We all love the weekend, right? You can’t beat an extra special walk with your dog, at the whim of Mother Nature and what she might have in store for you and your pooch?! Well we do too (even when it’s getting a little chilly!) and in particular we LOVED last weekend as we were invited by the truly wonderful author, Janetta Harvey, to attend a very special dog walk; Schnauzerfest 2015!! Now if you’re a regular reader of our blog you may be confused as to why we were invited, as Ted is a Miniature Dachshund and you may be assuming (and rightly so!) the walk has a little something to do with Schnauzers not Dachshunds! Well be confused no more, as despite Ted thinking he was a ‘celebrity’ amongst his ‘fans of Schnauzers’ the event was welcome to ALL well behaved dogs (I think he was well behaved!) and even though there were lots of people talking and taking photos, for once it wasn’t all about Ted (but maybe don’t tell him that!) Come and join us today and follow our time with one of the 37 organised walks across the UK for Schnauzerfest 2015 and let us tell you why this was no ordinary weekend walk…
WHAT IS SCHNAUZERFEST ALL ABOUT?
Before we share the story of our time with the Schnauzerfest gang in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, you need to know why all these wonderful walks were taking place. Whilst it is a fun gathering of dog lovers over a weekend in October, sadly there’s a darker meaning behind it all. This is the second year of Schnauzerfest, which is the brainchild of Janetta Harvey; an all round champion campaigning to bring attention to the horrors of puppy farming (you can read the experiences of two of Janetta’s dogs via her two incredible books ‘Saving Susie-Belle’ and ‘Saving One More’). We’re just about to start reading ‘Saving Susie-Belle’ which will be even more poignant now we’ve attended Schnauzerfest.
In its second year, Schnauzerfest has really grown from strength to strength, with 37 walks across the UK ranging from Studland in Dorset to Heaton Park in Manchester and even way up to Orkney, Scotland! Goes to show the love of (and for!) a Schnauzer is never too far away! This year Schnauzerfest was in aid of two fabulous charities; The Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre (DBARC), and East Midland Dog Rescue (EMDR) both of which do a lot of work with rescued Schnauzers (as well as others) who have sadly experienced life in puppy farms and often their work involves particularly challenging situations rescuing some dogs directly from puppy farms (who needs Halloween when unfortunately there are real life horror stories happening up and down the country everyday due to money grabbing breeders and would be owners who sadly don’t know better). Thankfully charities like these, with the support of Schnauzer lovers around the country, hopefully mean more dogs can be rescued and the message of the depravity of puppy farms is becoming more well known so it can, in an ideal world, be stopped all together.
I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE…
So now you know why so many people wanted to come together with their Schnauzers (and other dogs!) and participate in their local walk to raise money…and we were lucky enough to join one of them! Ted and I ventured to the beautiful setting of Wittenham Clumps based in Oxfordshire (if you haven’t been, I can’t recommend it enough!!) It’s a little gem of a place which is tucked out of the way, but I knew we were in the right place immediately as we spied a bright orange sea of Schnauzers with their orange jumpers and even orange corsages and bandanas. They looked great! These were made by Schnauzer supporters with donations made for each one, so the money raising began before we even made our first step! Brilliant! You can even get one similar for your dog if you’d like to, just click on the links above.
So once the meet and greet had taken place; and by meet and greet I mean a quick sniff between all the parties (of the dog variety!) with lots of tail wagging and a bit of a warm up run-around (again of the dog variety!) it was then time to set off on our jaunt across the clumps! On our walk we were joined by mostly Miniature Schnauzers but also a Standard Schnauzer (the gorgeous Herman!) and even lovely Buddy the Beagle who became very enamoured with a Miniature Schnauzer (in fact all the boys did!) Ted couldn’t quite believe his little eyes seeing all of them in one place! As you can see, he needed ‘time out’ a few times as he was overwhelmed by the Schnauzer love!
STORIES WHILE WE WALKED
As we walked we heard many stories of why Schnauzers are brilliant dogs (great temperament; non shredding (Miniature Schnauzers only apparently, so they’re perfect for those with dog allergies) as well as all round great companions! Amongst them we met the gorgeous Gemma, Fifi and Cara; all of which had been rescued by DBARC. Luckily now in a place they can call home and surrounded by love, but sadly the trauma of being bred repeatedly in often dirty, dark, desperate places has taken its toll either physically or mentally. These dogs are often bred and bred until they simply can’t physically take it anymore; they often have conditions associated with overbreeding and understandably often find trusting humans difficult (and frankly who can blame them). Thankfully due to the work of DBARC and EMDR, these rescued dogs can be placed in homes with careful consideration to their needs and ensure the rest of their lives are filled with the love they deserve. DBARC also helps with some of the veterinary issues associated with puppy farmed Schnauzers such as cataracts (which cost £2,000 per eye) so you can understand why fundraising is so important for these charities.
After taking in the beautiful air (and watching some of the Schanuzer gang tell a rather unfortunate ‘intruder’ of the larger dog variety he wasn’t part of the Schnauzerfest crew by running after him, in the nicest possible way I hasten to add!) it was time to take a group photo and with tired paws, wave our goodbyes. It was simply magical to meet so many people with a common passion; dogs and particularly Schnauzers and their welfare. I’m pleased to report that the amount raised is almost double from last year and currently stands at over £14,000. It goes to show how an idea, a passionate group of people and our waggy tailed companions. (like George, Basil, Roxie & Molly attached) can turn an ordinary weekend into something very special indeed. There’s still time (until the end of October) to donate if you’d like, details of which can be found below. In the meantime, I’d like to extend my thanks to Janetta and all the members of Schnauzerfest who I met (and those I didn’t). I was made to feel extremely welcome and I was honoured to hear your stories. As for DBARC and EMDR, keep up all your inspirational work and hopefully in time, we can all meet for a dog walk just to celebrate our love of dogs and not because of the cruelty of puppy farming.