We have returned from another Meet the Breeds and this one was a blend of incredible highs to attempts to drag me down. I will get the bad out of the way right now and never talk about it again.
Within 2 hours of me posting via Facebook about our Meet the Breeds event, a person who has a history of harassing me posted an intentionally harsh post with the intent to discredit me and drag me down in my moment of glory. It was remarking about my recent blog post that Epilepsy is in the breed in Australia. Let me make something perfectly clear, at the time that I wrote the blog, I had (and still do) think that Epilepsy is in the breed, period. I have reports from the dog's breeder that the dog in question had suspected epilepsy and was treated with a nutritional change. That by definition is a form of epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that has many different things and not every single case will be dramatic nor debilitating, it is noted by abnormal neurological process to stimuli, generally by resulting in a seizure but that is not always the case. Epilepsy is a HARD diagnosis to make for those blurred line cases but when the breeder mentions treatments common to mild epilepsy then my belief is that it is probably a mild epileptic disorder, by true AVMA definition. My experience with epilepsy is guarded because my fiance's dog has a possible case of mild epilepsy. Kemper is a dog that was obtained from a backyard breeder and was not properly socialized. As such, his temperament is not the best. What makes him a possible epilepsy case is his abnormal response to excessive stimuli. Kemper responds with pure aggression and then mild shaking. He has tested clear for everything except epilepsy because the only true definitive way to diagnose is to witness a full seizure. Mini-seizures are almost completely undetectable. So until I hear otherwise, Epilepsy is in Australia within the breed, just like the genetic markers are in the breed EVERYWHERE. If a breeder takes it personally regarding epilepsy then they have no business breeding purebred dogs. Epilepsy by nature is known to be in a vast majority of all breeds, so it is a reality that every single dog owner should take into account and never take it personally. I know that the markers are in my line, so I watch and monitor. If any of my dogs ever show signs of it then they will be removed from the breeding population.
My intention for mentioning Australia had very little to do with health and everything to do with the fact that by the nature of the Australian government that it makes it almost impossible to not have popular sire syndrome. In Australia to bring in a new dog, the process is extremely long and expensive. No new Hamiltonstovare have been brought in and all Hamiltonstovare in the country are altered, so by nature that is a breed population in complete genetic ruin. There is no bias to it, that is fact, those genes are done and won't be passed on, so the only way for the breed to exist in Australia within the next 10 years is new blood. So instead of the Australian breeder and owners taking it for what it is, they started attacking me when I am in the pinnacle of purebred dogs, Westminster Kennel Club.
Meet the Breeds was an incredible experience. We had a few celebrity encounters (I won't mention by name on a blog out of respect for their private lives), lots of press interviews and photographers. I was also interviewed by members of the NY government and AKC. The biggest surprise of the event was Miss Raven being featured in The Daily Beast photo feature of the event. We had incredible public encounters and even met a great-great grandson of Count Adolf Patrick Hamilton, who had no idea that his ancestor created this amazing breed.
I am already starting to receive positive feedback from inquiries, photos and interviews getting published. This event is designed to bring public awareness to the breed and give them a moment to shine. Shine they did, Rolo was a wonderful greeter and the puppies did not disappoint. The puppies absorbed everything in around them and really showed the crowds what responsibly bred puppies are like as pets. Alice was and still is on light duty right now because she had to have part of her tail amputated just 4 days before we left for NYC. Those moments where she was out, she did great. She hopped up in her chair and was the typical diva that she has always been.
After the event, Alice and Rolo went to roam the breed rings at Piers 92 and 94 on Monday. They were a huge hit there and got even more press because they are active service dogs. Alice is winding down her service dog career so we are starting some mild service work with her and training her to alert to scent triggered asthma. Rolo is now in the peak of his service dog career, especially now that he is fit. He is really getting the mobility assistance thing down but the most impressive thing has been his help with my recovery from PTSD. As they are both active show dogs, they were a little confused as to why they weren't entering the ring.
All in all, it was a worthwhile trip and we hope to get a lot of responses from people interested in the breed. Yes there are factions within the breed community and a small faction of the breed community is very angry with me for being brave enough to tell the truth. That is the nature of it sometimes though. We will push through this because nothing will ever stop me from promoting this amazing breed.
We are now home and are preparing for our next show in April. This show will be the debut of Raven and Selene, so hopefully we will come home with a new UKC Champion.