Around Dutchland, May, 2002

by Penny Pyrbred

The big event since our last issue was the Penn-Dutch Annual Meeting held at the Ungers' house. While billed as a "people-only" event, a number of Pyrs including Penny were in attendance at the invitation of Chelsea Unger. Chelsea (with a little help from Judy Skorup) hosted a surprise birthday party for Christy Skorup, who turned five the day before the Meeting.

Birthday girl, Christy Skorup (L), with
Fred and Chelsea Unger at Annual Meeting

Whether it was the party atmosphere (at some point every human and Pyr had to try on a party hat), or the wine that seemed to flow fairly freely, the humans seemed in a really mellow mood and they managed to conduct a lot of business, including lining up a spectacular schedule of events for the new Club year (click on "Upcoming Events" in the navigation map at the bottom of any page).

Coming up first is the Spring Walk-in-the-Woods at Lake Nockamixon. While Penny retains her prejudice for urban events, she has actually attended the last two of these forest outings and must admit she enjoyed herself. There is great food, beautiful scenery and healthy exercise.

Next, Penny is pleased to see the addition of a Fun Match to be held on June 22nd at the Gress Mountain Ranch. This is a low stress way to learn about showing in conformation (that's the beauty contest), obedience (where the humans ask the Pyrs to do all sorts of useless stuff and are amazed when the Pyrs do their own thing), and agility (where the humans chase the Pyrs through an obstacle course, trying to see who looks the most agile). There will also be a human-Pyr look-alike contest just for fun.

While there is an element of competition to all this, the point is to have fun and learn a bit about the world of showing. Perhaps a few humans who don't consider themselves "show people" might decide they would like to try one of these types of competition in a serious way, but Penny would be particularly pleased if this event gets more people to enjoy going to shows and supporting our Penn-Dutch show Pyrs and their people.

In other news, Abigail Kintsfather decided to start a new trend and spent Spring Break in Tenafly, NJ where she conducted an informal therapy visit with a couple who had recently lost their beloved Bullmastiff to lymphoma. Having read about Clondike's fight with this terrible disease, Abigail was able to relate to their pain and seemed to provide a little comfort.

Abigail Kintsfather considers a little civil disobedience.

And while on the subject of Abigail, she has been much incensed lately over the gas company's attempts to restrict her dogly activities. Judy and Dianne Skorup have long tried to convince Merlin (with little success) that there is an ordinance against barking in Telford. Well, in Topton, the gas company made it official with about 30 signs restricting barking between 6 am and 4 pm. While the signs originally referred to "parking" and some joker changed them, Abigail was NOT amused!

Getting back to official Penn-Dutch events, the Pyrenean Fun Day will be held July 20th at Oley Fairgrounds in Oley, PA and Gail Hillard has promised even more fiendishly clever canine games to accompany the great food and fellowship. Fred Unger is busy stocking up on some really cool new Pyr stuff for sale and auction which will benefit Rescue, so bring your checkbooks, your appetites, your running shoes, and of course, your Pyrs and other Canine Americans.

As a sidebar, Penny is becoming so famous that she is receiving credit cards, so expect some spirited bidding on some of her favorite items.

Fall brings the Penn-Dutch Regional Specialty to be held September 14th in conjunction with the Lehigh Valley Kennel Club's show in Macungie, PA. We usually request an early ring time and it will be posted on Penny's Web Page and the Penn-Dutch Web site the week before the show. Penny hopes lots of Penn-Dutchies will come out to support our Penn-Dutch competitors and welcome our out-of-town guests.

There will be a variety of other activities which will be discussed in more detail in future issues, culminating in the Penn-Dutch Holiday Party, which will be held December 7th in the fantastic facilities at Lancaster Central Park.

On a sadder note, with this issue we mark the passing of two Penn-Dutchies, one canine and one human. Gail and Ethel lost Miss T, one of the last of the Penn-Dutch founding Pyrs. She will be missed and we extend our sympathies to her family.

Both Penn-Dutch and Pyr lovers everywhere lost an institution with the passing of Honorary Member C. Seaver Smith, Jr. on April 15th. Seaver and his wife, Edith, founded Quibbletown Kennels which dominated the show scene throughout the 1950's and much of the 1960's.

Penny was privileged to have met Seaver at the GPCA National Specialty in Frederick, MD in 1997, where he shared an excellent lunch and a wealth of information about the breed. Even though Seaver was the conformation judge at the Specialty, this was all quite proper because Penny is a journalist and not a show dog. Seaver was a true gentleman and will be greatly missed by Pyrs and their people all over the world.

That's all for now, but Penny hopes to see lots of Penn-Dutch Pyrs and their people at all of the exciting events coming up this Club year. See you soon.

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