Minnesota, USA

Member Spotlight Featuring Sarah Ford

The Member Spotlight highlights the amazing members of the Twin Cities Vizsla Club. Read on to learn more about one of our members!

Where are you from and where do you call home now?

I was born and raised in Devils Lake, ND. I currently live in Fargo, ND.  Fargo has been my home of record for the past 20 years, but my job has taken me to several other places to live and work throughout the years.

How long have you been a member of TCVC?

I believe I joined in 2010, so let’s say 12 years.

How did you meet your first Vizsla?

I was in Petco picking up supplies for my cat, Jynx, and while standing in line waiting to check out there was a family in front of me with this beautiful red dog. I asked what kind of dog it was and the 6-ish year old boy whipped around and said to me, “it’s a Vizsla!” I started researching the breed to learn everything that I could about them. I was in no position to have a dog at the time, but I still wanted to know all about them!

When did you get your first Vizsla?

Bailey’s gotcha day was in July 2009. She was born on 5-5-2009 at Kamp Kizmar!

Is there a story behind your Kennel name?

After asking a couple of people how they chose their kennel names and learning what some of the various kennel names meant, I knew I wanted something that paid homage to my home state and also represented the Vizsla breed. I started searching different words and traveled down the rabbit hole until I stumbled across something that I liked. I ultimately chose the word “Paytah”. Paytah is a Native American name of Sioux origin that means “fire”. Growing up in Devils Lake, the Spirit Lake Nation was 7 miles south of the town and I had several friends that were tribal members. Vizslas being a beautiful red color reminded me of flames and don’t we all want to have and/or produce a dog that’s on fire in the field?

How many Vizslas do you have now?

I currently have 2 personal Vizslas that live in my house. I have a few more that I am blessed to co-own and they are either shown by me or their owners. I recently adopted a senior girl through TCVC Rescue that appeared to be a Vizsla mix. Embark said she was a Pointer/Golden Retriever mix. She doesn’t know that and I’m not telling her. She can be a Vizsla mix if she wants to. She really is the best girl. 

We know all Vizslas are special, but is there a particular dog that is extra special to you?

They are all special! (excuse me while I place ear muffs on Carrots and Sailor) There will never be another Vizsla like Bailey and it’s not because she was my first. That dog knew the ins and outs of my soul. Our connection was so special and she meant the absolute world to me. Her death was a devastating blow that I still struggle with.

In July 2022, Sarah judged the Vizsla Sweepstakes entry at the Vizsla Club of Illinois Specialties. We asked her about her experience.

What drew you to the judging opportunity?

I have been fortunate to be a part of several litter evaluations of not only Vizslas, but several breeds. I enjoy the technical aspect of structure and movement, and how the parts and pieces fit and work together. I truly enjoy sorting through puppies and applying the knowledge that has been passed down to me through my mentors.

What did you find exciting/challenging/surprising about the assignment?

The responsibility of the assignment itself was exciting! I am not very familiar with Vizslas from the Illinois area as I don’t typically go that far south to show my own dogs. I had no idea who would be there and what style of Vizsla was going to be shown to me. It was like opening a gift on my birthday or Christmas! Getting hands on dogs from a different region of the country was fun. There were several dogs that had the same strengths and weaknesses, so in a lot of cases it came down to being extremely picky and that is always a challenge.

What was your most memorable moment?

The kids! I had two talented young junior handlers show their dogs to me. I love seeing juniors in the ring. They are the future and these two particular kiddos displayed a ton of promise. You could tell they really loved and cared for their partners.

What would you change if you could do it again?

Ugh, the weather! It rained pretty hard all morning and it was cold. I could tell that a lot of the dogs weren’t giving me the true representations of themselves. Ultimately, you have to judge the dogs in front of you on that day. Thankfully, the rest of the weekend was lovely and all of the dogs were able to shine brightly!

Do you plan on pursuing judging?

Well, it has always been a thought in the back of my mind. If I had to answer today I would say probably. I have judged a few puppy matches and this was my first sweeps assignment. As I said before, I do really enjoy sorting through dogs. Right now my primary goal is to move forward with my own breeding program. I have co-bred a handful of Vizsla litters and have bred a litter of Doberman Pinschers in the past. I have two young Vizsla girls that I am concentrating on right now and I am hopeful that they will take me forward. I would love to continue to judge matches and sweepstakes; a final decision on pursuing my license with AKC is to be determined.

Do you any advice for someone thinking about joining the Twin Cities Vizsla Club?

Just do it. And then get involved! I have met so many amazing, bright, intelligent, and influential people through dogs. I love how everyone in the TCVC works together and supports each other. It’s not as common as some people think and I’m really proud of us for our ability to come together and support each other! Also, come in with an open mind. Nobody is perfect, nobody knows everything, and there is more than one way to accomplish the same goal. Be teachable and you will be surprised how much you can learn and grow as not only breeder, owner, or exhibitor, but as a human in general. We are a diverse group and each of us has a lot to offer!

If you aren’t at a dog event, where will people find you?

In the gym or hanging out with my daughter. Before my daughter was born I was a competitive athlete. I may not have the time to train to a competitive level now, but fitness is still an important part of my life. Being a present and involved mom is also very important to me. Making sure my daughter feels like a priority is my number one priority.

What’s next for you? Any exciting events?

We have a couple vacations coming up in the next few months that my family is pretty excited about. In terms of dog related; This past August I was seated as the AKC Delegate for the Fargo Moorhead Kennel Club. I’m excited to attend my first meeting in December and hopefully make a difference for all of us.


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