Animals have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Our neighbour's cat had kittens just before I turned 4, and I was allowed to choose one for my birthday present. She lived to be 19, and was truly mine, choosing to sleep with me every night of her life. We didn't get our first family dog until I was about 11, but we had all the usual pocket pets up until then - mice, rats, guinea pigs, etc. Plus all manner of injured wildlife and strays that needed help.
From early on, I knew that I wanted to work with animals. My dream was to be a veterinarian, but after being rejected the first time I applied to OVC, I went to Centralia College and graduated from the Animal Health Technology program in 1984. I had worked all through high school at the local veterinary clinic, which specialized in small and exotic animals. My Mom arrived to pick me up one day, to find me x-raying an adult male lion! I graduated from Centralia and worked at a small animal clinic in Thornhill for 3 years, the owner of which was an animal behavioural consultant. Ultimately, my dream was also to work with large animals. When an opportunity came up at a clinic in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, I jumped at the chance. I was there for 6 years, working about 3 of those alongside Pam Dunn of Kare Kennels.
I had seen my first Toller at a dog show in Toronto, when I was about 18. He was the legendary Rebel, Westerlea's Tru Ray Red Rebel. I decided right then that I would someday own a Toller. By the time I met Pam & Derek, I already had 2 dogs, a Standard Poodle and a Dalmatian, and felt I couldn't handle more than that. But I got to know and love Tollers while I was living in Nova Scotia.
I returned to Ontario in 1993, as my mother was ill, and found a job working at a small animal practice in Bobcaygeon. By this time, my career title was changed to Veterinary Technician, and I wrote and passed the new board exams in 1995, becoming a Registered Vet Tech. I somehow acquired another Std Poodle - I seem to attract everyone else's rejects... LOL
In 1999, I finally decided it was time for a Toller. I contacted Pam and asked her to send me a girl. Tidy arrived in September of that year, and the rest is history.
Tidy was originally to be an obedience dog, but I was keen to try everything with her. So, she finished her Cdn CH, her CDX, and was my introduction to field training. Unfortunately, although she was an insatiable retriever, she wasn't too keen on birds at the beginning, I had the wrong people helping me, and thus she didn't get too far in official field tests. She did manage her WC and, in her later years, decided ducks really weren't that bad and earned her Junior Hunter title one day before her 9th birthday. I made the decision to breed her, and in 2002 she was bred to Lise Pomeroy's boy, Tag (Foxgrove's Red Tag Special), and gave me Taylor, who has really changed my life.
I continue to strive to produce Tollers that are wonderful companions, eager to work as a team, and capable of doing the job the breed was originally created to do.
Whitney, Jack, Chloe, and Tidy
I have owned and operated a dog grooming and training business in Bocaygeon for the past 15 years. I am a member of the Canadian, US, and Ontario Toller clubs, the CKC, and the HRC (Hunting Retriever Club).