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National Purebred Dog Day (NPDD) — May 1 — is right around the corner. Each year the organization holds a photo contest featuring, you guessed it, purebred dogs of all shapes and sizes. For the second year the contest is honoring longtime purebred dog breeder and fancier Jay Kitchner. I remember Jay very well; he and I had some really great conversations over the years regarding canine legislation. He was a tireless advocate of fair laws for all dogs and responsible owners. He was a spokesperson in his home state and nationally. He was also curious about public relations and how best to promote purebred dogs to legislators, potential owners, and the public. I’m pleased that NPDD continues to recognize Jay in this way. I think he would be tickled pink.
Jay Kitchner Memorial Challenge Photo Contest
According to the NPDD website (nationalpurebreddogday.com): “Fromm Food Presents the Jay Kitchner Memorial Challenge: “Come and Get It.” Jay Kitchener has been gone a year now, but the legacy of his advocacy for purebred dogs lives on. Witty and relentless, Jay was a champion of all our different breeds (but a pushover for Gordon Setters) and often testified against bills that would have been harmful to all dog owners. National Purebred Dog Day is pleased to present the second annual ‘Jay Kitchener Memorial Challenge’ with the generous sponsorship of Fromm Food, a fifth-generation family-owned-and-operated artisan pet food company in Wisconsin.
“We are particularly pleased to work with Fromm because this is quality food that we have fed our own dogs. This challenge plays on a food theme by recruiting those immortal words craved by all hungry people, ‘Come and get it!’ The prize for this challenge is a tote bags filled with Fromm foods, treats and other goodies (picture is coming). To win this challenge, your photo submission must interpret ‘Come and get it’ in a humorous way while meeting the rules.” The rules can be found at the website, as well as the downloadable NPDD signs.
Some contest highlights include: The contest is open only to US residents. There is no photoshopping. This year’s judges are David Frei and Westminster Kennel Club photographer Jack Grassa. One photo submission per person per contest challenge. Your photo must include a purebred dog and one of the following signs:
*I ♥ Purebred Dogs
*Happy National Purebred Dog Day
*I ♥ My Purebred Dog
*or use official NPDD gear, such as T-shirt, tote bag, bandana, hat, or bumper sticker.
You can download and print these signs from the Handouts & Freebies section of the NPDD website. A full explanation of contest rules, how to submit your photo, where and when, can be found on Facebook.com @nationalpurebreddogday.
According to its website, NPDD celebrates the heritage, diversity, and predictability of the purebred dog. Each breed is a living legacy of the culture that created it for a reason, each breed indelibly etched in that culture’s history just as surely as its music, art, and language. Created in 2013 by writer and Puli fancier Susi Szeremy, the day marks an opportunity to bring balance to the conversation about responsible dog ownership by including the voice of purebred dog owners. All dogs should be valued, whatever their ancestry, but the purpose-bred dog and the predictability of its breed is to be cherished and preserved. More than 400 dog breeds exist in the world today, but many are at risk of vanishing forever in our lifetime. Twenty-eight breeds of British and Irish origin alone are declining in numbers in their country of origin, several of them outnumbered by panda bears.
Historically, purebred dogs have worked alongside their people and provided them companionship while serving as guide dogs, service dogs, conservation dogs, livestock guardians, search and rescue dogs, earth dogs, police dogs, canine soldiers serving by the sides of our military men and women, and ultimately guardians of family, home, and hearth. Purebred dogs have been of enormous help to medical science, serving as models for many heritable human diseases, playing a role in humanity’s understanding of the human and canine genomes, and serving as avalanche dogs, trackers and trailers, herders, controllers of vermin, water rescuers, carting and sled dogs, retrievers, protectors, hunters, and bird dogs, and always they are the heartbeat of a companion near and dear to humans. These dogs are not found under cabbage leaves, but are bred by ethical breeders invested in the legacy of their respective breeds. They are its conservators by producing the next generation of healthy, sound, and well socialized canine citizens.
Colorado became the first state in the country to recognize May 1 as National Purebred Dog Day by joint resolution of its House and the Senate. Since then, Connecticut and Georgia have also recognized the day.