IN MEMORY OF KIM SCHOENHARD
Disclaimer: I am sharing my memories of Kim Schoenhard. These are memories of conversation had over the years with Kim. I apologize if I offend anyone or leave important people out and things out.
Kim always loved animals. She spent much of her childhood with her grandmother who raised rare and exotic poultry on her farm. Kim learned to castrate roosters to make capons. Her grandmother often incubated clutches of eggs for the local zoo. Rare swans, ducks and geese from faraway lands were often on the farm, one time even penguin chicks!
As a teenager Kim began to ride Arabians in horse shows for a local stable. Those of us who saw Kim in the ring understood that those years as a horsewoman made her an excellent dog handler. She always had poise and grace as well as excellent posture. Not only were her dogs groomed impeccably, but Kim was always dressed beautifully and accessorized to perfection… not to mention her lovely bright smile.
Kim had a brief marriage in her early 20s that resulted in her son, Ryan. She married Ted Schoenhard and had a ready-made family, including his two children. A parade of dogs had always shared Kim’s life through all these years, Saint Bernards, Boston Terriers, Afghan Hounds…
In the 1990s, Kim opened a Pet Store. A dog food representative came into her store one day and brought with her a tiny Japanese Chin. It was love at first site for Kim. Every time the Rep visited her store, Kim paid more attention to the dog than the selecting and ordering of products.
Eventually, the Rep gave the tiny bitch to Kim, AKC papers and all. The breeder of the Chin was Dale Martenson and Kim worked hard at finding him.
Kim spoke with Dale and told him about her history with show horses and her desire to own another Japanese Chin. Dale chose a beautiful male puppy for her and encouraged her to show it. She called the puppy Tommy, showed him to his Championship and went on to campaign him as a Special, winning Group Placements with him (CH Touches’s Takai Tomodachi).
Kim and I met when she was showing Tommy and became fast friends. I watched as she had success in breeding under the Taichin kennel name and showing her dogs. I was lucky enough to share beautiful dogs with her including Eriq (BISS CH Touche’s Ecentriq at Chic) who won a National Specialty (he is the dog pictured with Kim in the “tuxedo” picture). Kim owned the first Japanese Import female to finish an AKC Championship, CH Hitachi Aoisow JP Mito, we were lucky enough to share her daughter (Eriq was the sire) Taichin Exotiq at Chic.
Kim and I met up at dog shows over the years. She came and stayed at my house many times. I was lucky enough to stay at hers too. I have been so blessed over the last two decades showing my dogs, not with beautiful dogs, but with wonderful people in my life I have called friends. Kim was on the top of that list.
In March of 2009, Kim called me with the news that she had been diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. In a sad and strange coincidence my husband, Bill, was diagnosed with the same disease that same month, the same week. We still showed together as much as we could through the surgeries and treatments, but our focused shifted off of the dogs and onto other more pressing issues.
We began to talk in abstracts about our dogs, “if anything happens”, and it soon changed to, “when something happens”. It became apparent that both Kim and Bill were fighting a losing battle.
I lost Bill in September 2014. In October Kim let me know it was time to help her fulfill her wishes about her dogs. The disease was progressing and Kim was aware she needed help.
We lost Kim on April 24, 2015. She died at home with her three favorite “girls” at her side, Bella, Sookie and Mira. She left with the dignity and grace that she lived with. She left me with a big empty space in my heart and in my life.
I love you, Kim. I miss you.