• “Having whippets is like eating potato chips.”
“I adore Dobermans, because they are incredibly smart, athletic, beautiful and devoted to their people,” she said.
Eventually, she and her husband Chris decided to find a smaller breed of dog and discovered the whippet.
“Whippets are really easy dogs to live with,” Moss said. “They are a nice size, up for doing anything and are a good show breed.”
Today, they share their home with three whippets, “Terra” and “Fancy,” who are retired show dogs, and “Booker” who has done agility and obedience. They also have “Blush,” a miniature dachshund and co-own two other whippets, “Zoey” and “Karma,” with their daughter Casey.
“Having whippets is like eating potato chips,” she said. “You can’t have just one.”
Moss has been showing dogs since the 1980s.
“The point of showing is to prove that the dog is a good example of the breed, that they act and function as they’re supposed to,” she said. “It’s all about continuing the breed.”
For close to 30 years, Moss went to every dog show in Alaska. She traveled from Homer to Anchorage for two shows in January and March, to Fairbanks for three shows during Memorial Day Weekend, two more shows in Anchorage in June, three shows in Soldotna in July and three shows at the Palmer fairgrounds in August.
“It’s expensive and it takes lots of time and energy, but you get to hang out with other dog people and their dogs and it doesn’t get any better than that,” she said.
Moss, then Pedersen, met Homer-born and raised Chris while both were attending Boise State University. The couple married in 1975 and moved to Homer in 1976. Their daughter Casey was born in 1983.
“Dogs are neat, but Casey is the best,” Moss said. “Chris and Casey have been with me every step of the way and I’m blessed with one big, happy family that includes both two-legged and four-leggeds that I love.”
When the Homer Animal Shelter fell in to disarray in the mid 80s, Moss was eager to get the word out about the plight of the animals. She started Homer Animal Friends, an organization that supported the Homer Animal Shelter and gradually evolved to become a spay/neuter and educational organization.
Moss started Sundog Grooming and Boarding, and groomed for 10 years until carpal tunnel surgery forced her to retire. She then spent five years working at Homer Veterinary Clinic and concentrated on her kennel business, which she ran for 26 years and just retired from. She also taught obedience classes for HAF for 30 years.
For the last 10 years, Moss has taken agility classes, something she said is a lifestyle and not a class. She said it is not easily learned by dogs or their people, so it takes years to learn.
“Agility is a dance between you and your dogs,” she said. “Teaching the dog to navigate through a series of obstacles like jumps, tunnels, A-frames, chutes, teeter-totters and weaves.”
Moss and her dogs have won several awards. Fancy won an award of merit at the Whippet National in Arizona in 2003 and Karma took best in show in Fairbanks in 2011. Blush is an AKC champion and an agility dog, currently competing in the excellent classes.
In 2004, Moss was training dogs of her own and teaching classes in the community. She and Miriam Cope, another dog breeder and groomer, started Homer Dog Trainers, which became a part of the HAF organization.
Moss believes dog obedience is critical to a happy human/dog relationship.
“Times have changed and our lives are much more complicated and busy,” she said. “We want more out of our dogs, but what they need from us is our time.”
Moss practices positive reinforcement training, building a trusting relationship.
“With positive reinforcement training, you give the dog the opportunity to earn rewards; if they make a mistake, you go back and retrain,” she said. “You end up with dogs that are eager to learn and work hard for you.”
Moss routinely goes into the local schools with her dog, Booker, to teach kids about responsible pet ownership and how to avoid being bit.
“I could talk dogs forever; breeding, showing, structure, gait, obedience, learning, training, understanding,” Moss said.” My goal is to make it easier for dogs to coexist with their people and vice versa.”
For more information on Homer Dog Trainers, contact Moss at 235-8053 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the HAF website at homeranimals.com.
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