There aren’t many groups around these days that can claim to have helped not just thousands of people, but thousands of four-legged friends too.
But for Leven & District Dog Training Club, that’s exactly what they’ve done over the last 35+ years.
Starting off in Kirkcaldy in the late 70s, the club moved to Leven at King George V park, and has been at the Balmaise Centre for nearly 25 years.
And for instructors Bill Anderson and Sam Perkins, their own training behind the scenes has been years in the making too.
In the last 12 months, both men have been given accreditation by the Kennel Club, something which took them around six years to achieve.
Chief instructor Sam, who has been with the club since 1989, said it was hard work, but now he and Bill are the only two Kennel Club accredited trainers in Fife, and two of only five in the whole of Scotland.
Sam got involved with the club after taking his own dog along.
“I had a cross-collie to begin with, but when I got a Samoyed, I decided that I wanted to have it properly trained as you can have problems with those types of dogs. And I just never left!”
Sam and Bill, who work alongside three other instructors and one assistant, say there are lots of people who could benefit from dog training.
“As well as training your dog up, it’s about socialising your dog as well so that it is used to other dogs and won’t react badly around them when you are out for walks.
“Our classes have no more than 10 people and dogs in them, so that we can give as much attention as possible.”
Sam added: “The kind of people that come to our clubs are usually interested in dogs already, but there are a few people out there who might not necessarily think they need to come to the class who could really benefit.
“We will never turn anyone away.”
Each class, from puppies to bronze, silver and finally, gold, lasts two hours and each block lasts 10 weeks.
Bill said: “A lot of people come to the puppy class to begin with, and then they might progress onto bronze, etc if they really want to, but there’s no requirement on people to do that.
“We’ve just had six people go for their gold earlier in August and they all passed, which was great.”
The Club, which trains on Tuesday nights, has been recognised many times over the years, and most recently, was awarded the Kennel Club Accreditation Scheme’s Good Citizen Award.
“As a club you have to apply for it, and as we only train a couple of hours a week, we weren’t even going to bother,” said Sam. “But in the end, as a committee we decided ‘Why not?’ and a few weeks later we were told we had been selected as a finalist.”
The pair travelled to London for the awards ceremony and were completely overwhelmed when they were given first prize.
“We couldn’t believe it. They read out third and when it wasn’t us, we thought perhaps it might have been second, and when we didn’t get that, we were confused because there were only three in the running!
“So to get first prize was fantastic.”
To find out more about the club, call Sam on 07922430047, Bill on 07861434598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org