mother was raised on a dairy farm in the Bangalow
area of New South Wales. Her younger brother Noel
had a great affinity with animals, and was
responsible for many of the animals that came into
my life. Our family’s dog and cat were the first of
his successes. As a farm boy, working and hunting
dogs were part and parcel of life. He would often
take my mother and I out rabbiting, as Aunt had no
interest in such things. His Pointer bitch Karen
was expected to provide game to supplement the
table, a task she accomplished with ease.
first family dog, Kimmy,
was a Blue Heeler, as dogs of his colour and
heritage were called back then. A rescued farm
puppy Noel ‘conned’
our parents into ‘saving’, Kimmy who lived to a good
old age. After he passed over, a Border collie x
Kelpie joined the family. This mix of breed was used
to describe pretty much any black dog with touches
of white. Dennis, along with several other dogs in
our neighbourhood, was poisoned when quite young.
Dad was devastated. It was the first time I’d seen
lives came Princess, a beautiful sable and white
‘pure-bred’ Collie. Unfortunately Princess died
after complications following her desexing surgery.
She was, however, the introduction to the breed my
father would love for the rest of his life, a love
that I share still.
first truly pedigreed dogs followed Princess – a
young adult Pembroke Welsh Corgi bitch Tanya, and a
baby puppy bitch Rough Coated Collie, Alicia.
Through these bitches the Thompson family was
introduced to a whole new world – the dog scene.
Obedience classes were taken at the South Australian
Obedience Dog Club in the south parklands where we
spent many a Sunday afternoon walking in never
ending circles. We marvelled at the dogs, many
pedigreed, and their clever trainers.
bitches came with their ‘papers’, so it was into the
show ring for me. Often I was joined by my best
friend Alise, the proud owner of a handsome Standard
Smooth Dachie, Honzie. There were no junior handler
classes and no Junior Kennel Club. I was most
fortunate that a number of folk would allow me the
privilege of helping with their dogs.
years, Noel remained my mentor as he later exhibited
Basenjis. Those familiar with that breed in its
early years in Australia would no doubt be familiar
with Champion Wandras Midas and Champion Wandras
Minerva, Lockie and Minnie. These two, bred by Lil
Barker, were extremely successful dogs, Midas in
particular taking many major awards.
the breeds have changed, the love for some will
never die. More than forty years later, the bug that
bit me in my early teens remains.