Dog owners addressed

by Amber Fandrick
Northern News Services

NNSL (Nov 21/97) - After reading this, Yellowknife dog owners should no longer have any excuse for their bored and lonely Fidos, Rexs and Rovers.

The Gold City Kennel Club's numerous activities are open invitations to get involved with your dog.

"Yellowknife has such a large dog population that there is lots you can do with your pet instead of just having them tied up in your backyard," said Jo-Ann Cooper, member and secretary-treasurer of the club.

The club puts on a number of regular events, including fun dog shows, obedience seminars, canine good citizen tests and canine first aid seminars.

A non-profit organization running for the past 10 years, Gold City Kennel Club also has a Bite Proof program. It runs every summer and used to run in various city schools every January.

"But the program hasn't run the past couple years because none of the schools has taken us up on this free program," Cooper said.

"Kids need to know that not all dogs are friendly. They need to know what to do, and what not to do with dogs."

Dog owners seem to think that once they bring their pet north, there are only limited things they can do with their dog, said Cooper. But this doesn't have to be the case.

Not letting their location in the North hinder them, club members Cooper and Michelle Pagotto send their dogs south to compete them in dog shows.

The dogs are shown by a handler that the owner's have chosen.

Cooper's Boston Terrier is a Canadian international champion, and Pagotto's Bedlington Terrier is a Canadian champion.

"It is not like you have to send your dog out to Toronto or anything. CKC (Canadian Kennel Club)-sanctioned dog shows are held in Grande Prairie (Alta.) and even Whitehorse," said Cooper.

Working towards getting a sanctioned dog show in Yellowknife is one of the club's main goals.

"Of course it is going to take time and hard work. That's just an obstacle, and obstacles are placed before us all the time. We always find ways to work around them," said Cooper.

"But basically and most importantly, we just have a lot of fun."

The next event for the club is a canine behavior workshop Dec. 3.