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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Issue: 23/10/2020

Day release

How I agree with Mike Gilchrist (Hungarian Puli breed notes) on what he says about taking things slowly with trying to get back to normal - whatever and whenever that might be.
 I have been taking obedience training classes for the past 50+ years and had to stop my eight classes a week in March. Since then I’ve been stuck here (albeit I live on the edge of the country with plenty of land). I call it ‘open prison’!
The only time I go out is if I have to, and that is to the vets, podiatry and I have to say, have my hair done (had it done twice since March). The latter are superb with their rules, starting with temperature check at the door. If I go out I say I’m on ‘day release’!
All our food shopping (and dog food) is delivered - I’ve had to learn how to buy ‘things’ on my ‘phone (I don’t use a computer). 
I want to get back to what I love and am passionate about. My regular people are the same. But with Newcastle being COVID high risk, and some schools with pupils having contracted C19, and my classes being in that area, I just feel it is too risky. 
My plan - I do have one - is to hopefully start again next April. Surely by then something will be sorted out?? I am in touch with my people by letter and phone calls. It’s so nice to speak to them. 
If only everyone followed the rules we would not be in this situation. Is it so essential, with all the associated risks, to have parties and go to bars and restaurants??? Is it really? It’s the likes of all of us who are suffering the effects of the irresponsible. 
So I, like Mike, am now biding my time, difficult as I find it. My plan has always been to live to 108 so it makes sense to me to just put up with it. I don’t have any other choice.
I see from other breed note writers many, many are in the same situation. 
Yours faithfully, 
Sue Chambers


Bring back the old

The new Kennel Club website is dreadful. The old one worked perfectly, especially The Kennel Club Mate Select health test result finder which was so easy to navigate:
You could enter a dog’s name, press a top tab on his page to instantly see:
The dog’s health tests 
The dog’s progeny Health results
The dog’s parents’ health results 
The dog’s siblings’ health results 
And side tabs to find more information
It is impossible to see this information grouped together in an easy to navigate-way now: 
This is information that stud dog owners need to see to check out suitability of bitches requesting to use their stud dogs. And bitch owners looking for a suitable stud to see the health results from that dog’s progeny, parents and siblings to enable them to make an informed decision. 
Kennel Club please reinstate the old website that actually worked!! 
Yours etc
Lynn Kipps


Pointless

To say I am livid is actually an understatement, even tempered with the harsh reality of the Covid-19 situation. Tolerance has to be exercised where the circumstances of this pandemic impinge on workloads, communications and technology. However, what I am about to relate is based on simple ignorance and mis-interpretation of the KC conditions of service.
At the beginning of August, my wife advised the KC of the chip numbers of our new puppies. She also ordered over the telephone two 3-generation pedigrees, and provided the dogs’ full names and chip numbers When the pedigrees arrived, they were missing the chip number. This was not a big issue, or inconvenient at the time, as a quick call to the young man at the KC resulted in him offering to replace them free of charge if we returned them to him. We would have been quite happy to pay as there was some doubt about the timing of the change to the entry being processed before the request for a copy. On 18th. August I returned the certificates for the exchange offered.
Ten days later, on the 28th. August, I telephoned the KC to check if they had been received and if the new ones were on their way. I expressed my concern as we were going to the south of France at the end of November, and the pedigrees were necessary to register the dogs with SCC-Expo, so they could be entered in the French National Championship Show in Montlucon. I informed them that the first closing date was the end of September, 28th. actually. they told me that the return had not been registered on the system, the last entry being the dispatch of the first ones. They also added that, due to the COVID-19 situation, they were not opening mail for three days, and there was a backlog of three weeks’ mail waiting to be attended to. There was no way they could update me more. I explained we were desperate for the documents, and could I order, and pay for, two more. They said I couldn’t do that. I asked ‘why not, as they are not exactly documents that could be used fraudulently?’ The reply was that ‘IT WAS KENNEL CLUB POLICY’. (Capitals purely for the point of stressing that I remember perfectly well what she said).
On 22nd September, I telephoned again, this time the person I spoke to was very sympathetic, but pointed out that the system was down, and would be until 30th September, by which time the first closing date for entries would have passed, and I would be liable for increased entry fees. I pointed out that the final closure date for entries was 26th. October. They advised me to telephone after the 30th, and say that I had spoken to them at the call centre and suggested that I might ask for the supply to be treated with urgency. 
I tried to call on the 30th, and the 1st and 2nd of October. My calls were met with a recorded message out of hours stating what the open hours were, and a disconnected line during supposedly open hours. You might just as well have put a recorded message saying phone lines just not operating.
Despite all the social media adverse comments about the website, I decided to give it a go recently. I managed to reinstall my account, and searched for the three-generation pedigree application form. I will leave it to you to imagine the language when I saw that, not only could ANYONE apply for a three-gen. pedigree, but THERE WAS NO LIMIT TO THE NUMBER THAT COULD BE ORDERED! I have just ordered two more copies of the pedigrees hoping that at least one set will arrive enabling me to register the dogs before the final closing date.
I am not prepared to accept that this was unavoidable because of Covid-19. It would have been totally avoidable if staff knew what they were talking about, I have a Channel crossing booked, hotels booked, and one other dog already entered at the pre-increased rate, which will all seem rather pointless if I do not get these pedigrees.
Yours etc
Name and address supplied



Swansea cancelled

On behalf of the Officers and Committee of Swansea & District Canine Club. I write somewhat reluctantly to inform all our valued supporters over the past years and potential new exhibitors, that in the current unpredictable pandemic situation we feel we have no alternative but to cancel the usual Open show in Neath for February 2021.
We were delighted with and indeed grateful for the involvement of everyone last February, but like so many other Clubs around the country, it is impossible now to make any plans or commitments for the next few months, and possibly longer.
Let us hope that 2021 will prove to be kinder for our canine community nationwide, whilst respecting the safety of all around us.
Yours etc
Mrs Robin Paisey 
(Hon Secretary)
Temperature check concern

I was interested to read in a recent OUR DOGS that the Maastricht show had been a success, and the organisers are to be congratulated for proving that it can be done. 
However, I am concerned about the practice of taking temperatures. Virtually all illnesses and other medical conditions have a raised temperature as one of their symptoms, and most people of late middle age onwards (the majority of exhibitors and officials at dog shows) will have a medical condition of some kind. A raised temperature does not mean that you have the virus!
If an exhibitor was refused access to a show because of a raised temperature, which was subsequently proved to be not connected with Coronavirus, what is the legal situation with regard to their entry fees, travel costs and hotel expenses? It would be interesting to know Barry Peachey’s views on this.
Yours etc
Roy Wheatley


Stating the obvious!

What? Are the Our Dogs reports coming from The University of the Bleeding Obvious.
We had the “dogs go through an adolescent phase” - no,really? Who’d have thought? We also learnt that a year of a dog’s life doesn’t equate to seven of a man’s. Blow me down!
Then recently we have “do dogs ....prefer some diets to others? and does food affect health?” The survey is supposingly based on the fact (?) that little is known to answer these questions. Who is funding this twaddle?
Under circumstances which couldn’t have been planned for you and the team have done amazingly well to provide our weekly read and we’re grateful, but I do think these three articles could have been held back until your issue of 1st April.
Regards & stay safe.
Yours etc
Jan McLeod (Dunline Chins)



Trophy story

Your reader whose relative purchased the LKA trophy has a valuable piece of history. Stockport’s junk shops are a rich source of ephemera, I know as I lived there! It is surprising what turns up when a house is cleared or garage emptied. 
You have a good start on its origins and the KC library and its staff hold the key to more answers. The Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s second son, was extremely well connected in KC circles and after Secretary Edward Jaquet instigated the formation of the KC-based Masonic Lodge in 1907 it took its name from the duke. Those ‘on the square’ today still sport its unique regalia. 
The Irish influence in the designs on the shield probably reflect the ‘Connacht’ which incorporated five counties of north-west Ireland in those pre-partition days. It’s a fair guess that the shield was wooden backed and was awarded for a native Irish breed. The Irish thread ran strong among the sporting classes of Victorian England not least with the KC’s founder Seawallis Shirley whose family had a huge country estate north of Dublin.
The concept of ‘ladies’ wanting to become involved in dog showing and other sporting activities was totally alien in the days when a chaperone was required should they wish to go out alone! This led to the “strong” women of the day devoting much of their time to doing all they could to upset conventions of a male dominated society. The LKA was just one other way of doing this on the way to suffrage, the vote in 1918 and full Kennel Club membership in 1979.
There was a time when silverware was a proud tradition in clubs of all sorts. Now such trophies are often consigned to a bank vault as too expensive to insure, ignominiously stuffed into packing crates or sold off for scrap value. To this end I and many other show-goers witnessed the LKA doing just that at one of their early shows at the NEC when a trestle-table full of silver was sold-off. 
Lesson over. 
Yours etc 
Bill Moores

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