Elizabeth Leaman was well-known in the Welsh Terrier community, as was her kennel,Hapitails. I first "met" Liz around 1997, when I joined a email listserv dedicated to Welsh Terriers. Several years later, if I remember correctly, she offered to submit one of the recommendations I needed for membership in the national breed club, the Welsh Terrier Club of America.
Liz and I didn't always agree, but I do believe that she always believed strongly in whatever stance she took on an issue. We met in person only once, at the 2004 Montgomery weekend, where I actually had been nominated for office, but was defeated. It stung to know that Liz was on the opposing "team" that year, but I came to understood that I was young to the breed and a pet owner rather than a breeder and her loyalties lay with breeders first. Good, bad or indifferent, she stood by her beliefs. You have to respect that in a person!
Not long after - just a few weeks - I was rocked by the dissolution of my marriage. My Welsh Terrier family did much to support me in the months (and years) to come. When the children, dogs and I moved to a new house, but one without a secure fence for the dogs, Liz sent funds in the hope it would be one less worry as we made our new life. I know she offered the same to others through the years; it was her way of "paying it forward," I suppose.
Family illnesses and other commitments kept Liz away from the Welsh listservs in recent years, although she remained a member of at least two such groups. I sent emails periodically, just to say I missed her and to ask about her life and family. I didn't expect replies, and I heard from her infrequently. As is always the case, I wish I had written in the past week or two. I wish I had reached out one more time, to continue the connection begun more than 15 years ago.
There are so few left who knew the dog world as Liz knew it. But I am certain that tonight, many Hapitails dogs are celebrating "Nana Liz's" arrival at the Bridge. Enjoy your reunion, Elizabeth Leaman. You will be missed here on Earth.