Meet Your Committee

Carla O'Donnell

Position: President – Pictured with Abby

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I’m a molecular biologist working in cancer research and a certified professional dog trainer, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Society for Applied Ethology with a passion for learning and understanding, especially about dogs and I have a love for golden retrievers. I received honours degrees in veterinary science and molecular biology from Murdoch University and a doctorate in physiology from UWA. My background is widely varied, with experience in scientific research, breeding, showing, training, canine midwifery, puppy raising, instructing, behaviour consultations, in-home training and various club memberships & activities. I have served on numerous committees and am currently President of the GRCWA, Secretary of the National Golden Retriever Council, Vice President and an instructor for Perth Obedience and Dog Training Club and an instructor for Joondalup Dog Training Club. I am a golden retriever breeder and dogs bred by us have been active and successful in obedience, Rally-O, therapy dog work, conformation and most importantly as loyal companions enhancing the lives of people they live with. I have been a member of the golden retriever club of WA for 13 years and through the club I have made great friends and it is a great resource where we can discuss and share our common love of the Golden retriever. Hopefully thorough my broad knowledge I can offer fellow dog lovers especially members of the club who share their lives with golden retrievers exciting, practical information and approaches that improves the communication with their dog, enhancing the human/dog relationship. At the same time as a club member I can hopefully give something back to the golden retriever, a special breed that brings so much joy to my life. I live in Perth with my husband Jim and together we take care of our house full of golden retrievers.

Jackie Crawford

Position: Vice President – pictured with Krug,Opus & Shogun.

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I am the founder of Canine Muscleworks, a canine muscle therapy clinic. It has always been my dream to work with animals (and to have a job that will allow me to bring my dogs to work!) When I was growing up, while other children were playing with toys, I was happiest surrounded by my family dogs. We had German Shepherds but I have always admired Golden Retrievers. My parents wouldn’t let me have one so I saved up all my pocket money and bought one from a backyard breeder. I excitedly carried my puppy home and weaved a terribly sad story about how this young baby was going to be put down at the pound. Fortunately, my parents not only fell for the story but also my ‘rescue’ puppy. Young “Maverick” was my dream come true. His untimely death at 6 years of age from lymphoma left a deep hole in my heart but started a lifelong love affair with this wonderful breed. Today my furry family consist of three beautiful Golden Retrievers: Krug (14 years old), Opus (7 years old) and Shogun (4 years old). A fortunate series of events led me to the world of dog showing and the Golden Retriever Club of WA. Through the club I have met some of the most wonderful, fun, helpful and generous people who have become some of my closest friends. As vice- president of the club, I believe that we have a built a strong and friendly community of like-minded folks and it is my hope that this will continue to grow so we can all ‘pay it forward’ to other new members by raising awareness about the breed. Some of the issues I am passionate about are unscrupulous breeders and the unethical practice of puppy farming and also increasing dwindling membership numbers (for without members we cease to exist). I am looking forward to meeting many more of you at club organised events in 2017.

Ann Jones

Position – Secretary pictured with Charlie, Abby & Kenya

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My love of golden retrievers began with the arrival of JD (Jeddah) in 2004. It was instant love and he will always be my special boy. Unfortunately we lost Jeddah suddenly in 2010, a devastating loss to our family and his playmate Abby who had joined us in 2006. We were lucky enough to get Charlie in early 2011 and as well as being a loved pet, he was my introduction to the world of dog showing. Who knew there was a neuter class! Charlie’s first show was the GRCWA Championship Show in 2014 at the age of 3 1/2 and since then he has gained his title and is now officially Neuter Ch. Ambermist Rag Trade. This has now led us to our gorgeous 8 month old Conarhu African Princess, aka Kenya, who made her show debut at the age of 16 weeks. Despite the show ‘careers’ of my latest two dogs all my dogs are first and foremost loved family pets who live a very spoilt life. I decided to join the GRCWA when I got Charlie because I felt I should support the club that was formed to promote our gorgeous breed. I became secretary at the November 2014 AGM and really love being involved with the club. I have certainly received more from the club than I have given, especially with the friends I have made and the knowledge  I have gained.

Ruth Connah

Position: Committee- Pictured with Ramble & Mia

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I am originally from the UK and I work in the freight industry. I am the treasurer for the GRCWA for so many years I’ve lost count! At the moment I own three lovely goldies and enjoy being part of the club,  because the people involved in it share little bits of information, such as what to feed and why. It’s a great team that help each other. It certainly benefitted me when I got Dexta, my first goldie in Australia.  The club can’t continue without the support of the community. Join in and we will be happy to share our knowledge with you.

Megan Casas

Position: Magazine Editor- pictured with Tully & Sama.

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My husband and I are ‘owned and loved’ by Tully and Sama, along with Cleo, our little grey stripey cat who thinks she’s a dog. I purchased my first goldie Chelsea as a thirtieth birthday present to myself in  1992… I had always loved the breed and wanted a dog of my own to take on walks and to the beach and spend time with. I had known some beautiful goldies from my childhood and for me the choice of  breed was never up for question. My second golden, Mac, came along in 97 and we have been a ‘two dog family’ ever since. We have been so lucky that ours have lived long and happy lives. Chelsea was with  us for fifteen years and Mac almost sixteen. Currently we have Tully who is eight, and Sama who has just turned three. All four have been lovely but with quite different personalities that keep us entertained  and on our toes. Over the years, I have dabbled in various forms of training with my dogs and they have taught me so much. Tully was my challenge as general obedience didn’t appeal to her but then we  found agility and I watched my girl switch back on to working. She gained confidence with the equipment and had so much fun. Sama and I have competed in conformation shows and have been learning  Rally-Obedience, which is a fun form of obedience where you follow signs around a course. We have our first trial in a couple of weeks, so we will see where that takes us. I came across the club when  searching for a breeder, as many people do. I went to some shows and met some lovely people and attended an information evening run by the club, which I found really educational and a great networking  experience. I joined the club as a way to learn more about our breed and to consult with experts on best practice. I am also part of the Facebook group and enjoy the different perspective that gives. I love the  articles in the newsletter, which is a free monthly bonus for paying club members and full of relevant information on research around the breed, as well as providing training tips and articles that I find most  informative. In 2014, I joined the Committee to provide my input and help out however I could with fundraising ideas and ways in which we could engage more members. I have made some great friends  through the club and through our dogs. Golden people are in a class of their own.

Holly Brighton

Position – Committee pictured with Skye & Samantha

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Some of you may know me from meet ups or my constant photo uploads of my dogs, Oops! I’m 25 years old, work as a Retail Manager in Pharmacy and I’ll be the first to admit I’m a crazy dog loving Golden Retriever owner.

After immigrating to Australia in 2011 and building my own home in 2016, I was desperate to have my own dog. After lots of research and a family history of Golden Retrievers my partner Liam and I decided that a Golden Retriever would fit perfectly with our lifestyle. We purchased miss Samantha in 2016 and oh what fun we had. She was very easy to train and just gorgeous in every way. She came everywhere with us; Pet events, markets, family events and many other places. She introduced us to a whole new life. Why wouldn’t we want another…

So along came my smoochy boy Arlo in 2017 and oh how different he was; such a chunky fluff ball and so hard to train as he had the attention span of a fish! Arlo was super excitable but so loveable and the best cuddler ever. Thanks to his breeder, I was introduced to the fab-ulous dog show world where I attended my first show at DogsWest in July 2017. There was lots to learn but many supportive people along the way to help. We had some good wins for newbies, met some fabulous new friends and had a new hobby that I was completely ob-sessed with. Arlo unfortunately had an injury that couldn’t be 100% fixed so that sadly meant no more shows for him… but then I was privaliged to be asked to handle Ruth Connah’s girls Swayze and Mia and I learnt so much more and became even more obsessed.

I spent lots of time researching pedigrees and reading the breed standard, the breed is so interesting. Of course this all led to me wanting another… yup a 3rd golden! So in 2018 we introduced baby Skye into our home. Skye is my current show girl as well as Ruth Connah’s girls and now I’ve been asked to handle a new baby for Debra Turner, which is very exciting.

I have been a GRCWA member for a few years and joined the committee in 2018. I’m hoping to eventually become a registered ANKC breeder and continue showing and improving this beautiful breed as we should. My weekends are mainly spent at dog shows or on the beach with my goldens watching them enjoy what they do best- swimming and rolling in sand.
I will always be thankful to them for introducing me to this amazing world. I can’t imagine my life without them. When Goldens are around smiles are around.

Natasha Bell

Position: Committee – Pictured with Ziggy & Midas

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My love of Golden Retrievers started many years ago, owning my very first, Fizzy in 2001 in the UK where I lived. Immigrating to Perth in 2004 we gained Roxy in 2005 to keep Fizzy company but also to get her a little more active as we found her struggling with the heat. I was hooked and have owned 2 or more Goldies ever since.

We lost Fizzy in 2015 at the grand old age of 13.5 and were blessed with Midas who we rehomed at 11 months old very soon after losing Fizzy. Midas gave Roxy (9) a new lease of life and to give something back for being blessed with Midas, I became a foster career for a Retriever Rescue, fostering and rehoming 5 dogs over an 18 month period.

Midas and Roxy were such wonderful role models to these rescue dogs and welcomed them into their home with such a tolerance and compassion, it was incredible to watch but heart-breaking at the same time. Midas being very young himself enjoyed the playtime and Roxy taught them their manners. Letting go of these rescue dogs became a little too heartbreaking, but I was now accustomed to 3 dogs and on my 50th birthday I become the mother of my own Golden trio, welcoming Ziggy, half-sister to Midas.

I am now back to two goldens again, losing Roxy in September last year very suddenly. She lived a wonderful life until the very end. Roxy was a beach babe, very much after my own heart. The beach was her happy place and she enjoyed a swim on her very last day.

I joined the club over four years ago and came across them on Facebook. I loved the interaction of fellow golden lovers who were so happy to share their knowledge and give good advice. I have attended various events such as loose lead training, sniffer dog training, puppy information sessions, meets and am now a committee member. I have made such wonderful friends within this club and love the passion they hold for the welfare and continuation of this beautiful breed of dog.

Kendal O'Reilly

Position: Treasurer – pictured with Wallace & Luna

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I have always loved dogs and I have grown up with dogs as Mum and Dad always had dogs. My first dog ,was a boxer ·who I named Jemima from Play School.

My love of the Golden Retriever began when I wanted to add a dog to my own family. I had three small boys at the time aged 1, 4 and 7. I had done some research on what would be the best family dog to have and the Golden Retriever always came up.

So along came Murphy. My boys and Murphy basically grew up together. They taught her how to play soccer. jump on a trampoline and many other things that active boys enjoy. Going to the beach however wasn’t so much fun as Murphy would always try and ·rescue’ when we were in the water.

I thoroughly enjoyed ·watching them all together. Sadly we lost Murphy to lymphoma 8 years ago. she was 10 years old. As many will know, the loss of our treasured Goldens is heartbreaking but what I wasn’t really prepared for was watching my three boys when it was time to let Murphy go to the Rainbow Bridge – that I think was even more heartbreaking. However I do think they got over the loss much quicker than I did.

In 2012 we got Luna. I felt empty without Murphy and although she couldn’t be replaced, we were ready to get another dog to fill the big ‘hole’ that Murphy left. I couldn’t imagine having another breed of dog after having Murphy so another Golden ii was.

What can I say, Luna is ·my angel’ I feel like she saved me from a very dark place some years ago. She is incredibly loyal and never very far away. She has the most beautiful temperament, she is pretty chilled and she is smart She loves swimming as much as I do. and she doesn’t try and ‘save me like Murphy did we can actually swim around together without me being scratched to pieces!

In 2016 Wallace became part of our family. Wallace had come to stay for a short holiday and it turned into a never ending holiday. Wallace is a gentle sooky boy who aims to please all the time if he gets a cuddle in return. He loves his park walks. He enjoys the beach and swimming and sitting on your lap as much as possible.

I joined the- GRCWA not long after we got Luna and became the Treasurer of the GRCWA in 2018. I have made some wonderful friends over the last 7 years and learnt so much about the Golden Retriever breed. I have even joined the world of Dog Shows ,with dear Wallace already being a show Dog when he came to us. He was teaching me I am sure when we first started.

I can’l imagine my life without Luna and Wal­lace and I look forward to continuing to learn more and help the Club promote and protect the ·welfare of this wonderful breed.

Helen Keeling

Position – Committee pictured with Asha

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I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with Goldens for over 35 years, and have been lucky enough to breed the occasional litter along the way. I joined the GRCWA in the 1980s because of my interest in  the breed. Showing my dogs encouraged me to join the club so that I could learn more not only about showing, but about the breed in general. There are many different activities you can do with goldens, and  I have enjoyed a number of them throughout the years. These include showing, obedience, therapy visits to aged care facilities, and training. I am a life member of the Joondalup Dog Training Club and this  year I am entering my 16th year of being an instructor with the club. I admit there is always a little bit of added joy when there is a golden or two in the training class. I have enjoyed being a member of  GRCWA and have made many friends along the way. I am currently showing my 10th month old girl Asher which is a lot of fun. Becoming a member of the GRCWA not only assists in the promotion of our breed, but joining in with activities offered can only enrich your Golden’s time with you.

The Club

Meet Your Committee

Golden Retriever History

Code of Ethics