It was one of those moments that I realize now was a turning point. There I was, standing on a sidewalk in Perpignon, France waiting for a tour bus to take me and 100 other tourists to dinner at a “castle feast.” There were locals waiting there too for a regular bus. Their bus pulled up before ours, and off came a man with the cutest little creature I had ever seen. “What is it,” I thought. “A dog, oh yes a dog.” After all, living in the US, I was not accustomed to seeing people getting off the local bus with their dog.
Bravery overtook me (after all, this was the cutest thing I had ever seen) and I approached the man. I asked in English, “What is it.” (I do not speak French). He must have understood me somewhat because he said….”BRI….” Something that I really did not understand. Back in the states, I asked my one friend who was into dogs, “Have you ever heard of a BRI….. something kind of dog. I saw one in France.” She said yes, it was probably a Briard. So, I was off to the local bookstore where I perused books in the dog section looking for a description and some pictures of a Briard. The more I read, the more fascinated I became. This was in September 1991.
At the time I had a pet Lhasa Apso, Heather. She was my first dog, given to me by my mother who thought I could use the companionship. Heather died in the summer of 1992. My thoughts turned to a Briard. But where would I find one? I was talking to a local Bouvier breeder about Bouviers and mentioned that what I really wanted was a Briard. It just so happened that she was aware of an 8-month old Briard female in need of a home. She hooked me up with the breeder.
I met the breeder at a local park. The minute she let the Briard out, I was in love. I could not get the money out of my pocket fast enough. She was the most beautiful, elegant animal I had ever seen. I named her Elsa, after the lioness in Born Free. And that is how I got my start in Briards.