Brett Sprout is president of the McKinley Kennel Club.
He and his wife Susan have two sons, Sloan and Sutton. They also have five beagles, JR, Zackie, Petey, Tinker and Della. They have been living in Washington township since 1980.
Sprout graduated from Glenwood High School in 1972 and went on to Bethany College in West Virginia and Kent State University. He retired from printing. Sprouts are housing providers.
The two have owned, raised and/or shown dogs for most of their lives together.
“We’ve been showing dogs since 1975,” Sprout said. “The first show we attended was the McKinley Kennel Club show at the Memorial Auditorium in Canton. We have been members since 2016, but I have been participating in their shows since 1976.”
The McKinley Kennel Club is a member of the American Kennel Club serving the Canton area. The club hosts an annual dog show in June, puppy games and other activities such as Responsible Dog Owner Day.
Meet Frank Estremera:The owner of Muskellunge Brewing talks beer and fishing
Could you elaborate on what the McKinley Kennel Club is all about?
The McKinley Kennel Club was founded in 1937 with the goal of promoting purebred dogs through various dog sports such as Conformation Dog Shows and Obedience Trials.
The original charter lists John F. Cholley, Leland Wood and Daisy Keht as the original trustees. Marcella Austin, who died this month, was among the first members.
The preservation and development of purebred dogs has always been the aim of the club, but the general welfare of the dogs has always been the main aim of the club. Responsible dog owners are welcome regardless of the breed of dog they own.
Only purebred dogs can compete in Conformation Dog Shows, but all dogs, including mixed breeds, can compete in obedience and other American Kennel Club dog sports.
Meet Christopher Neisel:He serves as public works director for Canton Township
What activities do members plan and participate in, including the annual dog show?
The club meets the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30, except in August and December. We have a very active but small group of 15 people.
We all spend a lot of time training and showing in various dog sports all over the country. AKC dog sports include conformation, obedience, rally, farm dog, trick dog, agility, scenting, field trials, and more.
The club hosts the local AKC shows in June, featuring nearly 800 entries of some of the world’s most successful dog competitors. This year’s McKinley Show winner was a bloodhound named Trumpet. He won the nationally televised Westminster Kennel Club show every year.
The club donates a portion of our proceeds to local dog charities that benefit dog welfare and adoption. This year we are donating to the Police K9 Unit.
Where do you get your love for dogs?
Like many members, my wife and I have owned and loved dogs for most of our lives. My father has been participating in the Beagle Field Trials for as long as I can remember. Our weekends were spent in trials.
My husband had a neighbor who had a beagle that he adored when he was young, so when we added a pet to our lives shortly after our marriage in 1974, a beagle was our choice.
We have owned, bred and trained over 50 dogs over the past 50 years. All have been trained and showcased with multiple championships and other titles at one place or another. We’ve been competing in agility recently with all the hurdles and obstacles and it’s really kept us physically in better shape.
A new scent dog sport is added to our K9 efforts.
What are your and your dogs favorite ice cream stops in Stark County?
Locally, we’re very partial to Heggy’s, but we haven’t found one we didn’t enjoy.
Dog show has taken us to many locations across the country and Canada. There are plenty of good ice cream stops everywhere we travel. We often return from shows north of Stark, and our favorite stop is in New Baltimore, upstate.
On the way home, we stop to either celebrate victory or lick our wounds (and lick our cones) from defeat.
Do you have a few tips for those considering adopting a new dog or puppy?
If you are interested in adopting a dog, the most important thing to understand is that you are adding a lifelong addition to your family.
Dogs live 10, 12, 16 years or more. That’s not long enough when you love them, but it’s a commitment you have to be willing to make. You need to think about which gender suits your lifestyle.
One of the advantages of purebreds is that you know a lot about how your pet will look and behave, as well as its trainability. Some breeds are better suited to your interests than others.
Participating in dog shows and sports is a good start. Talk to people there when you take a break from whatever activity they are participating in.
Most importantly, be patient in your search, as I mentioned, it is a lifelong decision.
Editor’s note: Five Questions with … is a Sunday feature featuring a member of the Stark County community. If you would like to recommend someone to attend, please email email@example.com.