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The American Kennel Club® announced today the winners of the 2009 AKC® Lifetime Achievement Awards. The awards, engraved Tiffany and Co. sterling silver bowls, will be presented to the recipients on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at the AKC Delegates luncheon held in conjunction with the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Long Beach, California. A larger version of the Tiffany and Co. bowl, engraved with the names of all recipients past and present, is on permanent display at the headquarters of The American Kennel Club in New York City.

The AKC Lifetime Achievement Awards were created to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of purebred dogs on a national level. The recipients were selected from votes cast by AKC member clubs for nominees in each of the following categories: Conformation, Companion Events and Performance.


The 2009 recipients are:

Conformation: Wendell J. Sammet, Bryantville, Massachusetts

Sammet became active in the sport of purebred dogs after World War II, in which he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was a P.O.W. He began breeding Dalmatians under the “Dalmatia” banner in 1950, finishing many Champions. In the early 1950s, Mrs. Henry T. Kaiser asked Sammet to breed and exhibit white Standard Poodles for her “Alekai” Kennel in Hawaii. In 1984, she turned the line over to him, at which time he changed the name to “Ale Kai”.

Through the decades, Sammet has prided himself in breeding for health, temperament and breed type. Along the way, he has always found time to serve as mentor for newcomers to the breed and sport, as well as an advisor to his peers. He has been an active member of both the Poodle Club of America and the Dalmatian Club of America. Today he co-breeds many of his Poodles with Karen LeFrak of “On Fifth” fame.

Over the years, Sammet has garnered numerous accolades, including: Dogdom’s Professional Handler of the Year (1977); Dogs in Review Achievement Award as Best Breeder-Owner-Handler (2004); and breeder of Dogs in Review Top Non-Sporting Sire (2007). Sammet was the inaugural recipient of the Anne Rogers Clark Hall of Fame Award in 2008, as well as the first AKC Breeder of the Year Award in 2002.


Companion Events: Kenneth A. Buxton, Kingwood, Texas

Buxton and his wife Donna purchased their first St. Bernard in 1966. They supported the idea that the breed should be able to earn at least an obedience companion dog (CD) title, breed championship and tracking title. The first St. Bernard to accomplish this was a dog from their first home-bred litter, Ch. Twin Oaks Cinnamon Bear UDT. Starting at Queen City Dog Training Club, Buxton trained several dogs to the Utility title (UD). Eventually, Buxton turned to judging. Buxton currently judges all classes in Obedience, Rally and Tracking, plus four groups (Sporting, Working, Non-Sporting and Herding).

Buxton has been active in Queen City Dog Training Club, Clermont County Kennel Club (lifetime member), St. Bernard Club of America, and now Baytown Kennel Club in Texas. In these clubs he served in various positions, including President, Vice President, Board of Directors, Show Chairman, Obedience Chairman and Director of Training. He was on the 1988 AKC Obedience Advisory Committee and the committee for the Illustrated Commentary of the St. Bernard. Currently, he is on the Board of American Dog Show Judges, Inc. serving as benefit chairman.

Buxton was in the Marine Corps and has degrees in finance and economics. He was an accountant, serving as accounting manager before retiring. Hobbies include working out at the YMCA, computers, investments and spending time with his two grandsons.


Performance: Mary Jo Trimble, Carterville, Illinois

Trimble has been involved with Brittanys since the mid-1960s. She was a charter member of the Sahuaro Brittany Club in Arizona and the Illinois Brittany Championship Association. She is Treasurer for the Illinois Brittany Club and has served as Executive Secretary of the American Brittany Club (ABC) since 1998.

Trimble is a Hall of Fame recipient and was recently elected to the Field Trial Clubs of Illinois Honor Roll for her service to that organization. Her dogs have won numerous AKC Championships, including the National Open Brittany Championship, and awards such as the IAMS All-Age Dog of the Year, and the Brittany Field Trial Hall of Fame.

Trimble is the ABC’s AKC Legislative Liaison and a Director and Legislative Committee Chair for the Field Trial Clubs of Illinois. She attended the first AKC Parent Club Conference as a presenter and has twice been invited to attend AKC’s Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. The American Field, The American Brittany Magazine and AKC Afield have published her articles on legislation.

The Illinois General Assembly declared May 28, 2006 as Trimble Day, to recognize Trimble and her husband Ray’s contribution to the sport of field trialing and for their efforts to help acquire 16,000 acres of new public land, including two new championship-type field trial areas in Pyramid State Park. With Ray having won the AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, the Trimbles are the first couple to win this prestigious award.