Sometime during the late spring or early summer of 1973 a few of us "hooked on Afghans" thought it would be nice to form a specialty Afghan Hound Club in our area. There were none in Massachusetts, none in Rhode island and nothing in Connecticut. We decided to meet at the old firehouse meeting room in Mystic Connecticut. There were probably 10 or 12 people in attendance--.hey, ''good start!!(??) not one of us had a clue on what to do next.
We figured we needed a name, many were thrown out (I hate to even tell you the names that were presented) but I finally threw out the name NUTMEG and it was unanimously agreed NUTMEG it was...so NUTMEG we became...now what? None of had a clue on how to form a club, no experience in parliamentary procedure and our total ring experience could fit on the head of a pin. Someone came up with the idea that we needed officers -- good thought. We held an "election." Bob and Peg Ranck were elected as co-presidents, Eileen Gould was elected recording/corresponding secretary and
I was elected treasurer (an easy position since we had no money in the treasury!) We held our first few meetings in Mystic, but it was so remote that we lost several members. It was about at this point that Bob and Peg voted to disband the club and donate the monies in the treasury to an animal charity.
Well, there were still a few of us that thought the concept of an Afghan Hound specialty club was still a good idea. We didn't want to see it go down the toilet (metaphorically speaking of course) so we got together and decided to hold a "meeting" in my backyard in Kensington, Connecticut. The remaining fact that we still had no clue, not much more ring experience or anything did not enter our befuddled minds. In attendance at that very first true meeting of what was to become NUTMEG AFGHAN CLUB were Eileen Gould, Bob and Sheila Artibani, Diane Roskowski, Lorraine Fries and myself. Somehow we managed to obtain a dog show catalogue, a letter of 'NEW CLUB...PLLLEEEAASE JOIN', was sent to everyone in the catalogue who lived within a hundred miles of us. There were a few responses, but those that did were very interested. we were elated. We elected new officers. Lorraine Fries became treasurer, Eileen Gould retained her position as se
cretary and I was elected president. We were ON A ROLL!!! YAY! PROGRESS!!!!
There was no stopping us now.
Our meetings were very encouraging. We were ready! Time to go for our first fun match. We enlisted the expertise of Mr. Bob Steiner who came to judge our entry of about 30 afghans. It was wonderful. It was luck. It was a SUCCESS!!! We had hand printed arm bands, home made ribbon placements and a victory sash that I stitched together on my sewing machine. That match brought us several new members...we were, as the saying here in the deep south is "pooping in high cotton!"
Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the AKC to bust our bubble. We successfully put on a few fun matches after that and garnered more members. At that point it was time. We wanted to put on a B match and incorporate, however, the Great Oz (AKC) said we did not meet the membership requirements. We had some members who lived in Massachusetts and since NUTMEG was a Connecticut organization it must be limited to only Connecticut residents. At that rate, we'd never be able to incorporate or hold a sanctioned match so some of our Massachusetts members suddenly "moved" to Connecticut. Sandy Velozo "adopted" Margarete Stanski's address and a few others became Connecticut residents. Come to think of it, I had a couple 'living' with me as well. If AKC ever wondered why so many Afghan Hound people decided to live in a commune they never said anything.
We finally almost met the requirements and tried to explain to the AKC that we were a specialty club from a very small state; not an all breed club where it would have been easier to recruit members. Our wonderfully persuasive corresponding secretary, Eileen Gould (and those of you who never knew her know she could talk an Eskimo into giving up his furry under drawers) continued to plague AKC with letters. They finally relented and gave permission for incorporation and allowed us to hold a B match. We had to send them copies of all our meeting minutes, attendance at each meeting, match results, copies of our monthly newsletter, everything. but we never gave up. Every match brought us new members who recognized Nutmeg as a good club with lots of potential. As with any club, some members fell by the wayside, but we more joined so we managed to keep a fairly good balance. Those that hung in were willing to work for the club. There was a feeling of togethernes
s that I cannot describe. There was a dedication.
There was a passion. We did it for our goofy hounds and we made it.
I remained president for several years. Eileen finally gave up her position as secretary (she has since passed away and I miss her dearly). Don and Lorraine Fries became heavily involved in lure coursing. I would be remiss if I forgot to mention that Don was very clever with a wood lathe and made us some extraordinary trophies for our shows and also made us our first placement markers - Afghans cut from plywood in four different poses that were in use till they finally just fell apart.
So there it is. Our true, extremely humble, sometimes frustrating, more than once just wanting to say "to hell with it" start! Then we would go out into our kennels and see our Afghans involved in some subversive plot (that any Afghan owner instinctively knows is a NO...NO!!!) It was all worth it. I miss it. I still have one Af left. She is a retired champion many years now, still in coat -- not show coat (can't keep up that kind of coat anymore.) She is still beautiful...at least I think so. I also have a Chihuahua, sort of inherited him; my little hock humper.
Nice talking to ya'all. Good luck!