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An unforgettable year!

AS WE start the New Year, there is unlikely to be anyone amongst us who will not look back over their shoulder and feel glad that 2008 is behind them, certainly as far as dog breeders, owners and exhibitors are concerned.

The world of dogs had been buffeted around, particularly in the last half of the year, starting with the airing of the Pedigree Dogs Exposed programme in August, continuing with pull outs from Crufts and ending last month with the news that the BBC had terminated its three year contract with the Kennel Club to televise Crufts in March.

On a wider scale, the recession has affected us all, with rises in fuel costs and most other household necessities, in fact one worrying aspect of the credit crunch is the amount of rescues which have contacted us over the year with cries of help with their overflowing kennels. Of course, this was not helped by Jemima Harrison’s programme, which in turn put immense pressure on owners of certain breeds, who panicked at the thought of owning a health time-bomb!

Crufts also was affected starting with the hasty withdrawal of the RSPCA, following comments by its vet that the show was a ‘parade of mutants’, a comment which is likely to follow him - and the society - for a long time to come. Many people will find it hard to forgive the RSPCA for this, and there are many who remember their other major bust up with the KC with their ‘pile of dead dogs‘ campaign in the late eighties.

This was followed, almost sheep-like, by the likes of the Dogs Trust and the PDSA, as well as the announcement that Pedigree was also to pull out as the show’s chief sponsors.

The Kennel Club, in the form of its devoted and hard working secretary, Caroline Kisko and others in the Press Department, hit back at every flying bullet with speed, though it seemed at the time that some of the bullets were close to piercing its armour. Never before has the KC been threatened from so many sides.

As the year drew to a close there was light at the end of the tunnel with the success of Discover Dogs, which reported its biggest gate ever. This seemed to suggest that the dog loving public were in no hurry to be taken in too much by the sensationalism ofthe media, and Crufts 2009 promises to celebrate the world of pedigree dogs with no less enjoyment and fervour than it ever has.

OUR DOGS will be there in force and urges everyone to make it a Crufts to remember for all the right reasons!

Perhaps 2009 will see us all get on a more even keel and, for the sake of our dogs, let’s remain as united as we can with like-minded organisations, and make this year one we can all look back on with a smile, not a frown!

Happy New Year to you all.