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AKC plus NNKC Equals Accelerated Accreditation

     On June 10, 2002, Northern Neck Kennel Club President George Mahaffey announced that the Club has realized its 14-year goal of American Kennel Club accreditation. The club, which is the only continuously organized kennel club in the Northern Neck, confirmed this goal, in writing, by a letter from the AKC home office in New York City, New York, which stated “The NNKC has not only been accredited, but has been accelerated and approved for the holding of Plan A (OA) Matches and Agility Trials.”

     Mahaffey made the announcement at the Club’s 13th Annual Meeting, which was held at the Lancaster Community Library. The event was a covered dish affair at which officers and board members for the coming year were elected; and outgoing officers and board members were recognized for their past service. Elected to office for the coming year were: George Mahaffey, President; Alan Burgess, Vice President; Dawn Mahaffey, Secretary; and Cyndi Salesky, Treasurer. Board Members elected were Elizabeth Atkins, Antoine Marchal and Diane Trinko. Outgoing officers and board members recognized were outgoing Vice President Marti Haydon and outgoing board member, Dr. Joyce Cunningham.

     Special awards were presented to several NNKC members for their outstanding contributions to the organization promotion and progress of the club throughout its last 12-year period of continuous community-centered service to every county of the Northern Neck. Recognized were: Alan and Joyce Burgess for their efforts to establish the agility program for the club. The Burgesses organized and spearheaded a committee within the club which developed the agility program, constructed a full set of agility training equipment, established an agility training program, and oversaw, for the first time in the club’s history, agility competition at the clubs spring fun match.

     Also recognized for an Unsung Hero Award was White Stone resident Sue Anne Bangel. Bangel has been instrumental in establishing the club’s Pet Education Program, which utilizes AKC published materials and club members and their dogs to teach responsible dog ownership to children in the Northern Neck. Mrs. Bangel and her committee members have visited hundreds of children in numerous schools, libraries, day care centers and other children’s programs throughout the Northern Neck. In addition, Bangel established the Club’s Therapy Dog Program. The club now has members who regularly visit local schools, hospitals and nursing and convalescent homes to provide comfort, and the club now sponsors two Therapy Dog International testing sessions each year. Mrs. Bangel has served in this capacity for the NNKC since the Club’s inception in 1989 and has served as a past officer and board member.

     Dr. James R. Hundley, retired veterinarian from Heathsville who was unable to attend the event, was recognized with a special award for his lifelong service to the dogs and people of the Northern Neck since opening his practice in Northumberland County in the 1950’s. His practice and goal of quality veterinary care for all the animals of the Neck is still with us today in the joint efforts of the Heathsville, Kilmarnock and Warsaw veterinary clinics.

     Outgoing Vice President Marti Haydon of Weems was recognized for her outstanding contribution as the club’s Obedience Chairman and training class instructor. Mrs. Haydon organized and instructed the club’s training classes for a period of over five years, and dozens of well-mannered canines and their owners in the Northern Neck owe their thanks to Marti for a job well done. In addition, Mrs. Haydon has participated to a great extent in the club’s pet education programs and served as the club’s Vice President for many years.

     Lorrine Osborn of Hartfield was recognized for her dedication to the mission and goals of the NNKC for the past 12 years. An original founding member of the club, Osborn served as President for a total of 8 years and through one of the club’ most difficult periods when the continued existence of the club was in jeopardy. In addition, Osborn and her German Shepherd Therapy Dog “Turbo” put in countless hours and visited literally thousands of residents in nursing and convalescent homes from the Northern Neck to Richmond.

     Dawn Mahaffey of Heathsville received special recognition as the club’s original founder. Mahaffey had moved to the area from Northern Virginia, and finding no organized dog activities in the area, began the process of locating and bringing together other local breeders and exhibitors. This process would lead, a few months later, to the Northern Neck Kennel Club coming into being by resolution by the twelve original founding members. Mahaffey has served the club continually as president, secretary, match chairman, newsletter editor and/or events coordinator over the course of the club’s existence.

     At the close of the awards ceremony, President George Mahaffey was recognized for his outstanding contribution to the club in the area of seeking and obtaining for the club, its lifelong goal of AKC accreditation. Mahaffey worked tirelessly and undauntedly through the tedious process of accreditation and developed the 200 page formal presentation, which was submitted to the American Kennel Club on behalf of the NNKC. 
     Remarkably, this work was completed and the goal attained while Mahaffey suffered from both multiple spinal fractures and a recent diagnosis of bone marrow cancer. Unable to stand to present the awards to his fellow club members, Mahaffey stated, “This accomplishment is not just an isolated victory for the kennel club, but rather is a broadly-based, and far-reaching, community-wide effort, the full effect of which will not be realized until we have established a firm foothold in the world of classic dog shows.”

     The first level of AKC accreditation sanctioned the club to conduct Plan A matches, which unlike the clubs most recent “Fun” matches, are held strictly under AKC rules and regulations. After two such “A” matches, held at least 6 months apart, the Northern Neck Kennel Club may apply to the AKC to hold fully-licensed, AKC Championship dog shows, where dogs competing at the show will have the opportunity to earn points toward their AKC Championship.

     The potential economic impact of the NNKC attaining full AKC licensure status is significant. The AKC estimates that two days of dog shows with 2,000 participants contributes $268,000 to the local community; and two days of dog shows with a large number of out-of-town participants can inject $350,000 into the local economy. (Survey data available upon request).

     Anyone interested in learning more about the NNKC, its mission, goals and objectives may call Mr. Mahaffey at 580-5280. Those interested in membership should contact Cyndi Salesky, Membership Chairman at 580-5128.

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