Highs and Lows
Went to the Cavalier Club Championship Show today - about 350 Cavaliers milling around in the KC building at Stoneleigh. Encountered some highs and some lows. A personal high was the results of Oliver and Aled's heart checks by Simon Swift - just a quick once-over with stethescope, but both their murmur grades have stayed the same. Oliver (at nearly 11) has been a 2 for 2 years, and Aled (nearly 5) (which especially pleases me) has now stuck at a Grade 3 for 3 years.
A couple more encouraging things were meeting the owners of two of the latest champions. I helped the owner of the bitch distribute leaflets at Crufts a few years ago, encouraging exhibitors to send their scan results to the EBV project. Her champion girl has three SM-clear generations behind her - it can be done. And the newest dog champion, aged 4, has clear eyes, heart and MRI scan, and an unusually small Chiari Malformation - his neurologist encouraged his owner to breed from him and hopefully pass on this feature to his offspring. But I remember talking to the owner when this dog had just won his first CC at 18 months and people were already asking to use him at stud - completely ignoring the breeding protocol; he was scanned clear again at 2.5, but so far has not been used very much at stud because people don't like his heavy markings - for some people, looking pretty is apparently more important than health. So that was a low!
My general impression, chatting to a few people I know, was that there is a more general acceptance that SM is a major problem - which doesn't mean that there aren't still some ostriches around! Or that people aren't tempted to breed from unscanned or affected dogs, or dogs with low grade heart murmurs, human nature being what it is.
Another nice high was watching a friend's bitch in the Veteran class. She is 13, still has a clear heart, a daughter of Margaret C's Monty, white-faced and rather hairy, but so enjoying her day out - just what a Cavalier should be. Another of this friend's dogs has been scanned (clear) under the Rupert's Fund scheme.
And a funny thing happened as I walked into the building: I was greeted by name by someone I didn't know, who also knew the dog's names! When she said her own name, I realised that she 'listened in' to Cavalier Talk, had obviously read one of my posts where I mentioned I was taking my two for their heart checks, and concluded that this person in fleece and jeans with a rucksack on her shoulder and two rather scruffy dogs could only be me! Fame!
Oliver thought he was in heaven with all those girls around! And Aled was pretty relaxed, which pleased me.
Kate, Oliver and Aled