The bright and colourful suits worn by a dog trainer, affectionately known as the “Don Cherry of the dog world,” are being transformed into teddy bears.
Dog handler Larry Clark, who was born in Red Deer, died last August. His sister Robin Armitage said she was “shocked” by how many people in the dog handling world were mourning Clark.
“They all (expressed) how sad they were and talked about how it wasn’t going to be the same without him,” Armitage said Saturday.
When he passed away, he left behind racks of his colourful clothes.
“I didn’t want to just donate them. I didn’t feel right,” Armitage said.
Eventually, the clothes were brought to Tammy Luethje in Kitimat, B.C., who is using the old suits to create teddy bears.
“People in the dog world started a scholarship for junior handlers, so they’re selling these teddy bears (to support that scholarship),” said Armitage.
“Some kennel clubs are using them as a raffle item at their show … and some people are buying them for $40 or whatever. All of the profits … are going to that scholarship fund. I thought that was just so remarkable.”
Armitage said she thought it was “amazing” how people have made something good come out of something so tragic.
“Larry was always positive and always happy. Everybody said when he got to the (dog) shows, it would just light everybody up,” she said.
“He was always the guy helping set up at shows and helping cars figure out where to park in the parking lot – I saw someone post online the other day, ‘How’s anyone going to know where to park without Larry?’”
Before entering the dog handling world in the late ’80s, Clark was a bull rider, Armitage said, adding he always loved to wear colourful outfits back then too.
“Even when he was a bull rider, he liked the colourful chaps. That’s when colourful chaps were becoming popular. Before that they were all just brown and black,” she said.
“When he started doing the dog shows he was apprehensive at first, I think he believed he needed to be neat and the same as everyone else. But it didn’t take him long to start wearing all the bright colours.”
For more information on the Larry Clark Memorial Fund National Bursary, visit www.larryclarkmemorialfund.com.