It’s me, it’s me, it’s me! My heart beats dog®, and now in the next step of my dog-loving, dog-living, dog-writing career, I am proud to announce I have accepted a two-year term as President of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) effective February 10, 2019.
If this sounds like a really big deal, it is. And I want as many of you as possible to get involved. Here’s the scoop.
Dog Writers Is Steeped In History
The Dog Writers Association was created on February 13th, 1935 at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. A group of editors and publishers were invited to the Westminster Kennel Club’s meeting room of the old Madison Square Garden, then located on Eighth Avenue and Fiftieth Street. All that survives of the first meeting is a crumbling, yellow sheet of note paper “DUES PAID AT FIRST MEETING” listing the names of eight people. These early meeting minutes set dues and decided that an annual meeting would be held in New York City every year immediately before the Westminster Kennel Club show. From those eight founding members, DWAA has grown to a thriving membership of over 500.
From its very beginning, the DWAA objective has been to secure courtesies and amenities at dog shows so necessary for dog writers to do their jobs properly. Press facilities with laptop computers, tables, show results, catalogs and judging programs are now the established rule for dog shows around the country.
The best known feature of the DWAA is the annual writing contest, which encourages excellence in writing about dogs in all aspects of communication. The competition is open to all writers, photographers, editors and publishers — with no distinction between amateurs and professionals.
The annual awards program has traditionally been held the day before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to present the awards to the winners of the writing competition. The results are published around the world.
Why It Matters To Me
For as long as I can remember, dogs and writing have sustained me and helped me survive in life. I’m ready to turn half a decade this December 25th, and more than ever, I finally embrace who I am: a dog writer/blogger. The DWAA awarded me the Distinguished Service Award sponsored by the American Kennel Club earlier this year. Taking the torch from current President and esteemed writer colleague, Jen Reeder, is an incredible honor.
I’ve been writing for decades, so this is a natural next step for me, and yes, a real dream come true. If you’d like to get to know me a little better, let’s keep in touch through my blog’s e-newsletter.
Here is my speech earlier this year when I accepted the award in person:
A United Front
Of course, every President needs a team, and I am excited to announce that Maggie Marton and Kristen Avery have agreed to join me in their respective roles as Vice President and Secretary. You can read the formal press announcement on the DWAA website here and on the Good News for Pets website here. Marsha Pugh, who has been treasurer since 2009, will most graciously remain in that role.
How You Can Get Involved
I am often asked why a person should get involved with DWAA. I have been a member for many years. This professional organization is designed for those involved in creative endeavors that promote the interest of dogs. This includes, but is not limited to, writers, authors, journalists, publicists, bloggers, social media influencers, photographers, illustrators, and on-air personalities.
Why Join DWAA
The Dog Writers Association of America strives to strengthen the careers of our members. Membership benefits include:
- Access to “Members Only” content on the DWAA website. In addition to our private forum, you’ll find “Editor Insights” from top dog-centric publications and examples of “Successful Queries.”
- Listing of your website or blog on the DWAA website.
- Inclusion on our Twitter list. Members follow one another’s handles and share articles, book news and awards.
- Press pass.
- Subscription to our quarterly newsletter Ruff Drafts.
- DWAA’s Yahoo Group. DWAA members share book news and ask advice in this private group.
- Discounted entry fee in our writing contest. Our annual contest honors writers, authors, bloggers, photographers, illustrators and publications in many categories – plus our special awards come with big cash prizes.
- Networking opportunities at our annual awards banquet.
- Guest posting opportunities and book promotion through the DWAA blog.
- Continuing education through our webinar program.
Let’s Meet In Person
I’d love to meet you in person in February in New York City. The annual DWAA Awards Banquet takes place on Sunday, February 10, 2019, at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan. You need not be a member to attend. It would be my honor to meet you while we enjoy a wonderful evening surrounded by dog-loving writers and more.
Keynote speeches will be given by NBC’s Jill Rappaport and radio host/journalist Steve Dale. Here’s the agenda:
4-5 p.m. – General Membership Annual Meeting
5-6 p.m. – Banquet registration/Cash bar opens
6:15 p.m. – First speech begins
7-9 p.m. – Dinner service and awards ceremony
Tickets go on sale on December 12, 2018 and make a great Christmas present or a gift for yourself. The very next day, Monday, 02/11/19 is Day One of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. There is a lot to do and see.
A Mighty Honor
I would like to thank Jen Reeder for encouraging me and for her outstanding leadership during her successful two-year term as President of DWAA. A special thanks to Maggie Marton and Kristen Avery for your inspiration. I look forward to working with and serving with you both.
Most of all, this honor would not be possible without the love, support, and constant encouragement from my wife of 25 years, Darlene Bryant, who shares in the “my heart beats dog” life philosophy.
For Candy, Brandy Noel, and Dexter, your pawprints are all over my heart.
And to Rod Serling who inspired me to write and to keep writing.
I look forward to serving the current roster of DWAA members, escalating the role of the pet blogger and social media influencer, and always improving on the written and spoken word in the name of dog.