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Looking Around With Lee – The Golden Years

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222 – August 2019

By Lee Canalizo

Many years ago Long Island, New York was the Gold Coast of top-notch dog kennels, dog clubs and exceptional breeders. Fanciers with momore than sufficient funds housed many, many of their chosen breed together and they had the kennel help to manage such large endeavors. Those major operations are virtually gone now. Michael might have been the last of the “exclusive kennel managers” of this type. I’m not sure who houses 30-50 dogs with a full staff in what is now a highly urban area.

Prominent breeders of the day that were based on Long Island were producing outstanding Greyhounds, Collies, Golden Retrievers, Poodles and many Terrier breeds. Desi Murphy’s uncle was part of that era, as was the Brumby family and Jack Sims. When Jack chose to retire from managing the Badge Wood kennels of Betty Fell in the early ‘70s, Michael applied for his position! (I think Phillip Fell got nervous when Mike pulled onto the grounds in a black Corvette for the interview!)

Many of the financially comfortable, dedicated dog folks regularly held Match shows on their estates. One member was Mrs. Tabler who hosted a Long Island KC Match on her estate, and today her son Bill is still a very active member of LIKC! It was a wonderful time for anyone who was starting out in puredbred dogs. There were beautiful venues, dedicated fanciers, mentors, etc.

Roger Rechler revitalized the Grandeur Kennels on the North Shore and the Grandeur Picnic Match became a highlight of the year for the local fanciers. The Westfield kids, the Proctor kids, the Voorhees kids were just a few of the families raised in this environment and they are still major figures in today’s dog sport. That speaks volumes about the generation that fostered them.

The kennel clubs of the time were another wonderfully bright spot in the history of our sport. My kennel club membership at this time included Westbury Kennel Assn., Suffolk County K.C. Bronx County KC, Queensboro KC and, of course, my breed clubs. These clubs presented top quality dog shows to the fancy, with highly respected, successful judges, and the trophies were usually outrageous. Winning one of these trophies was difficult and retiring one of these treasures after a series of wins was a feat with which to aspire. Westbury was an outstanding show, and is considered one of the top venues to this day. I was a member. I was invited at the time by Mrs. Ramona Van Court Jones who was a major figure in the sport as an outstanding breeder and judge. Our show was outdoors and benched, under huge tents, with all the bells and whistles to make it a lovely, somewhat glamorous event. I remember there were special tents for the Ladies and Gents restrooms, complete with a nice person to fulfill your hygienic needs. There was fresh water and linen hand towels! It’s not exactly what we see today!

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222 – August 2019

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