Another episode of Footballers Dogs...

A few years ago the Daily Mail asked me to write a page on David and Victoria Beckham's disappointing decision to buy a Shar Pei pup from a pet shop in Milan.
It was pretty much a whole page of head shaking and saying what an atrocious example they had set. How they had let everyone down.
The couple so many people wanted to emulate had impulse-purchased a dog from a pet shop!
It was an outrage.
They'd fueled the depressing battery farm business that consigns poor dogs to a life of reproduction slavery and misery and pumps out pups into the hands of dodgy dealers.
Fast forward a few years...
Today I was sent a link to the Manchester Evening News and an article that seemed to celebrate that pretty much all the Manchester United squad have bought one or more dogs from an enormous pet superstore called Dogs 4 Us in Salford.
Regular Dogs Today readers will remember that this place used to be called Mayfield Kennels.
If you're trying to imagine it - it's a bit like an pseudo Harrods pet department set in the North. But with many more dogs.
I haven't visited for a while, but this place looked really slick, more like a car showroom than how you'd perceive a traditional sawdust floored pet shop selling pups. There was a massive range of breeds when I visited and the website does still say it's a growing part of their business.
When I was there you could pay by card and you could have your dog delivered if you'd prefer. And it was far from cheap - which is probably why the footballing set like it so much. It's reassuringly expensive.
The newspaper article reveals that one Man U player bought a Chow and came back for a Lab.
Wayne Rooney got a Dogue de Bordeaux and Coleen a Bichon.
(Perhaps it was a 'buy one get one free'? )
And there's long opening hours, too.
It's not like trying to prise a pup away from a caring breeder who will make you put your name down on a waiting list, will grill you like you were trying to marry their children and expect you to travel the length of the country probably several times.
And you can buy all your accessories in the same store at the same time when you shop at Dogs 4 You.
I guess the Man U squad knew their friends had shopped there - so they did, too.
And all their fans see articles in the press about the store and they come to see a pet shop dog as being somehow really aspirational.
This week we also had ITV pumping out on prime time TV that a pet shop is the responsible place to buy a pup if you want to avoid puppy farmers.
Deep sigh.
Surely there's a footballer out there that has some involvement in animal welfare that could make acquiring a Staffie from a dogs home fashionable? Now that's a trend I'd love to see. 
Or do we all give up and concede that pups are nothing special, they're just a commodity with a profit margin and a shelf life like any other thing?
That we just can't get outraged any more.
People like David Beckham and Wayne Rooney have now made pet shop pups chavy chic and the mainstream media seem now to know no better, either?
When Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, KC, Wood Green and BVA all complain and don't even get the dignity of an answer... well it must not matter as much as we all think. Perhaps we're all out of step?
Deep sigh.
Wish I was still writing my column in the Mail.
And I wish someone on these mainstream TV lite entertainment shows would start sticking up for dogs a bit better and start opening the eyes of the next generation. But it seems our experts just get all star struck and tongue-tied, forgetting why they're actually there.
Is it just me that hears the clock ticking for the surplus dogs waiting to see who is next to be chosen for the needle? Senses the unborn pups growing in their mother's wombs - created just to meet the latest trend or fad.
Senses that all these poor dogs have no choice and that we do and someone could stop dogs being hurt by consumerism and greed.
Someone needs to start connecting with the nation and getting them to care about dogs the way dogs care about us.
Before our best friend slips further into being just another disposable commodity.
We need to explain to people how very special and wonderful dogs are - how we shouldn't treat them like things - like watches, fridges or cars.
You'd not have a baby adoption shop where you can buy a child - so why do we sell dogs like this?
They love us unconditionally, we need to protect them from our ugly side.
We need to remove dogs from impulse purchase situations.
Dogs are just so unbearably cute that we need a really long cooling down time and certainly not any extra encouragement to buy.
But we already have many more dogs than we ever had before.
Perhaps dogs will become like sofas.
Furniture used to last our parents a lifetime, now we all seem to buy a new sofa every couple of years. Maybe we'll be changing our dogs like we change our winter coat in the decades to come....
Do I sound as jaded as a feel?
There are 90 good dogs looking for a home in our January edition.
Many have spent years waiting patiently in rescue for an owner.
They are full of unrequited love.
Yet we keep pumping out more and more and more pups.
In the next four or five days 90 perfectly good dogs will die at the end of a needle because we no longer want them, they are last year's must-have dog.
Give me Wayne Rooney or David Beckham for a day and a film crew.
Let me turn them.
Let me take them to the killing fields of Britain's rejected fashion statement dogs.
Let's have them look unflinchingly into those kind trusting eyes as the injection goes in and the body goes limp and all hope of finding love slips away forever.
Footballers, with all your money and all your influence, can you please make rescuing a dog the next trend?
Can you please make it cool to care?
Can you save British people from becoming serial dog killers?


Julie said…
This may well be on the back of their new facebook page which I saw yesterday .... they have deleted all the comments that people put about health tests etc etc .... must have someone policing it well as yesterday there were plenty of responses and today they are all gone :(
Diane said…
I agree with you Beverly, when people see their idols buying from places like this they seem to think its the cool thing to do. Im sure with your determination you can get together with at least one high profile player to show its better to rehome from rescue than buy from these sort of places.There are just too many lovely dogs in rescue that need new forever homes. Good luck x
Pat said…
So disheartening.
If I could grant you a Christmas wish, I'd give you that film crew and celebrity for a day!
Anonymous said…
Just been on the website and left a comment (Looked on your website and very curious about how you can say - Each of our pedigree German Shepherd puppies is temporary vaccinated, wormed and micro-chipped for identification. How do you do temporary vaccinations??? How do you do temporary worming? and what would be the point in a temporary microchip? Where is the health testing information relating to each breed? Where is the information about what health problems each breed is prone to? Also, the breed information on the page for the border terrier is all about the border COLLIE, not the TERRIER which is what should be there. None of this fills genuine dog lovers and carers with any reassurance that your company actually knows what they are doing. The fact that you have been in business for so long is not a guarantee that you are any good only that you can fool a lot of people who dont know any better.). Dont really expect it to stay there but maybe I will get some sort of reply - I am going to send it as an email as well. Surely someone who reads the blog and mag knows a 'famous' footballer who they can try and get on board?
Lynn H
West Sussex
Helen said…
Another fantastic post and it definitely got me all fired up. I am so angry at this situation, people are so selfish and irresponsible. I agree with everything you said in the post 100% :(
Angela wells said…
Please check out dizzydogsday allanimals on facebook or click the link at the bottom if this info , we are striving to make changes
the 1st ever dizzydogs day to be held on the 8th of September 2012 @ farmer gows  in Oxfordshire 

·To educate the public about the plight of animals in the rescue system Inc. the amount being PTS a week.
·To educate the public about the need for government changes and support for the rescues.
·To educate the public about lack of Restrictions and guidelines when starting a rescue i.e. Anyone can call themselves a rescue, dog sellers, BYB and worse
·To educate the public about what a *proper* breeder should offer in terms of health checks and back up for life so that if they buy a dog it is from a recognised breeder.
·To make the public aware of dog fighting groups and that are becoming more prolific in England and Wales.
·To help the public develop an understanding of the importance of breed information when choosing a dog/animal/pet
·To improve relationships between rescues, breeders, vets, businesses and all bodies involved in Animal care
·To encourage the younger generation to participate in animal welfare and take responsibility for themselves, their animals and their community.
·To encourage the community to work together.
·To take *DizzydogsDay* on the road to each county.
Eventual Goal
To make enough people aware of the realities of the rescue industry so that we can all stand together, community with community and calmly, peacefully and assertively demand a change in the law and make the government see that its time someone took responsibility for the births and deaths of hundreds of animals.
Anonymous said…
To me the issue is one of Education, people at the moment loo to innapropriate people as mentors and try to emulate them. We as a society need to change and that starts with education thats why I began Dizzydogsday. Its a new concept of educating the general public about the realities of bog breeding, dog rescue, animal ownership and looking at bringing communities together. To many people say what a terrible position we are all in, how many dogs die a week, how terrible things are and yet so few actually try to see the whole picture....hence Dizzy, a field ona day that will begin a new education.

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