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Cheryl Steidl

I looked up and it is already mid-December! Where did the year 2022 go? All my friends seem to be asking the same question… I have always heard that time marches on, but this year it is in a full out sprint to the end! As I look back at 2022 and forward into 2023, I must say I am delighted to see some amazing and beautiful things have happened and will continue to happen in 2023.


Giving Back: In December 2022, I told you about AKC Reunite donating its 50th lifesaving AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailer. On Nov. 22, 2023, AKC Reunite donated its 100th AKC Reunite Pet Disaster Relief Trailer to Honesdale, PA!

In 2022 AKC Reunite also awarded more than 200 grants totaling more than $2 million in grant moneys for the Adopt a K-9 Cop program. Reunite works with AKC Clubs to donate funds for the purchase of K-9 police dogs to police departments around the United States.


Stay Fit: My first pledge for 2021 was to walk into the year with an open heart, mind and spirit of kindness towards every person and to do it with my dog by my side. This resolution went so well that I carried it over into 2022 and boy am I happy I did! By spending some more time outside during 2022, it helped me to drop a few pounds, and it helped my furry friend burn off some puppy energy. Walking also helped a few dogs in training to be better behaved at the home and kennel, and it helped a few other dogs get into shape for a new home!


Be Prepared: To snap some photos! AKC always has a great photo contest, and your dogs could be in the AKC Family Dog magazine! The theme this year is “Dogs In Action.” Photo Contest – American Kennel Club There is still time to enter photographs of your dogs. Photos must be post marked by Feb. 1, 2023, and received no later than Feb. 8, 2023.


Make Each Season Special:

Fall – In 2022 we made some fun photos with our piles of leaves, but I forgot to warn you about the snakes. Always remember to look out for snakes when doing your spring, summer and fall chores! Keep in mind that we are outside in their element, and they do like to snuggle up next to downed trees, branches and in fallen leaves. Read this great article written by the AKC Canine Health Foundation to find out more about your dog(s) and snakes

Fall always makes me think of pumpkins and what a great fun and safe toy for the dogs to play with, so I pledge to give the real pumpkins to the dogs each year when I put away the Thanksgiving dishes and drag out the Christmas decorations. Don’t forget to put out your pre-emergent to prevent weeds and stickers in the spring.


Winter – Baby, it is cold outside! Which means we once again, need to make sure we have our pet-safe ice melt and anti-freeze, so we can keep our pets safe. We have our inside training plan and our inside dog game list updated and ready to go, but what about those dogs that just can’t wait for it to snow? We need to get our sleds waxed up, and our carts ready to go!

Buy some brightly colored weather-resistant dog toys that can be loaded with treats or scents to make a fun game for your dog outside! Lots of dogs love to do tracking or scent work, and a fresh powdery snow is a great natural element to help you and your dog(s) to learn. Tracking – American Kennel Club and AKC Scent Work – American Kennel Club Reminder, have your camera ready, because fresh powdery snow makes for a great photo shoot!

Cheryl Steidl

Spring – If I have told you once, I have told you a dozen times – “Spring is my favorite time of the year!” I just love seeing the green stems emerge and the first yellow blooms of the daffodil and jonquils and the purple hyacinth emerging from their winter sleep. I love the beautiful contrasting greens, yellows, purple and reds against a backdrop of a light snow on a brisk spring morning. This also reminds me that my favorite holiday, Easter, is right around the corner. Please be sure to keep the chocolate well out of the reach of your dog(s), and be sure you know which beautiful plants are dangerous to your dog(s). You don’t want to end up at the veterinarian with a sick dog or worse. AKC Canine Health Foundation – Are Holiday Plants Toxic to Your Pet?

Summer – Once again in 2022, I got to spend some time on the water with my dog “Lake Monster.” While he is a seasoned boating dog and a strong swimmer who loves to let the wind blow in his hair, not all dogs like the heat, noise, bouncing and wetness that goes along with boating. If your dog is lucky enough to be a Newfoundland, there is a title they can earn for water rescue! Newfoundland Dogs Prove Lifesaving Skills in Water Rescue Tests – American Kennel Club If your dog is not a Newfoundland, there is still a lot of fun to be had on and near the water.


Stay Connected: It is not too late to get those holiday cards out to your elected officials as a New Year’s wish for a Healthy and Happy 2023! Stay at the top of their list as a canine contact to be sure you are their go-to-dog person in the coming year.

Have a safe and fun year with your dog(s) as you walk, sled, cart, track, trail, and retrieve your way through 2023!

Stacy Mason is a Senior Breeder Field Representative for the American Kennel Club.