Meet Alison Strang, co-author of the only book devoted entirely to all aspects of the Toller.
Alison, with the unobtrusive help of husband Roy, has operated Westerlea Kennels since 1976in the beautiful Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, just 35 miles south of Vancouver BC anda 10-minute drive from the US border at Blaine, WA.
We arrived in Canada from Zimbabwe in 1965 and lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where Roy workedfor the Canadian Forest Service. Our summers were spent in South-western Nova Scotia as Roy had aresearch project to study the ecology of the Barrens of Shelburne and Yarmouth Counties. It washere that we first heard of the Little River Duck Dog, as Tollers are better known on their hometurf. We did not, however, become Toller owners until 1975, when Ottawa, Canada's capital, wasour home. That Toller was Shelley, bought for our youngest daughter from the kennels of JimJeffery and Doug Coldwell.
Toller breeding was a different proposition in the mid-1970s than it is now - one had to work to promoteTollers in order to make them known at all. PR seemed the answer, so Alison began a career ofwriting about Tollers which bore its fullest fruit in the co-operation with New Brunswick freelancewriter and Toller lover Gail MacMillan. "The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever," a truly beautifulhardcover book devoted solely to all aspects of the Toller, is published by Alpine Publications ofLoveland, CO. and is now available in a second printing. http://www.alpinepub.com/nova-scotia-duck-tolling-retriever-the.html
Westerlea's main concern is now directed towards minimising health problems which began to appearthroughout the breed as the dramatic increase in the number of Tollers being bred unmasked morerecessive genes. These problems, mainly those of eyes, auto-immune manifestations, hips and hearts,are in all lines of Tollers. Most established breeders and the various national Toller clubs areworking to educate prospective Toller owners about the right questions to ask when contactingbreeders. Some of these are outlined in the Getting a Puppysection of Tollers International.
Due to personal health problems, we have had to reduce the number of resident Tollers at Westerlea.In the future we will only breed occasional select litters to keep our noted kennel name alive.
We hope you enjoy seeing these classic Tollers in full colour.