Marcia Becker and Jim Pence were married in 1993 and began Arabelle Tibetan Spaniels in 2009. Here is something about the two of us and what we did before we began breeding and showing dogs.
Marcia was born in Florida, grew up in Northern Virginia, and is a complete and total animal lover. She has owned dogs all her life, and initially bred collies. She earned an Animal Science degree from Virginia Tech, a Masters degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and spent her career in the mental health field. Marcia discovered Tibetan Spaniels after the passing of our Pekingese, Tess, and we acquired our first Tibetan Spaniel, Belle, in 2009. A certified therapy dog, Belle often helped Marcia in her mental health work, and has become Marcia's "heart dog." Our next two dogs, Angel and Roadie, were show dogs and the combination of the names of our first three dogs -- Angel, Roadie, and Belle -- was the origin of our kennel name "Arabelle." Marcia has seriously studied and attempted to excel in every endeavor to which she committed herself throughout her life and that has been no less true with her involvement in raising Tibetan Spaniels. Marcia has become an AKC Breeder of Merit, a program dedicated to "preserving breed characteristics and producing healthy, well-socialized puppies." She has bred over twenty dogs who have finished their AKC Championships, three who have won Best in Show Owner-Handled, one who was Best of Breed at our National Speciality Show, and another who was Best of Breed at the 2021 Owner-Handled Finals. But most importantly, Marcia has placed "healthy, well-socialized" Arabelle Tibetan Spaniels into loving homes all across the country and into the lives of people who love their Tibbies as much as we love ours.
Jim was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio growing up with the family dog "Whiskers" who looked very much like the male stray mutt in the Disney classic, "Lady and the Tramp." Competitive swimming was a significant part of Jim's early life and he was an Ohio High School Swimming State Champion and a High School and College All-American. Jim went on to become a Lutheran pastor, graduating from Lutheran Theological Seminary, Columbus, Ohio in 1976. Following his ordination he served parishes in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and was the Lutheran Campus Pastor at the University of Virginia. He retired from the active ministry in 2017. For many years following the creation of Arabelle Tibetan Spaniels, Jim supported Marcia in their dog show endeavor as "the chauffeur, the gofer, and the loafer." That meant he drove the van, helped with set up, and sat at ringside while Marcia showed the dogs. When Marcia and Jim eventually bred enough dogs that Jim finally needed to take a dog into the ring himself he initially carried out that task with some reluctance. But over the years he's made a complete turn around in this regard and he now loves going in the ring and showing our dogs. He's still the chauffeur and the gofer but has a little less time to loaf at ringside. Photography has become a significant part of Jim's life these days and he enjoys taking photos of just about everything: landscapes, wildlife, portraits, sports & action, and certainly dogs be they at shows or simply hanging around the house. With the exception of the win photos posted on these pages he has taken all the photos on our website. Jim is quite proud of the success that Marcia has had in breeding, showing, and placing into loving homes our Arabelle dogs.