Sunday, August 23, 2015

SwissRidge Kennels Doodle Romp & Fundraiser

Yesterday, Riggs went to meet his maker.  Or, more specifically, his breeder.

Sherry Rupke of SwissRidge Kennels hosted her third annual “doodle romp” and fundraiser in Guelph, Ontario.  The event attracted more than 170 people, some of whom traveled a long way to attend. 

Approximately 50 dogs joined the fun, and amazingly, there wasn’t a single scuffle in the leash-free area.  Granted, Sherry’s hybrids—Goldendoodles and Bernedoodles for the most part—tend to be lovers, not fighters. In past years, Riggs was too much of lover; this year, he was Mr. Chill on a warm day. 

Many breeders hold reunions but the SwissRidge doodle romp is special.  For starters, the kennel has a large, active Facebook group membership. Over time, we’ve become a virtual “family” as we share the ups and downs of our dogs’ lives. This was a great excuse to gather in person.
“Riggs is so much bigger than I imagined,” one person said.

“Riggs is so much smaller than I imagined,” someone else said.  

Well, as we all know, he's just right.  

I was thrilled to meet some of the kind, generous and funny people who’ve supported me along the way, including Maura Clarke Murphy, who came from Massachusetts with her family, including the three (now four!) SwissRidge dogs we call the “Nesting Doodles.”  There were new friends, like Phyllis from North Carolina, and Carolyn from Thunder Bay, as well as "old" friends, like Doreen from New York.   

The real reason owners come from far and wide, of course, is to meet Sherry, and her partner, trainer Lucas Mucha. They’re celebrities in our circles, and let’s be honest, a dazzling pair.  

Sherry is a committed and conscientious breeder.  I know this better than most, because I’ve been behind the scenes while helping with her book on Bernedoodles, and I’ve interrogated her on literally dozens of occasions. 

On top of that, she’s responsive and caring. In the past week, I’ve probably been in touch with her half a dozen times over Mabel’s spay surgery.  Since Sherry’s bred thousands of dogs over about 18 years, I’m likely one many owners asking for her time at a given moment. 

The caring goes beyond her own clients.  For many years, Sherry has donated dogs and/or raised funds to train service dogs to support children with special needs. This year, she’s named the project “SwissRidge Dogs for Kids” and increased her effort to raise funds with the support of the SwissRidge community.  In 2015, fundraising is fast approaching $30,000.  A good part of that sum came from the auction of a Bernedoodle pup—the Bernese-Poodle hybrid Sherry created that is now so popular it’s tough to secure a place on the waiting list. 

Most of the money raised through SwissRidge Dogs for Kids will be allocated to Autism Dog Services (ADS), an organization Sherry has come to trust and respect.  As in the past, Sherry  donated a Goldendoodle puppy to the organization and will allow them to match that pup with an appropriate child. Funds raised will go to the specialized training the puppy needs to best serve its family.

ADS delivered a demonstration that was another highlight to the day.  Riggs and I enjoyed checking out the wares at the Bark and Fitz booth, and I had a good chat with photographer Karen Weiler at Posh Pets Photography.   Check out the amazing photos of the romp on Karen's blog.   

All and all, it was my kind of day:  cute dogs, nice people, sunshine, and a good cause.

For more information on Sherry and SwissRidge Dogs for Kids, visit


  1. What a wonderful group of people and pups! I Love being part of the online family, but so want to make my way to meet as many wonderful SwissRidgers as possible, and of course to meet the famous Sherry and Lucas.
    This group stretches far and wide and I Love that there are so many mini SwissRidge romps all throughout the year for the online family members to meet and have fun with their Doodles.
    It's such a wonderful thing to be part of.

  2. Or you could have one down there and we can all convene at your place, Laurie. It was only 50 dogs!

  3. Sandy, as always, you NAILED IT! It was a wonderful day filled with amazing people and stunning pups! We were so honored to be a part of such an amazing group of special people! I was a so thrill to finally meet you & Riggs in person!

  4. So glad we finally met, Maura! This group has brought many cool people into my life, and you're in my Top 5 :)

  5. It is an amazing community that has been brought together through the common love of our SR doodles and an amazing breeder.

  6. And here I just thought I was getting a dog, Big-E! So much more!