Mother’s Day: Mothers Inspire Life’s Passions

Mother’s Day: Mothers Inspire Life’s Passions

Seems strange I know. Of all the many photos I have (and I have many since I’m such a visual person), this rather unusual family portrait is one of my most cherished. It’s probably 35 years old or so.  It shows so much more than three women at a dog show.  I’m on the end in the red jacket, my Mom is in the middle and my Grandmother is in the front.  Not only are we three human generations, we were presenting two generations of English Setters, the dam of the two older puppies behind her.  My family has been raising English Setters for almost 70 years and we cherish our hobby.  I learned from both my Mom and my Grandmother, both international AKC Dog Show Judges.  It’s a very unique hobby and passion we all share, even now that my Grandmother is gone, I can still look at all those pedigrees, remember her dogs and her words of wisdom about raising top show dogs.  Along the away there were always many pearls of other advice as well to be sure - why dedication to everything you do matters, always put your best foot forward, women can do anything they set their minds to, be a leader and when are you getting married?!  But perhaps that is my point.  It could have been anything that we had a passion about, in our case it also included horses, antiques and art.  But these passions gave us so much more than touchstones.  They gave us dialogues, remembrances, legacy and closeness.  Even when we might not have agreed on politics, who I was dating (that never happened though - they threatened to kick me out and adopt Derek, my husband instead of me) or what choices I was making. 


I brought my passion for Dogs to Rebecca Ray with several "Dog Show" collection items as well as a beautifully crafted Bridle Leather Slip Lead.  

For the last 30 years or so, I have raised all of our dogs and I’m in charge of our breeding program.  Even today, there is seldom a day that my Mom and I don’t share an early morning or late night call about dog related things - mostly dog shows and who was wearing what. I know she did the same with my Grandmother when she was alive, and I know it took my Mom a long time to get over missing those early morning calls from her. But Mom and I have made so many memories as well.  We’ve travelled abroad to the shows together, the World Dog Show and we often steward together at Westminster and I’ve had the privilege of watching her judge there more than once. We’ve landed on icy runways wondering if the airplane was going to stop while transporting precious dog cargo into New York City for Westminster in February snowstorms. 

Lizzie and I at her Miami University competition. Derek and I also rode for Miami.


Twenty years later, as a Mom myself to a 19 year old,  I now understand what this is all about.  The dogs and horses are important, no doubt.  But its the life passion these two ladies gave me that is the gift. In reflection of Mother’s Day, I am so grateful for the gift of passion I was given.  Our daughter Elizabeth shares the gift as well.  How could she not, being raised in this crazy family where the word “bitch” flows freely off of our tongues and the conversation often includes recessive genes, frozen semen and transcervical insemination.  I dare to say Lizzie probably has far more of the horse gene as she is a dedicated, gifted and elegant horsewoman. I know I was as well at her age. But it isn’t which passion she got, its that she has one that will carry with her through her whole life, fuel greater ambition, teach her humility and grace and give the two of us something to talk about all of the time, no matter what else in the world happens.


Happy Mothers Day and may you and your children or the children that lean on you learn from your passions. 



View Rebecca Ray Designs

Back to blog