President – Beth Mercier (2023)

Although I have had dogs all my life, I met my first Portuguese Water Dog almost 20 years at a gas station near Ft. Myers, Florida, while my family was vacationing in the area. After talking to the owner and doing my own research on the breed, my family decided to add a Portuguese Water Dog to the family when we lost our beloved Newfoundland. We had always enjoyed Working and Sporting dogs and found them to be great companions for our two sons. We live in St. Marys on the Georgia coast and wanted to have a dog that would enjoy the water as much as we do. My husband jokes that he remembers agreeing to “a dog” but never expected that we would share our home with five Portuguese Water Dogs.

I hired a handler to show my first Portuguese Water Dog after being convinced by his groomer that he needed to be shown. He finished his AKC CH quickly, and I was hooked on the sport of conformation. I continued to use professional handlers to show my other PWDs until 2019, when I decided to show Blaze myself and participate in both the PWDCA Owner Handler program and the AKC NOHS. At the 2019 National Specialty, I owner-handled Blaze to Select Bitch, Award of Merit and Owner Handled Best of Breed, achievements beyond my wildest hopes. Blaze became the #1 AKC NOHS Working Dog in 2019. In December of 2019, we won the Owner Handled Working Group at the NOHS Finals at the AKC Nationals in Orlando, a wonderful finale to our amazing owner handled journey.

In addition to conformation, my dogs and I have competed in Obedience, Rally and water. My dogs have also worked as therapy dogs for children with reading disabilities and autism. As a result of this experience, I helped to found Guiding Light Assistance Dogs, G.L.A.D., to not only provide therapy dogs for schools and hospitals but to also work with at risk youth to train dogs for therapy programs.

I am a member of the PWDCA and the USSPWD and have participated in Fun Days, dry land training, water camp, and Meet the Breeds at the AKC National. I served as trophy chair for the PWDCA National held in Callaway Gardens, Georgia. I enjoy every opportunity to bond with this amazing breed and their people.

Along with our love of Portuguese Water Dogs, my husband, Fred, and I share a passion for historic preservation and early southern material culture. Our never-ending restoration project is our 18th century home built by Nathaniel Pendleton, Alexander Hamilton’s second in his dual with Aaron Burr, that was enlarged in 1830 by General John Floyd, head of the Georgia Militia in the War of 1812. I also serve on the boards of Old Salem Museum and Gardens and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and on the Decorative Arts Advisory Committee for the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia.

I am Vice President of Customer Experience for digital banking provider, Q2, based in Austin, Texas. My career in financial services spans over 30 years with organizations including the Federal Reserve, IBM, and Intuit. I hold a BS in Industrial Management from The Georgia Institute of Technology and have completed the Graduate School of Banking graduate studies program at Louisiana State University.


Treasurer – Beth Dixon


Secretary – Kim Kluckman (2023)
Kim got her first PWD, “Brizo” in 2018. Brizo has been nonstop fun ever since. Kim loves the water almost as much as Brizo. When not working and training with Brizo, Kim enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, rowing, and sailing.


Director – Marcia Bingham (2023)

Director (2023) – Ken Melson


Director (2023) – Toni McHugh


Director (2023) – Jennifer Wenk

My love affair with PWDs began in 1999 with Joker, a five-year old whose owner could no longer care for him. He came to me on American Airlines and lived with me for 8 years be­fore he suddenly died of what we thought was hemangiosarcoma. Since then there have been 4 other PWDs in the lives of myself and my husband, Pete. We currently have two PWDs, having recently lost our 13 year-old rescued PWD, Walker. We live in Beaufort NC and par­ticipate in Water and Agility. Pete and I have belonged to Movers & Shakers for 10 years and during that time I have served as web diva for the Club’s website. I have served as the Regional Rescue Representative for the Movers and Shakers PWD Club of the Carolinas since 2012. I also serve as Secretary on the Board of PWDCA Rescue. When not working with our PWDS, I fly a 1946 Aeronca Champ for fun and relaxation, or when the weather is not good, dabble in fiber arts. I am just now learning how to spin wool for yarns.



Regional SpecialtyToni McHugh/Beth
2022 Water Trial  
Water Trial Host Committee