Show Dogs

Diane Draper (formerly Diane Wilson) provides these memories of her childhood and expecially the influence of two show dogs. Mar06

I was born at Claremont, Waverley Road, Bagshot and spent 12 happy years there with Mum and Dad and my big sister Christine. I had a best friend, Teresa, who lived in the same road.

Opposite Teresa's home lived Mrs Owen and her Golden Retriever show dogs. Teresa and I were lucky enough to be allowed by Mrs Owen to take Honey and her daughter Zelah for walks every day without fail. They were our lives. We couldn't wait to get home from school to see Honey and Zelah again and off on our next walk around Bagshot. We went to a few Championship Dog Shows with Mrs Owen and the Golden girls. We must have seen some very influential Golden Retrievers in those days, but did not realise it at the time.

I remember one of the very big shows (it could have been Windsor) as Rod Stewart was there showing his 'Shelties' Teresa and I ran around the show trying to find him, then, all of a sudden in one of the big marquees stood Rod Stewart with lots of people around him. Teresa and I and Honey and Zelah pushed in the crowd and managed to get to him, he signed his name on our hands, We did not wash all week!!

We returned to the ring side to meet Mrs Owen to tell her of our encounter with Rod Stewart. As we approached the ring side we could see that Mrs Owen was not pleased, she had missed her class with Zelah. Oh dear, what had we done. We were very sorry and explained that it was Rod Stewart, but it meant nothing to Mrs owen or her friends. After all we were at a Championship Dog Show!!

Anyway, Teresa and I continued to walk, talk and breath Honey and Zelah, we were in love, and they loved us too. Then the bomb shell. Mrs Owen and the dogs were moving back down to Newquay in Cornwall. Teresa and I broke our hearts. The dogs must have missed us too.

Years later when I had moved to Dorset from Bagshot, and had married, I too wanted my very own Golden Retriever. So I did some research and managed to locate Mrs Owen in Newquay. I rang her, what a surprise after about 20 years, and yes she remembered me. I asked did she have any litters in the pipe line, she said she was mating a bitch in a short while and that I could have pick of the litter. I was thrilled to bits.

The morning of the 23rd of April 1991 arrived and I got a call from Mrs Owen saying that the puppies had been born. 3 girls and 3 boys, my baby was born. Mrs Owen said I could have my puppy at 6 weeks. So the day came to pick my puppy up. When we arrived I was nervous and excited. I had not seen Mrs Owen for 20 years, also were her Golden Retrievers as good as I remembered them in the late 60's early 70's?

Mrs Owen showed us the puppies in the run, they were gorgeous. I then asked, which one is mine? Mrs Owen said, come with me. My puppy was already in the kitchen. When I set eyes on my puppy for the first time, she took my breath away, she was so pretty and perfect. She was everything I had dreamed of. I held her in my arms whilst doing the paper work, and I asked Mrs Owen if she would she mind if I called her Zelah, after the dog I walked in Bagshot as a child. Mrs Owen was thrilled. My Zelah was a direct desendant to the original Zelah, so it seemed only right.

I had some happy times showing Zelah at Championship level, and also her daughter Magic, grandaughter Alice, and great grandaughter Anya. I feel so very proud to have been involved in this wonderful strain of Golden Retrievers.

Unfortunately, I had to say good bye to Zelah in April 2005. Her off spring live on in our world and they are loved so dearly, and doing well at the Dog Shows.

Going back to my life at Bagshot. I am the biggest fan of John Lennon that has ever lived on this planet. John and Cynthia lived in Weybridge, near by, and John and Yoko lived in Ascot. When in 1972 my parents and I moved to Wimborne in Dorset, John's Aunt Mimi lived in Sandbanks, just down the road from us.

What happy memories for me, it has been a ball.

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