After reading Julie Winkelmans column, Dog services: Its a maze of certifications, etc, in The Durango Herald on May 20, we felt the need to respond.
While making some good points, Winkelman left out a group of kennel owners, professional groomers and dog trainers who have been serving our community for more than 30 years.
Although our credentials may not be letters behind our names, they are nonetheless impressive, with years of experience in owning, showing and grooming champion show dogs, master agility champions, upper level obedience and rally dogs, as well as having students who are excelling in their chosen sport in the wonderful world of dogs.
We have brought the registered therapy dog program to our area and regularly visit patients at a local hospital and nursing homes. We offer training classes for all levels of pet owners and, through the Durango Kennel Club, have served our community as a nonprofit with countless hours of unpaid service to educate owners and their pets to become better citizens. DKC offers reduced training fees for our shelter friends that have found their forever homes and free classes to 4-H children with dog projects.
Our continuing education comes from seminars, camps, reading and years of hands-on experience in the dog world. As Winkelman pointed out, groomers may pay a fee to join the National Dog Groomers Association, but that is all it is payment of a fee to be able to say you are a member of the association. This is not a guarantee of grooming knowledge. As she also pointed out, there is no governing regulatory agency for dog training. Again, you can pay a fee and take an online test in order to use certification letters as your credentials.
We feel that Winkelmans column may have cast suspicion on many successful pet business owners, as well as the hardworking members of the DKC. We feel that successful businesses and years of community service speak for itself.
Darci Bangert, Gail Gardner, Mia Stovall, Kristen Read, Durango