The 1988 NADOI annual meeting and workshop was held in Salt lake City, Utah, on April 30-31. Members from all over the nation attended this meeting and workshop, which was the first to be held “out West”. The workshop speaker was Herb Morrison, of Athens, Georgia, who spoke on instructing and canine behavior. Herb handed us blindfolds and proceeded to give instructions to a novice student on how to put a training collar and lead o the dog. Whew! What a trial. Everyone had fun and learned lots of new ideas to take back home to their classes.
There was also a guest representative from an insurance company who spoke to the membership about some possible choices for liability coverage, which is a very real concern to all of us in the dog obedience instructing game. Many of us found that, although we think we may be covered, and indeed we may have been told by our parks departments, YMCA facilities or community centers that we were covered under their policies, we found out that the sad truth is those policies do not include “contracted” employees, like enrichment class instructors.
At the annual banquet, we had asked a trainer from Applewood’s Dog Center to speak to us about the Service Dog program they have there in Maryland. Margot Woods brought her Service Dog, Charity, with her, which really turned some heads at the Little America Hotel. Charity is a large Doberman, who wears a service pack on her back with a nameplate on the side which has inscribed, “Please do not pet me – I am a service dog”. I overheard one man murmur, “Oh mercy, I wouldn’t DREAM of petting you, sweetheart”. Charity can’t help it if she looks like a dog with Schutzhund potential. She does everything she can to try to portray a friendly image. She even carries around a cute little stuffed pink bunny to make herself look more “innocent”.
On Sunday we took a tour up to the mountains. It was just beautiful with all of the new fallen snow. Of course the best part of the trip was sitting with other dog obedience trainers/instructors on the bus and sharing dog tales and training techniques while munching on fruit, cheese and wine served to us by our fantastic hostess, Judy Boles and her husband, John. Judy is the only N.A.D.O.I. member in Utah, and put on the entire workshop and annual meeting single-handedly! What a hard act that will be to follow!
As the sun sank slowly in the West, we all marked out calendars for the 1989 annual meeting and workshop, which will be in Flint, Michigan. We will be trying our first two-day workshop, featuring Margie English on Saturday and Karen Pryor on Sunday. Here’s hoping it will be the biggest and best ever!
©1988 Lonnie Morgan (Olson)