Cape Handlers Dog Club, formed in 1987, is a KUSA affiliated dog club specialising in various training disciplines for all breeds of dog.
Cape Handlers Dog Club started in 1987, I remember because my second child had been born in 1986 and she was only a few months old when we were members of the German Shephard Club.
After some time we decided to leave the club and our friends Clive and Sandra De Frerritas, Shaun Laishley, and Bob and Leonie Kirby came to visit and asked us why we didn’t start our own club. We had a good laugh, as it’s not something that is so easy to do.
Since we (and especially our dogs) were so used to training on Sunday mornings, we found a good spot at a building site in Montague Gardens where Tommy Van Rhyn worked. We had such fun there making the dogs climb up big earth moving machine and doing stays in the bush, and soon our friends that I have mentioned above joined us and it came a regular Sunday outing.
Again the subject was bought up “why not start our own club?”. Shaun Laishley had arranged with the local soccer club for us to use the fields on Sunday mornings in Sanddrift. That his how Cape Handlers Dog Club was started. With seven members, our kids and our dogs.
Four new members joined on our first Sunday and we were in seventh heaven. There were many meetings held at our house, which went on into the early hours regarding what we were going to offer and how we were going to run it.
Our membership grew and we moved from Sanddrift to Edgemead (the Eskom Sporting Fields). From there we could see that we desperately needed to buy a more substantial club house. To their credit Tommy Van Rhyn, Shaun Laishley and Bob Kirby got a contract to be bouncers at a night club on Friday and Saturday nights. With that money we bought our very first Wooden Club House.
As the club grew, we could see that we needed to extend this club house, we had many fundraising events like sponsored walks and bingo evenings. It was great fun and the members, kids and dogs became one huge family.
Then one day a lady by the name of Carol Wilson came to see what we were up to and asked if we would like to see how real dogs do obedience training and we were up for it. She introduced us to Sandy Lombard, Gillian Burns, Collen Stofberg, and their dogs. We fell off our chairs, it was the most wonderful thing to watch how these dogs and handlers just worked, we were hungry to learn more and asked if they would come and teach us.
They showed so us much more: Working Trials, IPO, Obedience, and Tracking. Then KUSA got to hear about us and they sent a representative to ask if we were interested to become an affiliated club. After some discussion and looking over their training courses we decided to go for it.
Our membership kept growing, we had to move from Edgemead. Luckily, one of our members was on the Committee at Theo Marias Sports Park and if we could get the Municipality to recognise Dog Training as a sport, we could get into the centre. We put on a display for the Mayor and Council and that is how we got into Theo Marias Sports Park.
When we moved our club house we had no fields as the ground had to be leaved for us and they put our club house on to a mound of sand. The rest of the Sports Centre came to call our club house “the little house on the prairie”.
Once we got our funding from the Council, a few of the founder members and a few of the new members. We had all got stuck in to build the Club House and fields that we have today.
Contributed by Sue.