About Us


Dripping Springs, TX is about 20 minutes from downtown Austin

Dan and I live in in the beautiful Texas Hill Country with our 4 terrific children (two sets of twins), our many "house" Briards, one Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel and "the cat".  My love for dogs has been a life long passion.  When my mother signed me up for Kindergarten---she had to write one sentence --she wrote "likes dogs better than people."  So just like all little girls who love dogs---from an early age I wanted to be a veterinarian.  Meanwhile I owned and loved many dogs and cats, volunteered at the Humane Society and ran my teenage version of "rescue" from my own backyard.  I would take a "favorite" dog from the shelter whose time was short and keep them until I could find them a forever home (funny--even then my favorites" tended to be the big "shaggy" ones.)  In the 11th grade I discovered my love and knack for genetics and at the same time realized that I had no interest in performing surgery on the precious pooches I loved so much.  I realized that a career in genetics was my destiny.  In the 11th grade I made the decision to become a genetic counselor and then to one day breed dogs hoping to use my knowledge and training in genetics to help make "my" breed and my dogs healthier---
 

After receiving my MS in human genetics, I was very fortunate to meet Dan, my husband.  Amongst many other things he supported me in my desire to choose a breed and make a difference.  I attended dog shows and researched every breed and decided that Briards were the PERFECT dog!   What attracted me to Briards was the fact that they retained the intelligence and athleticism to be functional herding/working dogs but they also had an off switch and were happy to hang around and be couch potatoes on a rainy day.  I also wanted a naturally protective breed that will protect their home and kids.  The real key for a Briard is companionship with a respected owner,  Below I am pictured with Minois who started my lifelong love affair with Briards.   She was very much like Nana on Peter Pan and stole my heart.  This picture below was taken shortly after she started developing symptoms of lymphoma which would steal her from me WAY too early at the young age of 6. Minois's page tells her story. I have always believed that a breeder's HIGHEST priority in breeding dogs must be health and Minois made it clear why. Losing her broke our hearts. One of the things I have now dedicated my life to is promoting canine health and genetics in any way possible.  I facilitate research to help find the causes and hopefully cures to the tragic diseases that take our dogs from us prematurely.  

Minois taught me about health issues that the "health clearances" don't test for and I have studied and learned much more since then.  My concerns include bloat/torsion, Cancer, hips that "pass" at 2 but may not be okay at 5 years, urinary tract anomalies.....  As a Genetic counselor---for me it is not about breeding to the "health test" but for the overall health and longevity of the dogs; ie the health tests and then some. I believe that inbreeding can lead to health issues that no amount of testing can find and try to base my breedings on dogs that are not too closely related.  Studies show that purebred dogs with low Coefficients of Inbreeding have health and longevity equal to mixed breed dogs.  My dogs are raised with and loved by my 4 children with our friends coming and going so great temperaments in our dogs are not optional.

Little did I know in the 11th grade that my two passions would come together.  It turns out that the gene pool of dog breeds and the extreme differences between breeds make dogs ideal for developing a better understanding of how genes work.  Since they live with us  and have literally been by our side for THOUSANDS of years---dogs have the same genetic diseases that we do.  I worked for Mars Veterinary/Waltham for 4+ years facilitating the collection of DNA samples from people's dog to facilitate exciting research to benefit of dogs and man.  Due to the observations that I discussed with Dr. Keith Murphy--I was invited to get my PhD in Canine Genetics in his cutting edge lab at Texas A&M to study and attempt to find the genes that play a role in GDV (aka Bloat) ----it was an EXCITING opportunity that was just not feasible with my 4 children and dogs.)  I have also facilitated several private DNA collections for the Briard in my "spare time."  This has resulted in the discovery of the dilute gene mutation for Briards and identification of the gene for Black (these tests now allow Briard owners to determine if their dog carries a "dilute" coat color gene or if their black Briard carries a tawny gene.)  Work is also on-going to identify the gene responsible for "gray" (dogs that are born black and turn gray with maturity.)  I have privately assisted many Briard owners with dogs diagnosed with cancer----helping them submit samples to appropriate research projects.  I encourage ALL to participate in this type valuable science when it is made availa to them.  It is the best hope for better treatment and prevention.  I will privately help any Briard with any health issue that would like to donate to an on-going research project COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIALLY.

I try to provide LOTS of information on this site both educational about Briards, breeding, genetics as well as pictures and information on my own dogs (who are of course fabulous.)  If you have any questions--please do not hesitate to contact me.


 

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