One finance professional coordinates a nationally recognized dog show each year and is certified to judge more than 30 breeds of dogs, often traveling internationally for competitions.
When it comes to corgis, terriers, huskies, sheepdogs, shepherds, and more, Sandra Wolfskill can pinpoint which characteristics distinguish a dog as “best in breed” and whether a crowd-pleasing dog is deserving of “best in show.”
Wolfskill, FHFMA, a member of HFMA’s Northeast Ohio Chapter, serves as the show chairman for the American Kennel Club all-breed dog show and obedience trials that take place every August in the greater Cleveland area, coordinating activities on behalf of two kennel clubs. About 1,000 dogs compete in the weekend show. The obedience trials are designed to test a dog’s canine companion skills and challenge them with a series of exercises on leash and off leash.
In addition to serving as show chairman, Wolfskill manages the set-up of the outdoor venue where the show takes place: a large polo field in Cleveland. She also oversees numerous logistics involved in hosting the event, such as the hiring of judges and staff, working with contractors servicing the event, and coordinating parking.
“It’s really fun taking what I do for a living, which is process management and improvement in the healthcare sector, and applying those skills to bringing two kennel clubs together and putting on a dog show of this caliber,” says Wolfskill, president of Wolfskill & Associates, a revenue cycle consulting service in Chardon, Ohio.
Wolfskill has worked with dogs for the past 41 years, beginning with Siberian huskies and transitioning to Pembroke Welsh corgis, then Dandie Dinmont terriers. She breeds dogs and shows them in kennel club competitions, winning national and international “best of breed” honors for the work she and her best friend and business partner have devoted to raising and training dogs.
Wolfskill also serves as a judge in kennel club competitions nationally and internationally. She is certified as a judge in more than 30 breeds, traveling to Ireland, China, and Russia for competitions in 2012 alone.
“What I love most about judging is the opportunity to find a dog that gives you goose bumps when you look at it—a dog that represents the essence of its breed, physically and in temperament,” Wolfskill says. “Especially when you find a younger dog or a dog that has not been highly campaigned or advertised that possesses just the right combination of characteristics, you say to yourself, ‘Wow. That’s a dog I would take home.’ It’s a huge rush.
“Last year, I was at a competition in Ireland, sitting ringside, and I began talking with a woman who had a five-month-old Cardigan Welsh corgi sitting with her that was just the most beautiful blue, male Cardigan Welsh puppy. I tried for three hours to buy that puppy, but the woman I was speaking with was a breeder. She knew she had something special, and she wasn’t letting go of that puppy. Those are moments that are fun.
”Wolfskill also relishes the opportunity to talk with other owners who are familiar with her breeds. The Dandie Dinmonts, in particular, are not as well-known in the United States. Wolfskill and her business partner own four generations of Dandie Dinmonts. “They’re clowns, and a fun breed to have around, but they’re a lot of work,” she says. Once, she and her partner traveled to Australia to pick up a Dandie Dinmont champion, then showed him at Crufts, a 25,000-dog competition in England. “Not only did he win best-in-breed, but he placed second in the terrier group, too—which would have been an unheard-of phenomenon had his grandfather not accomplished the same feat two years before,” she says.
Planning for this year’s dog show and obedience trials in Cleveland has already begun. “This is a show that people come to year after year because it’s well-run and it’s held in a gorgeous venue,” she says. “It’s rewarding to know that this is a show that people really want to participate in and attend because they have such a good experience here.”
Publication Date: Friday, February 01, 2013