Puppy Farm Dogs Honoured in Susie-Belle’s Name
Puppy farm dogs were honoured at the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre Fun Day with a special award. The Susie-Belle Memorial Shield was introduced this year to mark the lives of all dogs who are blighted by the breeding industry. It’s for all puppy farm dogs, from those like Susie-Belle trapped for endless miserable years to produce puppies; to those who get discarded young as their obvious deformities make them unsellable. Two recent examples of this came along to enjoy the show: Bumble & Bea, brothers born in a puppy farm with deformed backlegs, now thanks to DBARC enjoying life as happy young tripaws.
The puppy farm dogs class in the show had around 30 dogs enter, from young to old, males and females. Those who’d mercifully been rescued out of the nightmare while still young, to older ones like Mabel who sadly, like Susie-Belle endured many years of suffering before coming out into a world of love and safety. One they should always have known but for the cruel greed of the puppy trade.
I declined the kind invitation to judge the class as I honestly didn’t know how I’d feel with the high emotion attached to the award. The loss of Susie-Belle cuts deep seven months on. I didn’t want to lose my self-control and foist an embrassing emotional outpouring onto an unsuspecting audience. So, I was glad my friend Kathleen, made of more solid stocism than me, stepped in and happily took on the important role of judge. This left me to grit my teeth and smile through barely contained tears as we met each beautiful entry. There was Winston, newly out of a life as a stud dog in a puppy farm, still understandably anxious and wary of humans but with his family he’s moving towards knowing life is there for him to enjoy not endure. There were several adorable, gentle dogs with life limiting medical conditions most likely as a result of in-breeding; there was Banksy, a fun-loving boy who’d been rescued young from a hideous breeding situation and has gone onto embrace his life with gusto. Dogs with cataracts and eyes that have had to be removed but getting along just fine in the warm safety of their loving families.
The puppy farm survivors class revealed the extent of suffering dogs experience in the puppy trade. But shining through the gloomy upsetting reality their stories tell, is the immense resilience dogs have. Their strength to put aside their past when they’re rescued. And their huge capacity to love, and accept love when given that chance. This is what Susie-Belle’s memory and legacy is about. Her life was hard and she suffered for years, but when she got a hold of her new life, she made damn sure she made the most of it. She loved life, she let herself be loved by Michel and I and others. She fought to the very end to enjoy her life for as long as she could. And the courage and grace that Susie-Belle displayed in her four years of freedom was there in technicolour brilliance in that Berkshire field, reflected in each dog in her Memorial Class.
Every single dog we met deserves a mention; all were worthy of winning Susie-Belle’s Shield, but there could only be one. The Susie-Belle Memorial Shield was awarded to Phoebe the Adorable Beagle who’d spent a dreadful number of years in a breeding facility. Now she lives a wonderful life, one that all dogs deserve to experience, where love is abundant and freedom is the norm.
There were many wonderful dogs and classes at the show all raising huge amounts of awareness of how dogs that are adopted change people’s lives. For me, the Puppy Farm Dogs class epitomises this more than any other. And to have Susie-Belle’s life honoured in this way for years to come, makes this a most special award for Michel and I, for which we’re most grateful to the wonderful team that are DBARC.
For more on DBARC’s work visit their website.
And you can read a great blog about the whole day, including the Puppy Farm Survivors class by Twilight Bark here.