Stuart was known as the Animal Kid during his years growing up on the South Island of New Zealand. He had more pets then he could count: from possums to magpies, to many more homeless species, all living in and around the house, with a large number in the closets and drawers of his bedroom.
At the age of 15, he left mainstream education and home to become a shepherd. One of the most significant places of this work was on ‘Clarence Reserve’, a 132,000-acre station, which comprised big mountains and treacherous terrain. While working on this station, Stuart had 15 sheep dogs and 4 horses of his own, and lived in the rugged and bush-style huts there with some scary hillbillies.
Stuart had various duties in this line of work, including capturing wild horses from the wild and breaking them in. At other times he would ride in a Robertson helicopter with no doors, holding on with just one arm inside the helicopter as they travelled over the landscape, mustering in the wild cows and bulls. But Stuart’s main learning experience here would be from working closely with his dogs, watching how they communicated with each other, during their months alone in the remote outback.
After his father passed away, Stuart left New Zealand at the age of 18. He travelled to Alberta, Canada, to work on a ranch and experience bareback rodeoing. That’s when he developed his lifestyle: 6 months’ work followed by 6 months’ travel … and he has been doing it ever since. His 6-month periods of travel have taken him to most continents but the one that keeps drawing him back is Africa. At the age of 23, Stuart hitchhiked from Egypt to South Africa. He travelled through Rwanda in 1995: not a good idea looking back, but he was determined to see Diane Fosey’s Gorillas. What he saw and what happened to him in Rwanda is another story. But it was the trip that changed his life. It taught him to enjoy every moment of life and to be grateful for everything we have and receive. Health and happiness are all he asks for now. One of the other things it gave him was confidence that he can do anything he put my mind to. 16 years on, Stuart is still doing what his heart desires.
Stuart travelled through most of the Asian countries in the 1990s and, at the start of 2000, he met his future wife in Vietnam. She was a Vancouver (Canada) girl backpacking too. They have completed 17 years of 6-month trips around the world. She is mad on wildlife, too, so when Stuart suggested going to the Ethiopian mountains to find the Ethiopian wolves for a few months, she didn’t hesitate. They spent weeks up at 4,300 meters freezing cold as they were unequipped for the cold temperatures at night. But Stuart was able to capture some of the most amazing pictures there of these rare and highly endangered animals. Leaving his tent before the sun rose, he hiked to a great viewpoint and watched adult wolves and cubs coming out of the den as the sun came up. This was one of the biggest buzzes of his life. Then they hitched down through Africa and jumped over to Madagascar, where they saw amazing wildlife, including the rare fusa.
Other highlights of Stuart’s wildlife experiences include: freediving with a wild and free dugong in New Caledonia; working in the waters of Mozambique as a dive master, swimming with whale sharks and manta rays; working in Sipadan (Borneo) as a dive master, surrounded by sharks and turtles; seeing the rarest lemurs of Madagascar; observing the Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda; witnessing lion kills in Namibia and cheetah kills in the Serengeti; being chased on foot by a mother and baby rhino in Swaziland; viewing wild orangutans in Indonesia; feeding baby pandas in China; swimming with dolphins in the Red Sea; being spat on by a humpback whale on the Great Barrier Reef when he worked there; swimming with the pink rare dolphins in the Amazon; trying to catch wild anacondas while waist-deep in the swamps with a local guy who didn’t speak a word of English … then spending 2 weeks with him in the deep Amazon … he was keeping Stuart alive … plus many more adventurous tales.
Stuart and his wife continue their travels with their daughter Eva, who is 8 years old and their son Max who is 5 years old. They have recently added a little boy to the family, little Max, who will be joining in on the adventures. Stuart’s work life has always been with animals. Although not always proud of some of his jobs (hunter and tracker in Africa and stalker in Scotland), he has always learned along the way, adding to his extensive knowledge of how animals communicate with each other.
Now Stuart presents shows all over the UK in the summer season. During his demonstrations, he educates people in a humorous Kiwi style, on how to understand domesticated animals and their behaviours, and how animals work as a pack and communicate with each other. Stuart used to present horse whispering shows to the public and has been presenting The Sheep Show for the last 15 years. Now he has his own Dog and Duck Show. (Facebook: Dog and duck show). This show demonstrates how untrained and poorly behaved dogs still have a programmed natural instinct, and he shows the audience how to understand the behaviour of the canine species.
Chantal was born in Vancouver, Canada. Growing up, she took various jobs working with animals, from being a naturalist on a whale watching boat to working with the marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, while at the same time studying to be a marine biologist. Upon graduation, Chantal taught in the local high schools for a few years, but her life path changed when she accepted a position in the remote North of the province, working at a five star fishing resort. This new position began her six months work, six month travel schedule, and it was on her first trip away that she met Stuart Barnes in Vietnam.
Stuart and Chantal continue to travel the globe in their six months off each year, but when in the UK, they run the Dog and Duck Show.
Chantal is the administrator and the glue for the business, as well as assisting Stuart to write ‘The Way of the Dog’. Chantal has also written her own book ‘The Way of the Explorer’, a story of their travels together, and is currently working on writing a series of children’s books, called ‘The Adventures of Duke and Dolly’, based on an Indian Runner Duck and Collie Dog (the stars of the Dog and Duck Show). The first book in this series was released in April 2017, and the next book ‘The Adventures of Duke and Dolly. The First Steps.’ Is set to be released in Spring 2018.
Since his childhood on the veldt in South Africa Warren has only ever wanted to work outdoors with animals. Inspired by joining his Grandfather’s bi-annual migrations to the national parks, he has nurtured an enduring respect for all things wild.
After a slightly misguided and mis-spent youth with thumbs out travelling around the world, he is surprised to find himself finally settled in Norfolk, where the big skies remind him of his other home in Africa.
Since he has taken root he has been gainfully employed (occasionally!), as a Park Warden/Ranger, Falconry Demonstrator, Aviculturist, as well as more menial labour such as Tree Surgeon and Fencer.
During his studies he was privileged to spend a fortnight watching wolves. Although this was in an enclosure, these wonderful animals still displayed all of their fantastic pack instincts, reminiscent of the wild dogs in Africa that he was lucky enough to observe hunting during his trips with his Grandpa. Witnessing these animals working first hand has led to an insight into the instinctive way that our working dogs interact with sheep and handler.
For four years Warren has been helping his friends at the Sheep Show during the summers and has finally reached the dizzy heights of Demonstrator and Presenter for the Sheep Show and Dog and Duck Show. (Unfortunately this includes the necessity for regular unwelcome haircuts and shaves. The types of grooming even wolves don’t appreciate!!)
Lauren has always been surrounded by animals since she was first born. From horses to hedgehogs, she took an interest in them all. Lauren received her first pony ‘Billy’ when she was three, and this was when her love for animals began.
Lauren, at age eleven, rescued her first sheepdog ‘Manny’ who was 13 weeks old. Manny’s first owner’s realized early on that they couldn’t handle him and Lauren soon found out why. He was a big strong dog that was tricky to handle. Lauren had to learn how to change how she communicated with Manny to be able to work with him. She was then able to use him to assist in jobs on farms and small holdings and eventually, compete him in trials.
After high school Lauren attended Otley College to study horse management and care. This is where her interest in horse behaviour was captured. Lauren would sit for hours watching her own ponies and the college horses seeing how they functioned in a herd, eventually learning how they communicated with each other in their pack.She took what she learnt home and had a go with ‘joining up’ with her own horse. It was a success.
During this time, she worked on the college yard assisting in managing the yard. After leaving college Lauren then went to work on a farm assisting in the care and training of the working sheepdogs and sheep.
Lauren was then given her second sheepdog ‘Zeb’ for her 21st birthday.
Lauren began her training with Stuart and his Dog and Duck Show Team during the 2016 season, assisting in a variety of shows and finally demonstrating on her own, with her dog Zeb as her faithful companion.. She received great feedback and we look forward to her stepping out and representing the Dog and Duck Show in the years to come.
I have worked in farming all my life but not solely as a job. My grandad had a farm on the outskirts of Dartmoor so farming was in my blood, spending many an enjoyable day helping out with the milking. He taught me to shear sheep and this is where the love of dogs started. Grandad had a border Collie called Bob that would bring the cows in for milking everyday. All he had to say was “go get em” and he would go and bring the cows into the parlour without any help from grandad. Grandad had to leave the farm due to ill health so I was forced into a different career as a Paramedic for a while.
I never let farming and sheep out of my veins and managed to rent acres and started to keep my own sheep. This enabled me to have my own dog. I searched around and found someone who had a nice young tricoloured bitch for sale. So I bought my first sheep dog from a shepherd that was working at a local sheep Attraction. Really nice Kiwi guy who I later would find out would become my boss!!! Yes Stuart sold me my first dog!! This dog called Pitch was an absolute dream. They say that you have one outstanding dog in your life and she was it. Taught me so much about training dogs and how to behave around them. She would gather a 20 acre field and if she found a ewe not well she would stop and stay beside it until I came to find her.
It was this devotion that really brought my love for dogs, and the training of them to the forefront. I have trained many dogs over the years. Not only collies but Labradors for gundog work as well.
I am now a contract shepherd working for many farmers throughout North Devon and I am never without my trusted collie Mick with me. Life without a dog beside me would just not be right.
I have been lucky enough to grow up on a sheep farm, surrounded by all kinds of animals since day one. At age 7 I was allowed my very own sheepdog, Jake. We became best friends and since then he has never been far from my side! Over the years I have worked with a number of dogs and spent many hours watching them interact with one another in a natural way. This has enabled me to develop my ability to communicate with these amazing animals- my colleagues and best friends.
I have always known that I want to work with animals, this led me to study agriculture with livestock production at Writtle University which has reinforced my interest in the industry and lifestyle.
Working and living with dogs can be challenging but is so incredibly rewarding. The Dog and Duck Show is the perfect way to share my passion whilst entertaining and educating others.