Saturday 21st October 2017 was a significant day for me. A day I realised some people love animals – and want to save them – as much as me. There is always a niggling feeling in my tummy, and I am not fully focused even on the best days, as I am always thinking somewhere right now an animal is in need and I can’t save them. Especially with the Dog meat trade which is the worst hell imaginable…BUT Saturday 21st there was hope.
‘Discover Dogs’ at ExCeL in London was a huge event for all things doggy! I entered the venue (after Notodogmeat founder Julia handed me my pass) and straight away I wished I had a spare £500, as there were ‘dog’ purses, birthday cards, books, framed pictures, charity stalls, and that was just for the dog loving humans. For our canine friends there were dozens of collars, new ranges of treats, beds, leads, toys, literally dog heaven….oh and the bonus for us both. LOTS OF DOGS!
The ‘Notodogmeat’ stall was situated in a good spot, quite close to the agility course, and so many people passed us and as expected stopped at our stall. Many were well aware of the dog meat trade and passed on their disgust, dropped in a donation, or bought a raffle ticket, or a T-shirt which was lovely. Some however had to stand for a few seconds and figure out what NTDM stall was all about. One lady said to me “Is this for vegetarian dog food”? When I explained she was stunned. Others were lost for words. One lady burst into tears, which of course always make me go too…but I kept thinking this means more people have had their eyes opened, and hopefully they will pass on what they know so more and more will be aware.
The stars of the show (besides the amazing volunteers Julia, Mary, Niki) were our NTDM survivors Anabel and Gigi. These two beauties gave up their entire day and proved that if we continue to fight against China and the countries that allow this trade to happen some are rescued. The presence of the two dogs certainly made people stop, and many could not believe Anabel was actually real as she does a great mannequin/toy dog impression! They also were surprised how calm and friendly they were after the ordeal they had suffered.
For me one of the highlights of the day was signing up people to sponsor a Chinese dog. One girl asked me which was the dog that wasn’t very popular as she would choose him or her. I had a lump in my throat as that was so heart-warming, and exactly how I would choose.
There was also some interest in bringing a rescue dog over to the UK. Since this process is not as complicated as it once was, it was great to be able to pass over this information and hope that people would go ahead and do it!
I went home that evening emotionally drained from explaining to the unknown about the meat trade horror, but also emotionally tired from meeting so many amazing, likeminded people that truly GET IT. I knew at an event called Discover Dogs there would be kind animal lovers. But I have never met so many that want to make a difference, not just to comment on how awful the situation is but to leave their mobile numbers, and who would join. On my way home on my way home a shop assistant read the words on my NTDM jumper (as did many on the tube, I could feel eyes on me, and whispers) and I briefly explained about the day and she ripped off a paper receipt and she too wrote down her mobile number!
That absolutely topped off Saturday 21st October. I didn’t just go to ‘Discover Dogs’ I discovered humans with BIG hearts.