Lively and Berakah Receive Nosework Award

Berakah and Lively Receive the Marta’s Alert to IMHA – Outstanding Professional Alert Award

at the Nosework Trial in Huntley, MT on May 19 & 20, 2018

Marta was an English Springer Spaniel, a breed champion as well as competitor in nosework, agility and rally obedience. She succumbed to a terrible autoimmune disease, IMHA (Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia), where the body’s immune system begins destroying its own red blood cells. Her owner decided to memorialize Marta by offering this award.  Here is their story:

“When we lost our beautiful English Springer Spaniel, Marta (CH Bondir’s Blossom of Snow RI, AGJW) to IMHA (Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia), it was a huge shock as we had never heard of the disease.  IMHA is a terrible affliction where the body’s immune system destroys its own red blood cells.  The red blood cells are still produced in the bone marrow to replace the destroyed cells but once they are released into circulation, the immune system mistakenly recognizes them as something foreign, like a virus or infection, and destroys them.

“Marta was a very active young dog who titled in agility, rally obedience and nosework.  While she loved playing catch and Frisbee on our acreage and being with her feline and equine friends, Marta really excelled at nosework and won several judge’s picks for best alert.  For this reason, we decided to use Marta’s love of nosework to bring awareness to IMHA through “Marta’s Alert to IMHA” – Outstanding Professional Alert Award.

“We have provided nosework judges at select trials this ribbon to present to the dog with the best alert.  The recipient is awarded the depicted ribbon (yes, the nose print is actually Marta’s) with a donation made in their name helping fund IMHA research at the University of Minnesota – College of Veterinary Medicine.”

Rebecca, when she awarded me Lively’s ribbon Sunday morning (the trial went so long Saturday that award presentations were delayed until the next morning), pointed out that the ribbons on Marta’s award contained snowflakes since her registered name was “Blossom of Snow.”  It’s a HUGE, gorgeous ribbon.

Our trial was the first trial at which Marta’s Award was given, and her owner and family drove from Calgary, Alberta to compete at the trial AND make the award. I am very honored and humbled to have received both day’s awards and really enjoyed getting to know Marta’s family during the trial.  As a breeder, I was very moved by the award, since I am concerned at the proliferation of autoimmune diseases in dogs (and in all other mammals, including humans).  Thanks, Rebecca!!!!

Lively passed Saturday morning’s Masters test, finding the two hides in 26.09 seconds (and ignoring 2 distractions), which gave her first place and High in Trial in the Masters level (A & B combined).  For her totally focused search and clear, sustained alerts independent of me (my dogs are trained to freeze and stare at the hide until I release them, using the Dave Kroyer training method), Lively was awarded the first ever Marta’s Alert to IMHA – Outstanding Professional Alert Award. 

Berakah won Sunday’s “Marta’s Alert to IMHA” – Outstanding Professional Alert Award. WOW! (photo attached) I really figured the judge would choose a different handler for the second award but she mentioned that, even though quite a few dogs had excellent alerts that day Berakah’s work ethic was consistently the best. She also mentioned at the photograph session for the Marta’s Alert Award that all five of my dogs had consistently excellent alerts!

For more information on the award, look for Marta Ferguson’s page on Facebook or email Rebecca at [email protected].

For more information on this terrible disease and the research being done, see

For more information on Dave Kroyer’s nosework training method, see, click on the nosework option on or check out his Facebook page.  Several of our group from Sheridan attended a weekend seminar on his nosework training methods put on by his wife, Karen, in August 2016.  We were so impressed by the logic and how all the dogs, no matter what their levels, immediately understood and began using the indication they use, that we went back and spent the winter (and since then) totally retraining our dogs, starting from the beginning even though they were already competing and doing pretty well (we thought).  The difference in our dogs NOW is incredible and they’re so much more fun to show because we know for sure when they’re on the scent.   

Meanwhile, enjoy your four-legged friend TODAY and celebrate the joy they bring you. Then get up tomorrow morning and enjoy them that day, too. For as long as you both shall live.