How did you first become involved in dogs? What breeds have you been involved with and in what capacity – breeder, owner, handler?
My original involvement with dogs came as a first anniversary present from my husband, Jim. I wanted a Wire Fox Terrier (I loved the Thin Man movies) but knew nothing about them. Being a research-type person, I suggested we go to a dog show and learn. But, we still bought from a backyard breeder from the top neighborhood in Atlanta. How could we go wrong? ‘Chester’ was so named as he limped from day one (à la the character in Gunsmoke). We kept him for a pet. Then we went back to the dog shows held in Atlanta and met Theo Brown. She had compassion and sold us a Wire bitch that was worthy, of good bloodlines and would produce. She also taught me to strip a broken-coated Terrier. I finished that bitch, and went on from there with more Wires, and then Bichons. Believe it or not, George Ward taught me how to put a pattern on a Bichon!
I now have Min Pins, which may not be as amenable as Terriers but have the same spirit, and I enjoy that. Bichons were easy and laid-back, which was just what we needed in our family at the time the two-legged children were growing up. But I still like the borderline chaos, excitement, tip-toe of expectancy, and eagerness in a breed. I bred, showed and handled both Terriers and Bichons, as well as many other breeds for friends. The Min Pins are an experience all and unto themselves!
Who has been your mentor or mentors?
Mentors have been many — both in breeding dogs, showing dogs, grooming dogs and ultimately, judging dogs. I’ve mentioned Theo and George, and I must add Bob Moore, Michele Billings, Don Jones and a host — nay — thousands more. I usually pick up a bit of knowledge from every person and dog conversation in which I’m involved.
What is, or was, your profession?
To support my hobby, I was in administration, selling, fund-raising, medical — and many of those jobs all going at one time! Man! I had the energy back then.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests other than judging?
Yes, I am crafty – and I mean that in a creative way, not in a sneaky manner! I design jewelry, or basically am a “beader.” I knit, crewel, crochet (but don’t like that as much as the others), sew, and read — a lot. When one sits on an airplane as much as judges do, one learns to schlep a book with them at all times. And if, God forbid, you should finish it before you get home, it’s panic time to get another.
Do you have any pet peeves when judging?
We all have annoyances, whether we’re judging, showing or watching. Just watch my pattern of judging and listen when I say “down and back,” and follow those directions. But basically everybody is so different, so unique, I really enjoy being able to go with the flow. It keeps life from staling and stalling! And I do love our sport so.