Ann Viklund, Director of Conformation for the Purina Professional Engagement Team, has contributed immensely to Purina’s support of the dog fancy. When Ann joined Purina in 1997 as a Field Promotions Representative, Purina was just beginning to partner with enthusiasts.
Ann’s team represents Purina at more than 200 dog shows a year, helping to educate enthusiasts about Purina nutrition and building relationships. “We work hard to synchronize with the needs of the dog fancy, and this comes back to us through feeding recommendations,” Ann says. “Our commitment to sponsor all-breed and specialty dog shows is unparalleled.”
There are many examples of Purina’s commitment to the fancy, all which have been influenced by Ann’s guidance and input. They include the multimillion dollar, state-of-the-art Purina Event Center at Purina Farms in Gray Summit, Mo.; the Pro Plan Champions Cup honoring the top four show dogs in more than 200 Purina-sponsored shows each year; the Santa Barbara Kennel Club Breeder’s Showcase; and Purina sponsorship of the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Ann represents Purina on the board of directors of the AKC Canine Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization to which Purina has donated over $10 million since 1997. “We share a commitment to improve the lives of dogs and their owners everywhere through our support of canine health research,” she says.
Ann’s love of dogs, particularly Labrador Retrievers and Norwich Terriers, is a passion she shares with her husband, Max, a professional trainer of hunting and field trial Labrador Retrievers for more than 20 years. Under the Berry Ridge prefix, they have produced elite Grand Hunting Retriever Champions and Field Champions, including FC-AFC Jet Black Bustin Thru the Brush, MH, as well as conformation champion Norwich Terriers.
Describing their breeding of sporting Labradors, Ann says, “We want our dogs to be easy to train, have drive and desire, and be competitive, but we also want them to be good companions for life. It is so important to feed a quality dog food from the beginning of a puppy’s life to help it reach its full potential. Properly fed dogs have healthy, shiny coats, proper body condition, feel good, and have more stamina.”
Today, at their home in Coulterville, Ill., Ann and Max have four Labradors and two Norwich Terriers, plus an eclectic mix of farm animals, including 10 different breeds of chickens and three goats.