I was very sad to hear yesterday that Janet Martineau had passed away.
Our friendship has spanned some 58 years. I was just 8 years old when I met Janet at a local dog show that my Dad had taken me to. Sitting ringside I remember fussing her lovely dog. We got chatting and my Dad declared me ‘dog mad’, Janet then told us that Cheltenham and District Dog Training Club held weekly classes at Holy Apostles church hall. As luck would have it, half a mile from my house and very walkable. So I walked up to the club and became a ‘dog holder’, I loved Tanna and Rookie, two of Janet’s beardies.
Cindy came into my life when I was 11, my grandparent’s Welsh sheepdog, I was sent to club by my Gran with the instruction to ‘stop Cindy jumping up’ (I never did do that)
As we progressed through the classes and reached the top class Janet kindly drove Cindy home and dropped me off afterwards as it was a late finish.
Janet would often help me with my homework and would regularly scold the now gaggle of teenage girls for training their dogs in platform shoes!
Janet encouraged me to attend courses with Cindy and was kind enough to drive me to shows a little further afield than my Dad was able to until I was old enough to drive. She would even give me a lift to the pub after training, once I was old enough to drink!
I finally got my very own border collie at 18 and Meg bounced into my life, my Mum had just died and Janet always kept a whether eye on me, just making sure I was ok. Janet was thrilled when we made it to Championship Test C.
When I had a litter from Meg she came to see the pups, and said Tweed was the one to keep, and the first of the Snowmere Border Collies was born, my future show champion.
Over the years I moved away from obedience and became involved with breed showing, agility, and more, but all my new dogs have been through Cheltenham club. It always seemed the same, despite several venue changes and turn over of people Janet was always there, the one constant after all those years. I was very sad when she stepped down as a trainer at the AGM in March, as it just seemed to be the end of an era.
When I was invited to judge border collies at Crufts in 2015, I remember saying to her I wished I could tell my Dad, the little girl he took to a dog show was judging at Crufts. If it had not been for Janet, I doubt any of it would have happened. I owe her everything, all my dogs and all the friends I have made over the years, all down to Janet encouraging the little girl to follow her dream and just be ‘dog mad’.
Thank you Janet, I will always love you, I will never forget you, sleep well now. xxx