Further to the announcement that the Animal Health Trust will close on 31st July 2020 the following message was sent to Breed Health Coordinators by Cathryn Mellersh on 13th July 2020:
‘’The future of canine genetics research and DNA testing service following closure of Animal Health Trust on July 31st, 2020
I would like to extend my sincere and heartfelt thanks to everybody who has contacted me and my colleagues to express their sadness at the imminent closure of the Animal Health Trust on July 31st. I have worked at the AHT for 19 years, as have many of my team, and we are truly devastated by its closure.
During that time we have worked with so many of you that have an interest in the health and wellbeing of dogs and I believe it is fair to say that together we have done our bit to improve the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs who might otherwise have been born with an inherited disease.
Many of you have been in touch to ask about what will happen to the samples and data that the AHT has collected over the several decades, as well as whether the research and/or the DNA testing service will continue.
I would like to assure you all that I am working very hard to secure the long-term future of the DNA samples and their associated data as well as both the research and the DNA testing service that my fabulous team carry out and it is my hope is that before very long I will be able to update you with some good news and that we can resume all the projects we currently have underway, as well as starting exciting new ones.’’
I will share further updates as I receive them from Cathryn.
Liz Branscombe Flatcoated Retriever Breed Health Coordinator
On 23rd February 2020 NEFRA held a KC Working Gundog Certificate day on dummies at Roby Mill, Wigan, by very kind permission of Sarah Marflow.
Eight dogs representing four different breeds took part with assessors Phil Smithies and Caroline Hewison. The ground is lovely, with everything needed for the day and wonderful hospitality from Sarah. Sausage butties to start and then lunch and a delicious venison and goose stew (thank you Lisa!) at the finish.
The exercises included off lead heelwork, a jumping exercise over or through (!) an obstacle, a mock drive and steadiness exercise. A walk up with some dogs standing and some beating. A hunting exercise and finally the water retrieve. The dogs were certainly put through their paces. Thank you to Chris Hewison and Darren Meredith Brooks for their dummy throwing skills today, Charlotte and Shirt Monkey for the lovely certificates, and Garry for having a 4×4 that could tow people out of mud!
The successful dogs:
Garry Ellison and Ollersett Black Knight (FCR) Charlotte Smith and Castlerock First Glance at Whirlymere (FCR) Anne Haley and Castlerock Return to Sender at Skybrook (FCR) Sue Sinnott and Millola Handsome Man (FCR) Lisa Mappin and Casblaidd Abyssinian (Cocker) Dave Compton and Franeo Fowlers Lone Ranger (Chesapeake Bay Ret.)
Well done everyone, well deserved! Now to clean the mud off everything!!
The NEFRA committee, amongst countless others, pass on their heartfelt sympathy to the Johnson family on the loss of Peter Johnson, who passed away recently.
Becky Johnson has asked us to share the details of Peter’s funeral. Please let Becky know if you will be attending.
On behalf of my mother Shirley, brother Tim and myself, I should like to thank each and every one of you that have sent messages of condolence on the passing of my father Peter Johnson. It has been a huge comfort to us over what has been a very sad time and is truly appreciated. I now have the details of his funeral. It will be held on Tuesday, 28th January at 12.00 at the West Suffolk Crematorium (Bury St Edmunds), in the St Edmunds Chapel. This will be followed by a wake at their hospitality suite which is situated in the same grounds. Family flowers only but donations if desired can be made to the Altziemers Society or the PDSA. Everyone is welcome to attend the funeral. If you could advise me either by email to email@example.com or private message or text if you will be attending so that I can inform the caterers of numbers. Please feel free to share this information as appropriate Once again – our sincere thanks for your support and kindness at this time.
The energy expenditure study has now finished. The University of Cambridge have also temporarily paused their DNA collection so they can study the many samples that they do have.
The GOdogs project studies the genetics of metabolic disease in dogs.
They are investigating the genetics of obesity in dogs, and in particular a change in a gene they identified in Labradors and Flatcoated Retrievers which is associated with them being particularly food-motivated dogs.
FCR owners took their dogs along to Cambridge vet school to take part in a test of their dogs’ metabolic rate. From the dog’s point of view, this involved resting in a transport kennel for a couple of hours allowing them to measure how their genes affect metabolic rate and perhaps can predispose them to weight gain.
Research Assistant GOdogs Project
Institute of Metabolic Science
University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories
Level 4, Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science
Box 289, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
Cambridge, CB2 0QQ
NEFRA were delighted to be invited to hold our autumn working test at Upper Shadymoor Farm, near Stapleton in Shropshire. We had previously visited this venue in June to host the Minor Breeds Team Test and our hosts Kevan and Joy Fox are very welcoming every time we visit. The venue has absolutely everything you could possibly need for a working test.
Our judges for the day were: Glenys Caldwell (B Panel), Jennie Ménage, Wendy Manning and Anne Sparkes who all worked very hard with 47 entries to get through.
A huge thank you is extended to everyone who responded to Caroline’s pleas for help whether stewarding, throwing dummies, placing blinds, catering, and keeping the tea and coffee flowing, and thanks to Val and Den Orme for all the food! These days can’t run without helpers, so thank you!
A huge thank you also goes tour chief steward Malcolm Awty for all the organisation on the day itself and keeping everything flowing well all day. Even the weather was kinder than expected and we escaped the torrential rain and the storms that were forecast.
Thank you also to our sponsors Skinners, and also Caro Dell from WorkingLine Images who braved photography in the rain again!
Puppy (3 entries) 1st Sue Rodgers and Wolfthistle Mr Miracle 2nd Louise Peers and Tweedisle Lindores
Novice Dog/Novice Handler (12 entries including 2 NFC) 1st Lisa-Jane Mappin and Casblaidd Valdoonican 2nd Lindsay Swan and Swantonwood Gold Leaf 3rd Mags Brayfield and Keamarola Private Dancer 4th Anne Haley and Castlerock Return to Sender at Skybrook COM Vicky Davis and Pajanbeck Young at Heart
Best Newcomer was awarded to Lindsay Swan winning the Yonsaff Trophy
Novice (20 entries, 1 abs) 1st Hilary Rosser and Mahinda Pompoko 2nd Jane Calverley and Gwenadillo Helga Geerhart 3rd Hilary Rosser and Mahinda Fester 4th Julie Matthews and Ollersett Rainbow COM Sue Rodgers and Wolfthistle Mr Miracle COM Graham Clelland and Trevorsilk Andromeda of Necessares COM David Savory and Hopevalley Morning Arizona
The winner of novice scored full points 80/80 Judges choice awarded to Julie Matthews
Open (12 entries, including 1 NFC) 1st Garry Ellison and Ollersett Sparkling Nymph 2nd Caroline Hewison and Donascimento Danilo from Casblaidd 3rd Caroline Hewison and Venus in Transit over Casblaidd
Judges choice awarded to Garry Ellison
Well done everyone! Thanks to all for taking part and lovely to see so many having a go at their first working test, you’ll be bitten by the bug now!
Today NEFRA were delighted to have been invited back to Sarah Marflow’s land near Wigan. Sarah is a perfect host and her land has got just everything we could wish for to host these assessments.
In the morning Caroline Hewison and Val Orme assessed the novice dogs with an obedience exercise, a water retrieve, a marked retrieve on land and an unseen retrieve on land.
Passes were awarded to the following:
Al Moore with Sachbash Prince Olly Moore Chris Hewison with Casblaidd Mirror Lake Mags Brayfield with Keamarola Private Dancer Charlotte Smith with Castlerock First Glance at Whirleymere Garry Ellison with Ollersett Black Knight Anne Haley with Castlerock Return to Sender at Skybrook
In the afternoon Garry Ellison and Chris Hewison assessed the Intermediate dogs with a double mark retrieve with heel work in a walk-up exercise, a unseen retrieve with a distraction marked retrieve, an unseen retrieve over a stream and a double marked retrieve exercise where two dummies were thrown into Sarah’s beautiful pond. Despite some excellent retrieves unfortunately none of these dogs were able to reach the required standard to pass their assessments today.
We would like to thank Sarah, the assessors and their helpers and would also like to thank Lisa-Jane Mappin who helped us arrange the day. Lisa has recently joined our working committee and has set up her own fantastic new dog training hall in Wigan. This hall is not far from the M6. Anyone who is interested in attending her classes may want to follow this link.