Fancy Taking Part in Something Remarkable?
Schnauzerfest, the national annual fundraiser I created in 2014, is gently gearing up for this year’s fun. As in previous years it’s all about walks happening across the UK over one autumn weekend. Walks will be hosted by willing volunteers who wish to be out with their dogs and friends old and new, whilst raising funds to help dogs in need. The colossal sum of money that everyone involved with Schnauzerfest has raised each year has transformed the lives of a lot of dogs, most of them ex-breeding dogs. I could never have imagined it would be possible to raise almost £50,000 in just 3 years! It’s happened entirely through the generosity and dedication of a great many people wanting to do something to help less fortunate dogs. It’s humbling to know so many people care and want to make a difference through the fun of Schnauzerfest.
My original spark was to do something that would help give back to the rescue where Susie-Belle received care that restored her health and eyesight when she was first rescued from a puppy farm. DBARC is where she had all this plus her first ever experience of what it is to be loved. She was surrounded by goodness throughout the time she spent with DBARC. Janet, DBARC’s manager and Susie-Belle’s foster mum cherished her for 6 months before she was fit and well enough to come and live with us. I write extensively in, my first book, Saving Susie-Belle about my experience of meeting Janet and visiting DBARC for the first time. It was a memorable day. I not only met Susie-Belle but many other schnauzers who’d been saved from puppy farms, all with problems of various degrees that DBARC were either providing care for, or permanent sanctuary. DBARC staff and volunteers adopt or long-term foster all the hard, or impossible to home cases. It really is a remarkable place. And for me, from day one when it came into my head as an idea, Schnauzerfest is all about enabling DBARC to continue offering more Susie-Belles the help they generously gave to her.
Most of the ex-breeding schnauzers that DBARC helps, arrive with them with multiple health and behavioural problems. Many are either blind, or in the process of losing their sight through cataracts. Most rescues simply cannot dedicate, or raise the huge sums of money that cataract surgery costs. Even before the emergence of Schnauzerfest, DBARC were scraping together the money needed to help dogs like Susie-Belle. The commitment of Janet and her team to know how utterly transforming it is for a blind dog rescued from a puppy farm to have their sight restored is, well, visionary. With the help of Schnauzerfest’s funds, DBARC have been able to expand their compassionate reach and restore the sight of many more dogs over the past three years. Everyone who takes part in Schnauzerfest can see where their donations to DBARC go – directly to changing dogs lives in this most humane and powerful way.
At Schnauzerfest HQ, which is basically me and a handful of close friends, each year we look carefully at how best the huge sums of money that are raised will be used. When I first floated the idea of Schnauzerfest I never for a nanosecond expected to be responsible for overseeing this kind of money. It’s a tiny bit daunting to be sure that the money everyone raises finds it way to the best place where dogs will benefit the most. But, I research everything thoroughly and know that decisions we make are what’s best for the dogs. In the first year of Schnauzerfest DBARC was the sole beneficiary, then for the last couple of years, money has been split between them and another excellent rescue, East Midlands Dog Rescue.
This year, we’ve decided that DBARC will be the recipient of all money raised as a special gesture to them for last year using some of their funds for surgery to help dogs initially saved, and in some cases rehomed, by other rescues. Dogs like Bindie who was initially rescued by EMDR and in due course had her eye surgery funded by DBARC. And Ginty and Bertie, aka Baldrick who had their eyesight restored following last year’s Schnauzerfest via DBARC funds. Both dogs were initially saved by Alpets Rescue in Wales, another small rescue doing really demanding work.
Bertie’s adopter, Lucy was trying to raise funds for his cataract surgery. On behalf of Schnauzerfest I liaised with Lucy and DBARC and Bertie successfully had surgery with DBARC making up the shortfall in Lucy’s fundraising. This has transformed Bertie’s world and, always a happy dog, once he could see what he was up to, he’s made sure to make up for his lost years in darkness. Lucy recently told me that she’s expecting a baby and is looking forward to being able to host her first Schnauzerfest Walk with Bertie and friends. We’ll have details of this walk as soon as Bertie’s new brother arrives and Lucy’s back on her feet.
Like Bertie, Ginty was blind when rescued and we heard about her right in the midst of Schnauzerfest 2016. As the fundraising was going well, through the efforts of many, starting with Linda her initial rescuer we were able to get her up to Berkshire for eye surgery. Ginty spent several months with the DBARC team and captured Janet’s heart who eventually found Ginty’s perfect adoptive home with a local family. Ginty epitomises what is spectacularly special about Schnauzerfest: through dedication and teamwork including of course all those taking part in the weekend of walks and fundraising, her life radically changed from being a blind, dumped breeding dog, to one of unlimited love and joy. Ginty is living happily in Berkshire, enjoying the fullest life possible.
I know that for everyone involved in Schnauzerfest, the most important thing is that the money raised helps dogs in need. DBARC ensures this truly happens and we get to see and follow the journeys of the dogs who are the direct beneficiaries of the money raised.
If you’d like to get involved with this year’s Schnauzerfest, and we’d love you to, please visit the Schnauzerfest social media links to see details of what’s happening. We’d really love plenty of hosts offering to walk in their local areas with others. The more walks and choices we have for people to take part in over the weekend, the more dogs DBARC will be able to help with the funds raised.
Please think about offering to host. Hosting a walk is really easy and fun. Nothing special is expected of hosts beyond being a willing guide for a local walk and sharing it with others. We really do keep things simple and hassle free for those taking part. Join us on the links below and be part of something remarkable that’s transforming the lives of many Susie-Belles.
Schnauzerfest walks are all arranged and listed on our Facebook page HERE.
You can follow Schnauzerfest on Twitter HERE.
Find Schnauzerfest on Instagram HERE.