The Owner Handler Association of America
A Profile of the OHA
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“People in other parts of New York saw what was happening and wanted to join,” says Robischon. “Of course, they could not come to classes because of the distance involved, so similar groups sprang up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. That’s how the national chapter came into being.”
Proctor sat on the national board for years. “Most of the meetings were held in the tri-state area because that’s where most of the early chapters were located,” she says.
“From there, it spread around the country,” says Robischon, who retired from presidency last year, adding that interest in The Owner Handler Association of America is growing constantly. “There are currently 14 chapters throughout the country.” Any group of 15 eligible members can request OHA board approval to organize a chapter. “Our chapter coordinator provides them with a constitution that is pretty much filled in and helps them get set up,” she says.
OHA also offers single memberships, which includes the OHA quarterly newsletter The Advocate. “A bundle of sticks is harder to break than a single stick,” says Robischon. “We have close to 3,000 members.”
Over the years OHA’s role has expanded. In addition to conformation handling, they offer classes in obedience, agility, rally, as well as seminars, and eye, heart and hip clinics. “OHA is there to provide whatever fanciers in that particular area need or want. We constantly promote responsible ownership as well as health and welfare,” Robischon emphasizes.
OHA was one of the groups to lobby for emergency medical equipment and personnel at dog shows. Robischon also notes that they implemented a scholarship program before AKC.
“Each year OHA offers three $1,000 scholarships, in the name of Charlie Westfield, Harry Proctor and a third without a name attached to it yet. Scholarships must go to a person in the fancy, although they don’t have to be an OHA member or a junior,” Robischon explains. Junior Showmanship has also been a priority. Each year at Westminster OHA presents bonds for $50 to $250 to the top 10 OHA juniors.
“It’s a valid, well-recognized organization,” says Proctor, noting that OHA has succeeded admirably in its goal of providing representation for owner-handlers. She adds that she’s never let her membership lapse.
“When I was a registered handler I listed RHP, PHA and OHA memberships in my bio, and wore my OHA, PHA and RHP pins. Some people were surprised by this. But I still showed my own dogs, so why wouldn’t I maintain my OHA membership? Professionals and owner-handlers are just two groups within the same community. Together, we represented the whole sport, which is a cool thing,” Proctor says.
For more information on OHA contact www.canineworld.com/oha or
Vickie Glickstein, membership chairperson
1901 Edge Hill Rd.
Abington, PA 19001
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