Handler Couples: Greg and Jane Myers
Meet this professional dog handler couple from Thonotosassa, Fla.
D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D. |
Greg and Jane Myers
Jane answered for Greg and herself.
Greg and Jane Myers also own a boarding kennel, so sometimes Greg stays home to take care of the business while Jane attends shows. Jane says that this can be an advantage over working together 24/7.
Did you meet through dogs?
Jane: When I was in college my father would pay me to drive into the city to attend Westminster Kennel Club and be his assistant. I met Greg at a party, and we instantly got into an argument about a dog my father was handling. I returned to college on Wednesday and didn't see Greg for another year. Of course we instantly got into another argument over a new dog my father was handling. Several years later, after I graduated from college, I moved to Florida. Greg asked me out to dinner and I said no. He asked me out again the next night, and I gave in and said yes. When we were at dinner we were talking about our families, and he thought there were three Alston girls: Me, Jennifer and the bitch he met at Westminster! He proposed a year later at Westminster Kennel Club.
How long have you been handling together?
Jane: We've been married for 21 years, so I guess we've been handling together a little over 22 years.
Did you have your own personal breeds when you met? Have they changed because of your association?
Jane: Greg's original breed was German Wirehaired Pointers, and he still has them and shows them. I never really had a breed; I only had dogs that I loved. When we met I had an English Cocker Spaniel. Now I own and breed Golden Retrievers probably because of the sheer number of Goldens we handle for other people.
Who does what?
Jane: When Greg stays home with the boarding kennel I do the driving with my assistant, but when Greg travels with me he does all the driving. I do all the billing paperwork; Greg does all the mailing of ribbons, trophies and statements. We both train, and I definitely pick the better show outfits ... have you ever seen Greg and his plaid pants?
As for dealing with clients, sometimes I make him deal with the tough ones, and sometimes he makes me deal with the tough ones, but basically we do it all together. I do all the RV maintenance, oil changes and repairs. Greg mows the grass here at the kennel and at our other property. I do all kennel repairs, fence repair and tile work. I do all QuickBooks and billing for the boarding business, and all pet trims. Greg does all bathing of show dogs and pets. Greg runs errands, goes to the post office, does all the shopping for the boarding business and picks up dog food. Greg does all my laundry, and I cook all his meals. Greg plays golf and I go fishing.
Who shows what dogs and why?
Jane: Basically we decide who the dog will work the best for. The German Wirehaired Pointer Ch. Wildfire's Bentley was a battle between the two of us. I wanted to show that dog, but it was Greg's breed. He finally gave in and let me have him! The English Foxhound Ch. Plum Run Blackjack was originally sent for me to show, but the dog was so, so strong and would try to breed me in the ring that Greg had to take over. Greg usually shows all the Toy dogs, and I get all the Golden Retrievers.
Are you competitive with each other?
Jane: We're not competitive on the Group or Best in Show level ... a win for one is a win for all. Now when it comes down to Golden Retriever class dogs, neither one of us will back down. We both love to throw it in the other one's face if we win.
What are some perks of being in the handling business together?
Jane: It's great to be able to do something you really love and do it with someone you really love. Because of the boarding kennel, we're able to spend some time apart, which I think is an advantage. We don't always attend the same dog shows.
What's a challenge?
Jane: Hmmmm... Honestly, I've had jobs other than showing dogs, and I wouldn't trade this for the world. We both have college degrees and have had "real" jobs, and this is what we choose to do together.
Are you together because of dog shows or in spite of dog shows?
Jane: Dog shows brought us together because when I met Greg he had a generator and an awning and I didn't. He was kind enough to let me use them. In the end we are together because we are together; the dog shows don't affect our relationship either way. I think if either one of us wanted to quit tomorrow, the other one would be supportive of any decision to be made. That's just the way we are.
What's the most important thing your partner has taught you in relation to the dog show world?
Jane: No dog show is that important, and no client is that important; only your life together is important. No matter what happens today there's always another dog show tomorrow.
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From the December 2012 (2013 Annual) issue of Dogs In Review magazine. Purchase the December 2012 digital back issue or subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs In Review magazine.
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