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The GoPride.com Interview

Deborah Cooper (IKC)


by Michael J. Roberts
The pooches are back! The International Kennel Club of Chicago, one of only four benched dog shows, will return to McCormick Place February 24, 25 and 26. IKC's Deborah Cooper talked with ChicagoPride.com about the history of show and the educational opportunities IKC gives to prospective dog owners.

MJR: (Michael J. Roberts) Hi Deb! We are all very excited about the return of the IKC Dog Show. Tell me a little bit about the history of the show?

DC: (Deb Cooper) I must say that everybody I know looks forward to the IKC show in February at McCormick Place. It is a really great opportunity for families to come and learn about the sport of pure bread dogs and if a family is thinking about getting a dog it is a great place to come and learn about what that commitment is.

MJR: The IKC Dog Show is a benched show. What does that mean?

DC: A benched show allows direct interaction in a structured environment with breeders. At a structured show, you can't really look in a directory and see where a specific breed is going to be. While at a benched dog show, you can look on a map and basically see what breeds are where and go talk to those people. That makes a very good educational opportunity. That is what a bench show is all about; mapping out who you want to see and being able to find those people in a specific place.

MJR: If someone has a dog and wants to show it, what is the process?

DC: There are several ways to show a dog. One is confirmation, which is more of what we call a beauty contest. There is so much more though that people can do with their dogs, such as obedience and agility. Depending on what an individual is interest in doing they can come to the IKC show and learn what they can do with their dog, which is why it is cool, because you can actually talk to those people and find out how they did it.

MJR: More than anything, people love to shop for their dogs. What kind of vendors are at the show?

DC: Well Michael, we have just about anything a person could want for their dog. From food, to toys, to books and all kinds of training materials, it is all there. On a given day there are over 6,000 dogs at the show so believe me it is a full day.

MJR: How did you get started with the show?

DC: I have been in the sport of pure bread dogs for 25-30 years. The first dog show I ever went to was the IKC and that is why I got involved with it and will always have a soft spot in my heart for it. My husband and I went to the IKC before we got our first dog and we ended up meeting the breeder who we actually got our first dog from then went back and showed our dog there for the first time. My husband and I used that dog show as an educational opportunity and that is how I got started.

MJR: Is there anything being added to show this year that hasn't been seen in other years?

DC: As we have in previous years, but more so this year, we are doing more with rescue dogs and inform people on various rescue dogs that may be up for adoption.

MJR: I read a few articles that you were mentioned in a few years ago involved the huge increase in stealing dogs. Has that gotten any better and how do we protect our dogs?

DC: Thank you for asking about this. No, it has not gotten any better. It is always a concern, especially in the urban areas of Chicago. People just need to be more vigilant. Don't leave your dogs in a car when you go in a store. Don't leave your dog tied up outside and leave it for long periods of time. Mainly it is just common sense things that people just don't pay attention to.

MJR: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about the IKC show?

DC: I would suggest that if you are attending the show to plan your day out. Go to our website and you will see a list of vendors, schedules and breeders and you can make a great day of it.

For more information on The International Kennel Club of Chicago and their 150th Annual Dog Show, February 24, 25 and 26 at mcCormick Place, please visit www.IKCdogshow.com.
 
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