Dog Blog

The Dog Blog is a community of ordinary dog lovers who have come together to discuss our extraordinary dogs. Each Monday, a new topic is introduced. If you've got an opinion, share it. If not, look for the current "anything goes" topic and introduce a discussion of your own. On Fridays, weigh in about your training questions and successes.
Your host: Mike Lewis is a little-dog nerd and the proud owner of Eddie and Jillian, a pair of Yorkies who think they're huskies, and Lucy, a sweet Chessie. R.I.P., Rusty. Contact

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What are your New Year's resolutions for your dogs? - 1/2/2013 4:29 pm

AACCC Adoption of the Week: Meet Rudy - 1/2/2013 4:14 pm

Take extra precaution with dogs on New Year's - 12/31/2012 11:58 am

Friday training talk -- what's up with your pack? - 12/28/2012 11:09 am

AACCC Adoption of the Week: Meet Chris K - 12/27/2012 12:27 pm

Alaskans in AKC/Eukanuba Nationals: Meet Sammie McDowell, Colleen McDowell, Iris Andre (Pizzazz) and Trigger

Sammie and TriggerSammie and Trigger

Owner/handler Sammie McDowell, Co-Owners Colleen McDowell and Iris Andre (Pizzazz) will be competing with Trigger in Conformation Best of Breed at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championships scheduled for this weekend, Dec. 4-5, in Long Beach, Calif.

As a way of acknowledging Alaskans' incredible achievements, this week the Dog Blog is introducing some of the Alaska competitors in a Q&A format.

Here's more on Trigger, who is ranked as America's Number 1 or 2 Curly Coated Retriever.

Dog's Registered Name: Ch. Pizzazz Trigger

Call name: Trigger    

Breed: Curly Coated Retriever

Dog's Age: 7

Hometown: Wasilla

Handler/owner: Sammie McDowell (other owners Colleen McDowell & Iris Andre (Pizzazz)

Occupation: Professional Dog Handler (

Event you'll be competing in at the AKC/Eukanuba Nationals: Conformation Best of Breed

How long have you been showing/competing with dogs? All my life by but my first show photo I remember was when I was 6 years old winning a Group 4 with my 1st dog a Curly Coated Retriever "Sterling" Ch. Karakul Road Warrior

Sammie and Sterling: Ch. Karakul Road Warrior & Sammie 1993 (both Sammie & Sterling were 10 years old).Sammie and Sterling: Ch. Karakul Road Warrior & Sammie 1993 (both Sammie & Sterling were 10 years old).

Always same breed? No, I handle all breeds and have owned several breeds. However, I currently own Curly Coated Retrievers and Afghan Hounds.

Top finishes/titles/honors:
• Trigger & I won the 2008 & 2009 Curly Coated Retriever National Specialty. He also won an Award of Merit at this year’s 2010 National Specialty. This is the highest award any dog fancier can hope for in there breed, Winning a National Specialty.
• Trigger is America's Number 1 or 2 Curly Coated Retriever (depending on what stat's book you look at, he is running neck and neck with another Curly from the East Coast-Final Stats are posted January 2011).
• Trigger is currently running neck and neck with a couple of wonderful show dogs here in Alaska for "Alaska's Top Show Dog".  Results will be announced in January 2011 at the Alaska Kennel Club Banquet after the January dog shows.
• Trigger has won 3 Best in Shows (2 in the USA and 1 in Canada) and multiple Group 1sts and placements. In the Alaska Shows this year Trigger placed 14 out of the 16 shows in Group (5 of which were Group 1sts and one of which was a Best in Show).
• Trigger has won 2 awards of Merit at the Eukanuba National Championship and won the breed at the 2008 Eukanuba National Championship.

Best features/attributes: Trigger's silhouette is absolutely stunning; Trigger has a beautiful front and top line. Above all Trigger has one of the best coats in our breed today, nice tight crisp curls!

First time to Eukanuba Nationals? No, this will be Trigger and my 4th Eukanuba National Championship

Goals for the show? For Trigger to show well, have a great time and just have fun! Trigger has surpassed my wildest dreams and I cannot ask for more than he has already given me. 

Anything else people should know about you and your dog?
Trigger does have an amazing story. I had been waiting for over 10 years for another curly, the next "Sterling". January 2005 I received the call from a close curly friend and breeder (Leslie Puppo, Avanti Curly Coated Retrievers) and was told "We have the next Sterling and he is yours when do you want him?" I couldn't believe it. In March of 2005 Trigger at 18 months old was shipped from California to Alaska from my wonderful breeder (Iris Andre, Pizzazz Curly Coated Retrievers).

Two days after I picked up Trigger from the Airport he competed in a local show, Trigger went best of breed and received a group 4th. I did not show Trigger the 2nd day of the show because he only needed one point to finish his championship. We wanted to show him at the National in hopes to win the Prestigious Winners Dog Award and finish his championship at the National Specialty.

Unfortunately, this moment was short lived. Trigger broke his leg 4 days later. When Trigger broke his leg we were not sure if he would limp for the rest of his life but there was a large possibility that he would limp and therefore his show career would be over. The next year for Trigger would only be filled with surgeries, re-castings and rehabilitation and awaiting the fate of his show career.

To my surprise as well as my wonderful Veterinarian (Dr. Mike Edwards, DVM, MS, DACVS-Veterinarian Specialists) Trigger was completely healed by January 2006.  Trigger's first time back out after his accident (January 2006) he finished his championship by going best of breed. That year Trigger finished 2006 as the #9 Curly Coated Retriever in America. Trigger also received his Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog International Title in September of 2006.

As you can see in the above questions Trigger has gone on to be the Top Curly in the Country and has surpassed my wildest dreams by Winning 2 National Specialties. Broken leg or not I could have never imagined Trigger to take me to the places he has, he is an Amazing dog with an amazing will to please and succeed.

Above all and most important Trigger is a part of our family and is a sweet gentle hearted dog that loves all the attention he can get. He is also quite the snuggler and on occasion will spoon friends (you know who you are) if they share a hotel room!

Trigger, resting up for the big competition: Currently Trigger is lying on the bed in our Hotel room in Long, Beach belly up snoring...Trigger, resting up for the big competition: Currently Trigger is lying on the bed in our Hotel room in Long, Beach belly up snoring...

Trigger is loved by many but resides with Sammie McDowell & Trevor Lewis
See Trigger's page @

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