DOCTOR ELLEN BROWN,
BALRENE LHASA APSOS
by Ann-Marie Adderley
Dr Brown always had a love for animals and that fondness led her to apply for Veterinary Medicine at Guelph Veterinary College in Ontario from whence she graduated in 1952. The decision to enroll at Guelph was veiled in sadness as unable to attend college and support her English Setter, she had to make the horrendous decision to euthanize the dog as no one she could trust was willing to take the dog as an unpaid house guest.
This was maybe the basis of Doc's unwillingness to ever turn away an animal whose owners were in dire straits or to refuse veterinary care based on the owner's inability to pay. She has in her day come to the aid of many worried owners unable to keep their beloved pets. Her door was always open to the unwanted. She has on several occasions been taken by dishonest people but mainly this policy has enabled her to sleep with the secure knowledge that she has done her utmost best.
ELLEN WITH LHASA APSO FREDDY
INTRODUCTION IN 1937 TO THE LHASA APSO
Doc saw her first Lhasa Apso at the 1937 Westminster Show in New York. She met the exhibitors, Mr & Mrs Sudyam Cutting and saw their Lhasas being shown there for the first time. She remembers the Lhasas as scruffy, kinky coated and ungroomed. They reminded her of dust mops but they also intrigued her. An interest in the breed had been instilled in Dr. Brown.
AURA POODLES AND BALRENE TERRIERS
Doc had been breeding UK imported Toy Poodles under the Aura prefix but with the sudden death of her friend Irene Ball, she not only inherited a kennel prefix but also 40 dogs and a skilled terrier man, the late Jack Fry. The dogs, Airedales, Wire Haired Fox Terriers, Scottish Terriers, a Cocker and Mr. Fry moved to the Buttonville premises and for the next little while, Doc tried to get all the terriers sorted out. The 26 Scotties were the most difficult and as Doc once confided in an 1973 interview with the late Joan Morden for Dogs in Canada, she knew the dogs from the bitches but she certainly didn't know their names! Finally the dogs' names were learned. Mr Fry was a perfectionist and Doc learned stripping and keeping the terrier coats from an expert. One of the Airedales became Best In Show Ch. Balrene Dinty. Jack Fry stayed with Doc until he died.
ELLEN ACCEPTS DION FROM THE UK PILOT
Mr. Fry had an interest in canaries and was forever picking up new lines that were shipped to the closest train station. Doc had gone to Westminster one year and she brought back a pair of bush babies. Feeling sorry that they had to be confined to a cage, she gave them the run of an empty bedroom. They were happy and very inquisitive and they must have loved the freedom that the room offered to them especially when they found old air ducts and knot holes in the wooden floor. Unbeknownst to anyone, they were exploring the house during the night. One night they reached Mr. Fry's quarters. Jack, by then was very hard of hearing, imagine his horror when he awoke one morning to find that all his canaries had been killed. It was some time before the culprits were discovered.....
THE LHASA APSO ARRIVES AT BALRENE
The Lhasa Apso breed was rare, one couldn't go out and buy them but in 1944, seven years after she had first seen the breed at Westminster, Doc received Daisy Bumstead, her first Lhasa Apso, as a gift from Mrs. Carl Hawes of Toronto.
The sixteen year old, Daisy Bumstead died in 1960 but Doc was still interested in Lhasa Apsos and as luck would have it, Margaret Carroll of Scarborough who had been breeding Lhasa Apsos and was going into Poodles, asked Doc if she would like some Lhasas. Doc agreed and she became the owner of a pair. The dog was Ch. Carroll Panda ROM, a white and black parti-coloured male, sired by the UK import Ramblersholt Ro-Pon out of Ch. Lotus Blossom of Abbotsford ROM, a female from the renowned Abbotsford kennels of Georgia and James Roberts in British Columbia. The bitch, a black and white parti colour, was Carroll Binkie ROM, (Ramblersholt Ro-Pon ex Ch. Carroll Goldilocks). Lhasa Apsos had arrived at Balrene and were there to stay.
CH CARROLL PANDA
Doc remembers Panda as a small not very attractively marked parti colour with a good head, correctly shaped eyes and a reverse scissor bite. He was showy with a feisty spirit capable of holding his own in the Terrier ring. Once under Judge Tim Reid who often threw his keys on the mat ahead of a terrier to judge ear set, Panda grabbing for the keys got a mouthful of Mr. Reid's hand as they simultaneously went to retrieve them.
BREEDING THE LHASA APSO
Doc registered her first litter in 1963 when Panda and Binkie produced a litter of three bitch puppies. During the bush baby New York trip, she had met a Mrs. John Licos of California and was very taken with her Lhasas and she subsequently imported a grizzle bitch Ch. Licos Yarto La and a dog Licos Dakar La who was placed with a friend. Yarta was bred to Panda and the story begins....
Ch. Balrene Red and Ch Balrene Queen were from this breeding. There were three puppies in the Spring l966 litter, a red bitch, a red dog Balrene Ho Hua and a grizzle dog Balrene Chia Pao. The two reds were great in the ring but the grizzle just didn't have it. Doc whose love for showing was actually her relaxation after a week of consultations and surgery, didn't want a Lhasa that showed little promise compared to his litter mates. So, the little grizzle male was handled by whomever wished to show him. Doc felt that he seemed less coated, longer and lower to the ground than his litter mates. He did however have a correctly proportioned head with an almond shaped eye and he was beautifully sound. There was hope for him yet!
Eighteen months passed and suddenly Doc's eye was drawn more often to the little grizzle who at 10 5/8 inches and around 18 pounds seemed to have grown into his length. His coat had begun to acquire a correct straight heavy texture with the presence of undercoat. Suddenly this little grizzle had come into his own, Augie had arrived on the Canadian show scene...
CAN AM CH BALRENE CHIA PAO
Augie, Can Am Ch Balrene Chia Pao, ROM was to become a 13 time Best in Show winner and the Second Top Dog All Breeds in 1970. His first Best in Show in 1968 was under Faye Fitzgerald and the show photo captured an excited Dr. Brown, one beaming judge and a worried little grizzle dog wondering what had he done to cause such commotion! This became the norm and a trip to the U.S. resulted in a five point win at the Chicago International Show. Another milestone was Augie's American Best in Specialty Show win under Judge J.C. Shaeffer, over an entry of 116 Lhasa Apsos at the American Lhasa Apso Club's Specialty. Augie quickly became a Register of Merit Stud Dog siring more than ten champions among them many Group Winners including Can Am Ch Nonsuch Amne Machin.
Multi BIS CAN BISS AM CH BALRENE CHIA PAO,ROM
NEW BLOODLINES FOR BALRENE
Doc repeated the Panda-Yarto breeding and never sold any females from these litters. These were to become the foundation of her Balrene Lhasa Apsos. She later imported dogs from the States to introduce new blood to her own line. One of her imports was Dunklehaven Nicky, of Orlane and Everglo breeding. Doc purchased him for his correct coat texture, his clear gold colour and his soundness but he had a wider muzzle and a bigger, rounder eye than she liked. He produced Group winners including Ch. Balrene Nicola of Nonsuch ROM and the 1975 Top Lhasa Apso in Canada, Ch. Treepine Chumbi. Ch. Duane of Balrene, down from Cherryshores and Karma/Everglo lines, was another American Lhasa Apso purchased. Duane produced champions and many outgoing puppies.
CAN AM CH NONSUCH AMNE MACHIN
- CH TREEPINE CHUMBI
Not all of her U.S. purchases made it into her breeding programme, after a test breeding that produced bad bites, one prospective stud dog was no longer used.
CH BALRENE NICOLA, ROM
LHASA APSO CANADA
In 1973, when LHASA APSO CANADA was founded, Dr. Brown was invited to accept the distinction of being its first Honourary Member. Lhasa Apso Canada's Best of Breed Specialty Trophy is The Augie Trophy and was donated by Dr. Brown in memory of Can Am Ch Balrene Chia Pao.
NEW BREEDS AT BALRENE
Doc's intOC AND CAYENNE HER TIBETAN SPANIEL erest in showing continued and under the impression that you can become over exposed in the show ring with one particular breed, she decided to diversify and has been seen showing various breeds, including a Tibetan Spaniel, a Tibetan Terrier, a Miniature Pinscher, Yorkies and returning to her terrier roots an imported Irish Terrier.
DOC AND CAYENNE HER TIBETAN SPANIEL
Doc also had a special liking for Yorkshire Terriers and her next BIS winning dog was an imported Yorkie from the US.
CAN AM CH TODWELL'S
Lhasas were still her favourite breed and in 1975 she again had the Top Lhasa Apso in Canada with Ch. Treepine Chumbi (Dunklehaven Nicky ex Ch. Balrene Tali) bred by the late Audrey Carpenter. Chumbi before he was one year of age, had amassed 30 Group Placings and seven Best Puppy in Shows.
In 1973, she attended Crufts at Olympia in England for the first time and was pleasantly impressed with the Lhasa entry however she was amused to see the Irish Terriers being encouraged to relieve themselves in the ring, the central iron girders being surrounded by sawdust for that reason. Her trip culminated with the purchase of an Ozmillion Yorkie bitch puppy from the kennel of Sameja Ozman who would in the late 1990's produce the Crufts BIS winner. During the 1975 Crufts' trip she made contact with Irish Terrier breeders and Eng Can Ch. Gedmorr Early Riser arrived in Canada to finish his Canadian championship and become a new bloodline for the Balrene Irish Terriers.
ENG CAN CH GEDMORR EARLY RISER
Not one to pass on attending dog shows and realizing that she really enjoyed the Group and BIS competition, Doc was unable to turn down the offer of a six month old Great Pyrenees from her close friend Lois MacIntosh . Doc with Lois as chauffeur attended all the shows possible and Can Am Ch. Le Dauphin of Limberlost started racking up Best Puppy in Show awards As an adult he was difficult to beat and as a result in 1980, he attained the award which Augie never realized that of being Top Dog All Breeds in Canada.
Some records are hard to duplicate but as the owner handler of a Pyrenees as the 1980 Top Dog all Breed and the owner breeder handler of the Lhasa that was 1970 Second Top Dog All Breeds, Doc had excelled at her favourite hobby of showing dogs. Many exhibitors remember Doc in the ring and many others remember the inumerable times when exhibitors have sought her out when a dog was sick or had had an accident on the show site.
Multi BIS CAN AM CH LE DAUPHIN OF LIMBERLOST
Doc remembers not only her wonderful canine partners in the ring but the competent judges who encouraged her by acknowledging the superiority of the the dogs which she had entered under them. She also remembers fondly her fellow competitors and we remember Doc as an active exhibitor willing to give a good dog a chance to gain its championship and a great dog the chance to excel in the show ring.
In dogs, Doc fondly recalls her wins with her beloved Augie and all the other Lhasas, Yorkies, Pyrs and Terriers who gave her so much pleasure in the ring but she also considers one of her greatest achievements was to be the recipient of the first Life Time Achievement Award offered by the Professional Handlers' Association of Canada.
DR. ELLEN BROWN, JANUARY 8,1914 - MAY 8,2002
One of the first woman veterinarians in Canada, Doc devoted herself to the care of animals and was a generous friend to many.