The history of Potomac Valley Pekingese Club is a long and varied one. On February 26, 1984, 13 Pekingese fanciers gathered in Upper Marlboro, MD to establish a Pekingese club in the Northern Virginia/Maryland area. The purpose was to comply with AKC rules to become a show-giving club to serve this region.
A lot was accomplished at that first meeting, such as determining the name for the club, meeting dates ( 2nd Thursday of each month), and plans for the first of many fun matches held by PVPC. Pro-tem officers were appointed, as well as committee persons such as membership and publicity. A by-law committee of 5 members was appointed, and it was their duty to create the by-laws by which PVPC would be governed. I was asked to serve as president, until our first formal election, after the by-laws were accepted by the membership, and we were incorporated in the commonwealth of Virginia. A lot of the wording of our rules and by-laws today are from that original document.
There was much enthusiasm, and our first fun match was set for June 10, 1984 and was a huge success, with Pekingese fanciers from neighboring states coming out to support the new club. During the first few years, PVPC sponsored two fun matches a year-the largest one in the fall, in an indoor facility in Maryland, and another in the spring at a Virginia county park.
The term “full service club” was often used, because we wanted to serve and include all aspects of Pekingese ownership. Owners of companion Pekingese were welcome, as well as those involved with the sport of breed conformation and obedience training. Our meetings often included a speaker to discuss some aspect of Pekingese care or training. We also decided to include a program to rescue Pekingese, although most of us felt it would not be needed too often. After all, who would want to “throw out” such a wonderful dog as the Pekingese?
In November, 1988, I received a call from a boarding kennel stating they had two Pekingese that the owner no longer wanted. I don’t know how they got my name, but it was the start of something big. Another club member and I were off to the kennel and took possession of a male and female Pekingese. They were neutered, and current on all vaccinations, just no longer wanted by their owners. I remembered I compared the male to a gorilla. He had a full black, very large head, and most of his teeth were out in front for all to see. I kept the female at my home and the male went home with the other club member, who promptly found a home for him, and the club was given a $15 donation. In spite of his looks, he was very sweet, and very tolerant of children. Not so the female, named Candi. She hated children, and let it be known she was top dog in my house. For one reason or another, there did not seem to be a home for her among my circle of friends, so Candi became one of ours. She traveled to dog shows with us, and was full of confidence. Her memorial page can be seen on our website.
As we began to discover, there was a need to protect unwanted Pekingese, and a rescue committee was created for that work within the club. We plowed along, learning from our mistakes, and began to establish guidelines for our rescue work. We soon realized there was a legal side to handling these dogs and began to develop our contracts, applications, etc. They were reviewed for legality, and once again, we moved forward into the world of rescued Pekingese.
In the meantime, the breeding and showing members of our club began to dwindle, which affected the number of attendees at our fun matches and other functions. It was apparent we did not have the required number of members for AKC recognition. After much discussion by the board, it was agreed to alter the charter of the club to reflect the mission of rescue. We altered our charter and proceeded to apply for IRS tax-exempt status as a charitable organization. In October, of 1997, we were granted 501(c)3 status.
There have been times when our growing pains caused stress for our leaders as we tried to put into place the volunteers needed to complete the work of the rapidly-growing need for a rescue service for Pekingese. Although it seems we never have enough foster homes, the volunteers we now have are some of the most dedicated people we have had, and their selfless support helps us to continue as a first-rate rescue organization. At one point, I thought with education, neuter programs, etc. the need for rescue would come to an end. However, I often compare rescue to housework – it is never completely finished. In the nearly 20 years PVPC has been involved with Peke rescue, we have only improved, and we can all be proud of our accomplishments The dogs who come through our service are truly the lucky ones.