Showsight August 2020


Where did you grow up? I spent my childhood in Franklin Square, Long Island, New York. After finishing college, I moved around a slight bit, and settled in Mastic Beach on the east end of Long Island. Do you come from a doggy family and, if not, how did the interest in breeding and showing purebred dogs begin? I was a very indulged child...getting everything I asked for except that one thing I wanted most, a dog. I went through all kinds of shenanigans trying to procure a dog. I even traded my bike for a beautiful black-and-silver German Shepherd that I had to reluctantly return when my parents arrived home. Once I had my own rental house, I started working at a PetLand. Someone called offering an Irish Setter for free...papers, too! Although we did not sell dogs or cats, I said to bring her in. In walked a gangly, thin Irish Setter bitch wearing a huge choke chain collar. I paid the man $30 and he gave me the dog with her papers. I was smitten and thought her the most beautiful Setter I had ever seen. I took her to a match show on Long Island, and we were awarded a ribbon. There were five pups in the class, and the fifth bitch crawled on her belly, so we took fourth place. I approached the judge and asked for his critique. He remarked, “She has the most beautiful feathering on her front legs.” That was it...I was hooked! Who were your mentors in the sport? Please elaborate on their influence. Once smitten, I went out and purchased all the books I could find on Irish Setters. There was a page showing a streamlined show dog and a barrel-bodied dog. Mine looked like the barrel-bodied dog unless I put her on a huge rock to make her topline appear similar (in my novice eye) to the show dog. I also sent out letters to all the breeders of the day whose dogs I liked from the pictures. One of those breeders was Susan Hahnen (Courtwood) in Minnesota. She was instrumental in my learning about the breed. The judge from the match show story, Ernie Viola, and his wife, Joan Viola, and close friend, Dana Haskell, were having a litter sired by a dog that I had admired from Sue Hahn- en’s line, Ch. Courtwood Spring Son. Three girls and one boy were whelped. I would go and see the pups every chance I could, and at last my first show dog was put into my arms...the


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