Giving Back: Sequoia KC Stands Tall Among Small Clubs

A shining example of how even a small dog club can give back in a big way.

We have all these organizations in this little tiny area that need help,” notes Janice Pardue, President of the Sequoia Kennel Club of Hanford, Calif. Located in the San Joaquin Valley, this modest-sized group of dog fanciers supports a wide variety of local organizations in ways that might put larger all-breed clubs to shame. With just 20 or so active members, Sequoia provides a shining example of how even a small dog club can give back to its neighbors in a big way.

Sequoia breed club 

Members of the Sequoia Kennel Club stand alongside members of the Kings County Sheriff’s office (left to right: Janice Pardue, President; Pat Noland, Treasurer; Terri King, Secretary; Rod Shulman, Senior Deputy; Hans, Shulman’s K9 partner; Dave Robinson, Sheriff). 

Since the mid-1950s, the Sequoia KC has been promoting purebred dogs in one of the Golden State’s most productive agricultural regions. “We held our first show on November 10, 1957,” says Pardue. “In the beginning, we were [part of] the Raisin Circuit, with three clubs involved. We had 1,500 to 2,000 entries on a Friday.” As times changed and entries declined, the club became part of a cluster of shows held in Bakersfield. “We started going in with Kings Kennel Club,” recalls Pardue, who points out that the dog clubs in her area have always been more than just show-giving organizations. “Our philosophy is … to keep enough from what we make at our dog show to have a show the following year,” she says. “Whatever is left over goes to [local] organizations. It’s the way it’s supposed to be!

“We donate to the Tulare Sheriff’s department, their K-9 unit,” says Pardue of just one law enforcement agency that has benefited from the Sequoia KC’s generosity. “We also donate to the Kings County Sheriff’s K-9 unit, and this past year we have added the Hanford Police Department.” (The Sequoia and Kings Kennel Clubs jointly donated $1,500 this year to the Hanford Police Department’s fledgling K-9 Unit.) “This past year they came [to our show] to set up a booth and did a demonstration with the dog. In years past, we could donate enough for the entire dog, but with our entries the way they are now, we’re not able to do that.” These days, the Sequoia KC makes donations that local agencies can put toward any item that’s truly needed. “In the past we’ve donated a bullet-proof vest and … boxes used for [drug] detection — anything they are in need of, really.”

In addition to supporting local police departments, the Sequoia KC provides assistance to the area’s college-bound students. “We give two scholarships a year with UC Davis,” says Pardue. “We have the option to designate a student if they are from our area and if their grade-point average is good enough for UC Davis. This year, one of the top students happens to be from the Kings County area.” 

Downtown Hanford 

Banners are hung across the main thoroughfares of downtown Hanford, Calif., to announce the dog shows held at the Kings County Fairgrounds on the second weekend in March. 

Young people, it should be noted, are a particular focus for Sequoia KC members. “One of the things that we’ve done — that I always look forward to — is [coordinate] a visit from the Shelly Baird School for special education students,” says Pardue. When the school had an issue getting its students to the shows, the cluster put up the money to pay for buses to bring them. “I thought that was a real cool thing to do. Now we’re trying to figure out how we can get more AKC education into all the schools in the surrounding area.” Pardue, who is an AKC judge of the Toy Group and most Non-Sporting breeds, also gives of her time to judge the 4-H Fair in Hanford. “I just enjoy it,” she says. “The kids are really good kids.”

All of the good work that is done by the Sequoia Kennel Club, including donating to the Hanford and Oak Valley SPCAs, the Valley Animal Center and Hope Animal Foundation, is a tribute to the spirit of its organizers. Founding members Elizabeth Adams and Frank and Mary Fasso set the example for the club’s current membership to follow. “They were kind of special. They were the glue that held all of us together, no matter what.” As the club’s current President and show chair, Pardue works with a close-knit group that includes Vice President Judy Rhoades, Secretary Terri King, Treasurer Patricia Noland and Board Members Melvin Pardue, Ken Noland and Kelly Rhoades. “The club would not be a club without the members who do the work,” Pardue says. “It’s kind of a family thing. We’re just like best friends — all of us.” Which just goes to show that even small dog clubs can have a mighty impact on their local communities. 

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