Meet the Millennials, Part Three
Editorial notes: Recently, there has been a conversation sparked in the fancy about “Millennials” (Anyone born between 1981 and 1996) – their commitments, work ethic and value to the conformation community. ADF is proud to offer this series highlighting the positive contributions of this hard-working, passionate and diverse demographic as they’re a growing asset to the sport of purebred dogs.
NAME: Kayley Paylor
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1990
BREED(S): Exhibit, Trial, and Breed Azawakh, Trial Saluki, Taigan
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PUREBRED DOGS? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED?
My first purebred dog turns 9 this year and is a rescue Saluki. I got him in my early 20s after multiple breeders refused to sell to me. He’s been ranked nationally in AKC and ASFA lure coursing as well as LGRA amateur straight racing and has earned a Best in Field.
I got my first Azawakh three years after I got my Saluki after doing extensive research into the breed and community. He was my first show dog, my first performance dog, and one of my foundation dogs. My oldest Azawakh, Anubi, turns 6 this year. He has been an incredible introduction to the dog world and has three dozen titles and well over a dozen breed first titles. I have had Azawakh ranked in the top ten for AKC conformation (Breed, All Breed, and NOHS), UKC conformation, AKC lure coursing, ASFA lure coursing, LGRA amateur straight racing, NOTRA amateur oval racing, NACA open field coursing, and NAFA flyball.
ARE YOU A BREEDER? IF NOT, DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO BREED?
Yes, I have bred two litters and have litter plans this year.
DO YOU HAVE ANY MENTORING?
I am a professional dog trainer and had phenomenal mentors in that regard. When I started out in conformation and performance, I took a lot of classes, learned from a lot of people, but didn’t consider anyone specific a mentor.
These days I have people who mentor me in some aspects of breeding or my specific breed and I trust their opinions deeply. However, I do feel having started with minimal mentoring I am often comfortable amicably disagreeing with a mentor and walking my own path. When I mentor new fanciers myself I try very hard to present why I make the decisions I do but also help them walk the path that is best for them personally.
ARE YOU ACTIVE IN ANY CLUBS (BREED, ALL BREED)? IF NOT, WHAT WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO SO?
I am active in a couple sighthound performance clubs as well as a flyball club and a fledgling UKC breed club. Every time I have reached out to an AKC breed and all breed club I have generally felt unheard and unwelcome. I am happy to work hard and volunteer my time, especially in sports that have decreasing participation. Those clubs to which I devote my time have the following in common- they care that my personal dogs benefit from involvement in the club, they are willing to delegate and trust members to follow through with a project, they are willing to discuss not lecture, and they have adopted electronic and virtual infrastructure for everything from voting to meeting attendence to entry and payment.
HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE DOG SHOW COMMUNITY BEEN? HOW COULD IT BE IMPROVED?
I have met some of my very favorite people through the dog community. I am forever thankful to have people I can message or call no matter what the time when, for instance, my pregnant bitch never progresses in labor and fetal heartrate is failing. I am thankful to have a wonderful community of sighthound owners that can get me a referral to an experienced orthopedic surgeon after a lure coursing collision shattered my dog’s knee. I think the piece that often gets overlooked is when it counts, dog people will always be there to help a dog.
Where the dog community often fails? A dog’s owner is just as important as their dog. If we can’t value the human aspect of the dog world, we aren’t really doing our best by the dogs either. And the dog world can be truly nasty. Just recently I had a litter ad taken and used without permission to call my dogs mongrels. This was shared by prominent people within my breed. It often seems that anyone or anything new or different within the breed provokes dire criticism and derision.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU’RE ESPECIALLY PROUD OF?
When I take a moment to sit down and really look at everything my dogs and I have accomplished it makes my head spin. But the thing I am most proud of is my latest litter. I routinely hear from their owners and there is literally nothing more fulfilling than hearing how well those puppies are doing, now several months into their new homes. Even more so though, I am grateful and proud my puppy owners trust me enough to get in touch when things aren’t going picture perfect (after all, no one is perfect) so that we can problem solve together. One thing I’ve learned as a professional trainer- most owners tell their dog’s breeder what they love about their dog. However, it takes a lot of trust to approach their breeder when things could be going better.
WHAT IS/ ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES AS A MILLENNIAL IN DOGS?
Without a doubt in my mind the biggest obstacle is the assumption that millennials aren’t willing to work hard. This is the underlying belief that informs all of the systemic difficulties that we add millennials face.
I’ll also note the push for “Adopt Don’t Shop” has made fewer young people interested in purebred dogs. The fact that millennials have less wealth than previous generations impacts everything from entry numbers to there not being enough people with enough financial security to breed.
PC: Jumoke Photography (lure coursing), Campfire Photography (2022 Top 4 LGRA), Duguy Photography, Heather Butcher