Growing up in Quebec, Shelties and horses have always been a part of my life. In the early 70’s I regularly rode at a stable that also raised Shelties. Watching the owners male Sheltie “Rascal” run out on command to herd some twenty or so horses from the back of the property to the barn convinced me that Shelties were the breed for me. That is where my first Sheltie came from. A daughter of Rascal’s, her name was O.T. Ch. Soulange Dutchess Am. CDX.
Dutchess enriched our lives for 16 years. Together we learned all about the obedience world. Eager to show others our newly learned skills, we began going to cub/brownie groups, kindergarten classes and pretty much any group that would have us. We taught kids about canine safety and responsible pet ownership. By the early 80’s we were visiting nursing homes spending hours and hours entertaining seniors and listening to stories about the pets they had loved over the years. It is fascinating to hear reminiscing, sometimes from over eight decades earlier.
Also in the early 80’s my next two shelties, O.T. Ch. Grayfield Timely Sasha and Ch. & O.T. Ch. Grayfield Angel in Blue joined our family. Together with my Shelties we continued to regularly visit hospitals, senior homes and schools to educate and bring joy to people’s lives.
In the early 90’s I opened my own dog training school “Surona School of Dog Obedience”. I currently train out of a brand new heated training hall. In addition to offering regular training classes I also provide by referral, behavioural consultations for pet owners facing difficulties.
In 2002, a good friend of mine asked if I would bring my Shelties to visit her dying mother in hospital. Glad to do so, off we went. In the next bed to my friend’s mother was an elderly woman who had fallen into a coma. The woman’s daughter asked if I would place my Sheltie, Vikki (Linden Surona Vctorian Lace) on the bed so that she could move her mother’s hand to stroke her beautiful coat. To everybody’s utter amazement including the nursing staff, shortly after the woman was put into contact with our kind and gentle Vikki she moaned and began showing signs that she was coming out of her coma. By the next day she was communicating and the following week we had the opportunity for a real visit where she had a chance to meet Vikki, her miracle dog. Dogs are very powerful when it comes to enlightening the human spirit a lesson I learned that day.
The combination of an animal’s mind and spirit has always fascinating for me. To succeed in dog training, you need to work with both. Educating the mind and carefully nurturing the spirit. My fascination with animal mind and spirit also led me to horse training. Teisha, my Quarter Horse mare came into my life in 2000. In my early days of horse training I had the priviledge of training with a wonderful horseman, the Late Carl Reihl in Okotoks, Alberta who taught me ever so much about a horse’s spirit. I have attended seminars with Monty Roberts and Pat Parelli among others.
From my early days, watching my Dutchess’ father Rascal herding horses, my curiosity and fascination for understanding both the way animals think and feel had closed the full circle from horse to dog and back to horses.
The natural path to my desire to excel in dog obedience was my becoming an Obedience Judge in 1996. Since then I have judged from coast to coast in Canada and across the USA. I have had the honour to watch and judge some pretty incredible dog/owner teams over my years of judging. In 2007 I became a Rally Judge and in 2009 I became a lifetime member of the Canadian Kennel Club.
We now live in the beautiful Hockley Valley, about one hour north of Toronto on eight lovely acres of rolling hills with our Shelties and horses.
I hope you enjoy your journey through our website. Please note that all of the photos on this site (except of myself) were taken by me since I also have a passion for animal photography..