The American Spaniel Club - Established in 1881
THREE WORDS FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS
The job of the president of a volunteer organization has often been described as that of a CEO – that is, Chief Engagement Officer. That description resonates with me because it speaks to one of the main aspirations I have for me and the other members of the ASC Board for the short two-year time I hold the office of President. The goals I have revolve around three words: Engage, Inform and Inspire.
I recently attended a retreat for another volunteer organization that I am involved with and the board of directors was asked to describe, in one word, what being engaged in an organization meant. There were as many descriptive words as there were people answering the question: committed, focus, involvement, time, money, passionate, exchange, reward, courage, relationships, fun, enrichment, purpose, team and comradery. But the discussion that came from the listing of these words revealed that the success of an organization and the benefit of having people engaged are the synergies that come from people working together, i.e, meaning that a group working together can do much more than one or two people working on their own. This working together is what has made ASC successful for more than one hundred years and the prestigious parent club that it is.
It is no secret that the purebred dog world has dramatically changed in the last ten to twenty years and that it is under constant attack from outside forces. In a recent article in the New York Times, the CEO of AT&T noted that one must adapt, or else. ASC is no different. Last fall on the ASC Yahoo list, former ASC President Charlie Born stated that ASC needed to embark on a three to five year strategic plan to address the many challenges it was facing and, in response, one of the first action items the new ASC Board undertook was to appoint a 13-member strategic planning committee to commence that task. The committee is made up of members from every facet of ASC. Last month, the strategic planning committee met in Dallas for a productive and thought provoking two days with a making of a proposed plan for ASC. The strategic planning document from the planning session is in the process of being prepared and will be rolled out at the Town Hall Meeting in July at the National Specialty.
As a result of spending two days with this dedicated and engaged committee of ASC members I witnessed what we can create and accomplish together. There is no quick fix. The strategic plan cannot and will not be accomplished by the work of only the strategic planning committee or the ASC Board -- it will take all of us coming together to achieve success. We must work together in order for ASC to adapt to the “new normal” and for ASC to continue its relevance. I hope and think you will be as excited and encouraged as I am about the strategic plan, and I look forward to all of us being engaged and working together for the betterment of ASC.
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Merle Color In Cocker Spaniels
from Charles Born, President, American Spaniel Club
As our members know the validity of the merle pattern and associated health issues in the Cocker Spaniel have concerned breeders for some time now. After some progress, in 2009 the ASC Board began a concerted effort to identify and understand the depth of the issue and what to do. In addition to our request to the AKC for Z registration status on merle Cockers which has been approved, at the direction of the ASC Board of Directors I asked the ASC Foundation to conduct a three-part study that included:
- Researching the evidence showing whether merle is or is not a Cocker Spaniel color.
- Researching the scientific evidence that the merle color can produce significant health issues.
- Developing an approach for educating breeders, owners and the general puppy buying population on the results of their investigations
The Scientific Research Committee assisted by the Grants Committee was tasked with conducting this study by ASCF President Dee Torgerson-Rismyhr. This combined task force was led by Doug McFarlane, a long-time Cocker fancier and English Cocker breeder and judge and a former member of ASC Board and many other Spaniel Boards and joined by Karen Yager, a PhD geneticists and Clumber breeder. You can read about their approach and methodology in the full study report.
My layman’s summary of their report is as follows:
|For nominating your bitches use the following checklist.|
|As the breeder, are your dues paid so you remain a member in good standing?|
||Are sire and dam over 2 years old?
||Do both sire and dam have OFA/PennHips/other countries certification numbers?
||Have both sire and dam had their eyes examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist after age 2 and within the 12 months before the breeding? Don’t miss out because you have old eye exams and don’t get new ones done until after the breeding.
||Send in the paperwork to nominate the bitch before the litter is whelped.
||Then remember to enroll your puppies by the deadlines.|
Docked Tails a Vital Characteristic of Cocker Spaniels
Keeping in mind the welfare of the Cocker Spaniel breed and the function it was bred to perform, and as applies to all Flushing Spaniels, the Board of Directors of the American Spaniel Club continues to support docked tails for Cocker Spaniels (and all Flushing Spaniels) as an important characteristic required by the breed's function as a hunting dog. In particular, since 1881 Cocker Spaniels with docked tails have been a part of the fabric of the United States, and we must educate the general public that under proper veterinarian care, tail docking of young puppies continues to be a very safe and humane procedure and is not cosmetic. The attached communication from the ASC can be used by ASC members and the public at large who would like to educate others on our breed history, our position on tail docking and our recommendations.