Interview with an Owner Handler, Stacie Toft-Devore
Where do I live? How many years have I been an Owner Handler?
Stacie Toft-Devore: I live in Fort Lupton, Colorado. I’ve been an Owner Handler for 37 years.
How did I get my start in my breed? In the sport?
Stacie Toft-Devore: I’ve had seven breeds over the past 37 years; however, in the last nine years I have mainly concentrated on showing and breeding Bullmastiffs. I got into Bullmastiffs because my husband had them growing up and wanted to get one. Once I found us one, I fell in love with the breed. Now we have five of them. I started showing at five years old because my mom started importing and showing some of the first Chinese Shar-Pei in the country.
Have I always loved to show dogs? Have I always been a dog person?
Stacie Toft-Devore: Yes, I have always loved to show. I have two sisters as well who showed for a short time when we were young, but they didn’t have the love for it like I did. I have always been a dog person. I even have my own mobile grooming business.
Is there a story behind my decision to show my own dog?
Stacie Toft-Devore: I enjoy showing my own dogs, and my main Special and I are a great team. The bond between us is like no other, and she shows beautifully for me. We have been awarded over 24 Owner-Handled Best in Show/Reserve Best in Show wins and also Multiple regular AKC Best in Show wins and regular Group placements.
What makes showing my own dog so special to me?
Stacie Toft-Devore: The bond between us is like no other! It was the coolest feeling in the world winning a regular Best in Show with me showing my girl!
In my opinion, is there a secret to having a great dog/handler partnership?
Stacie Toft-Devore: Yes. When your dog loves you as much as you love them, they try harder for you.
Do I compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? If so, for how many years?
Stacie Toft-Devore: Yes, I have competed in NOHS since 2013.
What goals did I set for myself and for my dog in 2022? What about 2023?
Stacie Toft-Devore: My girl had been the No. 2 Bullmastiff for three years in a row. In 2021, we missed being No. 1 by 5 points. So, I made it our goal in 2022 to be No. 1. We achieved that goal by 755 points ahead of the No. 2 dog! I am planning to breed my girl in 2023, so she will miss out on a few shows. I would like to maintain a Top 5 standing.
Am I going to Orlando? If so, what’s it like to have a top NOHS dog this year?
Stacie Toft-Devore: Yes, we have been invited for the past four years. I was only able to go in 2019 when we won Best of Breed and a NOHS Working Group 3! I’m super-excited to be able to make it back this year, coming in at the No. 1 spot!
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences as an Owner Handler?
Stacie Toft-Devore: It was pretty exciting winning a regular Best in Show and the NOHS Best in Show at the same show!