The history of the Shelties in our lives really started with my father. My parents when they were first married decided after about a year to work their way across country. They had a little trailer to pull behind their car and first went south before heading west. My father had a friend who was in Alaska and said that they should come and visit. So they made their way west from New Jersey to Washington. My parents sold the trailer and car and hopped a steam ship to Alaska to visit. Not long after arriving in Alaska my father had appendicitis and with the hospital bills they were not able to leave Alaska as planned. There were only enough funds left for one to return to Seattle. It was 1947.
My parents worked to build up funds to return to the “lower 48”. Life had other ideas as an opportunity to be in a lottery for a homestead became available. Because my father had served in the US Navy, he had an opportunity to get in on an early drawing in the lottery for Homesteading. He was the youngest to apply at the drawing. Mother and Father found two sites that they hoped they would be successful on. (The one they did not get is now the home of Alaska Pacific University) To view these sites, they had to snowshoe. as there were no roads. The trees were considerably smaller and it use to be “a hell of a lot” colder. My parents after the lottery drawing in May had to complete some requirements before the government of the Territory of Alaska gave them a patent to the land. This included building a building and inhabiting in it. They were motivated to accomplish this in that my brother was due to arrive in September. Transportation was a army surplus jeep that my father took to work and a dog team for my mother. Time passed and the cabin was added on to along with my own arrival to the world.
In 1953 the family went to New Jersey. It was on the this trip that my father discovered his first shelties.. He had gone into a barbershop there to have his haircut. The barber had two shelties with him and my father fell in love with the breed. AKC registered dogs were few and far between in Territory of Alaska. Shetland Sheepdogs were rare.
In 1958 Mother and Father did find the name of a breeder in Boise, Idaho who was willing to send a sheltie to wilderness of Alaska: Bea Burdick, E-Danha Shelties. Peggy Sue, a sable and white, arrived very early in the morning in a wooden crate. I remember going out to the airport to receive her. She was also breed to one of Bea’s males. So began our lives with shelties. Peggy Sue was a wonderful family member. She just grew a little too much
Love of Shelties lead my Mother to Ron Fletcher and Dave Reeves. After much correspondence, Tambrae Cinnamon Toast (Suzie) came to live with us breed to Am Ch. Diamond's Robert Bruce ROM ROMC. Suzie was the foundation bitch for BeBoni Shelties. Suzie hated the show ring, but made beautiful puppies. Out of this breeding came Am Ch. Be Boni Black Is Beautiful and Am Ch. Be Boni Black Bruce CD.
When my parents would go “stateside” I usually went to pick them up with the station wagon. Often there was a new member of the family in the form of a sheltie. Shirley and Paul talked to a lot of people and visited kennels from Coast to Coast. It was with this the information and guidance that the blending of genetics was chosen: beauty, intelligence, personality and adherence to the Sheltie Standard.
Shirley was Treasure of ASSA for a term. And yes, this was before the Internet and when Shelties were competing in the Working Group. Paul and Shirley were involved with the publication of Shetland Sheepdog Magazine and involved with local clubs and were founding members of the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Anchorage.
As life has moved along and our family has survived valleys and mountains of life and the Shelties have remained a constant. My daughter joined us in the show ring in the late 1980’s; Shirley hung up her show shoes in 2000. In recent years, I too have put the shoes away. We have wonderful friends and handlers to get our shelties into the show ring. Good placements have found our shelties in many performance events as well as the conformation ring. We continue to enjoy the magic of producing wonderful, beautiful and intelligent companions
Enjoy our website and visit some of our shelties--and collies.