DARE© @ DISCOVER DOGS,
a personal view from Mike & Sheila Reed
On 27th October at the Kennel Club, Dave Levy, Jean Loughborough, Dave Parish, Mike and Sheila Reed, and Kennel Club representatives met at the Kennel Club to discuss the aims, preparations, organisation and running of a stand at Discover Dogs which would bring to public awareness the situation affecting dogs and dog owners in Europe. We chose to call our group DARE. Tasks were allocated according to attributes and expertise. For example, Phil Buckley as Kennel Club Press Officer for the KC would respond to interview requests, and act as host to VIPs. Dave Levy would be Stand Manager as of 10 A.M. Saturday, for the two days. Mike would collect materials and design layout of the stand and take charge until 10 A.M. for setting up. Dave Parish would organise and purchase stickers. Sheila would purchase ribbon and make up DH design loop. Jean Loughborough would liaise with all to bring together the leaflet, arrange printing and bring them to the stand.
Group members were on site as of 7 A.M., we all worked well together surmounting the inevitable glitches, and the stand was ready for public viewing by 9:20 A.M. Dave Levy collected us together for confirmation of our previously agreed ‘public face’. Jan Sykes had brought along a visitor’s book and it was placed on the table by the collecting tins.
Phil Buckley brought M.E.P.s, and Officers of the Kennel Club to the stand and press photo calls were undertaken. They were introduced to Dave Levy in his role as stand manager in order that he could take them through the composition of the stand, explain it’s purpose, and maintain their support. It is unfortunate that due to the pressure of time all representatives could not be introduced to these visitors, but we were all there for 'the good of the cause.' The more forward representatives did have a quick word with some of them; thus MEP Theresa Villiers is wearing a DH loop in one of the photos. They all signed the letter to the German Ambassador.
There was a steady flow of visitors some from overseas, and all were adamant in the view that Breed Specific Legislation is not the way forward. PUNISH THE DEED NOT THE BREED was written in the visitors book, as well as taking centre place on the backdrop.
Sunday was a late start, with stand representatives arriving from 8 A.M. (whoopee a lay in). The first task on the agenda for the early birds was collating leaflets in order to ensure a continuous supply. We had been warned to expect a lower turn out because of threatened gales. Obviously people ignored this because we were once again kept very busy explaining the purpose of the stand and distributing leaflets. Wendy Richards and Laila Morse (Pauline and Mo from the TV soap East Enders) were held up at a book signing so couldn’t arrive until about 12:30 P.M. We were later informed that this was an unpaid private visit. Special thanks are due to both of them. Wendy Clewley and Tammy went off to give a special exhibition of agility at which Tammy excelled. Once again there were press photo calls and the letter to the German Ambassador was signed. At this point we were all dragooned into a photo call (drat, why didn’t I wear my ball gown?). On a more serious note, Sunday afternoon sped by with bags of interest and most of us by now hoarse. At about 4 P.M., Mike, Wendy, Tammy and Dave Parish went to the German Embassy to deliver the letter. Mike insisted on taking some leaflets, although we all said he’d never get them in but he did, we wondered what they’d make of them, they haven’t contacted us yet. Dave took along so many cameras he looked like a tourist, well done Dave. Andrew Dane, who was representing NDWA on their stand generously lent us his digital camera, he has as yet been unable to download these but is sending hard copy by post, which is eagerly awaited. Suddenly it was 6 P.M. and time to break down the stand. Mike would like to give special thanks to those that stayed behind to break down the stand and carried the materials to the foyer and helped load the car.
It was great to receive positive Kennel Club support throughout the two days. Phil Buckley managed, amongst all his other duties as Press Officer for the KC to draw attention to the stand via hourly broadcasts on local radio. The two days can only be seen as a success. It was good to have representatives from so many Breeds getting together and working in harmony with this camaraderie we cannot fail to achieve the main objectives.
It wasn’t done for money, but the Southern Rhodesian Ridgeback Association presented a cheque for £50 payable to KC DARE to help with the existing and future costs, Steve Robinson has told us that the Welsh Kennel Club and the Rottweiller Club of Wales have pledged respectively £500 and £100. These contributions should enable us to reprint the leaflets and go forward.
These photographs are presented compliments of and with the consent of David Dalton and Gary Trotter.