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View Full Version : CKCSC,USA Dumps MVD Breeding Protocol



RodRussell
7th September 2010, 11:35 PM
The CKCSC,USA's board of directors has dumped the MVD breeding protocol which it approved 12 years ago. The club has given up on heart-health in future generations of Cavaliers. Read about it here: http://www.cavalierhealth.org/editorial.htm

anniemac
8th September 2010, 12:08 AM
Wow! So are they giving up instead of finding solutions? Should we just give up on trying to have a healthy breed because people are not following protocal. I wish the people who do are pointed out instead of focusing on those that don't. If we have this knowledge and do nothing what is that doing. I am sorry that I am upset but I found out more bad news about ella and I am not going to give up. I guess hopes for sm breeding protocal is a joke. Maybe not all people follow it but educate others about those that do. I love this breed as does everyone else. I apologize but I admire those who are helping and this is a step backwards. I am not a breeder but someone who loves the breeders who fight for their health.

Karlin
8th September 2010, 12:30 AM
Absolutely extraordinary, Rod–especially at a time when the breed is very clearly under pressure from numerous health issues. I fully agree with your editorial and think it is worth adding for anyone who doesn't know, that Simon Swift is the UK cavalier club's own cardiologist and hence, well familiar with and knowledgeable about heart results in this breed, and from show breeder dogs. This is not simply a puppy farm or backyard bred cavalier issue.

Pat
8th September 2010, 12:52 AM
Disappointing but not terribly surprising. Gotta "keep up" with the competing club so as not to alienate breeders, right? Priorities and constituency still in the right order and all that.

I don't suppose there will be minutes reflecting exactly how each member voted?

Rod, are you going to send a link to Buchanan, Beardow, Keene and the rest of the stellar panel?

Pat
Former Director, CKCSC, USA National Board
Present at the 1998 Heart Symposium
(Stopped renewing CKCSC USA membership about the year 2000 for reasons that are sadly obvious)

RodRussell
8th September 2010, 01:04 AM
The CKCSC,USA board voted unanimously on this motion, but they probably will argue that they thought they were doing a wonderful thing, because the motion included recommended guidelines on hips, eyes, and patellas as well. If that is what they thought, then abject ignorance abounds on that board.

Here is the motion which they approved at the April 29, 2010 meeting:

"Teresa Murphy moved that the CKCSC,USA institute the following recommended guidelines for health testing prior to breeding any Cavalier: CKCSC,USA Recommended Guidelines for Cavaliers Health Testing: The CKCSC,USA recommends that prior to breeding any Cavalier, the dog have 1) a clear rating at two years of age from an auscultation by a board certified veterinary cardiologist; 2) a normal rating or within CERF breeder options from a screening by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist; 3) no evidence of patella luxation from an evaluation by a licensed veterinarian; and 4) a passing grade from an X-ray for hip dysplasia submitted to the OFA. It is further recommended that subsequent periodic exams be conducted for hearts, eyes, and patella luxation. Results of the most recent health clearances should be provided to the owners of both the stud dog and brood bitch at the time of breeding. Vickie Herring seconded. Passed unanimously."

The board of directors of this club consists of: David Frederick, Robbi Jones, Teresa Murphy, Vickie Herring, Ricky Perkins, Jody Sutton, Mary Grace Eubank, Barbara Grimm Curley, Nicole Parente, Bruce Henry, Paula Ayers, Linda Kornhi, and Kathy Gentil.

Karlin
8th September 2010, 01:34 AM
It amazes me that there has been no public discussion of this at all amongst breeders. At the very least, I would have thought that there would be a number of breeders who would have objected to this turning away from an established protocol and voiced concern. Given that this happened in late April, it leaves one wondering whether this action has been kept quiet, or whether there was no objection from the entire club membership to dumping the protocol they once pioneered. I can't imagine this step having been taken without at least some people publicly voicing alarm a few years ago.

I can't understand how they have rationalised lowering the age for auscultations and breeding. Even 2.5 was a compromise! -- if I recall, part of that transcript of the original proceedings includes a comment by one of the cardiologists that really waiting til 5 to breed would be much preferable but he recognised this wasn't really workable for breeders to wait so long. I guess now the CKCSC has decided it is OK to start lopping chunks off the waiting period with little regard for that particular, inconvenient fact.

RodRussell
8th September 2010, 02:07 AM
I received the Summer 2010 issue of The Bulletin today. That was the first notice I had that the board had done anything at all.

Karlin
8th September 2010, 02:12 AM
I am sure it will now come to the attention of many who didn't know this had happened -- but also am really shocked that there has been no public discussion by members of that club as some must have known this had been passed.

No mention of anything to do with SM either... not even a suggested scanning as part of the best practice approach to breeding. :-?

tara
8th September 2010, 02:53 AM
Wow. Am I reading this right -- as far as heart testing goes, there really only needs to be ONE test done at age 2 (of both sire and dam)? No subsequent testing? The way I read it says that you could take your dog to the cardiologist for an exam at age 2, then breed him or her for life (if clear). Isn't the percentage of dogs with murmurs showing by age 2 or younger very slim?

I wonder, like Karlin, just how far this news spread among breeders. Although there are some very prominent (and prolific) breeders listed as members who voted in the affirmative. Thankfully, Holly's breeder is not one of them. I need to "check in" with her anyway, I'll ask what she knows of this.

Here's the thing that makes me really sad. I have a good friend who really wants a cavalier puppy. I'm struggling with guiding her through the breeder process. It's already hard enough to try to counterbalance the crap breeders out there trying to sell her a puppy. Now, all that I've been preaching about health protocol and sticking with Old Club breeders (at least) is questionnable as well. When I looked for a puppy, at least I could stick to the breeding protocol when asking breeders about their program. It was a minimum threshold I could have in the back of my mind when talking with breeders. It seems as though there are now no real guidelines to help the general public who are just learning about the breed. There are no clear rules separating the health conscious from the not. I know (or at least hope) the same health focused breeders will adhere to the old protocol. But what about the ones who were a bit "murkier?" How does the public decipher amongst those programs?

This is so frustrating.

lovecavaliers
8th September 2010, 01:39 PM
This was so sad to read. THis wonderful breed needs stricter breeding guidlines not weaker ones. I love this breed tremendously. If there is anything as a pet owner I can do, please let me know. This really made me sad to hear.

RodRussell
8th September 2010, 03:06 PM
... If there is anything as a pet owner I can do, please let me know. ...

Yes, there is. If you are a member of the CKCSC,USA, vote against the incumbents on the board. If you are not a member, and you live in the USA, join the club and then vote against them.

If you ever have the opportunity to discuss Cavalier heart health with another owner or a prospective one, bring the subject up and tell them about the need to follow the REAL MVD breeding protocol.

anniemac
8th September 2010, 05:38 PM
Rod,

I can't remember but the person who asked what us pet owners could do was something I wondered also but what my conversation last night with someone who is a member of both the CKCSC USA and the ACKCSC said that she had not heard about it. She said she just got the bulletin in the mail today (yesterday) and is interested in this. I really respect this person because she has been so helpful to me. She is no longer a breeder (she has Cavaliers with SM) but she was. She has told me before a breeders point of view that I think is also heartbreaking. Yes this is terrible and she said she wanted to look at it further because things can be interpreted wrong. She has told me that breeders get a bad name and I think that some should but I would like to mention her story. She has breed a line of Cavaliers that have been like family. She is especially concerned with their health having two Cavaliers with SM and it is the reason she is no longer breeding. Her line has come to an end. I know their are good breeders out there and the ones that are aware and doing things for the health and future of the breed should be recognized. It is such a tough, hard issue and one that has many views.

I know I am a pet owner but I have heard from several different people. I have seen the good sides of breeding for healthier dogs, the bad side of breeders. I am wanting to become a member of the ACKCSC and think that it is important for the local clubs to get involved. I can say negative things about the clubs in the US but I also see some good and what you said about where to start is a good point.

I have been invitied to a regional club meeting which I am going to start to participate and join. I think that these clubs are not just for breeders, but for any Cavalier lover or owner. It is our voice that can make a difference. I was told that they need younger people and more people so why not start there. This meeting had some people from the board that was going to attend. I unfortunately did not go because of an emergency of Ella. I even talked to another person who said maybe you could be part of the health commitee in the future.

I just want to share that this former (breeder) made an effort to get me introduced to certain people and is trying to get me to meet some people. She knows about SM and would love for more things to be done.

I would like to point out that this could be a turn backwards but let's look forward. I may be young and not be experienced with the breed for 30 years but I do have a love for them and I want to know more. My friend said that a lot of these board members are getting older and they need young blood. (Is that true?) So I agree with you Rod about joining the club but I would point out to look at the Regional Clubs. You will have more of a voice there.

RodRussell
8th September 2010, 08:10 PM
... So I agree with you Rod about joining the club but I would point out to look at the Regional Clubs. You will have more of a voice there.

Pet Cavalier owners may join the CKCSC,USA and vote in officer and board elections. Non-breeders may not join the ACKCSC as voting members. So, I recommend that every pet owner with a CKCSC,USA-registered Cavalier join the club and nominate health-conscious candidates and elect them. A board which unanimously dumps the MVD breeding protocol deserves to be dumped, too.

tara
8th September 2010, 09:42 PM
Thanks, Rod. I had no idea I could vote in elections, nominate people, etc. Holly is registered in the Old Club and I joined as well.

MurphysMummy
8th September 2010, 10:08 PM
This may sound silly/harsh but,
Do they not realise that
If they dont use the MVD Breeding Protocol
They won't be able to breed anymore (in the far future)
Because there won't be cavaliers - they will all be so, so ill with MVD and all the other hereditary diseases our beloved cavaliers carry.
Its like the clubs want cavaliers to fade out. When us cavi lovers really don't want that to happen, something MUST be done.
When i'm older and have my own home I want to own cavaliers - HEALTHY cavaliers. But in 10 years time, when I'm 26 and have my own home, I feel it may be impossible to have a healthy cavalier :( :( :( this is so sad.

lovecavaliers
9th September 2010, 01:29 AM
I just finished my online membership application for the CKCSC, USA and will most definitely vote in upcoming elections, thanks for the info Rod

sins
9th September 2010, 03:35 PM
Any time a retrograde step is taken with regard to cavalier health, it's to be expected that canine press/bloggers/columnists will come down like a tonne of bricks.
Patrick Burns never pulls his punches..check out his blog (http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2010/09/cavaliers-crap-breed-that-will-stay.html)
Sins

anniemac
9th September 2010, 04:40 PM
I just read that blog and it is so frustrating. I have so much I would like to say and did a lot of thinking last night. When Rod first posted this thread, I started to google and came across some threads on this forum back when BBC PDE was aired. It is not the same but one comment post from that thread stuck out to me from Karlin. Someone said they would no longer buy a Cavalier from a show breeder. I have seen that a lot recently and I am sorry if you don't mind me quoting you Karlin but you stated this:

Karlin
16th January 2009, 01:56 PM
There are many ethical, health focused breeders. There are very (at most a tiny handful!) few non-show breeders who do anything remotely close to the effort put into breeding properly for health AND conformation that a dedicated show breeder will put in. The only ones I know of are former show breeders who do not now actively show, for a range of reasons. Non show breeders start with poor quality dogs in most cases because reputable, health focused breeders would never even consider selling such people breeding dogs.

Please do not even consider looking for a puppy, ever, from a non show breeder on the mistaken assumption that such people will focus more on health! The exact opposite is generally the case but many will advertise to imply they 'do tests' and focus on health.

I have posted guidelines for finding a puppy from a reputable, health focused breeder in the Library. This, as with anything worthwhile in life, takes time and dedication. If anyone can find a nonshow breeder who can produce the documentation I recommend then go ahead and consider them for a puppy. But I wouldn't count on it.

Better to opt for a rescue cavalier if finding a good breeder seems impossible. :) They always need caring homes. :thmbsup:

I think the thing that has frustrated me the most is not my breeder who is a member of the CKCSC USA and the ACKCSC because she actually educated me on some things, but the many tweets and ads I see for "healthy" Cavaliers on Ebay and classified. It is easy to attack a club but I am sure they have a huge responsibility and a lot of people count on them. I still have a lot to learn and when things calm down from Ella and hearing that a Cavalier did not make it through surgery yesterday, I will be able to think more clearly.

There is so much to be said and after all of this reading

http://www.10news.com/news/24933855/detail.html (http://www.10news.com/news/24933855/detail.html) where someone sued a breeder over not having AKC registration papers and health problems. All I am trying to say is that politics is overwhelming especially dealing with a sick loved one. To the people that I have noticed on threads for several years, you have gone through a lot. I know so have others. Like people tell me when I tell the story of Ella "I wish I could wave a magic wand" I do too. I can see why some breeders could get discouraged because they have a big responsibility. When you read a blog like that and some other negative things, I feel their pain. I am going to think more about this and I hate to see the step backwards, but for now I guess the battle begins.

By the way, has anyone heard why this was voted? I know Rod you said you were interested to hear from people who voted.

Karlin
9th September 2010, 04:56 PM
I would amend my comments in that post at least slightly in that the ONLY breeder I know of in all of Ireland, north and south, who has MRId and had her dogs graded by a neurologist who actually is part of the proper grading scheme, who will be early next year have scanned all her dogs, and who uses a cardiologist annually for all her dogs and not a vet, and who currently is only breeding her A dogs (she had some very good scan results) is a non show breeder who while a member of the IKC, is not a member of the (very retrograde) Irish CKCS Club -- which seems to do almost nothing about breed health or educating its members. It has never once had a cardiologist at a show for low cost auscultations, for example -- something that is common in the UK and US and Canada (and probably Australia and other countries too). However she has shown in the past and is familiar with the show scene. She decided she would rather breed for health. She also supports breed rescue and research. If anyone in Ireland is considering a puppy and wants more information, PM me privately for contact details. Otherwise I'd recommend working with one of the health focused UK breeders. I'd welcome information if anyone knows of anyone else on the island of Ireland doing the same. :thmbsup:

Margaret C
10th September 2010, 06:16 PM
Any time a retrograde step is taken with regard to cavalier health, it's to be expected that canine press/bloggers/columnists will come down like a tonne of bricks.
Patrick Burns never pulls his punches..check out his blog (http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2010/09/cavaliers-crap-breed-that-will-stay.html)
Sins


It is painful reading, Terrierman is very harsh, but there are parts of it that are true.

The fault lies with the breeders, the breed clubs and the Kennel Clubs.

In the past breeders hid the health problems from each other & the pet owning public.

Breed clubs, at best, issued health protocols that they knew were uniformly ignored by the majority of their members and they did nothing to change that.
Now it seems that the problem of non-compliance in the USA is being tackled by watering down protocols to make them more palatable to breeders, despite the fact that it will render them completely ineffective.

The Kennel Clubs washed their hands of the situation by saying it was for the breeders to identify health problems & then approach them.
The UK Kennel Club knew for years, decades, about the health problems that were showing up in pedigree dogs and they offered no guidance, issued no warnings, and offered no encouragement to those that tried to raise awareness of health issues.


It is heartbreaking what is happening to these lovely sweet little dogs. It is not just SM & MVD. There are other conditions, Dry Eye/Curly Coat, Episodic Falling Syndrome that are known to be inherited problems.
I now feel the need to warn puppy buyers that cavaliers are very health compromised indeed and if they do buy a cavalier the first thing they should do is get it insured.

I am scared that the health issues in cavaliers are too severe for cavaliers to survive as a breed that is suitable as a family pet. The cost in money & emotional heartbreak will be too much.

And before breeders trot out their anecdotes of their golden oldies, I will say that I have a nearly 14 year old here, still managing okay, despite MVD & mild SM, but he is an exception, dogs like him are more and more one-offs, most of their litter mates will have not lived anywhere near as long.

Most of the next generations of cavaliers are likely to have very expensive, painful, and distressing illnesses long before they reach anything like that age

From the point of view of the future of the breed I do think it is a shame that so many of the people that care, like anniemacs breeder, are giving up breeding because they have seen how the dogs are affected by SM.
I understand their dread of producing affected puppies, but I do wish they could steel themselves to try breeding a litter or two for health, not for the show ring, complying wholeheartedly with the SM & MVD guidelines.
It is the only way to see if the guidelines will help us to breed back to a healthier dog.

When compassionate breeders like this give up they are leaving the way clear for the callous breeders who just want to breed without any hindrance. This includes those club breeders who breed from untested cavaliers or young cavaliers whose age makes their health certificates useless.

The latest Breed Record Supplement show one club member with a young bitch producing her second litter at 22 months, mated two seasons running. Breeding cavaliers should not be left to people like this.
Are actions like this any better than puppy farming? Club members know what they should be doing and why they should be testing. As their puppies will become the next generation of show breeding stock they do more harm to the breed as a whole than any BYB or puppy farmer.

Fortunately there are some people that are still breeding to the MVD & SM protocols. I often have details of such litters to pass on to puppy buyers.

anniemac
10th September 2010, 06:47 PM
Margaret,

The breeder is actually not my breeder but someone else and I think it is more because of cost of having the dogs scanned. She is very active and I am not going to speak for her, but I think there are a lot of issues here. I see everything being done and I am so happy for that. I think maybe I am thinking too big. As a pet owner and not a breeder, I feel it is important to make sure that before someone buys a Cavalier they are asking the breeder the questions and are educated. I know there will always be people that do not do this. The breeders that are following trying breed clear or follow the SM/MVD protocals and are focused on all of their health issus, should be the ones people are supporting.

Yesterday, I was thinking that people would be more focused on the problem being a show issue and then buy a Cavalier from someone that is not doing testing at all. Then today I thought people are still going to assume that when people write AKC etc. "healthy" puppies that it is true. If it makes people not want to get a Cavalier and then maybe it will weed out all the ones I see online everyday. Then the people who are trying to figure out how to do whatever is needed to benefit the future health of the breed. It is so complicated and I am not a smart person and I have not been involved for very long.

Knowledge is key and that is why I wanted to share Ella's story. I am still learning things everyday. I don't want to fall in love with her only to lose her 4 years later. I think that in the US people are more concerned with AKC registration and that isn't anything with health. I have heard people say they will never get another Cavalier again because of what they have gone through. I hate that because I love them so much but it has really changed me forever. I respect the people that have been on this forum for so long and I just want to do what is best but I don't know the best thing to do but I don't want to not do anything.

Believe me, I have contacted the Clubs and actually talked to someone that is real influential and what they said was alarming. I have tried to email the treasurer to see how I can spread awareness and have people donate but got no response. I see what people are doing in Canada and the UK and I know we have great neurologists, but I think there are a lot of things that could be done in conjunction.

We need to unite hands across the globe to support this great breed. Pet owners need to be involved, Clubs, Researchers, and everyone to come together. If only that could happen :p

anniemac
10th September 2010, 06:50 PM
Also, if we could get a celebrity to get involved, not that would do wonders!! :p I am dreamer

Bet
10th September 2010, 07:57 PM
It is painful reading, Terrierman is very harsh, but there are parts of it that are true.

The fault lies with the breeders, the breed clubs and the Kennel Clubs.

In the past breeders hid the health problems from each other & the pet owning public.

Breed clubs, at best, issued health protocols that they knew were uniformly ignored by the majority of their members and they did nothing to change that.
Now it seems that the problem of non-compliance in the USA is being tackled by watering down protocols to make them more palatable to breeders, despite the fact that it will render them completely ineffective.

The Kennel Clubs washed their hands of the situation by saying it was for the breeders to identify health problems & then approach them.
The UK Kennel Club knew for years, decades, about the health problems that were showing up in pedigree dogs and they offered no guidance, issued no warnings, and offered no encouragement to those that tried to raise awareness of health issues.


It is heartbreaking what is happening to these lovely sweet little dogs. It is not just SM & MVD. There are other conditions, Dry Eye/Curly Coat, Episodic Falling Syndrome that are known to be inherited problems.
I now feel the need to warn puppy buyers that cavaliers are very health compromised indeed and if they do buy a cavalier the first thing they should do is get it insured.

I am scared that the health issues in cavaliers are too severe for cavaliers to survive as a breed that is suitable as a family pet. The cost in money & emotional heartbreak will be too much.

And before breeders trot out their anecdotes of their golden oldies, I will say that I have a nearly 14 year old here, still managing okay, despite MVD & mild SM, but he is an exception, dogs like him are more and more one-offs, most of their litter mates will have not lived anywhere near as long.

Most of the next generations of cavaliers are likely to have very expensive, painful, and distressing illnesses long before they reach anything like that age

From the point of view of the future of the breed I do think it is a shame that so many of the people that care, like anniemacs breeder, are giving up breeding because they have seen how the dogs are affected by SM.
I understand their dread of producing affected puppies, but I do wish they could steel themselves to try breeding a litter or two for health, not for the show ring, complying wholeheartedly with the SM & MVD guidelines.
It is the only way to see if the guidelines will help us to breed back to a healthier dog.

When compassionate breeders like this give up they are leaving the way clear for the callous breeders who just want to breed without any hindrance. This includes those club breeders who breed from untested cavaliers or young cavaliers whose age makes their health certificates useless.

The latest Breed Record Supplement show one club member with a young bitch producing her second litter at 22 months, mated two seasons running. Breeding cavaliers should not be left to people like this.
Are actions like this any better than puppy farming? Club members know what they should be doing and why they should be testing. As their puppies will become the next generation of show breeding stock they do more harm to the breed as a whole than any BYB or puppy farmer.

Fortunately there are some people that are still breeding to the MVD & SM protocols. I often have details of such litters to pass on to puppy buyers.

CKCSC,USA DUMPS MVD BREEDING PROTOCOL

Could I say how much I agree with Margaret's Post.

I can't quote Cavalier Figures for their SM Problem, but this must be an Eye-Opener to many who Love our Cavalier Breed.

There are nearly 100% of Cavaliers at 10 years of Age who are suffering from MMVD.

In Britain that means ,since around 10,000 Cavaliers are Registered yearly by the Kennel Club, so at the Present time there will be nearly 100,000 Cavaliers at 10 years who have MMVD.

This is a Frightening Figure.

Will there be any Cavalier to-day who is not a Carrier of the MMVD Gene, no matter their Age.

As has been said by Terrierman in his Article,is it a Fact now that the Cavalier Breed just can't be Saved
and the Cavalier World should stop acting as if it can.

With those MMVD Figures how is it possible for Cavaliers to have a Future.

I am sorry to be so Depressed about this, but what can be done.

To me there just is no answer ,unless the Genes for SM and MMVD are Found.

Bet



What can be done?

Margaret C
10th September 2010, 08:00 PM
Margaret,

I think maybe I am thinking too big. As a pet owner and not a breeder, I feel it is important to make sure that before someone buys a Cavalier they are asking the breeder the questions and are educated. I know there will always be people that do not do this. The breeders that are following trying breed clear or follow the SM/MVD protocals and are focused on all of their health issus, should be the ones people are supporting.

The bigger the thinking the better.

You are right, breeders that follow the correct health protocols, no matter how inconvenient, are the people that should be supported. They are often cavalier club members, but some non-members do become aware of the problems and breed responsibly.

Cavalier buyers need to ask the important questions, the problem is when they first decide to get a dog how would they know that there are big health problems in cavaliers?
The UK Cavalier Club now has a lot more information on their website, but I don't think the same can be said for American Clubs ( or some of the UK regional clubs )

How do buyers get advice on what to ask? How do they know when they are being fooled by breeders that convincingly talk the talk?

Some of the breeders seem able to convince themselves that having one or two scans done on very young dogs enables them to declare that they do "all the health testing"
With that level of self-deceit and denial, puppy buyers are easily deceived.

It appears that even the USA 'Old Club', once renown for its high standards, now feels able to water down health protocols, and somehow present the changes as being good for cavaliers.

No, good for the breeders, very very bad for individual dogs and the future of the breed.


It is so complicated and I am not a smart person and I have not been involved for very long.

It is complicated.
You are asking really smart questions, & that means we can explain the true situation to all those that are new to the politics of cavalier health testing and breeding.


I have heard people say they will never get another Cavalier again because of what they have gone through. I hate that because I love them so much but it has really changed me forever. I respect the people that have been on this forum for so long and I just want to do what is best but I don't know the best thing to do but I don't want to not do anything.

There is no right way to help. Others will learn a lot from your experiences with Ella, so just keep asking for answers, learn all you can and write it down in your blog.
Keep demanding answers from the breed clubs.


We need to unite hands across the globe to support this great breed. Pet owners need to be involved, Clubs, Researchers, and everyone to come together. If only that could happen :p

I second that

anniemac
10th September 2010, 09:24 PM
Margaret,

Thank you so much for that information. I think people don't have a clue about what is going on with this breed. People want to hear good and fun things but not want to know the real issues. I think that is one thing to do is focus on the positive steps. What is being done that a lot of people do not even knows about. Even before Ella got Syringomyelia, I sent out newsletters to an informal Cavalier meet-up group. I wrote something about SM and thankfully I did. When I got Ella's neurologist to agree to come talk to anyone in Charlotte about SM, there was only a couple of people that came. I guess that is more than before.

I commend what Tania is doing on Cavalier Matters and I am still thinking of things that I can do. We have actually talked about some things because it would be good to really get people involved, but the trick is to how to get people to listen. I think that having a face to the story is always good.

I would love to talk to some people in the US about things. I have an open mind, an open heart, and I want to learn as much as I can and do as much as possible.

Thank you