ONE of the things I love about the age of social media is the immediacy you can gauge views and opinions relatively quickly.

We’ve had one such example this week all based around a letter we published from Mike Gadsby of the world famous Afterglow kennel. Mike’s partner Jason Lynn was the man who handled this year’s Crufts best in show winner Ch Afterglow Maverick Sabre, or Ricky, and it was that best in show win that prompted Mike’s letter to DOG WORLD.

Here’s what he had to say:

This week we received an envelope from the Kennel Club, addressed to my partner Jason Lynn. Inside there was no letter or compliment slip, simply a cheque for £200 signed by Caroline Kisko. After some guesswork we assumed that the cheque must be the prize money for Ricky’s Best in Show win at Crufts!

If that’s the case, it is difficult to comprehend that no one from the KC could be bothered to insert a simple note of explanation, with perhaps a ”well done on winning our dog show” included somewhere!

Interestingly, albeit unsurprisingly in light of this latest development, the KC has yet to acknowledge our role in the $5,000 donation awarded to the Charitable Trust by Eukanuba as a result of Ricky’s win in Orlando at the World Challenge. The dog paper ran a photo of the grinning Gerald King accepting the cheque at Crufts, but we have never received a phone call, note or email to say ”Thanks for that!”

It was the first time a British dog has won the Eukanuba World Challenge, and perhaps we were a bit naive to think that the KC would view the win as a positive moment for UK breeders and exhibitors in the eyes of the world. We were truly humbled by the hundreds of messages that poured in from fellow exhibitors and colleagues from around the globe, and yet our own KC here at home seemed oblivious; this despite the huge amounts of our time, money and energy that enabled them to receive that hefty sum. One wonders whether this was yet another unprofessional oversight or an outright snub. Either way it’s just bad manners and sadly par for the course.

In 2011 at the Welsh Kennel Club dinner KC chairman Steve Dean during his speech said: ‘It would be good to hear people referring to ‘our Kennel Club’ not ‘the Kennel Club.’ For the rest of us to refer to the KC as `ours` surely we need to feel in someway included. It’s not as though we personally need the KC’s endorsement, it’s just ironic in this instance where we genuinely represented ”our” Kennel Club in a positive way there is a complete lack of interest and zero acknowledgement to boot!

The phrase ‘respect earns respect’ rings true. Only when the KC, and of course what I really mean are its chairman and senior staff, begin to demonstrate some common courtesy and respect toward those they represent, will those feelings become mutual.

When we read the letter in the office we were a bit open-mouthed in disbelief. The KC likes to promote Crufts as the biggest and best dog show in the world, I think we can say without fear of contradiction that it is certainly the most famous and any exhibitor I know regards winning best in show there as the absolute pinnacle of anyone’s dog showing career. It beggars belief therefore that the organisers first of all take four months to pay out the prize money but then cannot even include any kind of acknowledgement. It is, frankly, simple bad manners.

Virtually as soon as the paper became available this week people of social media were talking about the letter, and more than that they were commenting on it.
said: “Totally unsurprised, it has not been ‘our Kennel Club’ at any stage and never will be, until it has an open membership policy and stops operating as private members club, which is the way I and many others perceive it to be. It has managed to disenfranchise so, so many people, even some who are members, and now people regard it as a joke. I am saddened by Mike and Jason’s experience, we should be promoting UK dogs and be proud of them.”

Michael Parkinson said: “I’m sure that Michael and Jason didn’t expect a full scale presentation with marching bands but is this really the normal way that the KC treats Crufts BIS winners? As for not even acknowledging or thanking them for the $5000 Ricky won at the World Challenge, donated to the Charitable Trust, it leaves me speechless… but not surprised!” And Ray Haman added, “A simple acknowledgement from the KC would have gone a long way! Very unprofessional!”

I don’t know why but the KC always seems capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Mike and Jason are both enormously well-liked and well respected not just here in the UK but across the world so to treat them like this just seems an absolute PR disaster. Of course if we turn the clock back to last year when Gavin Robertson handled Jilly, Ch Soletrader Peek a Boo to best in show at Crufts there was another huge PR opportunity missed.

Gavin and his wife Sara along with their two young children are the embodiment, in my view, of so many positive messages that we want, and need, to promote about why people should be getting involved in the world of dogs but of course the only high profile activity was organized by Gavin himself in the shape of Jilly’s Jolly Jaunt.

There are so many positive stories and messages to get out their into the public domain and so many great people who could represent our world so well so why does the KC seem unwilling or unable to do so.