Laurie Morrow – A Lifetime in Dogs
I talk to a lot of famous people on this show. People who have been around the block and have enormous resources of knowledge to share. But one of the things I find the most touching about the purebred dog fancy is that for every well-known name, there are dozens of folks who have worked long and hard, paid their dues, quietly succeeded in their chosen endeavors and just never got around to the fame and fortune part.
Laurie Hatcher Morrow is 83 years old. For 70 of those years she has been actively involved in one aspect or another of purebred dogs. As a young girl, she saved her allowance in order to buy the 1947 edition of the AKC Dog Book. And she studied it until she could recite all 114 breeds. And she decided that the Shetland Sheepdog was the breed for her. At 13 years old, she convinced her father to drop her off at Madison Square Garden for the day so she could watch Westminster Kennel Club.
“I look back on that and I think my god you’d be arrested for child abuse if you left your 13 year old daughter alone at the Garden (today),” Morrow said.
That day at the Garden, Morrow was given the name of a person who might hire her for summer help at their kennel. Little did she know the kennel would turn out to be one of the top Sheltie kennels in the country. She turned 14 the year she spent the summer with them.
“We played a game after dinner. I would go and bring a dog and they would be blindfolded and they could tell every dog in the kennel,” Morrow reminisced. “Eleanor taught me all my beginning obedience training and pretty soon I was doing all the training and it was just great fun and she was right there you know to correct me if I didn’t do it right.”
Morrow’s lifelong love affair with dogs grew from that summer on. Morrow tells the story that she literally broke up with her first true love because his business would have prevented her showing dogs.
Dog shows, breeding, obedience and now agility have kept Morrow busy her entire life. She handled professionally in and around Chicago. She had multiple top winning obedience High in Trial Shelties. She bred, owned and ran Vizsla’s in field trials, including a top winning National Field Champion. She now owns Miniature American Shepherds and started running them in agility at the age of 70.
Morrow is the poster child for all of us who love dogs, who have always had that passion, whose paths in life have more than once been directed or dictated by dogs.
“I just can’t imagine my life without a dog in it,” Morrow said.