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Akita Reflections Section


Liz Harrell, 1922-2001

 

Mrs. Liz Harrell, the grand lady of the Akita world, has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and joined her late husband, Al, and all of her beloved Akita Tani, reg. dogs. Liz Harrell was one of the founders of the Akita Club of America in 1956, and her name and signature are on the incorporation papers of the club. She and her late husband Al also organized what came to be known as the Akita Rescue Society of America in 1976. She served several terms as ACA president and other ACA offices. She was the first "real" Akita breeder to use line breeding and inbreeding to "set" her Akita Tani, reg. type of Akita. The renowned Akita Tani kennel name is found in the pedigree many of the great dogs and kennels from the 1950's on through the 1980's.

 

Liz and Al Harrell were founding members of the Akita Club of America in 1956, and each has their name and signaturer on the incorporation papers of the club. Each served many years as officers guiding the breed and the club. In recognition of her service to the Akita breed and club, Liz was elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Akita Club of America in 2000 and the Raritan River Akita Club in 1980. In the days before the Akita was admitted to the miscellaneous class, Liz and Al would drive their station wagon with Akitas to dog shows and walk around the parking lots, to give the Akita breed exposure to the dog fancy. Liz Harrell was a lady of keen intelligence, acumen and strong opinions. The Akita Tani kennel name was registered by the AKC in 1956. Akita Tani's Shoyo-Go was the first Akita to be seen on the front page of a major dog magazine DOG WORLD in 1966. Liz was the Akita columnist for Northern Dog News magazine for ten years. Liz lead a technical seminar on the breeding of Akitas at the ACA national specialty dog shows in 1983 and in San Diego, CA. on Oct. 14, 1998 (photo above), when the ACA celebrated its 25th year of full AKC recognition.

 

In the 1970's, after the Akita breed admittance to full AKC recognition and the unfortunate population explosion of the Akita breed, it was Liz and Al Harrell that volunteered space at their Akita Tani kennels for homeless Akitas and organized what came to be known as the Akita Rescue Society of America, the national rescue for the Akita breed in 1977. ARSA grew to several chapters throughout the United States and became the role model for the other national breed rescues and other Akita Rescue groups that followed.

 

Liz was a knowledgeable and experienced dog breeder, who learned from other experienced dog breeders in other breeds and applied those lessons to her famous Akita Tani dogs. Akita Tani dogs are found in the background of some of the major Akita breeders since the 1960's. Liz would willingly share her Akita knowledge with any Akita person.

 

The Akita world was a better place for having the presence of Liz Harrell. Liz had celebrated her 79th birthday several months ago. She had several elderly Akitas that will taken care of.

 

Elizabeth R. Harrell ... "A life worth living" February 13, 1922 to June 20, 2001

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