|© Adrian Sherratt|
When I first met Carol Fowler, she was in two minds whether or not to be interviewed for Pedigree Dogs Exposed. She was nervous both in general of the media and because the breeders of Bonnie, her first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to suffer from syringomyelia, had threatened to sue her if she spoke out.
It was, of course, an idle threat - but nevertheless intimidating for a retired schoolteacher from Gloucestershire whose natural inclination is to modesty, to circumspection.
Carol agreed to be interviewed, though, because she thought that speaking out might just prevent other Cavalier owners and their dogs going through the agony she had endured. By then Bonnie had already died from syringomyelia and her second Cavalier, Rosie, had also been diagnosed with it.
Carol's bravery has played an enormous part in ensuring that the genetic health of Cavaliers has become a priority with everyone involved with the breed.
Today, Carol is a formidable advocate for not just Cavaliers but for all dogs... chivvying politicians, vets, welfare bodies, puppy buyers and the Kennel Club to do better via her Dog Breeding Reform Group, her Dog Breed Health website and her Cavalier Campaign.
On Sunday, Carol lost her beloved Rosie. In the end, it wasn't the the sryingomyelia. What killed Rosie was the 'other' Cavalier problem: heart disease.
No dog was ever more loved - as is evident from these out-takes from Pedigree Dogs Exposed.
None of you will be surprised to hear that Carol is absolutely heart-broken.