Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tribute to Val Guthrie From Our Southbound Swissy Club

It is with a deep and heartfelt sadness that we will have to say“Goodbye” to our dear friend and long-standing club member, Val Guthrie.  

Because so many have asked, I will include just some brief details.  Val was admitted to the hospital on Thursday with severe anemia and enlarged spleen and diagnosed Friday with an aggressive form of Leukemia (Acute Monocytic Leukemia).  During her hospitalization she suffered an event that caused severe brain damage and she was placed and is still on life support.  She will be moved to Emory Hospice where she can be visited by her Swissy, Ripken.  Her family and close friends will be with her throughout the day to say their goodbyes.  Plans are to remove life support Saturday at noon, but this could change depending on the family’s wishes. 

For many of us, it is hard to process the loss of someonewho was full of life and had what seemed to be many years ahead.  It was so sudden and so unexpected.  I know I keep wanting to pick up the phone and call her, as I have done many times, to chat about plans for Swissypaloozaor the Perry show.  She was always there.  Gosh, I miss her already.

For those of you that don’t know her well, Val is, what we call in the dog training world, a “softie”. She wanted nothing more than to please. If someone complained or seemed unhappy with her contribution, she would shut down.  If she was encouraged or received praise, she would work her heart out and shine brightly.  She said to me many, many times, “I just want for everyone to be happy and to get along.”

She took pleasure in finding just the right solution and loved to call me up and let me know.  For example, she was so proud (and rightly so) of the 5-year member cratetags.  Some of the things were small, butthey were big to her because she put so much thought into it.  All she needed was a little confirmation or a pat on the back.  

Val’s contributions to Southbound were immense and the hugegap she is leaving will be hard to fill. She joined the club in 2003 after obtaining her first Swissy, GCH NobleFarms Alpine Avalanche, CGC, TDI, TT, “Boulder”, and from the day she joined,she was making contributions in some form or another.  “Just tell me what you want me to do.”, she would say. 

Val didn’t necessarily like to make the decisions or be in charge, but would do just about anything you asked of her.  At the time of this post, she is Club Secretary, Membership and Communications Chair and Club Liaison to the Peach-Blossom Cluster Show Committee. She is also the coordinator for the Meet the Breed event at the OrlandoNational Championship.  She was coordinating the weight pulls for the upcoming Swissypalooza and was collaborating with me on the building of our weight pull cart and probably involved in a number of other things that I can’t even recall.

In Val’s Letter of Intent for the most recent SouthboundElection, she wrote: “Finally, I would like to share that I was welcomed with open arms at my very first Southbound event (Funday 2003) and have never looked back. Southbound has been a huge part of my life for the last 13 years and through this club and its members I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.”

It’s the last part that stings.  Her lifetime will be way too short.  One can only hope that she will join Molly and Boulder in the ever after and they will somehow send us that short message on her car tag… ”BAROO”, to let us know they are okay.

Love you Val,
Melissa Jarrie

lSouthbound President


  1. I hope the emptiness of Val loss be filled with all the wonderful memories she has left. Again, so sorry for your loss.

  2. Such a wonderful person you were blessed to know. People like her are few and far between and I know you will miss her, but I truly hope the memories of her life outweigh the tragedy of her loss.

  3. So sorry.....not much else can be said but blessed that she was in your life.


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