Okay, I am not a diary keeper, heck I lose track of the days when the kids are off school but this whole episode (for wont of a better description) needs to be kept track of. So here goes!

December 2006

I see that the Midland Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club has a seminar in February on Syringomyelia, this is something I need to learn more about, I better book a ticket, the speaker is the neuoroliogist Geoff Skerritt of the Chestergates Referral Hospital and his team, could be enlightening!

February 17th 2007

I attend the seminar, I have only a very brief knowledge of SM but want/need to learn more, the talk is very informative, the scan pictures themselves show me far more than words or descriptions ever can, suddenly a picture of a Cavalier comes on the screen, in a room of a lot of long time breeders every-one still says "Awwwwwwwwwww!"
Martin Deutschland takes his turn and presents a case study, an actual post mortem of a Cavalier, he apologises for any discomfort we may feel, not one person in that room was repulsed, we were all wanting or needing to see what actually goes on with this condition. the seminar ends with a Q+A session where obviously the question is asked "Why can't the scans be cheaper?" it is explained about the cost of the MRI scanner itself and also the cost of having to have a team of 5-6 people there whenever a dog is scanned both to ensure the dog is properly sedated and OK during the scan , the personnel required to operate the scanner and finally the personnel required to interpret the scans. Mr.Skerritt says he would be prepared to negotiate a "special" price for Midland Club members as long as the club can guarantee numbers, we are all very interested!! It is left that it will be bought up in the next committee meeting in April to liase with Chestergates on the price, and that seminar attendee's will be given preferance.

Late February

Okay, I am getting increasingly concerned about this condition now, the researchers obviously need more help both with DNA/bloods and also with more dogs being MRI'D. After a lull in showing and breeding I am about to start thinking about breeding my girls again, to top quality dogs with the hope of creating some nice quality pups whom I can get back into the ring with, I have had a serious set back with 2 of my girls, this leaves the other side of my line, 3 sisters on whom my line now depends, they are line bred, a half brother to sister breeding, I know I need to breed away from my line right now, but what if? I think that once the Midland Club come up with a price and a date I need to get these girls MRI'd, I might have some trouble getting Mum and Dad to agree to allowing Tasha a scan, but I can try, after all she is still acctually mine!

March

Well both Tasha and Bella have been in heat, I have let them go over this time, waiting for dates for the MRI's.

Mid-March

Okay, Crystal is in heat, she has all her health certificates, I figure after all is said and done I will go ahead and mate her, if the scans show up anything untowards with her Sisters I will keep all the pups and monitor them throughout their lives, that is the most responsible thing to do.

Crystal is duly mated to the dog I have chosen almost 12 months to the day ago!

April

Midland Club have announced they have the dates for Chestergates MRI's!! I have recently gotten back online with a new computer and joined Cavalier Talk, this board is one where you CAN discuss health Issues without fear of retribution, I am still very much in 2 minds about the MRI scan, what if I find out something I don't want to? Quite frankly this scares the pants off me!! I have been breeding for over 10 years now, what if it has been for nothing? What if I have inadvertantly introduced something horrific to my line? The last thing I want is to bring puppies into this world with this condition, I need more time to think about this........


I spend a lot of May admiring all the pups on the boards, and enjoying reading about the puppyhoods they are enjoying, as a breeder I really enjoy this side of the boards, Yes I get photo's at Christmas from my puppy buyers but to see and read about pups as they grow and develop gives me great pleasure!

May 21st

U.S Breeder Bruce H has a started a thread on S.M, I think he is brave to do this and back him 110% in his comments, later that night I end up on the Parent Club site and looking at the slides from the seminar I have attended, the ad is there too for the MRI's, OK my mind is made up, I am going to scan Bella and Mum and Dad permitting, Tasha too, I NEED to know now, I resolve to ring the club secretary in the morning to book Bella's MRI. I can't do anything about Crystal, she is hopefully in whelp, we will see what her sisters MRI's throw up first.


I spend the next few days showing my parents the evidence on SM, the video's via Karlins Sm website, they are horrified! We speak to the vet who confirms there are no recorded cases in our area on his books at least, he admits he relies on myself for up to date information on the condition, WOW!! My vet needs me!! I feel Mum and Dad think I am expecting them to pay for Tasha's MRI, I tell them that NO, I will be paying and they agree to have her MRI'd too, I ring the Club Secretary to change my booking and find the MRI's have now stretched out to 3 days/dates!!

Bruce H launches his appeal for donations for a scan Clare Rusbridge needs to do, I really want to donate but have just sent off the money for my scans so am very short, time allowing I will make a donation!

I approach Karlin as I need to document this journey, it is so important to me, Karlin is more than happy to allow me to do this, I just hope that people will come to realise that when you make the decision to breed a litter of puppies you are taking on a huge responsibilty, you are "playing God" in a way!
I have had people approach me for puppies, "I have the money here ready and waiting" they say, "Yeah, So? WHY do you want one of my babies?" I could fill a whole forum with some of the puppy enquiries I have turned down for various reasons, the reasons given for wanting a girl instead of a boy, I actually had one "person" ask if I could "loan" them a puppy for the school holidays and take it back again when the kids started back into school in September!! Again I digress!!

June

This Saturday (2nd) I receive my copy of "Chat", a publication from the Eastern Counties CKCS Club of which I am also a member, one article grabs my attention, it is titled "When Dreams stop coming true" and is the story of a VERY well know dog who was a Champion, a Top Stud and in his time considered an ambassador of the breed, sadly he also threw SM. I strongly remember this dog, I was showing Merlin and Chad at the same time as he was being campaigned by his owner, a truly lovely boy, it took me a long time to read that story, for some reason the pages kept getting blurred! His courageous owner refers to keeping quiet about his "problem" and how she had no wish for him to be her "Dirty little secret", maybe you know whom I am referring to? I won't name him in an open public forum however.
If ever I needed spurring on, this has certainly done it!!

June 6th

Okay, it's going to happen now, the sub forum is up and running, I have done an Intro, and a decision thread, I have posted pics of Tasha, Bella as ever is being stubborn about posing despite a talking to from her maternal AND human Mum's!! Moreover I have received a form from the midland Club asking me to send the girls registration details to Mrs Skerritt so they can be input to their database before the MRI's are done, I simply filled them in and was posting them within the hour! I think you can say I am committed now! Have just checked out the lists on the parent club site, they are getting to be lists of who hasn't rather than who has in this persons humble opinion, in a way I am glad to be joining the "who has" side of things, I want this breed to be around for my grandchildren's grandchildren and if this helps then so be it!

Have to admit though that I am scared silly, what if this throws up something I don't want it too? Where will I go, what will I do? I feel positively sick just thinking about this! What if both Tasha and Bella have syrinxes? What about Crystal and her unborn pups?? What, what, what?? I guess I will have to cross that bridge when, or if I get to it, I truly bellieve things happen for a reason, that our lives are pre-ordained, if I have to start again with a different line then that is what I will do.

I have spent the last few days ringing my puppy buyers asking how their dogs are, no-one has mentioned SM, or anything remotely like it, they are all very proud of their dogs, glad of the enquiry, all bar one that was, who rather sheepishly admitted they no longer had their dog! (I actually already knew this, I had to hear this from a fellow breeder though!) their dog had slipped through their legs when they answered the front door and was run over outside the house, so very sad indeed, Iasked why they hadn't rung me when it happened, they said they were worried I would shout at them! They had just lost their dog, there is no way I would have shouted, accidents happen and I was and still am genuinely saddened by their loss, they have another Cavalier, I know for a fact this dog came from a "High Class" puppy farmer! What can I say?

Ok enough rambling, you are up to date now, you have met the girls, their expectant sister and their matriach Momma!!

We are 5 days away now, the scans are on the 12th June, late afternoon, half my nails are gone already, I can only keep you updated now on my thoughts and feelings throughout the next few days, the scans are paid for, the details sent off, I am getting snappier by the minute (according to my OH!)
Watch this space!!