Showsight - December 2021



Where did you grow up? I grew up in Southern California on a small ranch in La Tuna Canyon. It was quiet, warm, and peaceful. I remember fields of strawberries at the front of the house and avocado groves in the back; the scent of the hay, and mornings spent watching the horses run in the pastures. As a young girl, prior to the development of the San Fernando Valley, I would ride my horse to and from school each day. My grandfa- ther raised American Saddlebreds, while my grandmother raised show dogs. Do you come from a doggy family? If not, how did the interest in breeding and show- ing purebred dogs begin? By the time I was two months old, my father had joined the Air Force and my mother had permanently abandoned me at the home of my paternal grandmother, Miriam Thompson, a notable figure in the dog fancy. Living with my grandmother was pleasant until I entered school and began to demonstrate difficulty with read- ing. Resentful that I was forced upon her and frustrated with my learning disability, which we now know to be dyslexia, my grandmother treated me with wicked cruelty and called me “stupid” daily. Miriam was a member of the second graduating class of The University of California, Los Angeles, whereafter she became a teacher; still, she was intolerantly perplexed by my learning difficulties. It was not until after high school that my dyslexia was discovered, requiring me to retrain myself and memo- rize words. As a child, I was clever, physically coordinated, and adept at puzzles and problem solving. When I was five, a woman who came to purchase a dog from my grandmother noticed me playing in the yard and suggested to my grandmother that I become involved in dance. My grandfather would routinely drive me to her dance studio in Hollywood, 30 miles away.


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