Kathy Kreeger and Family

Kathy Kreeger. Before I start: the first part of this story is relying on the memories of my dad & myself from roughly 30 years ago so I’m not guaranteeing anything! If there are any Australians reading this who can correct me (or knew some of the people concerned) – I’d love to hear from you.

My interest in whippets dates way, way back to the late 1960s (when I was a mere child – honest!). When I asked my dad why he got a whippet he said it was to go hare hunting. He bought a whippet named Flip from Jack Williams, who was a show judge at the time. He didn’t come with papers or anything but I guess something about him sparked an interest in my folks because they decided to get into showing. Considering the fact that they were only ‘in’ whippets for a few years, my dedication to them has been quite astounding. Anyway, my folks had some friends called Kenny & Ruth Turner, who apart from showing whippets also raced pigeons, which is probably how they all got to know each other.



Kathy and brother Glen in 1969 with whippet Honey

My dad bought three whippets from Mari Waddell who lived in Inverell in northern New South Wales. She had apparently bought a lot of the Always whippets from the UK. Her kennel name was Waddelli and from her we got Waddelli Rebecca Girl (Becky) who I believe was a fawn, Waddelli Black Magic (Peter) who was black and Waddelli Time and Tide (Timmy) who was brown. Timmy came the closest to getting his Australian Championship, he was only a few points short. From what Dad remembers, they didn’t show Peter much & Becky refused to be lead in the ring. She would be fine at home but put her in a show ring and she just dug in her heels.
In about 1972 we moved from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and sold the dogs we had except Becky. Becky had had two litters and one of pups, Yulangor Tribal Girl (Honey) I believe did okay showing with whoever had bought her. Can’t tell you anything about the rest. One of my best memories of Becky are from after the move, when my grandmother would visit. She and Becky both liked the same chair and it was quite a battle of wills as to who would actually sit in it. We lost Becky in about 1974, from heart worm or hook worm – I can’t remember.



Top is Sam the mutt and Holly
Bottom Left is Holly and Right is Agnes

We were dogless for the next few years until about 1979 when we moved to a new house and got a puppy from Margaret and Len Bright, who we had known through whippets for many years. They lived in Mt Gravatt in Brisbane & had the most spectacular house – it seemed to me back then that it was full of whippet things – statues and pictures and trophies. The puppy we got from them was Bruno, I’ve no idea of their kennel name but I seem to recall that he won best whippet puppy and best puppy overall at the Brisbane Exhibition. We didn’t show him and he happily lived on the couch for many years.
I moved to Sydney in 1982 and didn’t have a dog of my own again until 1992. However, during that time if ever I was in a book store I would head to the pet section and read every one of those ‘choosing your dog’ type books & read about whippets. The closest I came to owning one was when I saw one as the ‘dog of the week’ from the animal shelter in the newspaper and went so far as to call my folks to see if they’d take him, only to call the shelter and find he already had a home. To me, back then, whippets were rare and I just couldn’t imagine there’d be a pile of people ready to help him out.




Top is Agnes & Luke
Bottom left is Holly and Agnes on the run and right is Holly in late 1992 (My very own whippet)

In 1992 I married an American and moved to Kansas. At Thanksgiving (while still living with my in-laws) we went to the local shelter and adopted Sam the mutt, who is the most mellow dog on the face of the planet. Then, as a Christmas present for me, he commissioned his sister to get me a whippet puppy. Now, my sister in law owns, trains and shows goldens in obedience (and also did some confirmation handling when she lived in California) and wouldn’t normally go within 100 miles of a puppy mill. However she was on a tight time line and ended up at a puppy broker in Glen Elder in northern Kansas where she got me Holly.
When you consider the dogs on her pedigree it is kind of sad to realize that no matter what kind of efforts responsible breeders take, some of their dogs don’t end up in the best of circumstances. Four generations back there are several Sporting Fields dogs (including Clansman) then some Wheeling and Cajen dogs before you get to her parents, who weren’t champions and were probably just ‘breeding stock’. Anyway, Holly is a wonderful, wonderful dog and I love her dearly. For those of you who were at the National in Greensburg and saw the veteran 7 – 10 bitches, we were there. If you found yourself looking at them and thinking, boy what’s that tubby looking dog doing out there with all those champions – that was us. I thought that as this was her (and my!) third time in a show ring she did a pretty spectacular job – and I owe a huge vote of thanks to Patience Renzulli who helped me with showing and taught me that putting bait in my mouth wouldn’t kill me.



Holly and Kathy pretending they knew what they were doing in the 7-10 Veteran bitch class in Greensburg

 

Of course, the potato chip theory was at work and in 1998 a very pathetic looking dog was talked about on the whippet talk list – one that had turned up in a shelter in Kansas City with a very badly injured leg. This, of course, has become the nearly infamous Agnes. Libby Rice from whippet rescue in KC took her in (after many long and bitter fights with the shelter), cared for her and tended her wounds for more than a month and then gave up ‘Angel’ to us. My husband had been refering to her as Agnes the whole time, and that has stuck. Libby has told me that they are fairly certain they know who her breeder was, and that they told people who knew this person that she was in rescue, but no-one ever called about her. Their loss has been our gain, and despite a few problems with aggression (only with other dogs, never with people) she has settled in really well. She has been with us a little over two years now.
At some stage in the future (and as I write this we are in the process of moving from Charlottesville VA to just north of Lynchburg VA), when my boys are older I would like to try showing. I enjoyed the few times I’ve done it so far, though I would probably prefer to show for someone else as I don’t think I could cope with someone saying that a dog I owned wasn’t the best one there! As the next two (at least) Nationals are quite a way from here, Holly is safe from the show ring for the time being, and although I’m sure Agnes will miss the fun of the rescue parade she won’t miss the travelling and being away from home. As usual, I’ve rambled way too long. But I love my girls and can’t help boring people about them. Thanks, David, for the opportunity.
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Holly in the snow