434 – Bill McFadden on Dog Shows During Covid: Safety First

Bill McFadden on Dog Shows During COVID: Safety First and Other Observations

Professional handler Bill McFadden has attended shows across the country in the four months since the “Learning Cluster” in Oklahoma. A two-time Westminster Kennel Club BIS winning handler, lifetime participant in the sport and all-around good guy, McFadden’s observations, notes on what worked and self-appointed “bathroom police” stories provide a glimpse into this unprecedented time in American history.

“My overview would be that I am proud of our community,” McFadden said. “I think that they’ve stepped up and either endured or participated in whatever protocol was established for each show. I hope it continues that way. I hope that we continue to be safe. I hope we get through this and maybe learn a few things about ourselves and our sport in the process.”

Host Laura Reeves commented that the silver lining of the year’s trying times is that we can “apply lessons from what we’re provided by the universe. You don’t get to pick (the circumstances) but you can pick how you respond to it.”

“Everybody just be safe and set your own limits for what you will or will not tolerate and stick to it,” McFadden added. “I actually have been impressed by people that step outside their comfort zone and say ‘you know, you’re standing too close.’ Some of the shows, the stewards actually will come up and say ‘could you guys spread out,’ ’cause we all kind of congregate during the groups. You kind of hang out while everybody else is being gone over. Old habits die hard. It wasn’t being defiant, it’s just you need someone to remind you.

“So, I’ve been really impressed by those actions by individuals and by clubs. Some of them do it in the most unbelievably gentle and kind way where you’re just like ‘oh gosh I’m so sorry’ … every once in a while there will be someone that’s a little snarky, but for the most part I think people have been doing a really good job.

“I will admit that I was nervous as I drove 24 hours to Oklahoma … I think everybody was. I know my assistant was. I was pleasantly surprised. Personally, I just thought that there might be a few resistant people that wouldn’t want to follow the rules that were set up. I was super impressed. I thought everybody complied. It’s definitely different showing with a mask on.

“…(P)articularly in the beginning, with the first few shows, we were just so happy to see each other. A lot of us hadn’t communicated so we weren’t really sure how our lives had gone and how are you surviving … initially I think there was a lot of that. I mean it was like going to a family reunion. We were just was so happy to see people … as it’s progressed, there’s people that we’ve seen several times, so it doesn’t feel like you’ve been away for so long.

“But I really think most people are just… we’re all in it together. We’re enduring it. We know we’re going to get through it and we’re helping each other out as much as we can. If there is one downfall, it’s really hard to control the social distancing after the show…”

Listen in as McFadden covers hotels, airplanes, COVID testing and more.


392 – Access to COVID Relief Funds for Dog Professionals

Access to COVID Relief Funds for Dog Professionals

D’Arcy Downs-Vollbracht, corporate attorney and Border Terrier fancier.

D’Arcy Downs-Vollbracht, Concierge Legal Group, joins me to provide critical and timely information for members of our tribe impacted by the shutdown of events and travel and businesses due to the COVID global pandemic response. As a corporate attorney, she is in regular contact with businesses dealing with the situation on a large scale.

“I realized at some point … I wonder if my friends in the dog show world are having the same issues,” said Downs-Vollbracht, a Border Terrier fancier. “But maybe they don’t have a lawyer or they don’t have an aggressive financial planner to help get them through it. And maybe they don’t even know or think they’re eligible for it because some of them are not set up in some of the more traditional business entity structures. That’s how I got into (assisting dog folks in her free time) and I got very passionate about it pretty quickly.”

The unique niche comprised of professional handlers, superintendents, photographers, judges, groomers, trainers, boarding kennel operators, even veterinarians, has been drastically impacted by the nationwide shutdowns.

Downs-Vollbracht has already helped dozens of our Tribe with her advice and agreed to share her knowledge and experience with us.

“When dog shows come back, we need people to come back with them,” Downs-Vollbracht said. In order to help ensure that happens, she strongly encourages folks to make use of the resources that are available.

Her top recommendations, links and advice:

IRS Stimulus Funds 

IRS Non Filer – to ensure $1200 stimulus payment. If you have less than $12,200 in reportable income you are not required to file. If you haven’t filed for last year and don’t plan on filing this year, use this to let the IRS know where to send your check. You can also link your bank account for a direct deposit if you need the money right away.


IRS – Get My Payment Tool for people who filed taxes last year or this year and are trying to obtain their stimulus payment. Note- if you are currently on a payment plan with the IRS or owe back taxes you will still receive the stimulus payment. The stimulus will not be used to offset money owed to the IRS or to student loans. The exception to this are certain child support commitments, if you are a dependent, don’t have a valid social security number or other limited circumstances. If your income exceeds a certain threshold amount, you will receive a reduced payment or if your adjusted gross income is over a certain threshold. However, most Americans will receive the payment.


SBA Links to Disaster Relief / PPP


Links to Lenders – Self Employed, Independent Contractor, Gig Workers, LLC, PLLC, Corporation/ S-Corp, etc..

*Remember, using a small local bank or a non-traditional lender like those listed below will often result in a quicker decision and faster funding.









PayPal PPP


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Department of Labor State Office Lookup


Interactive Map to Find State PUA Resources


Also, people should check for private funding. Most counties and states have local funds available. The chamber of commerce in many smaller communities is a good resource for smaller grants.