are an AKC Breeder of Merit Show kennel located in Claremore, Oklahoma -
just Northeast of Tulsa and within an hour of the
corners of Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. We have 15
acres, right on the lake, so everyone has lots of room.
We have been raising Cockers (and only Cockers!) since
everyone in the family contributes to helping with the
dogs and puppies, I have to say that they are my abiding
passion and my husband and the kids are just tagging
along because of me. The family much prefers to be
the petters and players, while Mom is doing the grooming,
cleaning and care. Of course that means the dogs usually
like them better because they know I'm liable to give
them a bath or a shot!
have to stop here and say that I don't use the
term "Hobby Kennel" when describing myself and my dogs.
While this term is used by many to identify individuals that
breed for the betterment of the breed and not for
profit, I don't feel that the word "hobby" is a
complimentary description of my commitment to my dogs. I have devoted
30 years to studying and
breeding Cocker Spaniels and to developing superior bloodlines,
conformation and temperaments in my dogs. For years, my family's home-life has revolved around providing care for
our dogs and puppies and doing the best we can to
provide them with everything they need. We rarely,
if ever, get family vacations and if a holiday rolls
around and I'm not bottle feeding a too-small puppy or
babysitting an expectant mother, I feel like something's
missing! (I have to
Thank God for understanding family members and in-laws
since family celebrations, get-togethers and my kids'
activities many times end up with animals in attendance,
or I have to miss them entirely when I can't leave a sick dog or whelping
do not view my interest in dogs as a "hobby" and my
animals never take second place to a "real job".
My dogs are a
full-time, 24/7, 365 day a year passion. Even when
I had to work, I was always lucky enough to have a job
where my dogs could go to work with me. I have
NEVER left a bitch at home to whelp alone! I have
always believed that my "job" was to provide my dogs
with support, care and attention whenever necessary.
Since every breeding, pregnancy and birth are due to my
influence, it's my responsibility to be present to support
or help the dogs if necessary and to make sure everything
goes "right" in any situation. This means my dog
"job" requires sleepless nights and days to help with
whelping and watching over nervous new mommies. I
also have to be available to nurse weak, orphaned or
rejected puppies for as long as necessary. (This can
mean every 1-2 hours as newborns and for as long 4-8 weeks
for especially small, weak or sick puppies.)
This is what is required of a responsible breeder and this
is what I do for my dogs.
Additionally, I believe in breeding for the betterment of the breed and
in producing the best
dogs I can. I make every effort to stay
current on breed issues and concerns and I do my best to
breed the happiest, healthiest dogs possible. I
stand behind all of my dogs and am always available to
answer questions or help new owners.....even 5 or 10
years down the road! So, as I was saying,
while "hobby kennel" may be the politically correct term
for what I do (since I DO NOT sell to dealers, brokers
or pet shops!), I certainly don't want anyone to think
that this is something I do on weekends, after work or when I
have some spare time!
HOW IT ALL STARTED:
love of Cocker Spaniels all
started when my best
friend got a buff Cocker female when we were 16 years
baby-sat this little girl for about a month and after
she went home, I just had to get a Cocker of my own.
Luckily my parents were prepared as I was always the kid
bringing every stray animal home from school or the
park! So, out I went to find my very own special
Cocker friend and home came a silver buff boy named
"Bear". This was a wonderful little dog
although he was the worst kind of "back-yard-breeder"
pet quality. I was devastated when I found
out he wasn't show quality and I was horribly
disappointed when I saw what show Cockers really looked
one to settle for second-best, I immediately began to
work towards owning a " show" dog. With the help
of several area Cocker breeders, my dreams came true and
I have been lucky enough to purchase and breed to some
exceptional dogs over the years. From this solid
foundation, I have continuously strived to produce
puppies with exceptional conformation, health and
temperament. I have done my best to become
knowledgeable on the breed standard, major health
concerns and other breed issues.
addition to learning all I could about the history,
structure and health of the Cocker Spaniel breed, I also
learned to groom and show my own dogs.
Learning to groom my own dogs led to me making the
decision to become a professional all-breed groomer.
Fortunately, I was able to work with, and learn grooming
techniques from, several outstanding breeders and
groomers. Eventually, I opened my own
grooming shop and ran this business in addition to
raising and showing my Cocker Spaniels and keeping up
with my family and 2-legged kids!
the years, I have also worked with a number of veterinarians,
become involved with riding, training and raising horses
and have spent considerable time with untold numbers of
animal lovers and owners. Basically, I have been
incredibly lucky and have been able to live my dream!!!
this time, I no longer have to "go to work" as I sold my
grooming shop a number of years ago. Lucky
me (and thanks to my husband), I now get to stay home
full-time and take care of my family, the dogs and
horses. Of course I still have a set of clippers in my hand quite often
and I have to "work" in the kennel and barn every day,
but it hardly seems fair to call what I do "work" when
it's so much fun!
husband isn't quite as lucky as I am. He has to
work a "regular" full-time job. Fortunately for us
however, his job isn't entirely "normal" and he is able
to complete much of his daily work from home.
This means that someone is almost always here to keep
an eye on the animals.
of my pups are born and raised in the house. The moms
and puppies generally live in the entry way, right off
the living room and across from my bedroom door, or many
times IN the living room or kitchen. The mommas
get to roam our whole yard (our entire house is fenced
in!) for time away from the kids and for exercise.
We always keep pups right in the traffic center of the
house for socialization purposes, with the exact
location being determined by the needs of each litter.
All of the pups get lots of attention from everyone by
being so centrally located and this helps get them
socialized and used to household noise and commotion.
addition to our home and a large fenced yard, I
also have a kennel/grooming/training facility for my
breeding dogs and older show puppies. The kennel has central
heat and air throughout, extra large
indoor/outdoor fully covered
runs with raised floors (4' x 16') and ceiling fans inside and out.
The 10' x 20' grooming room is equipped with a raised shower for
bathing, 2 grooming tables and a large drying table for
hand fluffing those show coats. In addition to the
indoor facilities, the dogs can romp and play in any of 15 large shaded/covered outdoor play runs (10' x 20' to 20' x 40') that
are filled with small playground gravel.
believe in letting each dog have space to roam and run,
so no dogs are ever kept confined in small cages or
kennels, nor do any dogs live in the garage or any other
I'm very proud of all of my dogs. I have
produced numerous conformation champion show dogs,
various performance titled dogs, several
registered therapy dogs (including a seizure alert
dog) and many, many family pets. No matter
what my dogs are doing, I love knowing that they are
fulfilling their owners' dreams. I am just as
happy receiving a call or e-mail from a buyer
telling me that "Fluffy" is a treasured member of
their family as I am if one of my puppies wins points at a dog show
a show or performance title.
However, one of the greatest thrills for me is when
owners call to tell me that their groomer or vet
thinks their dog is a great representative of the
breed and they enjoyed working on them. I'm
extremely proud of the fact that my dogs are regularly noted by animal
professionals as having outstanding conformation AND
temperaments. (Having worked with animals
professionally, I can attest to the fact that
groomers and veterinarians usually see "pet" Cockers
with poor conformation and bad dispositions and this
breed is often not well thought of by these
professionals!) So, while it's wonderful to have a dog recognized for
his beautiful looks in the show ring, nothing makes me
prouder than to have a new puppy owner tell me their
groomer or vet complimented their dog and asked for
the breeder's information for other clients!
This is the kind of recognition I strive to achieve
and I view this type of recommendation as a great
Not every dog can be a Champion and, unlike some breeders, I do not view
"pet" homes as a last resort placement for my puppies.
My "pet" puppies are not a less-worthy by-product of my
breeding program. Nor do I have a separate "pet" kennel of
lesser quality dogs, that are bred only to supply the
pet market. Puppies that I have
available to pet homes come from the same litters that I
choose my show dogs from. Some pet puppies may be
available because they have "faults" that keep them from
being shown (their color/markings are not acceptable for
the show ring, they don't have enough coat, their teeth
are not perfectly aligned, etc., etc.), but many of my
available pet puppies are "show quality". This
doesn't mean they are "too good" to be your family pet
or that they won't make excellent pets. In fact,
these dogs make outstanding pets! Being placed as a pet is many times a better life for the dog as most people involved in the
show world are breeders who have some type of "kennel."
a kennel situation, the dogs are generally not all in the
house and the owner's attention must be divided between
a number of animals during specific time periods in the
kennel. This is not usually a bad thing with
conscientious breeders, but in worst cases it can be a
terrible, lonely, life-long nightmare for the dog.
Another problem with placing puppies in "breeder/kennel"
homes is that sometimes show/breed enthusiasts do not
want to give every dog a lifetime home. Some
breeders may keep the dog for a period of time while
they show and breed it, but once they have obtained
the titles and/or offspring they want, they no longer
wish to keep the purchased dog. While this is not
a bad thing if the dog is placed into a loving
"retirement" home, there is the potential that a dog may
end up in a bad home or that a dog may end up being
passed from home to home if subsequent placements do not
a breeder, I'm always very concerned about knowing where
my puppies/dogs are, so the possibility of one of my
dogs not having a permanent, lifetime home is a major
concern. To avoid the problems listed above,
I sometimes prefer to
place my dogs in homes that are more of a "pet" type
situation. These homes are more often
permanent and I like knowing that my dogs are considered
to be family members, not just usable/disposable
possessions. However, for all those show
people out there screaming about what good homes they
I'm not naive enough to believe that all pet homes
are great. Bad pet homes can be just as
bad as kennel placements and can sometimes be even worse
for the dog.
owners abound that take a puppy home just to toss it outside
to live, learn and fend for itself or that lose interest
in the dog as their schedules, commitments and
responsibilities change. These
people then express surprise and annoyance when their dog
ends up as an
over-active/ill-behaved/mal-adjusted wreck! Many
times, by the time this poor, neglected dog is a year or
two old, the "loving" pet owners are anxiously looking
for someone to dump the dog on or a shelter where they
can just abandon it and its problems for someone else to
poor example of "pet" owners are the type that never groom
their dog (or do so once a year "whether he needs it or
not!") and who never take their dog to the vet
unless it is literally at death's door. These dogs never
receive preventive/on-going care for disease or parasites,
allergies or skin disorders. I can't tell you the number of dogs
(of all breeds) I've seen come into
a grooming shop for a "once a year strip" and the dog
had to be rushed to the vet's because it was anemic from
the hundreds of fleas and/or ticks on it. I've
also seen these same dogs with skin infections that were so advanced and
uncared for that there were actually maggots living on
the dog! Sorry for the graphic
details, but I actually saw this at least once or twice
a year as a groomer. And believe it or not, we're
talking about dogs that were family pets in one of the
most affluent sections of town and which were owned by
people that would, otherwise, be considered normal, up-standing,
caring members of their community!!!
As you can see from the problems I've described above,
there are no cut and dried rules for what constitutes the
"best" home for a dog. Any placement can have the
potential for disaster or disappointment and because of
this fact, I screen all prospective owners in an effort
to find the "right" home for each of my puppies/dogs.
I also reserve the right to refuse to sell any
puppy/dog, at any time, to any potential buyer that
I do not approve of. If you are interested in purchasing a Sandcastle
Kennel's puppy, I hope you can understand that my asking
questions and probing into your family situation, plans
and schedule is not an indication that I don't like or
approve of you, your family or your home. I do
these things because finding
the right home for my puppies is vitally important and because
I want to see each puppy in the "perfect"
order to find the right placement for each puppy and to
be sure each family gets their perfect companion, I ask
prospective owners to please fill out my
REQUEST FORM. This
form will help me understand your family's needs and
expectations for a new puppy/dog. Using the
information you provide, I will be better able to help
you choose the puppy/dog that is most compatible with
your family's activity level, social situation and
structure. Your cooperation in filling out my
Puppy Request Form is greatly appreciated.
No puppy will be
placed until this form has been completed, submitted and
you are thinking of purchasing a Cocker, whether for
pet or show, Sandcastle Kennels would like to invite
you to visit our dogs (in person or via the
internet). We invite comparison with
anyone's dogs as we know our dogs can hold their own
in any competition. We generally say
that you should either visit us first or you should
visit us last. If you come to us first, you
will get to see what a Cocker really SHOULD look and
act like. You will also find out what benefits
YOU get by buying from Sandcastle Kennels
(knowledge, training and a lifetime commitment to
helping you).......all BEFORE you get suckered into
buying just a cute face! If you come to us last,
then you will have seen the dogs offered elsewhere and
you will have no doubt that you are getting a superior
dog if you choose to purchase a Sandcastle Kennel's puppy.
Believe me, you will be able to see a
Please continue to explore my website for further information on Cockers, training and
puppies available. We would love to hear back from you about the site, including ways to
improve your visit and any links you would recommend.
Please feel free to
information or to answer any questions. Thanks for stopping by!