My Andy: A Marine’s Heartbreaking Letter Home


“Times Past,” AKC Gazette: Of the thousands of letters the Gazette has received over the decades, perhaps none has epitomized the human-canine bond more vividly than this one delivered to our offices 68 years ago.

Dear Editor:

War is a grim business in which sentiment plays little part. But one of the most touching things in this global conflict is the complete mutual devotion, confidence, and understanding that exist between America’s war dogs and their handlers.

Such was the relationship of Marine PFC Robert E. Lansley of Syracuse, and Andy, an affectionate, alert Doberman Pinscher, formerly owned by Theodore A. Wiedemann of Norristown, Pa. Lansley and Andy went through months of bitter fighting on Bougainville, where the Devil Dog’s keen nose repeatedly saved Marines from certain and sudden death by discovering camouflaged Japanese machine-gun nests. He was cited for his heroism.

Then, one tragic night, Lansley wrote to his mother this letter—a Marine’s simple, yet beautiful tribute to his dog:

Dear Mom: My heart is wide open. My Andy is gone. The darn mutt got out and as he couldn’t hear because of deafness brought on by the shelling, he was run over by a truck.

I got the worst order the Marine Corps ever imposed on me. I had to destroy my Andy.

To think, Mom dear, he saved my life and I had to take his. No matter how many dogs they give me, I’ll never have the faith in them that I had in Andy. It seems that he was my other self.

Bob and his Andy are now together again. The Marine was later killed in action fighting on the island highway to Tokyo. —Clayton G. Going, July 1945

Read the latest AKC Gazette here.

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Posted in AKC Gazette, Times Past

AKC Pet Disaster Relief Rolls Out Help For Pets In Calvert County, Maryland

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AKC Pet Disaster Relief presented its third trailer in the state of Maryland to officials from Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Unit this weekend during the Sheriff’s Office Open House.

The National Capital Kennel Club, Capital Dog Training Club of Washington D.C., Chesapeake Kennel Club of Maryland, American Tibetan Mastiff Association, Tibetan Terrier Club of America, Tibetan Spaniel Club of America, and AKC Reunite donated the $22,000 needed to purchase the trailer.

Club members at the presentation received plaques and a “Sheriff’s Salute” from Sheriff Evans in thanks for the donation.

AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailers help to create a safe, temporary home-base for at least 65 pets immediately after a disaster is declared. The trailers house and deliver essential supplies such as fans, lighting and generators; cleaning supplies; maintenance items; and animal care items including crates and carriers, AKC Reunite microchips and an AKC Reunite universal microchip scanner, as well as bowls, collars and leashes. These supplies can be used as co-location shelters, where people can evacuate with their pets, as well as emergency animal shelters for displaced animals

“Safe, effective pet sheltering solutions in times of disaster are incredibly important, and AKC Reunite is helping communities across the nation prepare by mobilizing AKC Pet Disaster Relief,” said Tom Sharp, AKC Reunite CEO. “The trailer donated today will provide animal care services during the first critical hours if a disaster ever hits Calvert County or surrounding areas.”

Captain Steven R. Jones, PIO for the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Unit said, “This brand-new trailer will allow our agency to help pets by setting up an extensive emergency shelter during future disasters. The efforts of the members of the AKC kennel clubs are appreciated by those of us who want to ensure the safety of our pets.”

Learn more about AKC Pet Disaster Relief at

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Team AKC/USA Brings Home Another Medal at Agility World Champs

You heard about the Medium Dog Team’s gold medal win last Friday, and now, we have more great news!

Desiree Snelleman and her Border Collie “Pace” won the bronze in the Large Dog Individual competition. Way to go!

Assistant Coach: Katherine Leggett, Desiree and Pace, 2014 Team Coach: Nancy Gyes, AKC Director of Agility/Team Captain Carrie DeYoung

Assistant Coach Katherine Leggett, Desiree and Pace, 2014 Team Coach Nancy Gyes,
AKC Director of Agility/Team Captain Carrie DeYoung

Official results are available here, with photos and coverage on the USA Agility Team Facebook page. Learn more about the team on the AKC website.

Congratulations to Team AKC/USA on the great success!


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AKC Wins Gold at Agility World Championships

Congrats to John Nys and Rush, Maureen Waldron and Michael, Kathleen Oswald and Whimzy, and Geri Hernandez and Switch, the 2014 gold medalists in the medium team competition at the 2014 Agility World Championships in Luxembourg!


Get all the latest photos and updates from the competition here.

We visited John and Rush before the competition to talk about their preparation for the World Championships. Watch the video here.

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My First Canine Good Citizen Dog: Bruno the Norwegian Elkhound

By Lisa Peterson


Bruno and I were minding our own business on a walk around the hotel at the Norwegian Elkhound National Specialty in 1996 when a friend spotted us and said, “Hey, come take the Canine Good Citizen test, it’s right over here.” I had no idea what this was, in fact, I didn’t even know the 10-steps prior to signing up for the challenge. Bruno – an AKC Champion who had just turned 4 – and I had been training to start Novice obedience a few months earlier, so I though why not, he can sit and stay and heel.

We entered the ring ready to begin. I got nervous. Bruno took one look at me with his big brown cow eyes as if to say, “What’s the big deal? I can do this.” And off we went. The more steps we completed, the more fun Bruno and I were having. Each completed test item brought lots of praise and attention to him, which he loved. And it showed me that the training we had done at home was paying off in a public setting among friendly strangers. Anyone who has ever tried to train a dog has said this phrase: “But he does it so well at home.”  We breezed through the tests and passed. Yay! It was a great feeling of accomplishment that gave me the incentive to try our hand in the Novice A obedience classes. Roughly six months later Bruno competed in his first trial and received a qualifying score. We were on our way to a our Companion Dog title.

If it wasn’t for that spontaneous CGC test I may not have embraced the next step so easily with confidence. I remember the pride I had in Bruno as the evaluator filled out our CGC certificate. She brought a portable typewriter to the test to individually fill-in each dog’s name and owner before she signed the certificate. What thoughtfulness! It’s great to see how this program, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has grown. So far, more than 665,000 have taken the same first step in a fabulous bonding experience with their dogs. CGC enabled confidence to succeed and good manners, whether the dogs were hanging out with the family at home or entering the competitive show world. Happy Anniversary Canine Good Citizen program!

Learn more about the Canine Good Citizen program here.

CGC Certificate

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Posted in Canine Good Citizen

American Kennel Club Honors A Special Breed of Hero

Today, we’re remembering all the people who lost their lives and were affected by the events of September 11, 2001.

We’re also honoring the heroic dogs of 9/11 and the dog lovers that stepped up to support them. In the video below, American Kennel Club President and CEO Dennis Sprung recalls his emotional visit to Ground Zero after a call came from the rubble of the World Trade Center that working canines injured in the rescue effort needed medical help.

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AKC Pet Disaster Relief ‘Rolls Out Help’ with Donated Microchip Scanners In Celebration of Its First Anniversary

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AKC Pet Disaster Relief celebrates its first anniversary this September. In honor of the milestone, AKC Reunite, the nation’s largest non-profit pet identification and recovery service, donated 16 microchip scanners to pet disaster trailers (CAMETs) in North Carolina. Universal microchip scanners are a vital tool Emergency Management relies upon to identify and reunite pets.

AKC Reunite CEO Tom Sharp presented the microchip scanners to North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry today at AKC Reunite headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. The event also included a microchip scanning demonstration featuring Vern, the Great Pyrenees, AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailer tours and a display of the essential supplies that stock them, including crates, microchips and microchip scanners.

Modeled after the North Carolina CAMET program, AKC Pet Disaster Relief donates trailers fully stocked with pet care and sheltering supplies to eligible Emergency Management teams across the country.  The life-saving equipment helps create a safe, temporary home-base for at least 65 pets immediately after a disaster is declared, allowing people to safely evacuate with their pets to emergency shelters.  No longer will pets need to be left behind, or will people be put in harm’s way by “riding out” a storm to take care of their pets.  The purchase of each trailer is made possible by $22,000 in donations and grants from kennel clubs and AKC Reunite. Ten have been donated across the country, with another ten trailers rolling out in the coming months.

Learn more about the program at

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Posted in AKC Reunite, disaster relief

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