Monday, July 26, 2010


I read with sadness last night on one of the e-mails lists that I belong to of the passing of a friend and lover of the German Shepherd Dog. Syd Mailberg had passed away. This was just what I was not prepared for or wanting to hear. Many of you may know her for having had strong opinions about the breed and being a very intelligent woman with her knowledge about the German Shepherd Dog that she shared with so many of us. But there was another side of Syd that expressed her gentle side freely through her marvelous paintings of the breed that she loved so much. Equally impressive was her paintings of nature and landscapes. Some of you are fortunate to own some of her beautiful artwork.  The painting above is one of Syd's beautiful paintings called "Blue Bonnet." 

Syd and I were collaborating to do an article about her fantastic artwork here on my blog. I had contacted her a little less than a year ago asking her if she would be interested in showcasing her work and the stories surrounded them. She was delighted and excited to do this with me. Unfortunately, her heart was in it, but her body didn’t cooperate.

I “met” Syd on one of the e-mail lists several years ago. My opinion of her was that she was a very strong woman with very strong opinions. She could be challenging, direct and very strong in her convictions. You could tell she was a no nonsense type of woman that didn’t take too much “grief” from anyone. I remember she wrote to me privately one time about something I wrote and she was questioning me about what I knew about a certain subject. When I eased her mind with my forthright answer, she and I grew to respect one anothers opinions. I think when Syd and I really connected is when she lost her beloved husband a few years ago. She was very down and depressed about his loss. I wrote to her privately and wrote some comforting words for her and this is when the “tough as nails” persona melted away and the soft, warm side of Syd shown through. She wrote to me on several occasions complimenting me on some of my writings.

Many of you didn’t know this unless you belonged to my list (The German Shepherd Dog Showcase); she sold some beautiful items and jewelry that she owned through my list. A great big percentage of what she sold those items for went to “Last Hope, Safe Haven” as a donation. I know it was quite a substantial amount. This organization works to help find rescue homes for unwanted or sheltered German Shepherds.

I’ve saved some of her e-mails and was just looking at a few of them again this morning. I’ve got other ones I’ve saved from a few years back but there on my hard drive from my old computer. Here are a few that I share with you that she wrote to me over these last couple of years.

In this short e-mail, she’s replying to an essay of mine titled “The Seasons of Life.”

It's all beautiful, but this line is particularly poignant to me. Everything that is meant to be born is. Syd

This next one is probably in response to her beautiful artwork!

Barbara, I just wanted to thank you privately for being so generous with your praise, and for being so kind to everyone, (and encouraging). It is not going unnoticed. Shalom, Syd

Syd wrote about some artwork that she had done……She writes……This is one of the prizes that was awarded years ago at the National Chukkar Trials…I had a lot of fun painting around 6 commissioned portraits of the winning dogs. Syd
I responded to her……More beautiful work Syd.

You are so kind, Barbara, you make us all feel good….thank you. Syd

This is in response to something I wrote on my list about the price of artwork.

She writes……I hear you, and agree with everything you say...also about being in "The Zone", when it just goes without seeming effort. Very rare state. My last painting took a couple of months, hours and hours of research, I used over 30 reference works in its creation, caused a blood clot to form! From leaning over and painting day after day. there is hazard, my right leg is swollen, and I will need extensive treatment...can you believe this? LOL. I think you are extraordinarily generous with your work, it is very demanding to write as well as you do, it is art in its highest literary form. When the price of a pet puppy equals a beautiful work of art, and the customer says too much money, surely makes you want to quit. Thanks... Syd

Part of a letter I sent to Syd…………….Hi Syd: I would like to do an article about you on my blog (Inside the German Shepherd Dog's World). If you consent, then I'll need some more information about you. I want to concentrate on your paintings of the German Shepherd Dog.

Hi Barbara, I definitely want to do this, just need a few days to get it all together. Thanks so much again. Syd

Then I didn’t hear from her for awhile and saw her “pop up” on my list again, so I sent her this e-mail.

Wow.........there you are Syd. I've been so worried about you and not
knowing who to ask. Of those that I did ask, no one heard anything.
You poor thing. I went through these things with my mother when she was
going through chemo. Do you have someone there to help you? You
shouldn't be going through this by yourself. I wish I lived closer so I
could help you some. Please do get well Syd. I don't like knowing
you're feeling so gosh darn awful! Take care my friend and do try to
keep in touch when you're up to it. Rest and be well...........Barbara

One of my children is here with me all the time. Bless them, and you, too, for offering to help. I assume your mom recovered? My thoughts to her. It is amazing how much worse the cure is than the disease seems to be...LOL I can still squeak one out...If you could just mention to the list that I am in chemo, it is nasty, but will improve eventually...that is the reason no reply this past month. Take care and thank you so much. You are indeed an angel. Syd

Then later that same day (1/11/10)……. Thank you, Barbara, I feel better already~ seriously, I have been feeling guilty for not the list. Love, Syd

There were a few others where she would explain in a little more detail of what she was going through, but I didn’t want to share her misery here with you. One of her dear friends kept in touch with me as well to let me know what Syd was going through and I truly appreciated that.

As in life, from the beginning to the end, she was a fighter……the alpha and the omega. She didn’t walk away from this life without putting up a fight. Through some correspondence that I had with Syd’s daughter Edie, she is truly her mother’s daughter in personality and strength of character. My heartfelt condolences to Edie and her husband Jim for the loss of this “force to be reckoned with” woman. Earth and the German Shepherd breed have lost one of the “good ones!” Heaven braces itself for this outspoken woman with the heart of gold. Her husband anxiously waits for his bride! Rest in peace Syd and be patient with the residents in Heaven. Most of them have been there a long time and they forgot the ways of the world.

Well my friend, I’ve been longing to get you on my blog for a long time now. I just didn’t know this is the way that I would have to be doing it! I'm going to miss you my friend. I love ya!

To see Syd’s beautiful artwork, check out her website at:

My rating: Syd Mailberg's artwork: (4), Her friendship: (4)


  1. I am proud to own a dog from Syd's breeding - PAM Kingswood's Emma PT CD RA AX AXJ XF NAP NJP. With each new title Syd has congratulated me and gave me encouragement to continue. Emma is now in training for her HS, to compete next month. I feel tremendously saddened with Syd's passing, but feel I still have some small part of her friendship with me through Emma. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. Susan Clark

  2. Here is Syd's notice that will be in the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune:

    Before there was Wikipedia, there was our mother. Anyone who wanted to know anything needed only to ask Syd Mailberg. She was the best-read and smartest person on this planet from the moment she was born in NYC in 1937 until she died in Enumclaw, 7.25.10. She was the most intuitive and kindest person we have ever known. And to top it off, she was beautiful--movie star beautiful. And funny! Holy smokes, our mother had the sharpest and most pointed sense of humor. We sometimes had to leave where we were sitting or standing, because we couldn't control our laughter. Her humor was tied to her intellect, and her on-target wit was exceeded only by the love she had for family. We have lost more than our mother. We have lost the bravest, most talented, and creative person we know. Most people are lucky to have one talent. Our mother was a humanitarian; gifted artist; highly respected, ethical dog breeder/trainer; horsewoman; writer; and poet. Her oil paintings hang all over the U.S. Over the past 35 years, her 17 AKC German Shepherd champions have produced winning, loving, and devoted beings that live throughout the world. Syd wanted to live longer. She fought, and we fought alongside her every step of the way. Cancer decided otherwise. She has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and is with Dad, her parents, and all the dogs and horses she has loved. Grieving and missing her are her children, Donnie, Bonnie, Rayne, and Edie; her grandchildren, Galen, Shayna, Travis, Levi, Danny, and Ben; her great granddaughter, Madison; her brother, Lee; and her cousin, Iris. Instead of flowers, please consider donating to the Washington State German Shepherd Dog Club and/or to the Virginia Mason Oncology Medical Center in Seattle. Services will be held Sunday, Aug. 1, 1:30 pm, Marlatt's Funeral Home, Kent, WA.

  3. There will never be anyone like Syd Mailberg again. Her family's sorrow is overwhelming. The world is not as lovely as it was and music does not comfort the way it used to. There just isn't any way to understand how someone so vibrant and loving could be gone.

  4. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here! Syd will be greatly missed! She had a zest for living and she did it her way....always!

  5. I have been thinking about my friend Syd for some time now. In fact I think of her everytime I look at Gabriel. My German Shepard. That is when I met this wonderful women. She asked me why do you want a German Shepard, I replied to keep my Cocker Spaniel company. At that time we became bestest friends. I have not spoken with her since last winter. I tried to call her last night and the line was disconnected. I knew then what I know now. My heart goes out to Syd's family. I got to spend alot of wonderful times with Syd, her dogs and her horse. She took me under her wing and became like a second Mom. A very opinionend women with strict determination. A generous loving Women, Person, Friend and Mother. A Talented Painter. A Rose that will never fade. Everytime I look at Gabriel I will continue to think of Syd again and again. I love you Syd. Peace in your Heaven.