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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Issue: 03/08/2018

Amused

I own three dogs, two Swedish Vallunds and a Norwich Terrier, all of whom are getting on in years and are insured with the Kennel Club's pet insurers. 
Being aged they need to visit the vet from time to time so the other day I ordered some more claim forms - four for one of them and two each for the other two and this morning I received all eight of them in the post, each one in its own envelope and all posted on the same day!! Is this why the premiums are so high?
Yours etc
P Harrild 

Shocked

Many of us dog exhibitors were shocked to read Our Dogs headline news last week that a top judge, Peter Jolley, has been told by the KC judges' committee not to talk to exhibitors and that an observer would have to be present when carrying out all future judging until 2021.  
Based on the information in our hands at the moment, surely this could be considered an insult to a long standing experienced judge who awards CCs in 45 breeds, four groups and Best in Show, especially when apparently the decision was made without him being allowed to defend himself.  My husband and I are very saddened to think that this had led to Peter choosing to retire from judging with immediate effect and also to resign from membership of the Kennel Club.  
Peter Jolley has been an inspiration to many exhibitors and most encouraging to newcomers to the show scene.  I well remember when I first met Peter - I was standing in a car park with my puppy outside an Open Show Venue as we had all been evacuated from the Leisure Hall due to an internal problem, when this very smartly dressed gentleman came over to us and said "You know that you have a very special puppy there, don't you?"  I said I was glad that he thought so and he told me that 'I should be shouting it from the rooftops, so everybody would know!'   
It was a couple of years later that we entered under him in a very busy Stakes Class which filled the BIS ring; the warm reception he gave all the exhibitors created a very happy and relaxed atmosphere. I felt at ease that day and performed the very best for my boy and flew around the ring with an extra confidence in my step winning the top award and a handsome 50 Prize.  This dog went on to become a Champion and won Reserve Best Dog at Crufts plus multiple BISs at Open Show level - Peter was the first person to recognise his attributes at a very young age as he has what he calls 'an eye for a good dog'!   I agree with him that this comes from years of experience gradually climbing up the ladder and not from a text book or a lecture in a seminar.  
We personally feel that Peter contributed to exhibitors' enjoyment of a dog showing 'day out' and it was a pleasure to see such a charismatic judge enjoying his appointments and giving helpful information to those who were lucky enough to exhibit under him.  Exhibitors pay an entry fee to put forward their dog for the judge's opinion and to be able to receive advice at the point of contact with the judge on the day of the show is an added bonus. 
We need more judges like Peter to encourage people to stay on the show scene; dog showing is a very expensive and time consuming hobby and dog owners are thinking twice nowadays where to put their hard earned money. Peter has always attracted a high entry especially now at a time when numbers are declining.   His popularity is without question and, unless others know different, we cannot fathom why a couple of complaints from possibly aggrieved people leave the rest of us without 'a star judge' to brighten our day.  
Yours etc
Annette & Brian Buckley

Murphy's Law

Many of your readers will be aware of Murphy's law, an old adage that is typically stated as: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong".
On receiving the Kennel Club Chairman's recent private letter, to members only, I am minded of another piece of wisdom from Mr Murphy, "If you think everything's going well, then you don't really know what's going on!"
Wise man that Murphy!
Yours etc
A Kennel Club Member 
bound to secrecy

What next?

So now we have a judge retiring because he speaks to exhibitors in the ring, and does not require an observer to keep a check on him, or so it appears. This follows on from the judge that was banned for turning her back on exhibitors in the ring.
What next? An exhibitor speaks to a judge in the ring. Will the exhibitor be subject to an observer, or maybe a ban, or will it be the judge?
The last line of your editorial sums it up well. People will get fed up with the interfering attitude of the Kennel Club and choose not to enter shows any more. There are other ways to have FUN with your dogs.
And how RUDE of the Kennel Club to "refuse to comment" on these decisions. Perhaps they are "private and confidential"? 
Yours etc
Andrew Height

What next?

I was walking from the car park on Saturday (Gundog day) into Leeds Champ Show at Harewood when I slipped backwards on the wet grass and within seconds people came to help me, a gentleman picked me up but then disappeared so thank you to him, but two people helped me by taking my dog (Irish setter) and walking with me to my bench. 
During the day they came back to see me several times and they certainly went beyond the call of duty, which was a help to me as it did shake me up somewhat. 
I wonder if anyone could give me their contact details so I can thank them properly, I know their names were Jackie and Ian Forden or Forde  and they have Weimeraners.
 A massive thank you to everyone,
Yours etc
Christine Knight

Spinone corrections

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It's been a little hectic here,  but I've finally found a few minutes to write to you about the feature on Italian Spinoni which appeared in 29th June issue of Our Dogs. I have to say I was a little surprised to see a photograph of my female, Megana dei Marchesi dei Galpiott from Odivane, known at home as 'Meggie Moo'  in the feature since I had not  given permission for its use. She was in my ownership for the majority of her life and  came to me from Mary Moore, when Mary's circumstances dictated that she could no longer keep her -  and her daughter Dolce. Howeve,  I accept your explanation as to how and  why the photograph was used.  
With regards to breed history. May I please draw attention to the fact that the first bitch Sh Ch in the breed was Caldocani Feliciana owned by Ray and Doreen Ball and not as reported.    "Anna"  won the CCs towards her title at three shows during 1994, National Gundog,  judge Arnold Hall, SKC, Sam Pascoe and LKA, judge Shirley Roberts.  In fact Wynsett Dynasty was never a Sh Ch and wasn't born until  2001!  I imagine  she has been confused with Sh Ch Wynsett Dinas'tia. Both Sh Ch Gallowdyke Wreckless Eric at Sundeala and Caldocani Feliciana gained their titles in the first year the breed had CCs on offer, 1994. I am sorry if you think me pedantic but I am very protective when it comes to the breed and what is written about it as I feel it should be accurate.  I am pleased that Claire corrected the details re the youngest CC winners, the week following the breed feature in her breed note column in this paper. 
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Worthy of note I think in our 35th year,  is the first JW winner in the breed Caldocani Arno Frascati who got his JW in 1986. Obviously then then there was only one point at Ch Shows as we had not obtained CC status at that point.  He also earned me my affix as the KC had decided that from 1985,  you couldn't just register an affix unless you had bred a dog which won Limit or higher which he did, so I was allowed to add my affix.
Another notable award was the first bitch JW winner also before CC's, Cenerentola of Connomar at Armando bred by Val Woodward and owned by her sister Paula Mc Gregor;  she also was the first brown roan to get a JW and if memory serves me right this was in 1988 with Brown Roans very much the minority when it came to awards of any note.  One judge in fact said they were in the wrong ring and when it was explained that brown roan was a permissible colour, she agreed to judge them and promptly placed them as far down the line as far as she could!    
In 1989 the KC decided that JW points from 1990 could only be claimed from 12 to 18 months (this new rule only lasted that year) and I had a puppy born in March 1989 who managed to get her first JW in 1989 but then went on in 1990 to get her second JW, thus she was the first Double Junior Warrant winner in the breed and in fact came out of Junior with 66 points in total. All  one point at a time as it was again prior to CC's.
I was the founding Chairman of the ISCGB and in fact "Member No 1" and I led the battle to get the club officially recognised by the Kennel Club when there were two other proposed clubs trying to do the same. The KC asked for more information and within two weeks we were recognised". ( I was reliably told that the "history" given from the moment the Spinoni set foot on English soil was one of the deciding factors and Graham Newall took into Clarges Street, copies of all correspondence, our membership list and details of our events and finances which he told them to read thoroughly!." ) 
Yours etc
Jean Houltram - Caldocani

Kindness

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I  was really impressed with the kindness from Ann Beckett-Bradshaw on receipt in the post of the box of flowers sent by post, after I sent a photograph to her of her Mum and Dad with their Afghan.
Yours etc
David Paton

Right decisions

AM I the only person who thinks it's about time the KC cracked down a little more on judges and exhibitors?
Yes, they can sometimes look a little petty, and the timing of the bans can also look slightly suspect, but we do need to make sure that people in our game are abiding by certain rules, and they apply to everyone, no matter who they are.
What worries me more is the loss of people who've done nothing wrong but simply cannot face - or access - the new system for judges in 2021. We could eaily lose some of the greats.
As long as the decisions are taken without any personal backdrops, I say it can only serve to make the hobby a better and fairer one all round.
Yours etc
Gavin Stack

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