty in October. If you have donations please reach out to me.

 

My Best,

Tom O’Hern

www.lachlanlabs.com

oherntc@bellsouth.net