SKC’s Woof By Woofwest wants to see them all!
The Seattle Kennel Club is enthusiastically following the lead of the American Kennel Club and a growing number of its individual kennel clubs around the country in making its shows more inclusive for all dogs, including “public” dogs that may not be entered in regular show events.
The Seattle Kennel Club has re-invented its March dog shows with this philosophy in mind. So much so that the club has given the weekend event a new name: “Woof By Woofwest presented by the Seattle Kennel Club.” The name comes with a wink toward the world-famous celebration, “South By Southwest,” held in Austin every year about this time for the past three decades, a convergence of interactive media, film, music and conferences.
It all started with the AKC and its welcoming of mixed breed dogs into its AKC Canine Partners programs, allowing them to compete in performance events.
It continues to grow with individual clubs, such as Portland’s Dog Fanciers Association, the Houston World Series of Dog Shows, the Detroit Kennel Club and others. Demonstration and participation events such as the AKC’s “My Dog Can Do That”, come with trainers provided to work with well-behaved, unentered dogs, teaching some basics about obedience, rally, agility, tricks and more, all activities any dog can enjoy. Add in the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test, the chance to the “Ask the Vet” and the chance to visit with an attorney to help you work on estate planning for your dog, and you get the idea.
“The dog in your house is a Best In Show dog, too,” says Tammie Wilcox, SKC president. “We love all dogs and we want to be more inclusive with this event. We want to help all pet owners learn about responsible ownership, health care, and fun activities to share in with their dog.”
“We were discussing this at a club meeting,” Wilcox continued. “Dogs make such a difference in everybody’s lives, the reality is that our neighbors have a Goldendoodle or a Cavapoo; our friends have rescue and shelter dogs; members of our family have mixed breeds; and we have purebred dogs. Our dogs all play together in the back yard, in our front room, in dog parks, and we all smile and laugh about it.
“We want to share the joy that our dogs bring us, we want to help teach other dog owners about some of the things that we do with our dogs. Let’s see if they like agility, let’s teach their people about health care issues, responsible ownership and more. They can learn about all of this at our event and ultimately, we all win, especially the dogs.”
The number of dogs – well-behaved only need apply – allowed in from the public will be limited in this first year to 25 dogs in the morning and 25 in the afternoon each day, hoping for a manageable total of 100 over the two days. Advance registration is required and a number of rules and guidelines will be in place, and controlled access come with that. Procedures and rules will be announced soon.
If it works, maybe more dogs can participate next year. “Our club members believe in this. We want to make it work for everyone,” says Wilcox. “We all love our dogs and sharing in that joy makes it a better world for all of us – dogs and people alike.”