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The American Kennel Club® is pleased to announce that Suzanne E. Benchoff has been named a recipient of the AKC® Community Achievement Award for educating her community about responsible dog ownership. Suzanne Benchoff is a member of the Chambersburg Area Kennel Club (CAKC). She received one of three awards for the second quarter of 2008- Elaine Shoe-Ezell of the Garden State Golden Retriever Club in Roselle Park, N.J. and Ann McGloon of the Sussex Spaniel Club of America in Murphy, Ore. 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.

Benchoff has been active in the dog fancy with her Rough Collies for many years. She saw a need in her community and applied her skills as both an educator and background in dogs to fill the gap. In June 2006, she started Arendtsville Dog Owners Reading and Building Learning Environments (A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E) to enhance literacy and knowledge about proper canine care in her community.

The first part of the program offered an eight week basic obedience course for community members taught by two qualified instructors on a weekly basis. The program culminated in the administration of the AKC Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) test. Next, Benchoff gathered graduates from the obedience class to participate with the local library in the “Read to a Dog Program”- a literacy enhancement program that brought children and animals together. This targeted elementary school students and children with English as a second language. The final portion of A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. was a donation to the local elementary school and library to invest in canine literature for children.

“Suzanne’s efforts in her community are inspiring,” said Noreen Baxter, AKC’s VP of Communications.  “Her actions have illustrated how dogs and people can come together to fill needs in a community while fostering a positive relationship among neighbors. We congratulate Suzanne on her success and are proud to honor her with this award.”

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. Nominate a club.