Imagine that you overhear this exchange between two of Tim Clancy’s Whitman, MA, neighbors:
“What kind of dog trainer is Clancy?”
“Who, Timmy? Ah, he’s wicked.”
“Really. You think so?”
If you follow the northeastern lingo, you know that Tim’s neighbor thinks that he’s a first-rate trainer, not an evil one. “Wicked,” meaning “excellent” or “awesome,” is just one of the many localisms one finds when visiting the Boston area to meet Tim, Wildrose’s East-Coast Associate Trainer. He’s been on the job there since 2008. For example, a few years ago a client from Baltimore had obedience problems with her dog. (Okay, she said that the dog was tearing her house apart and nothing she did could stop it.) Clancy paid a visit and lent his capable re-training hand (which the client needed more than the dog did, by the way).
During the last two years Wildrose has presented shows with a team of dogs for the Orvis Family Game Fair Weekend at the historic Sandanona Shooting Grounds in upstate New York. Tim has participated with his dogs both times. In fact, Tim and Associate Trainer Craig Korff, of Sheboygan Falls, WI, handled Wildrose’s debut appearance. And this year, Tim’s wife, Danielle, participated by appearing with Roscoe (Rusty x Tess), the six-month-old DAD that she is training. Even daughter Kiley helped out at the show, assisting with Roscoe and with other dogs, tending them and participating in the walkup.
At home in Whitman, MA, Tim has two black females: four-year-old Maggie (Kane x Beretta) and three-year-old Lucy (Whiskey x Hazel). Whitman is about 26 miles southeast of the City (Boston). A former shoe manufacturing town, Whitman is a residential community of about 14,000 people. As part of his routine training activities, Tim develops gundogs for clients. Currently, he is working with Rob White’s dog, Jett, a female out of Ben and Beretta. So, Jett is at the Clancy residence in Whitman, also. Rob, who is from Medfield, MA, visits with Tim and Jett occasionally to be involved in the training.
As is the case with other Wildrose Associate Trainers, Tim was invited to join the group after he showed his abilities by training a high-performing dog according to the Wildrose methods. Mike Stewart, and everyone else at Orvis’ 2007 Sandanona Workshop, took note of Tim’s appearance with Maggie. When Mike learned that Tim had trained Maggie, he asked if Tim could train another dog that way and Tim assured him that he could. So, along came Lucy. And, also, along came the invitation to represent Wildrose in the East.
Tim’s journey as a dog handler began very early in his life. The son of a game warden, Tim began hunting and working dogs as a youngster and on into his adulthood. After he and Danielle married, Tim got and trained a retriever, Gracie, according to American methods and enjoyed two-and-a-half years of companionship with her. Then, came the shock of loss, when Gracie died suddenly during a hunt. Tim took it so hard that he felt he couldn’t get another dog. But his dad thought differently. Visiting Tim during this period of grief, his dad dropped an envelope on the kitchen table and said, “Whenever you’re ready.” After his dad left Tim opened the envelope. Inside were deposits for two Wildrose pups.
Tim and his dad had been familiar with Mike Stewart and his training methods from watching Mike with Drake on the Ducks Unlimited weekly television show, “The World of Ducks.” Eventually, they both got pups and trained them the Wildrose way.
Tim is a high-energy, take-charge kind of guy. A twenty-year veteran fireman/paramedic, he’s a lieutenant for the Whitman Fire Department, where he directs the action: what units go to the scene of a fire and where and how the firefighters deploy. He also teaches paramedic classes.
Like many savvy New Englanders Tim employs caustic wit, commonly called sarcasm. So, conversations with him are lively and laced with zingers. When he talks about the Red Sox’ recent slide or comments on a dog’s misstep, he’ll quip a sassy remark. But spend enough time with him and you’ll learn that Tim has a big heart. His caring passion runs deep. His family and friendship bonds are many and very close, indeed. Throughout the day he keeps his cell phone line busy with calls and texts to folks near and far.
Watching him train four dogs individually during a morning session, I observed a unique enactment of the Wildrose way, including eye contact, verbal and whistle commands, body language in sending and casting, patient repetition, movement through a variety of skills and to different locations, and keen reading of dog maturity and mood. Maggie and Lucy are seasoned pros that delighted in whatever challenges Tim gave them. Jett worked eagerly as a beginning gundog trainee. A fine size, great temperament and field drive suit her well for her future role. Roscoe, a DAD, worked on basic obedience, got a few reward retrieves and showed himself as biddable as they come.
Because Tim has a lifelong knowledge of the region, he trains in several locations on private and public land. We traveled down the road to the Miles Standish State Forest, twenty-six square miles of Atlantic coastal pine barrens. Tim worked from the mowed path in a field where grasses had grown waist high. They provided one type of heavy cover for the dogs to penetrate. Woodlands bounded the field—pitch pine, scrub oaks, and heavy undergrowth. The woods provided the dogs with a different obstacle to push through to search for the bumper.
After the training session we toured some other opportune training locales: bogs, ponds, brackish lakes, upland fields, and the Atlantic coastline. When we returned to the Clancy home, Kiley and our wives joined us. Roscoe and Jett showed their place training manners while we all relaxed in the living room. During our conversation Danielle commented that Roscoe has made public access visits to businesses, a dentist’s office, even the grocery store. Because his DAD training brings him in the house with the family daily, the Clancys have become understandably attached to this beautiful, low-key companion.
The evening offered us a chance to tour Plymouth, to see the rock and the coastline, and to dine in a local eatery. As you can imagine, the fish fare was fine. This was the second treat of our visit. The previous night Tim had hosted us at a Red Sox game. We enjoyed the time-honored traditions at one of America’s most venerated ballparks, including seeing the Green “Monstah,” eating Fenway franks, and joining the rousing, eighth-inning fan sing of “Sweet Caroline.”
Just three weeks earlier Tim had hosted Trainer Ben Sumerall, Sportsman’s Pride National Sales Director Brad Kennedy, and three Wildrose dogs for a downtown show. After hours Ben and Brad also experienced the Fenway fun and some quality time in local eateries like Legal Seafood. The Boston area offers visitors a wonderland of cultural, commercial, and historic sites, such as the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, Harvard Square, the Charles River, and Quincy Market. We couldn’t make it to them all, giving us a good excuse for a return visit. For dog lovers, however, no city sight is as big a draw as seeing Tim Clancy work with dogs. He makes the Wildrose way wicked. Absolutely wicked!