Sandia Dog Obedience Club: Teaching people and their dogs for over 70 years.

From August, 2013 Scents and NonScents

When Saul Rovinsky stepped down after 4 years as club president 10 years ago, we gave him a framed image of our new training site. It had the inscription, "The House That Saul Built." We could have added, "The Club That Saul Saved."

Saul took over the club in the late 1990s, when the money wasn't coming in and we had to dip into club savings to pay the rent. We didn't know why things were so bad because the local economy was great. Maybe the city was leaving us behind in midtown as it grew north and west. At any rate, Obedience classes, the only ones we offered at the time, just weren't filling. Saul not only turned that all around, but he parleyed pending disaster into the home we have today.

Saul died July 24 of a heart attack at age 84. We were all stunned. Saul was supposed to live forever. It was in Saul's strong constitution. It was in the club constitution. He'd been vice president only last year. He was still copying and mailing the newsletter.

I had my last of many breakfasts with Saul a dozen days before he died,. Like always, he'd just as soon talk club as talk dogs. Saul loved dogs but was always mystified at everyone's preoccupation with their next title or the latest training methods.

On Sunday, August 31, 1952, Sandia Dog obedience Club held its very first AKC Licensed Obedience Trial. Dogs, handlers, and a judge gathered outdoors in Roosevelt Park at the very civilized hour of 10 am to 6 pm. Mr. D.D. Brodie from San Marino, California, judged all 50 entries.

A total of 38 exhibitors entered the trial for a whopping cost of $4.25, with second entries costing $2.00.

Unregistered dogs paid a listing fee of $25. It was even possible to telegraph entries to the Trial Secretary, although only one entry was permitted per telegram.

Interestingly, in addition to the standard Novice A and B, Open A and B, and Utility (with no split into A and B at the time), the club offered Graduate Novice, Brace, and Team. The trial awarded prizes for all class placements and groups, and several special trophies were offered. The High-in-Trial was open to ALL classes and was actually won by a Cocker Spaniel, Major’s Merry Mark CD, from the Graduate Novice class.

The following is an early history of SDOC written for the October 1968 newsletter by Kiku Kennedy, a charter member of the club. She graciously agreed to enlighten us as to what went on in those "early years" in a series of articles for the newsletter. The first article follows:


Once upon a time, in the fall of 1950, we met at Stan Swanson's house here in Alb. Vern & I were new in town. Mike Favia & his family & some other dog obedience interested people were there. Mike & Stan having had training experience in the mid-west & east suggested training classes with an obed. club to be formed in mind. There was enthusiasm from the start * the first class was set up at the old Carpenters Hall on Coal Ave. Cpt. Rosner was our first trainer.

I don't recall how long it took to organize the club & to get AKC's recognition, but classes were rolling under 2 trainers & dogs of all breed attended. In 1951, we held our first Sanctioned Match & it was funny to see a Dachshund win, who never sate, because both judge & handler were so tall they never saw down to the ground! We trained in-doors & out-doors & for awhile, at Menaul School.