My introduction to Rhodesian Ridgebacks came in 2003. We had lost our canine companion who had raised our teenagers, a loyal, Kuvasz, (very LARGE livestock guardian dog) and our youngest daughter had just gotten married. We were now officially empty nesters. For the first time since I was a child, I was living without a dog. We had always had some sort of rescued pup. Which we obedience trained, or when we had our children, we helped them to train. Or maybe they trained us, but throughout my entire life I can’t remember not having a dog by my side. The three beagles that raised me, to the Airedale Meta that got me through my teens, marriage, and the birth of our son. Then the German Sheperd Kaiser that protected our little children but died young. The yellow lab Cindy that ran with our horses in Cottonwood as we raised our children. Finally, the fearless Kuvasz, who only lived to be 8 years of age and was there when we married off all three children. Throughout this process I learned several things. First no matter how much you spend or don’t spend to bring home a puppy, once they have your heart, when they are sick or in pain you will pull out the credit card to take care of them. Second, large or small, they all need to be trained as part of the family pack to be happy and to have the best quality of life for all, humans and canines.
We sold our home in California and moved to back Arizona. That is where we have lived most of our almost 40 years of marriage. We bought a house just outside of Prescott. I managed to make it nine months without a dog and that was it. I knew I couldn’t do it. So I started on the quest to find our new family companion. Now that we wouldn’t be traveling with children we could plan on always taking our dog with us. My husband had a few requests, no yappers, no stinkers, and easy to groom, (short haired). Big enough to be protective but small enough to comfortably travel in the back seat. Ok, I thought, I could do all that. But I had a couple of requirements to add to that list, good with our two baby boy grandchildren and HEALTHY! I was tired of having my heart broke. Falling in love with a dog only to lose them at age 5 or 6! Also, we were both fairly fit and healthy (young for empty nesters) so we wanted to be able to hike and bike with our new barking buddy. So off to the internet I go to learn about dogs.
After much research I discovered the Rhodesian Ridgebacks. But I wasn’t sure, could I fall in love with a short haired hound dog? Silly girl, what was I thinking! The minute I saw my first RR, (I went to several different breeders) my heart was lost! Look in those big brown, or amber eyes and the wrinkly forehead and floppy ears…who could resist!
By this time my mother had retired from secular work into Dog rescue. Having a mother who does rescue work I realized Rescue dogs typically have problems. But I explained, I can’t prevent cancer, disease, or injury but I can stack the deck in my favor. And that is one thing that buying a puppy from a dedicated quality breeder can do for you. Better the odds that your companion will live a long healthy life.
That’s how we ended up purchasing our first Rhodesian Ridgeback. In 2004 we brought home our first little red flop eared girl and proceeded to lose our heart to the breed. So started our world in showing and breeding. Because of my love and involvement with Rhodesian Ridgebacks, I have made many new friends, encountered some challenges, and enjoyed getting to know some wonderful people. I am still working now to continue learning about this breed as well as how to be a resource for the families of the dogs we have shared with others. It is our goal as a Ridgeback breeder to do our best to produce healthy, sound of mind, and correct to type Rhodesian Ridgebacks. A well rounded pet that will be a welcome addition to any family. It is our hope to share the love we have for this breed, and to pass on a “Heritage” of beautiful, healthy, sound tempered dogs, to all who adopt one of our puppies!