Published in my Dog World column ‘Crossing the headlines’ (19th October 2016), my article sparked a large debate – with hundreds of share and online comments – among exhibitors in response to my observations and suggestions regarding dog shows, breed standards, judging and exhibitor dissatisfaction.
One subject that has certainly got a lot of you talking on social media is the announcement of an idea that a reduction in the number of breed clubs through amalgamation could lead to higher show entries. I can see where those who support such a move are coming from but, like a lot of you, I think they are missing the point.
Show entries are falling for a whole host of complex reasons, reasons that have been fully discussed in this paper by various commentators for many, many years and frustratingly so many of the useful ideas put forward by people who really know what they are talking about have been dismissed or completely ignored. Continue reading
From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (27th November 2015) about the misrepresentations in the national press on rescue charity intake statistics.
An interesting headline caught my eye in the Telegraph last week, ‘Pedigree dog owners abandoning their pets in alarming numbers’.
The article written by Patrick Sawyer went on to say that, “Welfare groups have warned that owners of pedigree dogs are abandoning their pets in alarming numbers after finding that they cannot cope with health problems caused by ‘irresponsible’ breeding.” Continue reading
A feature article written for Dog World (14th April 2015) looking at how the media portrays dogs and dog ownership.
Years ago, when still at college, I briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist. Then, in the autumn of 1991, by a series of strange coincidences, I met a lady that would completely turn that idea on its head.
She was an American soul singing megastar and we were to be friends for the next ten or so years. Whenever she came to the UK I would hang out with her, go backstage at her shows, go to dinner, to rehearsals and travel to swanky hotels in the shiniest of stretch limousines. A pretty fantastic experience for an impressionable youth and from the outside it did indeed look like the perfect lifestyle however one only had to dig not too very far beneath the beautiful veneer to uncover a world rife with paranoia and the irritant of constantly being watched, the bane of this woman’s life were journalists and the media – especially the British media who, back then, were notoriously brutal. Continue reading
From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (8th April 2015).
I recently wrote a blog on how our thoughts and ideas change over the years. Things we were passionate about as teens are probably not as relevant when we are in our 40s and 50s (which is probably no bad thing if you were a New Kids on The Block fan) but reading some recent press releases made me think about how such changes aren’t just limited to people they also occur in the groups and societies we may have once supported. Continue reading
From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (8th October 2014).
One of the joys of living in this country is being able to walk into a store like WH Smith or any one of our large supermarkets and being able to flick through the vast array of glossy magazines on offer on a mind-boggling amount of subjects. I find it incredible that subjects like model trains or stitchcraft, etc, can support three or four dedicated, high quality magazines – but somehow they do. Continue reading
From my ‘Crossing the headlines’ column in Dog World (7th May 2014) where I question various studies into crossbreed health and longevity.
Carrying on with the positive legacy from Crufts, wasn’t it good to read the findings of the Royal Veterinary College last week? Scientists analysed the data of 148,741 dogs expecting to prove the conventional wisdom that selective breeding makes the pedigree dog more susceptible to serious conditions but, to their surprise, they discovered (what time working in boarding kennels had proved to me already) that both the mongrel and the pedigree have broadly the same chance of developing the most common health problems. In fact, for degenerative joint disease, the mongrel was found to be more vulnerable. This study’s findings echoed those published back in June 2013 by researchers at the University of California at Davis. Continue reading
Not long after my article ‘Sometimes you just need to listen‘ appeared in Dog World, Ronnie Irving mentioned my name more than a few times in his Our Dogs column (19th July 2013): OD 190713
Be sure to read my subsequent response ‘We’re no luddites’ to the newspaper, published in the letters section (centre of the page) of Our Dogs (2nd August 2013): OD 020813
From my new Dog World opinion column ‘Crossing the headlines’ (19th April 2013)
Christmas isn’t my most-favourite time of the year but one thing I do really look forward to over the festive break is the arrival and reading of my Dog World annual. I love seeing the beautifully photographed dogs and reading about the great kennels past and present.
This year, I particularly enjoyed the in-depth review of what was going on in the various dog scenes around the world and was particularly struck by the similar problems and challenges facing us all. The one thing that really seems to unite all dog breeders and kennel clubs, whether you live in Croatia, Finland, South Africa or Australia is the focus (as it should be) on health. The general feeling from all the views was one of positivity for the future; some were really quite upbeat. Progress was being made and the pedigree world was ready to accept and learn from its past mistakes and move on into the future.