Verbatim: Jo Chinn

Jo and Steve Chinn were setting up some field exercises for their three flat-coated retrievers — Hissy, Dinah and Flo — as Jo explained that the training couldn’t happen without two frozen birds named Mr. Waddle and Ichabod.

Jo and Steve Chinn.

Jo and Steve Chinn.

Jo and Steve Chinn were setting up some field exercises for their three flat-coated retrievers — Hissy, Dinah and Flo — as Jo explained that the training couldn’t happen without two frozen birds named Mr. Waddle and Ichabod.


What’s in here, guys? It’s your birds!

I had run agility with the dogs and I got hurt and had to get out of it. So I said, ‘If I can find somebody to teach me how to field train, I’ll get out of agility.’

So we found a trainer and I sold my agility equipment and I started field training. But oh, my gosh, when you start doing it you really have to do it.

Larry Torey from Sequim loaned me this launcher. It’s made out of steel and it’s shaped like an H with a support and it runs off a pulley system with an electronic eye on it. I have a transmitter that tells it when to launch and then that bird goes flying. Kind of like — not a trebuchet, not a catapult — it’s like a big slingshot. Some people call them ‘slingers.’

So Larry had this one and he said, ‘I’m not using it. Take it.’

So here we are and the next thing you know, well, bumpers (cylindrical rubber chase toys) are fine but since the dogs really retrieve birds, you have to have birds. So we have Mr. Waddle, he was our first bird; he’s a mallard. He’s in good shape. We’ve had him about a year in the freezer now. And this is Ichabod. And we thought all this time that Ichabod didn’t have a head, but look, he does. So he’s misnamed.

We got these ducks from a trainer. A friend of mine won some free lessons from this guy over in the Snoqualmie area, so we went.

I thought, ‘This guy’s a genius.’

He trains show dogs. He only trains dogs that go in the ring. There was this golden (retriever) who had seven Best-in-Shows; he was in line for Westminster before he pulled a tendon.

So this trainer does goldens, labs, flats and waterdogs. All these dogs that get grand championships are out there working in these ponds getting dirty. Flat coats, of course, would rather swim than walk.

Sometimes this trainer has live ducks and pigeons but he has quite a supply in his freezer. He sent these two home with us.

We get them out of the freezer and we use them. And if they get wet, we dry them with the blow dryer so they don’t mold.

It’s like the greatest thing for the dogs. It’s like Disneyland for them when we get them out.

All of a sudden you find you’re doing stuff like this because it makes your dogs happy.

Who’s going first? That Flo, listen to her. Flo, you’re first …


And the frozen ducks began to fly.


Everyone has a story and now they have a place to tell it. Verbatim is a first-person column that introduces you to your neighbors as they relate in their own words some of the difficult, humorous, moving or just plain fun moments in their lives. It’s all part of the Gazette’s commitment as your community newspaper. If you have a story for Verbatim, contact editor Michael Dashiell at


More in Opinion

Bertha Cooper
Think About It: Goodbye, Charlie

“I love helping a community be what it wants to be,” says… Continue reading

Guest opinion: Where is the accountability?

The thread that seems to run through Bertha Cooper’s opinion piece in… Continue reading

Crystal Linn
Aging Successfully: We really do need each other

In my opinion the person, who created the phrase “social distancing” should… Continue reading

Guest column: UW scholars program can help next generation build strong communities

A large majority of youth across a wide spectrum of races, cultures… Continue reading

Don Brunell
Guest column: Removing Snake River dams is unwise

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson’s $33 billion plan to remove the lower Snake… Continue reading

Kris Johnson is president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s chamber of commerce and manufacturers association.
Guest opinion: January windstorm is reminder of value of diverse energy sources

A windstorm swept through Washington state last month, doing damage on both… Continue reading

Bertha Cooper
Think About It: A shot in the arm

Of all the news coming out of Sequim, the best news is… Continue reading

Being Frank: Increased outdoor recreation impacting tribal treaty rights, resources

Already robust levels of hiking, camping, boating and every other kind of… Continue reading

Guest column: Reflecting on 40 years of federal recognition

Editor’s note: This column was originally printed in the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s… Continue reading

Don Brunell
Guest opinion: Portland carbon tax may doom recyclers

In 1971, Oregon was the first state to enact a “bottle bill.”… Continue reading

Guest Opinion: Time to end spread of QAnon, similar conspiracies

My seventh great grandmother, Phebe Wilde Day, was imprisoned as a suspected… Continue reading

From the Back Nine: Old dogs

I have officially stopped jumping on new communication band wagons. It’s not… Continue reading