The name Omega is one of the most highly recognizable kennel names in North America as a family of top specialty winners and important producers. The first time I saw Shirley and her dogs was Springfield, MA at the 1988 CCA when her lovely Can.Am.Ch. Omega's Going In Style was WB in a strong line up under George Horn. Shirley was also honored at the CCA by taking RWB at the 1989 CCA in Colorado Springs with Can.Am.Ch. Omega's Custom Design and repeated that win at the 1992 CCA in Tampa. Omega has been in the Collie game since 1974 and has contributed much to the breed, both in Canada and the U.S. Over fifty Canadian champions and many American champions were born on their one acre property, situated 35 miles north of Toronto. Some of the bigger ribbons that hang on their walls are from going Best In Specialty at the CCC National with the beautiful Ch. Sandpiper's Solitaire, winning the prestigious Kem Memorial sweeps, plus group wins, several Best Puppy in Shows and multi specialty wins in both countries.
Len has worked as an auto mechanic for over thirty years, and Shirley works as a Community Support Worker. They have two children and two "adorable" grandchildren, of which Shirley is perhaps the most proud of! They share their home and life with eleven collies and Shirley remains very active in the Collie Club of Canada.
Ch Newdawn's Love Me Tender
When and why did you become involved with the showing and breeding of collies?
In 1973, we purchased our first family pet, a collie. This little collie, "Lassie" of course, was a wonderful dog.
Len had owned a collie as a young boy, so when it was time to purchase a family pet, the only one for him was a collie. I had heard from Len and his family how obedient this dog was and that sold me.
Ch Sandpiper's Aristocrat
In 1974, Len went in search of his second dog, this time a show dog. We had never attended a show at that time and had no idea what was required. Our first show dog was Ch. Newdawn's Dusty Morn who finished his championship in good style and helped us learn what showing was all about. Ch. Newdawn's Love Me Tender was purchased a short time later, a small petite female for her time, but would be a normal size for today. A beautiful showy bitch, that moved well, and carried a magnificent coat. In 1976, we purchased Ch. Sandpiper's Aristocrat. We were now planning a breeding program after spending a great deal of time researching and learning all about the breed. I had also gotten over my fear of showing and had become just as hooked on collies as Len.
Who helped you in the early years? Did they become a mentor and guide?
We were very fortunate to have gotten involved with Sue and Carl Boshart of Newdawn kennels, who were eager to share their knowledge of Collies with us. We became friends and spent a great deal of time visiting both at home and at shows. Sue and Carl introduced us to Liz and Lorne Cook of Sandpiper Collies and they too were always ready and willing to help. Their success in collies was evident by all of the beautiful Sandpiper dogs in the ring at any given show. We were truly blessed having these people as mentors and friends. The knowledge of collies we gained from them has helped us throughout the years.
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