Connie Marse 9 a.m. CDT September 26, 2016
Man writing with pencil, close-up of hand(Photo: David De Lossy, Getty Images)
For 40 years Five Flags Dog Training Club has been privileged to serve the greater Pensacola community as trainers and advocates for beloved dogs, as a sponsor of responsible pet ownership programs in public schools, as visitors and presenters to local health care facilities, as bell ringers for Salvation Army red kettles and much more. That’s 173 dog years, by the way. The number of individuals served by our K-9 “army” is hard to count, but suffice it to say that it is in the “thousands.”
FFDTC is a volunteer organization of dog lovers dedicated to promoting responsible dog ownership and training in our community. Our collective membership offers hundreds of years of dog-training experience to the community. In addition, our members are the “go-to” experts in all manner of dog-related topics, including training, canine health, canine nutrition, behavior, dog sports and breed rescue. In 2015 FFDTC members participated in 42 community events logging more than 340 community service hours.
We frequently are asked by local entities to participate in programs that will allow our dogs to boost spirits and bring sunshine into the lives of those who are anxious and in distress. In the near future, several of our members and their dogs will embark on a new mission to welcome visitors to our community. We also have plans in the works for members and dogs visits to cheer military servicemembers at Pensacola Naval Air Station.
Again and again, Pensacola individuals, organizations and institutions have reached out to us and we have responded enthusiastically. Now we are reaching out to you.
Our organization has been welcomed into many venues, including churches, hospitals, community facilities and schools, but at this moment we are virtually homeless. The great flood of 2014 destroyed one our most popular and centrally located training sites, Bayview Community Center.
Our club is currently seeking a climate-controlled location to offer public and member dog training. The space we need should be a minimum of 1,000 square feet. If you know of a space suitable for our purpose, please contact us through our website, five flagsdogs.com.
Five Flags Dog Training Club was established in the 1970s and incorporated in 1982 as a nonprofit organization.
• Public obedience classes.
• Demonstrations and performances for community groups by the Canine Country Square Dance Team.
• Visits to health care facilities with the Caring Canine team.
• Holiday bell ringing with the Salvation Army.
• Annual AKC Obedience and Rally competitions and two AKC Agility trials each year drawing competitors from the Southeast region. These visitors impact our local economy, boosting traffic at local businesses, including restaurants, hotels and gas stations.
• Canine Good Citizen testing. AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program involves a 10-step test to demonstrate that a dog will be a respected member of the community because it has been trained to be well-behaved in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs. FFDTC offers training and testing to the community for this program because we know that well-trained dogs are a joy to be around and are less likely to be surrendered to an animal shelter. Insurance companies often offer discounted rates to homeowners whose dogs have passed the AKC CGC test.
It is vitally important that we locate a larger training space so that we may continue our service mission. Any assistance you can provide toward helping us find a location will be greatly appreciated. We and the dogs will bless you.
Connie Marse is immediate past president of Five Flags DTC. She lives in Pace.
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