Editor's Page: Finland, Rescue and Clubs

Welcome to our International Issue! Although we pride ourselves on presenting global coverage of our sport each and every month, it is a great pleasure to explore one country in depth.

By Allan Reznik | Posted: January 16, 2015 11 a.m. PST

Allan Reznik Editor
Photo courtesy Julie Lynn Mueller.

Welcome to our International Issue! Although we pride ourselves on presenting global coverage of our sport each and every month, it is a great pleasure to explore one country in depth. This time, it is fitting that Finland be chosen because the World Dog Show hel d in Helsinki in 2014 was a brilliant event in every sense: phenomenal entry, quality of dogs and superb organization. Finland has so much to admire in its approach to purebred dogs. Results of health testing are published for all to see; judges undergo rigorous training in a system that is recognized to work; and breeder-exhibitors keep only a handful of show dogs at home. Finnish judges, breeders and dogs are admired around the world, so we hope you enjoy this spotlight on a nation you may not have visited before. Many thanks to our monthly contributor Paula Heikkinen-Lehkonen, a Finnish all-breed judge, and Bo Bengtson for being our knowledgeable tour guides.

Few subjects are as emotional and divisive in our sport as rescue. There are some who passionately believe that no one should breed a litter without being fully prepared to take back each and every dog at any point in its life that circumstances render it homeless. Others contend that rescue provides a safety net, enabling bad breeders to keep mass-producing litters, knowing that bleeding-heart fanciers will forego their own occasional, well-planned litter to look after the bad breeder’s casualties. The very word "rescue” suggests urgency; precious time running out. But is an owner who must part with a dog because of a child’s sudden allergies presenting us with a rescue situation, or simply a dog in need of re-homing? In this issue, Gretchen Bernardi devotes her column (page 30) to a mass rescue of 74 Irish Wolfhounds in Texas, a horrifying situation given the size of the breed, the number of hounds involved, and the logistics of transporting them and finding them temporary housing.

A similar tragedy occurred at the end of November when a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeder dumped some 100 dogs, including pregnant bitches and English imports from eminent kennels, at a Missouri auction. The average price varied from $2,000 to $6,000 per dog. Facebook was burning up in the week leading up to the auction, and on the day, with money sent via Paypal to volunteers from many Cavalier breed clubs who had driven to Missouri to attend the auction. It is reported the breeder has taken a new kennel name and plans to proceed with business as usual. Cavalier rescuers in the trenches are urging the fancy to write letters asking the AKC to "deregister” any AKC-registered dog that is consigned to an auction house to be sold to a puppy mill breeder. A viable remedy?

Finally, we are delighted to kick off a new monthly column called "Clubs: Thinking Outside the Box” (page 42), written by Betty-Anne Stenmark of Del Valle fame. Many years ago, Betty-Anne wrote a two-year-long series for us touching on every aspect of putting on a dog show. She and we still get comments about it. At a time when younger people feel no motivation to join their local club, and many clubs are struggling to stay relevant and remain afloat, Betty-Anne’s advice could not be more timely.


From the January 2015 issue of Dogs in Review magazine. Subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs in Review magazine, or call 1-888-738-2665 to purchase a single copy.


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