Judging comes naturally to you?
I have no problem judging. I know what I have to do and what I am doing. The hardest part is the journey. I am lucky to have my husband who supports me. Multiple myeloma affected my spine. I feel almost completely normal, but I’ve lost 4 inches from my waist, and it’s causing problems.
Have you ever been a judge at Westminster?
Years ago when I was married to Clay, my first husband, and we went to Sweden and were judged. I also judged the Scottish Terrier specialty at Montgomery County. It’s the greatest thing in the world for terriers. When I judged Montgomery County in 2018, I had the biggest entry for the entire show. I made 135 Scottish terriers. It was phenomenal.
How important was moving to the United States to your career? How old were you when it happened?
I was 20 when I came to the United States. I trained dogs in Reanda for two years in England in the Scottish Terrier Kennel. I was never going to leave because I loved him so much. England was the land of dogs. In Germany, no one would understand what I was doing. While in England I met people from the United States as many American breeders came to the terrier kennels to watch their dogs. That’s how I met Betty Malinka, who sponsored me to come to the United States. It was a very important decision for my career.
When did you get your first dog and what breed was it? Was it a terrier?
Yes. The lady I worked for, Mrs. Mayer, gave me a Scottish terrier.
What do you like about this breed?
All terriers are very intense and intelligent, but Scottish terriers are above that. They are discreet and require little maintenance. I like anything low maintenance because I feel like I’m asking for little. Scottish terriers, if you have time for them, they are fabulous. They adore him. They do everything you do, like chase a ball, but they don’t need constant attention. Many other terrier breeds are more hyperactive and require constant attention. And the Scotties aren’t like that. I think they match my character.
How long have you lived in Indio? What was the appeal of moving here?
We moved in December last year. We lived in Sun Valley, just outside of Burbank. This is where we had a kennel for 40 years. Our house was five kilometers from the kennel. We had a house on the kennel because our assistants lived there. We literally had to sell it when we realized what I had to go through because it was too much. When we decided to do my stem cell transplant at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore (for myeloma), we had to be away for two months. It was then that we decided to sell the kennel. In retrospect, it was a good time to do so, because then the pandemic arrived. Everything worked. But it almost killed me because I loved him so much.
I didn’t want to leave California because many of my clients are also my friends. They are like our dog family because everyone in our real family is in Europe. We came to this dog show in Palm Springs one day and stayed with friends of ours, Ron and Debbie Ryder. They live in a community of over 55 years. And it’s a whole new place. I said to Hans, my husband, “Wow”. And it’s basically 160 miles from where we lived. It’s doable to visit someone and still live in California. We got it and that’s how we got to Indio.
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