Killarney Lady

Week 11: #52 Ancestors – Fortune

By Eilene Lyon

The Struss family may have hailed from Germany, but not their dogs. The Putterer’s grandfather, Carl F. Struss, bred Irish setters. One of them, Killarney Lady, achieved a tiny measure of fame. In 1937, she “whelped thirteen of the finest pups that any breeder could wish to see.” Call that the “Luck o’ the Irish.”

Frances Struss with Killarney Lady and her pups in July 1937. (Family collection)

One of the pups didn’t survive the first night, but most of the rest were sold “to men and women who are good judges of dog flesh.” Carl fed his purebreds only one type of dry food: Lucky Dog Food. But he was a bit peeved that he had to make a 90-mile round trip from Peoria, Illinois, to Bloomington to buy it.

You could say that as a breeder, he was spending a fortune on kibble.

Carl F. Struss with his daughter, Fran. (Family collection)

Naturally, he wrote a letter to the company, touting his brand loyalty and requesting that they find a distributor in his home town. It was the only dry food Killarney Lady would deign to devour and her pups, too. And as Carl put it, “I don’t believe you could find any dogs in the country that are any more healthy and happy than those twelve pups.”

Hales and Hunter Co. ate it up. They put the letter, a photo of Carl, and a picture of some of the pups on a marketing flyer.

Let’s hope they also sent Carl a few free bags of dog food and set up a supplier in Peoria!

Feature image: Cleo M. (Gee) Struss and Frances Struss with two of their Irish setters. (Family collection)

35 thoughts on “Killarney Lady

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  1. That’s a great story! That company had a smart marketing director. I love listening to “Under the Influence” It’s a CBC Radio documentary by Terry O’Reilly. It looks at the shift in advertising and marketing, sounds dry but it is actually quite interesting and sometimes humorous. This is the kind of story would be great on his show.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Advertising really has changed over the years wars, but in some ways still relies on customer testimony. Except now the testimony is through social media “influencers” that I don’t think I’d trust at all. Carl’s testimony seems more genuine to me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I am leary of social media testimonies, who are these people?? They may be genuine, how knows. But, when you take the time to write the letter there is just something more trustworthy about that.

        Liked by 2 people

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