I grew up in England and was dog and horse crazy from the time I could walk. I spent every weekend from age
8 mucking stalls, feeding and grooming at the local riding stables in return for lessons. By the time I was
in my early teens I was taking students out on hacks around the local countryside and teaching the younger
kids how to ride. Finally after years of saving money earned babysitting I was able to buy my first horse, a
thoroughbred cross for the sum of five hundred pounds. Together we started competing at local cross country
trials and jumping competitions and occasionally rode with the local hunt. I was in heaven!!
I put my riding on hold while at University and after finishing a twist of fate resulted in my emigration to the USA. Once settled I quickly picked up my riding and spent many years training and competing in hunter jumpers, various dogs by my side. In 2000 one of the ladies at the barn where I trained showed up with a blue merle Australian shepherd and I fell in love, I thought he was the smartest, most handsome and most biddable dog I had ever met. By 2003 I had retired from riding due to a bad fall followed by a major life event and my first Aussie called Madison came into my life. That was the beginning of this incredible journey into the breed that I have come to love, admire and cherish, a journey that continues to teach me so much and has resulted in not only having the privilege of living with some amazing dogs, but has also introduced me to likeminded people who have become very dear friends.
Madison was my running, cross country ski, hiking, and snowshoeing partner, she was my constant companion and made friends wherever we went. When I had to go out of town friends would vie for the right to take care of her, she was a popular girl!
When Madison was seven years old some dear friends who often took care of her asked me to help them find their own Madison and the Aussie puppy search began. By then I knew it was important to buy from a reputable breeder and we started attending local dog shows to see if we could identify a breeder we felt comfortable with. At the shows my eyes consistently went to the dogs from one particular kennel, Calais Carolina, a HOF kennel owned by senior breeder judges Terri Morgan, Selena Poplin and Elizabeth Stibley who have been in the breed for decades and have one of the most respected and successful breeding programs in the country. My friends got on the Calais Carolina list for a companion puppy and that was the beginning of my friendship with Terri, Selena and Libby that is strong to this day. Through Terri I quickly purchased my first show dog Crush who came from Calais Carolina lines and was bred by Sonkist Australian Shepherds in CA. Crush didn’t work out as a show dog but it was the beginning of my passion for showing and competing with my dogs and eventually led to my first homebred litter.
I am eternally grateful to Terri and Selena for being the best mentors anyone could hope for and for entrusting me with some of their incredible Calais Carolina dogs.
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