Surrounded by German Shorthair Pointers, Sondra Rolison was raised in a family where their proper care and training was instilled in her from early childhood. As a toddler she could often be found in a whelping box playing with, and sometimes even napping with, a litter of German Shorthairs. Even before kindergarten she created a makeshift backyard obstacle course of sticks and planks left over from her dad’s carpentry business with which to“train” the older dogs. In elementary and middle school she preferred encyclopedias and canine or equine reference books to fiction. Learning was more important than entertainment. She enthusiastically cleaned her uncle’s horse’s stall in exchange for riding privileges; after dinner she rushed out the door to tend the rabbits and other livestock…interaction with anything that had fur or hair brought her greatest joy. Though she may not have recognized it as such at the time, she was instinctively expressing her interest in what would become a lifetime career of working with the dynamics of animals, and dogs in particular.
A sportswoman with formidable expertise in many venues, she simultaneously excelled at soccer, academics and art while in secondary school. As team captain with a perfect GPA a college scholarship that would unlock the door to a career as perhaps a coach or teacher seemed virtually guaranteed until her future was unexpectedly sidelined by a serious leg injury during her senior year. Instead of going off to campus, she found herself travelling to physical therapy in an effort to restore her badly damaged ACL.