News & Events

Meet World Cynosport Rally Board Member Barbara Burri

Meet the people who will help grow the sport! By Brenna Fender

The World Cynosport Rally (WCR) Board consists of Barbara Burri, Janet Gaunt, Wendy Hilton, Kristen Hurwitz, Casey Lomonaco, Rita Ann Monde, Nancy Reyes, Kim Wilson, and Amy Wukotich. Over the next few weeks, we will be learning more about these folks through in-depth interviews here on the WCR website.

Today we are getting to know Barb Burri. Barb is from Plaistow, New Hampshire and has three Labrador Retrievers: 13-year-old Hawke, 10-year-old Kestrel, and 7-year-old Merlin. All three of Barb's Labs are TDI certified. They recently served to comfort those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. You can read more about that here.

Barb is involved with animals professionally as well as through rally and other dog sports. She refers to herself as a Veterinary Technician Educator/Member Services/Content Wrangler at Veterinary Support Personnel Network, plus she serves as adjunct faculty at Great Bay Community College's Veterinary Technology Program. We asked Barb a few questions about her experiences in rally and more:

Brenna Fender: How long have you been involved in rally?

Barb Burri: Eight years.

What other dog sports do you participate in?

Obedience, agility, tracking, nosework, and hunt tests.

What do you like about World Cynosport Rally?

The spirit of teamwork between dog and handler and the camaraderie among competitors.

What inspired you to become a board member for WCR?

Barb Burri and Kestrel pose with Charlene Swainamer after earning their ARCHMX3 title.
Photo courtesy of Jen Strubinger.

This is my favorite competition venue; it's upbeat, supportive, welcoming, and friendly and I wanted to play a role in WCR rally and to help facilitate a smooth transition [from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers].

Do you serve on other boards or as an officer in other organizations, dog-related and otherwise?

I'm the past president Labrador Retriever Club of Greater Boston, a board member of the Marshland Obedience Club, a board member of Labrador Retriever Rescue, past treasurer of Labrador Life Line, and former Plaistow Zoning Board member.

Do you have family members who are involved in dog sports as well?


I understand that you are very involved in canine therapy. Would you please tell us more about that?

Kestrel visits an assisted living/Alzheimer unit a few times a month.  Hawke is the reading dog at five libraries in the area and visits them monthly. Merlin has done some college exam relaxation work and a little library work; he doesn't have a regular gig.
This past month, Kestrel has been busy with the Boston Bombing memorial and work at Middlesex community college. So we've been doing work every week; this past Wednesday Kestrel and I got back from the college and it was time to take Hawke to the library! Its like being a soccer mom for therapy dogs.

I am very proud Hawke's TDIRVA [Therapy Dogs International Remarkable Volunteer Award] for 250 visits. She is closing in on 350 visits now.

Has training in rally and other sports affected your therapy work?

The therapy dog tests are like a Canine Good Citizen test with the added skills of working around medical equipment, leaving things alone, like food on the floor, working around children. My three dogs, because they are titled in so many venues and activities, are great in the car and can work in and out of tight spaces. Very little fazes them as they've seen i


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