Cheryl Cramer and Grey
The NEAA Membership Committee has a Newsletter column titled, Member Spotlight. Following is the in depth interview with Cheryl Cramer, Monmouth Junction, NJ.
Cheryl Cramer is active in performance sports with her Norwegian Elkhounds.
How long have you been a member of NEAA?
Someone’s going to have to look this up, I’m not sure. I got my first Elkhound in 2003, so…maybe since 2004? I still consider myself a relative “newbie” in both the club and the breed.
Are you a member of any regional or other national Norwegian Elkhound clubs, which ones?
I’m a member of the Garden State Norwegian Elkhound Club.
Do you participate at NEAA or Regional Club events, which ones?
I have only missed 2 NEAA National Specialties since my first one in 2006. And, although it’s not an “event”, I have served as the NEAA agility statistician for many years now. As an active member of my Regional club, I always attend our regional specialties, often entering a dog if I have one to show, as well as regular attendance at club meetings. I am also the assistant chair for the annual GSNEC agility trial.
Have you met other Norwegian Elkhound enthusiasts at events or through your membership?
I have, many. I’ve particularly enjoyed meeting most, if not all of the other members across the country who do agility as well as conformation and I really love and appreciate the support we all give each other.
What do you enjoy most from your NEAA membership?
Since I joined, it’s been wonderful to watch the growth of support for the newer “performance” (Companion) events – agility, barnhunt, nosework, herding — within the club and at the National Specialties.
How long have you been interested in or owned Norwegian Elkhounds, how did you become interested in Norwegian Elkhounds, did a breeder / mentor help you learn about the breed?
I grew up with dogs, but no particular breed (Puli, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Tibetan Terrier, mixed breeds) and didn’t really participate in any dog competitions. In 2002, I was researching for a new family pet and was drawn to the look and description of the Elkhound. I contacted the local breed club (GSNEC); their members were very welcoming and informative, and several have since become good friends and mentors. Through GSNEC I obtained my first Elkhound puppy, Casey, who went on to become my first conformation champion and my first agility dog (CH MACH2 PACH2 Tolandia Trouble Ahead).
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about or from Norwegian Elkhounds?
Beware of getting a dog that’s potentially smarter than you are.
Who is or was your favorite or best Norwegian Elkhound, and why?
I really couldn’t say. Casey not only introduced me to whole new worlds of canine competition but did so with a sense of humor and only a touch of exasperation with my slow learning-curve. Our Amish-bred rescue boy, Toby (Toby-Wan Kenobi NAJ NAP OJP) saved me and my family from a housefire in 2006; he didn’t much care for agility but continues to faithfully guard us from UPS and FedEx to this day. Grey (CH MACH2 Kamgaard Kovered In Grey) is the sweetest, most honest dog I’ve ever encountered of any breed. She’s become a true agility partner – we rely on each other on course — although she does still occasionally remind me that she really is an Elkhound. And my newest agility prospect, Rune (GCH CH Kamgaard Kryptic Kharacter AX AXJ OF) is both phenomenal and frustrating. Her sunny disposition and outlook on life are irresistible, but she knows exactly how to push my buttons and stretch me to my limit in training and competition. They’ve all been very different but equally special.
What do you and your Norwegian Elkhounds enjoy most together?
Need I say it? Agility. The “girls” and I love nothing better than taking off in the motorhome for a weekend of trialing.
Grey is very honest and really wants to please, but it took me a while to figure out how to communicate with her on course. The picture was taken about 3 years ago when we first started to come together as a team; it’s one of my all-time favorites because it shows that I finally gave her the correct turning cue and we’re both looking ahead in the same direction to the next obstacle. These moments are rare when “bringing a dog up” but oh-so-amazing when they start to happen.
In training, a sense of humor is an absolute necessity.
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