I was born in Northern Rhodesia, where my father had a Ridgeback called NIP. We left
before Zambian independence, staying
in the UK for a while. My parents split up & my mother
took me out to South Africa, where my brother was born.
We settled in Zululand as my mother took the position of
Matron at Luwamba Mission Hospital. I had the adventure
of growing up in the African bush, where snakes & small
game were part of everyday life. On 8 Dec 1975, my brother
was killed on a mountain road, when he was thrown through the windscreen of a speeding
car. Seatbelts became compulsory in ZA
in 1976 as a result of our tragedy.
Eventually I was allowed to have horses. In 1979 we moved to the Natal South Coast.
I kept my mare & stabled her in Hillcrest. There I met Hugh, the farrier, who had
a Ridgeback-X called LINUS. He was such an impressive dog; I knew that Dad's Ridgeback
had been essential to daily life in the Rhodesian bush from all that he had told
me. So I bought my first RR in December 1981. SHANDY was mismarked (a white stocking
on her front leg) but grew into a perfect companion & taught me so much about the
breed; I knew then that I would always have Rhodesian Ridgebacks!
I bought my 2nd Ridgeback 10 years later, while in ZA, trying to deal with my first
marriage & my father's terminal illness in 1992 (lung cancer). I began showing WHISKY
there and gained a few awards with him, including a reserve CC. I imported Whisky
in the spring of 1993, but he hated the 6 months in quarantine
as much as Shandy did when I first returned to the UK newly married…