I wanted to take this opportunity to say farewell to Sheila Leonard of Indiana; dedicated AKC Australian Shepherd breeder, animal ownership rights activist and friend. Sheila passed away last week from pancreatic cancer.
Sheila was a rare member of the AKC breeding community. She truly recognized the scope of animal ownership related legislation sweeping through the majority of states in the US, including her home of Indiana. She recognized that the measure of a breeder is not in their AKC status, but in the care for the dogs. She looked beyond the interests of herself, her breed and her registry to the interests of all who own and/or breed pets.
Sheila was a miracle of connecting people. By connecting people and information, she was directly responsible for the formation of a myriad of connections, alliances and deep friendships. She had a talent for connecting people who would not be held back by their differences but would instead see those differences as strengths.
I never had the privilege of meeting Sheila face to face but I will never forget the following:
- She was smart, funny, sharp witted and tough
- She LOVED her dogs and looked to their interests first, in good times and in bad
- Though she may not have been one of the best known in the fight to preserve animal ownership rights, she was one of the warriors.
- She will be deeply, deeply missed. We are all the poorer for losing her.
Farewell, Sheila. God speed and may your dogs have been waiting to joyfully greet you as you crossed the bridge
Love and tears.