Remembering Dr. Richard Meen A Breeder, Judge and Gentleman BY ALLAN REZNIK, Photos courtesy of Julie L. Mueller
D uring the course of our lives, most of us will try to excel in one field of endeavor. A few extraordinary indi- viduals in our midst accomplish this feat in multiple endeavors, and do so with grace, poise and humility. If we are lucky, we get to know them, learn from them and treasure their company. Dr. Richard Meen, whom we lost in December, was one such man.
in Canada in 1977. What an unforgettable team they were: Dick at 6' 4" and the statuesque red-and-white Moustache, moving as one in some of the most prestigious show rings in North America. It never ceases to amaze me that some people spend a life- time in our sport so totally absorbed in their own dogs that they can’t identify half the breeds in their own Group. Others are truly students of dogs, with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, who appreciate a great one of whatever breed. Dick and John proudly belonged to the latter group. And so, while Borzoi held sway at Kishniga for many years, many fine dogs of other breeds could also be seen there… including, at different times, Old English Sheepdogs, Dobermans, Stan- dard Poodles, Deerhounds, Harriers and Italian Greyhounds. Added later were Frenchies, Skyes and Norwich. A visit to Kishniga always meant great food, great art, great conversa- tion and great dogs. Dick and I shared an admiration of the Tibetan Mastiff and I think back to many interesting chats we had over the years as that primitive breed gained a foothold in North America. It was impossible to talk to Dick and not come away from the experience feeling more enlightened in some great or small way. Dick’s boundless generosity extended to hosting, with John, memorable Ontario Sighthound Association specialties at Kishniga each year. They were founding members of the club. Those shows were a feast for the senses, with metic- ulous attention paid to the smallest detail, glorious hounds gathered for the occasion and specialist judges travelling from around the world to evaluate impressive entries. Dr. Meen’s gifts of commitment and diplomacy were never more evident than during his tenure as President of the Cana- dian Kennel Club, from 1990 to 2002. He represented Cana- da on the world stage with dignity and at CKC meetings he welcomed lively, civil debate from all quarters, if those ideas could benefit our purebred dogs. I have always maintained that Dick’s background in psychiatry stood him in good stead as he handled emotional board members with finesse… and later, those inevitable, difficult exhibitors in his ring. Dick was generous to a fault; always available, always accessible. In Toronto, we were members of the same all- breed kennel club. Despite his demanding schedule, I recall the club inviting him to be a guest instructor for a few weeks at our drop-in handling classes. Of course, he agreed. I was
Dick’s contributions to the betterment of purebred dogs and our sport, in Canada and around the world, are immea- surable. Breeder, exhibitor, judge, Canadian Kennel Club President, mentor, distinguished psychiatrist: he wore many hats, and always with style. Dick was a medical student at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, from 1957 to 1963. While walk- ing to campus each day, he took great pleasure in observing two Afghan Hounds racing in their owners’ backyard and periodically striking a pose. Dick became smitten with sight- hounds as a result, and bought an Afghan Hound of his own, and later, a Borzoi. The die was cast. After achieving his doctorate, he attended the Universi- ty of Toronto from 1965 to 1969, and began a distinguished career in psychiatry. His compassion and empathy were demonstrated in his work with troubled youth and the Far North Nation communities. He was also the psychiatric con- sultant to the National Ballet School for more than 30 years. His passion for the preservation of purebred dogs was shared by his husband and life partner of 50 years, noted veterinarian Dr. John Reeve-Newson. Their Kishniga Ken- nels, situated on a beautiful estate in Campbellville, outside Toronto, was home to many record-setting Borzoi, none more famous than “Moustache,” Ch. Kishniga Desert Song, who was breeder/owner-handled by Dick to No. 1 dog all breeds
128 • S how S ight M agazine , J anuary 2019
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