The fancy lost Nancy Vanstrum Cannon of NAVANS Beagles in
May, 1999, to leukemia. Nancy's death, following less than a
year after Mary Jane Evans has been hard on her friends here in
Florida. Most people were not aware that Nancy had been fighting
a battle with leukemia for a number of years. Even though her
friends were aware of the situation, it really did not prepare
us for her loss. I don't think any one of us felt up to the task
of writing a memorial to Nancy. She was so many things to so
many of us. What follows is a composite of chats with Nancy
prior to her last hospitalization, notes from files, and
thoughts from her friends here in Florida over the last several
months since her death. We fear it is inadequate to all she has
meant to the breed, but we at least hope to impart to those who
never knew her, her great love of this breed. We don't want to
just give you the names of her famous dogs and wins, but to help
you know Nancy the person and how special she was.
It is hard to gauge Nancy's impact on the beagle breed, but we
feel it is substantial; both here and in other countries. Nancy
began showing in obedience with her first beagle; her beloved
Jenny Sioux. We can all thank this little field beagle for
indoctrinating Nancy into the world of beagles. Nancy's early
ring experience was with her foundation bitch, Carrie, (Ch.
Carwood's Carrie A Go-Go, CD) and her progeny. She said her
early thrills in the group ring were actually with her wonderful
Golden Retriever, Reggie. She was so proud to tell us that he
was Winner's Dog and Best of Winners at the Golden Retriever
National. Her shock at finding out that this beautiful animal
was severely dysplastic had a great impact on her breeding
program. Consequently, even her original foundation stock for
her beagles were hip x-rayed. She told me she promised herself
she would never be surprised like that again if she could help
it. If a dog did not measure up, for whatever reason, it did not
go into her breeding program.
Nancy's first show beagle, Carrie, was bred by Art Wood and was
sired by Ch. Kings Creek Merry Go Boy out of a daughter of Ch.
Kinsman Jimmy Valentine. Nancy selected Trailside Midnight Sun
(also of the Kings Creek line) for Carrie's first mate. From
this litter, she kept future Ch. Navans Penny A Go-Go, CD. She
found that Ch. Kings Creek Triple Threat offered the qualities
she most admired. By combining Trippe with her bitches, she
concentrated heavily on the Kings Creek line, making this her
foundation line since 1967.
The first breeding of Penny to Trippe produced Ch. Navans Triple
Trouble, CD. He was a top ranked beagle here and a Best In Show
winner in South America. From a repeat breeding came Ch. Navans
Triple Trouble Rick and Ch. Navans Triple Trouble Taffy. Nancy's
notes list Rick's record as: Two National Specialty Best of
Breed wins (1975 & 1976), 7 All Breed Best In Shows, 54 Group
I's, 31 Group II's, 22 Group III's and 12 group IV's. Rick also
contributed much to the breed with his 54 Champion get. His
sister, Taffy, contributed some nice wins and excellent progeny
Some other special beagles were Ch. Navans Mystique Charmer, CD,
who captured Winner's Bitch and Best of Winners at the National
Beagle Club Specialty in 1971. Ch. Navans Special Rick-Quest was
a top producing dam in 1988. Quest is sired by Rick and as of
this writing is still ruling the roost at Navans at 17 ½ years
of age. Ch. Navans Spin Of The Wheel thrilled Nancy with a Best
Veteran and Best Stud Dog win at the 1995 Nationals, as well as
being a multiple group placer. Ch. Navans Music With My Friends
was a multiple group winner and a Best Veteran In Show winner.
Her beloved Windy (Ch. Navans Desert Wind) was a multiple group
placing bitch. Last, but not least, two important stud dogs in
her breeding program were Navans Kountry Plowboy (KP) who was
sired by a Rick son out of a Trippe daughter and Ch. Navans Ruff
N'Tuff McDuff. Duffy was a litter brother to Ch. Teloca Navan
Pruf O'The Puddin. Some of the most outstanding progeny over the
years have been the results of Duffy daughters and
granddaughters bred to KP. Having these two males in a pedigree
has proven to be an asset. Navan Beagles has made an impact on
breeding programs around the world.
Nancy's deepest impact on beagles stems from her generosity in
helping novices, her ethics, her sense of fair play, and most of
all, her openness in discussing genetic good and bad within the
breed and her own. In a day and age when everyone whispers about
this dog or that dog, and what he is producing or what he is
afflicted with, Nancy taught us that you should not listen to
rumor and innuendo, even when it seems to be coming from good
sources. She was adamant that you pick up the phone and contact
the owners of the dog and talk to them about what you've heard.
Most of the time you will find that a rumor will be unfounded.
Sometimes it will be true, but she always counseled that even
great dogs produce something undesirable. Sometimes the mating
you are planning can best be accomplished by using a half
brother or an uncle, rather than going to the dog directly.
Nancy did not expect you to follow her advice blindly either. If
you felt you had strong reasons for doing a breeding, or keeping
a different puppy than she would have chosen from a litter, she
would stand by you right or wrong, knowing that sometimes a
learning experience was what was needed. Most importantly, she
was there to pick you up and point you in the right direction
when you failed. She had a firm commitment to Ada Lueke and the
beagle genetic data base, generously sharing information with
Ada over the years.
Nancy never forgot that little field beagle she started with,
either. She was quietly rescuing beagles and finding homes for
them for years. She was also a great fan of the Beagle Rescue
Foundation of America and considered it her favorite charity.
Her creative talents came into play many times to support the
BRFOA auction in recent years.
If you needed help in any way, Nancy was there. From helping to
train a puppy, to grooming, propping you up during a difficult
whelping, nursing a sick dog, consoling you on the loss of a
loved beagle, to cheering you on at ringside. You knew you could
count on her always. In the last few years it was not uncommon
for her to arrive at a dog show terribly ill. We would plead
with her to stay in and rest, but she soldiered on. She would
not lent anyone down. Looking back, I think that perhaps if she
couldn't show the dogs, care for them herself and shower them
with the attention they were used to, life would have been
useless to her. It is a fitting memorial to Nancy that her
husband, Harry, honored her last request--that she be buried
with her beagles. I find consolation in knowing that her beloved
Rick, Jenny Sioux, Penny, Ms Mac, KP and many others who died
over the years are with her now.
As much as Nancy loved the beagle fancy, the fanciers loved her,
too. When it came time to move some of the dogs from the kennel
to new homes, breeders far and wide pitched in so that few dogs
remain in the kennel today. I don't think anyone will ever quite
fill Nancy's shoes. When we sit back and look at our dogs, we
see the legacy and legend that was Navan. If we can carry the
spirit and dedication that she showed us into the future, then
we will have been worthy to have been her students of the breed.
In conclusion, I would like to remember her special talent for
getting to a show site early and reserving a spot for her
friends. We are absolutely certain that Nancy has a cloud all
picked out for each and every one of you.
(Written by Sharon Lehrke)