Her name was Patsy. Although conformation was something she was lacking severely, Patsy was a full-grown AKC registered female boxer. Besides being an excellent mother, Patsy had nothing more to give than an over abundance of love and affection to anyone and everyone. Patsy came to us through the hidden portion of the purchase agreement on our new (old) home on St. Clair Avenue. We were all elated when told of getting a dog upon moving into our new home. In the weeks to come, the inevitable question began to surface, "Are we going to have puppys mom?" I suppose in the beginning, Iím sure the thought at least to some degree, existed between our parents, we could sell puppies and make money. These ambitions, embraced by the whole family, launched the search for a suitable companion for Patsy. Although Iím not sure how, we became acquainted with a Philippine couple, Pete and Betsy Castro who had a Champion which ultimately became Patsyís mate. He was Ch. Bee-Arandaís Manila Boy. From that breeding we kept a brindle bitch that had good overall conformation but was very plain when it came to markings.
We named her Doreen. Her registered name was Starlette Von Mumbo of Pointe. All of the female dogs we had were named after my sisterís friends in her Girl Scout troop. Our male dogs were named after my friends at school or Boy Scout troop. At the age of 15 years I began to learn the INís and OUTís of showing dogs with Pete Castro as my mentor and Doreen as my partner. After some time, much to my disappointment, it became apparent that while my skills as a junior handler were improving steadily, Doreen was never going to make it in the show ring. As it came to pass, her claim to fame was that of an excellent brood bitch and my sidekick. It was gratifying to realize Doreenís destiny in life as an excellent mother and companion was quite fulfilling. Doreen was bred to ďCan. Ch. Mazelaineís KanakaĒ, a son of Int. Ch. Ursa Major of Sirrah Crest. From that mating we got Starletteís Liíl Deicer. We called her Suzy. Suzy was a plain dark brindle bitch, who like Patsy, had a somthing to be desired on the subject of conformation. Suzyís features were more masculine than feminine. When Suzy was bred, we were fully aware of her physical inadequacies, but counted on the strengths of her heritage and the Sirrah Crest in her background.
By now our breeding program was beginning to take on more focused fundamental objectives and purpose. As one can see, the focal point in our genetic studies was that revolving around Ch. Bang Away of Sirrah Crest. Bang Away, as he was called, was owned in California and handled by Nate Levine on the East Coast and Phil Marsh in the mid-west. It was at this point, our resolve was to agree on a kennel name that would be our recognition in the industry. It was either mother or dad that had heard the word ďamityĒ used on the radio in connection with friendship. After further research on the true meaning and usage of the word, we all agreed our new name was to be ďAMITY HALL BOXERS.Ē
In the summer of 1956, I drove Suzy in my 1953 DeSoto, to Framingham, Massachussetts to the kennels of professional handler Jane Kamp and bred her to Ch. Worthyway of Sirrah Crest. To this day, it is hard for me to conclude whether we were very lucky or we had some real skills revolving around our studies of genetics. In either case, out of that breeding we got Ch. Carolyn of Amity Hall. We called her Carolyn. Showing Carolyn was all the excitement any handler, experienced or up coming, would ever want in the show ring: She was dynamic. She had it all. Carolyn was what we had been striving for all the preceding years. She made me as I made her. By this time I was showing dogs of many breeds for people on the East Coast and in the mid-west. Mr. Dick of the American Kennel Club awarded me a professional handlerís license in 1957 at the age of 21 years. To fulfill the requirements for a handlerís license, I had formally associated myself with Safety Girl Kennels in Mount Clemens, Michigan.
In the beginning I exercised our dogs, usually two at a time on a dividing single tether, by leashing them to the fork of my bicycle and letting them pull me around the block. Later on I purchased a 1955 DeSoto Station Wagon for transportation to dog shows and for exercising dogs from the tailgate, or when I couldnít raise the help, from the open driver door window.
In the spring of 1957, after she had retired from an overwhelming show career, Carolyn was bred to Ch. Barrage of Quality Hill, another son of Ch. Bang Away of Sirrah Crest. The concept of this breeding was to culminate the heritage Carolyn had on both sides to create the pinnacle of achievement, which was to produce a stud dog with Carolynís attributes and refinements; it worked. On August 21, 1957 Ch. Amity Hallís Master Key was born. We called him Danny. All of the excitement, all of the glory, and all of the thrills we had experienced in the career of Ch. Carolyn of Amity Hall wasnít over yet. With Danny it started all over again. Danny was everything his mother was and then some. Not only because he was a male of extraordinary stature and spirit; Danny was a natural showman. He received his Championship just after his second birthday. Danny was three and a half years old when we sold him for a large sum of money to Mr. and Mrs. Victor Pearson of Library, Pa. We felt the Pearsonís had the ďwhere-with-allĒ to promote Danny to much greater heights than we could and at the same time promote our name. At the age of five years Danny died of prostrate cancer. I was never sure if his death wasnít, at least in part, caused by heartbreak. I always felt that maybe we made a mistake in selling him. Ch. Amity Hallís Mischief Maker was another product of that lineage. He was sold to John and Pat Connolly of Dearborn, Mich. John showed him to his Championship and in turn sold him to Victor Pearson.
Synonymous with Dannyís death, I joined the army reserves and was gone for some time. A few months later I returned to open AMITY HALL KENNELS in Ambler, Pa. at the estate of Nate Levine and his wife. Mr. Levine had since retired from the handling profession. Within that year of 1962, I was reactivated back into the Army to support the Berlin crisis effort. All the dogs in my care for boarding, training, and showing were sent home to their owners and my career as a professional handler and kennel owner was never taken up again. The only exception to the boxers we raised and showed, which were always a loving part of our family, was an apricot standard poodle whoís registered name I do not recall; (something, something Playboy). My oldest sister Nina hated the name. We called him David. He was often referred to as Davie or Dave. David was the result of impulse buying on my part; besides, he needed a home. Although David had excellent conformation and size, he never grew enough coat to look proportioned. As a result, he became a very stylish pet.
Our dad Andrew Henderson, Andy as his friends called him, retired from Chrysler Corporation in 1968. Restoring old cars was his passion. After only 6 years of retirement, dad died in 1974 at the age of 68 years. In that same year mother, Marion Henderson, went on to retire from the Grosse Pointe public schools education system. She started a new life in Fountain Hills, Arizona where in 1980 she met and eventually married a wonderful man, Mr. William Bill Stearns. Mother died in 2000 at the age of 84 years from Alzheimers Disease.