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SKC Member Profile

August 2010 Barker


Tonya GisselbergThis will be a new feature to get to meet and get to know our members. We see them at the shows or at meetings, but do we really know them? I’m starting with Tonya Gisselberg, as she joined Sammamish in 1993 and at this time with the records that have been given me, the longest tenured member. Tonya works with Dee at Obedience/Rally at both our Shows

Tonya’s breed is Vizsla

Length of time in purebred dogs: I got my first purebred dog in 1990. My friend Mary Gaudio had 2 Vizsla bitches, Aerial and CT. I spent quite a bit of time around Mary and her dogs. I really enjoyed being with the dogs and wanted a Vizsla of my own. Mary decided to breed whichever of her bitches came into heat first. I helped her find a sire, Dalton, owned by Jan Simer. I drove CT to San Ramon, California for the breeding. CT wasn’t quite ready to breed when we arrived, so CT and I spent a few days seeing the sights before the breeding took place. For my efforts, Mary agreed to let me take pick of the litter when the puppies were born. I wasn’t planning on showing, but just keeping my new puppy as a pet. When I called Jan Simer to tell her that the pup-pies had been born, she told me that Dalton just got Best of Breed at Vizsla Nationals. After hearing that news, I decided that I better show my puppy after all. That’s how I got started in purebred dogs. I have had Vizslas ever since.

My favorite AKC venue: I have put conformation, hunting, obedience, rally and agility titles on my dogs. Agility is my favorite venue. Agility is a deceptive sport, because it looks so fun and easy. It is very fun, but it is not at all easy. Your dog has to be willing to follow your direction on the course and not go off and do his or her own thing. My dog Flash, who received his Excellent Standard and Master Excellent Jumpers titles, found doing the jumps, tunnels and A-frame extremely gratifying in their own right, so that it did not much matter to him whether he did them on his own or on my cue. I worked very hard with Flash to develop some impulse control, so that he learned to follow my cues on the course. Some of the fun of agility is that it is so challenging, but much of the fun is that when you are out on the course, everything happens so quickly that the only thing on your mind for those 30-40 seconds is running the course. It is a sport that happens totally in the moment.

My profession: I am an attorney. In the past, I practiced in litigation. I recently changed my practice area to intellectual property law. I am not a patent attorney, so for me, intellectual property law includes copyright, trademark, trade secrets and privacy law.

My interests outside of dogs: I enjoy watching movies, especially the classics. I would rather watch Turner Classic Movies or Netflix at home than go to the movie theater. I also enjoy taking care of our ducks and chick-ens. The ducks are allowed to run loose in the front yard during the day and we make a game out of finding their eggs. Dee, my partner, and I are raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Raising the Guide Dog puppy is completely different than raising your own dog. It is a very strict regime, but there are some things about it that we want to use next time we raise our own puppy.

What the club was like when I joined: In those days, the club included the Beckwiths, the Marshes, Hazel Mage and Margaret Wageman. Hazel Mage was one of the founding members. We had our meetings and summer shows at Gold Creek Tennis and Sports Club in Woodinville. I think Marymoor Park is a more pleasant setting for the summer show and has better access.

More from The Barker
Minutes of the Last Meeting • The AKC Delegate
• Member Brags • New Breeds
• Scholarship Award  


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