I joined the fancy in the 60s with Yorkshire Terriers.  When a friend of mine suggested that I might enjoy the more substantial Wheaten Terrier, I began my search.  I had always loved the terrier temperament and found it particularly enchanting that Wheaten Terriers did not shed.  My love affair with the breed began with Innisfree’s Annie Sullivan.  The path to Annie’s breeder, Jean Free, was circuitous.  My initial contact was with Charlie Arnold of Sunset Hill.  Charlie deferred to Anne Elwell on the grounds that Anne was more knowledgeable than he.  It was Anne, a protégé of Kerry Gay and Jackie Westbury ShowBlue breeder, Horace Judd Perry, who helped me settle on “Annie” as the most promising bitch in a litter out of Jean’s Irish import, CroombourCrackerjill, and sired by Charlie Arnold’s O’Callahan of Sunset Hill.  O’Callahan, one line down from being an import himself, was of pure Irish bloodlines. Annie was born on November 22, 1970.

I introduced myself to Jackie Gottlieb (Andover) at the First Governor’s Foot Guard show in Hartford when Annie was still but a pup, and showed off pictures of her.  I was looking for reassurance from Jackie that Annie would be at least as pretty as her young Stephen Dedalus of Andover (Sweeney) whom Jackie was showing in the Miscellaneous Class.  We would in later years laugh about this and many other experiences saying that we were the blind leading the blind! Jackie and I became fast friends once Annie was old enough to enter the show ring.  I was living in Hartsdale, NY (Westchester County) and Jackie lived in Rockville Center on Long Island, when we would meet at some preordained spot, usually a McDonalds where she would park her Cadillac and leave it for the weekend. From there we would together travel to dog shows with Annie and Sweeney in tow.
We did not have crate dollies. Jackie used a little red wagon and I had a hand made wooden job, flat with little wheels that maneuvered rather poorly across the typical dog show terrain. My tack box was an old wooden egg crate stained forest green. Our dogs were trained to lay on their sides for grooming, like an Old English…I laugh every time I visualize this…no wonder the old-guard terrier folks had a hard time reconciling our Wheatens with their "real terriers! 

Annie and Sweeney were bred in 1972, producing eight pups. By the official date of AKC's breed recognition they were ready for the show ring. Annie was Best Of Breed at our first Montgomery County Kennel Club show. Both Annie and her son, Gleanngay's Gingerbread Man, won 5-point majors there. Five get from this litter finished their championships.

Annie In Sellersville
Gingerbread Man_Mikey
Ch Innisfree's Annie Sullivan, ROM, above. Center, the Sweeney X Annie son, Ch Gleanngay Gingerbread Man. On the right, his litter mate, Ch Gleanngay Glenariff.

Annie was more than I ever could have asked for and as a show dog...suffice it to say she was the breed’s only Best In Show-winning bitch for decades.  Annie was the dam of 20 champions.  In the January-February 1987 issue of Terrier Type, Dan Kiedrowski wrote, “Annie’s contribution to breed progress is inestimable, with more than half the 1400-plus champions in the breed being her descendants.  Many recent champions carry from four to seven crosses to Annie, and her influence increases geometrically with each new generation...Wheatens have reached a peak of perfection far beyond what might have been expected in as short a developmental period, and much of this is owed to Annie.” Ch Gleanngay's Goldilach ROM was from this first litter of Annie's and she, bred to Ch Koop's Kilkenny of Woodridge, ROM, produced Ch Gleanngay Holliday, ROM, the acknowledged "watershed dog" for the breed. "Koops,"also known as "Brandy," was a son of Ch Abby's Postage Dhu O'Waterford, ROM, whose breeder, Marjorie Shoemaker, said she was certain "Doc" had a "cure for the commons!

Goldilach Doc's Mom
Doc Show Shot
Ch Gleanngay's Goldilach, ROM "Taffy"
Ch Koop's Kilkenny Of Woodridge ROM "Brandy"
Ch Gleanngay Holliday, ROM "Doc"

      Below are pictures of "Doc" at 11 weeks, 6 months and 9 months of age:

Doc at 11 Weeks
Doc at 6 months
Doc at 9 months