15th April 1999 — 22nd January 2010 — View pedigree
Phebe was kept from our very first Ardenbrook litter. Her mother Ella was our first Labrador, bought as a pet, who came from the Speycast kennel in Coventry. It was due to Ella's difficult personality that Kate became immersed in the working Labrador life.
Kate started training Ella after following up an advert in a local paper, which offered one to one gundog training for the complete novice. Ella's personality was always extremely contrary, and in an effort to find something that would help by giving her something more challenging to do Kate wondered whether training appropriate to her breeding would help.
It didn't! But in the process of trying Kate was bitten by the bug and determined to have a litter from Ella, who in spite of her awkwardness was none the less obviously very talented.
So, on the advice of her training mentor, who had become a good friend, Kate went along to the annual Inter-Team event at the Chatsworth Gamefair, talent spotting! Running in one of the teams was a striking yellow dog, who seemed to be telepathically connected to his handler and loving every minute of it. Well, that was it. At that point Kate knew she'd seen what she wanted, and so it was that our first litter was sired by the bold, brave and talented FTCh Lafayette Tolley.
Phebe turned out to be a chip off the old block, and had all the qualities that Kate had so admired in her father. So easy to train, it was evident very early on that Phebe would go far. In fact, Kate quickly realised that she needed to progress her own knowledge and experience if she was to do this lovely girl justice.
And so it was that, having only ever aspired at a distance to the lofty heights of the Field Trialling, Kate found herself running Phebe in their very first trial in December 2000. Ever honest and genuine, Phebe was awarded 3rd place in totally novice hands, and then went on to win her second trial in January 2001, at the age of 21 months.
In all, Phebe won three trials, and was placed in almost every other Open stake she ran in, as well as being a multiple Open Working Test winner. The Foot and Mouth epidemic and low club membership thwarted Kate's efforts to make Phebe up to a field trial champion, but she was a joy to work, and was the lynch pin of Kate's picking up team.
A true worker with a phenomenal intelligence, Phebe was at her happiest when out at work, and a dog that will pick up one day, and trial the next. As far as she was concerned it was all just work, and she loved it.