Windsor's Australian Story

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Windsor "began" my association with Moira Simmonds from B.C Canada in June,1998. I joined Ed Presnall's clumber group on the Internet. I found Moira there patiently waiting for her clumber. I had purchased my first clumber spaniel, "Honey" from Jan Irving “Erinveine” on March 12, 1998 now known as Australian Champion Erinveine Imperial Rose. Moira would wait over another year for her first clumber, Nonsuch Moon Shadow “Gregory” from Ronnie Watt in Johannesburg, South Africa.

My love of clumbers started in the 70's when I first saw them judged at Crufts. I was living in Oxford, England. I had never been without an Old English Sheepdog since 1969. I was totally one-eyed about them. In fact I was so enthusiastic that I co-founded (6 of us) the first Old English Sheepdog Club in Australia in 1970. They were my dream dog until I saw my first Clumbers. For 20 years I carried the vision of "the dog that won my heart”. He was English Champion Burtonswood Best Beam, who was later imported to Australia. He won the breed at Cruft’s over 85 clumbers in 1978.

Obtaining Honey from Jan filled the "void" that I had been feeling for over 20 years. Honey was my joy. But inside I still yearned for "my special dog". Along the way I read, collected and joined, everything associated with clumbers.  Now I had an extended clumber family via the Internet. To this day I still read every post on all the clumber lists. Although I am not very active on most occasions, I still feel a family tie through the mutual love of clumbers.

In 1999, Ed Presnall set up a photo contest on his list whereby we were able to send in our favourite clumber poses for judging in various categories. This was quite an exciting event as, for the first time, I could see pictures of my new clumber friends.

There was one photo which I shall never forget, the submission of Ronnie Watt's, Nonsuch Clumbers, from South Africa. Three glorious clumbers lying around the pool (Kimo, Rosie and Willard). See above. They were the closest likeness to my Cruft's dog, "Best Beam" that I had ever seen. I knew my search was nearing an end.

In March 2000, I wrote to Ronnie. We discussed his beautiful clumbers and the possibility of perhaps some day bringing one down under. It was further investigation that made this dream impossible. The quarantine for a dog from Africa was intolerable.  An African bred dog was required to spend at least 12 months in quarantine in either UK, Canada or USA before being imported for the obligatory month in Australia. I knew I couldn't do it.

That was when Moira stepped in. Having learned of my dilemma from Ronnie, Moira offered to look after my new dog in Canada and ship him at the end of the twelve month period. I was overwhelmed by her generosity but I just could not accept. Moira had just announced the Championship of her Gregory, Canadian Champion Nonsuch Moon Shadow (imp RSA) and he was only 10 months old. I wrote and told her that if ever she bred Gregory I wanted a puppy. She wrote back and promised me pick of litter male. Everything seemed such a long way off that we had a bit of a laugh.

A year and a half later Ronnie then sent Moira her ”Jessica" RSA CHAMPION Welladay’s Whistle Stop Café ( imp Sweden). Moira remembered my request and her promise and she wrote and asked if I would still like male pick of litter if there was puppies? She did not have to ask a second time!

Windsor was born on 7th June, 2001. I did not know for several weeks who would be my "Windsor" but I always knew in my heart it would be the big white puppy. Moira kept me posted daily on the pups and their antics. I just held my breath when Moira announced who would get what pup. My white boy was coming home to Australia but it was to be a long way off.

I waited through vet checks, shots and titers and his Canadian show career and we had a date, a goal that he would he shipped shortly after his first birthday.

Windsor touched down at Sydney airport on the 26th June 2002 having left Canada on the 24th, because of the date line he never had a 25th of June.  The plane landed at 6 AM.. I had been there for hours. I saw him being unloaded from the hull and wheeled into the cargo terminal. I had arrived hours before and had befriended the staff who took me under their wing and let me see him several times before AQUIS arrived to take him to Eastern Creek Quarantine Station which was to be his home for the next 30 days.

Windsor was everything and more than I had hoped for. A big white dog with massive coat and the best temperament I have ever seen. We bonded immediately. Our three times weekly visits furthered our bonding and we would play for hours. I would bring out his food that I had prepared the night before (Windsor was on a raw diet), I'm sure he was fed better than the staff, certainly the best fed dog at the quarantine station.

On 26th July 2002 my Windsor came home. He loved his new companions, Honey Clumber, Chelsea Old English and Calico and Perdue Cats, not to mention my 20 year old daughter, Velvet, my 18 year old son Johnathon and John my husband. He loved his new home. I am sure I saw him heave a large sigh when he arrived home and was free from his incarceration. My family was now complete.

Windsor settled in immediately. He has never cried at night, chewed anything except his own toys, which he distinctly knows from Honey's and Chelsea’s. He does have a few vices of course, he wouldn't be a clumber without them.

Firstly he has to get as dirty as possible, as quickly as possible, especially right after his bath. He then rushes to drop his favorite toy into one of the fish ponds in an excuse to get wet all over again. Water seems to be his element.
The front door has all the paint worn off where he paws (demands) to be let in. He can counter surfs with the best of them. He has yet to woo woo like Honey. His bark is loud and deep and would scare off any would-be intruder (I hope).

Windsor's show career began on 17th November 2002 and he gained his Championship on the 18th January 2003. At these 10 shows he won Best in Group (Group 1) twice and Runner up to Best In Show,  Runner up to Best in Group (group 2) twice, and was pulled out for group placement 4 other times.

Windsor has so many wonderful comments made about him. So many people, both judges, show handlers and the public alike comment on his presence that I am often quite taken aback. I have had people pulling up in their cars, or stop me on the street to ask about him. Windsor has a charisma that I have never seen or experienced before. He carries himself proudly and has wonderfully friendly manners with both people and dogs (He also loves cats).

Our favorite times are spent at Rose Bay Park,on Sydney Harbour. There is a group of over 20 dogs of all sizes that congregate in the late afternoons for their daily exercise. Windsor is always the point of conversation, especially with those new to the group. His attraction is evident. He can always be found amongst the throng, with his bib on, a ball in his mouth and of course, he's the one with the dirtiest paws!

After the summer heat of February is behind us, Windsor and I will again tackle another show campaign. We are looking forward to hitting the road together, just the two of us, occasionally staying for 1 or 2 nights along the way.

Windsor is now a true Aussie, but he will never loose his Canadian heritage or Moira's love and devotion.

Thank you, Ronnie!  Thank you, Moira!