My first proper word was "dog".

My second defining moment was when, at 6, I had my first article published (and paid for!).

The rest of my life has been an intertwining of the two.

We had a Dachshund, then a Wire-Haired Fox Terrier who was killed by an errant car. "No more dogs until you can buy one yourself!" my parents decreed, assuming I'd have moved out by then. 

 Luckily, I was writing a lot  -- and getting paid for it. Gotcha! 

Another Wire-Fox Terrier joined our house. 

I had to leave her at home with her servants (i.e. my family) when I went away to University and again when I went to England to cover the "Swinging England" scene. I was a rock, pop and general "Swinging Scene" columnist for a variety of magazines and newspapers for several years -- and those are stories for another web site.

When I came home to Toronto, my mission was to get Bearded Collies recognized by The Canadian Kennel Club. My partner and better half in this project was my beautiful blue Beardie girl, Wishanger Marsh Pimpernel "Gael'. To find out how this mission was born, click here.

I had chosen the kennel name RAGGMOPP. It was the title of a great song by the Ames Brothers in the early 50s and came to mind as soon as I met my first Beardie. You can find it on iTunes. 

Gael and I did presentation after presentation, appearance after appearance, article after article (well, actually, I did the writing; she did the proof-sniffing).

With invaluable support from North York Obedience Club Drill Team, the Dominion Collie and Shetland Sheepdog Club and Collie breeder Ariel Sleeth, who let me use her Collie column to write endlessly about Beardies, people started to get interested in Beardies. At an NYOC Drill Team performance, Alice Bixler (Bedlam Beardies) and I found one another and she became my number 2 cohort (Gael was number 1).

In 1970, along with Barbara Blake ("Colbara") and Muriel Ratner (who had imported the first registerable Beardie, Bracky of Bothkennar, several years earlier), we founded the Bearded Collie Club of Canada. And later that year, Beardies were recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club. Mission accomplished!

But not over. 

Over the decades, RAGGMOPP produced many Champions (Canadian and U.S.), Specialty winners and BISS winners, Group and BIS Beardies, tracking Beardies, obedience Beardies, herding Beardies and, most important, wonderful companions.

And all along I kept writing. Rock, docs, dogs . . . and then science. Everyday science for everyday people. And that turned out to be my own mission. I wrote best-selling books and newspaper columns. Appeared on TV, radio and in one-person shows around North America. It was fun, fascinating and fulfilling. 

And I've added ceramic sculture.

From rock 'n roll to award-winning science writer. It's called serendipity. Which has kinda been the story of my life.

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