WELCOME BACK, WELCOME HOME!
Good morning, fellow Delegates. Before I begin, I have a question for you all. How great is it to be together in person once again?
Big thanks to Paula, and to Gina and Dennis for arranging our first in-person meeting in a year and a half – and a special thanks to all of you for participating in this long-awaited event.
Even with all of the progress that technology brought us to weather the pandemic, let me just say this again: It is great to see you all at last. We are back. AKC is back! We are not only back; we are back and better than ever before.
I am delighted to report that this October will mark the strongest month for AKC Events in the history of our organization. October events outnumber all previous Octobers by 24%.
This October, Specialties, 4-6 month Puppy, Rally, Agility, Scentwork and FastCAT® together mark an all time, record high for AKC.
The driving force behind this record is very simply a huge desire among our clubs to hold events. We want our Sports back. And indeed, they are back.
Let’s put October in a larger context. AKC Events have been steadily increasing. May was the first month this year when we were at par with 2019 Events. During the five months from May through September, AKC Events exceeded those in 2019 by 3%. 2019 was the largest year ever for AKC Events. So, a 3% increase is quite significant. Now we are on the cusp of the peak in October with over 3,200 Events. This represents an increase over the same month in 2019 by an astonishing 24%.
The pandemic has caused losses, tragedies and hardship for so many. The camaraderie and community that define our lives as exhibitors was put on hold. We had to hold out hope that we could one day enjoy our dogs together once again. We are nearly at that point at last.
Let me paraphrase John F. Kennedy, who said, “Victory has a thousand parents, but defeat is an orphan.” We have many parents – this incredible comeback would not be possible without the dedication, expertise and hard work of our Clubs. Delegates, please extend this message of sincere thanks to your membership from the entire purebred dog fancy. You came through for all of us.
I would also like to acknowledge our Club Development Department for their role in the remarkable recovery of Events. Guy Fisher and Glenn Lycan have worked tirelessly to assist clubs and fanciers through every logistical aspect of event planning and protocols. The team has implemented a weekly report to identify All-Breed events with late applications. They reach out proactively to these clubs to check in and offer assistance. In March of 2021, they were managing through approximately thirty events per week with late applications, and by August, that number reduced by half. The number of All-Breed Clubs delaying their application submissions has declined by 50% since the height of the pandemic, proving once again that our constituency is committed to bringing our sports back and we have a stellar staff to help make it happen.
Certainly, our Events and Registry rely on the protection of our rights as breeders and exhibitors. The Government Relations department, guided by Sheila Goffe, has made tremendous strides in long-term strategy and effective near-term action. In the first half of 2021, the department established a record-setting pace of legislative analysis, advocacy and outreach that outpaced records set the year before. Sheila and her team achieved a number of major victories – from proactive legislation in Congress in the area of service dogs, canine imports and expanding government support for U.S.-bred explosive detection dogs to major victories in states ranging from California and Texas to Tennessee, Rhode Island and New Jersey. These efforts make it possible for us all to breed and show dogs. Our Sport depends on Government Relations and our Club members who participate in this important canine legislation work. Thank you all.
Our Education Department has continued to provide wonderful services for our core and younger constituencies. Under the leadership of Ashley Jacot, the department provides webinars on various topics of interest such as Breed Education for Judges, judging procedures, tips for Show Chairs, Government Relations updates and more. The schedule of upcoming webinars is available on the Education page of akc.org under “AKC Education Webinar Series.” Always striving to engage our youth and foster the next generation of dog lovers, the Public Education team launched a new program for high school students. The “AKC Leader of the Pack” program is designed to get high school students involved in their communities with a variety of volunteer opportunities relating to dogs.
AKC Canine College has developed and manages over six hundred courses and exams for Conformation and Performance Judges, Breeders, Groomers, the fancy and the general public. There are a total of 54 breed courses available now. This is vital work that benefits us all, and I urge you to take advantage of all that AKC offers. After all, Albert Einstein said “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
Also busy on the educational front – albeit “edutainment” – is the AKC.tv Announcers team led by the incomparable Gina DiNardo and Bill Ellis. AKC Companion Events on ESPN continue to grow our audience, expanding female viewership for the network and exposing tens of thousands more people to the wonders of AKC Events and purebred dogs. Tune in for our next programs and you will be quickly reminded of the spark you felt when you first got in the game!
As we head towards the end of the year, with so many events blissfully back in our schedule once again, let us remember all that it took to get us to where we are today. Caution, dedicated management, patience, empathy, and an unwavering belief that our events would one day return. We have done it together. In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Where we love is home; home that our feet may leave, but never our hearts.” Welcome back. Welcome home.
TheDogPress.com EST 2002 © Oct 2021 https://www.thedogpress.com/AKC/2021-Chairman-Report-Davies.asp
The world’s 1st public web-site (TheDogPlace.org) from Animal Health to Vaccines.
The world's 1st online dog-news, (TheDogPress.com) covers AKC records, politics, people and shows.
The world's 1st site by and for dog show judges (TheJudgesPlace.com) educates everyone on quality purebreds.