A Tribute to Gael Morison

Posted in KUSA News

A TRIBUTE TO GAEL MORISON, FEDERAL COUNCILLOR, ON HER RELOCATING TO THE UNITED KINGDOM, JULY 2021

Gael was born in Pietermaritzburg, where she lived until 1988. Her parents bred and exhibited Rough Collies under the “Clan Campbell” Affix and were both KUSA Judges. Gael therefore enjoyed a typical “doggy” childhood, exposed to all facets of dogdom.

A fellow Rough Collie-exhibitor imported an Afghan Hound into South Africa.Gael’s fate was sealed; she simply had to own one of these exotic hounds!

Gael married Peter Cliff in 1971.

Gael acquired her first Afghan Hound in 1973, sadly not a show dog. A short while later, her parents decided the time had come to pass the torch and gifted her a quality foundation dog and bitch. Gael and Peter started travelling to shows all over the country. They registered their Atlantis Affix with KUSA in 1976 and enjoyed considerable success in the show ring with their Afghan Hounds until their separation in 1986.

1n 1994 Gael added Shetland Sheepdogs to her kennel and continued her success with these two breeds, both as breeder an exhibitor.

Gael met Les, a Scotsman who had spent some time in what was then Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia, when he moved to KwaZulu-Natal (“Natal” back then!) in 1986.  After tying the knot, they moved to Hillcrest. Les was co-owner of Nashua Durban and they were fortunate to travel the world attending Dealer Conferences, which allowed them to attend many shows overseas. Dog-wise, Les was from a Working background and he soon obtained his judging qualification for the Working Group when the Herding Group was still subsumed into the Working Group.

Gael and Les became deeply involved with Clubs in KZN, not only serving on Committees, but also regularly stewarding at Shows. They independently continued to further their judging careers and Gael achieved All-breeds status in 1994.

Over the years, Gael & Les imported two Afghan Hounds from the U.K. and 1 from Spain.

Shetland Sheepdogs remained their choice for a second breed and the Shelties became Les’s heart dogs; he found them way more biddable than the Afghans! Les’s passion led to Sheltie imports from Australia and Canada for Kennel Atlantis.

Apart from their frequent assignments in South Africa, Gael & Les judged all over the world and will hopefully continue to fly the South African flag from their new base in the UK. They were never happier than when invited to judge on the same panel overseas, which they were fortunate to do on many trips to Australia, Canada and the U.K.

Gael has never hesitated to share her extensive knowledge of dogs with learner Judges and has served on the Judges Education Council of KUSA since its inception. At the time of leaving South Africa, Gael was the Chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Council and a valued member of the Federal Council of KUSA.

It is with great sadness that we bid Gael and Les farewell but, as we do so, we wish them nothing but happiness and prosperity in their new home country. We know that, in Gael’s own words, they will always be “proudly South African dog people” and that they will miss us as much as we will miss them.