Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Card Exchange: Something Positive For The Holidays & Our Dogs

I was out of town yesterday dropping off my bitch, "Tori", to go to a Rottweiler Specialty.

When I finally got home last night, I was elated to find a positive email. Thus, the reason for this post. And I just love a challenge, don't you???

The question I'm frequently asked by folks who are new to this legislation stuff is, "What can I do to help?"

Of course, my response is to write, fax or call the powers that be when something comes up law-wise that is not favorable to responsible dog ownership or breeding....let the lawmakers know that whatever law du`jour they are proposing doesn't sit well and if they proceed in passing it, they have lost a constituent...a.k.a "a VOTE".

Likewise, all of us should write/call/fax when lawmakers/decison-makers actually do a 'good thing'. (Which isn't that often when it comes to dogs/animals these days )

We are face-less in this fight for our rights, and so are our dogs. Lawmakers need to know that there are REAL people with REAL dogs out here that care about what they do in regards to laws that effect us.

I am pleased to announce the joining of forces between the Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) and the American Rottweiler Club . Two parent clubs that definately "get it" when it comes to the fight for dog-owner/breeder rights and the animal "rights" agenda.

Please take a moment and read the following, and then JUST DO IT! Send out a lousy extra 12 Christmas cards to *your* powers that be WITH a picture of you and/or your dog(s). Become more than just a "letter" to the politicians...a picture is worth a thousand words, folks.

The point of this Challenge is personal contact between dog owners and legislators. Sure, they
hear from us when we fax or email about a piece of legislation but we all know they rarely read
those messages, they simply tally pros and cons. A card will be a personal, positive contact.

The aim here is to have each official receive a Christmas/Holiday/New Year's greeting from their dog (cat) owning constituents. We ask that you send cards to your Governor, district officials as well as your city and county officials. At best this would only involve sending an extra dozen cards which will have you and your dog's (or cat's) photo and a comment such as those listed below. If these officials are people you voted for, state that you have supported them in the past and hope to continue your support. If you did not vote for them let them know that depending on their position on dog related issues, you would certainly consider changing party affiliation to support the candidate most sensitive to the interests of their pet owning constituency.

If you own Conformation dogs, include a win picture or photo of you, the dog and ribbons and
trophies. Sign the card “Proud owner of an AKC Champion (breed)”.

If you own a dog with performance titles, include a photo of the dog out duck hunting, with the
sheep, whatever, and sign the card, “Proud working partner to a (title/event) dog. i.e. “Proud
working partner to a Field Trial Champion (breed)”.

If you own a dog with a CGC from AKC, include a photo of you, the dog, and the certificate. Sign
the card, “Proud owner of a Canine Good Citizen (breed)”.

If you own a Therapy Dog, include a photo with you, the dog, a Senior Citizen or hospitalized
child. Sign the card, “Active partners bringing joy to shut-ins, Mary and Fluffy”.

If you own a Tracking Dog, especially one certified for Search and Rescue, include a photo of
yourself and the dog - preferably working or “in uniform” and sign the card, “proudly serving the community of (city/county) with Search and Rescue efforts, Mary and Sport”.

If you own a Service Dog, include a photo of the two of you, or of the dog and it's backpack or
performing a service like opening the door or retrieving something. Sign the card, “Blessed with
the service of “Fluffy” my service dog and constant companion, Mary Smith”.

If your dog assists with a reading program in the local school, include a picture of you, the dog
and some kids and sign the it, “Proudly helping children to read better, John and Rex”.

If you are a Judge, include a nice BIS win photo with everyone looking good, you, the handler, and the dog. Sign it, “Proud judge of AKC dog shows, Joe Judge, Lic. ####”.

If your dog does agility, include a really nice action shot of the dog and sign the card,
“Enthusiastic participants in the sport of Agility, Speedy and Mary Smith”.

For friends/family who own dogs obtained from a shelter or rescue, include a photo and sign the
card, “Proud Adopter of Charlie, rescue dog from (shelter/rescue group), The Jones Family”.

Puppy buyers should send cards stating “sharing our lives with a (breed) purchased from a
responsible hobby breeder, The Smith Family”.

Kennel & Training Clubs, vets, groomers and rescues should do the same with messages like:
· Successfully hosting all breed shows in (city/county) for XXX years.
· Successfully helping owners train their dogs to be good citizens in (city/county).
· Providing quality medical care to (city/county) pets.
· Keeping (city/county) canine residents well groomed for xxx years.
· Proudly re-homing “thrown away” dogs and cats in (city/county) to new forever homes.

ALWAYS use “owner”, “owners”, “owned by” - NEVER use the words “guardian”or“caretaker”.

We think you get the drift here what we are looking for - positive contact from constituents to
elected officials. If enough people do this, including friends and family with photos of them, the
kids, and the family pet(s) signed “Happily sharing family life with our (breed/mixed) dog(s)”,
legislators will realize just how many constituents are out there with pets. You could even neatly
write at the bottom of the card, “My Dog Votes”.

Naturally, you would be free to elaborate on your card, but keep it simple, not related to any
particular legislation.

The cost of a couple more Christmas/Holiday cards, stamps, and photos is negligible compared
to what you will suffer should anti-dog legislation be enacted in your community, county, or state.

In the case of state or federal officials, the cards should be sent to their home/district offices - not their State Capital address.

Please crosspost this DPCA/ARC Challenge to appropriate lists and all kennel clubs, trainers,
judges, veterinarians, groomers, and pet owners. Together we can make a positive impression on our officials - let them know we are out there; let them know we are voters; let them put faces to their 2 and 4 footed constituents.

The American Rottweiler Club has partnered with the DPCA in issuing this Challenge. Will your
club or organization join us?

Thank you,
Dana M. Johnson Jan Cooper
DPCA Legislative Director ARC Legislative Chair

It is suggested that kennel clubs post this Challenge on their websites along with the
appropriated addresses for state and local officials – making it very easy for members and friends to participate in this effort.
Art Work by Deborah McClelland, Jarde English Cockers
(Note: Although Jan Cooper is no longer the ARC Legislative Chair, the American Rottweiler Club stands behind this project.)

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