The following essay was written by Corinne Ruff in the Spring of 2011. Versions of this essay were used to achieve the following:

  • 2011 - American Kennel Club(AKC) Junior Scholarship
  • 2011 - Irish Setter Club of America(ISCA) Foundation Junior Scholarship Program
  • Corinne is going to the University of Illinois - Global Studies Program in the fall - We are obviously very proud!
  • Corinne's dog, Lily, just had puppies. Corinne took 2nd in the ISCA Futurity with Lily, and Honorable Mention at the National Championship.

    As much as we are proud of our kids for their passion and ability to creatively capture the words of their passion, we are also very grateful to AKC and the ISCA for sponsoring these scholarships! They are great gifts and a great catalyst to find and spread these messages!

    Here is Corinne's essay(Copyright 2011 by Corinne Ruff All Rights Reserved Worldwide):

    An Irreplaceable Bond

    "That's one hell of a dog ya got there," a voice boomed across the open prairie. A strong hand fell on my shoulder in respect as the brisk morning air rustled the ponytail peeking out from a faded field trial cap. A wave of accomplishment filled my oversized Carhartt jacket. A smile leapt from face to face of the supportive gallery, leaving its prideful mark behind. I looked down at the dog in my arms, her red fur matted in mud and burs. She was far from just any only old dog. She was mine, born and raised since the day I held her tiny body, eyes sealed shut. For my thirteenth birthday I got the pick of the litter. I remember telling my grandpa it had to be her, I knew she was the smartest, prettiest, and friendliest of the whole lot, and so I took Lily home.

    Irish Setters have become much more than mere pets or kennel dogs to me. I've never lived in a house without one roaming around to keep my brothers and me in line. Ever since I can remember they've pulled me on my tricycle, licked the tears off my face, and pointed birds to please my demands. Weekend field trials were a habitual part of my childhood. The whole family would pile up into my dad's Ford, trailer in tow, and head down to the wildlife area. Horses, dogs, and Fajita night; what else could a child want?

    It's amazing how something so natural has had the most impact on my life in today's digitally changing world. Looking back, it wasn't the Gameboy, Nintendo, or Playstation counsels I hold in my memory. The things I most attribute to growing up are the times spent at field trials-getting lost in the woods scouting, finding my first dog on point, and calling for what seemed like hours to a dog that wasn't quite done having fun. While technology may be growing exponentially, purebred hunting sports have remained consistent for decades. What matters will sustain, what doesn't will be forgotten.

    Breeding and training Irish setter hunting dogs has run through generations of my family. It's no wonder with a name like Ruff, we were fated to love dogs. In order to live up to my family name and the outstanding works they have done keeping the breed alive, I intend to not only follow in their footsteps, but also make a name for myself among the club. Unfortunately not many youth participate in the events, boding for a rough future. I hope to change that by encouraging involvement for the continuation and betterment of the club. The environment this sport creates is something that I believe every child should experience. It's something I can't imagine my life without. It's a four-legged, red-haired companion by my side, the oldest bond of man and his best friend.

    Copyright 2011 by Corinne Ruff All Rights Reserved Worldwide