Tuesday, 2 December 2008

30 Years of A Dog is for Life, not just for Christmas (that was us, not the RSPCA, Nigella!)

Last night, I caught my mum fiddling with my Christmas presents, so I ended up getting them early! I'm a big fan of baking, so Nigella Lawson's new Christmas book was right up my street (and now I have no excuse not to make chocolate pudding this year). Nigella's books tend to be as relaxing to flick through as to cook from, so I cast an eye over the text. There, in black and white, she reminded us that family "as the old RSPCA ad reminded us" was for life, not just for Christmas.

Sorry, Ms. Lawson, that wasn't that RSPCA, it was Dogs Trust! In fact, it was our Chief Executive, Clarissa Baldwin, who came up with that slogan thirty years ago this year, when she was working in the press office at the then-National Canine Defence League.

On her own blog, Clarissa comments today:
I am delighted that the slogan’s message has been heeded as the number of dogs bought as gifts has reduced from 20% in 1978 to just 1.8% this year. However I’m not ready to retire the slogan just yet. 1.8% doesn’t sound much as a percentage but this could be as many as 131,400 dogs which is still far too many.
Clarissa also highlights many examples of the way the slogan has grown and been appropriated by various people and companies over the years (naming no names, *cough* David Cameron *cough*). There's even a pretty seasonal vegetable one...!

It's great that the words have sunk in - now it's just important to hammer home the message. Owning a dog is a wonderfully rewarding experience, and it's impossible to achieve that level of fun, love, affection and companionship without putting some effort in! Dogs need a commitment of time, money and energy and today's cute puppy needs to be shown the way and offered training and support to become tomorrow's well-behaved canine citizen.

Enjoy Christmas and, if you're thinking of getting a dog, wait until the fuss has died down and come and visit one of our centres in the New Year. I bet we'll have the dog for you.

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