Susie-Belle and I spent Saturday in London at Discover Dogs. This event is a huge one held annually, hosted by the Kennel Club and it’s open to all members of the public interested in dogs. There are over 200 breeds of dogs there so people can find out more about the breeds, meet them in person, talk to those who understand the breed, which should mean that dogs can be chosen that best suit lifestyles and homes.
I went along to help out on the C.A.R.I.A.D
puppy farming awareness stand and Susie-Belle, naturally, accompanied me. It is for her and all dogs like her, that are unfortunate to find themselves in abusive breeding situations, that I campaign and I couldn’t have left her at home. Although I will admit to almost doing so when I thought I’d have to get the train, I couldn’t see her coping with that without the comfort of her sister Renae to draw upon.
She did brilliantly all day, although it was a tiring experience, mainly because she didn’t get her usual morning nap and after lunch snooze. We wandered round the stalls – and there was a lot of shopping to be done, although I refrained from splashing out – and met some great people interested in dog welfare.
It was a real pleasure to meet the founder of CARIAD, Linda Goodman, and spend the day with her. She is truly an inspiration to me. Her dedication to ending puppy farming is complete and in my early days of discovering all there is to know about this subject, I kept coming across her name, work and writings. It was lovely to see a genuinely compassionate person behind the words.
Marc Abraham, founder of Pup Aid was also there, judging the various classes in the dog show that was a big part of the event. More importantly (to me) he came and gave support to CARIAD and arranged Susie-Belle’s invitation. It’s great to see the cooperation and thorough collaboration now amongst the various campaigners and groups, our voices are joining, getting louder and will soon be impossible for the authorities, legislators and public to ignore. It is only by all organisations working together that things will improve for the dogs and this now happening; Marc is a great person to bring all of us together so that the whole nasty puppy breeding and selling business will one day be brought to its knees.
On my wanderings round the show, I made sure I said hello to Wylie. He was rescued from the streets of Afghanistan, and his story is told in the lovely book, Wylie: the brave street dog who never gave up
written by Pen Farthing, founder of Nowzad
. It always feel so special to me when Susie-Belle meets other dogs who have known the terrible kind of suffering that man can inflict and yet, now, are enjoying their lives being loved as they always should have been. I like to imagine, and that can only be what it is, my imagination, that they have a kindred understanding. I do think dogs function on levels we can never understand and who knows what they communicate between themselves – they don’t need words.
We signed a few copies of our book during the day and several people came along wanting to meet Susie-Belle. It’s always so pleasing to know that the book has touched people, and helped them to share the story, which spreads awareness.
Throughout the day on the CARIAD stand, many people stopped by and shared their own stories of either buying puppies from doubtful sources, or, how they have given homes to abused, breeding dogs. On one level it was heartening to hear that more awareness is out there, but equally, it’s deeply frustrating that the scale of the problem doesn’t seem to be shrinking, in fact it’s growing. People don’t seem to make the final connections between the puppies they see for sale in garden centres, in shops and the parent dogs they don’t see, the ones being kept in misery to supply the trade, that thrives, by them mistakenly “saving” the puppy that they buy. It is this connection that needs to be made clearer, we need to speak louder about this. I know for some, it’s not desirable to make someone feel bad about buying a puppy that they think they have saved from the shop, saved from the sad place. But, it is only by us saying this must not be done, this is not saving the dogs, it is continuing the market in misery for parent dogs, that this will end. The market needs to be less lucrative, the prices for the dogs need to drop and drop as they don’t sell. This is where change will happen in the absence of effective legislation.
Speaking of which, Marc will soon be posting a blog about what Pup Aid is doing behind the scenes and how we can all take part and help drive forward with real pressure on the politicians to act to end puppy farming. To hear Marc speak on this, listen to the podcast here.
It was a great day, meeting lots of great people. I came away feeling strengthened to continue the fight, the campaign and to get on and finish writing the next book. Anything that will help to make people see what lies behind the cute puppies, is worth doing.