Page 190 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 190

                Breeder Interview : Barbara Miller, Max-Well Norfolk Terriers... BY ALLAN REZNIK continued
    calls later we drove to New York City, rang a doorbell, the door opened and a four- month-old ragamuffin jumped at us. We shared the cost of the pup and took him home. He lived with my friend and her family. Her son called him Max. A few nights thereafter, my husband and I, along with my friend and her husband, attended a basketball game at the Garden. Afterwards we had hamburgers at the eatery of the moment. It was just a good omen; the dog’s name was Max and we were eating at Max- well’s Plum. I bought a female and in due time, met another Wheaten owner, namely Jackie Gottlieb (Cindy Vogel’s mother). Wheatens were in the Miscellaneous Class but nevertheless we began showing them. Having litters was great and introducing the breed to others was particularly interesting and rewarding. As a teacher of the Second Grade, once in a while I would take a pup to class, with permission of the principal. The kids would write stories and draw pictures about their time with the pup. Jackie and I, and a few others, decided to form a club of which I was selected president, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Metro- politan New York. I said yes to the presi- dency as long as Jackie made brownies for our meetings. I also served as the treasurer of the National club. In 1973 I found myself going down the road of a divorce and the Wheatens were being accepted to full regis- try at AKC. There was lots going on in my life while I had to concentrate on a future for my three kids and me.
One day I was visiting Jack Simm at his home in Glen Head. Jack was a han- dler, groomer and, eventually, an AKC judge. Running around his enclosed court- yard was an adorable, little red dog that I referred to as a “cute mutt.” I was informed this friendly little guy was a Norwich Ter- rier drop ear. The discussion continued and I further learned the one with ears up was a Norwich Terrier prick ear. At the time Jack
was the private handler for Mrs. Phillip (Elizabeth) Fell, breeder of both ear types. I pleaded with Jack to let me know when the little guy was bred as I would love a Norwich drop ear. The rest is history. Mrs. Streibert’s bitch delivered a litter of three bitches. When they were ready for viewing I collected my six-year-old son and headed to her house. I had never owned a small dog, and therefore, called an obstetrician friend of mine—don’t laugh!—to ask why I was able to deliver three children with ease, yet had heard that many small breeds, especially the prick-ear Norwich, needed C-sections in order to have pups? The three little girls were running around the floor on antique carpet relieving themselves when- ever and wherever necessary. My son played with them while I looked only at rear ends. I selected the pup that, from pelvic bone to pelvic bone, was the widest. And from that wonderful day to this, none of my Norwich drop ear, now Norfolk Terriers, have ever needed a C-section. Max-Well’s Rum Rai- son, as she was named, was as long as a train with drop ears down to her chin. Certainly not the epitome of a Norfolk. She did have a perfect scissor bite and a delightful per- sonality. With many pedigrees before me and not knowing one breeding line from another, I decided to breed Raison to an imported stud dog of Mrs. Fell’s. I bred her to a dog that had perfect ears and a prop- er length of back. In one breeding I fixed her “problems.”
It was 1975, I believe, that I took the plunge and visited kennels in the United Kingdom. Having been to London sev- eral times I found the bucolic countryside of England breathtaking. Ahead of time I wrote letters—no Internet yet, no email yet, just plain old stationery, stamps, and even- tually phone calls to the breeders. Each wel- comed me not only to visit their dogs and kennels but they extended welcoming stays in their homes. I was in heaven. I needed
to learn about the prick ear Norwich in the United Kingdom and drop ear Norfolk, and there was no place better to do that than in the country of origin. I flew into London’s Heathrow, cleared customs and headed for the taxi stand. Driving to my hotel of choice I made mental notes checking Brit- ish phone numbers and addresses of those I would visit in the next ten days. The Ick- worth kennel of Norwich Terriers and Shei- la Monckton was my first stop. It blew my mind. I had met Sheila at the Fells’ home in Oyster Bay and found her to be this nice lady who invited me to visit her. Never did I think she lived in a mansion equivalent to a Whitney or a Rockefeller. The grounds sur- rounding the manor house went on forever. The Norwich prick ear pups were huddled in a whelping box next to the AGA keep- ing more than warm in this tremendous kitchen... think Downton Abbey. With my camera in tow we went to a Norwich and Norfolk open show where I was introduced to many breeders. Seeing all the dogs and educating my eye was more than I could have dreamed of. Sheila was a very impor- tant patron of the Royal Agricultural Show, what Americans would refer to as a county fair. Her estate was a history lesson in itself. Hanging in her vast dining room was a painting I instantly recognized as a George Stubbs but the subject was a horse and rider, not a dog. The rider was her husband’s rela- tive and the painting was to go on loan to Yale University.
From Sheila Monckton’s I visited May Marshall who, if memory prevails, was the president of the Norfolk Terrier Club in the United Kingdom. From manor house to normal. May was the kennel maid for Sheila Macfie, caring for her numerous Norfolk. Macfie is the one who actually perpetuated the drop ear and red coat color. Another his- tory lesson in the breed. May’s Ravenwood Norfolk were bred in the house, slept in the house and whelped in the house. Their play >
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