This 300-page book is a powerhouse of insight and information. First published by Doral in 1997, and now in its fifth printing, it remains an inspiring read. Don't be thrown off by the name: Patricia Craige is the one and the same as Patricia Trotter, renowned Norwegian EIkhound breeder.
In this author's words, this is not a how-to guide. Rather, "It is a book about the philosophy and learned experiences of one breeder-exhibitor sharing some practical ideas based on a lifetime in dogs." What an understatement! From growing up in the 1940s in Norfolk, Va., bathing and grooming dogs for neighbors, to her ultimate success in California where she bred and showed the nation's top-Winning Norwegian Elkhounds from the 1960s into the 1990s, Trotter shares details of her life and what she's learned from the talented and influential people who've crossed her path.
She does, however, offer practical advice on how to reach the top, from time management (she recalls juggling a full-time teaching job with dog show travel) to making intelligent decisions about breeding and showing. She does it all in an enjoyable, easy-to-read, nonjudgmental style. The section called "Winning Means Having Fun" is priceless.
While best-known for her Norwegian Elkhounds, Trotter's book is about all breeds, and even includes Thoroughbred horses. Her first dog was a Cocker Spaniel named Melody, followed by a Norwegian Elkhound named Candy. As a youngster, she created her now-famous Vin-Melca Kennel prefix by using her family name of Vincent (Vin), along with her dogs' names, Melody (Mel) and Candy (Ca). Her first successes in the ring were in the 1950s with Doberman Pinschers and Cocker Spaniels.
Trotter now lives in Antioch, Ten., with her husband, Chuck. She is an active AKC judge for all Sporting and Hound breeds, as well as several Working, Terrier, and Herding breeds. She said recently about her book, "As a professional educator, I always hoped that I would reach at least one student who would make a difference to mankind. As a dog person, I hope this book can reach one breeder who can make a difference in his or her breed."