Bobby (or Fat Man, as we all referred to him ) was at the beginning of his stellar career as a handler on his own when I first met him back in the late 70s. Because we were not in the same area, I saw him mainly at DCA, at the Garden and at a few other big Specialties that I attended. I always considered him and his wife, Janie, to be the consummate professional Dachshund handlers and rarely ever heard anyone bad mouthing him as he was one of the most personable, capable guys in the game. He also was a standard wire breeder under the kennel name None Such.
Originally from Virginia, Bobby began his career as an apprentice to Frank and Dorothy Hardy and became almost like a son to them. Dee Hutchinson was working there at the same time, getting a different perspective on the world of dogs and dog shows from the one she grew up with at Rose Farm. Dee and Bobby remained life long friends. I can only imagine the mischief they caused when together working at the Hardys’s. Bobby had a gift for stacking Dachshunds and was one of the best ever at showing and presenting the breed.
After he left the Hardys to strike out on his own, Bobby had a short-lived partnership with Howard Atlee in Connecticut but soon moved back to take over the Hardys’s kennel in Pennsylvania where his success in dogs really began in earnest.
A consummate dog man, Bobby was able to cultivate (with the help of the invaluable Janie) long relationships with many successful breeders and kennels. Foremost among them were Mary Howell and the Bayard longhaireds. He also handled for Dr. Gene and Ida Thomas of Tallavast, Augusta Schneider and her Farmeadow Smooths, Peggy Westphal, Rotraut Luhnau and her Lunau Klein Miniatures, but his most important client was Mrs. Alan Robson of Albelarm who sponsored so many of the specials Bobby campaigned.
Bobby won DCA Best of Varietys with such greats as CH Delldachs Rolls Royce, CH Farmeadow Light Up The Sky (3 times in a row!), CH Bristleknoll Brass Buttons, CH Bayard le Maximillien, CH Saytar’s Little Bohannon, CH Starbarrack Malachite (twice), CH Walmar’s Jezebel v Spritzkof (with Angie Lloyd) and CH Wurdig’s Red Flyer. In addition to those notable dogs, he specialed CH Boondox Sting v Kanawha L, CH Bayard le Jacobin, CH Saytar’s Bow Jr of Joyal, CH Bristlleknoll Bonus o’ Barhar, CH Nonesuch Ghost of a Chance, CH Walmar’s Jazz Man and so many more.
Of many BIS and big specialty wins, I am positive Bobby must have been most pleased with the Westminster KC Group 1 he took with CH Starbarrack Malachite SW. Bobby had gotten close before (Group 2 with Sting), but that win was the high point of a great career in dogs. Two of his assistants have gone on to win BIS at the Garden (Michael Zollo and Angie Lloyd), and that is quite an achievement in itself!
When I went East to the Berks County specialty in 1987, I had Sting with me and Wally Jones as a passenger without any dogs. It was Sting’s second show, and he had previously won a specialty major at his first show under Katay Burg a couple of weeks previously. At Berks, I showed Sting in Bred By winning the class. As I left the ring, Bobby (who was not showing that day) approached me and told me that he wanted him! I was flattered and was not about to turn down the Fat Man. Long story short, by the time judge Bob Wlodkowski gave Sting Winners Dog and Best of Winners, Bobby and Wally had deteremined that Sting would start his Specials career with Bobby as handler and Wally and Mary as owners! It was one of the best moves I ever made, even though I was involved merely peripherally!
Always willing to help people, Bobby was one of the most popular guys around the show ring with exhibitors and judges alike. Some of my fondest memories of Bobby are away from the show ring, whether sitting around Mary Howell’s kitchen table or playing ‘Spite and Malice’ with Vera Falco. He always had a joke ready, and you came away with a smile. I still look up at DCA and expect to see Bobby and John Cook walking in, teasing each other.
Dan Harrison, July 2012