We are Leslie and Sam Urso. We have three adult children and Grand Twins. I was raised on a farm in the country in my hometown of Franklin, Texas. My great-grandfather and grandfather graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Agriculture. My grandfather started a very successful Purina Feed Store business and became the largest Purina Feed retailer in the U.S. His father before him came to Central Texas from West Texas and bought our family farm which has been passed down throughout the generations. My grandfather also had many chicken houses which supplied large grocery store chains with eggs and raised hogs as well as cattle and a fertilizer business for hay production. Since I could walk, I worked for my grandfather picking up the eggs, and at the age of 10 years old, delivering them to the egg house to keep them cool until they were placed in the grocery stores. As a 10 year old, I drove a large commercial egg van or one of my grandfather’s company flatbed stick shift work trucks to the farm (where we live today) to pick and package the eggs in their cartons for stores. I learned a lot about animals and being responsible at a very early age.
My PaPa and dad were raised in the country raising cattle along with horses, chickens, hogs, dogs, goats, hamsters, birds, and even baby deer. You name it; we raised it. I grew up helping my grandfathers and my dad with all the animals including the daily chores, care, and birthing new babies. Having this love for animals and with this background naturally, when I was in Middle School I was actively involved and held offices in the 4-H Riding Club throughout High School. We organized 4-H trail rides, and I actively competed in Rodeos and Play Days barrel racing and pole bending until I left for college. As a freshman in High School, I enrolled in Ag classes (Future Farmers of America) instead of the homemaking classes that most of the girls were taking. I built horse troughs and learned to work the skill saw as well as visiting all the major ranches in our rural area to assist in caring for all the different animal needs.
In addition, I was also involved in other 4-H clubs throughout High School to participate in the County Fair showing chickens and calves. We also enrolled our two daughters in 4-H in Elementary and Middle School so that they could show pigs for several years which required learning how to feed, care, and train their show animals which requires a lot of time every day. I wanted our girls to learn the discipline it takes to care for animals and have the same responsibilities that I learned as a child which carried into my adult life resulting in a high work ethic which I wanted both of my daughters to share. I learned these skills and passed them on to both of my daughters. I have always had a love for animals and was lucky to have grown up with the background that taught me how to be responsible when caring for animals and a wealth of knowledge that I acquired as a young child which grew as I did.
My husband is a career banker and was brought up in the city but was blessed with grandparents that had a family farm where he was exposed to animals since he was a youngster. Their farm produced mostly cotton but also food and animals were grown for their consumption. After being exposed to animals on their farm, he became very fond of animals and raised his own as pets and also animals that were for agricultural production. We both would not know life without pets in our world. It takes teamwork to accomplish the passion we put into our breeding program.
I went to college to become a teacher, and when my daughter was starting second grade, I realized that she was missing out on all the love and companionship that animals add to our lives, especially dogs. We made the decision to move back to my home town of Franklin, and we moved to my great grandfather’s farm. I was so blessed to raised my children on this farm and provide them with the lifestyle that I had as a child. I quickly could see the love of all animals in my youngest daughter’s eyes, and she became a different child in the country. As you can imagine, I provided her with all of the animals that I myself had grown up with and cherished teaching her everything that I had learned. She shared my love of animals and still does to this day! I taught my girls to care for every animal and pet that we brought into our lives.