I have grown up with, in my eyes, the best family possible. I have them to thank for who I am today.
To dare to try things, "It's always possible to fix", nothing is impossible if you just want it and give 100 %, and also to know that someone will be there for me when I encounter obstacles along the way.
It is also in my youth that the interest for animals aroused. When I was little we had a longhaired red dachshund named Lady, as well as a cat that moved to us from the neighbours farm because my mom insisted on feeding it with ham. My little brother wished to have turtles and it didn't take long before they moved in..
After my studies I spent a few years abroad, and when I moved back home, I decided that it was time to take responsibility for an animal of my own. The cat Kajza moved into my life. She was constantly hungry and weighed about two kilos.
Lady & Me
My interest for dogs and exhibitions is something i blame my neighbor. She had dogs and was great at taking care of their fur. I found it exciting and started to accompany her at dog shows and other events for dogs. At the same time, the thought grew that maybe it's time for me to get my own dog.
I knew from the beginning that I did not want a small dog. My future dog should have a lot of fur and a freaky attitude, but at the same time be fun and loveable and able to cope with stressful environments and new people. Suddenly a "Bobtail" appeared in a movie and I fell in love instantly. I called my neighbor right away and asked, what breed is that?, thats what I want!
In 2003 it was time for my new familymember to move in. Notown's Fantabulous, the most charming little hairy monster you've ever seen. I was in love and did all kind of courses and puppy trainings with Ofelia, later called Felan.
Haha well, it was an Old English Sheepdog that I bought..
What I love today about my breed was a true horror for a first time owner. Ofelia did her own thing. Just run the other way if they don't listen, - So yes, that we did.
It was not always easy, but in the end, Ofelia is the dog that thaught me "dog language", fur care, to play and that gave me lots of joy in the exhibition ring. In addition to that she thought me patience, strenght and shared so much love.
After many great titles in the show ring, the time was right for Ofelia to have puppies. The year was 2007 when 9 wonderful puppies was born at Notown's kennel. Notown's Just Ugly Betty, one of Ofelia's puppies moved in with us, and suddenly I had two hairy friends!
Notown's Just Ugly Betty
In 2012, the next family member moved in, this time I went down to Europe and fetched my sweet little Mizzy (Kirshcake Aus Dem Elbe-Urstromtal).
At this point, they were three! Mizzy was a gentle little girl that was truly different from the other dogs at home. I had to change my whole way of having a dog since this girl demanded all possible aid and support. Here, both Ofelia and Betty was very helpful to getting our new family member to grow and feel like a part of our flock. Slowly but surely she has developed into a "crazy" OES with a great personality and a lot of joy and energy.
The same year also offered a very tough time when Ofelia passed away. That fall we started to get reminded about her age when it got more and more difficult for her to follow us in the woods and fields.
During 2014 and 2015 I startet planning my own first litter. Right about in time for the kennel name "The River Walléys" got registered, my first puppis were born. Mizzy was a great mother to her three little pups. I named them Scottish Haggis, Green Eggs & Ham and Mizz Beurre Blanc. Yes, if you work as a chef, you're dogs must get named by food..
In this litter I kept the only female Mizz Beurre Blanc, nickname Gunhild. For some time the family was a total of three wonderful dogs until a spring day in 2017 when Betty passed away.
Ups and downs. The same year as Betty's passing, we could welcome Mizzy's second litter. These pups just had to get named after beer since their father lives in Belgium. The River Walléys Stella The Worthy, Noble Karamelite and Leffe Baronial. Leffe was my choice of the litter and therefore the one that got to stay in the River Walléy family, even though he's not living at our place on a daily basis, but with a close friend not far away.
Kirshcake Aus Dem Elbe-Urstromtal
In my opinion there has to be different individuals in a flock to make it complete. Someone's weakness can be someone else's strength, not only in my kennel, but also in my work as a chef. A team must be built.
Here we are now, 2022. I think about my goals with my breeding, and also question a lot why we sometimes choose a more difficult way than you might possibly do when there are lots of nice individuals. My goals,
- Healthy individuals
- Take advantage of the qualities I have in my dogs
- Lovely family members who will work in all kind of situations
- Laughter/sorrow/drinking coffee/lots of bubbles with new friends and contacts
Owning an Old english sheepdog is to never be alone. To have a clown, a watchdog but at the same time the most lazy, energetic, happy, unfortunate, mischievous but considerate and most loving friend you can imagine.