How did I get into this?
We bought our first cavalier puppy, for my daughters 8th birthday, in 1976.
We went to a little fund raising dog show, our puppy won two fun classes and the Judge commented she looked like a nice puppy & we should try showing her.
So, for twenty five years I listened to all the long time influential breeders in the cavalier show world had to say & despite the knowledge that many cavaliers had MVD, I felt able to firmly defend the breed with the sentiment " Well all breeds have their problems" and I was convinced that cavaliers were healthy little dogs on the whole.
I had a wonderful time, made good friends and had some success until my belief in what I had been told was shattered by a phone call from a sobbing cavalier owner whose dog had been diagnosed with SM.
I had not bred the affected dog but I owned his father. It had been a classic half brother to half sister mating, my Champion Sire was grandfather on both sides of the pedigree.
I emailed the Neurologist, Clare Rusbridge, who had diagnosed the condition to find out if my Monty could be implicated, and at that point my cosy little world exploded.
I started talking about health, campaigning about SM and became a very unpopular person indeed.
Cavaliers are the sweetest little dogs and my dogs have given me great joy over thirty five years now.
It is not fair what is happening to them. It is not fair that dogs suffer or that owners have the distress seeing them in pain and the worry of trying to find the money for the treatment they need.
It is not fair that first time owners come onto this forum with pride and joy in their new puppy and read grim post telling them that their lovely puppy may develop some very nasty inherited condition.
I feel guilty when young owners agonise over mild scratching symptoms and say how they are obsessed with watching everything that their puppy does instead of just enjoying their lovely new pet, but on the other hand there is no way that I feel a cavalier owner should be left unaware of the symptoms of SM.
Too many cavaliers have suffered for years and too many are still suffering becaause owners do not recognise their pets quirky traits as reaction to discomfort or pain.
None of this is fair, but it is the reality and we are stuck with it. I often feel that I am fighting an impossible fight but I still feel the need to try and make a difference in any & every way that I can.
Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi