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Farewell to a Treasured Friend

The sad news arrived by email this morning. Another of our long-time members was gone. This one brought me to tears.

Jane Jeter was one of those people who I considered to be a special friend. I know I'm not alone.

Before I became involved with the Review, I didn't know Jane. I knew her name of course, but not much about her. Then in the course of something related to the Review, I needed her help and gave her a call. I'm guessing it was about Dual Title awards, as Jane was the chair of that committee.

That one call was the start of a relationship that I will always treasure. Jane and I found we had many friends and many experiences in common, and just as many different life lessons that we shared with each other. We didn't always agree, sometime having entirely different philosophies. But we respected each other and learned by seeing things from each other's perspective.

Jane was a widow and taught obedience and a variety of other things to dogs and their owners in her home. Her stories about her students, four or two-legged, always made me laugh. I'd say we shared training techniques, but she taught me so much more than I taught her. We shared a passion for raising puppies right, knowing that their little brains start learning from a very early age and giving them a great start in life. We also shared a sense of wonder at just how much dogs actually understand, far more than most people realize.

My favorite story about Jane is the time when she called me several months before the Beaumont National. She had a mission (Jane was often on a mission). We were both to have beautiful hands by the time we got to Beaumont. Every night she would apply a liberal amount of a moisturizing agent to her hands and then don a pair of plain white gloves while she slept, and I was to do the same. Shortly after that conversation, I received a pair of white gloves in the mail with a note from Jane instructing me to get to work on my hands. When I saw her in Beaumont the first words out of her mouth were "let me see your hands."

Naturally Jane and I had many friends in common. One of them (who shall remain nameless but many of you will recognize)

is notorious for being a trifle slow about returning phone calls.  I hated to do it but sometimes I'd simply have to call Jane to find out where our friend was and Jane would offer to pass a message along. She was a big help to me.

Jane most recently was the chair of the Dual Title Awards committee, but wasn't able to attend the 2009 National. When she knew she wouldn't be going to Ohio, she called and asked me if  I would do her a big favor and read the list of Dual Award winners at the Annual Meeting. I couldn't say no. She asked me to do that again for the Utah National since she wasn't coming in until Friday, and of course I did. It was a small thing to do for the lady who did so much for me and our club. For many years she co-chaired the Obedience committee with Dalene McIntire. Obedience and Agility were two of her passions. When trying to understand why she was taken from us so suddenly. a friend said "it must be that they needed someone to train the great dogs in heaven."

Jane's love for her dogs, both German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels, was beyond measure. They were her first thought in everything she did. Win or lose, it didn't matter - they were her kids. Jane would want me to mention 2x Am Sel Exc. 2x Can Sel Ch. Kaleef's It's All About Me OFA H/E, aka Jabba. She was disappointed when he did not go Select in Beaumont, thrilled when he went Select in Ohio and even more thrilled when he went Select again in Utah. She and Jabba were a team and I know his big heart is breaking. I also know she's watching over him and is pleased that he will be living with someone Jane holds in high regard, who will love and cherish Jabba the way she did.

For those who were not fortunate enough to have know Jane, here is an email she sent to many of us two days after Christmas. "In this crazy time with all of us trying to accomplish way too many tasks, multi-tasking has become a way of life. Yesterday I outdid myself by 'triple-tasking.'  I had my agility Cocker trotting away on the treadmill (she loves that), Havoc was next to the treadmill on the grooming table after just having been bathed, being blown dry with me holding the dryer while I was pedaling away on my bike which was next to the grooming table. I'm sure it must have looked rather weird, but I got a lot accomplished in much less time, plus riding the bike wasn't quite so awful."

That was Jane in a nutshell. It was first, last and always about the dogs and making sure that she made time to attend to their every need.  She could never understand people who took their dogs for granted, and she was often instrumental in re-homing dogs in need.

Oddly I awoke this morning thinking of Jane, probably because my hands look terrible - nine 9-week-old puppies will do that to you - and I thought that I hadn't spoken with her recently and should call her. Then I turned on the computer and learned it was too late.I know that Jane would want us all to take two lessons from her untimely passing.  First be absolutely sure that someone knows who will care for your dogs if something like this happens to you. Second,  never let the demands of life get in the way of telling the people in your life how much they mean to you, how much you treasure their friendship. Never take for granted that there will be time for them tomorrow, because there may be no tomorrow.

Rest in peace, sweet Jane. We shall miss you always.