Interestingly enough it was by pure accident!
My childhood was a full and fantastic one!
I was born on a beautiful 3000 acre fine wool Merino and stud Hereford cattle farm situated in the stunning volcanic undulating Western Districts between Woorndoo and Mortlake. My Family (Mum, Dad, my three sisters and my brother) emigrated from Scotland in 1955 bringing with them three of dads working Border collie’s, two bitches and a dog.
These dogs were descendants of my grand father’s famous working lines. Papa’s dogs not only earned their keep by working sheep on his farm in the highlands of Scotland but they also competed in sheep dog trials through out Europe. In fact my Grand Fathers dog was the International World Champion.
My dad bred and trained working Border Collies here in Australia for over 40 years. With, a lot of assistance from his constant companion, ME!!
Gundogs were always a part of our family, as my brother and dad loved hunting rabbits, quail, duck, snipe and foxes. We had a black Labrador “Beauty” (after black Beauty of course) and I had a black Cocker Spaniel “Bitsey”.
Once I left school and commenced Nursing training at Warrnambool Base Hospital I was away from home a fair bit but would come home on all of my days off to see mum and dad ,the farm and of course Bitsey.
Attending Brittany club meetings once a month after being convinced it would be a great idea to be on the committee (Driving from Noorat to Melbourne show grounds this was a six hour round trip and then front up to work the next morning).
Then of course the natural progression was for this young fresh girl to be groomed for the secretarial position.
Oh boy that was an experience and a half.
Anyway I did learn a lot and meet my then husband Laurie so for the next 18 years we set about getting this breed recognized and valued as a Highly sort after working gun-dog, recognized competitive show dog and a valued and much loved family companion.
These years were very full and exciting, in 1990 saw the first of our American Imports arrive here in Australia Chico of Aztlan (Rebel) and Jac’s Hi Brass (Jess) who were then followed by 6 more fabulous Imports from various kennels through out America these dogs are
AUST CH PJ’S All Kiddin’ Aside ‘(IMP USA)”COKE”,
AUST CH Rocklan Jordean Night Hawk (IMP USA)”HAWK”
AUST CH Black butt’s Heart Of Gold (IMP USA)”CINDERS”
AUST CH Dogwood Hollow American Beauty (IMP USA)”Revlon”
MULTI BISS/MULTI RBIS/AM/AUST SUPREME CH Dogwood Hollow Out of The Park (IMP USA)”Chipper”
When Jess, Rebel and our existing lines combined we created two bitches, Tobenlee Super Tramp “Sandy” and Tobenlee Misty O Dee “Dee Dee” who became the first owner, breeder, handled Brittany’s in Australasia to gain their DUAL CHAMPION TITLES.
These two girls were both under three years old when they gained their FIELD TRIAL and SHOW CHAMPIONSHIP titles.
Both these girls also competed and won retrieving trials against fields of 40 plus retrievers. In fact Dee Dee gained her Novice Retrieving Trial Title.
We are to say the least very proud of these two girls as they are, to this day still the ONLY DUAL (FIELD TRIAL AND SHOW) champion Brittany’s in Australia.
1990 saw the purchase of my little Blue Merle Shetland Sheepdog Aust Grand Ch Hillacre Wee McGregor ROM “Seamus”. ‘Seamus” was a true once in a life time dog! He and I made an almost unbeatable team.
Seamus was my constant companion he always gave 110% all the time not only in the show ring but at home as well. To this day I still miss my little blue fluffy number!
In February 1995 the light of my life was born. Andrew, my now seventeen year old son, who right from a little guy loved the dogs, helped with the whelping of the bitches and raising of the litters.
He was my little secretary when I was busy with the puppies/dogs he would answer the phone and let people know what I was doing, where I was (sometimes to efficiently, Sometimes way to much information lol !!!).
I have handled Brittany’s and Shetland sheepdogs to multiple Best in Group and Best in Show awards.
To date I have bred 70 Australian Show Ch, 2 Grand Ch and 2 Dual Ch and numerous obedience/ Agility titled and highly valued working Brittany’s.
I have handled 50 Brittany’s and Shetland Sheepdogs to their Australian show titles.
Four of these dogs gaining their Australian Grand Champion titles.I have bred/owner/trained/handled my own Brittany’s in field trials gaining points toward their field trial titles!There you have it folks this is how Tobenlee evolved into the kennel it is today!