While growing up in the Montreal area, I would regularly bring home all kinds of dogs and cats. Although my parents loved animals too, sensibly they would return these pets to their owners. So it really wasn't a surprise for my family when I eventually ended up in veterinary school at the Ontario Veterinary College....and proud owner of my own menagerie.
Common sense and a significant shortage of free time prevailed while I was in school, and I restricted my pet owning to cats. But by the fall of 1989 I was ready to start my search for the perfect dog. I had decided on a purebred because I was interested in trying some competitive obedience and conformation shows. I made lists -- pros and cons -- physical and temperament traits I did -- and did not -- want. Although I considered several breeds, everything I read about Flatcoats appealed to me. They seemed perfect, but they were rare, and I had never met one. As luck would have it, 3 breeders happened to live within a reasonable driving distance. I made arrangements to go visit.
With the first greeting from a Flatcoat; from the plentiful kisses to the non-stop wagging tail, I was hooked. They were -- and still are -- everything I ever wanted in a dog. When I met Joan Nettle of Autograph Kennels, I made a reservation for a puppy from a litter that was planned for a year later. That was a long year!! I would hang around Flatcoats and their owners every chance I got, soaking up all the information I could. I read everything about Flatcoats I could get my hands on. I joined the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of Canada (FCRSC) and attended my first National Specialty in 1990....all without a dog! Finally, in March 1991, my Flatcoat puppy was born. In May I finished school, and 2 weeks later Sierra came home with me.
Today we live in British Columbia's Fraser Valley on half an acre. I run my own small animal veterinary practice, with a special interest in canine reproduction, and spend my free time training dogs. I also judge 4H at local fairs, ring steward occasionally for our local all-breed club, and even judged my first CKC hunt test. I love to travel whenever possible, and snuggle down with a good book when I can find time to sit.
I served on the Board of Directors of the FCRSC for 8 yrs, including two terms as Vice President and one as President. In addition to the FCRSC, I am a member of the FCRSA (Flatcoated Retriever Society of America), the FCRS (Flatcoated Retriever Society of England) and NEFRA (Northern England Flatcoated Retriever Association).
Over the years, I have been very fortunate to have benefited from the knowledge and experience of a number of Flatcoat people in Canada, the United States and England. They may not have always agreed with each other, but all have been dedicated to protecting the breed and remaining true to it's purpose and history. And all have been willing to share their expertise.....for which I am truly grateful. I hope to live up to their example.