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Table Talk · April 29, 2020

I am sure everyone is as anxious as I am to get back to life as usual!  As a community, I think we are doing a great job of staying engaged and in touch with one another.  We are all lucky to have the fancy to bring us together.  It gives us focus, a goal, and a “home” of sorts to return to.

The Macon Kennel Club and Southeast Alabama Kennel Club rescheduled their shows for the weekend prior to the rescheduled Peach Blossom Cluster in Perry, GA which would have made it a 9-day circuit in Perry from June 11-June 24th.  Unfortunately, there has been a change in plans and Macon and Southeast Alabama have cancelled.  When the announcement was made that the Peach Blossom Cluster was planning to hold their shows in early/mid-June, fanciers began to express their differing opinions.  On one side fanciers felt that holding shows in Georgia in early June was not a good idea, and on the other hand, there were fanciers that were anxious to get going again, sooner rather than later.  While I understand that the longer our sport is suspended, the more anxious we become, I think we all need to be able to communicate our views without name calling and disrespectful banter.

The Peach Blossom Cluster has done what they thought was best for their club, and the sport as a whole.  This unprecedented situation brings with it very difficult decisions for show giving clubs, judges, and exhibitors.  Peach Blossom Cluster volunteers worked extremely hard to come up with a protocol early so individuals could make their own decision about attending the cluster or not.

The AKC has stated that they will publish recommendations for health and safety should clubs decide to hold shows.  They have said that clubs should follow the recommended protocol in the club’s given state when deciding whether or not to hold their shows.  In my opinion, they have left the clubs to basically figure it out for themselves and have offered a bit of flexibility with the guidelines such as distance restrictions both for shows and for judging assignments, and some fee accommodations. In my humble opinion, they missed the opportunity to show leadership and take a stand for the good of the fancy.  I think that a good deal of the anxiety fanciers are now experiencing is due to uncertainty and while–just like everyone else–AKC does not have a crystal ball, and COVID-19 has no time table, AKC could help the fancy by creating guidelines to help clubs navigate through this uncertainty.  They might even consider using their vast resources and experience to consult with the clubs. They could assist them with questions about the contracts they have, timelines, and government regulations. This guidance might actually help them figure out how to still have their shows.

I think when the AKC eliminated 11 of the 13 executive field representative positions, and the vast majority of other show operations staff, they created panic among the fancy which made an already bad situation worse. It left many people wondering about their commitment to the to the sport of purebred dogs. In my opinion, this could have been handled differently.

What we all need to remember on both sides of this situation is that each person needs to worry about themselves and make their own decision, and they need not judge what decision someone else makes for themselves.  We are all supposed to be in this together, right?  So, let us all support each other, regardless of which side of the fence we are on.  No one is being forced to attend a show, should it be held.  Everyone needs to do what is right for them according to their circumstances.  It is my most sincere hope that those that are in a more vulnerable category do not allow themselves to feel pressured to venture out until they are sure it is safe for them; and when they do, the community supports whatever measures they feel necessary to protect themselves.

We all know there will be dogs who will not react positively to humans in masks and gloves.  While we hope that our “old” normal will return sooner rather than later, no one can see the future.  I hope that everyone is working with their dogs with masks and even rubber gloves to give them every opportunity to succeed when they head out.

I have had a couple of interesting conversations with folks over the last couple of weeks about what modifications could be made at shows to promote social distancing, and keep exhibitors, judges, stewards, etc. safe when shows resume.  If anyone has thoughts on suggested modifications, please reach out to me at  If I get some suggestions, I will be sure to share them here!

The GoFundMe fundraiser that was established by Tim Thomas specifically to cover the health insurance costs of the furloughed field reps and other judging operations staff reached its goal and is still open.  With the current fund, the show operations and field representatives will have their health insurance covered for at least two months.  Mary Dukes started a GoFundMe Account for AKC RHP members:  The AKC RHP crisis fund.  To date this fund has raised $5,350 of a $50,000 goal.  You can find more information on Facebook.

Take The Lead created a $400,000 fund dedicated to fanciers experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This fund can assist fanciers with their health insurance premiums.  The application process is very easy and only requires your 2018 income tax return and your insurance premium invoice.  Consistent with Take The Lead policy, premiums will be paid to the carrier directly.  Application turnaround is very fast.  For more information please visit the Take The Lead website at

Karen Mammano is spearheading a Help A Handler fundraiser.  Over 100 handlers have been nominated to participate in the fundraiser which is open until Sunday evening, May 3rd.  Please visit the Help A Handler Facebook page and donate to your favorite handler.

I was sorry to hear that Northeast vendor Al Reed passed away after an extended illness.  We extend our sincere codolences to Alicia and the rest of Al’s family.  He will truly be missed at the shows.

The sport lost an icon when Iris Love passed away recently at the age of 87.  Iris was a true champion in the sport of purebred dogs having bred numerous champion Dachshunds.  She also owned other top winning show dogs over many decades of her participation in the sport of purebred dogs.  Professionally, Iris was a world-famous archeologist.  Iris’ colorful personality and kindness will be truly missed by the fancy.

Sadly, Raymond Bay passed away recently at the age of 88.  A judge of the Toy and Terrier groups, Ray was loved by all that knew him.  He will be sorely missed by the all that knew him.

I was sorry to hear that we lost a fancier to COVID-19.  Boxer fancier Bruce Korson passed away recently due to complications resulting from COVID-19.  Bruce was loved by all that had the opportunity to know him.  He will be missed.

Sincere condolences to Rhonda Cassidy on the loss of her stepfather.  Hopefully, the next time I see you I will be able to give you a socially responsible hug, my friend.

I was pleased to hear that Golden Retriever fancier Alan Gunther is on the road to recovery from COVID-19.  Alan was in a drug-induced coma for some time and is now awake, extubated and recovering!

Celebrating birthdays recently are:  Tootie Longo, David Kirkland, Correy Krickeberg, Rowan Baggenstos, Vince Indeglia, Rhonda Holloway, Ivonne Rangel, C.J. Favre, Hana Marangon, Emily Thiel, Debbie Butt, Kris Benoit, Grace Fritz, Lexie Ditlow, Alissa Welling, George Milutinovich, Kimberly Meredith, Krista Musil and Doug Johnson.  Best wishes to all for a great birthday!

Hang in there, my friends. We will all be together again soon as a stronger community!!!  Please be safe and be kind to each other!  Until next time….




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