Kennel club is dog's best friend

Canines: Northeastern Maryland group delights in sharing its appreciation of all breeds.

April 06, 2003|By Annie Peroutka | Annie Peroutka,SUN STAFF

Whether its members and their dogs are visiting schools and nursing homes, providing library books about dogs, purchasing police dogs or offering a breeder referral service, the Northeastern Maryland Kennel Club prides itself in its commitment to service.

Formed in 1985 under the rules of the American Kennel Club, the Northeastern Maryland branch was created to "protect and advance the interests of all breeds of purebred dogs and to encourage sportsmanlike competition at dog shows and obedience trials."

A few dog lovers formed the group in an effort to compete in shows close to home, but the club has grown into a group of 59 hard-working members, who strive to provide a broader service to the community.

"Education has been important to us from the very beginning. We encourage people to take care of their dogs," said President Bobbi Compton, one of the club's founding members. "If the rest of the dog-owning community is responsible for their dogs, it makes everyone's lives easier."

Seminars are offered to the public on different aspects of dog ownership. Their next seminar, "Positive Approach," will be held in August.

The club also has a program that keeps lists of breeders across the state.

"We sponsor a breeder referral service, so if you want a certain type of dog, you could call our breeder referral, and she would help you find one," said Compton.

The referral program also can counsel people on which dogs would best suit their lifestyles.

Donations are an important aspect of the club, said Compton.

In December, the club donated a puppy named Nora to New Life Assistance Dogs of Lancaster, Pa. The golden retriever will be trained as a service dog to assist people with physical disabilities.

The club has also donated dogs to the state police, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Canine Health Foundation and Paws for Life.

residents studying animal sciences. The club has provided books on purebreds to Harford, Cecil and Baltimore County public libraries.

The kennel club also holds annual point shows in July and November.

"We give some of the best shows on the East Coast," said Compton, who owns four boxer dogs.

"The shows really are for dog people, people who're interested in the serious aspects of dog showing."

The next point show will take place July 4 at the Howard County Fairgrounds.

Compton says the lasting friendships are her favorite part of the kennel club.

"All of the members work well together. People in this club are really happy for your successes because we're not competing against each other," she said.

The club meets the first Tuesday of every month at the Bel Air Office on Aging, Hickory and Wright avenues. Anyone interested in dogs is welcome.

Information: www.nemkc. org.

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