The Alberta Kennel Club lost a valued Life Member, strong leader and loyal friend when Mary passed away in 2006. Her significant contributions to the AKC and the community at large shall be recognized and celebrated through the years with the presentation of the Best Puppy in Show trophy.
Mary, for as long as she could remember, had a fascination for animals of all kinds except snakes (she was terrified of them)! Equestrian interests kept Mary occupied during her youth. She was a skilled rider and participated in Hunter Events in Eastern Canada and competed in Barrel Racing in Alberta. Her love of horses remained with her throughout her life.
Mary’s acquisition of her first purebred dog, a German Shepherd named Rolf, would change the direction and focus of her life forever. She enrolled in Evelyn Kenny’s Obedience Classes and eventually went on to apprentice as a trainer with Evelyn.
In 1968, Mary purchased her first Pembroke Welsh Corgi, her favorite breed. She competed in conformation with her new pup and became interested in the shows. This was the start of a long working relationship with the AKC. In the mid 1970’s, she agreed to assist the Club with the Show Secretary duties. Along with Susan Badick and Mary Woodward, she served Al-Sec Associates until her health gave out in 2002. Mary became an active member of the Show Committee where she served as its Show Chairman. She was also Show Superintendent a number of times as well as Chief Ring Steward. It was common to see Mary at a show covered in ribbons identifying her various positions! In the early 1980’s she was elected President and ably served the Club in this capacity for almost a decade.
It was during this period that Mary was a founding director of Calgary Associated Dog Fanciers (CADF). She organized Genetic Clearance Clinics for eyes, Von Willibrands Disease, and Thyroid disorders in dogs. She represented CADF and the Calgary Humane Society on the City of Calgary Advisory Council on Animal Control. There, she helped formulate the Animal Control By-Laws which resulted in the City accommodating the needs of Calgary’s dogs and their owners by providing “off leash” areas city-wide.
In the mid 1970’s Mary’s attention was drawn to the Humane Movement and she soon gained a reputation as a leader and innovator nation-wide. She was President of the Calgary Humane Society for 10 years. There she was instrumental in pioneering a spay/neuter program for adopted animals with the cooperation of the Calgary Academy of Veterinary Medicine. She served for one year on the Board of Directors of the Alberta SPCA and from 1983 until her death she was an active member of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS).
Mary worked diligently to improve the welfare of laboratory animals. She served 9 years as the CFHS
representative on the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). She made a significant contribution to the development of the CCAC Guidelines on the Social and Behavioral Requirements of Experimental Animals. She participated in a number of CCAC assessments of research facilities in Alberta.
In recognition of her efforts, Mary was the honored recipient of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal which is awarded to “persons who have made significant contributions to Canada, to their communities or to their fellow Canadians.” She also received a “Citation of Appreciation” from the CCAC. The CFHS recognized Mary with its most prestigious of honors, the “Frederic A. McGrand Award” for her “outstanding contribution to the animal welfare world.” In the words of President David Buffett she was “tenacious, strong spirited, dedicated and capable”. The University of Calgary admitted Mary as a Member of the Order of the U of C”s in recognition of exemplary and distinguished service to the University of Calgary”. She served for over 20 years as a community representative on the University’s Animal Welfare Committee.
Mary dedicated her life to enhancing the status and quality of life of animals in our society and, somehow, she still managed to raise a family. She was the proud mother of three children, Pamela, Laurie, and Cameron and a supportive wife to Lloyd. He knew when he married her that Mary came with dogs! She always managed to find time to run a household and visit with her friends.
Puppies were Mary’s passion. It concerned her that so many young dogs were dumped in shelters because their owners could not handle them. In 1986, she opened the Beta Puppy Obedience School in an effort to help families train their pups to behave appropriately. She trained over 7,000 “brilliant pups” and their “not so brilliant owners”. In spite of her busy schedule, she always had time to help someone in difficulty and never said “no” to a novice breeder who requested her assistance whelping their first litter. She enjoyed helping breeders “grade” their puppies. Her opinion in this regard, was always appreciated.