Melissa Hepler is not only our tracking judge for this year’s LV DVG America National Championships, but she also serves LV DVG America as our esteemed LV President. We are especially privileged to have her join us this year as our tracking judge, and we are indebted to her for the work she does every day to make LV DVG America the best for all of us to enjoy!
“I was born and raised in Long Island, NY and moved to Miami when I was offered a softball scholarship to attend Barry University in Miami. Rather than return to northern winters, I remained in Florida and have lived in Punta Gorda, FL for the past 30 years.
I have worked in the veterinary field for most of my life. Inspired by the many unruly clients I met, I began my own pet dog training business in 2014. In 1995, I was looking for a German Shepherd and went to a local club and was introduced to Schutzhund. I attended that club for a while, met a friend there, and we started our own club, Peace River Schutzhund Club, in 1997. My first dog was a German Shepherd, and we earned our SchH1 and an AD. I have trained and titled 3 Malinois from BH to IGP 3. I have also trained and titled a Rottweiler from BH to IGP 3 and competed with him at the International Federation of Rottweilers World Championship in Spain in 2004.
I became a judge in 2013 because I wanted to encourage new members, inspire them, and help grow our sport. I believe a judge needs to be an active competitor to keep the feelings of handlers at heart. It does not matter if you are a regular Nationals level competitor, you always remember the first time you stepped on the field for a BH.
I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I look forward to seeing some great performances and wish all competitors success!”