Peggy and Peaches
The moment I took my first breath, not really, but I like to think of it that way, I was surrounded by animals - dogs in particular.
My mother, the late Claire K. Dixon or better known as Claire Knapp, was a breeder of Chow Chows, and her prefix affix was "CLAIREDALE". This came about because of her first name and the fact that her first breed was the Airedale Terrier. The prefix Clairedale can still be found behind many of the top winning Chows of the last ten years. Clairedale is now kept alive by my sister, Mrs. Ann Vojvoda, who breeds Pointers and Airedales in St. Michaels, Maryland. Her most recent winner was the lovely Airedale dog Ch. River Rogue, winner of the ATC of A Specialty five times. He is now retired.
The preceding paragraph should tell you why I said, from the moment I took my first breath it was DOGS! My mother in later years used to tease me by saying, "You were weaned by a Chow, I (meaning her) had nothing to do with it."
I grew up surrounded by this lovely breed in a home in Charleston, South Carolina, or should I say just outside of Charleston on Johns Island. Mother at that time had a kennel of from 50-60 chows, all colors, and it was such fun to help feed, clean, and do all the kennel chores. I particularly loved the puppies as they reminded me of Teddy Bears.
Clairedale was struck by heart worm, that dreaded disease, that is slowly creeping all over the country today and was almost wiped out. My mother, being terribly discouraged, decided to move and so the family (as by now my sister had arrived) moved to Red Cedar Point in Hampton Bays on Long Island, where we set up housekeeping and kennels again on 13 acres surrounded by water.
Here I learned there were other things beside dogs and because of the water I became an avid boat and fishing enthusiast and enjoyed this fishing for many years. I also had my own horse and really enjoyed this new sport. However, one does grow up and grow up I did. When I finished school mother offered me the job of manager at Clairedale, which I took willingly and spent many wonderful hours doing this job for several years. While I was manager of Clairedale I decided I would start my own kennel and with my mother's help purchased some American Cockers. I bred my first Champion in the lovely black dog Clairedale Sea Biscuit, who was quite a dog in his day.
Peggy with her mother
After I had accomplished this I felt I owed myself the right to a kennel name and after much searching and thought, I finally looked in a very large, very old, Webster's Dictionary, under "FENNY", my maiden name was Peggy (Margaret) Penny and I found at the very bottom of the page in small print PENNYWORTH - "You get your moneys worth." THAT WAS IT! From that day to this I have never regretted the kennel name.
I registered the name "PENNYWORTH" in 1940 with the American Kennel Club and am today one of the few that can use my kennel name as an affix or a prefix. But now that I had my kennel name I became unhappy with the breed I had, as they were changing so, and decided I would not raise the American Cocker Spaniel.
After two years of doglessness, I was still managing mother's kennel but had no dogs of my own, I went to a show and while wandering around I saw my first WHIPPET. There were so few of them at that time the entry was one or two and then only at the better shows did you see that many. I inquired who the lady was that had them on the lead and found out it was Mrs. George A. Anderson of the famed Mardomere Kennels in Glen Head, Long Island. I proceeded to walk over and introduced myself, and much to my surprise I found that not only Mrs. Anderson was delightful but that the Whippets were friendly and both had lovely temperaments. I was so taken with the breed I made an appointment to see her kennels, and two weeks later I purchased my first Whippet, a Champion female known as Carefree of Mardomere. Several months after I purchased another from Mrs. Anderson, Ch. Sunny Jim of Mardomere and from then till now I have never regretted my choice of kennel name nor the breed I have lived with all these years.
They are the loveliest, most devoted companions and yet most independent breed I have ever known and I have learned to appreciate the saying "Once a Whippet Owner, always a Whippet Owner". Try one in the house. I guarantee you will be hooked just as I was.
Before reaching a close, I would like to say this. It is my feeling that the SPORT OF SHOWING dogs has changed considerably. When I started it was truly a SPORT. I feel that the majority have forgotten what the word Sport and Sportsmanship mean and suggest that you look both words up and try to apply the meaning of these two words, once again, when you step foot on your next dog show grounds. The Judges might take heed to my words as well, as I see a very dark future ahead for dog shows if the policy that has been applied to this Sport of "Dog eat dog and man eat man" persists.
In Closing- Pennyworth would like to at this time to Thank all the breeders, exhibitors, judges, and spectators, past and present, that have helped, make Pennyworth what it is today. To Bob & Jane Forsyth for there time and patience over the early parts of Pennyworth, you know I could not have done it without you. To all the wonderful, dogs that have given their all to make a life long dream come true. I truely Love you all, you have given me so much in return. It's been a most exciting RIDE!!! And last but not least to my mum the late Claire K. Dixon (Clairedale), without you, nun of this would have been possible.
Oh!! And a HUGE THANK YOU to David Howton for putting this fabulous History book together.
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