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DOG CLUB POLITICS

Trilogy: Part III

 

 

Kennel and Breed clubs should offer camaraderie in learning about dogs, not people with low self esteem or control-compulsions, tell us about your club…

 

Dec 2015 | TheDogPress.com

Joseph Byer, Jr., Research Editor

 

My personal journey in dog clubs taught me lessons I had not expected. Sometime after the soggy dog show event {1}, our next goal was to join the National Parent Club for our breed. After all, the local dog show clubs were not the place for advancing one's breed knowledge and career albeit they were an introduction that whetted our appetites.

 

What we desired was a life lesson in caring for, training with and enjoying our dogs to the fullest. What better place to acquire all this knowledge than with people who have successfully bred and shown dogs, or so we thought. The National Breed Club was the only direction to take. We wanted the best breed education possible and to share our love of the breed with other accomplished people in the breed.

 

Prior to attaining a membership we attended a couple of National Shows and were within arm's reach of the people who are, or were, someone in the breed. We were introduced to prominent handlers, breeders and judges and were overwhelmed but unbeknownst to us, great changes were to come in this once most powerful National Parent Club.

 

The changes in the breed club were engineered by a man whose reputation was an equivalent to that of Don Corleone so I will refer to him simply as "The Don." He quickly sought to move into positions of power. He reached out to the Chair of the Standard Review Committee asking to be included as a part of the committee. The Chair sent him a copy of the committee's work on the standard and asked him to make suggestions. The Don returned the document with but one change, he added his name to it! Subsequently the committee's work was abolished with a recommendation to never revive it!

 

The Chair and another famous breeder and judge (both were lifetime achievement winners) were voted off their committees under false pretenses and neither ever again had influence or power in the club. Shortly thereafter "The Don" ran for President with a well-organized and effective campaign. "The Don" narrowly won but upon achieving the Presidency, he began quickly placing his people in positions of power, thus securing his hold on the club for over a decade. "The Don" unilaterally revived the Standard Review Committee, named himself as Chair, selected his members and set about reconfiguring the breed according to his preferences.

 

It occurred to us that perhaps we were taking a detour from our "breed excellence" destination…

 

His modus operandi was careful planning and having other people actually do his bidding. He used the carrot on a stick method, i.e., plum judging assignments, show wins, and prominent positions of power. His brilliance was impressive.

 

While much of this "behind the curtain" politics was being conducted, we were busy trying to connect with knowledgeable people. Filled with enthusiasm as new Parent Club members, we created a survey on cropping and docking as a general baseline of information for the club membership. The club president at the time agreed to put it on their website, a breed magazine published it and the club's publication was sent to all members with a survey in the centerfold. The results were overwhelming.

 

One day we got a call from "The Don" who said we could go far in the club if we would turn over the surveys and other information relating to it. He gave us a few days to consider his offer and meanwhile he ordered it removed from the club's website. At the end of the grace period we informed him that we would not be surrendering the information but would be publishing the results. He was not happy.

 

Following the covert re-creation of a new standard review committee, news of a possible standard revision began to circulate. We were alerted to the attempt to change a breed standard that was considered a model and used by other breed clubs. In order to put a stop to these backdoor manipulations, I set about bringing to life an organization of the Parent Clubs to lobby for the support of the cosmetic surgery as stipulated or described in the breed standard of cropped and docked breeds. This Parent Club organization was making a real impact when opposing forces managed to replace some of them with people more in tune with the animal rights agenda. The organization collapsed.

 

This all but defunct organization was NOT affiliated with the AKC or other registries but stood alone as a representative of cropped and/or docked breed Parent Clubs. The intent was to establish a voting bloc outside the political influence of the registries and/or other corrupting forces. It seemed worthy of another try and so I arranged to create a website that expounded our collective point of view and establish a rallying point. Communications were flourishing between the clubs in channels we could control.

 

I was successful in reviving it but only with the former President as head and myself serving as its Secretary; a mistake I didn't see as problematic. He was an AKC judge and a former National Parent Club President but - he owed allegiance to those who empowered him with his current success. "The Don" got wind of this reborn group, contacted this Judge and together they began the old "delegate shuffle" in order to stack the deck in their favor.

 

While the organization did not survive, it garnered some associations that could be helpful to the next step in dog organizational life. We were encouraged by independence and began to move forward. We underestimated the strategizing abilities of "The Don" and one of our co-collaborators, unbeknownst to her, was under his influence through third parties. To this day she doesn't realize how she was manipulated.

 

"When you are dead, you don't know you are dead. It is only difficult for the others. It is the same when you are stupid." - anon

 

In fact it seemed as if my breeder friend was giving her ear to outside voices who were not in sync with our message to "Stop the Erosion of Excellence" in our breed. Sadly, the breeder allowed herself to be influenced by "The Don." It became apparent that wealth and intelligence doesn't mean someone is willing to preserve type and characteristics essential to many breeds.

 

My quest to discover all the dog knowledge I could absorb eventually took me to a place of utter despair at the futility of my mission. At least as far as dog clubs were concerned because if I learned anything it was that clubs are NOT about dogs at all.

 

Currently my happy place is home with the dogs and not at a dog club meeting. It took over a decade to learn that my real knowledge was "in house" with a finely bred dog who is teaching me as much as I can absorb. If the purebred dogs of this world are to survive it is not a breed club that will make it so - it is the true fanciers of the world.

 

ref {1} Dog Shows Concerns

 

 

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