I was always interested in all kinds of animals. As a child, the house was filled with hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, turtles and an occasional rabbit or chicken. Since we lived in an apartment on the fourth floor, my chickens disappeared when they started to crow. My parents told me they went to a farm. Hmmmmm.
While attending college, I decided to save up my lunch money and buy a purebred dog. The apartment complex didn’t allow dogs. That didn’t stop me. What could be better than the “barkless” Basenji? Well, in 1966, a little female pup joined my previously quiet household. The humming of my hamster’s wheel and soft chirping of Petey the Parakeet was now drowned out by the chortles, wails and not so rare screams of my active African addition. For a long time, the neighbors didn’t know I had a dog. They just thought someone was being murdered in the apartment on a weekly basis.
My show career also began in 1966 and still goes on to this day. I was given a second Basenji as a wedding present, and put a CD on him and a German Shepherd we added to the group. A number of Basenji Champions under the kennel name “Rehwald” followed.
Around 1976, I obtained an AKC Professional Handler’s License and was approved to show 12 breeds. Soon after, AKC did away with licensing. I was never that interested in pursuing handling as a career, so while I did finish several dogs for others, my main interest was always my own pets and my breeding program.
In addition to the Basenjis and Shepherds, I also dabbled in Italian Greyhounds, Great Danes, and a couple of other breeds. As time went on, I became more interested in Whippets and decided to concentrate on this lovely breed.
I continued for many years with Whippets, but bad knees severely curtailed my ability to gait them properly in the show ring.
I still wanted to show my dogs though, and Chihuahuas have turned out to be the perfect retirement breed-welcome to Tivoli Chihuahuas!