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

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.

The year I was Director of Training, we trained one night a week & 3 classes at the same time, at the Community Heights Recreation Center. It was fun, & from the small, just to b retired card table, with the attendance sheets attached to it, I could supervise all 3 classes. It was enlightening when, after class, all trainers would discuss happenings & observations over coffee or beer at the old airport. We were a very close group at that time, & we did conduct Trainers Classes that year also, going through 3 class sessions at a meeting.

In those early years, SDOC put on performances at the State Fair prior to the Rodeo. It was fun to get car stickers for the fair, & free rodeo tickets, and we could park right at the racetrack!

For our Trials, we had brace & team classes of various composition. Either same breed of dogs or mixed, as club teams. We all wore for these special performances, blue slacks or skirts & white shirts. We carried a turquoise leash on our dogs, the same leash we have as a graduation award. One year we had an eight poodle drill team & game a swell looking demonstration at the Rio Grande Kennel Club Show just before group judging. Once in a while people remember it still, & talk to us about it. It was a fine, very exact, working performance! We had competition from other clubs at our trials for brace & team, & one year some Weimaraners flew in on private planes from Texas to compete with us.

The biggest turnout however, that the club ever had, was twice at the South-North Football Game during half-time. We had about 40 dogs on the field doing precision work; not one broke in spite of spectators whistling & calling! Vern was the MC & proving the steadiness of our trained dogs, he called his own: "Ruffy, Wutzi come...!!" (Don't ask what Juxi & I, down on the field, wanted to do to him at the moment!)

One year we trained at Alb. High School gym. It was a chore to cover the whole floor every time with canvas. But we were so enthused, we did anything as long as we had a chance to train dogs. For another short time we leased a small  unfortunately too small, building. It gave us the advantage to hold classes any time & we trained mornings & weekends there.

I forget how long we were at "Safety John's", but in the early years there, we had in connection with our monthly business meetings little dinner parties. Chicken & Pizza Dinners by candlelight & the red-checked tablecloths we still have are leftovers from those gatherings. We often had as many as 70 people attend. 

For many years now, the club has had over 100 members. But in the year I was Director of Training, we were proud to have 99 dogs go through training classes, of which 46 showed in Trials & over 30 made their C.D.

Many of our members traveled to dog shows out of state & we did a lot of winning. We got well acquainted with judges from all over. Several of our judges now, were then novices themselves, training & showing their dogs! We made friends with many of them throughout the years, invited them to come again and again to our Trials. We learned & profited a lot from their lectures & comments, their criticism or praise, given to us at get-togethers after each Trial.

As I am "rethinking" this history of SDOC, many, many episodes come to my mind. Funny or sad, we had our ups & downs, success & failures, & maybe I can add some tid-bits in later issues of our Club Newsletter.


from Sandia Dog Obedience Club Newsletter
October-1968 issue