More than 40,000 pet lovers gathered in New York City in November for the third annual AKC Meet the Breeds® event. People of all ages interacted with thousands of dogs and cats representing 210 breeds. This popular, family-friendly event provides a unique venue for educating the public about responsible pet ownership and a fun way for potential pet owners to determine which breed may be best for their families.
Breed-themed booths, ranging from Parisian cafes to Arabian camps to cozy living rooms to the Land of Oz, highlighted the history, working abilities, and characteristics of the breeds. This created an enjoyable, laid-back environment in which attendees could interact with the animals, ask specific questions and learn directly from breed experts.
The two-day event featured demonstrations such as Earthdog, Agility, and the highly-trained canines of the U.S. Customs & Border Protection team. German Shepherd Dog “Blue” and Pomerianian “Mika” were honored with 2011 AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). Members of local Girl Scout groups earned badges by learning about breeds and responsible pet care.
The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) and its New York, New Jersey and Connecticut federations were on hand to raise awareness for canine legislation and to educate members of the public and exhibitors on how they can become advocates for responsible pet ownership in their communities. The AKC GR’s booth provided general materials on issues such as breed-specific legislation and limit laws, and information about the good things AKC does to benefit dogs across the United States. These materials can be accessed by visiting the AKC GR toolbox.
This year, a record 115 federal, state and local lawmakers from the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) served as Honorary Chairs and took a public stand in support of responsible pet ownership. For the Honorary Chairs, the event was a great opportunity to speak personally with dog owners, exhibitors, AKC state federations, and AKC GR staff and to learn more about promoting and protecting responsible pet ownership in their constituencies – not to mention getting photographed with their favorite breed! See the list of Honorary Chairs here.
If you live in the tri-state area and your lawmakers were Honorary Chairs for this event, please take a moment to thank them for their support of responsible pet ownership and let them know that you and/or your club would be pleased to talk with them about canine legislation issues in your state and community.
Breed showcases like the AKC Meet the Breeds event provide a relaxed, fun way for legislators and the public to learn about responsible dog ownership and canine legislation as well as a great opportunity for clubs to demonstrate their expertise. For an example of how a federation recently organized this type of event for their state legislature, read the “Tales from the Trenches” article from the previous issue of Taking Command.