Thank You Donors to the Lena Amirian Memorial Health Fund
I first met Lena at the 2009 SCOA National Specialty in Rend Lake, IL, about 10 hours from my home in Minnesota. A couple of Minnesota folks whom I had recently gotten to know, Nancy Schultz and Ed Erickson, were going to attend, so I thought I’d check it out. I had a young pup that I had shown once and was considering hunt testing. Lena had his sire, a dog named Rufus, who I had understood to have done some pretty good things in the Spinone world, so I thought I’d look her up.
On the second day, I was sitting in the dining room at lunchtime when a tall, gracious Swedish woman came over to my table and introduced herself. The woman was Lena Amirian, and she asked me where my pup was. I pointed him out, laying quietly at my feet the entire time, under the table. “Temperament, temperament, temperament!” she exclaimed! She was so happy, that this 9-month-old pup, in a room full of other people and dogs, was content to lay quietly under the table the entire time.
Those three words have resonated with me ever since. Rufus, of course, was Rufus Di Morghengo, the dog for whom the Rufus cup is named, and which is awarded by SCOA annually to a dog achieving in both the conformation ring and in the field. Rufus won the SCOA National Specialties in 2001 and 2003, and took breed at Westminster in 2004. In addition to being an accomplished conformation Champion, he was an AKC Master Hunter, placed 2nd in hunt trials in Italy, and was the first Spinone to earn a “VC”, or “Versatile Champion” title from the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA). To date, only 10 Spinone have achieved that distinguished title.
As significant as those accomplishments were, Lena’s emphasis as a breeder was on temperament and health. (Is not their gentle, loving, loyal, sometime stubborn, sometimes clownish temperament why we’re all so crazy about them?) Lena was a breeder, a trainer, a teacher, an AKC judge, and a NAVHDA judge. She trained and handled her own dogs in both the show ring and in the field. As a trainer she was always firm, but fair. As a breeder, Lena’s goal was only to improve breed type according to the breed standard. Lena and her husband Ash were generous with their time and knowledge, as they founded the Spinone Only training days, and helped countless people learn to train and handle their own Spinoni. Her passion for the breed was infectious, and her knowledge of the breed unmatched.
The Spinone world lost Lena Amirian in October 2019. Shortly thereafter her family established the Lena Amirian Memorial Spinone Health Fund. If you’d like to donate, please click this link . To date this fund has received 80 plus donations, from $5.00 to over $300.00. THANK YOU to all of our donors! Many of the donations have been made as a memorial to a particular person or dog. Donations to this fund will allow SCOA to partner with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, as well as various research groups, to help future generations of Spinoni. Through contributions to research top health concerns such as infectious diseases, cancers, and epilepsy, SCOA hopes to help achieve longer and healthier lives for our beloved breed.
I always smile when I recall the words, “Temperament, temperament, temperament!” I’m sure that somewhere, the Spinone health fund has Lena smiling as well.