In 1990, then Chow Chow Club, Inc. President Cody Milligan appointed the first CCCI Welfare committee. The first members of this committee were chair Vicki DeGruy, Christine Cameron, Dr. J. Albert deBlois and Barbara Malone. Intended to address the needs of a Chow Chow population that had grown far beyond anyone's imagination, the committee joined the efforts of several other parent breed clubs working to achieve a greater influence on the owners of dogs outside the circles of the show ring. Over the years, committee members have come and gone, the most recent, along with Vicki, were Ginny Atkinson, Karen Privitello and Kathy Welsh. In 2012, Vicki retired and was replaced by new chair, Elaine Albert.
Our focus has remained the same throughout these years: the well-being of the Chow Chow as a pet in our society. If our primary function could be described in only one word, that word would be education. We teach people how to understand, appreciate and properly care for this unique and intriguing breed of dog.
Our next priority concerns the needs of thousands of abandoned Chow Chows. When the Welfare committee was first appointed, the Chow Chow was the sixth most popular breed in the U.S. with AKC registration figures of mind-boggling proportions: 49,096 in 1987, 50,782 in 1988, 50,150 in 1989, 45,267 in 1990. (We can only guess how many Chows were born during that time but not registered.) The Chow was the "in" breed to have and there were Chows everywhere, especially where we didn't want them to be - in petstores, puppymills, animal shelters and in the hands of owners who weren't committed to caring for them responsibly.
Prior to 1990, these issues weren't being addressed adequately by the Chow Chow Club, Inc. A few individual members and regional Chow clubs, Pru Baxter and the Greater Houston Chow Chow Club, to name only one of each, had "Chow Rescue" programs but without the support of the CCCI. One of the initial goals of the Welfare committee was to find ways for the CCCI to encourage and support Chow rescue efforts.
Barbara Malone surveyed national breed clubs, gathering information on their welfare, rescue and education programs. Some clubs were very active and organized in their welfare projects while others had never considered the concept. Barbara sorted through the information, choosing the best or most practical ideas, many of which make up the committee's procedures today.
Christine Cameron put together and published the first rescue directory, a listing of Chow rescue volunteers and their services. Until then, few volunteers were aware of each other. The directory was a first step in rescue networking and mutual support. Combined with a "how to rescue" manual written by myself, Christine distributed the first CCCI rescue resources to regional clubs and interested individuals.
The CCCI Welfare Hotline was also established in 1990 and continues today. The Hotline functions as a central information source for Chow owners seeking help for their dogs' problems and animal shelters seeking placement help for the Chows in their care. Callers are counseled, sent educational material and/or referred to rescue services or regional clubs and CCCI members in their home areas for further help and information.
The CCCI's Welfare Fund began in 1991. Intended originally to cover the cost of the committee's printing, postage and office supplies, the purpose of the fund was expanded in 1995, by action of the CCCI Board, to help with medical expenses of eligible rescued Chows by providing grants to Chow rescue volunteers and other individuals.
The committee has always believed that educational material should be made available free to the public and your generous donations to the fund have enabled us to do that. The committee's telephone expenses and website, including the Welfare Hotline, have always been donated by the committee members themselves.
Although the committee doesn't operate a shelter or rescue Chows in the name of the Chow Chow Club, Inc., our grant program has supported many rescue groups and individual volunteers by providing them with financial grants and resources like our rescue manual and adoption website. Your donations make it possible for us to continue these critical services.
The Chow Chow Club, Inc.'s Welfare Committee