I became involved in the pure-bred dog fancy in 1970 and was quickly owned by several Old English Sheepdogs. Before that, I grew up in a family who always had a dog (most often purebred) as a family companion. I thought my destiny was to become a breeder of Old English Sheepdogs, but that was halted the day I was introduced to some English Springer Spaniels -- they won (and still own) my heart.
I became kennel manager at Springcasa Kennels, working for Mrs. Kathleen Martyn, a well known breeder of English Springer Spaniels. Soon after, I picked out (what was to become) the key that truly opened my heart to this breed, a pup of my own. She was a very darkly-marked black and white female puppy, who I named "Amanda" (Mandy). She grew up to become CH. Springcasa's Miss Amanda C.D..
Mandy taught me all about love, and the privilege of sharing your life with a Springer. Amanda did very well in the show ring, (considering she had a novice in the ring with her -- me!) earning Winners Bitch from the junior puppy class at a booster her first time out, under world famous judge Annie Rogers Clark (Mrs. James Edward Clark, known affectionately throughout the dog show world by her first name only: Annie).
Amanda finished with several Best of Breeds, and has several Specialty Brood Bitch class firsts (from both sides of the border) to her credit. Amanda is most remembered, being (we believe) the top producing bitch in Canada. From her few litters, Amanda has a total of 17 Canadian champions to her credit as well as one American champion. She produced one Best In Show winner; 3 different sons won Best In Specialty Show; several group winners and placers; a number of Best Puppy In Show winners (I am not sure how many of her sons and daughters won that award) as well as many nice ESS Specialty wins.
I started out with one lovely Springer, and from there Nanjay has blossomed. Many of the Nanjay Springers have been the foundation of kennels from coast to coast. I have now been involved with this exciting breed since 1976, and have established over eleven generations of Nanjay bloodlines. I am amazed how these wonderful dogs teach me something new every day.
Over the years we have done well in the show and obedience ring (having bred/owned 60 Champions, and co-bred several more. Nanjay dogs also have some H.I.T.s (High in Trials - obedience) to their credit. Nanjay is a multiple recipient of the Pedigree/C.K.C. award for Breeder Of The Year. But it is in the home environment that our Springers really shine. I have been fortunate to have placed my dogs in wonderful homes throughout the years, and knowing that these dogs make such a valuable contribution to their respective families is the greatest reward of all.
I have been a member in good standing of The Canadian Kennel Club for 30 years and am a member of a number of English Springer Spaniel clubs. I've been actively involved with several of the breed clubs over the years, holding numerous positions; such as:
I would like to take this opportunity to recommend to all enthusiasts to become active in your local breed club. Remember that you get out of the club as much as you put in. Could you spend your time more wisely than promoting this wonderful breed?
I always describe Nanjay as "a small select kennel thoughtfully breeding Springers for temperament, soundness and quality". I prefer to place my Springer puppies into wonderful companion homes. Here the puppies flourish in their nurturing environment, and later, many go out into the show and obedience ring and excel.
I am dedicated to advancing and promoting the quality of the English Springer Spaniel. Nanjay continues to develop carefully planned bloodlines which enable me to confidently place puppies in appropriate family situations. Making no compromises on temperament is my first thought when orchestrating a meticulously planned breeding. Choosing Springers who closely represent the breed standard in every way possible is the next consideration. Careful study of any progeny produced by the prospective "suitor" is my next concern. Every breeding should (hopefully) be an improvement on the last generation.
Special thanks must go to K. I. Martyn of Springcasa fame who gave me my start in Springers - for without her there would be no Nanjay. Special thanks to all of my friends who have been so supportive throughout the years; they know who they are.
One of the bonuses of being involved in this fancy is all of the new friendships that have developed as a result of our shared interest in the breed. But most of all, thanks to all of the special Nanjay Springers who have enriched my life, and who continue to do so........
Nanci J. Footitt