In 1981, Meredith was bitten by the show bug and obtained her first conformation dog from Diablo Valley German Shepherd Dog Club members Russ & Beryl Eshom of Arelee German Shepherds. Meredith was determined that she was gong to show the dog herself despite many saying she would never be able to do it. Arelee’s Merick, aka Eric, went on to become Meredith’s first owner-handled American Kennel Club (AKC) Champion and also was the basis for Meredith’s kennel name -- Merick German Shepherds. After that, she also obtained a bitch from club members Ron Delaney and his wife, and she finished her all owner-handled. There were four others that she bred (Stormy, Rainy, Hunter & Lacey) and they all finished their championships owner-handled. Meredith was not one to take no for an answer, and soon proved she could in fact show and finish her own dogs.
Along the way, several other club members and German Shepherd Fanciers soon took notice of Meredith in the ring. She was always groomed to perfection, as were the dogs she showed. She was known for wearing her white split skirt, rain or shine and always with a beautiful colored jacket with a white top underneath. Maybe it was her background as a nurse that led to her affinity for white!
Over the years, she showed and finished many dogs for others and me in the Bay Area. She traveled in her beige Dodge van with the tire cover on the back showing a black silhouette of her beloved Eric and her kennel name. She attended shows up and down the West Coast, from Washington to Southern California. I often followed her in my van and, when we would like her house in Walnut Creek for shows in the PNW, she would always call me on the CB radio (no cell phones in those days) and say “Wagons Ho”. We had great times traveling together in our vans, staying on show site and BBQing our dinner. She always beat me setting up our x-pens and would be sitting having her vodka cocktail before mine were finished. The Valley of the Rogue State Park in Oregon was our favorite stop going up, and coming home we would spend a few extra days camping there and mulling over the shows.
She was a great friend and mentor to many of us. As a handler, she was a true professional and loved the dogs she showed like they were her own. She was always calm in the ring, never loosing her temper with the owner or the dog. She was the very best groomer I have ever known and knew exactly what to do to make the dog look their very best. She would meet you at classes to work and train young dogs, and also work with them on show grounds after showing if they needed it and many did! She was wonderful at helping to whelp litters and stack puppies for their first photographs.
Around 2002/2003, due to health reasons, Meredith could no longer run with the big dogs. Prior to that she had met Linda Fitzmaurice at an International show in Vallejo while she was still showing shepherds. Meredith and I spotted these little red dogs that kind of looked like a small Golden Retriever but we had no idea what they were. We went over to find out about them and learned they were Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. That is when she first met Linda Fitzmaurice. Linda realized what a great job Meredith did in the ring and that led to Meredith giving Linda handling lessons, something that she did with many owner handlers after that. Meredith had a long and successful career in Tollers, earning her first Best In Show on her beloved Maverick along with many group wins and National wins on him and on his progeny.
Known to her friends as Tante M….she will be missed by many of us.
“Wagons Ho Tante M”
Reflections on Meredith Noreen, by Kay Springer
Meredith’s love of the German Shepherd Dog began with Duchess, who she semi-rescued from home that was not giving the dog the attention she needed. Duchess was not a show dog but a great companion to both Meredith and her husband Fred.