How We Got Started
In 1976, an unregistered and definitely NOT show quality black Labrador puppy with a white star on his broad chest and far too big for the little box he was to be brought home in, entered our family. "Gus" was the archetypal Labrador in temperament, if not in conformation. Brilliant, willing and affectionate, his burnt-sugar eyes eagerly pleaded, "Teach me, show me what you want" A superb obedience dog, lack of AKC registration precluded a competitive obedience career, but he became the cornerstone and inspiration for what was to become Lorien Kennels.
Two years later brought Chilbrook Solo Silhouette, aka "Tiffany" to us. A daughter of George Bragaw's exceptional dog, CH Shookstown Solo Smasher, and a maternal grand-daughter of the famous and prepotent stud, CH Lockerbie Brian Boru, Tiffany proved one very important point to us - SHOW DOGS CAN RETRIEVE! While never actually taken afield, this girl, in the hands of an inexperienced teenage handler and trainer, was doing TRIPLE BLIND RETRIEVES OFF HAND SIGNALS ON LAND AND WATER with a passion seldom equaled by Olympic athletes. Every nerve and every fiber of her being breathed the desire to retrieve. A breeding to Jan Churchill's english import, CH Spenrock Heathridge Mariner, produced our first home-bred generation and our lovely bitch, "Raven."
Raven was the embodiment of everything a Labrador should be. Gentle, affectionate, intelligent, intuitive, willing, with a deep thick hard coat and PERFECT otter tail, and that classic head and expression so often lost in the breed today. She passed away in my loving arms with her "Dr. Sam" in attendance in October of 1995, just one month shy of her 15th birthday. She would not have gone without that gentle nudge, such was her tenacity for life, but it was time. She was dearly loved - my big, warm, bed dog.
Years of college, graduate school, marriage and child rearing put my life with Labradors temporarily on hold and unfortunately, during that time, my foundation bloodlines were lost.
The next generation of Lorien Labradors was a fresh start that came courtesy of our dear friends Martha Lee and Buddy Voshell - when our first yellow, Broad Reach Lorien I'm a Tiger Too, CD, CGC joined us. "Lucy" was named after Lucille Ball, as, when puzzled, she displayed the same arched, surprised eyebrows as her namesake's charicature. Lucy was a real character, who never came to comprehend the concept of her own body in space. When she completed her CD, her breeder and my constant supporter, Martha Lee exclaimed, "Wonders Never Cease!" A breeding to multiple specialty winning CH Valleywood Nighthawk produced our next generation.
Lorien's Hot Pursuit and Lorien's Glory Bound represented what we believe a Labrador should be. Roxie's (and my) proudest moment was winning the Bred-By-Exhibitor black class at the prestigious Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac's 1996 spring specialty show. Glory also had multiple specialty placements and a Best of Breed from the classes. Both these girls have passed over the Rainbow Bridge, but will remain always in our hearts, as will Lorien's Irish Rose O'Devon, who joined the pack in November of 1990. Judy Race of Devon Labradors shared this lovely little girl with us. She too had specialty placements. She was temperament and beauty in one small package, and was very "birdy." Her breeding to the english import, CH Cambremer Tudor Minstrel, produced our lovely bitch, Lorien's Lotta Malarky, aka "Lark."
More recently Lorien Kennels welcomed Tabatha's Morning Pearl and Tabatha's Primrose to our pack. These girls are the embodiment of all the hallmarks of the Tabatha Kennels lines and introduces them into Lorien. Their pedigrees are rich in the Tabatha tradition of strong bitch lines and classic type. Thank you Carol Heidl for trusting us as co-owners of these lovely girls. They will ultimately influence and shape the quality of Lorien Labradors in the future, as they have become the foundation of what Lorien Kennels produces today.
In 1995 my then 10 yr old son wanted his own dog to show and for Junior Showmanship. That brought our first Border Terrier, CH Bandersnatch Voyager, JE CGC TDI to Lorien. He came to us as a 10 week old puppy from Marg Pough's Bandersnatch Kennels in Ithaca, NY. "Buddy" finished his championship at the age of 14 months, twice going Best of Breed over specials from the Puppy Class to pick up both majors in one weekend! Buddy also earned his Junior Earthdog title, his Canine Good Citizen title and was a working Therapy Dog! He left us in the fall of 2008 at age 13. By then we were all bitten by the Border bug!! Bud-man, you were the best!!!
In the fall of 2000, a second Border Terrier joined us, also from Bandersnatch Kennels. Bandersnatch Luna at Lorien, aka "Luna Louise" is a trip! Little in stature she is ANYTHING BUT in attitude! She earned 14 points and one major before retiring from the show ring. She and Buddy have given us the next generation, which became the foundation of Cricket Hill Borders. Watch for Cricket Hill kids in the show ring!