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Table Talk · April 3, 2024

Last week our community was turned upside down when news of Adam King’s arrest was made public.  Mr. King was a vet, judge, breeder, and exhibitor (see last week’s Table Talk column for details at https://caninechronicle.com/featured/table-talk-%c2%b7-march-27-2024/).  Many in the sport of purebred dogs continue to feel betrayed, angry, worried, and helpless.  A core group of individuals turned their feelings of helplessness and anger into a proactive movement which is now being called “Show Safe”.  The goal of this voluntary movement is to educate and raise awareness and maintain safety for all at our shows.  In the coming weeks lapel pins will be made available for members of Show Safe.

Even though the arrest of Mr. King was not a result of any actions that occurred at a dog show, some are concerned about potential safety issues related to predatory behavior by some individuals.  Personally, I feel our shows are a safe environment.  In any public venue a certain degree of common sense must be exercised, and that, for me, is where Safe Sport comes in to play.  In my opinion, the “Show Safe” movement is an effort to KEEP our shows safe.

As part of the “Show Safe” initiative, many fanciers–including exhibitors, handlers, breeders and judges who have not completed the Safe Sport core course through the US Center for Safe Sport (www.uscenterforsafesport.org)–have now completed the course in an effort to be proactive and learn what they can do to detect signs of potential abuse and inappropriate behavior, and understand what to do in those situations.  The AKC Registered Handler’s Program requires all members to complete the Safe Sport program.

I completed the Safe Sport program. The core course does focus on coach/athlete and athlete/athlete relationships; however, there is valuable information about detecting inappropriate behavior and knowing how to handle situations when you suspect impropriety.  I felt my time completing the course was well spent.  In addition to knowledge gained, I got a sense of being proactive, and a feeling that I have tried to do my part.  I do feel better prepared to address a situation should it arise.  While completing the Safe Sport program is not a complete answer to making our sport a safer place, it certainly can help.

Parents, guardians, and mentors must be the first line of defense to protect our younger generation.  While some want more regulation, we must be realistic and proactive.  Knowledge is power, my friends!  Prevent. Recognize. Respond.  If we all do our part, our sport will be a safer place.

Show photographers Warren and Vicky Cook have made the decision to not post Jr. and Pee Wee photographs on their website in the future.  Once again, each one of us has our own way of feeling proactive, and this is Warren and Vicky’s way of protecting children.  If you are looking for a photograph of your child where Warren and Vicky were the photographers, please reach out to them directly.

For those Whippet fanciers lucky enough to be attending the American Whippet Club National specialty at the end of the month in Tennessee, you will have some early mornings due to another record entry!  Judging will begin at 7:30 AM on some of the days.  I recognize that we have some unhappy attendees due to early mornings, however, you should be happy that your breed’s national will be so well attended!  There are only so many hours in the day, and we should be thankful that we have this problem!  Enjoy everyone, and best of luck!

Healing thoughts to Melinda Lyon who is undergoing radiation treatment for a tumor found in her lung.  Melinda is an incredibly positive-minded person and we have talked repeatedly about her nine lives!!!  Melinda was sorely missed at the Kentuckiana Cluster this year, as she has not missed a show in many, many years.  We all look forward to having you back with us next year at the cluster.  Get well soon, my friend!

Congratulations to Erin Piercy-Foreman who is celebrating 8 years sober!  Erin sets a great example of how sobriety completely changed her life while providing amazing opportunities.  Erin’s advice to all:  Don’t be afraid to change everything.  It can be hard, but its beyond rewarding!!!  Congratulations, Erin!  Keep up the great work.

Fanciers celebrating birthdays this week include:  Stan Matsumoto, Todd Jacobs, Peggy McDill, Justin Van Deren, Sarah Perchick, Barbara Ohmann, Chris Jones, Lesli Smith, Ken Murray and Norm Fargo.  Enjoy your special day, my friends!  Make it the best day yet!

With the difficult times our community has faced over the last couple of weeks, I strongly suggest turning to our DOGS!!!  There are times when you need the silence of animals to recover from humans.

Wherever your travels take you this week, be safe and take time to enjoy the moment.  I look forward to seeing you soon!  Until next time…

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