Rhonda Sellers will tell you that she doesn’t run Omorrow by herself…Family is very important to all of them, everyday. Tara Apking is Rhonda’s (much older) sister, and she has developed into the official Puppy maven of the Omorrow, helping new owners to get the very best start from day one of each puppies life. Tara is known as having a sharp eye with her camera, a great sense of humor, and a devotion to German Shepherds! I think you’ll enjoy learning more about her, and her work!
GSA: You’re known as the Omorrow Puppy trainer and MORE. How long have you been doing that Job?
TARA: Yeah “The Puppy Trainer”! Well Robert, that position kind of happened accidently in the beginning. I used to take pups home from Rhonda’s that weren’t sold yet to work with them …kind of a hobby then. I did that for a while before we ever advertised any training on the website…So officially, I have only been training for about 3 years.
GSA: 3 Years only? Rhonda claims you have a gift with them! Have you been involved with Omorrow since the beginning?
TARA: Does getting a puppy from her very 1st litter count as being involved with Omorrow from the beginning? Because if it does, then yes I have been. That’s all it took……I was hooked! I have also helped with the pups over the years off and on as well. This year is the 1st year I have had a schedule and go to the farm regularly.
GSA: Everybody reading this is SO jealous that you get to do that too…Who was your first GSD?
TARA: I was raised around GSD’s but my first GSD that I owned was Mira Nova Panzer, she was my best friend and I loved her more than life itself. She was amazing, as a matter of fact, when we got her my son was a toddler and my husband’s family kind of freaked out that we were getting a GS as a family pet, but they all ended up adoring her. She redeemed the breed in their eyes. She was a huge part of my family. My sister Lori loved her so much she literally considered her a niece, I think maybe she even bought her birthday cards that would say ….”To the greatest Niece ever”…..LOL Every one thought Mira was the best, makes me tearful to think of her…man I loved that dog! ( Her Momma was Sunny and her Daddy was Romel)
I can’t go without mentioning my second GS…his name was Blitzkreig’s Jet Titan (our black giant). His parents were Blitz/ Heidi. He was the littermate to Jag our sister Lori’s GS. We had him for only 4 years. He was a hoot. Titan had a huge ball drive just like Blitz. And he was fast as lightning, long and lean and could jump in the air 4 ft, I swear. We lost him to bloat/torsion…that was one of the saddest moments of my life. That will be 4 years ago in June. Ten months later we were ready for a second dog again and we got Gunner. (We still had Mira)
GSA: Rommel is a dog that Rhonda talks about with misty eyes too! And of course, Blitz seems to be a large part of the Omorrow Pack History…Tell us about your current 4 legged babies Gunner and Beiga…Where is Gunner from? Beiga?
TARA: Gunner! I got Gunner as a Birthday present from “Who else”? Yes! Rhonda! Its a long story but to try and make it short (lol) The very day my husband and I said we were ready for another dog, Rhonda called and wanted me to go look at pups that were advertised in the newspaper that our aunt Ellen had told Rhonda about. The house they were at was about 10 mins from my house. When we got there they had 2 pups left and Gunner was one of them. Rhonda liked him immediately and we left with him. He was 11 wks old when I got him. I don’t have enough words to describe him, his personality is awesome. He is lovable, loyal, happy, super friendly (literally knows no stranger), cuddly (like right now, he is lying beside me with his head on my arm as I type), confident, athletic, energetic, silly and playful. I wish everyone could see him at home he is great. Totally different personality than my first two, they all have touched my heart in a special way. Then there is Beiga…..LOL hahahahahaha just kidding. I got Beiga about a month or so after Mira died, she is a Cracker/Fokker Sept. 2009. I had decided I wasn’t going to wait to get another pup after I lost Mira because it would keep my mind busy and boy has she kept my mind, arms, hands and legs busy ….lol Beiga is great she is smart, sassy, bossy and pushy BUT a love bug and extremely sweet with people and other dogs. She has been a little destructive by chewing up furniture and baseboards but we love her anyway. Both of my dogs are FANTASTIC with the pups I bring home…..they actually help me train them.
GSA: Gunner is starting to make his mark on the Omorrow line…The pups he’s thrown so far have been spectacular! And Beiga being such a great white GS is really adding another potential girl to the line. Back to Puppies now, a favorite subject around here! What is the most important thing that you teach the Puppies?
TARA: Well the housebreaking and crate training are the two things people mention the most. But personally, I think the interaction with humans is the most important because it teaches them to trust us. That to me is HUGE….Trust, trust, trust!
GSA: Everybody should agree with that! Learning to TRUST what Hans is telling me when we work has been alot of work, but that trust, and our relationship is SO IMPORTANT!!! What is the most important thing you teach new owners?
TARA: I instruct the owners to follow through with the training their pup has had. I let them know that it up to them to continue the training in order for the “marriage” to work. I also tell everyone to bond tight with their new puppy and to withhold any correction within the first week especially because everything is so new to them and getting the relationship established is critical. I say, if they don’t trust you, then you do not have their loyalty.
GSA: There’s more than three years of experience behind THAT statement Tara…SO TRUE! Now for the “Lighter side” of the interview! What’s the biggest mess any of your trainee pups has made in your house?
TARA: Kind of weird but I really haven’t had any bad messes from the pups that haven’t been normal puppy behavior to me. I’ve had pups that loved to dump the water bowl every time I’d fill it. I think the worst would be when one pup had 35 accidents in my house. (that includes both ways) I know it’s weird I counted but I was absolutely amazed. I was getting scared that pup was going home not potty trained at all. But the last week I had him something clicked and there were no more accidents. I thought my career had ended….lol!!!
GSA: How many pups have you trained?
TARA: I have trained 16 Omorrow pups , this includes my own. That doesn’t include 1 that wasn’t a GS (she was a mastiff and her name was Apple..lol) or the pups that didn’t have homes yet. Really that is not too many but I have learned a lot from having each and every one of them in my home. It has been a great learning experience for me and I loved all of them. I think I was blessed with the patience to deal with that stage. Rhonda has always told me I have a gift in this area. I think I take it for granted and have assumed that everyone can do it. But I have found over the past 3yrs this is not the case and that is okay. I like training the pups, it’s that motherly instinct in me. My husband tells everyone, he wants to come back as a puppy…..LOL hahahahahahah…..because I care for them so well. It’s obsession I think.
GSA: Not everyone can do it! The early days of a puppy’s life requires a special touch so that future behavior and the pups abilities can develop without the Fear that can be instilled in them accidently! You do great work, and we are all thankful to all of you at Omorrow! With that in mind, tellus about your TWO-LEGGED Pack!
TARA: My two legged pack includes My husband, Mike and our son, Alex . Mike and I have been married almost 21 yrs and he is my best friend. I have to give him props because he has allowed me to take on this job as Puppy Trainer. It isn’t easy to do but he has been great about it. And little does he know he has learned a lot about the pups too. Alex is 13 yrs old and is extremely smart and I do mean SMART! He amazes me! I am so proud of him. He has always been smarter than necessary….lol He breezes through school, has a photographic memory and loves wrestling and playing football. He is a good boy too. Wow! Are we BLESSED!
GSA: How do they help you with the pups?
TARA: Hmmm…..Mike and Alex help me with the pups by watching them when I can’t. Both of them try not to get attached to the puppies because they are more sentimental than they’d like to admit. Mike can’t handle getting emotionally bonded with them because I think he’d have a hard time letting them leave. He is crazy attached to our two. So both Mike and Alex keep the relationship with the pups to a minimum, and I don’t blame them….it’s hard to watch them go.
GSA: I’m pretty sure that MOST of us out here would feel the same way as Mike does…Okay, Time to make Rhonda nervous: Tell us something about your Sister that we don’t know…
TARA: Okay putting me on the spot here Robert….tell you something about Rhonda that everyone doesn’t know? Hmmmmmmmm I don’t think I know of anything that she wouldn’t kick my butt for saying..LOL One thing that comes to mind right off the top of my head is this: I think people realize that Rhonda is a busy woman but I don’t think anyone truly knows exactly how much time actually goes into keeping up with the Omorrow. Everyone sees the “fun” part of her job….PUPPIES! But there are HARD parts to it too…the up keep is ridiculous hard work. Her entire life revolves around that place so much so that she never gets away from it. It’s not an easy job.
GSA: I always have visions of “Scooping the Yard” with all of her pack running amuck! Or worse, the Mud she must contend with when it rains or snows! She’s blessed to have you Tara!
TARA: I’m just a sister helping a sister…
GSA: You take such beautiful photos of all the dogs, is that a hobby or do you plan to do more? You took a large part of the photo’s in the first Omorrow Calender!
TARA: The picture thing? I have been extremely lucky with those. That is a hobby for sure, I love taking photos of dogs. I think because I love it I have good luck with it. You know Robert I would absolutely thrive on being able to expand this area. I’d love to have a really good “quick” camera to capture pictures because I have missed some beautiful shots because of digital delays. Who knows maybe someday I will be able to do that.
GSD: How do you work your dogs into your busy family life?
TARA: My dogs are part of my family life. A really huge part of it actually. I have been very fortunate that I have been able to be home with them for many years. As I’m thinking about this question I’m realizing that for the past 10 yrs our GSD’s have been the happiest and saddest parts of our family’s life. (loving them and losing them) We include them in everything and talk about them all the time…it’s crazy! It blows my mind how they can get under your skin so deeply and wiggle their way into your heart and stay there.
GSD: You won’t find anyone here that disagrees with that Tara! Omorrow’s GSD’s are very special! Any last words of advice?
TARA: Advice? I don’t know…..Hug your dog? a lot! They aren’t with us long enough and they like hugs (I know mine do). Seriously, I would say take lots of photos and write down great memories because believe it or not some things are forgotten.
The funniest thing about Omorrow to me and my family is really the way they got their name. It was an ongoing joke with Brian and Rhonda to put off today what could be done tomorrow. Hence, the name “Omorrow” was born! But the joke is on them now because not one thing they do down there can be wait until tomorrow.
GSA: Amen to that Tara! Thank you so much for all you do there Tara, and helping make the Omorrow community such a great place to hang out! You and your Family at Omorrow are very special people!!! Thanks for taking the time to talk!!!