2005 Inductee – Shadow
PLATINUM STATUS CHAMPION
NATHA 5X US OPEN CHAMPION
Shadow and Fred Blesener dominated the flusher class through much of the 1990’s with this little female Lab. She weighed in at around 43 pounds, but Fred was certain that “42 pounds of that must be heart and desire.” Always in the hunt and rarely out of the money, it’s amazing how good they really were.
She was officially named MHR Midnight Shadow MH, out of TC Dark Storm on the Rise and Docs Black Otter on 10-11-89. But to Fred she was simply known as “Super Dog” for her ability to out-scent, out-hustle and out-retrieve anything on legs.
When Fred brought Shadow on the scene in 1991, the tournament hunting scene wasn’t quite prepared for the little dog that could. Her first season brought Puppy Class wins in the Minnesota State Partridge Championships and the U.S. Open Pheasant Championships, not to mention a first place in the U.S. Open Pheasant Championships Open Division. Shadow was the only dog to have won the Puppy and Open titles in the same year. In her spare time she was awarded an AKC junior Hunter title.
In 1992 she came back to dominate the U.S. Open Pheasant Championships again, this time winning the Open and Top Gun divisions. Then just to show that she really is a Lab, Shadow qualified at the World Retriever Festival and won the Ducks Unlimited trial games.
Proving that the precious years were not flukes, Shadow came back in 1993 to claim first place honors in the Top Gun category at the U.S. Open Pheasant Championships. The first dog ever to be a three-time winner in this competitive event.
Shadow’s dominance continued for several years and she brought home a variety of prizes from an alphabet soup of organizations. She was the ultimate hunting instrument, but a truly great dog is more than a bird finding machine. And Shadow was more. She shared Fred’s life in many ways. She was a constant companion—if you found Fred you knew that Shadow was nearby. She thrived on the love and attention and returned that affection with dynamic performance in the field and intense devotion at home, work or on the road.
The sad truth of our life with dogs is that they don’t last long enough. Shadow was afflicted with the painful scourge of hip dysplasia and was lost to the world just a few weeks short of her twelfth birthday. When Fred speaks of Shadow there is a tendency to speak in the present tense-like she’s still here. And in some ways she is here-still giving young pups a series of goals to strive for.