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Table Talk · November 6, 2019

It was great to be “back home” at the dog shows in Ft. Wayne this past weekend! I was thrilled to see so many friends that I don’t see much anymore. With an entry of almost 1100 on the largest day–which also happened to be the largest entry in the country for the weekend–the Old Fort Cluster Committee always puts on a great show! This committee, in my opinion, has done a terrific job keeping their members involved, and as a result, the show is very well run. This year’s cluster is the last time that Roy Jones Dog Shows will superintend the cluster, as the company is closing and will no longer be superintending shows after January 2020. With judging starting at 9 AM every day, Best In Show judging was still completed by 5-5:30 PM! What a welcome, but rare occurrence! Kudos to everyone involved.

John Lyons was taken to the hospital via ambulance from the Fort Wayne shows on Sunday. In true “dog family” fashion, fanciers pitched in to care for Kristin’s dogs while she accompanied John to the hospital. Thanks to everyone who pitched in to help!

Nina Fetter is closing in on the end of her professional handling career. The end of November will be Nina’s last shows as a professional handler. She now embarks upon a new chapter in her life by opening a show superintending company in an effort to satisfy a need she sees in our sport. While we will not see Nina running left-handed circles after December 1, we will see her “behind the desk” as she provides superintending services under the name Executive Dog Shows.

Nina showed her first dog, a Cocker Spaniel named Peanuts, when she was just six years of age. She has been involved in the sport of purebred dogs for over 50 years, piloting many dogs to multiple Best In Show honors. Nina is well known for the excellent rapport she has with her dogs, and while I am sure everyone, including me, will miss seeing her in the ring, we can all enjoy her talents in her new capacity as show superintendent! Please join me in wishing Nina well in the future.

I was very sorry to hear that former AKC Executive Field Representative and Collie Fancier Bill Holbrook passed away. He will be sorely missed by the fancy. We wish to express our sincere condolences to Bill’s family and friends at this sad time.

Toy Fancier Mark Berkel also passed away this past week. Mark was loved by all who knew him and will leave yet another hole in the sport. Our thoughts are with Mark’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Nearly 300 friends and family joined the McFadden family to celebrate the life of Bill and Taffe’s older son, Keegan McFadden, last week. Once again, the overwhelming attendance at the bonfire and gathering held at Camanche North Shore in Northern California is a true testament to the close-knit relationships that our sport enjoys. Anyone wishing to honor Keegan can make a donation to Take the Lead ( in his honor.

Happy Anniversary to lovebirds Harry and Lisa Miller! May the two of you enjoy many more, happy years together. Also celebrating a wedding anniversary this week is show photographers Brian and Betsy Kurtis. We wish you a Happy 41st wedding anniversary, my friends. May the two of you continue to prosper and enjoy health and happiness in the years to come.

Congratulations to Vicki-Seiler Cushman on becoming a “glamma”!! The much-anticipated birth of her first granddaughter, Lilliana Jade Widmer, has finally come! Best wishes to Mom and Dad, Courtney and Erich Widmer, on the birth of their first child on November 1, 2019!

Elizabeth Salewsky has returned to two things she loves–showing dogs and being a police officer. Elizabeth was on a several month hiatus after rotator cuff surgery.

I hear David Haddock and Evalyn Gregory were off to Japan on a judging assignment. Safe travels back to the states, my friends!

Celebrating birthdays this week are: Peter Green, Lee Whittier, Becca Pentecost, Chris Manelopoulos, Hal Bierman, David Williams, Ernesto Lara, Linda Hurlebaus, Jim Noe, Lynne Boyle, Betsy Michels and Julie Parker.

I leave you this week with a thought so eloquently put by Risky Molnar: “Today will never come again. Be a blessing. Be a friend. Encourage someone. Take time to care. Let your words heal, and not wound.”

Don’t forget! I’d love to hear from those who are interested in participating in our breed priorities segments in either Orlando or New York. In addition, I would love to hear your thoughts about segments that you feel would be interesting to the fancy.

Be safe out there, my friends! If you are going to be in Tucson, AZ for the second set of shows the week of November 12th, stop by the Purina booth and say Hi!!! Until next time…

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  • June 2020