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Cross Junction Couple Dedicate their Lives to Dogs

New York, NY — The American Kennel Club® announced today that Donna and Bernie Thompson of Cross Junction, Virginia have been named recipients of an AKC® Community Achievement Award. The Thompsons were recognized for their commitment to dogs as well as their dedication to animal-assisted therapy programs. The Thompsons are one of three award recipients this quarter; the Gloucester County Kennel Club of New Jersey and the Putnam Kennel Club of New York also received recognition.

The AKC Community Achievement Awards support and recognize outstanding public education and legislation efforts of AKC-affiliated clubs, AKC-recognized federations and their members. The AKC selects award recipients who promote purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership within their communities or who have successfully introduced, monitored and responded to legislative issues affecting dog ownership.

The Thompsons, retired teachers who have been married for 47 years, raise English Springer Spaniels under the Pride 'n Joy kennel name, all of which are raised to excel in Conformation, Tracking, Obedience, Agility and therapy work.  Donna is an AKC Tracking judge and co-author of a manual on tracking and Bernie participates in AKC Agility.  In 1989 the couple transformed a 36-acre farm into the Blue Ridge Dog Training Club (BRDTC).  They also founded a therapy dog program and coordinate nursing home, school and institution visits.  Recently they began developing the Jail Tails program, in which prison inmates will train and socialize shelter dogs to increase their chances of adoption.

BRDTC member Tracy Wagner says in her nominating letter that “the Thompsons continue to give so much to the sport of dogs, the community and those around them and ask for little in return. It’s a life and world truly blessed.”

“Donna and Bernie Thompson have found multiple ways to share their love and appreciation of dog sports with their community.  We applaud their tireless efforts in all they do, and thank them for their dedication to the fancy,” said Noreen Baxter, AKC’s VP of Communications.

Nominations for the AKC Community Achievement Awards are accepted year-round. Up to three honorees are named each quarter. They receive a certificate of appreciation and a $1,000 check payable to the club or federation’s public education and canine legislation efforts. To nominate a club, visit Community Achievement Award.