Sandy Miles Bedlington Terriers came into my life in 1973 when my friend Sally Balogh, who had bought a Wire Fox Terrier from me, announced she wanted a Bedlington Terrier. My comment to her was "No, you don`t want a Bedlington; I hear they are mean." Sally insisted and put in an order for a female from breeder Jean Mathieu (Celin Bedlingtons). There were two females and one male born in the litter. Jean wanted a female, and Mariana Padula, the owner of the sire, wanted a female, so Sally decided to take the male. Little did I know how that male would change my life in dogs. It was my job to learn to groom and show "Cheyenne" (Celin`s Cheyenne Raider). Cheyenne quickly finished his championship, and then it was off to the Westminster in 1975. I am proud to say he won the Breed in 1975 and 1976. He was the #1 Bedlington for five years with many Group wins, Specialty wins and Best In Show. Unfortunately, Sally moved too far away to be convenient for Cheyenne to stay with her between shows, so he lived with us most of the time as I was showing him regularly. Unfortunately my friend Sally died of cancer at 30 years of age, and Cheyenne became ours permanently. He was a great dog and the sire of 25 champions. Cheyenne had many followers and was a true ambassador of the Breed.
I bought a female Bedlington who became "Ch. Sandon`s Blue Pebbles" that produced many champions for us when bred to Cheyenne. Foley Harper fell in love with Cheyenne and bought a female puppy out of Pebbles’ first litter, later to become Ch. Sandon`s Blue Agate. Foley and I later joined forces and have registered our Bedlingtons under the Sandon & Oakhill kennel name. We have bred over 75 champions, Specialty and Group winners. Some of our great winners beside Cheyenne are Ch. Sandon N` Oakhill Fiesta Flirt, Ch. Sandon N` Oakhill Wholly Smoke, Ch. Sandon N` Oakhill Bold Baron and Ch. Sandon N` Oakhill Cheyna Star, Ch. Sandon N’ Oakhill Cheyna’s Windstar, Ch. Sandon N’ Oakhill’ Tru Blu’n Tara Bel, Ch. Sandon N’ Oakhill Cheyna’s Jubilee, Ch. Sandon N’ Oakhill Jazzy Jubilee, Ch. Sandon N’ Oakhill Jazzy’s Top Secret, Ch. Sandon N’ Oakhill A Tad Above. Being a Breeder of Distinction is a great honor. In 2015 I received the BTCA Lifetime membership award, and in 2017 I received the Connie Willemsen Breed Betterment Award, the highest honor the BTCA awards to club members. I appreciate the confidence the BTCA has shown in me and encourage the upcoming generations of Bedlington breeders, exhibitors and pet owners to contribute their part to the betterment of our breed and our national breed club.
Foley Harper I bought my first Bedlington in 1979 after hearing about the breed on a local television talk show. Then handler Jimmy Phillips (now deceased but previously an Onofrio superintendent) was discussing the Valdosta/Thronateeska dog show circuit, encouraging the public to come out to see every type of dog from the one that looks like a lion to the one that looks like a lamb. That next weekend a mutual friend who belonged to the Valdosta Kennel Club introduced me to Sandy Miles, and that was my introduction to the breed. I bought my first Bedlington from her, and after I had my first champion (Ch. Sandon Blue Agate), I discovered that for me it was like eating Lays potato chips, one is not enough! Aggie was bred, and the addiction began. Sandy became my mentor and has been a tremendous teacher without whose help I would not have received the Breeder of Distinction award. She has taught me to groom not only Bedlingtons but many other breeds so that I am able to have a part time grooming business. She has helped to whelp litters when I cannot be at home; she has shown my dogs when I could not go to the dog shows; she has touched up my grooming for the shows. (I just can`t seem to get it exactly right!)
In addition to Sandy`s help, other people have contributed to my success as a breeder. Pat Rhein was my walking encyclopedia of pedigrees and so many times spent her dime to call me about show results. (Sandy is not known for rushing straight to the phone after she gets out of the ring!) Mary Lou Stumpff gave me a beautiful puppy bitch that later became Ch. Marikov`s Red Witch. Offspring of Witchie have contributed greatly to my receiving this award. Linda Kay Miles O`Neill Sonn has always encouraged me to go for it and has been a great help with grooming tips. Vicki Schawo encouraged and supported me on a sometimes rocky road of Bedlington situations. I have also had the help of David Ramsey, Jackie Fogel and Linda Freeman who have all helped me achieve certain goals with breedings that I wanted to do and who have taken good care of my bitches while they were in their care. I have met many interesting and knowledgeable people who have sincere concerns for improving and caring for our breed. Although I have not always agreed with all of them, I have found that each has had something positive to contribute to the betterment of the Bedlington Terrier. I sincerely hope that all the present breeders of distinction will make a positive impact in some way on the breeders of distinction who will be announced in the years to come. I worked for over a decade as trophy chair for the Bedlington Terrier Club of America and was awarded the BTCA honor of receiving its AKC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award in 2015.In working for the BTCA and being a breeder, I have met and developed many dear friendships over the years, and I am delighted to see the younger generation’s interest in our breed. In addition to my love of Bedlington Terriers, I also enjoyed teaching English and Spanish to high school and college students for 4 decades. Now retired from full-time teaching, I look back and am especially proud of being selected STAR Teacher in 2001 (Turner County,Matt Garrett), 2004 (Turner County, Maleria Brown) and 2016 (Tiftarea, Elizah Huff) as well as 1984 Tift County High School Teacher of the year and the Turner County 1999 yearbook co-dedication. For the past 3 decades I have also enjoyed teaching adults occupational Spanish.