I had been showing them only for a couple years but I had been highly successful. The breed, Wire Fox Terriers, is high maintenance. I had taken a liking to the personality and had a pet, with her was told she was so beautiful she could have won a show had she not had a tail cropped too short.
She had a litter, and that's where it began. Her first litter produced Dixie, "Fielden's Southern Star" and her second produced Gabe, "Fielden's Little Rebel."
These were colored ginger, which means they did not have the traditional black saddle, in face there was no black at all in the traditionally tri-colored, black, white, tan coats. The dogs were colored tan and white, only. I likened the color to that of what used to be rare in years past, an apricot colored poodle.
Because they were so successful in local shows, I took them to the larger terrier show in Pennsylvania where I was approached by someone with a camera who photographed them saying the photos would be published in a European magazine.
My first dog friend from Matthews, NC was Walter S. "Bud" Samples, a neighbor. He had taught me a lot about showing dogs. My children were about to leave the nest so, to me, this was a fun hobby. Then we moved to Georgia. I began to accumulate animals and with the two litters, sold the pups as pets to very well screened homes.
After the relocation to Georgia, Bud, seeing the potential in my animals said, "Get in touch with Dorothea Carvellas. She used to be one of the best groomers for Wire Fox Terriers." I did that. Dorothea was an elderly lady who'd given much of her life to these dogs. She had several older dogs at the house who were retired, and in exchange for her expertise, I would visit her home in Stockbridge from time-to-time groom her dogs and get her expertise on grooming WFT's.
It was odd when one day I received a call from Dorothea. "Hi! I'm at your husband's office and I brought you a birthday cake!" She was so old and decrepit how could she even walk? How did she find his office? And what prompted her to make such a trip? She had never met him before, and never planned to meet him. She was tied to some of the top terrier handlers in the country and often bragged about Peter Green and how he would show her dogs for free. It was the strangest call I have ever received. I have wondered many times since what was discussed in that office besides birthdays. My husband never invited ME to his office. I believe I was there once. So how could he have a decrepit old lady there?
This happened soon before our divorce, and we had also taken a trip to Florida and on the way back stopped at Parrish, Florida and visited with Jim Coutts where I picked up two WFT's, one for me and one for Tony Johnson, a North Carolina breeder. The entire trip, my daughter sat beside her father in the car and I was in the back seat. It was odd. Very odd.
I also had given a WFT pup to a friend, Douglas Beard of Kennesaw, Ga. Doug was a friend and watercolor teacher I'd met through the parks department. He had worked for the Weather Channel before becoming disabled. After I left Georgia I heard that Doug had started breeding the dogs and was working with Rick Chashoudian, a breeder from Louisiana and judge for the AKC. And then a few years later I heard from a distance that all of Doug Beard's dogs had been confiscated and that the event had even been broadcast on CNN.
Never able to confirm it, it was puzzling to me that mine had also been confiscated in Georgia by the local dog pound.
Who wanted these dogs so badly? When I returned to Kentucky, I had rescue people after them through my attorney and even street thugs said, "I want those dogs." It was known that a person can't be living on the run with dogs. They don't board well in motel rooms. I had heard stories of people with show dogs who had gotten divorces and were in a terrible mess because of it, so it gave anyone who wanted the dogs leverage.
It wasn't long before I received a threat from Paulding County. There was no abuse but the county attorney wanted it to appear that way, so they put it in writing, surely I figured, to protect their interests.
I had been offered $2,000.00 for Gabe at a show and turned it down. Mine were pets and the few pups I ever had were sold to well-screened pet homes. I didn't much like the show dog world after I got into it but hadn't planned on leaving it so soon and in such a traumatic way as I had been forced to.
So who wanted the dogs so badly?
Nell Stumpff, a breeder of Cairn terriers, had worked with my husband to have me incarcerated. She had pretended to be a friend, gave me a place to stay in the separation period and it was a great place because it had runs for the dogs under the apartment. I paid well for it and in fact, Bud Samples had helped build it.
He had moved from N.C. to Georgia having nowhere to go after his divorce and Nell had been kind to him as well. In return for his inability to pay for board he did construction and helped her with her dogs. She'd given him a trailer to live in out behind the kennel apartment I would later rent. When Bud collapsed on her property one day, Sandy Goldschmitt who was also a tenant of Nell's told Betty Jo Calhoun, a neighbor, that Nell had watched Bud lay on the ground for a while before she picked up her cell phone to dial 911.
I was told Nell had pulled fencing belonging of Bud's and his boat elsewhere, and searched his belongings before Bud's estranged wife was able to get there.
I learned of these things after Nell did all that she'd done to me.
To be continued......