died suddenly from a stroke. I'd like to take this space to celebrate
Jan’s life. Jan was more than a friend to me; she was a sister of the
heart. Over the years Jan was part of my family, joining us on holidays
when she wasn’t with her family. My kids always referred to her fondly
as Auntie Jan.
met each other because of the dogs. It was the late 1970’s and Parvo
virus was a new thing, attacking and wiping out litters of puppies.
Veterinarians were just learning to deal with it. Sandy Long had a stud
dog, Rocky, that I wanted to breed to my black Champion, Rikki Tikki
Tavi, but a litter of Sandy Long’s Doberman puppies had parvo. Sandy
recruited Rocky’s co-owner, Jan, to meet me at the commuter parking lot
at I-270 and Highway 30. I’d never met Jan but she’d never met a
stranger, so together we sprayed Rocky down with Clorox and water and
because it was Jan this all happened amid lots of laughter and jokes.
We have been friends ever since. I think Jan is most remembered by
everyone who knew her for that laughter and for her sense of fun.
Because neither of our husbands were interested in showing dogs, Jan and
I began traveling together to share costs and soon we found that our
skills and interests balanced each other and together we became S’Posans
Cockers. I’ve always had an RV of one kind or another and we typically
would camp at the show sites. Jan laughingly called the group of RVer’s
at shows a “Gypsy Camp” as we traveled together from site to site. I
recall at one such show site Jan walked over and began a conversation
with folks camped nearby. That conversation ended with Jan coming back
to our RV with a plateful of food including a large steak, and a
friendship that lasted over the years for both of us with Deb and Perry
Hahn. One of the things we most enjoyed about the Dog Show Gypsy Camp
were the many friends we made over the years during the down-time after
each days show.
loved to decorate our campsite and her favorite show to do this at was
the fall show in DuQuoin Illinois at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Each year Jan would bring more fall décor culminating one year in our
hauling a bale of hay and a batch of corn stalks inside the RV so she
could set up her Halloween display. We killed mosquitoes all that
night. I can’t begin to count the many times we hosted or joined with
others in Pot Luck dinner gatherings. Those gatherings became the heart
and soul of going to dog shows for us.
guess my funniest memory of RV events with Jan was the time we tried to
do our very first artificial insemination inside our RV at a show site.
Our vet had provided us with a print out of instructions and some of the
supplies needed. Jan had to go door to door around the Gypsy Camp to
borrow a cup of vegetable oil to use as a lubricant. As we tried to
follow the directions the laughter became so intense that all we could
do was to sit on the floor, holding our sides while the tears of
laughter rolled down our cheeks. That was Jan. If there was a funny
side of anything, she could find it and make it funnier.
1990 Jan and I dressed up our buff girls, Tilly and Flame, as Mickey and
Minnie Mouse and won third place in the costume contest at the Greater
St. Louis Training Club’s Halloween Party. On the way home we had a
flat tire. In order to get to the spare and jack we had to take the
dogs and dog crates out of the back of her hatch back in the pouring
rain. Of course, with Jan it became another story to laugh about when
we recall the look on the face of the Good Samaritan who stopped to
assist us and got a look at the dogs in their costumes.
favorite ‘Jan story’ that she loved to share was the time I forgot to
set my alarm clock. Jan arrived to find my house in total darkness. Jan
said she actually thought for a minute that she had gotten the date
wrong! In the middle of the night my door bell rang. I opened the door
and it was Jan. She says my comment was: “what the bleep are you doing
here in the middle of the night?” and then it hit me! We drove like
crazy to Decatur Illinois arriving with only minutes to spare. I pulled
up in front of the auditorium and threw Jan onto the side walk with a
brush and her silver boy, Hunter so they could race to the ring. As she
ran Jan could feel her pantyhose start to roll. She grabbed her arm
band and rushed into the ring. As she was making her first go-around
she felt the pantyhose start to slide down her legs. When she got to
the table and lifted Hunter up, down the hose fell, pooling around her
feet. While the judge went over the dog, Jan simply slipped her shoes
off, stepped out of the hose and at the judge’s request took Hunter down
and back. Imagine the laughter when the judge picked up the discarded
panty hose from under the exam table and asked Jan if she was missing
something and she simply replied “oh thanks!” That was Jan: never be
embarrassed when you can laugh about something.
loved to tell stories to anyone who would listen. Every memory became a
story to share. Many times we talked about how great it would be when
we were really old and sharing a room in a nursing home and could laugh
to our hearts content remembering all the great times we had together.
Rest in peace my friend. You’ll always be in my heart.