About Sherick’s Bloodhounds
Written by Sherry Duling
It was a very special year… 1969. That was the year Dick Duling and I were married and the year that marked the beginning of Sherick's Bloodhounds. Our kennel name, Sherick, is a combination of our first names — Sherry and Dick — suggested by an old dog show friend, Marge (Adams) Rightmeier. Dick purchased our first bloodhound while we were engaged. One evening, Dick and I sat watching the old television show, Hee Haw, and he asked me if I would like to have a bloodhound. I quickly remarked, “Don't you think we should get a refrigerator and stove first?” Little did I know he had been visiting Crandall’s Bloodhound Kennel, in Western Kansas, when he was in the area for his job. Now I loved hounds or any kind of animal, especially dogs. I also loved things clean and shiny. The change from a poodle to a big messy bloodhound would change my life in a way I could not imagine at the time. We agreed that he would not bring home the puppy he had fallen in love with.
Dick did purchase the puppy anyway. This puppy was our much loved Boomer (registered name: Boomer), who made friends no matter where he went. He was the foundation of what was to become Sherick’s Bloodhounds and is fondly remembered by his many friends yet today!
I was not the person then that I am today so, unfortunately, Boomer never finished his championship, but he did win several points as well as my love for this breed. Things being clean and shiny became secondary. I quickly learned not to wear clothes that were black or white or that could not be washed. I also learned that I would need to work harder at keeping things clean and gave up on the brass and glass look.
When Boomer joined our household after we were married, it was Dick who sent in our application to the American Bloodhound Club, contacted our local all-breed kennel club, and signed us up for obedience classes. Dick took Boomer and I took my poodle because I could not handle Boomer! My poodle and I achieved the high score in the class followed closely by Dick and Boomer. The class instructor was James R. Adams (“Jim”), who became a lifelong friend and mentor of Sherick’s bloodhounds. Not long after the obedience class, Dick joined the club’s conformation classes and entered our first conformation show… putting the lead of this unruly puppy in MY hands. The rest is 38 years of bloodhound history. We vowed that we would have smart, man trailing, show bloodhounds, but we knew that we had a great deal of work ahead of us if brains were to come from Boomer! With no one to initially mentor us in the breed, we learned the hard way about the peculiarities of the breed such as bloodhound care, health and training. Our local kennel club set a good foundation for us on show world and breeding ethics. The club was strong and knowledgeable. Many members went on to become American Kennel Club judges.
Our beautiful Abbey Girl of Aquarius followed Boomer at Sherick’s Bloodhounds. This time, we picked a puppy for conformation and not just Dick’s heart, because we had been bitten by the show bug. Abbey, too, was not finished due to breaking her leg at a very young age. We learned from Abbey just how determined this breed can be. After leaving her in our van, we stopped by a friend’s home. As we watched her from the doorway, we were all talking about how pretty she looked sitting in the driver’s seat as if she was ready to start it up. The van was parked on a slope with a slight hill at the side of the drive. All the windows were up with the exception of one that was down a few inches. We could never imagine she would be able to get through it. We could see her from the doorway, and all of a sudden saw she was trying to wiggle her way out that very small space! We started running when we could see she had sandwiched herself part way through the window. We were only a few yards away, yet we could not make it before she tumbled out right on to that hard surfaced hill. Yes, our promising show girl broke her leg! Due to the fast growth of a bloodhound puppy, she always remained slightly lame. This was another hard lesson that crates are not cruel and they are very necessary to ensure a dog’s safety.
As time went on, Boomer had put holes in the cushions of our brand new 1970 VW camper van by jumping from seat to seat baying like a fool and slinging slobbers all over us and the van as we went down the road. Did we learn yet? NOOOOOO! Put our babies in a cage? How could we ever do that to them! Geez, we were so green! Boomer and Abbey Girl of Aquarius produced Sherick’s first champion, Trapper. Ch. Sherick’s Trapper True Moon, one of the sweetest bloodhounds we ever owned, was handled to his championship by his number one friend and fan Jim Adams. This was when we finally saw the light that crates were not cruel rather they are best for the dog, and the dogs actually liked them. Jim Adams, being a professional handler, stated any dog that traveled with him would be crated.
We had so much to learn about this wonderful breed, yet within our second generation we managed to breed our first Best in Show dog, Flint. Ch Sherick’s Flinthills Pride was named by Dick for his love of the area of his hometown, located in the Flint Hills. By this time, Cathy Brey had stopped breeding and begun judging. We had the opportunity to co-breed Mike Montgall’s bitch, Sundower Abbey, that came from Cathy and Vince Brey’s Dakota lines. We bred Abbey to our first champion Trapper. This litter produced eighteen puppies! As we stumbled through our learning process, we had a difficult time finding good homes for this huge litter! It was in the middle of a harsh Kansas winter and the work was overwhelming. Show homes were scarce except for the idiots who just wanted to breed for profit. The entire litter was outstanding, but there were two outstanding males, a red and a black and tan that we really liked. Even with our strong love for the reds, the black and tan stood out and captured our hearts with his presence and beauty from the start. Mike Montgall and his partner Bill Cobb were to receive a puppy from this litter for letting us breed to their bitch. We worried they would insist on the black and tan male not only because he was the best but because they did not care for reds. Mike and Bill could see how much we wanted the black and tan male so they let us keep him and decided to wait for a puppy out of him down the road. This black and tan puppy we wanted to keep so badly grew up to become our much loved best in show winner, Flint. We feel much credit is due to Cathy and Vince Brey of Dakota Bloodhounds for our successful jump into the specials ring with Flint. Later we purchased Lucy, Ch. Sherick’s Lucy of Sahalee, who was sired by Ch. Gossamer of Dakota and she is also found in the pedigree of most of our dogs today.
From the beginning, our dogs have been family members. We did not believe in keeping them in kennel runs but felt they needed a spacious area like a backyard where they could run, play, and be happy. To this day, they sleep and eat in the house in individual crates and are allowed freedom inside the house regularly. We always felt that a bloodhound should be able to do it all. Following the vow we made when getting into breeding, we bred for beauty, brains, and man trailing ability from the very beginning. As concerned breeders, Dick and I did not breed a litter purely on puppy demands and passing fads. Each litter was and is bred only after careful planning and consideration. Our placements of dogs have always been carefully screened and considered lifetime commitments. Sherick Bloodhounds are family members first, so there have been many lovely hounds that have not made it to the gene pool.
In 1997, we were awarded the ABC Breeder of Merit. There are well over 50 champions to our credit, but a final count has not been made to the date this is being written. Several of these dogs have been named to the ABC Show Dog Hall of Fame, and one of our very favorites, Janie, (Ch. Sherick’s Sacajawea) was awarded the ABC Dam of Merit.
In late 1999, we made a very special purchase from Ann Schettig of Honey Tree Bloodhounds — our princess, Fate. Ch. Honey Tree GGM’s Fate of Sherick is a beautiful dark saddled liver girl, who has added so very much to our Sherick bloodlines. Dick was always in awe of this gorgeous bitch.
We knew the last litter from Fate, in 2006, was destined to be important, but we felt it was best not to keep any puppies from the litter except on co-ownerships. That way the line would still be carried on for us. During the whelping, things were slowing down, but we knew there were still more puppies. The next puppy was very dry, stiff, and lifeless. Fate was getting more and more upset, so I gave the puppy to Dick and told him to “get rid of it” while I focused my concerns on Fate. Then I heard Dick say, “But it has a heartbeat….” Dick worked with the puppy and got her going thus beginning our future struggles with her. “This one will be named Sherry Rae,” commented Dick. “No,” I replied emphatically, “it will be Dicky Du.”
As the weeks went on, we nurtured this very ugly little duckling that was weak and less than half the size of her littermates. We knew we would need to hold on to her longer than her big, strong, pretty littermates to make sure she would be healthy for her future pet home. As time past, I commented, “She is really small but is getting kind of pretty. Could she turn into the proverbial beautiful swan?” Dick's reply was “Of course she will.” I had my doubts, but Dick did not. He had fallen in love with her. She was turning into the cutest little thing with a personality to match. I knew it would be difficult to talk Dick into letting her leave. Dick won for the time being, but I won on the call name. He insisted her name be spelled like he spelled his name when he was a child — Dicky Du. Her registered name is appropriate, Sherick’s LAST SPECL DLIVRY 4FATE. Our Dicky blossomed into this little beauty right before our eyes. At six months of age, Dicky attended her first show. She was as cute in the ring as she was at home. She is smart as a whip and was always doing something out of the ordinary. As I was taking her into the ring, she quickly stuck her head into my ring bag and grabbed the toy fur mouse she had been playing with and refused to give it up as we entered the ring. The next thing I heard was “around the ring, please.” So, off we went with that yucky, wet mouse hanging out of her mouth with peals of laughter from the judge and spectators following us around the ring. When we stopped to be examined, Dicky politely spit that wet mouse right into the judge’s hands as she attempted to examine her head and bite. And during all of this, Dicky remained in a perfect show stack. She won her first points as well as many hearts on that day! Dick was thrilled that she was winning, and he was confident he would get to keep her.
Then our lives were changed forever when Dick suffered a major stroke. Initially, I thought I would have to sell or place all my younger dogs, sell our collectibles and whatever else that might be necessary to save Dick. But nothing could be done for him and in three weeks he was gone. The dogs howled with grief and I thought I would never hear them howl in contentment again. We were all heartbroken. I did not want to go to the shows any more. I really thought I should place Dicky as many people wanted her. But I had grown to love her dearly. She made me smile, and it just did not seem right to let Dick Duling’s Dicky Du leave Sherick’s.
In memory of
Richard Dean “Dick” Duling
10/21/1943 — 12/20/2006
On the left is the cover of Dick’s Funeral Service folder. Please click on it for the text as well as more about Dick.
Friends talked me into going to the Regional Bloodhound Specialty in Bloomington, Illinois, the end of May 2007. Dicky started the weekend going Best of Opposite Sex in the puppy sweepstakes and on to Winners Bitch. The next day, she was Grand Sweepstakes Winner. Many other dogs of Sherick’s breeding did very well that weekend and through the year, but I was not yet convinced that I wanted to show any more. I did, however, agree to attend the 2007 National Bloodhound Specialty Show at the Buffalo Ranch in Texas to support Nolan and Bizzy, both of our breeding, in the Top 20 event. I ended up showing Dicky in the sweepstakes where she, yet again, was named Grand Sweepstakes Winner. When the life-sized pewter cowboy hat was awarded to Dicky and me for that win, my emotions ran out of control! All I could think at that time was that Dick Duling should have been there. He loved cowboy hats, buffalo, western things, his beautiful bloodhounds, and most of all, DICKY! As my many friends reminded me that day and later on, Dick was, indeed, ringside with his Dicky and me!
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Yogi x Stacy babies at 6 weeks… looking into the past with hopes of following these footsteps into the future.