From the monthly column "On The Line" by BJ Andrews. ShowSight Magazine, September 2018 Issue. Click to subscribe.
How many breed treasures are lost or donated away? Is your breed club actively preserving your breed’s history and all the genetic and breed-related knowledge gained from experience? Shouldn’t that be the MOST important duty of a national “parent” breed club? Breed Standards change (unfortunately) and fashion dictates “the look” of your breed today but shouldn’t every national breed club be a repository of what the breed
was? And isn’t that part of the club’s purpose—to promote the breed and maintain old records, photos, artwork and other
breed related memorabilia?
What about your local breed (or) kennel club? Once-famous dog people are forgotten when age or health prevents them from attending club meetings or dog shows. Do you miss them at national specialties? Do you wish you could get those genetics again?
Is the dog fancy fickle? Are we too busy building our own legacies to honor the people who made the sport of dogs or their breed truly great?
The Doberman was our first show-breed and Wayne Gooch (DPCA Delegate) and his wife Dorothy were my mentors. Skyraider Dobermans were a legend in the 60s and 70s. Wayne was a licensed professional handler who took one of their bitches “Skyraider’s The Caravel” to top wins. I would wish every newbie would have mentors like that before they become “know-it-alls.” I often wonder what became of all those photo albums they had, all those trophies, but most important, all that BREED KNOWLEDGE!
Today we are too caught up in the “right now” (and trying to stand out on social media) to build a strong foundation in our breed, our career, or anything else.
Take a minute to call your one-time best friend, the person you so admired and respected. Perhaps you had a falling out or your lives just moved on. What about now? What does it cost you? Lost contact? Ask the club secretary—or find your friend online.
Don’t put off thinking about sharing your collection of breed memorabilia with your breed club and carefully chosen friends who will honor the legacy of your breed.
Felicia Lubrich, Sirgo Rottweilers, is a legend in dogs and with her permission, we share this excerpt from TheDogPress.com. “Felicia, there’s not a person out there who has been in dogs a long time that won’t relate to this. We all dread the time when we must start thinking about what to do with breed memorabilia, history, photos and records.
Just like our bloodline will outlive us and all our friends, so will
She replied in part, “I’ve been working cleaning out my files... sending all pedigrees I have that are not of my dogs to Paw Village. The rest I’m dividing into three parts. One part I will keep. One part I will offer to CRC (Colonial Rottweiler Club) or ARC (American Rottweiler Club). The rest goes to the 4H including a (huge) pile of magazines plus all books that are not on Dobes or Rotties. Those I’d like to go to a REAL breeder (not a puppy maker) if I can find one.”
“I still have five file cabinets to work through. I don’t want it to end up in the garbage when I pass on... Sometimes I think my eyes will bulge out of my head as I’m reading so much xeroxed material and handwritten letters and I’ve only just started!”
“It’s my duty and my desire to preserve as much important information as I can. Russ reminded me that I’m to be 82, NOT 81 as I had thought... I’m hoping there is a good reason why I’m still alive. Regards, FEHL.”
Take time. Right now. Call an old friend (perhaps that is Felicia) and ask what they are up to, ask about their health and most important, ask if there is anything you can do to help them. If that friend or club member is local, ask them if they still drive and if not, offer to take them somewhere or to run errands for them.
What will it cost you? Only time. And it you “don’t have time” ask yourself—how much time does that person have left? It doesn’t have to be a dog-person. When we bought new property I noticed our only neighbors were both elderly. One man lived alone and across the way was old couple who never ventured out. My husband, gregarious guy that he was, went over to ask the old man if he had some tool that he could borrow. (Bill Andrews had every tool ever made.) They became good buddies. I became wiser after becoming friends with the elderly couple across the way. She learned too... I took her shopping and introduced her to the fun of flea markets.
So check with your local Kennel Club and your national Breed Club secretary. Ask if the clubs are actively keeping in touch with elderly members.
Ask if they have a specific program to acquire and preserve Breed Memorabilia.
If you can’t get a definitive answer, you know there is a problem! How you address that situation is up to you but on behalf of others in your breed or your local kennel club, come up with a plan because you owe it to your breed.
TheDogPlace.org will follow up on this Memorabilia Project club, so if your national Parent Club responds in the affirmative, let us know so that we can publicly thank them in a follow up article. If your Breed Club doesn’t respond, let me know and I will also contact the club secretary. We owe it to the breed and the memories we treasure!
What is your club doing to prevent the loss of precious
memories, trophies, photos and genetic knowledge when
a legendary breeder retires or dies?