Written on 18th September, 2013.
On Sunday 15th September, 2013 I was privileged to award a perfect score of 200 points to a Novice German Shepherd dog “Jem” ( Mondioucu’s Astare Noir Jem (imp usa)>at the G.S.D. Restricted Trials.
A perfect score in Obedience competition is difficult to attain under ordinary circumstances as they are not given freely. (Its only about the 3rd I have given in around 30 years of Judging.) However this was awarded to Jo Morgan and her beautiful Black Shepherd ‘Jem”, and for those who don’t know of her, she competes in a motorised wheelchair. She, her dog, and her chair were just one fluid motion throughout the whole performance. My stewards Warren Doyle and Annie Tamblyn and myself stood and clapped. It was truly a wonderful performance and was acclaimed by all who saw it. Jo also received from the German Shepherd Club of Qld., the coveted Excellent Medallion given for scores over 190
I feel it would be remiss of me if I did not tell you just a little about this gracious lady.
Jo purchased her first G.S.D. IN 1977. At that time she was in the R.A.A.F. living in East Sale Victoria. In 1984 she bred her first litter under the MALACHI prefix, and I know she still holds this prefix. When she first trained in the Obedience and show scenes, she trained with East Gippsland Obedience Club at Sale. She held many positions within this club and is a life member.
She started breeding seriously in 1986, gaining many obedience titles and show titles. Not only with G.S.D.’s but also with Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Greyhounds. She I believe ,was the first person in the eastern states to get a C.D.X. title with a Ridgy in the early 90’s.(Not sure of this)
In 1995 she moved to Qld. Where she continued breeding, showing and trialling.
She felt her world came to a grinding halt in 1998 when after a severe accident, she found herself confined to a wheelchair. She spent the next 2 years in a rehab home that’s how bad her injuries were. Her dogs were sent out to live with a brother and a couple of her dogs, with friends. When released from the home, 2 years later, 4 of these dogs went back to live with her and looked after her.
After purchasing a dog “Ovahimba Boahimnaa”, “Caddie” in 2004. She started to evolve from the shell she had erected around herself. Her courage and determination were again about to show themselves.
She and her dog “Caddie” attended Syd Lewis Obedience school here in Ipswich, and she will tell you she has this man to thank for keeping her on the straight and narrow. He wouldn’t let her give up. She still trains with Syd and I believe does some instructing for him. I believe he gave her the confidence she needed at this time to keep going.
She took”Caddie to the Canine Helpers scheme to become her Assistance Dog, gaining her C.D.X. TITLE during this period of time.
Caddie still lives with her today and still is a very active Assistance dog. She travels everywhere with her and is by her side 24/7.
The dog “ Jem “ arrived at the age of 10 months into Jo’s home in 2009. Jo admits she was and still can be a handful. She had problem sorting out her feeding problems, and admits this took her around 2 years to get under proper control. Play has always been her primary method of training, and this has worked very well for “Jem” and for Jo
A short time ago a new venture was started here in QLD. “The Young Diggers Dog Squad”. This has been set up to help the injured and those army personnel suffering from P.T.S.D. caused through their service life and are mostly from war mishaps. The placement of dogs with these suffering service people, is proving to be of great benefit to them. This was a venture Jo joined on its inception. She has been an inspiration to many and has done all her Assistance dog work with “Jem” through this wonderful organisation. It’s an organisation we could all get behind.
Dogs love to copy each other, and Jo admits “Jem” has learnt so much by copying “Caddie”. She says if she sets “Jem” a task which she doesn’t do properly, it is “Caddie who will correct her. “Caddie” was taught this way by Jo’s first dog “Vandal”. Vandal was one of the dogs returned to Jo when she came out of the home.
Jo hopes to get her trainers licence with the Young Diggers Dog Squad in the near future.
I know you will all join me in wishing this lady every success with her present dogs and the new litter she is expecting sometime towards the end of this year.
She deserves every good thing she may get, and certainly has earned the right to expect and receive our greatest respect. She certainly has mine, and I am sure that if you see her around you will say a bright hello and a sincere congratulations for all she has achieved.
WELL DONE JO MORGAN. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
Val Bonney (Canine behavioural specialist/International Trainer. Judge. Author)