Where Do I Start?
I haven’t known where to start writing a blog since I did the last one. Every day I’ve sat down to do it and it’s proved impossible. I couldn’t hang onto any clarity, or sense of expression for long enough to write something for here. I’d make a lousy journalist. The world is in the grip of a universal crisis and almost every aspect of life as we know it is being changed by an invisible enemy. COVID-19 has a lot to answer for!
Living in rural France makes the ever tightening restrictions bearable. While our daily activities are severely limited we’ve been adapting to this for weeks now. But we count our blessings as to how much worse it could be. Our dogs can still be out every day. This is so important for the wellbeing of us all. For me, allowing my dogs to be as free as it’s safe for them to be has formed the bedrock of how I feel they recover from their imprisoned lives in puppy farms.
In the government ordered confinement being out daily for short amounts of exercise and fresh air is allowed. With everything they have to consider, total confinement indoors is not (yet) being imposed as they know the mental health implications will be huge. Up to yesterday we could walk within 2km of home. It’s now been reduced to 1km. We have to complete and carry forms with us every time we leave home. We are not permitted to drive out to a walk. Roads, towns, villages, are eerily quiet. Cases of the virus continue to climb, we expect restrictions to get tighter at some point.
The UK is a couple of weeks behind France, restrictions are in place, similar but not the same. Family and friends are directly affected by the virus and restrictions. Who knows when this whole nightmare will be over? I have so many worries about it all, like everyone has. While our life is adaptable and we feel lucky in that, my heart is always with the animals who will be badly affected. I’ve been seeing how rescues and shelters have been coping, struggling, battling to adjust. It’s a terrible situation. And my thoughts are never far from the puppy farms.
I have terrible anxiety about the impact on the dogs stuck in their own awful reality. Those who won’t be rescued as usual rescue networks are suspended. Discarded breeding dogs will be dumped or worse. Many will perish in coming months as it’s likely puppy farmers will see their market shrink. Long term this may present a glimmer of hope for a better world for the dogs as we all come out the other side of this global nightmare, but in the process much darkness will descend.
I never sleep well but now my mind wanders in the middle of the night to those poor dogs and it’s driving me more than ever to keep the charity I founded on track. Schnauzerfest will be there to support rescues when they need it, because the dogs that do get out are going to need us, I suspect in large numbers.
This is the first year that Schnauzerfest is operating as a registered charity and we’re lucky to have no overheads, no costs that must be met, we operate as an entirely voluntary charity. This means that any money that does come in is spent entirely on what we’re set up to do: to support rescues with their veterinary bills.
Everything we do now is vital. This is why next week we launch a new Schnauzerfest Campaign. We’ll be asking people to Step Out For Schnauzerfest. As organised gatherings are now impossible, but being outside with our dogs is allowed and necessary, we want to celebrate this. Puppy farm dogs never get outside. They never breathe fresh air. We still can, even for limited time each day under lockdown.
As we all face confinement, our dogs will still be out, even if that’s into the garden, round the local street, onto the common for a pee. We will be asking everyone to share the new normal of all of us getting through it together with our dogs by our side. People will walk locally and with strict social distancing, have something orange coloured with them and remember puppy farm dogs.
In tightened and worrying financial times we know asking for donations is hard and not everyone will want to raise money. Which is totally fine and understandable. For those who can help, I suggest a small target, I will be donating £1 for each walk I record, aiming for two a week, between now and the normal Schnauzerfest October weekend, raising £54. Doable.
My page is set up and ready, take a look HERE.
Yesterday, Colin Schnauzer who lives with Jo in Northumberland showed how he’s skilfully getting into the spirit of his Step Out For Schnauzerfest challenge. Perfectly raising awareness for puppy farm dogs. We love Colin. Follow him on Instagram and I bet you’ll fall in love too.
A public service announcement from Colin. Yesterday was the first day of official lockdown in the UK 🇬🇧 We are thankfully still allowed out for one walk a day. It made me think about how puppy farm dogs are kept in isolation their whole lives, so yesterday I left a rock on our walk for others to find to remind them of this. Charities need our help and support even more so now. Mum and I will be leaving a rock with a message on every walk when we #StepOutForSchnauzerfest. If you find one of our rocks we hope you take a photo and post it on social media using #StepOutForSchnauzerfest & #schnauzerfestrocks and if you want to join our game and leave rocks on your walks we would absolutely love it! We think #schnauzerfestrocks
We must do our best to feel positive during this monumentally difficult time for the world. And look ahead to walking with others again. In the meantime, join the Step Out For Schnauzerfest Challenge and show you’re not alone. We’re in this together, step by step!
Find out more: Step Out For Schnauzerfest
and take part on this: Facebook Event