I start with the sad news that Madeleine Thomas passed away on 9th September, the day after the Queen. She had been ill for several weeks and died peacefully in hospital. Many of you who are new to the breed will not have met Madeleine and husband Roger, but you may have a Squirreldene dog in your dog’s pedigree. When I came into the breed in 1992 Roger and Madeleine’s Squirrledene Kennel was very well known, they were successful breeders and exhibitors of Buhunds, Norwich and Norfolk Terriers, and at that time they had been Top Breeders in Buhunds since 1989 apart from 1990 continuing into the mid-90s, and Roger was club president from 1995 -1998. They had many successful Buhunds in the 80s and 90s but probably the best know was Squirreldene Bjanka(Freya) born in 1983, she was the bitch breed record holder for many years only losing the title to Ch/Ir Ch Arncroft Di Nahs Mite in 2009, but Freya was Mia’s GG Aunt so it was kept in the family. They retired to the Isle of Man from Herefordshire in the late 90s and I did not see them again, Roger kept in touch occasionally by email and was meant to judge our club show in 2020, which of course was sadly cancelled due to covid, Roger then decided to retire from judging due to the ongoing covid situation, and quite naturally not wanting to risk their health.
Someone who knew the family very well is Jill Corie, Marie’s mother and I am indebted to her for writing the following piece: – ‘How do I condense all my thoughts of a nearly 40year friendship into just a few lines? I could probably write a book! We first met in 1984 when I decided that our family needed a dog and Phil (who had never owned a dog), chose the Norwegian Buhund from an old Dog Directory which had only drawings, no photos. What a fabulous choice! At that time, I would have had any dog with legs and a tail, such was my yearning to own a dog again. We all went to visit the puppy and Madeleine checked us out for suitability, she would not let her puppies go to anyone if she did not approve of them. Squirreldene Petter joined our family and the fun began! Madeleine was always at the end of the phone with much-needed advice, she persuaded me to show Petter as she thought he was a good dog. I knew absolutely nothing about dog shows. Madeline encouraged me every step of the way. I tried my best, and we had some very happy times at shows, Petter’s greatest achievement was an RCC. Madeleine encouraged us to take on Squirreldene Caro (Drummer) a beautiful wolf sable who was looking for a new home, I hoped the dogs would be good friends but they only really tolerated each other.
As we lived about a 90minute drive away, it was easy to meet up socially with Madeline and Roger at dog shows, we shared common interests and knew each other’s families too. When they moved to the Isle of Man in the 1990s, I thought we would not see much of each other, but the opposite was true. As Phil is a life- long motorcycle sport enthusiast, we spent many holidays with them, the men going to watch the racing on the island, whilst Madeleine and I chatted for many hours about anything and everything, especially dogs. I think there were about 8 dogs then, two German Spitz (Nancy and Twiggy), Norwich Terriers and, of course, Buhunds. We had great times visiting many places of interest on the island, meeting up with Madeleine’s brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Eileen, and friends, we were always made to feel welcome. When Roger & Madeleine needed to come back for dog shows or judging commitments, they would try and meet up or stay with us if time permitted, and it was always a pleasure to see them. Sadly, the lockdown and Covid prevented us from meeting since 2019, but we did our best to catch up by phone and the occasional FaceTime meeting. Throughout all these years Madeleine has been a true and loyal friend. She was honest in her opinions and not afraid to share them, but at the same time, she was sensitive to other people’s feelings. We have laughed a lot and shared each other’s sadder moments. I will never forget her kindness in gifting us Remus (Ch Squirreldene Conversano) when I was bereft after losing our beloved Drummer. Remus shared our lives for 8 happy years until he was 16, and loved to come with us to visit his old family in the Isle of Man. We have watched each other’s families grow up and expand. Madeleine was delighted when Marie decided to have Bergen. Unfortunately, she never met him because of Covid restrictions, but Marie kept her informed of his progress and Madeleine was very encouraging with welcome advice. As a family we will all miss Madeleine and feel for Roger and their family at this horribly sad time. She passed away roughly 24hours after our Queen and I like that they are in Heaven together discussing dogs and horses, which was another of Madeleine’s passion.’ Jill Corin.
I am sure we would all like to send our condolences to Roger and his family at this very difficult and sad time. Madeleine’s Funeral will be on Wednesday 28th September at the Douglas Crematorium.
These notes have to be in early with the Queen’s funeral being on Monday, so I will report on Darlington next week, but I also feel it is appropriate that these notes are about the sad passing of Madeleine.
Keep safe everyone
Margaret Deuchar email@example.com