I have always known that, eventually (you know – “later, when I’m all grown up” – that kind of eventually), I wanted to own a Lakeland terrier. However, not even I could have anticipated that ‘eventually’ would become more ‘now’ and less ‘then’ over the course of a couple of months during this spring/summer.
In February 2011 my husband and I booked a trip to Europe, intending to visit family, attend a friend’s wedding and see some of the British countryside. No dog-thoughts could be detected anywhere near my mind. In fact, at this time we had happily co-existed with two cats for almost 5 years (as they are a lower-maintenance pet, it really was the next best thing!) and others had started labelling us as “cat-people”.
Now I’ve never been one to claim that the two are mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, I must admit I had kind of written the whole dog thing off, at least until the cats had passed away. Two pets is plenty, right? (Well… that’s not counting the salt-water aquarium my husband started about a year ago. But that’s another blog post in and of itself.) Oh boy, I should have known…
Date: April 24, 2011
Should we look for some info on…………
And there it was. The tiny, dormant seed that had been buried in the back of my mind for over a decade just sprouted. Dog thought #1. Harmless as it might have seemed, this single thought initiated an ever-accelerating domino-effect that transformed the sprout into a three-storey high maple that could only be brought to a halt with one thing: a Lakeland terrier.
Initially, I told myself that it wouldn’t be a good idea to look at Lakelands while we were in England. I figured one thing would lead to another. But then again. It was a pretty safe bet, as I wasn’t even sure my husband would like these dogs. And we were in the Lake District, the place of the Lakeland’s origin. It would be a shame to pass on this opportunity to have a chance to trace the breed back to its roots! Besides, we weren’t going to be able to bring a puppy home on the plane anyway. So it wouldn’t hurt anyone to have a little peek, would it?
7177.5 kilometres away from home, in a British town called Egremont, we met Alan and Angela Johnston of the Oregill kennel. Alan’s grandfather, Alf, started this kennel in 1921 and was one of the first to breed Lakeland terriers. Blocks away from the old location of the kennel, we were welcomed by two Lakies. One red, one grizzle.
In the back, there were more terriers. More Lakelands, but also Fox terriers as well as working terriers. Splinters of wood started flying through the air as the already enthusiastic became enthused and started running circles in their cages at the sight of us. These were familiar sounds, as the two Kerry Blue terriers my family used to own showed equal excitement when we would get them from their cages in the morning, ready to take them out for their morning walk.
It was great to be able to see these terriers and to hear from Alan about the Lakelands in specific. We met some month-old Lakie pups… so adorable! And of course we discussed the possibility of finding a good breeder in Canada… I mean… when the opportunity comes knocking… you’ve got to open the door! And who better to ask than the expert, right? Well, as it turned out, Angela and Alan knew a fellow who they thought might be able to help us out: Mark Wamback of the Wakefield kennel in Toronto.
Needless to say, when we arrived back home after our vacation, dog-thoughts had infested my brain and I had to contact Angela Johnston for Mark Wamback’s contact information. It wouldn’t hurt just to inquire, would it? And what are the chances that there is anyone legit close-by? We’d probably have to make some road-trips to different kennels out in the country… And by the time we had made up our minds, we would be well into 2012, all educated and ready to take the next step in a sensible manner.
Well… it so happened to be the case that Mark knew of a good breeder right here in Vancouver’s lower mainland…