The Starridge StoryMy first RR (Zuki), purchased in 1977, was unregistered and the most brilliant obedience dog I've yet encountered. As she could not be trialled in Queensland without registration my next RR was bought with papers so that I could trial and show off the talents of this great obedience breed. Sharka (Outspanner Bufalo Gal) is still the only RR to this time to have won a National Obedience title (All Breeds) taking out 1st in Novice Bitch in 1992. She was never truly happy in the ring though so I sought a male to train.
Bearstar Ko was purchased from Sioux Ryan in 1992 with a promise extracted from me to at least show him to his title. Ko well and truly exceeded my humble expectations for him gaining his Australian Champion title in 1993 and subsequently achieving multiple Best in Show awards at Specialty level, and hitting the 1000 CC points milestone in 1996. When the Australian Grand Champion title was inaugurated in 1998, Ko became Australia's first Grand Champion in the breed.
Although Ko was starting to be sought after for stud work I was still not personally interested in breeding until late in 1994 when Sioux offered for me to lease Ch Bearstar Chilean Willow, Australia's only multi-Best in Show (All Breeds) winning bitch. That was an offer too good to refuse and Starridge was born (see photo to the right of Ko, Chilli & Chilpep). That first litter in 1995 produced Ch Starridge Litl Sunshine ROM (Chilpep) as well as other in-group and in-show winners. It was with great reluctance that I returned Chilli to Sioux at the end of the lease.
In the obedience ring Ko was awarded his CD (Companion Dog) obedience title and in lure coursing his FC (Field Champion - QLCA Lure Coursing). Ko was for some time Australia's only multi-titled, multi Best In Specialty Show winning Gr Champion until his son (Multi Best in Show & Multi Best in Specialty Show Gr Ch Bearstar Doulen Ko ET) took up the honours. It was a very special thrill to subsequently cheer on Ko's grandson / Chilpep's son Boston (Best in Show & Best in Specialty Show Gr Ch Starridge African Knight ET) to his Grand Champion award in 2000.
Pictured to the right are the Starridge mob in 1997 with from left Ko, Jemma (blue collar), Copper (behind) and Chilpep - poor Mr Ko had been stretched out full length on the couch before everyone else decided to join him! Copper very sadly passed away while still a very young dog. Jemma was leased to Shane and Kerrie Lambley (Kenjala Rhodesian Ridgebacks) for a year in similar fashion to my having Chilli but she fell madly in love with them and they with her so Jemma moved permanently to become one of the Kenjala clan.
In 1998 Summer (Ch Umkimzulu Indian Summer AI) joined the family rather unexpectedly being payment for the stud fee of Isak semen I had imported but of course very welcome as another Chilli daughter. With immense heartbreak I lost my beautiful Copper late in 1998. In early 1999 I added Oz (Ch Riginal Rindurr Downunda - a Ko daughter) to the family for the short term as she had been sold to a Canadian breeder who wanted to have her gain her Aust Ch title before heading over to him. Oz made her home at Starridge for a couple of years during which time she was titled, bought back from her Canadian 'owner' and had a litter. Due to clashes with the other girls in the family and because she very much wanted to have a family exclusively her own Oz was rehomed and is now living in seventh heaven in Tasmania with her adored and adoring new family.
In 2000 I bred Summer to the very handsome Gr Ch Skiska Solitaire Jest and kept Cassie (Ch Starridge Cawt Ya Lookin) from the litter. It was three years before the family grouping would change again when I bred Summer to Boston (Gr Ch Starridge African Knight ET). This litter, which ultimately produced five champions, was the first where I kept Zarina (Starridge Sumton Special) but housed her with Peter and Julie Owen - a decision I will never regret as she was the centre of their lives and had so much attention and love showered on her. Her sister Mtarni (Ch Starridge Sumtons Mtarni) had a very unfortunate start in her new home being attacked to the point of major surgery by their dog, and returned to me at 12 weeks old for rehousing. Mtarni's sister Kela was awaiting transport to Hawaii but disaster struck in the meantime as she contracted parvo and susbsequently transmitted it to Mtarni. Although Kela was a very sick little girl she recovered well and it was Mtarni who had the worse experience going into anaphylactic shock and for some seconds having no heartbeat. When Mtarni finally recovered I promised her that she would never have to leave again and she has stayed firmly implanted in the family at home.
Group Photo: From left - BIS/BISS Ch Umkimzulu Jewel Nthcrown (age 7), BIS Gr Ch Bearstar Chilean Willow ROM (age 12), RUBIS/BISS Gr Ch Bearstar Ko CD FC ROM (age 11), Ch Starridge Litl Sunshine ROM (age 8), Ch Bearstar Silver Willow ET (age 7), BIS/BISS Gr Ch Bearstar Doulen Ko ET (age 7).
Ko passed away peacefully in his sleep in November 2005 leaving a huge hole in my heart but also a legacy to the breed that is unrivalled in Australia - Australia's first Grand Champion, first and still the only Field Champion/Obedience titled dog, Australia's most successful sire in the history of the breed not only having produced the greatest number of champions but amongst them more Best in Show winners at both All Breeds and Specialty level than any other dog in Australia and throwing in Grand Champions, Best in Field winners, Obedience, Tracking and Endurance title winners as well.
Having a litter with Mtarni and Am Ch Spring Valley's Great Gatsby early in 2006 was an affirmation of life going on after losing my so very special Ko man but was to prove an enormous test to my resilience, my dedication to breeding, and to my finances when the litter was struck by neosporosis caninum. With so many questions about survival of the pups I kept Arbee (Starridge Svggrb AI) and his sister Barry (Starridge Svggqt AI - now Kiarni) at home but this became unworkable with the restrictions on my time as Barry was such a loving girl who wanted and needed so much more attention than I could give her while also caring for my aged mother. I rehoused her to a wonderful family but was so guilty and reluctant about it that I nearly sent her Mum Mtarni with her to keep her company. At the very last minute I couldn't break the promise I had made to Mtarni when she had 'died' as a puppy and kept her with me.
August 2008 saw me with Chilpep (13), Summer (10), Mtarni (5), and Arbee (2) home here at Starridge with a new baby - a Kela daughter born in Hawaii in the works. Kea (Pupukearidge Kealohi) was born on the 8th of the 8th 2008 and I am so grateful that she had the opportunity to meet her great-grandmother Chilpep before Chilpep passed away in January 2009. Pictures below are of Kea's first day at Starridge meeting the 'rellies'. From left - aunty Tarni and cousin Arbee with Kea; meeting Chilpep; playing with Summer.
August 2009 - Difficult to believe that Kela is about to achieve her milestone first birthday, Summer has just turned 11, Tarni turns 6 shortly and of course Arbee is now all grown up at 3. I am, like last August, hoping for a new addition to the family if Zarina provides me a birthday present in being confirmed pregnant (ultrasound on her birthday). Hopefully it won't be another year before I update this page with news on that one!
December 2009 - The last few months have been somewhat hard. I lost my mother mid-September quite suddenly and things have been in upheaval for most of the rest of 2009 including my sister being diagnosed with cancer (so far so good on that one and she starts radiation therapy in February following her two surgeries). With so much happening in my two-legged family it is probably a blessing that when Zarina produced two beautiful babies the gorgeous girl (now called Keilah) is somewhat ridge-challenged so has gone to a wonderful pet home rather than increasing the four-legged family here at Starridge. The handsome boy (Zeppelin) lives with Peter and Julie's and showing him is going to be a lot of fun.
October 2011 - This year I was thrilled to have a stunning litter using Mr Ko over Kea. I was strongly tempted to keep a boy and a girl but practicality won out and I was lucky enough to have good friend Fay take on a Jacs (Starridge Im Awesome AI) and Peter and Julie stepped up to take on Stella (Starridge Totally AI) who will be their girl just as Zarina was yet I'll get to have the pleasure of showing her. So the Starridge family has changed a little but the four stalwarts still remain at home with me - Summer, Tarni, Arbee and the irrepressible Kea.
There have been so many exhilarating
highs and devastating lows throughout the Starridge Story and yet what is life
but a rollercoaster ride?
For Love of the Bred