LINES FROM LINDA: EXTRAORDINARY LADY
Butch Schulman presentning Gwen Means with the Quarter Century Collie Group’s Right Stuff Award at Churchill Downs.
Janine Walker-Keith paying tribute to Gwen at the QCCG 2016 gala in Louisville.
Gwen judging San Diego Collie Club 2015. Gwen’s choice for Best of Breed: GCH Kingsmark First Impression PT OA OAJ. Laurie Jeff Greer handling.
Robin and Butch Schulman at Gwen’s table for the Right Stuff Award.
Means’ story as told to the crowd that evening by her dear friend, Janine Walker- Keith, will lift you up and carry you along by Gwen’s determination to show, breed and love Collies during a time of disrup- tion and despair when her only help came by the grace of God and from three great Collie men. Here are the words spoken by Janine to the tables of guests who filled the entire Kentucky Derby Museum floor: “Gwen Means once said, ‘On what- ever day and year it was that I turned the last page of an Albert Payson Ter- hune book, I have loved the Collie. The wonder and storybook fame of their exciting worldly deeds is long engraved in my mind.’ Gwen’s 60-year devotion to the Collie cannot be matched. Her story is about perseverance, tenacity and love during a time of incomprehensible intolerance, prejudice and bigotry in our country. But, let’s go back for just a moment to a mid-1950s honeymoon trip to Niagara
she attempted to check-in she was told by the hotel management to leave the prem- ises immediately as they did not accept ‘colored-people,’ although dogs were wel- come to stay as guests. So, Gwen had no choice but to sleep in a YMCA boarding house in another part of town and eat her meals alone each day at the Greyhound bus station. You see, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had not yet said, ‘I look to the day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ Such rejection was difficult for Gwen to accept, but she always held her head high, made no negative comments, con- tinued to attend dog shows and exhibit her Collies regardless of unthinkable acts taking place based on discrimina- tion, which was actually the law in many states at that time. It took a very special and determined person, with a strong passion for Collies, not to walk away and never look back. Most likely no other >
Falls that gave Gwen an opportunity to visit Elisabeth Browning’s Tokalon Ken- nels and the famous Brandwyne-Gaylord Kennels of Jim and Trudy Mangels, instilling in Gwen a powerful determina- tion to breed and exhibit Collies in spite of face-to-face confrontation with racism during the 1950s and through the 1970s. Sadly, during decades of civil unrest, riots and segregation taking place in the United States, Gwen often encountered situations where she was not welcome. In those days dog shows were often held in areas where hotels, transportation and restaurants discriminated against people based on the color of their skin, mak- ing it uncomfortable, difficult and life- threatening for Gwen to attend. Gwen attended her first Collie Club of America national specialty in 1959, right here in Louisville, Kentucky. But, unfor- tunately, 57 years ago due to the color of her skin she was rejected by the club’s host hotel where she had made a reserva- tion by telephone well in advance. When
50 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2020
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