By Jennifer Clark, Manager, Canine Legislation
It was one of the busiest days of the legislative year in North Carolina, but that didn’t stop legislators, legislative staff, and state employees from responding to the AKC’s invitation to “stop by on your lunch break and hug a dog!” at AKC’s 4th annual “Canines at the Capitol” event on the lawn outside the North Carolina State Capitol.
The AKC brought a variety of dogs ranging from a retired AKC Grand Champion Great Dane, to a National Dock-Diving Champion Border Collie, to a 9-month-old long-haired dachshund puppy for legislators, staff and the public to meet. Attendees also enjoyed watching some of the dogs dash through the obstacles on an agility course. One staffer later told AKC staff that a group who couldn’t make it outside due to committee meetings went to a window to watch the dogs run through the course.
Before the event the AKC Government Relations Department sent out invitations to legislators and staff, including “biographies” of each dog attending. The biographies provided fun facts about the dogs, and also highlighted the dogs’ accomplishments and the many things their owners (and breeders) do to promote good canine health and breeding, responsible dog ownership, and good works in the community. Legislators and staff enjoyed meeting the dogs, learning more about them, and talking with the owners.
The popular annual event was once again warmly received by the legislature – several of whom thanked the AKC for coming and noted the calming effect that dogs had on all of them. The AKC also awarded a Legislator of the Year Award to Senate President Phil Berger in recognition of his work in 2014 on behalf of dog owners and breeders in the state. The award was a framed “Best in Show” rosette, and President Berger accepted it with a huge smile and quipped that it was his “first Best in Show award!”
“Canines at the Capitol was a tremendous success, and each year it becomes more popular,” said AKC Government Relations Director Sheila Goffe. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to the North Carolina General Assembly the many ways dogs enrich our lives, and all the many things the AKC does on behalf of dogs and dog owners in our state.”
NC Senate President Phil Berger accepts an AKC Legislator of the Year Award from AKC Government Relations Director Sheila Goffe. Toula, a 4-month old Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, and her owner, AKC Human Resources Administrator Lori Spacek, look on from the sidelines. (c) Phil Guidry for AKC.
Rep. John Bradford of Mecklenburg County greets “Beast”, a retired AKC champion Great Dane. (c) Phil Guidry for AKC.
Rep. Mike Woodard of Durham talks with AKC Program Director Penny Leigh and her border collie Lex. Lex also wowed the crowd in the agility ring at the event. (c) Phil Guidry for AKC.