Barbara Fournier: Bethways

Barbara Fournier: Bethways2018-04-06T09:40:27+00:00

I started with Kedron Cobblers Biscuit given to me by my friend Elizabeth Spykman in 1950.  For the most part I learned by doing — actual experience showing and a long learning process.  Puppy training was easy.  It is natural for a Norwich or Norfolk to trot alone beside you.  In the early days I would take pups to obedience classes to socialize.  Though I didn’t know the breed it didn’t take long to become fully devoted.  Four to six dogs would go along to participate only in the stand for examination.  Sometimes I would take six to eight to a show (entry fees were only $5.00 then) all by myself.  At ringside I had everyone I knew and didn’t know helping me switch numbers.  I don’t know how I managed because just exercising them four times daily for fifteen minutes accounted for eight hours!

Catherine Thayer, Club secretary in 1950, took a look at Brigham Young, my first champions at the Eastern Dog Show.  She couldn’t do much for him that day, but she gave me some valuable advice.  I can remember Sylvia Warren sitting on the benches massaging ears to help them drop and Mrs. Bedford with her knitting or her typewriter.  And of course there were the handlers – Len Brumbley, Tom Gately.  A handler by the name of Jack Warren gave me my first tips on grooming.  Looking back I believe we had to work hard at breeding out bad mouths, mainly undershot with missing teeth.  Monorchids seemed to stem from imports.  There were a few normal breeding problems, but puppy loss was minimal, and I have had fewer than a dozen Cesareans in all my years of breeding Norfolk.

I almost concerned with breeders or exhibitors not recognizing existing problems that their dog might have.  There have been some great dogs in the past, as there are today, however there are those of poorer quality that should not be promoted in the show ring.  Now with ease of transportation and other advances it is possible to carry on a careful line for breeding program without maintaining a large kennel. Selecting the right home for the right dog is most important and can often secure the future of the breeds.  Perhaps the best suggestion I can make to the newcomer is to acquire the best Norfolk or Norwich whose qualities adhere to the Standard.  It is no longer necessary for anyone who really has the desire to breed good dogs to start with one that is mediocre.