In a world where puppy mills, battery factories and farms flourish and some dog breeding practices dismay many, educating the puppy buying public is a constant and urgent necessity.
Everyone who cares to see an end to the cruel commercial breeding industry has something to offer when it comes to educating potential puppy buyers. It can and must be done by us all. We can’t leave it to others, we are those people. We can all be the ones working to bring about changes that will directly help dogs. What we do in our daily world can help to end the suffering of breeding dogs trapped in awful lives. It may not seem much to share a social media post or put out some leaflets, but when many of us are doing it, it becomes an effective awareness campaign.
The puppy buyers of today and tomorrow need to be reached, and as individuals we’re right there within reach of our friends, acquaintances, colleagues and family when they talk about bringing a dog into their lives. We must grasp every chance that comes our way to educate, and create others while we’re at it. Once we see we can change understandings of today’s puppy business, it soon becomes something we want to do again, and again. Knowing we can save dogs’ lives by effectively educating is deeply empowering.
There are plenty of things we can all do that will make a difference. There are excellent national education and awareness campaigns regularly run by the big organisations which are worth supporting. Seek them out, get on their mailing lists and be proactive about taking part in big headline campaigns. But, seeing as the puppy business is booming, we all need to do more than follow the big leaders. If we all do a little more collectively this will go a long way to stopping buyers supporting bad breeders and puppy mills.
Here’s a few simple, effective and worthwhile things that can create rich opportunities for grassroots education:
- Take part in, or better still organise local face-to-face awareness activities. Look for community events where you might set up a table, or have a poster display. Have leaflets available that people can take away and you can use for starting discussions. When we talk with people, they remember how we make them feel, so spark their compassion by openly sharing your passionate heart and voice.
- Get hold of business-card size puppy mill awareness cards and distribute them widely in your locality. Take them with you when you visit a new place, business or area and spread the word card by card. A good source for visually attractive and informative cards and other materials is the non-profit Harley’s Dream.
- Use yourself as a walking noticeboard for puppy mill awareness and advocacy: wear t-shirts, caps, use pens and bumper stickers. Locate and embrace your inner marketer for the benefit of the dogs.
- Contact local groups and offer to do educational talks. Take leaflets or cards with you so people have something to take away and think about. They, in turn, are likely to tell others what they learnt from you. If possible, be available for questions afterward as it always helps to reinforce the issues when we give people our time and personal attention. When you’ve prepared a talk once, it’s easy to roll out, tweak and repeat to new audiences whenever you get or make the opportunity. People remember what we say in person better than scrolling by on social media. We all need to be out there talking about, and for the dogs, to bring change about.
- Use social media effectively: share positive stories about adoption and rescue pets. Use Google alert to find stories and remind yourself to post them. When you see good news share it. Some people aren’t able to engage with the grim reality of animal cruelty but do want to help. Sharing the positives helps to overcome some barriers we face when campaigning in this field. Positive examples of rescued dogs living good lives all help to spread the message that rescuing is great and is the best way to avoid supporting commercial bad breeding.
By finding something we can all do regularly, it really will make a difference to the millions of breeding dogs around the world who need our help.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.
Janetta Harvey is a writer and commentator on the international puppy breeding industry. She’s author of three books: Saving Susie-Belle and Saving One More for adults and her latest, Saving Maya for young readers. All are based on the lives of her dogs, rescued from large scale breeding facilities. Janetta is a strong advocate for pet adoption, especially seniors and her writing promotes this to all ages.
Janetta lives with her husband Michel, and their three dogs in England and France.
www.janettaharvey.com | Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusieBSchnauzer | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Susie-Belle-Schnauzer-705830289434936 | Instagram: https://instagram.com/sassyschnauzersisters/