Charles Church is a longtime Kerry owner, breeder, exhibitor, and handler and a longtime member of the US Kerry Blue Terrier Club and the KBTC of Southern California (of which he is a past president). In 1995, his Ch. Melbees Nina No Regrets tied for the all-time record of the Kerry bitch producing the most champions (16). Charles is well-respected for his contributions to the Kerry community, and is a perfect example of what a responsible breeder is all about. His story proves that bad things happen to good people. Janet Joers.
As a breeder, my worst fear has always been that one of my pups would some day end up in the pound. That's one of the reasons that I've always been extra careful in selecting homes for my pups and making sure that each one was a good match. Still, every time I learn that KBTCSC Rescue has yet another Kerry, my heart sinks. Could it be one of mine?
I happened to learn of Mickey's rescue the very day he was released from an Orange County animal shelter. One of the Rescue Coordinators-Janet Joers-told me everything she knew so far: he was estimated to be about 4 years old, correct in size, with nice color. Sex, approximate age, size, color, and the location where the dog was picked up are often the only facts available on a rescue dog; but for a breeder, it is enough.
I had two 4-year-old males and immediately called their owners. Both dogs were at home, happily living the good life. Nonetheless, I began thinking about one of "Nina's" 7-year-old male pups, Ch. Caernarvon's Duffy A-Go-Go, living with a family not of my choosing. It was a situation I'd never been comfortable about. Here's the story.
I had originally placed "Mac" in a loving home with a retired grandmother who wanted a companion. When Mac was 2 years old, she called to tell me she could no longer handle the dog. Although she remembered that our agreement stated that if the placement didn't work out, the dog was to be returned to me, she was giving Mac to her granddaughter, who loved him and wanted to obedience train him. I visited the family twice. The granddaughter was in her early teens and a delightful girl. She did, indeed, love Mac, and proudly showed me the tricks she had taught him. Obviously, she had spent considerable time training him. Her parents, on the other hand, were indifferent to the dog.
So it wasn't surprising that my thoughts drifted to Mac when I learned of the Kerry rescued from the pound. I decided to phone.
Over the next three days, I called Mac's family five times. Each time the mother heard my voice, she hung up. Finally on the sixth try, the daughter answered. I explained the reason for my call, and I heard her say, "Mom, you really need to talk with him." The mother then admitted that Mac was gone, having escaped while she was trying to bathe him (apparently outside with a garden hose). I asked why she didn't search for the dog, check the local animal shelter, or put an ad in the newspaper. Mac was trained to come, sit, stay, and down-he may have responded to those commands had someone searched for him and called his name. She was unable to answer, leading me to suspect that because the dog had health problems related to neglect (skin infections, warts, cysts, and a matted coat), he was released by the owner somewhere in Orange County. I since learned that they had stopped taking Mac to Carol's for grooming over 1 1/2 years ago. It was painfully obvious that Mac was Mickie, the rescue dog.
A call to Lisa Frankland, who was caring for Mickie, confirmed that his structure, movement, temperament, and personality matched those of Mac. KBTCSC Rescue had found my boy.
I immediately made arrangements for his transfer to my home, for settling the costs incurred, and for locating a new home. Club member Matt Subtelny, who has loved and lived with Kerries since childhood, has taken Mac to join his family, which includes his Kerry, Maggie. The best of Mac's life is just beginning.
Rescue work can be a bittersweet affair-from the heart-wrenching sight of a terribly neglected Kerry to the joyful union of a dog with his new family. But this rescue ended on a doubly sweet note-the reunion of a responsible breeder with his puppy. But to those of us in Rescue, every Kerry is one of ours.-Janet Joers.