When I was little I used to walk the neighbours' dogs, as we weren't allowed one of our own and cats never seemed the best substitute! I remember being promised a dog for my 11th birthday, and got up that morning quivering with anticipation to see what sort of dog was waiting for me, only to find a pile of books and a (never realised!) promise that we would go to the rescue kennels after Christmas, when there would no doubt be lots of dogs looking for homes....
Many years later, having bought my first home, I decided that now was the time to buy myself a dog. I always liked big dogs, the bigger the better for me, and was debating whether to go for a Great Dane or a Newfoundland. Sadly the other member of the household decreed that big dogs were too drooly, and therefore it was to be nothing bigger than a Labrador. So a Labrador it was! I contacted one of the breed clubs and was put in touch with Margaret Litherland of the Oakhouse kennel. I went to see a litter of puppies on a wee detour (to Wales!) on the way back up north from a trip to London, and after seeing the loveliest looking labs I had ever seen, came home with Dana, a black bitch more formally known as Oakhouse Once In A Blue Moon. She was the drooliest dog out; capable of taking a very small drink of water and leaving a very large puddle on the floor!
She was however a fantastic bitch; I'm sure that if I had shown her or worked her she would have done very well indeed - unfortunately I wasn't aware at the time just how well bred she was!
Having decided that I fancied trying my hand at showing in late 2003, I promptly got hooked and have enjoyed myself immensely ever since, making some fabulous friends along the way.