The American Kennel Club recently hosted its second annual “Canines at the Capitol” event at the state capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina. Public officials, legislative staff and visitors gathered on the grassy Halifax Mall adjacent to the state offices to interact with dogs and their owners. AKC staff provided information about responsible dog ownership and the many things that AKC, AKC affiliates, and AKC clubs in North Carolina do to benefit dogs and their local communities.
North Carolina Senator Mike Woodard met Japanese Chin "Addam".
Photo by Robert Young ©AKC.
AKC staff and volunteers brought a variety of dogs to the event, ranging from a Brussels Griffon to a Great Pyrenees. A Pembroke Welsh Corgi demonstrated recycling and delighted guests by placing empty water bottles in a green recycling container. An “All-American” dog helped educate about the AKC Canine PartnersSM program for spayed and neutered mixed-breed dogs.
Prior to the event, AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) sent invitations and “biographies” of the dogs to legislators and staff, and many came specifically to meet a certain dog. Two of the most popular dogs were Plotts “Freddie” (CH CWSG CSG County Line Krueger) and his 4-month-old son “Roosevelt” (County Line Roosevelt), co-bred by Penny Jessup and Christina Farthing. The Plott is the state dog of North Carolina, and attendees were offered “photo ops” with Freddie and Roosevelt.
AKC GR compiled a list of activities and educational programs offered by AKC clubs throughout North Carolina. Community services such as dog training classes, Safety around Dogs presentations, donations to local K-9 units, support for dog health research, and other outreach and advocacy initiatives were highlighted in a flyer distributed to legislators.
The event was held the week prior to the local “Tarheel Cluster” of dog shows, obedience and rally trials. Each legislator received a follow-up invitation to attend the shows, take a guided tour, and bring their own dogs to participate in “My Dog Can Do That!” — an event where members of the public can take their dogs through a simple agility course with a trainer.
One state senator who came to “Canines at the Capitol” was eager to introduce his beloved English Cocker Spaniel, “Lillie”. He and his wife brought Lillie to the Tarheel Cluster and took part in “My Dog Can Do That!” They spoke with with fellow English Cocker Spaniel owners and met special guest “Banana Joe,” the 2013 winner of the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
State capitol events have been hosted by several state federations and breeder groups. Read more about the Dog Federation of Wisconsin, Animals in Our Care (Iowa), and Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs events for more ideas on how to host one in your state.
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Invitations sent prior to the event and signs at the Halifax Mall featured dogs that appeared at "Canines at the Capitol." Photo by Robert Young ©AKC.
North Carolina legislators, staff, and capitol visitors met Brussels Griffon “Roy” and learned about AKC’s programs to promote responsible dog ownership. Photo by Robert Young ©AKC.