Lifetime Achievement Awards

AKC Announces Nominees for the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Awards

In its endless pursuit to recognize outstanding members of the fancy, The American Kennel Club Lifetime Achievement Awards were established in 1998 to honor our best. The purpose of the awards is to celebrate those individuals whose many years of dedication have led to significant contributions to our sport on a national level.

As in the past, this year’s nominees were selected by AKC member clubs that cast their votes for one nominee in each of three categories: Conformation, Companion Events, and Performance. The three nominees receiving the most votes in each category were selected as the finalists. Member clubs have now been asked to cast their vote for one nominee in each of the threecategories. This final round of balloting will close on September 14, 2012. A special awards presentation will be held in conjunction with the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, Florida in December 2012.

The AKC is honored to present photos and bios of the nine finalists who were selected by their constituents in recognition of their exemplary participation in the fancy.

Nominees in Conformation:

Peter Green

Peter Green, of Bowmansville, Pennsylvania, was born in Neath, Wales. He started showing Welsh and Wire Fox Terriers at his uncle’s famous Felstead Kennel. He visited the Unites States in 1958 and attended Westminster in 1960.

Peter returned to the U.S. to work at Pool Forge Kennels in 1963. In 1967 he set up his own business. Peter has won four Bests in Show at Westminster, eight Bests in Show at Montgomery County and Dog of the Year six times. He has handled dogs to Best in Show at most of the major shows in the United States. Peter was one of two people to win Best in Show at Crufts and Westminster. Since 1976 he has judged dog shows at the highest level throughout the world and is now an AKC-approved Group judge. Peter’s awards include four Kennel Review Male Handler of the Year, two Gaines Handler of the Year, Natures Recipe Handler of the Year, and Bow Tie Dogs in Review Lifetime Achievement Award.

Since his retirement from professional handling in 2006, Peter has judged at some of the most prestigious dog shows, including Best in Show at both Montgomery County Kennel Club and at Crufts Dog Show. He has also judged the Terrier group at Westminster Kennel Club and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. But the most meaningful contribution Peter has given the sport is his mentorship of some of today's outstanding handlers and breeders.

Ed Sledzik

Ed Sledzik, of Reston, Virginia, has been involved in AKC dogs since the mid-60s when he purchased his first Lhasa Apso. He has won championships in conformation with Lhasa Apsos, Tibetan Spaniels, Skye Terriers and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. In obedience he earned two CD's on his Lhasa Apsos. His Lhasa Apso, which he bred himself, attained Best in Show status three times, and his Skye Terrier won the breed at Westminster three times. He showed his own dogs until 1975 when he began judging.

Ed held almost every position for the National and his local Lhasa Apso clubs. He was president of the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America and vice-president of the Skye Terrier Club of America.

He was elected delegate to the AKC by the American Lhasa Apso Club in 1982, and has retained that position for 30 years. As delegate, he served on the Delegate Advisory Committee to Examine the AKC Bylaws (1987-88), the Delegate Judges Approval Procedure Committee (1993), and currently serves on the Delegate Advocacy and Advancement Committee. He is a key speaker at all the Parent Clubs Delegate Committee's conferences. Ed is always involved in the issues. Win or lose he remains professional and will work with you to achieve results.

After retiring, he went into private practice as a tax attorney. He has helped 100s of AKC clubs attain exempt status with the IRS, and has attended audits of dog clubs.

Patricia Craige Trotter

Patricia Craige Trotter, of Carmel, California, registered her first litter of Vin-Melca Norwegian Elkhounds in 1951 and her most recent litter this year. Her program has produced the Top Sire and Dam as well as the top winners in the breed’s history. Vin- Melca Elkhounds have won 10 Hound Group firsts at Westminster, all owner-handled.

When Ch. Vin-Melca's Vagabond became Top Dog All Breeds in 1970, he was the first amateur- handled dog to achieve that honor. Pat has had Top 10 All-Breed status on 10 occasions while working as a full-time teacher. Pat has served as show chairman for the Tidewater Kennel Club, past-president and show chairman of the Del Monte Kennel Club and contributing member of the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America and the Nashville Kennel Club.

In 1952 Pat won the Gaines Girl Show Dog Fancier of the Year. She won numerous Winkie Awards including Breeder and Owner-Handler of the Year (repeatedly) and AKC Hound Group Breeder of the Year in 2004. Other honors include the Quaker Oats (now ProPlan) Hall of Fame and two Fido awards as Dog Woman of the Year and Dog Writer of the Year. As an AKC Gazette Better Breeding columnist, she won the 1997 Dog Writers Award.

Pat judged the 2009 Westminster Hound Group and will judge the 2012 Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Two Vin-Melca Elkhounds won BBE AKC/Eukanuba Hound Groups (2008, 2010) and a third BBE AKC/Eukanuba Group winner was Vin-Melca sired.

Nominees in Companion Events:

Susan (Suzi) B. Bluford

Susan (Suzi) B. Bluford, of Carmel, California, says she officially started in the sport of dogs during the early 70s. With an adventurous spirit and passion for excellence, Suzi and her dogs have participated and won accolades in many areas, including conformation (seven breed champions), obedience (two OTCHs, one UDX, seven UDs, and multiple CDs), rally, tracking (one TDX and three TDs), retriever field work (two MHs, four SHs, twice qualified for Master nationals), agility (two MXs, two MXJs, several AXs), therapy dogs, and most recently canine nose work.

Suzi believes strongly in giving back to the community that supports dog sports, and has worked tirelessly in many organizations and capacities

She served on the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors Board and is a founding member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers; she is a founding member and consultant for a local therapy dog program, she is an AKC judge in all levels of obedience, rally and agility, she has judged AKC Retriever Hunt Tests at the Master Level, she served as show and obedience chairperson for Norcal Golden Retriever Club Specialty and as a chairperson for Del Monte Kennel Club’s annual agility trials, and she is a certified instructor through the National Association of Canine Scent Work.

Suzi was a finalist in 2008 for AKC’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award and was elected in 2009 for Del Monte Kennel Club’s Life Membership.

Sharon Redmer

Sharon Redmer of Whitmore Lake, MI, began training her first dog, an All American shelter rescue, with the Ann Arbor Dog Training Club in 1970. Her first Belgian Tervuren, acquired in 1972, became a multi-High-in-Trial UDT. For over 30 years, Sharon has pursued two passions: being the very best AKC judge she can be and breeding beautiful Belgian Tervuren with the character to compete in every venue.

Over 150 of her "StarBright" bred Tervuren have earned CHs, GRCHs, OTCHs, MACHs, HTCHs, and CTs plus many obedience, agility, herding and tracking titles, Group and Specialty wins, High-in-Trials and perfect 200 scores.

Even judging 50 AKC shows a year, Sharon finds time to mentor new and hopeful obedience judges. Exhibitors in her ring find a judge with a welcoming smile and encouragement. Sharon’s philosophy is simple: “Kindness is never wasted."

A judge of the Herding Group, Poodles, Dobermans, Rally and Juniors, Sharon has officiated at past AKC National Obedience Invitationals including the inaugural Juniors’ competition in 2011. She has judged Nationals for her Belgian breeds (multiple times) and specialties on four continents.

An Honorary Life member of the Ann Arbor Dog Training Club and the Ann Arbor Kennel Club, Sharon has served the American Belgian Tervuren Club as President and AKC Delegate, and is a popular seminar presenter on judging the Tervuren. Sharon recently retired as the director for community outreach services at the University of Michigan Health System.

Robert Squires

Robert Squires of Webster, New York, bought a German Shepherd in 1966 after returning from Vietnam, and signed up for his first obedience class. The dog earned a UD but Bob realized after training additional dogs, his first dog was easily trained.

Back in the States after another tour in Vietnam with the Marine Corps, Bob returned to training. His second German Shepherd and a Miniature Poodle completed their UD’s. Bob became a founding member of the Marumsco Dog Training Club, serving as Training Director and President.

Bob began judging in 1969 and in 1975 he was approved to judge Open. He then transferred to Okinawa, Japan, where he purchased his first Doberman and trained him through Utility. He became active in the Okinawan/American Kennel Club, as training director.

After retiring from the Marine Corps in 1983 Bob continued to teach and judge. He took a position with the American Kennel Club and held titles including Director of Obedience where he conducted Obedience and Tracking judging seminars across the country.

Bob chaired two Obedience Advisory Committees, which updated regulations requested by clubs, including lowering jump heights to lessen injuries to dogs. He assisted with and later oversaw Obedience Invitationals, including the initial one. Bob was one of the first at the AKC to push for making Agility an AKC event.

He left the AKC in 1998 and returned to judging where he renewed old friendships and made many new friends.

Nominees in Performance:

Jean Dieden, DVM

Jean Dieden, DVM, of Clinton, Washington, has been involved in AKC Performance events with her Hathor Farm Wirehaired Dachshunds since 1992.  They have earned 12 Field Championships (11 of them Dual) and over 50 "Absolute Winner" awards, including three national specialty trial wins. She has been competing at dog shows, obedience trials and tracking tests for forty years.

She has had three dogs ranked in the DCA annual "Top 20" awards and one (TC M'I Spy of Hathor Farm SW VCD1 RN OA AXJ NAP OJP OF JE) with over 1000 points is among the top 10 lifetime point earners.

Jean has served on the DCA's Trial Advisory Committee/Performance Events Committee for ten years, the last seven serving as chairman. This committee has been responsible for several successful AKC rule and procedural change proposals also adopted by the other hound events.

Dr. Dieden started in AKC Earthdog at its inception. Her dogs have earned over 300 qualifying scores, including 160 Master tests. She has held over eighty tests at her home, Hathor Farm on Whidbey Island. A founding officer of the Puget Sound Earthdog Club and longtime president of the Cascade Dachshund Club she is credited for gaining CDC’s licensing status for Dachshund Field Trials and Earthdog Tests.

Dr. Dieden has enjoyed being a field trial judge for 12 years and an Earthdog judge for 16 years, enjoying judging throughout the country, including eleven classes at DCA national events.

Dana Jensen

Dana Jensen of McKinney, Texas has competed in AKC Sight hounds events since 1982. Dana learned coursing with Salukis, Italian Greyhounds (IGs) and Whippets, and has earned Best in Fields, Field Championships and Master titles. Since 2002, she has bred Whippets under the name IMa and has shown and coursed them to bench and coursing titles.

Dana is a volunteer, mentor and leader. Under Teri Dickinson’s direction, Dana assisted in gaining coursing eligibility for IGs. She has been a fervent promoter, chair, secretary, judge and host of lure coursing events. Currently the Vice President of the Cirneco dell’Etna Club of America she is working toward the breed’s full eligibility.

Since 2002, she has served on the Delegates’ standing HEC Committee and is a nearly decade-long officer of Alamo Area Whippet Club (AAWC). Under her presidency, AAWC was nominated for an Award of Excellence by the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA), and was first to bring the new Coursing Ability Test (CAT). She has been honored with National Specialty judging assignments and nominated for an ASFA Lifetime Achievement award.

She has been a 14 year member of the Italian Greyhound Club of America, a five-year member of the American Whippet Club and a four-year National Officer and committee member of the ASFA. Dana has chaired and clerked National and Invitational events, organized and hosted AKC judges seminars and continues to be an indispensible contributor to the sport and its participants.

Leida Jones

Leida Jones, of Lady Lake, Florida, has been involved in herding and stock dog training for 29 years. She owns Australian Shepherds and Border Collies, and has trained and trailed many other herding breeds to advanced herding titles. She has promoted and been involved in the AKC Herding program from its beginning, serving on three Herding Advisory Committees. Leida became an AKC Herding judge in 1991, and is licensed to judge courses A, B, and C. She and her husband, Casey, host trials at Penn Y Caerau Farm, their facility in Florida. Leida trains dogs and instructs other enthusiasts with their herding dogs. She is President of the Mid-Florida Herding Association, which put on the first AKC Herding Trials ever held in Florida at her facility in 1994, and to date continue their yearly trials.

Leida is very involved with her National club, the United States Australian Shepherd Association and is serving a third term as a director. She received her Hall of Fame Excellent Breeder status, producing Conformation, Agility, Obedience and Herding champions. Her dogs held the 1st place year end herding awards on sheep from 1995 thru 2004. She is Breed Standard Review Committee Chair and serves on the Education Committee and Education Advisory Group. Leida has three times been the host of the AKC/Eukanuba Meet The Breeds booth for the Australian Shepherd and will do so again this year.