Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

NEIGHBORS>> Oak Grove resident serves as Arkansas Kennel Club president

Leader Staff writer

Friends say Carleen Peterson, 67, of the Oak Grove community doesn’t believe in retirement.

She is an avid ballroom dancer, volunteers at the Arkansas Repertory Theater, serves as vice president of the Little Rock Zoo docent board and is president of the Arkansas Kennel Club.

Peterson shows champion Dobermans and Brittanies. Her love of dog shows began nearly three decades ago when she showed her first dog, a Great Dane.

“My husband’s mother was a dog handler when I met her almost 30 years ago. I started showing in 1976, and my Zeus won a blue ribbon at his second show. I was hooked,” Peterson said.

Peterson enjoys her dogs, calling them her “kids,” but admits a drawback to the large dogs is their shorter life expectancy.

“I lost my last Great Dane when she was 10 years old. That’s an exceptionally long life for that breed,” Peterson said.

Peterson and her husband, George, have six dogs and have great hopes for Kal-El, a 14-month-old black Doberman male.

Kal-El’s full name is Kansa’s Superman at Cargeo, but Peterson’s husband suggested Kal-El, the superhero’s name on his home planet of Krypton.

His sire is from Argentina, and Kal-El stands 28 inches at the shoulder, fitting nicely into the Doberman standard required at shows.

Breed standards are used to determine a dog’s suitability for the tasks for which it was bred. The dogs are taken around the ring to be judged on obedience and agility. AKC dogs must get 15 points, usually collected during three to five competitions, under at least three different judges, to be considered a champion.

Peterson showed Kal-El in February at the Southeastern Arkansas Kennel Club in Pine Bluff.

“He’s just getting started. It was his second show and it’s on the job training,” Peterson said.

“Dobermans are a very intellectual and loyal dog. They’re also very strong. You have to be the boss. Brittanies are very bouncy dogs. They’re my comic relief.”

Peterson said she doesn’t consider herself a big-time dog breeder, just a hobby breeder, although one time, when two litters were born close together, the couple shared their home with 25 canines.

“I sent a puppy to Nebraska in mid-winter, and the buyers called me and told me he didn’t come off the plane. Apparently the airline had just left his crate on the loading dock at the airport, but they found him before he was out there too long. That was the last time I shipped a dog, now I either drive the dog or the buyers come and pick it up,” Peterson said.

“My husband and I love to travel, and showing our dogs give us a good excuse,” Peterson said.

Kal-El’s next show will be in Wichita, Kan. in April and the Arkansas Kennel Club dog show will be held at the Hall of Industry at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds June 25-26.

The Arkansas Kennel Club meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Central Arkansas Library, 100 Rock St. in Little Rock’s River Market District.