Introductions from your new Board members: Glen Ferguson, Connie Kent and Michael Bloink:
Our story with the Leonberger began in fairly typical fashion. Met a Leo, fell in love, had to get one. Of course, as everyone knows, “You can’t have just one.” What has come since has been both an amazing, and at times heartrending, experience. We wouldn’t change it for the world.
As a Leo owner, I have found great joy and satisfaction in the versatility of the breed. It has been my experience that these wonderful companions will gladly take on any activity we ask of them, creating an amazing bond between us. Sometimes their enthusiasm can create great embarrassment for us humans in the ring, but it never fails to bring smiles to the crowd. My experiences with many of these activities make me comfortable discussing topics from conformation showing to drafting to therapy work, with many points between. Additionally, my service on the LCA Governance Committee has helped me understand the mechanics of how our breed club operates, and how it relates to the AKC.
I have had the sincere pleasure of meeting a great many of you during my 9 years as a club member, at various events and specialties, and I look forward to the opportunity to meet many more. It is my honor to accept this nomination, and I plan to make every effort to represent the interests of all our members: loving pet owners, dedicated conformation competitors, and performance enthusiasts alike.
Dear Fellow Leo Lovers:
Once again I am asking for your vote, so that I can continue working on behalf of you and our wonderful Leonbergers as an LCA board member. For those who don’t know me; a little background.
Junko and I brought home our first Leo pup, Miss Fifi, in July 1991, and took her to our first LCA national specialty in Elgin, Illinois, in 1992. Fifi’s last national was 2003 in Sonoma, California, but she won Best Spay/Neuter at age 12! In addition to conformation, we have dabbled in obedience, and all three of our current Leos have AKC Rally Novice titles. Although we started off as “pet people,” we have continued to try new things and balance our Leo related interests over 22 years in the LCA. I have scribed at national and regional Club Shows since 1999, and became a BACL examiner in 2006. After several failed attempts Junko and I were proud to finally join the ranks of LCA breeders with the birth of our “A” litter in 2009. Given the above, I feel my perspective on the needs of the breed, the membership, and the club is quite broad. Professionally I am an attorney in Seattle, but my avocation is Leos!
LCA Service includes board & officer 15 of the past 22 years (president 1998-99); Governance Committee 22 years (member/advisor working on all governing documents); National Event Committee 2007 to 2008; and the Breeding Committee, 2010 to present. I have attended 21 of the last 22 national specialties, and co-chaired the national in 1994 & 2013. Outside of the LCA: I served on the board of the Washington State Obedience Training Club, from 2007 to 2010. My first International Leonberger Union meeting was in 2001, and at the 2012 meeting I was elected to chair the Constitution Committee.
Awards include the LCA’s highest honor, the Heinrich Essig Award (2002), and the Club Italiano del Leonberger’s Millennium Leonberger Award (2008). It’s not all glamour and awards though. I have helped with LCA & regional events for 22 years, including planning, set up/tear down, sweeping floors, trash pick-up, poop patrol, and blood draw. If elected I will keep working hard on tasks; large and small. So why a 6th board term? I believe more passionately than ever that people of integrity and good will must do more than just express their love for the breed, they must step forward and work in good faith together to do what is best for the club and the breed. I believe this requires supporting:
• The Leonberger Health Foundation with its efforts to improve the health and lifespan of our Leos.
• An aggressive judges’ education program and getting our best dogs out to AKC conformation events, so that our future Champions are worthy of the designation and meet our AKC Standard; structurally, functionally, and in temperament (Temperament is critical to type!).
• Preservation of our LCA Club Shows, with written critiques from judges who are true Leo experts, to promote our effort to keep a single Leonberger “type” on both sides of the Atlantic.
• Education for all fanciers, but especially breeders & stud owners, through Leo-U classes, Breeding Committee programs, and our Breeding Assessment Check List (BACL) program.
• Working and obedience events, as well as continuing recognition of our therapy Leos.
• Energizing our leadership by bringing in new people with sound ethics and a willingness to serve.
• Improved communication for the purpose of sharing information and fostering a positive and supportive Leonberger community to effectively further all of the above.
We are one of the largest and best supported parent clubs in the AKC, but we can always do better. Our goal should be to have 100% of people who buy puppies from our breeders join and stay in the club, and our breeding community should strive always to assist one another to learn and improve best practices, so we can hand the breed off to the next generation in better condition than we found it.
When we brought Miss Fifi home those many years ago we thought she was joining our family. Little did we realize that we were actually joining a world-wide Leo family that has enriched our lives in ways that we could, frankly, have never imagined. I look forward to seeing you in Vancouver, Washington, for the National Specialty in April, and I ask you for your vote.
Sincerely, Glen Ferguson
Many of us are looking for our passion in life. We look for something that creates a limitless enthusiasm within us. I found mine in 2007. It came as a 19 lb., fluffy bundle with a beautiful black mask and remarkably soulful eyes. This new love affair led me to attending my first Leonberger Club of America National Specialty in Estes Park. To be honest, I thought it was just going to be a nice weekend away with my husband and our cherished Leonberger puppy. I thought we might meet a person or two and visit with our breeder. I went with few expectations, but found myself quickly saying, “this is my community.” People were friendly, inviting, and fun while still being serious about the integrity of our breed. This culture is what makes our LCA unique and it is what we need to strive to maintain.
I live in Ormond Beach, FL with my husband, three daughters, and three Leos. Our youngest Leonberger is from our own first litter. These dogs have become a major focal point for our whole family. I have participated in obedience, rally, therapy work, and most recently conformation. Itʼs not uncommon to find us at the beach with the dogs or on hikes in our beautiful state parks. My next goal is to get our 155 lbs male on the paddleboard with me. I have been told that it can be done, but that is left to be seen.
The love of my Leonbergers led me to a love of the breed and the belief in the Leonberger Club of Americaʼs Mission Statement which is, “The core purpose of the club is to preserve the health, temperament, and type of the breed.” I became involved in a variety of areas of the club because I felt I had skills to contribute to the LCA community. I had a desire to learn from the wealth of knowledge present and I wanted to develop and continue friendships. The positions that I have been involved with are the following:
• Ring Steward at two Specialties
• LCA Corresponding Secretary
• Member of the Leonberger University team
• BACL Coordinator
• Chair of the Nominating Committee
• Associate member of the Governance Committee
• Chair of the Meet the Breed booth at the Eukanuba National Championships in 2011
• Co-chair of the Meet the Breed booth at the Eukanuba National Championships in 2012
• Foster home for a Leo with Leos In Need
• LCA member breeder which has been by far the most demanding and rewarding activity that I have been involved in.
Through the positions that I have held, I have learned an immense amount about our breed, had hands on experience in many areas of the LCA, shared our breed with endless admirers, and made numerous friends along the way. I canʼt even begin to list all that I have gotten out of being a part of this group. My diverse involvement, commitment, willingness to take on responsibility and follow through are all qualities that would contribute to continuing our LCA goals and mission. It would be a great honor to serve you on the Board of Directors of the LCA. Thank you for your consideration.
Respectfully, Connie Kent