By: Patty Van Sicklen, Legislative Analyst
State employees, staff, and legislators watched from office windows and gathered on the grassy capitol lawn to cheer as AKC agility dogs dashed through colorful tunnels and raced over jumps at the 2014 Canines at the Capitol day in Raleigh, North Carolina. Twelve well-mannered dogs gave kisses, cuddles and high fives to state officials and members of the public while AKC staff answered questions and distributed information on responsible dog care, AKC events, and fun activities with dogs.
This annual event celebrates the 2.2 million owned dogs and 1.3 million dog owners in North Carolina. It provides state officials and employees the opportunity to interact with beautiful AKC registered dogs, discuss the history and function of the breeds, and learn more about the wide variety of resources offered by the American Kennel Club and its affiliates.
Lawmakers and guests at Canines at the Capitol also learned about good works by the 145 AKC clubs in North Carolina, which include public dog training classes, Safety Around Dogs presentations, donations to local K-9 units, support for canine health research, and other public education and community service activities.
As always, the dogs were the superstars. Prior to the May 21 event, AKC Government Relations emailed invitations and "biographies" of the featured dogs to legislators and staff. Many requested photos with their favorite dogs, and a six-month-old Plott puppy named &"Toby" (Suncrest Tobacco Road) was the crowd favorite. The Plott is the state dog of North Carolina.
The "dog bios" listed each dog's titles and activities as herding dogs, therapy dogs, military dogs, hunting and field dogs, show dogs, working water dogs, agility and obedience dogs, and beloved family companions. Their owners gave credit to the dedicated, knowledgeable breeders for producing dogs with predictable characteristics and working abilities that match each family's lifestyle.