Moore County Goes to the Dogs! Top Canines and Military Dogs Come to Community
by karolynne mcateer
Special to The Pilot
Every September local residents of Moore County look forward to a weekend at the Pinehurst Harness Track, where the horses take a back seat to the dogs.
There may be a stray horse head hanging over a stable door for those that arrived early for winter training, but on Sept. 17-18, the track is the site of the Moore County Kennel Club's two-day all-breed dog show.
Show chair Janet Dalton reported that an entry is expected each day of more than 600 of the nation's top purebreds with special classes on Saturday for Best Puppy and on Sunday for Best Bred By Exhibitor dog.
The Best in Show trophy on Saturday will be awarded by Joe and Henri McClees, lobbyist for the N.C. Federation of Dog Clubs and on Sunday by Pinehurst Mayor Virginia Fallon.
"This year, Moore County Kennel Club (MCKC) is proud to sponsor the U.S. Marine Corps Military Working Dogs of Camp Lejeune," says a spokesman. "The two Military Working Dog teams were selected based on an in-house unit competition, where dogs were tested on their skill in substance detection, intruder detection, obstacle course maneuvers, reaction to gunfire and obedience."
At the conclusion of the unit competition and as a result of overall proficiency, the Camp Lejeune Provost Marshall selected the teams of handler Cpl. Nathan Mullins with his 4-year-old German shepherd, Lim, and handler Cpl. Wesley Stampler with his 8-year old Belgian Malinois, Arzan.
"It is important to remember that these teams work not only on foreign soil, but when not in hostile situations, have daily military missions that include patrolling landing strips, protecting military housing areas and sniffing out explosive devices and narcotics," says the spokesman. "These are working dogs with a full-time job."
The demonstration by these teams will take place promptly at noon on Saturday, Sept. 17.
"The Military Working Dogs have a special place in our club, and we support these dogs as one of our club's missions," says Steve Watson, MCKC president. "On a much more personal level, our club is honored to have as a board member Pinehurst resident Robert Forsyth, who was a member of the Marine Corps' first war dog platoon, with his Doberman, Liney. Bob and Liney fought together in the South Pacific, and Bob credits Liney with saving his life on at least two patrols."
In 1946, the canine troops of World War II were discharged, and it was estimated that more than 1,000 of the Marines' Devil Dogs, as they were then known, had served in the Pacific.
"As Bob was a member of the first Marine platoon, a platoon that was considered experimental in its day, it will be a significant moment on Sept. 17 when an original World War II first lieutenant dog handler, stands on the same grounds with these 21st-century Marine canine teams," says Watson. Perhaps it is this experience in the military, coupled with Bob's childhood experience with the family dog, and with his wife, Jane, that led them to a lifetime career handling some of the most famous pedigreed canines, and later as one of the most sought after AKC licensed judging couples.
While Bob retired from "active judging" last year to do battle with the golf course, Jane can be found most weekends at the Raleigh airport headed to judge a major dog show.
As one of its outreach programs, MCKC annually supports the Military Working Dogs. This effort by the club is spearheaded by the club's Military Working Dog representative Maryann Phillips, who has arranged previous visits from Camp Lejeune's K-9 teams, rotating with visits from the canine teams at Fort Bragg.
The recent and ongoing threat of rabies in this area has been well-chronicled, and the Moore County Animal Control offers on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. a rabies vaccine for your animal at a minimal charge of $5 per vaccine.
MCKC member Nona Burrell has once again arranged for a microchip clinic at the track on both Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the nominal fee of $20 per chip. The microchip procedure is facilitated at the track by Pinetree Animal Hospital.
For more information about the show, contact Janet Dalton at (910) 692-9341 or Steve Watson at (919) 770-9265.
For more information on Moore County Kennel Club go to www.themckc.com.
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