Barking Blondes: Dog whisperers, Alan Titchmarsh and Hallowen charity dog walks
Having just flown in from the States the day before, his first appearance on television to promote his national seminar tour had attracted more publicity than he could ever have dreamed of.
Who would have thought that a grilling by Alan Titchmarsh would have made headline news? However, accusations of cruelty and barbarism on Alan’s teatime chat show got the dog world in a frenzy.
We know from our own experiences that the mere mention of Cesar’s name will split this nation of dog lovers right down the middle. It seems that as far as training and discipline is concerned, methods are as controversial as those of child rearing. In fact, Super Nanny’s technique is often compared to that of dog training.
In a country where we commission television series with the word “Borstal” in the title or promote dogs to become “Top Models”, or where we have boys hanging fighting dogs from trees in order to train them and where our rescue centres are fit to bursting with abandoned dogs, it seems strange Cesar is the target for so much vitriol. We leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. But we can tell you this… we discovered he has fantastic hip movement as he joined us for an off air shimmy to a rendition of a Bill Hayley song.
There are various Halloween charity dog walks taking place this weekend, one of them being on behalf of Guide dogs For The Blind. It sets off from Lincolns Inn Fields on Sunday morning. This charity goes all the way back to 1931 when it trained dogs to help First World War veterans blinded in combat by gas. But there are even images on Egyptian tombs of dogs leading blind people and Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote in her poem Aurora Leigh; “The blind man walks wherever the dog pulls/And so I answered”.
Originally, most guide dogs were German Shepherds but nowadays Labradors or crosses are trained up. Labradors, of course are often considered the most “biddable” and easy dogs to train. This charity relies on donations and receives no public funding, so events like the Halloween Walk are essential. It costs £50,000 to breed, rear, train, maintain and support a guide dog through its working life.
It could be said that these dogs save the NHS a fortune and transform peoples lives, bringing them companionship and independence to go out and about despite their disability. Under the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) it is illegal to refuse a guide dog entry into any public place, yet campaigning to raise awareness on this still, continues.
One caller to our radio show, with impaired sight, and listening to us from her home in Israel congratulated this UK charity on acting as advisers in her country where awareness is still needed. Of course one of the most famous of all guide dogs was Sadie, owned by politician David Blunkett. She was once awarded “Guide Dog Of The Year”.
Well, this week, in politics, there were more canine honours being paid to The Westminster Dog Of The Year. MP for Deal and Dover, Charlie Elphicke’s four-year-old terrier, Star was the winner. Her interests include barking at the French doggies across the Channel from her home on the coast. We are told her next campaign will be “to stamp out puppy farming both here and in the rest of Europe”. We wish her luck. So far, no one else has succeeded.
‘Barking at the Moon’ is on every Thursday from 10pm to midnight on BBC London 94.9FMTagged in: Alan Titchmarsh, Bill Hayley, Cesar Millan, Cesar Millan’s Dog Whisperer, Charlie Elphicke, David Blunkett, Disability Discrimination Act, guide dogs, Guide dogs For The Blind, The Westminster Dog Of The Year
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