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The Biggest Threat To Our Hobby… Apathy

Click here to read the complete article
102 – The Annual, 2017-18


For a number of years, I wrote a very successful column, Crossing the Headlines for the weekly UK paper, DogWorld.

It was a dream come true for me; I had grown up thumbing through its pages, reading the thoughts and ideas of the show world’s elite. Quality writ- ing from such luminaries as Peggy Grayson, Stafford Somerfield, Ferelith Somerfield, Tom Horner, Frank Kane, Andrew Brace, Sheila Atter and Simon Parsons graced the paper week-in, week-out and one thing they all had in common, aside from a deep love and understanding of the pedigree dog, was the way in which they wrote their columns. They weren’t afraid to voice their opinion (even if it was unpopular with the masses or, heaven forbid, the Kennel Club!) or put their head above the parapet and firmly say, ‘I don’t agree with this…’

I strongly admired this attitude so, when I was given the opportunity to write for my favorite dog paper, I tried hard to emulate them. In my first piece, I vowed to defend the pedigree dog and the show world against all ‘slings and arrows of outrageous for- tune’ and there were many lining up to deal the death blow.

One of the most vociferous in its condemnation was a name known to show people on both sides of the pond; Jemima Harrison (of ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’ infamy).

While my colleagues shied away from confrontation, I enjoyed numerous battles with this woman. In many of our skirmishes I found gaping holes in what she was saying and serious flaws in the ‘scientific data’ she so freely forwarded to back up her arguments.

You see, Ms. Harrison was without a doubt an excellent writer and supreme agitator, but her Achilles Heel was an- alyzing the data she reported on in her articles. On many occasions it was painfully clear she hadn’t even properly read some of the studies she was so enthused about.

For several evenings every week, my partner and I literally poured over this ‘evidence’ and very quickly picked it apart. This wasn’t difficult, although it was really a job that the KC should have been doing; these ‘studies’ pro- vided a basis for my most popular and most-shared articles.

Over time, Ms. Harrison faded into the background; campaign after cam- paign, such as ‘Say no to Pugs’ and ‘CRUFFA’ were abject failures, regis- trations of Pugs continued to soar and more and more brachy breeds were featured on greetings cards and in com- mercials than before her campaigning! Indeed, I have often said that our vul- nerable rare breeds should hire her, get her to write a ‘hit piece’ on them and watch their breed’s popularity grow!

Click here to read the complete article
102 – The Annual, 2017-18

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