Collie Health Foundation PAYING IT FORWARD FOR COLLIE HEALTH
BY PATT CALDWELL, SECRETARY, COLLIE HEALTH FOUNDATION
T he importance of each breed’s health is as important as its Standard. With- out health and vitality, no breed can thrive—much less survive. The birth of the Collie Health Foundation developed initially as the health committee for Collie Club of America. While its intent and concept were good, under this structure CCA was only able to provide limited support for Collie research and related activities. As explained on the CHF website, “ Health problems, such as Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Bloat, Epilepsy, skin disorders, Derma- tomyositis (DMS) and Grey Collie Syndrome, that can affect the Collie breed, need signifi- cant funding if they are ever to be conquered. Thus, the Foundation was born, with the pri- mary function of addressing the breed’s major health problems.” The demand to meet the health needs of the breed far exceeded the function of a parent club health committee. Benefits of becoming a separate organization were two-fold. It would provide donors tax deductions and allow donations to fund research and related health activities. The Foundation’s primary function was addressing the breed’s major health problems. Its main purpose is to fund research in breeding, genetics, and health issues of all dogs, with the primary emphasis on research as it relates directly to Collies. So far, the Foundation has given grants to the following areas of research: Bloat, Grey Collie, Epilepsy, eye dis- eases (most notably PRA), DMS, and many other health-related problems. The message of the Foundation is that funding nurtures and provides for research and education. In 1986, the Collie Club of America established the Collie Club of America Founda- tion, Inc. The concept for the organization was conceived and brought to fruition by a group of longtime breeders. With the Collie Club of America’s assistance and coopera- tion, the reality of the organization was set into motion, gaining strength and success annually. Its accomplishments have been inspiring. “The Collie Health Foundation was one of the first dog health-related foundations and preceded the AKC Canine Health Foundation, which was modeled on the Collie Health Foundation’s original structure,” explained Nancy McDonald, former President and current Board Member. What does CHF engage itself in now? While its mission is to fund research projects that will benefit the future health of Collies, it also strives to educate the general public and Collie breeders about health issues. Currently, CHF has allocated over one million dollars in Collie and dog-related research, with the promise of more on the horizon.
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