Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Golden Time Was Had by All!

NOTE: LeeZard had the pleasure to help organize and put on a wonderful event to raise money for canine cancer research. If you are a dog lover (even if you are not), please go to: and make a donation. Thanks! 

This is the news release LeeZard sent out.


(Maple Valley, WA) - It wasn’t exactly “Lassie Come Home.” It was more like a Golden Jubilee Saturday night as more than 70 people brought their dogs, most bred at Maple Valley’s SmokeTree Golden Retrievers, back to where it all began for a very special evening. Owned by David and Sally Maryatt and Randy and Julie Schepper, SmokeTree became the first breeder in the country to host an auction to benefit the National Golden Retriever Foundation (GRF).

“We’ve always held an annual dinner party for our family of owners,” said Randy Schepper. “This year, because of some serious issues facing this wonderful breed, we decided to join the Golden Retriever Foundation’s effort to raise money for research, rescue and education.”

“Cancer is rapidly overtaking our beloved breed,” said Dr. Mike Lappin, veterinarian and GRF vice president. “That’s why the GRF, in cooperation with the AKC Canine Health Foundation is funding several research studies addressing these and other critical health issues threatening Golden Retrievers.”

“We’re very grateful that SmokeTree’s auction raised money for the foundation,” said Linda Johnson, GRF Treasurer, who attended the event. “We are also thankful that the Scheppers and Maryatts will provide their auction as a model to help other breeders around the country duplicate their effort.”

The silent auction and raffle raised $4,900.00. An anonymous donor will match that amount.

Since its opening in 1998 SmokeTree has produced six champions and offers stud service. But there’s more to SmokeTree than cranking out champions. “Realizing the majority of Goldens go to pet homes,” said Sally Maryatt, “we try to maintain the wonderful "Golden" temperament. We feel the health of the dogs is extremely important and spend hours researching pedigrees to find some of the best representatives of the breed. When prospective owners come to buy a dog or puppy, they will spend hours answering questions and interacting with the dogs so they will get just the right friend.”

SmokeTree’s dogs are also known for their unique names. Their first litter in 1998, the Dr. Seuss Litter, produced their first Champion, SmokeTree’s Horton Hears a Who. Also from that litter, their first member of the Golden Retriever Show Dog Hall of Fame, Champion SmokeTree’s Hops on Pops. The Vegetable Litter produced Canadian Champion SmokeTree N Zydeco's Okra Winfrey and Champion SmokeTree's Turnip The Heat. The Movie Litter gave us SmokeTree’s Kinky Boots. You get the picture.

Surrounded by hundreds of acres of forest, SmokeTree Golden Retrievers is located northeast of downtown Maple Valley a half-mile from the Cedar River.

For more information go to:


Research Activities

The Golden Retriever Foundation funds health studies that further the understanding of the diseases, genetic defects, injuries and other ailments that afflict dogs in general and Golden Retrievers in particular.

GRF Leads Fight Against Canine Cancer

The statistics are chilling. Sixty-thousand Goldens -- more than the total number to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) -- are at risk of being lost this year to lymphosarcoma. That’s one Golden Retriever out of every eight. There’s more. One in five Goldens is at risk for developing hemangiosarcoma.

“Cancer is rapidly overtaking our beloved breed,” says Dr. Mike Lappin, veterinarian and Golden Retriever Foundation (GRF)  vice president.  That is why the GRF, in cooperation with the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is funding several research studies addressing these and other critical health issues impacting Golden Retrievers.

The GRF is one of the most active breed organizations in canine health research. Since its inception, the GRF has awarded health related grants exceeding a total of $248,000. By working with the CHF, expenses are often shared with other breed clubs with similar health issues and we receive CHF-subsidized grants. Once the CHF approves proposals from research scientists, it forwards them to the GRF for consideration. The GRF relies on advice and counsel received from the GRCA’s Health and Genetics Committee, chaired by Ann Hubbs, DVM, PhD. The committee evaluates the proposals and summarizes their strengths and weaknesses based on several criteria, including relevance to Golden Retrievers, strength of the preliminary data, abilities of the researchers and quality of the facilities, scientific approach and the strength of the hypothesis.

In 2005, the GRF initiated the second breed health survey in order to identify additional areas of focus. The survey was developed by Judy Rasmuson, former GRF director and Roger Fuller, former GRCA board member. In addition the GRF continues to be a sponsor of the annual CHF canine cancer conference for the academic community. 

Future research will benefit from the 2005 mapping of the canine genome, which now is enabling many new approaches to canine cancer studies, according to one of the GRF’s research sponsored scientists, Dr. Matthew Breen of North Carolina State University. “The beauty of having the canine genome sequenced is that we can then take the entire dog genome, align it with the human genome and perform detailed comparisons at the DNA level, “he said. “This means that whatever genetic research we do in humans, we can do in dogs and vice versa. We’ll have reciprocal benefit.” 

Donations to the Zeke Cancer Research Fund support canine cancer studies in some of the nation’s foremost research facilities. There currently are twelve studies in progress. Donations to the General/Health Fund support comprehensive studies of the Golden Retriever population, such as hip dysplasia, hypothyroid disease, and other diseases and conditions relative to Goldens.

Golden Retriever Research:
A Legacy of Hope

With your generous financial support, the Golden Retriever Foundation funds a diverse range of health research studies investigating diseases such as several types of cancers, swallowing disorders, cataracts, SAS, and other issues of importance to the breed. In order to succeed, several of these studies require the cooperation of owners and participation of affected dogs.

For some studies, it is important that the dogs NOT be started on any medications prior to enrollment, or that biopsy or surgical samples be prepared in a specific manner, so please make contact as soon as possible when a diagnosis is suspected. Remember also that dogs owned by non-GRCA members are eligible for these studies, and please consider referring other Golden owners when possible.

We recognize that it takes great courage to look beyond one’s own sorrow when a special dog is diagnosed with a devastating disease, and we applaud the owners who participate in these research studies. Sometimes in the midst of sadness, helping to work toward a better future allows our beloved dogs to leave a legacy of hope to the next generation.