Swansea Dog Obedience Club (SDOC) had its origins in a small summer obedience school operated by Judy Rich. The classes were held in Swansea Park, Toronto, hence the current name of the Club. The summer classes originated in 1970, but soon expanded to winter classes at West Park Public School, with Bob and Sylvia Milne coming on board with Judy.
By 1974 Judy and Carl Rich, Bob and Sylvia Milne, and Helen and Bill Murray decided to form the Swansea Dog Obedience Club. The first General Meeting was held on June 27th.
Novice classes were held at St. Agnes Anglican Church in Long Branch, and Advanced Classes continued to be held at West Park Public School.
Soon after officially forming the club, the charter members organized it’s first Correction Match. It was held on May 25th, at Pine Point Arena, and to this date is still the site of Swansea’s Annual Obdeience Trials.
Major advances in the club were undertaken in 1976. It was the year of the first Annual Awards Night Dinner, held at the Valhalla Inn, Etobicoke. The original Swansea Logo and Crest were designed at this time.
On May 15th was the first annual Swansea Double Play. This was a combination Trial Match and Correction Match that continued annually until 1981.
In 1977, Team Competition was added to the Double Play. Swansea’s team was named Rich’s Rebels. The competition took place on May 14th.
This year brought a challenge from the Hamilton Dog Obedience Club in the form of a Scent Hurdle Competition at the Double Play of that year. Unfortunately, the records do not show who won.
The first newsletter “Doggie Doodle News” was produced by Rose-Marie Trowell on September 3rd.
In 1978 Scent Hurdle Demonstrations replaced Team competition at Swansea’s Double Play. The competition took place on May 13th.
It was also the year that a Swansea Club Member and Dog place in Canada’s Top Ten Obedience Dogs. Torbec Bartender of Topknot (Polo), owned and handle by Joan Coyle, earned 83 points. This made him #10 All-Breed Obedience Dog, #2 Non-Sporting Obedience Dog, and #1 Obedience Standard Poodle.
The club’s first training clinic was held at at West Park Vocational School. Topics included Open and Utility training, as well as questions on judging.
Meanwhile, in Obedience training, things were getting busier. In 1981, the Club for the first time offered two concurrent Beginner Classes.
In 1982, a major thrust in external awareness of the Club was made with the manning of a display booth at the Credit Valley Kennel & Obedience Club Shows. This was continued until 1985. A booth was also operated at the Sportsman’s Show at Exhibition Place, and for the first time the club actively participated by demonstrating Obedience and Flyball.
Jay-Jay Rasing helped to generate interest in forming the club’s first Flyball team. The team consisted of:
- Judy Rich with a Mini Poodle (Shane)
- Janice Ford with a Boston Terrier
- Judy Wasserfall with a Samoyed (Kipna)
- Ron English with a GSD (Sammi)
- Carol Mooney with a Chow (Mongo)
- Deb Norman with a Belgian (Sherry)
Deb Norman recalls “It is still amazing today that a Chow played flyball. Carol was one of the first trainers I’d ever seen use food, and use it well”.
The Executive Committee incorporated the Club under Ontario Laws, and obtained recognition from the Canadian Kennel Club. The Executive consisted of Judy Rich, Alison Bloom, Julie Coyle, Barb Thompson, Deb Norman, Carol Mooney and Bev Gun-Munro.
In addition to all of the above, the Club competed in Flyball with the Hamilton Dog Obedience Club at the Credit Valley Shows, and sponsored two seminars at West Park Public School. Danny Marlowe and Barb Bocci instructed us in competition training, and Judge Dr. Quentin Laham talked about the Anatomy of Movement.
A standardization of training procedures was implemented. A new teaching format was adopted, with one lead instructor and two to four assistants per class. In addition, the first set of standard beginner notes was prepared by Judy Rich and Deb Norman.
On the trial front, the Club held it’s first two Sanction matches, organized by Alison Bloom, Heather Stuart, Barb Thompson and Peter Stewart. They were held at Scarborough Junction United Church. The final sanction Match, held at Pine Point Arena marked the go-ahead for the beginning of the Swansea Double Double Trials, a format that is still in use.
Flyball had become a burgeoning dog sport across North America. Regular Flyball classes were also offered for the first time. Swansea’s team of Deb Norman with Sky and Sherri, Dianne Jasinski with Fauna, Ron English with Sammi, Lisa Ragsdale with Muffin, and Marie-Josée Thuot were runners up at the World Series in Detroit, a major accomplishment.
From a more public standpoint, the current Club logo was designed by Peter Stewart, with Don Scott providing photographic skills. The dumbbell began appearing on the “Take It” flyers, as well as in advertising for classes and of members achievements.
In Obedience, the club was holding it’s own. Judy Rich and Promise’s Shane (Shane) place 8th in Open at the World Series in 1985. The first Double Double Trials and Flyball Competition was held this year at Pine Point Arena. Heather Stuart, Judy Wasserfall, Nancy Bongard, Barb Thompson, Peter Stewart, Ron English, Don Scott, Dave Johnson, Laurene Friedy, Lynne Ragsdale and Judy Rich laid a solid foundation for the Trials’ continuing success.
On the public front, Ron English organized Swansea’s Demonstrations in Obedience, Flyball and Frisbee at Man’s Best Friend (Harbourfront, Toronto), sponsored by Purina Foods. Ron English and Ann Hill organized the Club’s participation in the Mississauga Festival in both 1985 and 1986.
Swansea members joined Superdogs in Regina, the year that marked Swansea’s first Agility Competition. Ron English organized training sessions for 12 handlers and 14 dogs. Ron with Sammi and Remy, Deb Norman with Keeper, Heather Stuart with Aimee and Angus (handled by Judy Ashby), M.-J. Thuot with Maya, Ann Hill with Bosco, Don Scott with Tara, Bryon Clarke with KoKo and Barb Penney with Heather were Swansea’s first Agility Team.
Marion Mustard and Judy Ashby designed the Awards Book Logo.
The Club sponsored a seminar (organized by Dave Cann) with Drs. Gary Landesberg and Don McKeown. The noted animal behaviourists discussed behaviour problems and solutions at Vincent Massey Collegiate Institute, Etobicoke. The club also demonstrated Obedience, Flyball and Agility for Purina Foods at “A Time For Children” at Exhibition Place, Toronto.
The club was becoming involved in activities that helped it to gain public recognition.
The Flyball team demonstrated with the Hamilton Club at the Western Fairgrounds, London, and competed with Hamilton for Purina at the Club Canin de Montréal Show in Montréal’s Olympic Stadium.
Club members joined Superdogs for another year in Edmonton, Halifax, Moncton and the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto.
On the class scene, Agility became combined with Swansea’s Flyball Classes. A seminar with well-known trainer and handler Terri Arnold included motivational training methods and problem solving.
The first club dogs to receive North American Flyball Association titles were Sammi with Ron English, KoKo with Bryon Clarke, Tara with Don Scott, and Tasha with Peter Brech. Swansea joined N.A.F.A.
1988 saw a continuation of Club Sponsored Obedience Seminars, with Shelley Stewart having judge John Blenkey discuss A Judge’s Point of View. Dog Agility was an up and coming sport by this time, and the first club Agility Fun Match was held at C.A.R.D. in Toronto. The talented John Grant constructed the equipment. Several members who had done mall demonstrations of the sport contributed their earnings for this endeavour. The Club hosted two-day Agility Fun Matches at the Credit Valley Kennel & Obedience Club Dog Shows, and at the Grey Bruce Kennel and Obedience Club Shows in Owen Sound.
In Flyball, the first Club dog to earn a Flyball Dog Championship from N.A.F.A. was Bryon Clarke’s Doberman Pinscher, KoKo.
For the third consecutive year, club members joined Superdogs in Saskatoon, Vancouver and the Ontario Science Centre.
In Obedience, Swansea’s first dog to earn a perfect 200 score was Wynwood Note Bene, Can/Am.C.D., W.C. Ben was owned and handled by Shelley Stewart, and was awarded the score at the Swansea Trials of 1988.
Swansea, with great success under Sally Evan’s Organization, invited Instructors from the National Association of Dog Obedience in the U.S.A. to give a seminar in 1989 for the first time in Canada. Participants were given valuable information by Herb Morrison on becoming good instructors, the best approaches to communicating with students, designing training programs, behaviour problems, and instructor burn-out.
The second two-day Agility Fun Match to be held at the Grey Bruce Kennel & Obedience Club Shows in Owen sound was a great success, as was the first two-day fun Agility Tournament at the Mississauga Bread and Honey Festival in Streetsville.
In the teaching arena, increasing demand for classes in Obedience, Flyball and Agility necessitated the opening of a second training location at the Mimico Adult Centre, Lakeshore Blvd. and Royal York Rd. At this location in 1990, Dr. Pam Reid, a club member and animal behaviourist, offered the Club’s first Puppy Kindergarten Class for dogs under six months of age. The move to include Puppy classes was spearheaded by Sally Evans, and the format was modeled on the work of Dr. Ian Dunbar of Oakland California. This offering demonstrated the commitment that Swansea has made to helping the general public in becoming more responsible dog owners.
Sally Evans also organized the Canine Callers, a pet therapy visitation group that visits nursing homes and hospitals in the Mississauga and Etobicoke areas. Pet therapy is recognized as being very beneficial to chronic care and elderly patients, many of whom once had pets themselves, but are no longer able to keep them. The unconditional affection (not to mention entertainment value) offered by dogs often allows these patients to experience a closeness and warmth not always available in an institutional setting. This is one of the most important activities the club has sponsored over the years. It is a true public service on the part of the participating members, rewarded solely by the pleasure of bringing happiness into someone else’s life.
In the Obedience arena, 1990 was a record breaking year.
- Shelley Stewart and Ben outdid their 1988 200 score by doing it twice more. Not only did Wynwood A.W.O.L. (Wally), C.D.X., Am.C.D.
- Peter Stewart earn more H.I.T.s in one year than any other Swansea Dog (13), but club members as a whole earned 36 H.I.T.s.
- Ch. Lynphil’s Crimson Lace (Lacey), C.D.X., Am.C.D. and Joan Coyle won 3 H.I.T.s.
- Debbie Dickinson and Whimpy’s Lyrics ‘N’ Lace (Lacy), C.D. took 1st.
- Don Scott and Wynwood’s Van Ryder (Ryder), C.D.X., Am.C.D., Fb.D., earned 9, while Shelley and Ben took 10.
1990 was also a year of significant firsts in other areas:
- M.-J. Thuot become the United States Dog Agility Association’s first Canadian Judge.
- The first two dogs to earn their United States Dog Agility Association titles were:
- Shiel’s Spellbound (Angus) C.D.X., Fb.D.X., U.S.A.D., handled by Heather Stuart,
- Violetta with Kinsai’s Shadow Dancer (Skippy), U.S.A.D.
- Swansea built it’s own set of U.S.D.A.A. Agility Equipment. Bob Frost spent many hours designing and building the equipment, and overseeing the paint crews. All this was above and beyond his norma duties as Equipment Manager.
In 1991, under the organization of Jane McLaughlin, Swansea (in conjunction with Canine Combustion of Detroit) held it first titled Agility Trial under United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) rules. The two-day trial was held at Mississauga’s Streetsville Park.
The first dog on the Swansea Flyball Team to earn a Bronze Certificate, (1,000 N.A.F.A. points) awarded by the North American Flyball Association was Konkle’s Hot Chocolate. An American Cocker Spaniel, Casey is owned and handled by Mary Pawson.
As has happened several times over the years, Swansea moved its secondary training location, this time from Royal York Road United Church to St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Bloor & Jane Sts. More significant from a historical point of view was the move from St. Agnes Church in Long Branch. This had been the club’s primary location for 17 years. Activities were transferred to St. Matthew’s Anglican church at the corner of Bloor and Shaver Street, Etobicoke.
In the Fall we launched the club’s first web site.
A donation of $2,000 was approved for the “Haven of the Heart”. It is a all breed recsue shelter that provide loding and medical care for dogs in need.
A “Pet First Aid Course” was arranged by Carol Chalmers in November.The primary focus of the course was the prevention of illness and injury. Instructor was Pamela Mifsud, a certified instructor for pet first aid courses.
Karen Minaker’s two Saint Bernards (Brandy and Lakota) were featured in a Kool Aid commercial.
The agility trial was held on Sept 10,11,12 at Palisades Kennels. The trial committe reported that the raffle raised $435 and this money was donated to ALS in memory of Heather Stuart.
An Obedience Correction Match was held on November 24. Hildegard Mueller was the coordinator, and it was a great success. There were 65 dogs entered, and a small profit was achieved. Judges were: Sandy Blazier- Novice, Debbie Barnett – Open, Sheila Kuja – Utility.
Sandy Blazier organized the club’s first Herding activities. They were held at Indian River near Peterborough. May 13 was a Herding Instinct Test for all breeds, with sheep and ducks. June 17 was a Herding Clinic for all breeds. June 18 was a CKC sanctioned Herding Match for CKC registered breeds. There were 54 entries. and the trial raised just over $300. Having achieved such success, and with everyone enjoying the event, another Clinic and Trial was held on September 23 and 24. The only other CKC Herding Trials in Canada that year were in B.C. and Alberta.
Hildegard Mueller coordinated a two Correction Obedience Matches during the year. One was on March 17, and the other on Nov 24th. At the second match there were 65 entries. The judges were Sandy Blazier – Novice, Debbie Barnett – Open, and Sheila Kuja – utility. The judges provided many helpful hints and comments.
Our annual Obedience Trial was held on May 27/28. It was very successful, and over $300 was donated to ALS in memory of Heather Stuart.
The Agility Trial was very successful this year.
Canine Callers had seven visits to senior residences, thanks to the efforts of Sheila Kuja who coordinated the events.
During the year several training classes were conducted, thanks to the help of 46 members who filled 119 training positions.
Funds raised during the Spring Social Silent Auction were donated to the Etobicoke Humane Society.
New trophies were introduced:
- Flyball Master (5,000 NAFA points)
- Flyball Excellent (10,000 NAFA points)
- CKC Novice Agility
- CKC Intermediate Agility
- CKC Excellent Agility
In December, the club thanked Valerie Hooper for her dedication as she stepped down after serving as President for 3 years. Sandy Blazier took over as Club President.
At an AAC agility trial on February 12, Sheila Kuja and Chipper, along with Mark Fullerton and Breton, completed the agility Championship. They both started their agility training at the same class at Swansea, so it was quite fitting that they achieved successs in the same Gambler’s run.
On April 7, the club sponsored a NAMBR Obedience Trial, thanks to the efforts of Bev Fox.
Canine Callers continued to have several successful visits to senior residences, thanks to the efforts of Heather Scanga who coordinated the events.
Funds raised during the Spring Social were donated to “Haven of the Hart”.
In October, we bid farewell to member Jan Thor, who died after a valiant fight against cancer. In the true spirit of the club, Carol and Ron Mayeda adopted her two dogs.
Our annual Obedience Trial was held on May 26/27. We ran with 4 rings this year, and our judges were Peter Stewart, Vivian Champagne, Bill Yates and John Harvey.
The Agility Trial was run by Jane McLaughlin and her committee, and was a success. A fun game called Jumplers was run by Don Hooper, and generated $250 that was donated to the AAC 2002 Nationals.
Several members participated in the AAC Regionals and Nationals.
In December, the club thanked Sandy Blazier for her term as President, and welcomed Karen Stewart as the new President.
Club members participated in a fund raiser for the Etobicoke Humane Society at the Constellation Hotel. We organized a Caninie Good NeighbourProgram, with judging by Carol Chalmers and Karen Minaker. Demonstrations of Obedience and Agility were conducted.
We also particaipated in the Etobicoke Humane Society Walkathon in June, and ran a Caninie Good Neighbour Program.
Rita Ratz helped to coordinate our participation in the Taste of the Kingsway.
Canine Callers continued to have several successful visits to senior residences, thanks to the efforts of Rita Ratz who coordinated the events.
The Agility Trial was cancelled, this year as many members were actively involved in the AAC Nationals that were hosted in Ontario this year. Congratulations to Valerie Hooper for capturing the National Championship in 10″ Veteran’s division, two years in a row. The club donated $500 and was recognized as a “Patron”. Lakeview Animal Hospital (operated by member Judy Wasserfall) matched the donation.
Carol Chalmers led a committee to draft a new Incentive Program.
A Caninie Good Neighbour Program was held June 8 at the West Deane Park, and was coordinated by Monna Yip.
The Obedience Trial generated 287 entries, which were mainly in the Utility and Open B classes. Judges for the event were John Blenkey, Paul Townshend, Jack McKissock. and Evelyn Van Uden. The winner of the Heather Stuart Trophy was club member, Bea Fee.
The spring Social was a success, with 40 people attending, and this was organized by Frank Lomoro and his committee.
Katharine Webb published a booklet that outlines all of the eligibility requirements for the club trophies. It was distributed to each member, and will be included in the “new member” application kit.
In recognition of the over seventeen years of supporting the club, we honoured Connie and Bob Gaskin with Lifetime Memberships.
In December, the club thanked Karen Stewart for her term as President, and welcomed Sheila Kuja as the new President.
Tracking seminar in the Spring
Obedience Trial – May 24/25