It has been my privilege to own, train, breed, show and love Belgian Sheepdogs since 1977. Since then I have also owned a little rescue mixed-breed, a Belgian Malinois, Ch. Tri Sorts Elan CD NAJ, and a miniature Dachshund that came to live with me when my mother passed away. I have also been fortunate to have the opportunity to show Belgian Tervurens and Belgian Malinois for friends.
I met my first Belgian Sheepdog in the early 1970s. It belonged to a friend of mine and, having grown up with Dachshunds, I was very impressed that there was a breed of dog that could be running in a field that would actually come when it was called. That was enough to make me decide this was a breed that I wanted to own.
When my husband and I finally moved to a house with a fenced yard the time was right to add a dog or two to the family. My plan was to get a Belgian Sheepdog and a Dachshund. Coincidentally, I was working at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History and Technology (as it was called than) and found out one of my co-workers happened to own a Belgian Sheepdog and a Dachshund. Really! The Belgian was a bitch and my co-worker and it’s co-owner were planning to breed. I made arrangements to get a puppy from the litter. When I went to pick my puppy out, I returned home with two. So much for the Dachshund idea. At the time I got these two littermates I was not interested in showing in breed but I did train and show them in obedience. Each earned a High in Trial during their obedience career. I have trained my subsequent Belgians and earned titles in obedience, herding and agility, as well as showing in conformation.
It was when I got my third Belgian that I decided I wanted a dog I could show in the breed ring as well as doing performance events. I was lucky enough to get a dog that turned out to be a wonderful “once in a lifetime” show dog, Ch. Rolin Ridges Hector Von Fritz, PT NA, BSCA HOF. With very few exceptions, I showed him myself and together we had our share of successes in the show ring. Fritz fathered several litters and one of those litters produced my second “once in a life time” dog, Ch. Belroyale’s Cara O’Morningstar HS CD, BSCA HOF.
Cara was sold to a good friend of mine, Joan Dyke, and I ended up showing Cara for Joan. Unfortunately, Joan died of cancer and so Cara came to live with me. In addition to a Herding Started and a CD title, Cara, like her father and with me as her handler, she had a very successful career in the conformation ring. Cara was bred twice and I now own and am showing Cara’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Although my dogs have only produced 26 puppies under the kennel name Morningstar, I have been both lucky and blessed to have some wonderful dogs. One of Cara's grandchildren was Winners Bitch at the 2013 BSCA National and another won Best of Breed at the 2015 BSCA National. In my breeding program, in addition to good health and a sensible brain between the ears, I want a dog that has beautiful flowing movement. Add to that a dog that is pretty and I guess you can say, just like everyone else, I want it all. I am an AKC Breeder of Merit as well as a BSCA Mentor.
I have been a member of the Potomac Valley Belgian Sheepdog Club since 1978. I have served for more than one year in each of these offices: Secretary, President, Agility Trial Secretary, Agility Trial Chair, Specialty Chair and Board Member. I am currently the club’s Treasurer. I have been a member of the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America since 1981 and am now serving as the Corresponding Secretary. Other clubs I belong to are the Belgian Malinois Fanciers of the Potomac Club, a local club that I am currently serving as the Treasurer, and the national American Belgian Malinois Club. The all-breed clubs I belong to are the Warrenton Kennel Club and the Old Dominion Kennel Club, both located in Virginia.