Guest Post by Anne Singleton of Fight for Ella
I have a problem of saying things before i really think about it or come up with the facts. With the two little cavaliers sm awareness event i have found that even though i have tried to get a lot of information this past year, there is still a lot i don’t know and even now question. One thing i do know is that everyone is free to have their own opinion. I simply ask that people try to form their own opinions from getting information from several different sources.
I have said from the beginning, i can not tell anyone what is best for their dog. Each cavalier is different and treatment should be different, but i can only tell about ella and what i personally have learned. I have said from the beginning, i never blamed ella’s breeder. Each breeder is different, so before anyone places blame or negativity to breeders in general, i hope they would talk to one. If you learn that your cavalier has SM, then responsible breeders need this information and most likely are a good place to start. Unfortunately, people may come across denial or other things but great breeders would be there for support. They are the future of this breed along with pet owners supporting them.
I need to share how i came to learn the side of a breeder and not just from the book for the love of ollie, but from a SM support group. I have heard her talk about the pain she has to learn her girls have SM . How she has lost a line and a family she has cared about. How she will never breed or give someone a Cavalier before having and MRI on the one Cavalier she has left and praying that she is okay. Until she will have the MRI, is faced with the cost of having this done. The struggle to find a place to offer low cost MRI. Should she give up on this one Cavalier? Well I think that since she is not breeding UNTIL she knows the results and can have her scanned, absolutely NO. She is one of the breeders trying everything they can to produce as healthy puppies as possible. Her friends fought to get low cost MRIs, not because they wanted to make extra money but because they would not breed a Cavalier without doing everything possible to make sure they breed for health. Sure they probably don’t want to make a loss (while a lot do) but they love the breed. Many people might say breeders are only to make money, but there are some that simply love the breed and want to do everything they can for the future.
Her friend does not talk about the six months on the phone struggling to get a better cost for them. They do what they can, hope others follow, and stay out of the light. I now understand why. I would not want to be questioned, looked down on, or anything else simply when I would be speaking out.
So when faced with the problem of the cost of MRI, one person fought and got the cost lowered. Why do i feel its important to share this? I think its also important to support these breeders because without them, i am scared of who will be the ones breeding cavaliers. It is them that are the future with the support of the public and pet buyers.
It is extremely hard to breed healthy cavaliers and to see some still develop problems, but it is real easy to make assumptions before understanding more. If i was a breeder and was doing everything i could, yet still was being viewed in a negative light or questioned, i don’t think i could handle it. So i am scared of what will happen if they feel that no matter what they do or try to do, its not ever going to be good enough. Should they give up and leave it to others that don’t know as much?
Should i give up on ella and not want another cavalier in my future? No. I never think or regret that ella came into my life. I have cried many tears but that is because she has such a strong place in my heart. I am thankful i had someone that brought her into my life.
Get involved. Talk to the clubs (they even have health clinics), gather information before buying a puppy, and as unfortunate as is sounds, never assume that no matter how much a breeder may try, there always is a risk of SM.
should people no longer breed cavaliers even though there is a risk no matter what they do of developing cm or sm? If people speak and say how could they do that? Then that would mean there would not be any cavaliers. That is why it is tough for breeders that are responsible and care deeply about the breed. Even with the best, there are no guarantees. Puppy buyers should know this and be supportive of the ones being open and honest, doing everything they can. They can also have their own opinion and say they should never be breed.
That would mean there would never be ella.
“I LOVE this breed. I have had cavaliers since 1991 and I hope that I will never have to live a day without one. I want us to figure this SM thing out so that dogs like your precious Ella don’t have to live in pain. My hope is that there are lots of people that feel the same way we do and will jump on this band wagon to MRI their breeding dogs!!
Thank you for being a voice for the cavaliers, AND for taking the time to listen and understand the issues around SM—from ALL sides. There is no quick and easy solution. I think we all understand that. But the only way we’re going to get this figured out is by using the tools we have—and right now, the best one we have is MRI-ing!”
Take the time and listen or get more information before speaking about what a breeder did or did not do. Why not ask?