Golden Retriever Charms His Way from Backyard to National Dog Show

Three years ago, New Year's Day signaled the start of a wonderful adventure for Cheryl Berry and her golden retriever. Griffin was part of a unique agreement with a breeder — a shared ownership that would expose Cheryl to the world of dog shows and an unmatched friendship.

The early loss of her previous golden retriever had left a gap in Cheryl's life. Even though she promised herself not to go through such sorrow again, she couldn't ignore the sense that a dog friend was absent from her life.

While working remotely during the pandemic, Cheryl started looking for another golden. High demand resulted in long waiting lists everywhere until a breeder named Mary suggested the idea of a co-owner contract. And so on the first day January 2021, Griffin entered Cheryl's life.

Griffin quickly gained his nickname as "the mayor." His friendly demeanor made him a local star; people passing by, including the FedEx delivery person and the mail carrier, couldn’t help but stop to say hello to Griffin when he was out in the yard. At three years old, he's already a large golden retriever, filled with adorable, snuggly energy and enthusiasm for life.

Griffin recently appeared at the National Dog Show—although he didn't make it on television this past Thanksgiving, his presence in the show ring is unmistakable. Managed by Mary, who ensures Griffin's involvement in various events with a professional handler, he has started to do better in Canadian shows, approaching his championship there. Cheryl's pride is evident when she watches Griffin, well-trained and strutting confidently under the handler's guidance, a stark contrast to his playful vigor during their walks.

Cheryl hadn't initially aimed for the competitive dog show scene, but the partnership with Mary from Goldiva Goldens has been enlightening. Through this experience, she’s learned a lot about the careful breeding and training that goes into champion dogs.

Griffin is much more than a show dog for Cheryl—he's an emotional support animal and a source of happiness not just for her but for the community around them. His absences due to shows can be tough, especially during the quieter winter months. But these separations make their time together even more valuable, reminding Cheryl of the unparalleled companionship dogs offer.

From her first dog Dakota to her lively Griffin, each golden retriever has left a lasting impression on Cheryl's heart. Her journey through sorrow, rediscovery and dedication speaks volumes about the bond between humans and their pets.