Pupaid – A Gandy old day on Primrose Hill

Getting up at 5 in the morning on a Saturday is never usually that easy. Well this past weekend was an exception as it was the amazing Pupaid event in Primrose Hill.

Raising awareness of the cruelty of puppy farming with an online petition garnering public support daily, here at Sniffy’s we were very excited to meet lots of like minded doggy people and we were not disappointed. The day started off with everyone helping each other set up, grabbing cups of tea and smiling even when the heavens opened.

The day got brighter as did the smiles of all the dog loving members of the public, stall holders and celebrities that descended on Primrose Hill. A lovely taste tester

Walking around there was an array of doggy shopping options including the fab Snaffles biscuits all the way from Brighton, Nina’s Nannies for pets who did a great raffle, Urban Mutts who made us feel very lazy! the brilliant Doggity team and the lovely City Pups. There were also lots of other charities supporting Pupaid including Sniffy’s fave’s Animals Asia, The Mayhew Animal Home, All Dogs Matter and the Born Free FoundationOpening wide for a Carrot and Polenta...

Doggy competitions were the focus in the central ring with categories such as Best Rescue judged by everyones favourite animal welfare advocate Peter Egan and new kids on the block ‘Life with Pets’ magazine. Others included Most Stylish, Prettiest Bitch and Sniffy’s category ‘Best Trick’. Never having judged at a dog show before, we can safely say it’s a very difficult task and really wanted to give everyone a prize; although the winner could make her dog do tricks we can only dream of Nacho ever being able to do!

The winners of 'Best Trick'As the day grew to a close it was announced the petition had gained even more support and with celebrities in attendance including the oh so handsome model David Gandy(pictured below), beautiful Elle McPherson, recently announced Strictly star Abbey Clancey and her husband Peter Crouch, Gail porter, Mary Portas and big supporter Meg Matthews – its no surprise Pupaid is finally gaining the attention it so richly deserves (links to the articles appearing in the Daily Mail, The Sun and The Mirror).

Just your average looking fella...

When the last dog had left and Primrose Hill had returned to normal Sniffy’s had a wee drink with Marc Abraham and his wonderful team who were obviously exhausted but delighted with the turnout.

It just leaves me to say a massive thank you to them for organising a fantastic day and more importantly getting the message out there – puppy farmers beware – the british public are coming for you!

If you havent already – sign the petition here

If you havent seen the fantastic Pupaid ‘Crazy Puppy Party’ video then what are you waiting for – click here

From the bath to Primrose Hill – Pupaid’s Journey

Puppy farming is defined as ‘a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare and is often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of dogs in their care’. And yes its a big problem here in the UK.

This is something that makes most animal lovers angry and sad – why does this go on in an animal loving country like the UK? But the problem is that a lot of people don’t know about it – websites like Gumtree advertising cute puppies, pet shops (even those luxury ones) that sell puppies – they all come from puppy farms. Step in TV vet and animal welfare campaigner Marc Abraham (or Marc the vet as he’s more commonly known). He is the man behind Pupaid – the UK’s biggest anti puppy farming event. Image

Sniffy’s met up with him recently in primrose Hill – home to this years event…

“I was working in an emergency vet clinic a number of years ago now, and I noticed that we were getting more and more cases of sick puppies coming in and an increase of them having parvovirus. I started studying puppy farms on the internet to see what they were all about and how, if at all, they were regulated. To say I was shocked when I saw my first puppy farm is an understatement. I had to do something. I knew that there was a puppy mill awareness day in the US, so decided to start one here. I actually came up with the idea in the bath…”

From the bath to Brighton racecourse, Marc put on his first event in 2009. When MP Caroline Lucas turned up Marc knew his passion was gaining support,

“The first event was the called worlds biggest puppy party, I had no idea if anyone would turn up to be honest. But people did and were so supportive that I knew this was a cause that wasn’t one I was going to have to battle on my own. Since then the worlds biggest puppy party became Pupaid and we’ve had stars like Bob Geldolf talk about it, Ricky Gervais tweets about it and Liam Gallagher, Pual Weller and Brian May signed a guitar that was auctioned off – the support has been incredible”.

(There was also some air guitar with Brian May in his garden but thats another story!)

Since then Pupaid has moved to London and the event has taken place in Primrose Hill. This year’s event is certain to be the biggest so far with more interest, stars and trade coming than ever before.

As far as the campaign goes, 2013 is by far the biggest year in it’s history with the launch of an e-petition to stop the sale of puppies without their mothers present.Image

“This year is so important for us – we want to raise more awareness than ever before. The speed in which the petition has been signed is amazing. So far we are on 60,000 but it keeps growing everyday (its only been going since May). We need everyone’s support – we want puppy farming to become a thing of the past in the UK and its possible to achieve – in the US dog mad states like Los Angeles have banned the sale of dogs in shops. We can do it”.

Be part of Pupaid’s campaign – sign the e-petition and get parliament talking about puppy farms.

ImageJoin us at the UK’s biggest anti puppy farming event in Primrose Hill on September 7th and be part of something that will change animal welfare in the UK for the better. Sniffy’s are very proud to be a part of  and support Pupaid. We are delighted to be sponsoring the “My Dog’s Got Talent’ category in the show.

For more information visit Pupaid

Always remember the following when buying a puppy: 

Only buy a puppy if:

  • You can see puppy interacting with mum
  • It’s a breeder recommended by the Kennel Club (preferably Assured Breeder)
  • It’s a rescue centre that’s a registered charity 

Be suspicious of a puppy farmed pup if:

  • Mum isn’t there (she’s most likely miles away on cruel puppy farm)
  • You’re told mum’s at the vet, been run over, sick, basically anywhere else
  • Price is either very cheap (£100-£350) or very expensive (£2000-£7000)
  • Pup is being sold in a pet shop or garden centre
  • Pup is sold from website, Friday Ad, motorway service station, pub
  • You’re offered free delivery

An Exciting Collaboration…

Here at Sniffy’s we are delighted to announce that we will now be supplying our healthy treats to all the Nowzad rescues that are brought to the UK.

logo

Nowzad work tirelessly to promote animal welfare in Afghanistan and bring back dogs to be reunited with their servicemen. Its a truly wonderful charity and one we are delighted to support.

The Afghan strays will start their life in the UK with healthy, natural and bum sniffingly good treats!

If you want to find out more about Nowzad or help to support them with their new clinic appeal then please click here

Therapaws

My relationship with The Mayhew Animal Home started over 3 years ago when they saved our rescue dog Nacho from the bottom of a bin bag.Traveller pups 007

Since then I’ve become a big supporter of theirs as not only do they do fantastic work for animals, they are also more than just an animal home. They do a lot of work in the community to improve not just animal welfare but also include helping the homeless and working on animal phobias with a variety of people.

Today though I want to focus on one of their projects that is very close to my heart – Therapaws.

Doreen with Sky

Doreen with Sky

This important scheme was set up to give residents in local care homes, residential establishments and community day centres a chance to have contact with the furry residents from the Mayhew. These ‘therapy’ visits provide a chance for the residents to interact with the animals where usually they don’t have the chance. Many residents suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s and often recount past stories of animals they have personally had or worked with. With touch being one of the last senses to be affected by these conditions the animals provide a welcome release.

This video explains all about the scheme…

Apart from the residents having a memorable experience, the animals from the Mayhew get valuable socialisation time away from the home. Kittens are given time and space to have an explore in completely new environments and playtime (obviously in a suitable and safe space), dogs are given lots of contact and (dependant on their size) hugs, and rabbits are often just stroked until they fall asleep!

Wonderful Husky Sky

We love Sky!

This scheme is a winner all round for the residents and the animals, and from a volunteers perspective it’s an incredible experience.

This project that the Mayhew has set up is making a remarkable difference and impact on the local community and has gone on to receive a lot of attention. It will hopefully be adding more homes to its growing database so even more people can enjoy these once abandoned or neglected animals.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the scheme or just want to learn more click here

Dogs Trust Honours Awards 2013

Nacho and I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Dogs Trust Honours Awards this week. Held at the exclusive Home House in London’s Portland Square, the awards celebrated some of the bravest dogs in the country.

On a balmy (and pretty sweaty) afternoon in the capital, celebrity favourite Adrain Chiles presented the awards to the seven lucky winners, whittled down from the hundreds of entrants. There was not a dry eye in the house as videos showing each winners story were shown to the crowd, who included dog lovers Arlene Phillips and Donna Air.

One of my favourite awards was for the Hero Service Dog. This went to the beautiful Newfoundland Atrayu (and yes Nacho was a bit scared). Atrayu, is a constant companion for seven year-old Tolemey who suffers from Leukaemia. He helps him swim and provides constant relief and friendship. Truly a best friend to this very brave boy.

Image

Another favourite was Daisy the Bullmastiff, who won the ‘Dogged Devotion’ award. Daisy joined the marshall family after Tracey’s seven year-old son Jack recently lost his battle with brain cancer. She has helped Tracey with her grief and is one of the sweetest dogs we’ve ever met – she was so chilled she later went to sleep in the garden, whilst other dogs like Nacho were way too excited!

After the awards Home House opened up their garden to the guests providing us with a chance to meet all the fellow guests. We had the pleasure of meeting Basil the Boston – a very handsome little fellow who works with his Mum for doggy blog Barkarama (definitely worth a look).

Image

Basil and Nacho were well looked after on their day out – they were treated to delicious doggy treats including popcorn and some yummy looking cupcakes. Im not complaining though as they also had yummy mini lemon meringue pies for us humans!

The day was a wonderful way of celebrating the brave dogs in the UK but also the fantastic work that the Dogs Trust do. Thanks to Marc for the invite!

To read about the other awards including those run by the Daily Mirror please click here

Doggy Sunday does tennis

Gaucho in Hampstead held one of its famous ‘Doggy Sunday’ events this weekend and it proved to be another success. These monthly events have taken the restaurant by storm and are a regular fixture on Sniffy’s calendar. Each one raises money for a different doggy charity – last month it was Sniffy’s fave The Mayhew, and this month Battersea Dogs and Cats home. Falling on the same day as the Wimbledon final meant that this months theme was tennis and Gaucho don’t do things by halves…

The tennis themed entrance

The tennis themed entrance

Watching the final

Watching the final

One of Nacho’s favourites friends Baxter, head of Baxter’s Boutique in Wokingham, was there showing off his latest fashions including this clever UV doggy t-shirt.

The handsome Baxter

Dogs enjoyed a Gaucho lunch complete with empanada’s (yes they really are spoilt!) and always bring home with them a ‘Doggy done Goody’ bag complete with all kinds of tasty treats. The brainchild of these events is Gaucho Hampstead’s managing partner Jorge Coelho, a wonderful man who is passionate about raising funds for local animal charities. Through these monthly lunches, local residents have had a chance to find out more about their local rescue centres, raise money and have the opportunity to meet lots of doggy people. The atmosphere is always friendly and unlike most glamorous restaurants, everyone talks to each other (and we always have a lot of fun). I think our lunch lasted 6 hours the last time we were there!

Nacho loves Doggy Sundays!

Nacho loves Doggy Sundays!

Sniffy’s will be sampling some of our products at future doggy sundays so do come along with your furry pals and see what all the fuss is about! If you fancy booing a table at the next Doggy Sunday then contact Jorge: jorge.coelho@gauchorestaurants.com for a table. Be sure to say hello to Sniffy’s! Thanks again to Dogstar photo for their amazing photos – do check the rest out on their facebook page.

Nowzad – Part 2

Its easy just to think of Afghanistan as a war torn wasteland – a land which people see on the news and forget about. Another day, another bomb. For Pen Farthing its not an option of turning over the channel and ignoring whats going on. He lives and breathes Afghanistan. Not from a Royal Marine’s point of view anymore, but from a man trying to make a difference.

Pen Farthing where it all started.

Pen Farthing where it all started.

He is the man behind Nowzad – the only recognised animal shelter in the land. But its not just about the animals, its about giving the people of Afghanistan hope and something to care about again. Thats why Pen Farthing couldnt walk away – and why Peter Egan went to join him.

We caught up with Peter after his trip, which had obviously had an impact on him, “The team that Pen has working for him are incredible and clearly love both the animals and their jobs. A great export from Great Britain is animal welfare; wherever you go in the world you will find Brits trying to solve issues to do with animal cruelty.”

Here is Pen Farthing doing just that…

Peter continues, “Pen is another of those great eccentric British animal lovers trying to make a difference.  I have great admiration for him as I do for Jill Robinson, who does such great work for bears, dogs and cats in China. I feel blessed to know and be able to offer them my support”.

Here Peter is doing exactly that, when he meets Jo – a very special rescue, that would most certainly have died without Nowzad.

As Peter’s trip was coming to an end he was told of the news that Nowzad could be in trouble. The lease on the land they use is ending and they need to move by September otherwise the vital role they play in Afghanistan will not be able to continue. Peter explains,

One of the many Nowzad rescues

One of the many Nowzad rescues

 “Its very sad that they have to move – its a perfect site for them. Its not the shelter that has to move,   but the site which offers accommodation to Louise Hastie who is the general manager when Pen is away fundraising, and is the site for their clinic and emergency shelter. If Nowzad isnt supoorted there will not be an animal charity in Afghanistan.

nowzad3

The Magnificent 7 – 7 pups that came from a base.

Pen is extending his work into the community and introducing animal welfare and husbandry to working animals. It is vital that he continues to share the importance of animal welfare to the local community, and how rewarding a reciprocal relationship between man and animals is.

They deserve as much help as they can get and need our support now.”

Pen farthing and Nowzad have been doing great things in Afghanistan for a number of years but to continue they need to raise £100,000.

You can donate here

Many thanks to Peter Egan for the interview, South West London TV for the videos, and to Wetnose Animal Aid for organising such an important trip.

Special thanks to Pen Farthing and all at Nowzad for giving the animals and people of Afghanistan hope.

Animals Asia and the floods

Earlier this year I had the great pleasure of attending a screening of the award winning film “Cages of Shame’. This short film is the story of bear bile farming in China, the mission to save ten bears and close down a bear farm. It shows the very essence of Animals Asia and how much they care.

The Odeon Lounge Bayswater

The Odeon Lounge Bayswater

Rula Lenska, Lesley Nicol, Jill Robinson and Peter Egan

Rula Lenska, Lesley Nicol, Jill Robinson and Peter Egan

Whilst the film is not an easy watch, it highlights the amazing work that a dedicated team of people do to save one of man’s most beautiful creatures.

The film made a lasting impression on me – seeing people put their heart and soul into such a worthwhile cause made me want to do more.

The film also dramatically changed the way I view China. China has, and always will be a country that fascinates me. I spent much time travelling there and am no happier than when Im reading a chinese book (in translation Im afraid). However their view on animals was something I found hard to take – informed by things Id read, some things I’d seen and word of mouth.

However seeing the Chinese people going out of their way in this film was heartening and actually shows how wrong I was. The people want change and Animals Asia are helping them to do this.

Im guessing if you’re reading this post you’re interested in Animals Asia or at least want to find out more. Well now is the perfect time as they need our help more than ever.

Floods have recently devastated the sanctuary in China to such an extent that if the money isnt raised in time to rebuild parts of the sanctuary they could really be in trouble. With over a month of the rainy season remaining, urgent repairs are needed.

Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson commented: “The team reacted quickly to rapidly changing circumstances  as the river rose during the heaviest of rains and the release of water from the dam upstream.  Our longstanding flooding protocols proved up to the task and were implemented superbly by the team in the most extreme of conditions. Now we need to repair the riverbank urgently and further strengthen it so that, as weather patterns continue to change, we can be proactive in the ongoing prevention of future floods.”

Jill continues, “Our staff excelled in keeping the bears safe, dry and blissfully unaware in their beds throughout the ordeal.  Floods such as this are rare, but with weather patterns changing globally and here in China, we must ensure that urgent repairs and reinforcements guarantee the safety of staff and animals, and the future of the sanctuary itself.”

To donate to help with the repairs and save wonderful bears like Misty and Rain below then click here

Warning – these bears are incredibly cute!

Animals Asia dont just save these amazing bears, they also save dogs and have implemented a programme in China, similar to Pets as therapy here in the UK. Sniffy’s are very excited to be going out to see the work they do in the near future!