BREEDER INTERVIEW: WILLIAM H. (“BILLY”) MILLER, BAYARD CHIHUAHUAS
Rose Mioduszewski and her sister, Ruth Bahlman, were members of the local Chihua- hua club. Longtime breeders, they bred exceptional dogs and were consistently in the winner’s ribbons. On my birthday, Rose gave me a beautiful Chihuahua. Skye became my first quality champion and later became a Specialty Best in Show winner. Rose and Ruth taught me so much about the breed. I spent many a Saturday visiting their home and learning about the breed. I had a special relationship with Rose. She was
always available for a late-night phone call. My first few litters were raised with her excel- lent advice. The following year, Melanie Newell of Bayard Chihuahuas (established in the 1970s) offered me a co-ownership on a very nice dog. We became fast friends and I began to handle her dogs. Eventually, she graced me with the honor of sharing her kennel name. Melanie taught me so much about the breed and I will be forever grateful for our friend- ship. We owe all our success to her! As a young boy I met the late Frances Rubinich of HellsABlazen Toy Poodle fame. While at a Greenspring Poodle Club meet- ing, she introduced herself to my sister, and I was mesmerized by her knowledge and clever wit. Frances was always there for me at dog shows. She would come to the Chihuahua ring and spent lots of time mentoring me. Later, she became a Chihuahua breeder and bred some exceptional Chihuahuas. She was instrumental in helping Kenny groom and present his first BIS winner, Ch. Bayard Believe It Or Not RJr (Ripley). Fran- ces came to visit and spent the weekend help- ing us groom Ripley. I have fond memories of visiting her home in Indianhead, Maryland, and playing with puppies. I learned how to evaluate litters, and the importance of breed hallmarks. I daresay she was the brightest dog person I ever knew. Most importantly, Fran- ces was family. We were honored to be part of her tribe. As a young college student, I joined the Catonsville KC. The late judge Melbourne T. Downing was the president of the club, and Mel appointed me show chair for our all-breed show. I learned a lot from him. At Catonsville KC meetings, I became close with the late Margery Shriver of Sheffield Pugs. Margery was a valuable mentor and dear friend. She stressed the importance of avoiding trends and focusing on the standard. The downstairs of her home was outfitted for the dogs, and I spent countless hours visiting her. She had every book and magazine about dogs! My own personal Mecca! Margery taught me the importance of appreciating your competition and losing with grace. Shortly after winning my first Best in Show with Ch. Jo-El’s Calendar Girl, she was beaten in the Variety by a puppy. While I did congratulate the winner, it was obvious I was not happy about the loss. Dur- ing the Toy Group judging, Margery invited me to sit ringside with her. She proceeded to have a candid discussion about the beautiful Variety winner, and it prompted me to take a closer look. Indeed, the exhibit was worthy of her win and Margery reminded me not to ever “believe my own press.” What a lesson!
160 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2021
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