Schnauzerfest Hits The TV Screens
A few weeks before Schnauzerfest weekend I was approached by a TV producer. She was working on an ITV programme featuring the impact dogs can have on lives and had been following my writing and Schnauzerfest for some time. By nature I tend to be private, bordering at times on reclusive, preferring to stay away from media requests and interest. Since I began writing about life with our dogs and the industry they were saved from, I’ve learnt to plough my own furrow rather than compromise how I do things. But, I know that to effectively raise awareness and funds for the dogs, this isn’t always apppropriate, so I’m selective where I engage. I agreed to talk to the producer to see where it went.
Many emails and phone calls later and discussions on what Schnauzerfest is all about, its ethos, its aims and the tremendous grassroots support it has, it was finally agreed that the Susie-Belle Memorial Walk would be filmed to showcase Schnauzerfest for ITV’s Britain’s Top 100 Dogs. We arrived last Saturday in the UK to be interviewed and filmed. Not just me and my dogs, but over 100 schnauzers who joined us to take part in the third Susie-Belle Memorial Walk, in honour of one special little dog who inspired the creation of Schnauzerfest which in five years has become a phenomenal movement for good.
As schnauzers gathered at 10.30 in all their noisy, excitable glory at Stanmer Park, Brighton, I was wrapping up an interview where I was able to talk about what Schnauzerfest means for dogs saved from puppy farms. And why puppy farming is an evil industry which has no place in a humane world. Alongside me on the sofa, for over an hour sat Twinkle, Cerise and Renae.
I had stopped myself thinking of the juggling act it would be to get them sitting still, and for Cerise in particular to control her anxiety around humans long enough to get on camera. I never needed to worry, they were all stars and behaved impeccably in what was an alien setting for all of us.The filming went well, the director Chris and his team were great and put us all at ease. It was surprisingly painless!
Then it was on to the walk and what lies at the heart of Schnauzerfest – dogs doing what dogs do best, having fun walking. Schnauzerfest raises money and awareness for puppy farm dogs who are deprived of this simple pleasure.
Susie-Belle was happiest when she was out walking and in her memory, we walked our hearts out on Saturday and hopefully when the show is aired, the important messages of Schnauzerfest will come over loud and clear. Many dogs who have been helped through funds raised by Schnauzerfest were at the walk, and the film crew caught many on camera and spoke to people who know the true importance of what we all do for the dogs with Schnauzerfest.
While dogs are bred for profit and the industry continues to inflict much suffering, we must do everything possible to educate people so that one day it will end. This is why I agreed to be a part of Britain’s Top 100 Dogs, a two and a half hour TV show which will feature Schnauzerfest in a strong segment on puppy farming.
I like to think Susie-Belle was smiling down on us all at the weekend, and not just those who made it to Stanmer Park, but everyone who remembered her, and those who took part in several walks held around the country in her honour. To everyone who cares, I sincerely thank you.
Britain’s Top 100 Dogs will air on ITV in the UK on 29th January.
(many thanks to Anne Barlow and Mike Jackson for permission to use the photos in this blog)