ANTA's membership is comprised of a variety of people representing virtually all facets of dog ownership. The thing that holds us together is our mutual love of the Norfolk Terrier. Among us we have people who have one Norfolk and people who have ... hmmm ... lots of Norfolks. We have people who have owned the breed 30 or more years, and some who are enjoying their very first Norfolk puppy. Some of us compete in conformation or performance activities, and many simply enjoy the companionship of these delightful little dogs.
Among our members we have teachers and veterinarians and artists. Accountants and trainers of animal actors. We're self-self employed and retired and members of professional organizations. We're stay-at-home moms and dads and people who travel the globe for business. As a group we are surprisingly diverse, yet very much the same.
In this issue of ANTIC we profile two of our newly elected officers. They are President Lori Pelletier and Secretary Cathie Heimbach.
Each of them, as well as countless other members of the extended Norfolk family of owners, speaks of the influence that Joan Read had on their foray into Norfolk ownership. At any ANTA gathering, sooner or later the talk turns to Joan.
It has been 14 years since her passing, and it occurs to me that many of our newer members may know of her only from what they have heard via the anecdotes of older ANTA members.
For those of you who may not realize just who she was, or why we speak of her so often and with such passion, following is an excerpt from an ANTIC article published shortly after her death in April of 1995.
Joan R. Read
"This unique lady's many triumphs were tempered by the tragedy she had endured, including the premature deaths of her daughter Sheila and her husband, Curtis. She had battled polio and its after effects for years. But where others would have faltered, she marched on with wit and tenacity and class. In the end, even in death, it was her spirit that prevailed."
Although most ANTA members knew Joan through her Norfolk and Norwich Terriers, her first love was the Labrador Retriever. A long-time breeder of Labradors, she was present at both the first Labrador Retriever field trial held in this country in 1931, and the first Labrador specialty show in 1933. Over the years, she had bred many Labrador champions and at the time of her death one of her favorite house dogs was Jenny, a black Lab bred by her daughter, Barbara Ege."
Joan was also an avid horsewoman. Though polio ended her riding career, for may years she was the guiding hand behind the Meadow Brook Hounds Pony Club and it was with considerable pride that she saw one of her pony club graduates, Tad Coffin, win the 1976 Olympic gold medal in three-day eventing."
When the AKC granted the Norfolk Terrier recognition as a separate breed in 1979, and the Norwich and Norfolk Terrier Club voted not to give the breed its own parent club, Joan rallied an intrepid crew of Norfolk owners to create ANTA. Designed as an educational organization with the primary purpose of encouraging the sporting spirit of this feisty little terrier, ANTA welcomed all who loved the breed regardless of whether their dogs were titled champions or "just" beloved house pets. Through Joan's guiding hand, ANTA has grown to a place in the world of purebred dogs that is the envy of many breed clubs."
Decidedly and avowedly independent of all other canine organizations, ANTA was Joan's lasting gift to its membership."
"... Whether she was in the ring evaluating sporting dogs, Norwich or Norfolk Terriers; writing the breed history or producing one of her invaluable pedigree books; or talking on the phone with one of the countless people who sought her advice and council, Joan was indefatigable. She especially liked helping newcomers and she delighted in arranging the adoption of just the right puppy by just the right owner. She was generous beyond measure and on more than one occasion saw to it that a special dog ended up with a special person sans financial consideration."
The late George Bragaw, Shookstown Labrador Retrievers, once said his only goal in Labradors was 'to earn the respect of Joan Read.' This simple statement sums up the goals of many of us in Norfolk, Norwich and Labradors to this day.
In the following profiles, you will see how important Joan was to two of our newest officers, Lori Pelletier and Cathie Heimbach.
Those of us who knew her still miss Joan, but somewhere she must be smiling down at 'her little club' ... The American Norfolk Terrier Association ... and all the enthusiasm and dedication its members bring to their favorite breed of dog.
ANTIC, March, 2009
Back to Articles Index
Back to Home Page