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Caroline Kisko … a lifetime in dogs

Issue: 06/09/2019

Since 1998 Caroline Kisko has represented the Kennel Club on radio, TV and online. She has staunchly defended dogdom to all comers in her typically calm and dignified fashion.

Caroline has been the go-to person at the KC for the world’s media for over two decades, informing them about not just the dog showing world but all Kennel Club sports. 
Despite all the challenges that the organisation has faced over the last twenty years Caroline has been on hand to face them.

The daughter of two vets, Mike and Val Stockman, who were also dog breeders it is 
perhaps no surprise she ended up working for the KC and  acting as an advocate for    pedigree dogs.

Before going to university she whelped and reared a litter of Keeshonds. She made sure that when she went up to study Biology at Sussex she would be accompanied by her beloved dog Moppet (Valsgate Curlew).

A visit to Husky racing with her husband Chris ignited a passion for the sport and they have been enthusiastic participants ever since.

She told the Kennel Gazette in December 2015 that the highlight of her time in dogs ‘has to be husky racing.
‘The first time I won the six-dog championship, because in the UK our BSHRA championship is very professionally run and highly competitive and the six-dog class is still what everyone wants to win. 
‘So winning that the first time was great and doing it again was even better.’

Along with Simon Luxmoore the Kiskos were involved in setting up the British 
Siberian Husky Racing Association (BSHRA). Her commitment to the sport knows no bounds and she thinks nothing of getting up at 4.30 in the morning to spend time with the dogs before heading off to Clarges Street.

Caroline was involved in all the Kennel Club disciplines including Field Trials.

Originally, Caroline held ambitions of following in her parent’s footsteps and becoming a vet. 
Instead, after university she became involved in public relations and she was head-hunted to join the KC from Purina by Roger French, who was then Chief Executive and Secretary.

Even though taking the job meant a two and a half hour commute each way she took the job as head of PR in 1998.

Since 2000 she has been the Secretary of the KC and has been at the epicentre of its operations. On accepting that appointment Caroline gave up judging, having been approved to award CCs to her two breeds Keeshonds and Siberian Huskies. 

Most people will know Caroline from her communications duties. She has regularly appeared with Clare Balding during the coverage of Crufts and has often been heard defending dogs on Radio 4’s Today Programme.

National newspaper journalists will often cite Caroline as the person to speak to about anything that is Kennel Club related. Until last year every public statement or document that emanated would cross her desk first.

That was until the internal reorganisation of duties that took place at the KC last year. She remained the chief spokesperson but was no longer responsible for news releases.

Even though the communications brief was a chief part of her role she was also involved in other sides of the organisation and her extensive knowledge and experience were regularly sought after by other departments.

Over the years she has had to deal with her share of scandals from alleged poisoned dogs, campaigners invading the main ring at Crufts, fights at the world’s greatest dog show and individual breeds under attack from the press.

Possibly the biggest challenge she was faced at the organisation was dealing with the fall out after the broadcast of the Pedigree Dogs Exposed documentary in 2008. 

It was by using her PR skills that Caroline as able to maintain the KC’s credibility as the supporter and defender of dogs in this country after the serious attack made upon the institution by that programme.
In 2016 she came under attack herself from some quarters when it was felt she did not defend the decision of the German Shepherd Dog judge at Crufts to award the BOB to a dog that the television commentators thought was ‘lame’.
However, at the same time there were plenty of people in the dog showing world who agreed with her comments and were keen to support her position.

Recently, she supported the successful and award-winning campaign to bring in Lucy’s Law, the ban on the third-party sales of puppies in pet shops. KC support was an important factor in the ultimate success of Lucy’s Law.

During her long career Caroline’s focus has always been about the dogs. The fact she is a dog lover has enabled her to lead important campaigns by the KC on such issues like banning shock collars and eradicating puppy farming.

Less public has been the behind-the-scenes lobbying she has done on behalf of dogs to governments of both political persuasions.

For over twenty years she has given exemplary service to the Kennel Club and enabled it to continue to support dogs during a very difficult and unstable time in its history.

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