Kathryn Spark shares with us the story of George – the Spark’s youngest whippet in their family.
Ch of Ch/Nch Sup Rch North B4 South
Owners: Paul and Kathryn Spark
Breeding: Rch/Nch North 2 South x Ch of Ch Prada
Date of Birth: 29 October 2011
When this mating took place we were not going to have a pup as we already had four dogs although in our heart of hearts we had wanted one. Due to changes in circumstances a dog pup became available and we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to have a pup from this litter. When we took George home he soon settled in with all the other dogs. He was a handful never being still running behind the chairs making his own race course around the living room!
When we started to school George he soon took to chasing the lure showing promising signs. We never imagined how good he was going to be during his first full year of competitive racing.
The first open event we entered George in was the Shirebrook Puppy Ledger in late 2012 and to say we were nervous was an understatement especially as it was his first race with four other dogs. When George won his class we were more than delighted and when he won the Supreme Puppy final next day we were over the moon.
ABOVE: Photo of George courtesy of Jacqui Glover
George had a rest over the Winter after having one of his testicles removed from his groin by Richard Torr and after his extended recuperation we started his training at Old Hall and Shirebrook. George travelled back ‘home’ to Shildon for his first big open when we went to the Lord Byron Classic. We were looking forward to racing him against some class animals not expecting anything from him just hoping for some injury free racing. He won his class and when he went on to win the trophy beating some of the most experienced dogs and bitches we were delighted and in shock!
After this we took George to a number of opens where he won his class and some Supremes and his next big challenge was the Championships. We had been looking forward to this event and the week before he started to limp. He ended up at the vets where they examined him which resulted in his foot being bandaged. We therefore made the decision not to run him but George being George had other ideas. The morning of the racing his bandage was missing and his limp had been replaced by a spring in his step. He had removed the bandage while in bed! After asking a number of people for their opinion as Paul was at work George was entered for the racing. At this point the disappointment of not running him turned to nervousness. I can safely say I have never felt so nervous.
When it got to George’s race Paul was still on his way from work so I put George in the traps. I couldn’t believe my eyes when George crossed the line first to take his first title. To say we were pleased is an understatement. Anything else would have been a bonus but George had other ideas resulting in a position in the Supreme final. Once the traps opened his determination carried him over the line first gaining Ch of Ch. The nerves disappeared and were replaced with sheer joy. The feeling of winning Ch of Ch cannot be described in words and this was all thanks to George removing his bandage – typical George.
After this, we travelled to the English Derby where he won his heat and was beaten by Swift Boy in the Class. He then had a bit of bad luck – firstly standing on a bee at Fordingbridge which stung his foot causing it to swell up. After this he snapped a tendon in his toe which was checked out by George Drake which does not seem to bother him.
We made the long journey to Scotland at the end of July where George won the Derby Class and was just beaten in the semi-final again against some good competition.
The next big challenge for George was the BWRA championships. Again, we were not expecting anything just hoping for good injury free racing against some classy competition.
George was placed in the traps and once they opened he seemed to eat the ground up and passed the finish line first adding an Rch title to his achievements. We were overjoyed and again anything extra was a bonus. George won his run off to make it to another Supreme final. At this point the nerves kicked in again. The walk up the track seemed the longest walk ever. Once the traps opened the whole family shouted for George. Stamina and courage carried George over the line first but we had to check the results just to make sure. His namesake, the late George Spark, must have been looking down over him.
ABOVE: George (far left) and family
George has also run in several other opens including the Help 4 Heroes, George Spark and Little Bill and Shirebrook Ledger where his performances have been rewarded with Supreme wins. He took on some of the top dogs and bitches in these races and we were thrilled with the results. He also finished in first place in the new Eastenders competiton, beating some good dogs for the accolade.
George has been relaxing since the straight racing season finished having a well-deserved rest. He enjoys lazing around the house with his dad and half-brother and sister. He likes his comforts and does not like being disturbed once he’s comfortable. He has taken a liking to the coals on the electric fire when we leave him in the house which we have had to start covering up otherwise they end up being eaten. This is just typical of George – always up to mischief! He is full of character and we wouldn’t change him for the world.
Sup Rch & Nch Ch of Ch in one year is only something you could dream of achieving. We are still coming to terms with what George has achieved during 2013 at such a young age and finishing in third place in the Top Ten competition. Well done to all the other finalists and we would like to wish everyone a safe and injury free 2014.