616 – Mary Dukes: An Evolution from Owner to Professional to Rep to Judge
Mary Dukes: An Evolution from Owner to Professional to Rep to Judge
Host Laura Reeves is joined by Mary Dukes, legendary Whippet breeder, professional handler, AKC Executive Field Representative and now judge.
Dukes has spent a lifetime involved in working with animals. From showing horses to training elephants to showing dogs. Her work with the zoo animals instilled in her an absolute dedication to animal husbandry.
NO Dirty Dogs
“There are no shortcuts in animal care. Period,” Dukes said. “In zoo animals, you have to be even more on top of it because wild animals don’t have a tell that they’re sick. In the wild, any tell that they are sick or injured is going to make them dead. So they are really good at masking that. If you are sloppy or dirty or messy there is no room for you in the animal business.
“I’ll put this on blast right now, if someone walks into my ring with a dirty dog, we’re going to have a problem. There is no excuse to show a dirty dog. I won’t hold it against the dog, but the handler might get an earful.”
AKC Registered Handler Program
Dukes was an early member of the AKC Registered Handler Program. As a rep, Dukes was a coordinator of the RHP. She joined RHP because they demanded insurance, inspections, so “I wanted to put my money where my mouth was.”
RHP is not a guarantee the handler is going to win with your dog, Dukes said.
“The whole point of the program is so the people have a place to start looking where we had done some of the ground work for you. You know they (they handlers) are insured. You know their vehicle is inspected for safety and cleanliness. You know their kennel has been inspected by AKC kennel inspectors. You know they’ve signed a code of ethics.
“RHP members have to have a contract. They have to bill in a timely fashion. The bill has to be itemized. A lot of the trouble you see, most of it is because the expectations weren’t clear. If you have a contract, it’s
right there in black and white.
“One of the newest requirements is SafeSport. All RHP members have to take the training as a condition of membership.
“Safe Sport is a congressionally mandated program for every Olympic sport.
“There’s been a lot of abuses in every sport. Basically, Safe Sport is making you aware of what to look for. If you see a situation that you suspect might be something, it gives you tools. Because we aren’t an Olympic sport, we don’t have access to the mechanics of the national organization.
“It automatically makes everyone (who’s had the training) mandatory reporters. If you put it out in the open more, it’s harder for someone to creep around. I would like to see it spread out to judges, especially juniors judges.”
Join us next week for part two of this fantastic conversation. Learn what Dukes is looking for in a dog and hear about her fantasy Best in Show lineup.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER — FRANCIS BACON
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