2010 Update -> Lucas wrote another essay to win a 2010 ISCA Scholarship
2010 - Irish Setter Club of America(ISCA) Foundation Junior Scholarship Program
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 Lucas's essay(Copyright 2010 by Lucas Ruff All Rights Reserved Worldwide):
"Find the birds, boys!" A pair of unnamed two-month-old Irish brothers sprint away with newly found freedom. Four pigeons wait in cover. One pup stands out. He holds his head high as he dives through the thick, unforgiving grass, following the subtle odor. He moves in and out of the line, forward moving always. His tail cracks--he stops. Not moving a muscle staring into the brush. Muscles tense, he dives in at the enticing smell. The bird flushes an instant after. Bird and dog fly down the line. I choose him. His name will be Galt.
When I started running my first dog, I was given the advice to just have fun. But how to handle a dog? Rule one: create a bond. There is only one way in which to successfully handle--rely on the bond. The bond lets him go. The bond calls him back. The bond creates confidence. My first field trial all I had was the bond and the three tools--voice, whistle, horse--to use. The three tools are the median through which the bond is communicated on the field--the peak of a mountain. Develop this and a handler will never loose confidence in what picture the dog is painting.
I have handled many dogs since my first--each leaving their mark. Each challenging my ideas--giving me confidence. But there is more needed than just a simple bond and a hand-shake good luck--training. How to train a dog. Rule one: use the bond. If a bond is established, anything can be accomplished. The desire to please will far exceed the natural instincts. The dog knows the punishment, the gains--all the emotions. He understands. I found this truth in my second dog; the more time I spent with him, the more we trusted each other--potential maximized.
Galt is the first dog I have chosen on my own--another step in becoming a true competitor. One more layer in the Irish Setter world: how to chose your dog. Rule one: find the diamonds in the rough. It takes a keen eye to spot the undeveloped tools of a puppy--no movement goes unnoticed. His head inclined, his tail active, his sight secondary, his fear not. The right one will be obvious--his manners, curiosity, energy will call out, asking to be bonded with. Choosing in this manner will not only ensure the one with the best tools is picked, but more importantly will weld the first meld of the eventual bond of gold. I put my theories to the test that day--I saw more than just a puppy: the future talent, the future bond. I will continue to mold my ideas to fit with every dog to come--always moving towards the betterment of the breed, the sport, myself.
October, one year later. Rain. The perfect field trial weather. I kneel next to Galt for the pep talk. He looks straight past me into the drenched prairie, tilting his nose into the wind--studying the field. He's ready. Whistle blown. The movement never stops. His cracking tail is still there, but its more refined. The gait, faster. The decisions, wiser. He tests the bond that has developed over the year--it stands strong. One minute left and he finds the bird he knew was there all along. He wins the all-breed Derby.
Copyright 2008 by Lucas Ruff All Rights Reserved Worldwide