Dear readers,

The 2015 General Meeting of the FCI once again placed its trust in me by re-electing me as President of the most important canine organisation in the world, an honour which I appreciate enormously!

I remain fully committed to working hard via our basic principles. Now, more than ever, I promise to defend the rights of our dogs and their owners, to watch over their health and to raise awareness worldwide of what a healthy dog means to society, and I feel sure that all of you will help me in this work.

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Rafael de Santiago
President of the FCI
Life with dogs: when dreams come True

„Why do I love it? Because I don‘t know any other place on earth where I feel so much in my shoes, where devotion is compensated by the most valuable currency in world – a humble „thank you“ and a smile on a younger colleague’s face, which pave the way to a brighter future. The way that becomes straight with the help of man‘s best friend – the dog“, Guoda Kavaliauskaitė, 18 year-old dog handler, animal photographer and volunteer at the Education Centre to the Lithuanian Kennel Club starts our conversation about her way to cynology.

Why dogs?

Close friendship with dogs started 7 years ago by volunteering at the shelter. I was only eleven then and had no pets at home – my young age was one of the main reasons for this. Since childhood I had felt special affection to all animals, thus, volunteering was just what I was seeking for at that moment. It also gave me a chance to get to know myself better – I realised that I cannot stay as a passive observer of the situation but need to act to change it. Eventually, my daily life was filled with long walks with dogs and over time I felt that dogs had become an indispensable part of my life.

For nearly three years now you have been volunteering at the largest canine organisation in your country. What are your duties there and what do you enjoy most?

I love it all there! I am very glad to be a part of this great team. I do appreciate new experiences and the cynological knowledge that I gained over those years. And the atmosphere, of course: on hard days I only have to look at the dogs besides me who are a perfect example of patience and tolerance – the traits that people can learn from them.

For quite a while my major responsibility was taking pictures of grand canine events and various educational activities. However, I started to realise that over those years in cynology I had gained an enormous amount of knowledge, had opportunity both to organise and attend a large number of various canine-related events and obtained so much experience, thus felt a deep desire to share all this with my younger colleagues. As a result, I was entrusted to organise and coordinate activities of the Youth Studio, a cynological club for youngsters, where they come together to learn about the dogs, meet fellows sharing same hobby and get new experiences. Together with the youngsters we held a wide range of activities starting from lectures or practical seminars, to huge social and creative projects, art workshops, etc., the major aim of which was to reveal the best sides of cynology, keep young people interested in our organisation and above all, teach them to love and respect their dogs. Quite a challenge, I would say, but it was worth accepting it!

Do you own a dog yourself?

Of course I do. I own a four-year-old Southeastern European Shepherd: Fobas. Whenever I talk about him I always say “we” because together we make a great team and try to spend most of our time together. Fobas was the one who opened my door to the professional cynology. It was him who encouraged me to start my handling career and who taught me so many things. Fobas is not just a great dog, he is a true family member, who has made us to realise that indeed, our home without him was just a house.

You are also a professional show handler. Are there any breeds that you prefer showing rather than other?

At nearly every show my handler jacket features a pin depicting a beagle and you are most likely to meet me at the beagles ring at the show. A beagle was the first dog that I prepared for the show career though nobody - including me - could fancy then that my favourite in the show ring will be an ever tail wagging, long-eared and full of temperament hound. Though I show many different dogs my other favourite breeds are Eastern European Shepherds and northern dog breeds.

Life with dogs and among dogs – what is it like?

Life with dogs gives plenty of unforgettable moments, one simply has to catch them! Through dogs I got to know a lot of new people – dog world professionals, who made a huge impact on my life, on what I am today and will be in the future.

You, photo camera and dogs – what kind of „trinity“ is this? Does this give us a hint for your future career?

Dogs and photography are some of the greatest passions in my life. I can hardly imagine anything better than the combination of the two. If I don‘t have a dog with me, I always have a camera and my lens is usually focused on dogs. As to my future, I am planning to relate it with animals and want to become veterinarian. This is another different way for having constant bond with animals for the rest of my life. Still, I am absolutely confident that cynology with the wide range of opportunities it offers, will always take a large and important part of my life.