The kennel name 'TENFIELD' comes from the historic market town of Barnard Castle, situated in beautiful Teesdale, County Durham where I grew up and am still proud to call home. The 'Tenfields' have been locally called since medieval times and form an area once used as common land grazing to the east of the town. Our link with the town remains firm as my parents still live there and all of my departed dogs have, over the years, been cremated and had their ashes scattered on the Tenfields, forming a connection for eternity.
Barnard Castle School sports fields, forming part of the historic 'Tenfields'
The dogs are my major hobby! My first and major love are Basenjis. This is a breed you either love or loathe - I love them and my ex-husband loathed them, otherwise there would have been more!
My story started at the age of seven, when my parents allowed me to have a dog. This was a Beagle named 'Prince'. Unfortunately, as my parents were not really doggy and a Beagle is not the most trainable of dogs, Prince wasn't around for long. We lived in London at the time and he was lost during a walk when he went off on a scent. In spite of extensive advertising, visits to Battersea and calls to vets, he was never found and we can only assume that someone took him in and decided to keep him. There were no tattoos or microchips in those days.
We moved to County Durham shortly afterwards and all my spare time was spent walking other peoples' dogs. William the Dalmatian, Shelley the Border Collie, Flash the TerrierX, Midge the Border Terrier and Spartan the Golden Retriever. I could but dream of the day when I would have a dog of my own. Every Christmas when I was small, my parents would buy me a battery operated dog, in the hope 'that would do'! Eventually, they bought me a Hamster on the promise I would take total care of it (which I did). They also paid for me to go horse riding every week - as it is always every little girls dream to have a horse, but I knew I would never have one as they were too expensive to keep. My dad (bless him) used to take me to local dog shows, would drop me off outside and pick me up at the end of the day, where I could get lost in my dreams. I visited Darlington Championship Dog Show as well as Open and Limited Shows every year from 1972 and learnt a lot about different breeds and the world of dogs, speaking to lots of the top judges, breeders and exhibitors of the day.
In the first photo, me age 12 and Rusty age 4 months 1975. In the second photo, Rusty is 15 months and me 13 years old and holding my hamster 'Frisky' who was a Ruby Eyed Golden Piebald and a Best in Show Pet Show winner!
By the age of 11, I was desperate to have a dog of my own and would shed tears if someone else even started talking about their own dog. My parents began to realise this was not just some 'whim' and approaching my 12th birthday the family spotted an advert in the newspaper for Golden Retriever puppies. My dad had wanted a Labrador, as his sister bred, worked and showed them in Scotland, but I wanted a Basenji. They wouldn't allow me to have a Basenji as they said they were too small and being a non-doggy family, they didn't even know how to start looking. So the compromise was made and off we all went to look at the puppies. They were only four weeks old and we didn't know any better, but we came home with Rusty who was to become my very best friend and companion - the best birthday present I ever had. I was devastated to find I couldn't show her as she wasn't KC registered, so busied myself training her for obedience and agility and competed in local exemption (now called Companion) and agricultural shows, where we won our first rosettes. My very first dog show, I shook , the lead shook and the dog shook and together we managed to win second in the Gundog class! I continued to visit Open and Championship Shows as a spectator and hankered after my own 'show' dog. Rusty meanwhile did me proud and we were amongst the original agility competitors when the sport was still in its infancy.
Taken in 1978, in the first photo, Bang is 4 months old. In the second she is 5 months, mauling Rusty age 3 years.
As I did such a good job with Rusty, my parents eventually relented. I was allowed time off from school to visit Crufts at Olympia in 1978 - a dream come true. Two days were spent wandering around in heaven and of course both the Basenji and Golden Retriever rings were magnets. On the Basenji Breed Council stand, I met Ron Thackrah, who mentioned he had some Basenji puppies and lived in Leeds (not too far away, I thought!). On my return home, my parents were pestered non-stop - they had seen Ron's litter of puppies on the TV the evening before in the Leeds studio of 'Nationwide', a popular early evening news show. Little did they know they would end up with one of those puppies! I saved really hard doing odd-jobs, paper rounds and baby-sitting to buy my long-awaited Basenji puppy, which cost the princely sum of £60. My dad gave me the final £10 towards the cost (the most important £10 he has ever given me!) and we set off in March to collect Bang, who was to start me off in the addictive world of dog showing. I was so proud to take part in my first 'real' dog show Leicester City Championship Dog Show in August 1978 and to win 2nd in the Puppy Bitch class awarded by Jayne Wilson-Stringer (Horsleys). Bang was not a show girl (usually chasing her tail at the critical moment) and I was always upset when Crufts came around not to be taking part - in those days only 1sts at Championship Shows qualified. Two matings to Ch Bokoto Nile Wanderer and Perelyn Persuader proved unsuccessful, so in 1982 (still living at home), my parents agreed to let me have another Basenji.
I shall always be grateful to Joyce Goodman (Benjalah) whose dogs I admired and friendship I valued. She telephoned me to say she had seen a tricolour dog puppy in a litter sired by her 'Simon', whom I simply must have. So in 1983, Storm joined the family. Storm was the dog of a lifetime and should have been a Champion. He won 96 first prizes and 28 Best of Breeds, in days when my transport was limited and really put us on the map. Our finest hour was winning the Reserve CC at Crufts under Jeannie Lord, many people that day including many foreign visitors, said the CC and Best of Breed should have been his. We were beaten only by the top winning Basenji at the time Ch St Erme Jolly Swagman, but it didn't alter the fact that I was over the moon for weeks.
Storm with his winnings from the Northern Basenji Society Championship Show. where he won four classes and Best Puppy In Show under the late great Jayne Wilson-Stringer (Horsleys) September 1983 - our first big win, gosh we look young!
History really began when Ramble joined the family in 1985. By this time Rusty was 10 years old and although Goldens hadn't been my first love, I couldn't imagine life without one. Two years were spent looking around at the shows until I spotted Sh Ch Zach of Dunblair and approached Chris Hickinbottom. Chris is responsible for the Tenfield Golden story. She pointed me in the direction of Una Spratt, whose Goldens' wagging tails I fell in love with. Una had a litter due that was a third repeat mating between Zach and Unavale Bosanover Baby, of which the earlier litters had produced Res CC and CC winners, Golden Gambler, Disco Dancer and Dream Dolly, as well as other winning dogs. Una gave me the pick of bitches and on two separate visits I picked out Ramble both times. Ramble and I were to enjoy a special and deep relationship and she will always be remembered as a very important part of my life. I am thrilled to have her descendants who are now loved as much, because they descend from her.
My brother Jim holding back a 10 week old Ramble, with 10 year old Rusty, 2½ year old Storm and 7½ year old Bang, August 1985 - the second photo is of me with just some of Storm's trophies won that year.
The most important question during the 'man-hunting' season had always been 'Do you like dogs?'. When Adrian appeared on the scene in 1989 and answered this correctly, telling me he had grown up with a number of dogs and that his parents at that time had seven, comprising a Borzoi, Labrador, harlequin Great Dane, Yorkshire Terrier, Rottweiler, Lurcher and Bearded Collie, I thought 'This is the man for me!' When Race was just four weeks old, he popped the question. Adrian being in the Army meant a five year spell in Germany quickly followed. By this time, my parents had already taken over the care of Bang, who was by now 11 years old. When we married, after much deliberation, they agreed to take Storm too - then aged almost 7 years. I was devastated to leave him behind, he was my shadow and I loved him with a passion. I cried for 12 months after moving to Germany. Ramble won a Res CC early that year at Scottish Breeds Ch Show, but shortly afterwards her UK show career was cut short, when she and Race (only 7 months old) accompanied us to Germany.
Three years later they were joined by Rhyme. I had admired Anne Woodcock's Stanroph Shere Fantasy (Kirsty) greatly and absolutely adored Anne's first Champion Stanroph Steal A Glance (Sadie) from her early days. I had promised myself that my next 'bought in' Golden would be one of Anne's. We were delighted to be given first choice of Kirsty's litter in 1993 and travelled back to the UK to collect our little bundle of fluff. Rhyme had an enormous car journey in a cage behind our seats and an overnight ferry crossing, where she stayed with us in the cabin. She was a happy little puppy and took everything in her stride.
Photo on the left shows Ramble and Race in Germany 1992 - then Rhyme joins the family in 1993.
In 1994 Darwin and her brothers and sisters were born in Germany and all but Darwin went to German homes. This was our second and Race's only litter. We moved to the Salisbury area in 1995 and our four girls underwent 6 months quarantine, which was the most traumatic time of our lives - for both us and them. The only dog that showed no ill effect, was Rhyme - the other three (more sensitive) girls all came out with health problems. As Darwin was only 7 months old when she was put into prison, she suffered mentally due to lack of socialisation at a very vulnerable age for a Golden Retriever bitch. It took many months of patience and exposure to people to restore her confidence afterwards and this paid off when at her first two Championship Shows aged 17 months she won five classes on the trot. Not many people would have appreciated the effort involved in getting her there, not only had she suffered mentally, she also came out of quarantine looking like a concentration camp victim with rickets, all skin and bone due to a dietary deficiency, I could have cried!
Germany 1994 - Rhyme (17 months), Darwin (6 months), Race (5 years), Ramble (9 years)
Darwin and Rhyme, with just a year in age between them, were the start of our dynasty. I began showing more extensively once their children arrived - Tor and Kite (born just three days apart from our third and fourth litters) were the first puppies I actively showed and what a dog Tor turned out to be, putting us firmly back on the map. The four-legged family gradually increased over the years and you can read about each individual dog on their own pages - some of the dogs we have bred but owned by other people also have their own smaller pages.
I am now more deeply involved in Goldens than Basenjis, although my loyalties haven't changed! My first loves are still the Hound breeds, especially Basenjis, but I am obviously keenly interested in all Gundog breeds too. In recent years I have valued the friendship and knowledge of Jean and Raymond Burnett (Rossbourne Golden Retrievers, founded in the late 1940s) and Sue and Len Almey (Arbutus Golden Retrievers) and will strive to keep an old-fashioned type of Golden. I am proud that most of our wins today at Championship Shows are under knowledgeable (often dual-purpose) Golden specialists who were winning themselves in the 1960s and 1970s, so feel vindicated in our efforts to produce a traditional type of Golden. The dogs also win consistently under all-rounder judges who are looking for overall breed type and balance combined with sound driving movement. I now judge both Basenjis and Goldens at Champonship Show level as well as judging all other Gundog and Hound breeds at Open Show level and particularly enjoy this aspect of doggy involvement. I maintain an interest in many breeds and all aspects of dogs in general, including history, genetics, form and function. I am keen that dogs continue to look like they can do the jobs for which they were originally bred and will always keep this in mind when breeding. Present day breeders are custodians and should look to the past before considering the future. You only have to look at the Basenji which has hardly changed for almost 3000 years - one reason I find them so fascinating!
As you can see, the dogs are very special to me and after losing a baby and having no further children, my life has been devoted to them. I have altered my working life around the dogs whenever possible, not to mention houses and gardens being altered to meet their needs. Most importantly, the dogs stay here forever, regardless of whether they venture into the show ring or not. Show wins are the icing on the cake, but they are loved as individuals. None of my dogs has ever been extensively shown, even the 'campaigned' dogs have never attended more than 15 Championship Shows a year and most have attended considerably less. There are more things to enjoy with them apart from showing - working the dogs and seeing them enjoy what they were bred to do gives the greatest adrenalin rush, but a simple walk and watching them playing, running around or swimming is the most satisfying. In the evenings they sneak up onto the sofa and enjoy their most important role as cuddle kittens and companions.
A young Tor and Kite (back) Rhyme and Darwin (front) - June 1999
Jack was a Labrador Retriever owned in partnership - Cambremer Midnight Storm of Tenfield (Sh Ch Trentwith Sir Winston ex Sh Ch Cambremer Jessica), royally bred, bought to show, but ended up simply living life as a pet, as all of mine do! Labradors were no stranger to me, as my dad's sister Field Trialed and showed Labs in Scotland (blacks and yellows) during the 1960s and 70s. This is obviously where my original doggy interest came from - that and the succession of Miniature Poodles owned by my Scottish grandparents. Jack is pictured below at 4 months - he showed much promise and won a Best Puppy award before his very early retirement - he did have one small fault which unfortunately he was forever penalised for. Some judges just can't see the dog as a whole and will place poor specimens over soundly made quality dogs, for example because they don't like a particular type of head, even though it may meet the breed standard. Dog showing is sometimes very subjective!
The photo on the left is of 'Jack' a.k.a Cambremer Midnight Storm of Tenfield as a 4 month old puppy
The photo on the right is 'Whisky' - the Miniature Poodle I remember best, owned by my Scottish grandparents
During 2005, the story came full circle and Crisp the Beagle joined the family - thirty five years after Prince, also a Beagle, started the Tenfield story. Crisp now has his own page on this website. With the sudden and unexpected loss of 'Bwindi' the Basenji (who was by that time living with my parents), circumstances also very unfortunately changed for me and Adrian. After 17 years of marriage to the Army, we were separated after an incident of domestic violence and will soon be divorced. Even more devastatingly, I was diagnosed with a meningioma (brain tumour) in 2007, but the dogs keep me positive and keep me smiling, even though things are not always easy. I can only hope that things look up for all of us, where would I be without them????
And finally ..........
If you want someone who will eat whatever you put in
front of him and never say its not quite as good as his mother's
..then adopt a dog.
If you want someone always willing to go out, at any
hour, for as long and wherever you want ...
..then adopt a dog.
If you want someone who will never touch the remote,
doesn't care about football, and can sit next to you as you watch romantic
..then adopt a dog.
If you want someone who is content to get on your bed
just to warm your feet and whom you can push off if he snores
..then adopt a dog !
If you want someone who never criticizes what you do,
doesn't care if you are pretty or ugly, fat or thin, young or old, who acts as
if every word you say is especially worthy of listening to and loves you
unconditionally, perpetually ..
..then adopt a dog.
BUT, on the other hand, if you want someone who will never come when you call, ignores you totally when you come home, leaves hair all over the place, walks all over you, runs around all night and only comes home to eat and sleep and acts as if your entire existence is solely to ensure his happiness,
..then adopt a cat!
Now be honest, after everything I've been through, you thought I was going to say... marry a man, didn't you?
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