PUP AID 2010 was launched in July 2010 when we were extremely fortunate to have rock-legend and dachshund-owner Liam Gallagher sign a classic guitar generously donated by Gibson Guitars in London.
This guitar then went on to be signed by even more legendary guitarists including Paul Weller, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Brian May, Jimmy Page and David Gilmour. The buzz created by Liam's guitar signing made all the tabloids, a few glossy mags and swept accross the internet like wildfire - educating the perfect consumer demographic who maybe considering buying a dog in it's path.
PUP AID was already working...
Two months later, on the day of PUP AID itself, the beautiful countryside setting of Stanmer House and Gardens rocked to the sound of top local bands and a chorus of woofs 'n' barks as PUP AID 2010 successfully bow-wow-wowed dog-friendly Brighton and beyond.
Over a thousand people – and their dogs – attended the inaugural event, spearheaded by TV Vet Marc Abraham, to mark Puppy Farming Awareness Day. All visitors were given information about buying from a responsible breeder or rescue centre and were told about the suffering caused to puppies and their parents by puppy farming – the cruel battery farming of dogs purely for profit.
The celebrity-judged charity fun dog show was brilliantly compered by TV personality Annabel Giles (pictured), and included classes from the Scruffts competition for crossbreeds such as the 'Handsomest Dog' and 'Golden Oldie', with the winners going through to the Discover Dogs grand final at Earl's Court in November!
Pedigree dogshow classes included 'Most Glamorous 6 Legs' and 'Best Doggy Stand-up' – all judged by a veritable constellation of dog-loving TV and radio stars. Familiar faces included actors from Monty Python, EastEnders, Midsomer Murders and The Bill, as well as designers, fashionistas, and even Brighton's top stand-up comedians – although the true stars of the day were undoubtedly all canine.
Meg Mathews (third from left), fellow 'Most Glamorous 6 Legs' judges and MC Annabel Giles (front right with microphone).
Pic: Julia Claxton
Top London designer ex-Mrs Noel Gallagher, Meg Mathews (pictured), praised the event saying "Congratulations for a truly wonderful day. Everyone I met at PUP AID was great and the rescue dog people so passionate. Good cause and a job done. Massive pat on the back and I'm glad I could be part of it."
TV's Marc 'the Vet' Abraham, who is also currently the resident vet on BBC Breakfast News, ITV's This Morning and Sky's My Pet Shame, said: "I am thrilled with how the event went. There are so many people out there, including dog-owners, who have no clue about the sheer scale of the puppy farming problem in the UK and this event helped to spread some much needed awareness. Laws and organisations are consistently unsuccessful at curbing this horrific practice so I guess the only way is to stop the demand for these farmed pups.
"We wanted everybody to go away with the knowledge that they should always insist on seeing the mother with her pups in their breeding environment, and that they should contact a resposible breeder or rescue centre rather than buying from a pet shop or from a breeder of unknown credentials, advertising online or in the classified section of the paper. I would strongly advise other vets and pet-lovers to consider organising similar events, as the more public awareness that we raise in the UK, the quicker this growing problem is finally dealt with."
Playing all day on the main stage were some great local and national bands and musicians including active puppy farm campaigner Maria Daines, urban breakthrough act RizzleKicks, and Call Me Laura who stopped-over in Brighton to play PUP AID, between singing with Tom Jones in gigs in Moscow and New York!
PUP AID 2010 was proudly supported by numerous charities including the Dogs Trust Shoreham who brought along their re-homing van and The Mayhew Animal Home in London; as well as the UK's two leading puppy farm campaign groups Be Puppy Farm Aware, and Stop Puppy Farming End Cruelty who brought along rescued ex-breeding bitches for a moving parade that formed the centrepiece of this unique day and which quite justifiably didn't leave a dry eye in the house.
As well as the fun dog show, the public and their four legged friends were also kept entertained by have-a-go agility, fairground rides, a boutique doggy shopping village, canine portrait painters and caricatures, the amazing Canine Partners Demonstration Team, as well as a rare spaniel breeds parade that included both the Irish Water Spaniel and, of course, the very locally originated Sussex Spaniel.
Guests were also treated to view the now-famous PUP AID guitar – which ended-up going under the hammer at Bonhams in December and raised thousands of pounds for Dogs Trust, Oldies Club and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.
PUP AID 2010 was a great success all round and especially for canine welfare, managing to raise much-needed awareness of the growing problem of puppy farming in the UK and beyond, and 2011 should see PUP AID become even bigger and better!