Remembering Joseph E. Gregory

Remembering Joseph E. Gregory

With a hop, skip, and a jump, and a smile on his face, Joe Gregory delighted dog show exhibitors, as his love for our sport, the dogs, and the people shined through in his dynamic personality. To know him was to love him.

George Alston, another of the dog world’s great legends, had this to say as we reminisced about Joe:

“Joe Gregory was a great man; a true Southern Gentleman. He loved dogs and the sport of dogs, but most of all Joe loved people. Joe was a great handler with the softest hands I had ever seen showing a Boxer. You see, I first met Joe when I was 12. I was showing my Boxer, Barmers Talisman, in the classes. I was losing. My folks were going to hire a professional handler because they thought he was too strong for me. I was just getting over complications from Polio. Joe went to my folks and said, “Let me help George. I think he will be just fine.” Joe taught me how to show a Boxer with a “SOFT” hand. He taught me how to think in the ring; how to compete with the pro handlers. In those days, there were usually 10 or 12 handlers in the Open Dog Class and it took 37 males to make a major. With Joe’s help and guidance, I finished “Boomer” about six months later at the American Boxer Club specialty the day before The Garden. I was showing Boomer in Specials under Mr. Wagner of Mazelaine fame. I was then 14. He made it between Larry Downey with “Spark Plug” and me with Boomer. Joe was in the ring also. Joe kept telling me to do this and do that, and it lasted about 30 minutes between the two of us. Spark Plug won. Two days later, before Juniors, Joe found me to talk to me. He had heard that the other kids were making fun of my southern accent and he told me he used to have the same problem when he started as a handler. He told me not to let it bother me and to go in there and win. He said I was good enough. I did win Best Junior. It was 1954. From then on, Joe was always helping me and advising me. After I graduated from high school, I had an offer to work for Lina Basquette. I asked Joe, and he thought it was a good idea. Later, I went to work for Jane Kamp (Forsyth) and Joe just laughed and said, “It will be different, but go for it and learn more.”

Joseph Gregory