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Ruth Wadman Taylor MRCVS

The Cairn Terrier world suffered a grievous loss last Wednesday with the death of Ruth Wadman Taylor MRCVS, writes Ferelith Somerfield.

Not only was she the hub of the breed’s Health Watch programme, but she was also involved with various breed clubs, and was an excellent steward. She was also a founder member of the Cairn Terrier Relief Fund in 1971.

Born Ruth Margaret Mary McLelland in 1921, she would have been 85 on October 9. She qualified in Glasgow on July 9, 1943 - the 188th lady to achieve this. She worked in many places, including Mike and Val Stockman’s practice in Barnet where she often went as a locum.

Ruth married a fellow veterinary surgeon, Bill Wadman Taylor, later to become a member of the Kennel Club’s General Committee. They had a son, Ross, who became a member of the Kennel Club in 1994, the year Bill died. He uses the name McLelland Taylor. Ross’ wife Diane manages the Dog’s Trust Kennels at Snetterton and it was here that Ruth was found dead in bed on August 30.

Apart from her support and interest in Ross and Diane’s work, Ruth looked after her much loved grandsons, James and Toby.

Earlier Bill and Ruth had managed the Battersea Kennels in London and Bellmead for some years so they were both well known among the animal charities. She became a member of the Southern Cairn Terrier Club in 1958 and had been the club’s honorary veterinary surgeon since 1961. She had sat on the club’s committee for many years until she retired last year when she was made a vice-president. She was also an hon vice-president of the Cairn Terrier Club and hon life member of the CTC, SCTC and the Cairn Terrier Association.

She bred and showed Cairns in a small way under the Ascand affix, but her work precluded her from pursuing this side in detail; instead many a rescue Cairn enjoyed their final years with her.

Ruth was a popular judge of Cairns and judged at Crufts, retiring after judging at Richmond championship show nine years ago.

I last saw Ruth at Three Counties in June where she was watching the Cairn judging with her friend Mary Towers. Earlier in the year she was stewarding for Sybil Churchill at the SCTC ch show. Until the last two years she and Mary always stewarded at the LKA, often in the Border ring. They used to stay with the Stockmans so mixing business with pleasure. They also worked at Crufts for many years.

Ruth had a wonderful sense of humour and I shall never forget the time Ruth, Mary and I travelled up together to the Isle of Skye for various Cairn millennium activities. She kept us amused with so many tales of her youth in Glasgow that I could not concentrate and drove round and round the centre of the city getting ever more lost.

On the way back south we went via Edinburgh so that Ruth could, on behalf of the CTC, unveil a plaque at the Veterinary College to commemorate the money raised by Cairn people in memory of the breed`s founder, Mrs Alistair Campbell. It was wonderful to see the esteem in which Ruth was held by everyone we met on that trip, whether from her professional life or the dog side.

Mary and I basked in her fame!