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I Was There For The Golden Years: Stanley D. Petter, Jr.

Taken from the archives of The Canine Chronicle Read more at: August 2012

By Amy Fernandez

Named as AKC’s Hound Breeder of the Year in 2007, Stanley D. Petter, Jr. is celebrated for importing and breeding quality Greyhounds under the Hewly prefix. But outside of the dog fancy, he is acknowledged as one of the world’s most astute bloodstock agents. “I grew up showing saddle horses and recently someone asked me if I would do it over again.” Without hesitation he says, “I would do the horses in a minute. But, after seeing the sport at its zenith, I would not get into dogs today.”

Petter’s involvement in Greyhounds began in the early 1950s. His peers and mentors included some of the dog world’s immortal names. First among these were the amazing women of Andelys, Barbara Fallass and her daughter Susan Mason. Petter met them at his first GCA specialty. Although Susan Mason was at the top of the game and he was a rank novice, their shared appreciation for quality animals led to an immediate friendship. “Susie and I often talked about how important it was to understand horses in order to understand dogs. That is where you really get into the basics of form and function.” And he happily confesses that, “I was horse crazy when I hatched, and I have been horse crazy ever since.”

Born and raised in Paducah, Kentucky, Petter learned dogs and livestock breeding from his father and grandfather. At age six, his grandfather surprised him with his first horse. “He didn’t believe in ponies. He brought home this old gray work mare.” He had to climb up her leg to get on, but he had a horse. At age 11, he was upgraded to his first really nice horse. “He was sent to Helen Crabtree, the country’s best equitation trainer for Saddlebreds. She saw to it that I learned to ride him.” He began riding competitively and horses became the center of his social world and convenient transportation during the war years. “As I got older and wanted to go to town, I couldn’t drive because of gas rationing. So I rode my horse.” Petter fondly recalls riding all over western Kentucky with groups of friends. “In those days, no one worried about us, not until we started dating. Then my mother worried plenty.”

At 18, Petter became an English major at the University of Virginia. He spent his spare time foxhunting and capitalizing on his horse sense “buying hunters, slicking them up and selling them at a profit.” But he admits that he was totally out of his depth when it came to Greyhounds. “My first one was a track dog, which I received as a gift. I dragged that around the shows for a while.” Through the grapevine, he heard about a beautiful bitch, available for the freight charges from Chicago. This turned out to be Canyon Crest Coronation, bred by Margaret Bagshaw.

Bagshaw’s start in Greyhounds came in 1941 when Percy Roberts sold her Ch. Giralda’s White Knight. Imported by Geraldine Dodge in 1938, he was sired by Am. Eng. Ch. King of Trevarth out of Parcancady Girlie. Bagshaw also utilized Mardormere, Foxden and Montpelier stock, which traced back to the same rock solid Cornwall bloodlines. Petter says this was typical of most breeding programs. “There were very few dogs available back then. AKC registered about 60 Greyhounds per year. No one shipped bitches for breeding. Stud dogs were completely regional.” And British imports were the cornerstone of American Greyhound development. In 1953 Bagshaw’s import Ch. Viverdon Staffarella whelped a bitch puppy named in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation that year.

Petter admits that the deal sounded too good to be true. “Cory had been sold to Dr. Ralph A. Logan, a very well-heeled Chicagoan.” Logan was ahead of his time, indulging himself by randomly purchasing top show dogs and leaving their care to kennel managers and professional handlers. Cory, reportedly, didn’t get along with Logan’s kennelman. So, $34 dollars later she was in a freight car headed for Virginia. “I was there at the train station at 2:00 AM, anxious to see my shiny new dog. She arrived in a big box, not a proper dog crate. I opened the door and she shot out of there and was gone.” Petter dashed outside to find a cop sitting idly in his car. “I jumped in and told him to chase her.” (Imagine the fate of the average citizen who impulsively jumped into a police car today). “He was bored and happy to have something do.” Petter and the officer eventually cornered her between two buildings. “This would have been a very different story if he hadn’t been parked there.

Read more at: August 2012

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=3573

Posted by on Apr 25 2020. Filed under Current Articles, Dog Show History, Featured, In The Spotlight, Remembering Our Past?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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