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Many newspaper and magazines gather all sorts of news and snippets from on-line forums. It is also a great way to gauge general feelings about different subjects, and there is no place better than the OUR DOGS On-line forum for getting involved in discussions relating to all matters canine. Here Elaine Everest tells you why:

I have the pleasure of being a member of several canine forums. One is a worldwide group for Old English Sheepdog breeders and exhibitors and it’s a joy to be able to share the love of a breed with so many people. We may follow different breed standards, some may still be able to dock and others have had that choice taken from them but at the end of the day we all have this one thread that links around the world – our Bobtails.

Another group I hear from is again International but is made up mainly of owners of rescue OES. Many are in America, where there are the most dedicated breed rescue workers imaginable. We hear of dogs being transported the length of the land to their new ‘furrever’ homes with people meeting to pass the dog onto another rescuer worker in the next state. We hear of their lives and sadly their deaths – we all share a tear and talk of the Rainbow Bridge being a marvellous place where we will meet our beloved dogs again one day. My personal Rainbow Bridge has a small lane with a country pub at the end where I know my Dad is having a pint of beer!
The third forum I belong to - and the one I am most active in - is the Our Dogs Online Forum where I am an assistant manager. This is a large group and we have recently introduced a moderation system so that we are not invaded by the strange pond life that exists on some online groups. All we ask when someone joins is that they show their email address and their given name on their profile page. It is so much nicer to speak to Fred or Sue than get messages from the ‘Troll under the Bridge’ or ‘Mork from Ork.’

United

Lately many of the threads have been about the BBC Pedigree Dog Exposed programme. In a strange way the programme has united the forum as we discussed the problems in dogs and what could be done. Yes, we have had a couple of people who supported the BBC recording to a certain extent, but in this country we have the luxury of being able to disagree with each other.
Gradually as the initial anger has died down, we have tried to come up with a plan that would help the system of the breeding and selling puppies. One underlying point that popped up quite often was that the KC with their road shows and information leaflets are not getting across to the general public how breed clubs and the majority of the breeders are working together to eradicate canine health problems. The general public see us as an elitist group who breed Frankenstein pets and make thousands of pounds in doing so. We also felt that it was the back yard breeders and puppy farms that were dragging us down – after all every sick pedigree dog seems to come from a dog show breeder if you listen to producer Jemima Harrison – and that is what the public did.

Blueprint

We tried to work on a plan to revolutionise the sale of dogs. I will confess that some of the more radical ideas are mine but then I have always thought that if we are to bring out new rules make sure they work! So here is the blueprint for the control of the sale and breeding of puppies.

• The government is to outlaw the advertising of puppies in shop windows, newspapers and magazines – apart from those endorsed by the Kennel Club. Website sales would also be outlawed unless they were the sites of registered and approved breeders.

• The RSPCA and other rehoming societies can only take in cross breed dogs. All rescued purebred dogs are to go to breed rescues who would be given charity status and grants that would otherwise have gone to the larger charities.

• With the spare time the RSPCA had - since not now caring for purebred dogs - they could police advertisements and work with local councils to eradicate puppy farms.

• Posters, regular TV advertisements and posts in general publications would tell the public to contact the Kennel Club where the prospective buyer would be given the number of their local breed club.

• Each breed club would hold a list of breeders – all of whom were registered with a revised accredited breeder scheme. Only breeders whose breeding stock was health checked in line with the breed’s requirements would be allowed a place on the breed club’s breeder list.
By eradicating the public’s access to purchasing dogs from any other source than through the Kennel Club there would be a stricter control on unwanted dogs and there should also be an upsurge in health statistics.

Apart from putting the world of dogs to rights we also like to have a little fun.

We have discussed the demise of poor Well’ard from Eastenders and reminisced about his/her appearance at Crufts and we share our memories of days gone by. One event we are all looking forward to is the forum’s private tour of the Kennel Club in October. Members are travelling far and wide for the day and it will be so nice to put faces to the names we chat to most days.
So, if you have ever wondered what we get up to on our forums I hope I have enlightened you. Why not pop by and join in the chat, the kettle’s always on and you’ll be assured of a warm welcome.

Click here for the Our Dogs Message Board