To spread awareness for Rescue Appreciation Week we had the pleasure of interviewing our author, Robert Greenfield. Not only is Robert a talented writer and designer, but also very passionate about protecting dogs around the world. Recently, they have adopted Grace/Gracie, saved from the heinous Dogmeat Trade in China. We wanted to ask Robert a few questions about how anyone who is interested can help with this incredibly important cause.
- Firstly, let’s talk about your gorgeous new girl, Gracie, a whippet that recently found her forever home with you. Was it love at first sight?
Absolutely! I just knew this sweet forlorn girl was the one we’d been waiting for… I can always tell by the eyes, they often speak volumes of a yearning to be loved forever, and this little brindle whippet hound with amber eyes was reaching out to me the moment I saw her – it was meant to be!
Abandonment is a huge issue for canines; they are pack animals that have been domesticated for thousands of years going back to the ancient world, therefore they need that solid caring base, a safe environment in order to thrive and Grace was no different in that aspect! With all the dogs we’ve adopted there’s always a profound connection that brings us together, spiritually preordained by a higher power, I guess (perhaps, that’s why Dog spelt backwards is God), which makes the reunion all the more compelling. Grace is our third rescue; I truly wish I could rescue every dog in need!
- And how did you manage to find her?
I came across a dog rescue site on Facebook called ‘Candy Cane Rescue’ run by Kerry Lawrence. Kerry and her charity organisation have rescued many dogs of all breeds from the barbaric Dog Meat Trade in China – a trade that is utterly heinous, and one I’ve been passionate about getting banned; so adopting a dog for this cause was something my partner and I had always wanted to do.
I added my name to her list well over a year ago, but due to Covid flights out of China have until recently been few and far between, so when Kerry contacted me, I was very excited to learn we’d made it to the top of the list and had first option on Grace, who was soon to be arriving at Heathrow…
- Are there any organisations we should follow on social media and donate to, that post about adopting dogs in need?
Well, Candy Cane Rescue for sure, Save Korean Dogs run by an amazing lady Nami Kim, who rescues dogs from the Dog Meat Trade in South Korea, Humane Society International an animal welfare charity that does great work worldwide including against the fur trade, trophy hunting, and of course, the Dog Meat trade, to name but a few. I’d like to take this opportunity to give a special mention to Yulin/Boknal Celebs (&The Fluffragettes), which is more of a campaign group against the Dog & Cat Meat Trade run by one of my absolute heroines and friend, a passionate campaigner, Wendy Harris, who organises frequent peaceful demos to raise awareness – and can often be seen outside the Houses of Parliament in all weathers handing out leaflets for the cause. Wendy also rescues dogs from Eastern Europe, such as Romania, where there is a crisis with abandoned dogs as well as spotlighting animal and especially dog shelter charities around the world.
- You have mentioned to us before that a very big problem for our canine companions is the awful dog meat trade in China. What can the public do to help ban this for good?
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to rest completely until the day comes when this evil trade is banned for good worldwide; in the meantime, we have to lobby our MPs to remind them that this barbaric trade (a Dog Holocaust) is totally unacceptable as it flouts every animal protection law in existence and because it is unregulated it enables such cruelty! I can’t begin to tell you how many letters I’ve sent to the Secretary of State, the Chinese and South Korean embassies over the years!
There are occasional debates in the House of Commons on this issue, but I would like to see our government take a much stronger stance with boycotts of all countries that carry out this wholesale slaughter of our Best Friends. Moreover, I dream, and it can’t come soon enough, of a Worldwide Dog Protection Law outlawing cruelty against these highly sentient beings!
Of course, raising awareness via social media and signing as many petitions as possible as well as creating your own goes a long way too.
Dogs are our Best Friends, not only are they our trusted companions, but they also provide a tremendous service to humankind in so many ways: Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs, Mobility Assistance Dogs, Diabetic Alert Dogs, Seizure Alert & Response Dogs, Autism Support Dogs, Cancer & Allergy Detection Dogs, P.A.T Dogs, PTSD Service Dogs, Bomb & Drug Detection Police & Army Sniffer Dogs, etc, etc…
- Is there anything else you would like to mention to help spread awareness?
The United Kingdom is a nation of dog lovers so social media is an exceptionally good medium in which to spread awareness, and stories like that of my Grace rescued from a fate worse than death help with this cause. It is important to highlight exactly why this trade in particular is a scar on Planet Earth.
Many of the dogs are either stolen pets, rounded-up strays, and/or bred in the most unsanitary conditions on puppy farms, permanently caged, often fed bile, beaten and devoid of any affection, before they are transported to the slaughterhouses, lorry-loads in m2 square cages, crammed often a dozen or more at a time resulting in broken limbs while writhing in their own faeces before being unloaded at the abattoirs. I won’t go into graphic detail because it is far too horrific for words, but many are tortured to death by the most heinous means possible, because the dog meat traders claim the adrenalin rush makes their meat tastier as well as keeping the dog-meat-diner cooler in the summer months – a complete fallacy!
#Yulin in China and #Boknal in South Korea are so-called ‘Food Fairs’ were much of this barbarism takes place and where diners have their choices of breeds before they are served up on a plate.
On a positive note younger generations are more opposed to this heinous custom, and apparently the most brutal methods of torture are only carried out in smaller villages, but I fear this is not the case at these food fairs where it is estimated many, many thousands are barbarically murdered and often in front of each other – devastating! It is estimated ten million dogs a year alone are killed in China for their meat, although it is widespread across Asia with millions and millions more suffering similar fates – and it’s not as if there are famines in these countries thus making this trade totally unnecessary and wholly unacceptable. Consequently, exposing the horrors of the trade, shocking as they are is a must to raise awareness…
It’s always heartening to see posts by celebrities like Ricky Gervais and Peter Egan condemn this barbaric practice on platforms like Twitter and Facebook to their millions of followers. Wouldn’t it be great if a coterie of animal welfare celebrities got together and did some kind of huge benefit concert beamed globally to raise awareness and funds for this cause – think Band Aid!
- And finally, do you post any pup-dates on social media of your lovely dog/s?
Of course, Toby our other rescue has built up a huge following on my Facebook page as I post regular updates on his luxurious lifestyle! Handsome Toby is incredibly photogenic and was actually spotted by an American pet products company run by Elizabeth Porcheddu called ‘Dog Love’, who are now using his photo on the front of their vegan-friendly/cruelty-free dog shampoo and conditioner – the bottles also feature his moving story to raise awareness – so Toby is officially a ‘Supawmodel’.
Grace and Toby are already bonding beautifully, he has been an absolute gent with his new surrogate sister as I’m sure his adult self recognises the difficulties adjusting to a new environment and communicates to her that she’ll be safe and as loved here as he is. Rescues make the most wonderful pets, it’s as if they really do appreciate the newfound love in a forever home – and so happy endings do happen with HRH Prince Tobias and HRH Princess Grace having the lives they’ve always deserved.
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