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Wednesday, December 04th 2013

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Research Contributions for the Catahoula Leopard Dog

Don Abney

When the idea of the Catahoula Owners, Breeders, and Research Association (COBRA) began, we were told what an undertaking this would be. There were those that were skeptical of what we were trying to do, and some that even attempted to undermine the association.

Since that time, we have overcome a lot of adversity, such as: lost applications, lengthy times in reading through By-laws, lost or undelivered e-mails, corrections to formal writings that were placed behind others, and of course the old adage of "we've really been so busy" that we were put way behind in our organizational formation. Then came the time to prove ourselves at a show, and the representative assigned to us decided that there was other pressing business, and did not show up for our review. This took more time to recover and get accepted. Once those hurdles were completed, along came a real "witch" known as hurricane Katrina. She ravaged the city of New Orleans and its suburbs, and devastated the entire Gulf Coast, where we hold our shows. With all of this, a few of the officers could not complete the jobs they were to perform, and had to move their homes and their families. Then we discover that one of our board members had been stricken ill by a rare blood disease.

The good news out of all of this is . . . We Are Still Here!

COBRA is moving forward and working on getting everything in order. We may have to move our show location temporarily, but we will go forward. The show schedule has undergone some changes in dates, but we will have those shows.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) has been very gracious and generous by allowing us to recoup our losses and grant us the use of the funds that were paid for the show that did not develop due to the storm. It only goes to show you that when you work with a reputable organization, you get results and fairness. Thank You, UKC, for your Kindness and Generosity.

At the present time, I am in contact with Dr. George Strain, PhD, of LSU concerning the deafness study to be undertaken exclusively for the Catahoula. As it was stated in the past, I will take this on initially ($6k), but there will be more funds needed if this study is to continue.

Whether you are a member of COBRA or not, the results will be posted on this website for all of the world to see. With that said, it should be mentioned that without those Breeders and Owners that are truly concerned about the welfare and betterment of the Catahoula, and the resources that they provide, we will not be able to keep this program moving forward. If you take the time to look at all the studies performed around the world, you will find that they all started with a handful of individuals, and through donations and volunteers, they found success. This organization will not be any different. We cannot depend on others to discover what we seek if we ourselves do not get involved. I know there are some that believe that there are not enough of us to accomplish this undertaking, but I say, "You're Wrong!"

We can do it! Will it take money? Of course, it will. Will we be able to acquire enough to finish it? Yes. If every owner and breeder were to contribute to the projects, there would be more than enough money to accomplish any study or feat deemed needed. Funding starts with individuals and grows to organizations that wish to become involved. There is no funding organization that has stepped out of the crowds to say, "I see your desires and wishes, and we will help," without first seeing that the individuals and groups involved with the project were willing to invest their time and money into the projects.

So, without begging, I'm saying to each and every person that loves the Catahoula as much as I, that there is no project that can be completed without your help. If you truly believe in the Catahoula, and the projects that we are attempting, dig into your pockets and show your support. Without you and proper funding, we will not be able to complete any study or research.

I cannot take all the credit for the small successes that COBRA has had. It is because of the dedication of all of the Officers and Board Members that this organization continues to move ahead. None of the Officers or Board Members has ever asked to be reimbursed for any of their expenses since the start of COBRA. They believe in this Club and are willing to make sacrifices to see it succeed. They are to be applauded for their dedication. They have made a commitment, and are willing to stick to it. Will You?

The following is taken from an email that I received from George Strain, PhD, LSU Research Dept., on March 21, 2006. This is exciting news.

We're finally at a place where we may be able start moving on studies with the Catahoula. My collaborator and good friend Keith Murphy at Texas A&M University just found and sequenced the merle gene in dogs. He has looked at the merle in DNA from a few Catahoulas and is very intrigued with it.I will be speaking with him later today to discuss just what we might try to do.
What level of support do you think might be possible? We're probably talking about anywhere from $30K to $100K to do this, but could get started for less - it's expensive to do this kind of work.
We're talking about parlaying this into a grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health. Let me know what you think about possible funding level, and I'll get back with more details about what we will want to attempt.

Donations may be sent to:
POB 248
Abita Springs, LA 70420

We will acknowledge all contributions no matter how large or small. Thank you for your Support!

Don Abney - President COBRA


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