There’s an old expression, “if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”.
Last week, members of Congress and their staff got to meet many new friends. At a reception hosted by the American Kennel Club in honor of National Purebred Dog Day, members of Congress, staff and guests celebrated the many positive aspects of purebred dogs and the human-canine bond.
The Capitol Hill reception highlighted two 2017 Congressional Resolutions—Senate Resolution 144, Introduced by Sen Thom Tillis; and House Concurrent Resolution 46 introduced by Congressmen Ted Yoho, Kurt Schrader and Ralph Abraham— that set aside May 1 as National Purebred Dog Day and celebrate the diversity, predictability and heritage of purebred dogs.
The reception began with AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung honoring the working dogs of the U.S. Capitol Police K9 Unit, who protect the Capitol and nation’s security. U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa, Assistant Chief Steven Sund, and “Will” a black Labrador Detection K-9 were among those on hand to accept the award.
Throughout the evening, members of Congress and staff stopped by to meet dogs, share in the celebration and express support. Members who addressed the gathering included: Senator Thom Tillis, Congressman Ralph Abraham, Congressman Ron DeSantis, Congressman David Rouzer, Congressman Kurt Schrader, and Congressman Ted Yoho.
Guests also had the opportunity to meet special guest “Rumor” (Grand Champion Lockenhaus’ Rumor Has It V Kenlyn), the German Shepherd Dog who took Best in Show honors at both the 2017 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the 2015 AKC National Championship. Numerous members of Congress, Senate, and guests had their photo taken with Rumor, held the Best in Show rosette from the Westminster Kennel Club, and met Handler Kent Boyles. To learn more about Rumor’s visit to the Capitol, click here. (link to Rumor takes the capitol…)
Representatives from each of the seven groups met guests and posed for photographs, while their handlers explained the dog and breed’s history, purpose and function. These included:
- “Jackson” the American Foxhound (Hound Group), handled Lisa Miller and accompanied by co-owner Ellen Charles.
- “Jimmy” the Standard Poodle (Non-Sporting Group) handled by Joseph Vergnetti and accompanied by owner Ellen Charles
- “Lex” the Border Collie (Herding Group) handled by Penny Leigh
- “Nixy” the Boxer (Working Group) handled by Guy Fisher
- “Chuckie” the Pekenese (Toy Group) handled by David Fitzpatrick
- “Pippi” the West Highland White Terrier (Terrier Group), handled by Dr. Fred and Duffy Askin
- “Drago” the Spinone Italiano (Sporting Group), handled by Lauren Friedman
As attendees strolled among marble pillars and canine ambassadors, they also enjoyed refreshments and the opportunity to learn about purebred dogs and AKC programs that advance purebred dogs, canine health and wellbeing and the human-canine bond.
Numerous AKC programs were highlighted throughout the event, including: AKC Humane Fund’s grants to domestic violence shelters that enable victims to seek shelter with a pet, and related legislation supported by AKC (H.R. 909/S. 322); AKC Canine Health Foundation’s $5.9 million in 2017 grants for canine health research; the economic benefits of dog shows; AKC support for research and pilot programs that provide specialized service dogs for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and related legislation (H.R. 2327/S.1014) ; and the critical national security value of American-bred detection and other working K9s.