EARLY HISTORY

In April 2000, a few local Cardigan fanciers met at Sisterwood Kennels for the purpose of forming a regional club; long overdue in an area known for its whole-hearted support of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. After a brief informal meeting, it was agreed the name of the fledgling club would be THREE TRAILS CARDIGAN WELSH CORGI CLUB OF KANSAS CITY, commemorating the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon Trails which played an important part in the history of the Kansas City area. At the third meeting of the club, in June 2000, it was decided to publish a quarterly newsletter. Plans were set in motion for a club website sometime in 2001, and after a few setbacks, it finally did appear, in February of 2002.

A Tribute to Norma Chandler

Norma Chandler obtained her first Cardigan in 1962 by happenstance through her physician's office when their Irish Setter had jumped the fence and was killed by a car. Her doctor happened to be Dr. Stacey, the breeder of Ch Iechyd Da of Brymore. Her foundation bitch was a tricolor sound and solid girl named Shady Lady. Norma soon learned Cardigan fanciers were few and far between in the mid-west. Because of her innate gift as an artist, Norma was instinctively drawn to beautiful, typed Cardigans. She was self-taught yet developed an incredible eye for excellent type anyway. Through her passion for the breed and her delightful charm, Norma soon earned friends from coast to coast.

In the 1960s, the Kansas City Heart of America Kennel Club dog show was one of America's most prestigious shows and Norma invited any and all to come to Kansas City each March. She provided food and lodging and it is to her credit she many times drew together the largest entry of the breed after the national specialty. Norma loved all dogs and enjoyed people immensely and if she didn't care for someone there was always a good reason for her reticence. Both Norma's mother and sister, Sandi Hutchins, were also drawn into this web of Cardigandom and all made contributions toward the breed over the decades. Few know a blue merle bitch her mother bred, Ch Glenjoy Blue Patches, is behind most of the blue merles in the country. (Only in her later years did Norma put her kennel name on her dogs - she long felt buyers should be able to name their dogs, so many dogs they bred did not bear their names.)

I met Norma as a teenager and quickly became an avid student. I poured over her English yearbooks, American yearbooks, and photographs of famous and not-so-famous dogs from kennels across the country and the UK. Norma loved to talk and I loved to listen and my greatest joy through many teen years was a two-hour weekly phone conversation with her as she recounted dogs of the past. Even in her older years, I always got a sparkle when I would see Norma at the National specialty, purse over her arm, walking briskly, smiling broadly from ear to ear - absolutely in her element. She was in her purest heaven amidst the Cardigan crowd. Despite cancer which robbed her of her health, mobility, hair, and eventually memory, Norma wanted most to talk about Cardigans and hoped to get well again and go to yet one more dog show; nothing could remove her passion for the breed. Norma left a gorgeous trove of artwork and I can only say I was always disappointed she did not focus on her art more seriously. She had a large family and a loving husband and possessed both a passion and a talent few can even imagine. While I miss calling up Norma I never feel sorry for her. She lived a long life doing what she truly wanted to do. And she did it with utter class and with an unshakable commitment to the highest ethics. The rest of us should be so lucky.

by Jon Kimes