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— AKC Teams with Dog Clubs and Olympic Gold Medallist Greg Louganis to Raise Awareness of Responsibilities of Dog Ownership–


The American Kennel Club has declared Wednesday, September 17, 2003 AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day, and announced hundreds of celebrations to be held across the country through the weekend of September 20 and 21. The goal of the event–being held for the first time–is to educate the public about the importance of responsible dog ownership and the rewards of a respectful human-canine relationship.

Olympic gold medallist and dedicated dog lover Greg Louganis is lending his support to the day by serving as spokesperson and appearing at a celebratory event held in New York City's Central Park on September 17. Louganis, who has been an avid dog lover since childhood, currently shares his life with three canine companions and has long been a participant in obedience and conformation competition. He also teaches dog training classes at his home in Malibu, California, and is the author of “For the Life of Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Having a Dog in Your Life From Adoption and Birth Through Sickness and Health.”

“Being a responsible owner is the cornerstone of the bond between people and their dogs,” says Louganis. “AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day will be an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the fact that while the rewards of owning a dog are priceless, it's crucial to understand the commitment involved and learn as much as you can about being a conscientious dog owner – whether it's about spaying/neutering, how to properly train your dog, or just finding the ideal breed for you.”

All AKC-affiliated dog clubs as well as many other dog- and pet-related organizations have been invited to participate by holding public events in their communities. Activities will include Canine Good Citizen tests, obedience/agility demonstrations, microchip clinics, breed rescue information, therapy dog/service dog demonstrations, safety around dogs for kids, fundraisers and many, many more entertaining and educational events.

To date, over 150 clubs and organizations have signed on. Listings of all events can be found and searched by state. Events will be updated weekly to reflect new additions.

On September 17 (the anniversary of AKC's founding in 1884) the AKC will promote AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day with a public event in New York City's Central Park in order to heighten awareness of the events being held that weekend around the country. AKC's efforts will highlight the programs and services that can educate first-time dog owners and help current pet owners enhance their relationships with their dogs.

“The American Kennel Club is committed to helping dog owners raise happy, healthy dogs that can be kept for the pet's entire lifetime,” says Gina D. Lash, AKC's Director of Club Communications. “Responsible dog ownership begins the moment you decide to share your life with a dog – from choosing the right breed for your lifestyle to ensuring that your new family member receives the necessary training, veterinary care, grooming and love all dogs need to live a happy, healthy life.”

Organizations interested in hosting an AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day event should contact the AKC at or visit the AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day section of our website

— AKC Teams with Dog Clubs and Olympic Gold Medallist Greg Louganis to Raise
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