First Florida Freestylers Guild

by Wendy Keighley and Labrador Lark

Hello friends, both human and canine. In the United States there is only one town named Cocoa. One story says that the mail used to come by river boat on the Indian River and was placed in an empty tin box labeled Baker's Cocoa. The box was nailed to a piling in the river next to downtown and the name stayed. Did you think this was going to be a geography lesson?

I am a black Labrador Retriever and I live in Cocoa. I have my Level 2 CFF title but I am told that next year I will have Level III. I am not really sure what that means. . . I have lovely music, but those ‘thunders’ and the words artistic, creativity, choreography really mean nothing to me as a dog so my person has to interpret those for me. That is the fun part.

We are very fortunate to have a dog training facility at the Canine Star Training Academy. Our Guild is able to train and hold trials there. We also are fortunate to have Ann Holder as our instructor. There are about 14 members and although the guild is fairly small, everyone is always ready to help each other, and so often it can be that one little thing that makes the difference.

One little thing helped me, when I was having a problem. For some strange reason I do not want to go into a certain corner of the training area, it does not feel good there. One of the members suggested that I start my routine there, that way I can dash out of that corner and not have to go back! I feel much better now. Also another handler was having a problem to get her dog to back. Another member explained that walking backwards is not a thing dogs like to do. So with two ring gates side by side with enough room for the dog to move into it the dog it went forward quite happily, they then stopped and waited and the dog quietly backed out of the gates on its own with no stress and lots of praise and encouragement. Again a simple solution. So that is how we do things here in Cocoa.

We just had a very successful trial, our 4th. How fortunate we are to have judges and a videographer and a music man to come all the way to Florida. We thank you so much. We even put on a sunset rocket launch for our friends!

My person Wendy says we need help with fund raising, how do you others do it? It costs a lot to put on a trial, any suggestions appreciated.

I hope you enjoyed hearing a little bit about what goes on in Cocoa, Florida.

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