Just a bit about me.....

I'm Sheila Gay, happily married to Chris since 1972 and mother of Robert and Richard. Our sons have grown up and flown the nest to make their own families, but we're a close-knit family and stay in constant touch. Chris and I are incredibly proud of these two wonderful people and have been delighted to welcome their wives and our delightful twin granddaughters to the family!

We lived in the historic market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of the Bard himself, William Shakespeare, for over 41 years, until our move to the East Riding of Yorkshire in January 2014. Our Stratford house was situated on the outskirts of the town, overlooking the leafy Warwickshire countryside and we only left it when we found our dream home, the beautiful Victorian Bramble Cottage, set in a pretty Holderness village.

I've kept dogs since the 1970s and Border Collies exclusively since the early 80s. I first started in competition Obedience with two crossbreeds, Hector and Juno. A win or two at just a low level and I was hooked! Obedience was my first love and I worked Rainbowzend at Wizaland in Darian (Zendi) in `C` and her daughter Darian Sundown (Sunny) in `A` and `B`. Although I no longer compete in or judge the sport, it remains a great interest of mine.

I was granted the 'Darian' affix in 1987 and bred my first litter in December of that year. My aim, always, is to breed Border Collies that can (and want to) work. I also aim for sound construction, freedom from hereditary diseases and, paramount, good temperament.

I have judged Borders in the conformation ring since 1994, since 2003 at Championship level. I've also judged most of the Working and Pastoral breeds, along with Varieties, both Groups and BIS at Open level, but have now chosen to concentrate purely on the Border Collie, the breed I share my life with.

In 2017/2018 I was honoured to be one of seven members of the Border Collie Breed Council's Working Party, nominated by our breed clubs, who were set the task of extending and illustrating the Kennel Club's Border Collie Breed Standard. The result can be seen on the Breed Council's website. I am a mentor for the breed, helping to educate aspiring conformation judges and indeed have been heavily involved in educational matters for the Border Collie for many years.

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I did the Art College thing after leaving school but didn't use my training commercially until my sons were in their teens, when I started up an animal portrait business, working in pastel and pencil. Actually, the business came about purely by accident when friends asked me to do portraits of their dogs. Eventually I was getting more work than one person could handle and what had been a fun thing to do became pressure-filled and stressful. The creative joy, the whole point of the exercise, had gone, so I wound it all down.

I'd started a web site in late 2000 for the Darian Border Collies but back then I didn't know a mouse's nose from his tail. As time went on I became really dissatisfied with the designs available to me. It was time to start experimenting, time to learn about web graphics and hand coding! For several years I also built websites for other breeders and clubs. Most enjoyable, but these days I no longer design new sites.

© Darian Border Collies ~ Sheila Gay. All rights reserved.