Twenty-eight dogs and their handlers graduated from the Randolph County 4-H Leader's Dog Obedience School on May 9 at Camp Pioneer.
Three 4-Hers and their dogs from Randolph and Barbour counties and 25 handlers and their dogs from the local area participated. The graduation was a culmination of an eight-week class that taught the skills for basic dog obedience to the handlers. The skills learned included straight line, figure-8 heeling, sitting, recall, sit/stay, down/stay and stand for examination. In addition, skills for socialization of the dogs were promoted.
4-Hers and their dogs that were recognized included Abbey Lambert with Sophie, blue ribbon; Michaela Ferguson with Copper, red ribbon; and Sarah Johnson with Rosie, white ribbon.
In the General Division, second-year handlers and dogs recognized were Heather Cox with Morgan, blue ribbon; and Vicki Aucremanne with Chloe, red ribbon.
In the General Division, first-year handlers and dogs recognized were Vicki Aucremanne with Hershey, blue ribbon; Meagan Shockey with Rico, red ribbon; Tracy Currence with Cheyenne, red ribbon; and Kathy Hopkins-Wohleber with Lily, white ribbon.
Sandra DiBacco with her dog, Tanner, was chosen by the class instructors as the best handler for this year's class.
First-year handlers and dogs graduating this year also included Brian Bennett with Daisy, Nathaniel Bennett with Boss, Diann Cashell with Duffy, Tina Hinrichs with Shadow, Sue Hinzman with Lady Blue, Amanda Jones with Bella, Grant Jones and Lydia Wagner with Wesley, Ruth Kerns with Reilly, Anita Lambert with Colby, Veronica Littlefield with Gump, Mara Looney-Sanders with Kamren, Donnie Pritt with Andy, Jackie Scherger with Spots, Karina Shreve with Charlie, Ann Weber with RC, Connie Wolford with Jenny, Linda Zimmer with Jasper and Ginny Zuboy with Racer.
Connie Wolford has been an instructor at the school for many years, but this year she participated with her dog Jenny.
"This year's class had more participants finishing through graduation than in many years," Wolford said. "There were many very enjoyable dogs to be around. The handlers should be congratulated."
Judging duties for the evening were performed by Gerry Weber and Diane Nuzum.
Dr. Frank Mams is the coordinator and instructor for the school. Gerry Weber and Jayme Wilfong also serve as instructors. Ann Weber, Meagan Shockey and Robin Mams assisted in the graduation events. Dan and Vicki Aucremanne provided the graduates with pictures to mark the occasion. In addition, Veronica Littlefield provided the graduates with dog school graduation window stickers.
The Randolph County 4-H Leaders Dog Obedience School has been an annual event at Camp Pioneer since the early 1970s. Proceeds gained from school "tuition" benefit the 4-H members in Randolph County. Over the years, several handlers and dogs from the school have moved on to other levels of showing and competition. In addition, several graduates have gone on to earn their Canine Good Citizen certification and Therapy Dogs International certification. Many of the therapy dogs work in the local area.
More information is available by contacting Diane Nuzum 304-637-5217.