‘Did Somebody Say Walk?’ Book Launch
The Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre is always a place where I enjoy spending time. It has a special place in my affections as it’s there that Susie-Belle spent her first six months out of the puppy farm. She learned that kindness exists in the world while she received vital veterinary care, and being cared for and loved into health by the DBARC team. Not back to health, as I doubt in all the years she existed in a dark and dirty barn, she’d ever been healthy.
It’s always with memories of Susie-Belle filling my thoughts that I visit DBARC and this year’s recent Fun Day was no exception, she was prominent in my mind in the lead up to it and throughout the day. It’s hard to know why sometimes she comes forcefully into my consciousness whilst at others her memory is gently comforting, calm and quiet. Perhaps her prominence was down to the launch of my 4th book written to try and make a difference for dogs like her. I wrote my first, Saving Susie-Belle, for and about her, and in every book since, she’s been close by me throughout.
It was the second time that Annabel Wilson and I have launched a children’s book at DBARC and like our first, Saving Maya, the production of “Did Somebody Say Walk?” has been possible through the kindness of strangers who saw a way to make a difference. The technical skills, costs of print and production have been donated by Schnauzerfest benefactors who wish to remain unnamed. As Annabel and I are taking no fees, it means that all proceeds from sales will be donated the Schnauzerfest Fund, which is Susie-Belle’s number one fundraising legacy.
The ‘Did Somebody Say Walk?’ launch at DBARC on the Schnauzerfest Stall went without a hitch, despite the unusually high temperatures the UK is experiencing. We were busy from the start and signed and sold copies throughout the day. It was a pleasure meeting supporters of both Schnauzerfest and DBARC as well as readers coming along to get my latest book. Several said they’d be donating to their local libraries and schools, a perfect way to reach more readers and spread awareness. Annabel’s illustrations went down a storm with everyone, and for some they saw for the first time their dogs brought to life in her drawings.
The sense of community the book embodies is something very special and largely down to the goodwill felt by many towards Schnauzerfest and Susie-Belle. It’s a humbling experience to hear how much her life continues to mean to many, over two years on from her passing.
Due to the heat, some understandably made the decision to stay at home and turnout was down on last year’s record number. But plenty of people still came along, some travelling good distances to enjoy the day, with a few making a weekend of it. Like Faye, who does a huge amount of good work for Schnauzerfest with her crafting skills and generous donations. It was very nice to finally meet in person, she didn’t want to pose for a photo, but I wouldn’t take no for an answer!
In fact I met many who up to this point I’ve only communicated with online, either as readers, supporters or hosts of Schnauzerfest walks. The day was rich in us all coming together for the main aim of helping dogs who need us all to be good, compassionate and generous human beings as they’ve experienced the worst of human kind. Matt Allwright, a local resident and supporter of Schnauzerfest also popped along to say hello, it’s always good to see him and get the chance to talk about his work with BBC Watchdog to publicise puppy farming.
One person I was delighted made the journey all the way from Wales, was 12 year old Aimee, who first contacted me earlier this year ahead of her reporting on puppy farming for BBC Young Reporter. When I heard she’d be going to DBARC, I knew a perfect way to harness her love for dogs, commitment to ending puppy farming and experience of attending with her dog Frankie, numerous fun dog shows. I invited her to co-judge the Puppy Farm Survivor class, the winner of which is awarded the Susie-Belle Memorial Award. This is always a tough and thankless task for me as every single dog is a brave and deserving winner. I am a fairly hopeless judge and always better when I’m accompanied by someone sensible.
Aimee slotted into the role perfectly. We listened to every story and were moved by them all. The nightmarish suffering of dogs in the breeding industry is endless and happens under many guises. I wanted every dog to be awarded in Susie-Belle’s memory. However, with Aimee’s help, the decision was made. It was an unusual one as we just could not decide on a single winner and so it was, that the 2018 Susie-Belle Memorial Award went jointly to Bronwyn and Lucy. Look out for my next blog where I’ll share their stories.
For Aimee, the day was also an opportunity to meet Kirsty, a miniature schnauzer from a puppy farm who was in the care of DBARC while undergoing vital health investigations. It was a wonderful experience seeing Aimee and her family meet Kirsty, as since the day, she has been adopted by them and has begun her new life, with the delightful new name, Penny Poppet. I’ll be blogging on their journey together, so do look out for updates, it’s really an uplifting, developing story.
All in all the day was a great success for everyone involved, not least the animals who will benefit from the fundraising in all its forms that was going on. I know that for all of us on the Schnauzerfest team and everyone who supported, the money we raised was the icing on the cake of a great day of fun, friendship and commitment to helping dogs in need with all we have at our disposal.
Following the launch of “Did Somebody Say Walk?” sales have opened via Schnauzerfest and we are sending books out around the world as orders flood in. Together with the Schnauzerfest 2018-19 Calendar which features over 70 beautiful photographs, in just 3 days, sales topped £1500, and day or so later £2000. The sales total continues to climb and is a marvellous and welcome boost for the 2018 Schnauzerfest fundraising.
If you’d like to buy a copy of either the calendar or book, please email me here, or visit the Schnauzerfest Facebook page and message us there.