Working with dogs and children- those are Jerry Moore’s biggest gifts.

            For more than half of his life, the Springhill, La., native has been training dogs to become good hunters, and most importantly, obedient companions. Moore, 51, is the owner of Circle J Kennels, located on four acres of rolling

pastures and woods near Springhill. He, along with his wife Pauline, and children Kristal and Shannon, not only train dogs, but also provide grooming services and room and board.

            Moore also serves as an officer for the Webster Parish Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. Through his efforts, Moore has seen more than 3,100 5th grade students successfully complete the program.

            “I’ve been teaching kids and dogs for years and I’ve never been bored,” he said with a grin. “It’s amazing how God put everything into place.”

            A NEW LOVE

            Moore said it was his uncle, Lonnie Styron, of Lake Providence, LA., who hooked him into the world of training dogs during the late-1980s.

            “My dad was with Uncle Lonnie one day and told me to come down and watch the dogs run in competition. He said I would like it, and it was amazing,” he said. “I saw the dogs run and I said, “I believe I could Train them, too.” I would never even pet dogs until that day-and fell in love with them.”

            Styron gave Moore the book he used to train dogs-“Water Dog” by Richard Walters. Moore said this book serves as the foundation for the training techniques and enter into field trials. He said he looked all over and finally found the perfect dog right in his own hometown of Springhill. He bought the Lab from Ernest Cook and named it “Honcho””.

            “I worked that dog every day and never lost a trial except for the first one,” he said. “I later met Jay Hearnsberger (of Springhill), started competing and we’ve been together ever since.”

            Moore’s uncle encouraged him to build a pen and begin training dogs for others.

            “My uncle Lonnie said if I built a pen, he’d fill it up with dogs for me. I put the idea on the back burner and kept on with my job as a carpenter.”

            THE CHECK

            While on the job one day Jerry fell, hurt his knee, and decided his days as a professional carpenter were over. That was around the time a man in a three-piece suit showed up at Jerry’s house one stormy day.

            “The man said he had seen Honcho and wanted to buy him, and I told him the dog wasn’t for sale,” Moore said. “He asked if he could work the dog anyway. I told him yeah, but it was raining. Would you believe that man worked the dog in the rain in his suit?”

             The man then pulled out his checkbook and wrote Jerry a check.

            “I told him again that the dog wasn’t for sale. The man said, “I’ll be back in two weeks for either the dog or my check.”

            Moore said he talked with his wife about the gentleman’s visit. He told her about the check, knowing that the money could be put to good use to construct his dog pens and begin training dogs.

            “God told me that was a way to build my pens and get started,” Moore said. “The man came and picked up my dog, and three weeks later I had my first ten pens built.”

            Moore said to this day he has not revealed to anyone else the amount of the check, only saying, “It was enough to pour the slab, build the pens and purchase the training equipment-it gave me a really good start.”

            OPEN FOR BUSINESS

            Styron, Moore’s uncle, supplied Circle J Kennels with its first six dogs in 1988, and he has had full pens ever since. He has trained numerous dogs from the Springhill area, as well as throughout the Ark-La-Tex. Thanks to Bubba Burnside of Memphis, Tenn., one southern town in particular has kept Moore extremely busy-Senatobia, Mississippi.

            Burnside was in Louisiana hunting in 1990. He saw a dog that Moore had trained for Randy Mason of Tallulah, La., and was impressed with the dog’s behavior and skills. Burnside sent Moore some of his dogs to train and later referred his friends from Senatobia to the Springhill dog trainer.

            “I bet I have trained most of the dogs in Senatobia. I’d train one person’s Lab and they’d tell a friend. Then the friend would tell a friend,” Moore said. “Billy Wells would get a Senatobia discount store’s truck to deliver a bunch of dogs to me at once. That town is full of great folks who love their dogs.”

            Ten years later, Moore knew it was time to expand his business to accommodate more dogs. He also wanted his wife, Pauline, to join him full-time in providing grooming services. Pauline had been a dog groomer at McMahen Veterinary Hospital in Springhill for several years.

            In 1998, the Moores moved Circle J Kennels to its new location, 2226 Walnut Road, which was actually just down the road from their previous home and business. There they constructed a thirty-pen kennel-which has now been expanded to fourty four pens-grooming facility, and office.

            A VIDEO WITH BILL DANCE

            According to Moore, it is thanks to friend Mike Boyd that he now has an instructional video on the market to help dog owners understand what to do after their Labs are returned from the trainer.

            Boyd, owner of a popular duck service in Tunica, Miss., was in need of a new dog after his long-time Labrador retriever passed away. Billy Wells, of Senatobia, gave Boyd a new puppy with only one stipulation: He must take it to Moore for training.

            “Mike and I became friends and one day I told him I had always wanted to make a video for dog owners. So many people ask about the proper way to work with the Labs once they get them back form me,” said Moore. “Mike said, “Why don’t you talk to Bill Dance?” I said, “I don’t know Bill Dance.” He said, “I do.”

            Boyd was close friends with Dance, the legendary outdoorsman from Tennessee. One summer, Boyd and Moore met with Dance and discussed him helping with the production of a video.

            “Bill Dance said he didn’t do that sort of thing, but he could turn me on to someone who did,” Moore said. “After a couple of months visiting with him and getting to know him, Bill said, “I’ll make your video”. He is such a good man.”

            Moore hired Dance’s production crew to shoot the how-to video, “Jerry Moore’s After-School Retriever Training”, which is now available for purchase.

            Extreme Dog Fuel

            While on a trip to Columbia, LA., Moore’s friend, Sam Sage, talked about a new dog food he had discovered and was feeding to his dogs. Sage said he had noticed improvements in his dogs after eating the food and encouraged Moore to try it with his dogs. Sage gave Moore a few bags to take back home to Springhill.

            “I didn’t even feed it to the dogs and I gave it to Don Wright, a friend in Texarkana,” Moore said. “He called me up later and said, “you’ve just got to try this do food’. So I tried it on my dogs and I liked it.”

            Moore said he began wondering what it would take to develop his own dog food that was superior to anything else on the market.

            “So I began looking into it,” he said. “I kept telling myself that I wanted to make the best dog food with the best ingredients at the lowest price.”

            Moore talked with area veterinarians and chemists and began researching various dog food formulas. Jay Hearnsberger soon invested money into the project. With the help of Dwight Mercer, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University, Moore experimented with dog foods, “adding the right amount of vitamins and minerals and tweaking it to get the perfect food.” In 2002, Circle J Extreme Dog Fuel was born and is now shipped nationwide.

            “Right now, our dog food costs more to make than many dog foods on the market,” he said. “But I want a dog food that will help dogs stay as healthy as possible and live as long as they can.”

            Moore said the testimonials he has received from customers have been amazing. One young couple from Pine bluff, Ark. Had an older Lab that they had considered putting to sleep because he had hip displacement and was in constant pain. Then they started feeding him Moore’s dog food.

            “The guy told me that he and his wife were driving down their road and a dog came running by. It was their dog, and they couldn’t believe it. The oils, glucose and vitamins helped the dog not hurt.”

            THE D.A.R.E. PROGRAM

            For the past 12 years, Moore has also been dedicated to teaching young children the dangers of drug use. The unique D.A.R.E program uses uniformed law enforcement officers to teach a formal curriculum to students in a classroom setting.

            D.A.R.E. is a drug abuse prevention education program designed to teach young students about drug abuse, the consequences of abuse, and skills for resisting peer pressure to experiment with drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Based on the premise that prevention is the only long-term answer to drug abuse, the program includes all 50 states and 53 countries.

            Moore is the third instructor in Webster Parish’s D.A.R.E. program. In January 2005, he had the pleasure of watching his tenth class graduate the program.

            “Working with these students is my calling,” he said. “Working with dogs is great, but there’s nothing like these children. I can touch more kids in one day through the D.A.R.E. program than I could in any other way.”

            Moore is often seen personally giving away money and gifts in the classroom. He has even bought presents for less fortunate children in hopes that they would have a brighter Christmas.

            LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

            The success of Moore’s dog food continues to grow. More retail businesses are selling the product, and Moore is now working with Bass Pro Shops to stock his dog food on their shelves. In addition, he has acquired the local sponsorship of Springhill Motor Co. and national sponsorship of Sport Dog, a company that produces electronic dog collars.

            Moore said he also hopes to one day be able to bring a manufacturing facility for Circle J Extreme Dog Fuel to his hometown of Springhill. His ultimate goal’ however, is to share the news that ‘you can do anything through Christ”.

            “The Lord has a plan for our lives. I know he wanted me to meet all of the people I have over the years in order to reach the next steps in my life,” Moore said. “God is so good, and if you don’t know him, you are missing something truly amazing.”

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. COPYRIGHT (C) Circle J Kennels, LLC