Back in the late 1980's, our very own Mike Mildbrand was teaching obedience classes through the Soldotna Community Schools program. If you were part of it back then, you'll probably never forget the sound of dozens of barking dogs, echoing in the vastness of the elementary school gym! It was a hectic time, but fun.
Mike offered basic obedience and advanced classes, often all in the same night. A group of devoted dog training enthusiasts soon developed from the advanced classes, and with Mike's enthusiastic encouragement, the group members began showing in obedience trials. As the dogs and handlers advanced, talk began about bringing together a formal dog training club, and so the concept of PenDOG was born.
There were a series of organizational meetings throughout the fall of 1989, but the first "official" meeting was November 11, 1989. This could be considered the starting point of Peninsula Dog Obedience Group. At this meeting: officers were elected; membership dues were set; bylaws and the constitution were approved by the board and readied for regular membership approval; and, a checking account was approved.
At that point, the Board of Directors included seven slots: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Trials and Training, Director of Facilities, and Director of Publicity. Of these seven positions, two were filled by members that remain members of PenDOG today: Melanie Kipp was the original secretary and Mike Mildbrand was the original Director of Trials and Training.
The PenDOG used a facility just north of Soldotna as its training facility at that time. It was a small building but better than nothing. By March of 1990, there were 23 members and classes being offered several times a week.
Articles of Incorporation were filed, and PenDOG was incorporated in March 1990. Papers were filed and the constitution and bylaws readied for United Kennel Club affiliation, and that affiliation was granted by UKC in April 1990. PenDOG became the first Alaskan UKC club.
Unfortunately the club went through a series of changes shortly after that, and because of a variety of reasons we never put on a UKC match or trial. Due to inactivity, our affiliation was withdrawn and stands dormant at this time.
The facility we had been using became unavailable to us in June 1990, as the building was being sold. A search for a new facility began. In the meantime, PenDOG set up and administered their first Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) test on August 30, 1990 at the Soldotna Junior High. Members of PenDOG also began teaching the Community Schools obedience classes, as Mike chose to take a hiatus that fall.
After teaching through Community Schools and using the Soldotna Elementary gym for our classes for a couple of years, we found a new facility located on Spur and Knight Drive, at Richards Veterinary Clinic. In February 1993, we moved our belongings in. It sure beat hauling the jumps and equipment to the gym every week!
At that time, PenDOG was still primarily an obedience group. We offered classes ranging from puppy kindergarten to advanced competition. People were encouraged to show their dogs and many new competitors were "born" within our member list.
Around 1999, Cindy Mildbrand delved into agility and it soon caught on. Members found the sport to be exciting and fun, and soon a number of agility classes were being taught at the club. As they say, the rest is history!!!!
When Dr. Richards retired and sold the place, PenDOG then moved to it's current location between Kenai and Soldotna on Kalifornsky Beach Road (across from Sav-U-More).
We have an active viable club that offers: Basic Obedience, Puppy Classes, Canine Good Citizen classes, Agility, Trick Dog, Barn Hunt and Nose Work. We're always working on expanding our classes and our skills.