Yesterday I walked Miles to the mailbox and dropped a birthday card in for my friend Sharon, who would be turning 80 soon. A few hours later, Keith (Sharon’s best friend and long-time partner for Shaireab’s Bayleigh Welsh Terriers, now Bayleigh Welsh Terriers) called me to tell me that Sharon had passed away peacefully in her home. I felt a wave of disbelief and sadness. It always feels like we will have more time with those we love. At the same time, my mind flooded with warm thoughts of who Sharon was.
Sharon Abmeyer has left a great legacy in the world of Welsh Terriers, having bred nearly 100 champions and countless beloved companion Welsh Terriers. Her understanding of structure was fascinating. She had a visual eye and could pinpoint the most minute nuances in gait and movement. She had a talent that is one-of-a-kind.
In 2012 as an unknown dog trainer, I was nominated for a prestigious training article award. I didn’t have the resources to go to NYC to attend the Dog Writers Association of America Banquet, so I asked Sharon if she would go in my place. To my surprise she agreed and ended up going to the banquet, not knowing a soul! She sat there for hours upon hours, unsure if I would even win! That was the kind of friend Sharon was. She celebrated my first Maxwell Award with me with immense excitement that made me feel so special.
Over the years, we shared some tears of sadness, and far more tears of joy. Sharon was the kindest person I have ever met. Sharon was a cheerleader of my endeavors with Miles no matter what they were, or no matter how we did. I remember breathlessly giving Miles treats after an agility run last December and Sharon said, “Seeing an owner cherish and love one of my dogs for years and years, that is all I can ask for as a breeder.” She knew what was important in life: respect, humor, passion, hard work, and love.
When people talk about choosing a dog breeder, they often say to me, “It doesn’t really matter as long as I get a good dog.” I can’t tell you what it feels like to have your dog’s breeder, the one who held your dog as a puppy, many years later see that dog with you and feel pride and joy for that relationship. It meant everything to me.
Sharon and Miles at Westminster in NYC
Keith, Sharon and me at AKC Nationals and Agility Invitationals in Orlando FL
Sharon and I right after one of Miles and my agility runs