Paul Zurka

DOB: March 29, 1949

Married to Linda Sperco: April 11, 1981 Retired Materials Manager: June 28, 2013 Lives in Maplewood, NJ

Current Retrievers: Goldens, Rye Leigh and Rudy


My family has included dogs as far back as I can remember…… all kinds of dogs, primarily Frisbee chasing couch potatoes. However, our first “field golden” came to us in 1997. We called her Trifecta’s Jersey Girl, call name “Maggie”.

 How we were introduced to the “game”

We had no idea that people did such things as “field work”, “field tests”, “obedience” or any of the other organized dog activities until the day we picked Maggie up from the breeder. Before we were able to take Maggie home, the breeder invited us to their field to “see something”. So we went and watched Maggie’s father [Rudy, with a bunch of acronyms before and after his name] do stuff that would change our perspective on what our new “working dog” was bred to do.

 After witnessing Rudy perform a “triple retrieve” and a simple “dead bird blind” [the dog actually stopped, turned and looked on a whistle and redirected through hand signals], I was like……….. “Wow, I gotta get me one of those. So I began to travel the 100 miles to the breeder’s place every Saturday and Sunday for the next 2 years to train for and compete in field trials and hunting tests. I was also introduced to more new and exciting stuff, such as shotguns and upland hunting through my training group.


Club Participation

We joined several dog clubs, two of which were the Navesink River Hunting Retriever Club and the Garden State Golden Retriever Club. We are still currently members of these clubs as well as being current members of the Pinelands Retriever Club of NJ, the Eastern Shore Retriever Club and the North American Hunting Retriever Association.

 I am a past president of the Garden State Golden Retriever Club and am currently the Membership Chair and Hunt Test Secretary. I also currently serve the Navesink River Hunting Retriever Club as the NAHRA Representative.

 I am also a certified NAHRA judge and have judged all NAHRA levels including the new Upland Retriever tests.


Our Golden Canines

Unfortunately, Maggie left us at an early age but she helped us cut our teeth in the game we have come to love. Our current golden retrievers, both born in 2007, are both fine examples of the breed doing what they are bred to do.

 Rye Leigh is my girl and team mate. Together we have achieved the NAHRA Master Hunting Retriever and the AKC Master Hunter levels. We were also invited to and participated in the 2015 NAHRA Invitational in Baldwinsville, NY. Rye was also the 2014 NRHRC Gun Dog Competition winner.  She is also a highly decorated Obedience competitor.

Rudy is primarily Linda’s project, however, I have been known to insert myself in his education. He is my goose dog and is currently working on his NAHRA Master Hunting Retriever and the AKC Master Hunter titles.

We have spent the last 18 plus years in the company of some very special dogs and friends that we might have missed if it weren’t for that simple demonstration of the bond of a working dog and its handler.

On any given weekend or weekday, you will find us in 1 of 4 places…… hunting, testing, training or just hanging out being pals.