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Previous posts from the Dogmobile Blog. For the most recent posts, visit the main Dogmobile page.
Back on the Road...! - June 2011
From Scotland to the Otley show near Leeds, then Kent and across to Devon!! Wow we certainly motor around the country don’t we…
The Otley show is a lovely little local country show, with horse riding competitions, cattle and farm animal shows, trade stands, and entertainment with dog agility displays etc.
It is always well attended by the local community, and we’ve been going with the Dogmobile for a number of years now promoting our Leeds rehoming centre. We had a lovely little dog on with us called ‘Holly’. (That’s her in the photo with Laura). She was sooo excited meeting everybody, her tail didn’t stop wagging and she didn’t quite know who to say ‘hello’ to next. She had quite a bit of interest in rehoming her, so I’m hoping by now (a few weeks down the line) she will have found a loving new home.
Next we went to Medway and Chatham in Kent to be part of a ‘Dog Ownership Day’ run by the Medway Council promoting good dog ownership. They were microchipping people’s dogs for free with ‘microchips’ supplied by Dogs Trust. They also had the PDSA there doing free health checks, a Dog Warden informing people about legislation on different ‘doggy’ matters, a free go on some agility equipment and a dog trainer giving free advice.
We were promoting our Canterbury rehoming centre and we had a lovely Greyhound called ‘Skip’ spend the day with us. He was gorgeous, so calm and cuddly. He wasn’t even the slightest bit bothered when a small Terrier came up to him to try and start a fight. He just looked at it then turned away to look at other more interesting things. I do hope he’s found a new home by now.
Lastly, we have just been to St Johns Garden Centre in Barnstaple, Devon. It was a really lovely two days. We were promoting our Ilfracombe rehoming centre. We had a brilliant spot right outside the Garden Centre’s front doors, so we couldn’t be missed! We even had people come to see us from the Tesco store on the other side of the road. ‘Bobby’ a Lab x thoroughly enjoyed his day on the unit. He played with his ‘tuggy toy’, his tennis ball, a rubber ring and I seriously think he thought he was in heaven when he got to chew a treat and have his belly rubbed at the same time by everybody…you could almost see the smile on his face, aww!
Next stop, Old Barn Nurseries, Dialpost near Shoreham, West Sussex.
Maybe we’ll see you there!
Here, There and Everywhere - May 2011
We’ve just touched base again after a very busy few weeks.
We’ve been to the East Anglian Game Fair in Norfolk, Tees Valley Show at Preston Park near Darlington, Asda in Caerphilly and Glasgow City Centre since I last spoke…Pheeeeew!
The East Anglian Game Fair is always a busy, fun show and this year was no exception. We saw hundreds of people on the unit. Some try and come to say hello to us every year at this show, just like Sandra and Terry Crook who adopted ‘Oscar’ (an English Setter) from out Snetterton rehoming centre a couple of years ago after seeing him on our unit at this show! It was so lovely to see them again. That’s Oscar with Sandra in the picture. (What a handsome, happy chap he is!) They are all doing really well and Oscar has apparently settled in beautifully, even if he does still like chasing every bird, bike and plane he sees, ha, ha!
There was one annoying thing that happened this year. We were all set up on the showground in our pitch by the Friday teatime and having our evening meal, when we got a phone call from the organisers asking us if we could move our unit back approx 1 inch as the tent next door to us couldn’t set up. We dutifully went back, even though I thought we were inside our boundary, only to find the marquee the otherside of these people was about a foot over their boundary, but they couldn’t move them. Grrrrr! Luckily it didn’t take many minutes for us to move and we just had enough room left, but it did kind of spoil the relaxing evening we were having. I told you the job was never boring!
Next we visited the Tees Valley Show. This is a nice little garden show with lots of plant stalls, garden ornaments, craft and food tents plus things for the kids to do. It’s always well attended by the local community and when the weather is good (like it was this year), everybody seems to have a smile on their face, a spring in their step and leave the show with arms laden with goodies. Brill!
Next stop was Asda Caerphilly. It was a bit rainy on and off, but nobody noticed the rain when they came and spoke to Fran who was helping us out for the duration. Fran is one of the nicest, funniest and most interesting people I have ever met. Always up for a laugh and a real entertainer. Thanks Fran for brightening our days again. I think everyone who came and visited us went away with a smile on their face and a lot wiser!
We had an 11 year old Cocker Spaniel and a five month old Fox Terrier on the unit with us; both were looking for a home from our Bridgend rehoming centre. (Obviously we never rehome off the unit, they are just for people to see and then go through our usual rehoming procedure like everybody else.) But, the fact more people get to see them obviously increases their chance of finding that perfect home and that’s all it’s about isn’t it, finding new homes for as many dogs as we can. It’s a very rewarding job, I can tell you.
Last but not least, we have just got back from beautiful Scotland! Glasgow to be exact. We had a pitch in Buchanan Street in the City Centre right outside the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. It was brill!
We had lots of people interested in looking for a dog and lots of information was given out. One of the dogs we had with us for the day was a 17 year old Terrier. Her owner had died and so she was looking for a new home. She definitely didn’t act 17 years old! She was still scampering around when we took her out for her walks. If I hadn’t known her age I would have put her about nine, that’s how good she looked. I haven’t heard if she’s been rehomed yet, but hopefully she won’t be with us for long if not. She will certainly give somebody a run for their money, ha, ha!
Before we knew it, it was time to leave. It all went so quick. That’s always the way when you are enjoying yourself isn’t it? Oh well!
Thanks for having us Glasgow, you’re great and we hope to see you again soon.
Garden Centres - April 2011
Well, what a couple of eventful days these were!!
First off we were at Woodlands Garden Centre in Stapleton, near Hinckley.
There we were, taking the dogs along to our display unit, when suddenly, approx 100metres away from the Garden Centre entrance, we heard a very loud ‘scraping’ noise from under the van. When we eventually stopped, amid lots of stares from people, I found the exhaust had lost the will to live, and dropped off where it had rusted through!! (Lucky for us it didn’t happen whilst going up the motorway.) Great I thought, that’s all we needed!
Luckily my dad had taught me a thing or two about car repairs, so after I’d ‘scrounged’ some wire off the workmen, and a ‘De-Icer’ can from a lad on car-park duty, I set to work. In no time at all I’d got it fixed (Well, until the professionals can fit me a new one anyway!) It’s amazing what a bit of sticky back plastic and a tin can can do, isn’t it?
Next, Laura, myself, the two dogs, and a couple of Garden Centre representatives spent the next hour having our photos taken in various ‘silly’ poses by a photographer. Laura and I were told to ‘smile’ and put our thumbs up so much, we were nearly stuck in that position by the end! Ha, ha! It was really funny. My jaw ached. I’m hoping the photos come out better than they felt!
We had ‘Ben’ a Pointer Cross and ‘Sammy’ a Cross breed with us for the day. They were brilliant and seemed to thoroughly enjoy all the fuss they got. (That’s Ben and Sammy in the photo with Laura.) They had lots of interest, so let’s hope people visit our Kenilworth rehoming centre in the future if they are looking for a dog. (It’s only about 50 minutes away from Woodlands by car.)
On the Saturday we moved to Blooms Garden Centre Solihull. This was a much less stressful day. Well, I thought it was until up popped the photographer we had yesterday. Yes, he was back to take some more of the same poses! Luckily for us the Garden Centre Manager knew the photographer from previous photo shoots and gave him 10 minutes to get them done. Phew, we could have been there all day if not!
Next to Friday, Saturday passed without too much excitement, and before we knew it, it was time to go home.
If you ever thought working on the Dogmobile was easy... think again. One thing you can say about the Dogmobile though is... it’s NEVER boring!!
See you next time,
Another Day! March 2011
We’ve been to Wales and Slough since I last wrote. Asda Tonypandy is in Wales and has beautiful countryside around that area. It was a lovely two days of spring weather and the daffodils were waving in the warm breeze, whilst the birds were singing their hearts out. It was wonderful, we had such a nice time.
The people around that area were so generous. We were promoting out rehoming centre at Bridgend, and there was lots of interest shown. One lady even went straight along to the centre the following weekend and rehomed a dog after seeing us at Asda. That’s one more little dog found a new loving home.
We were also collecting dog food donations, and at the end of the two days, we had two full shopping trolleys of donations…how brill is that! Thank you to the people of Tonypandy, and thank you Asda for allowing us such a wonderful two days.
Next we went to Asda Slough. Once again we had a great two days. Asda is are a really great community store; they really do help promote charities and local community initiatives, so well done Asda and thank you. We had a photographer from a local paper come down and take some photos of us at the store on Thursday. Look in the Slough Observer, you may see us!
Apart from it being a bit windy, we had a lovely time at Asda. I did get a little worried when the wind picked up in the afternoon, because our canopy on the unit was getting ready to lift us off!! But, with a bit of ‘Blue Peter sticky - back plastic’ (well nylon rope actually), we managed to tie the canopy down safely. Phew!
The dogs had a great day out too. We had ‘Tootsie’ and ‘Blue’ a couple of Whippet X’s on the first day, and on the second day we had 'Yogi' and 'Yazz', an old lab and a X breed who are both 10 year olds.
At the end of the two days we had another shopping trolleys worth full of donated dog food and treats. It never ceases to amaze me how generous people are, so a big warm, heartfelt thank you from Dogs Trust to all the people of Slough for their support. Maybe we’ll see you again next year!
Bye for now!
British Leisure Show 11, 12 and 13 March 2011
We’ve just come back from the British Leisure Show. It's second year the event has been held and takes place at Windsor Racecourse.It’s very much a show for the outdoor types, with anything from holidays, to campervans, to mobile homes, to garden furniture and even boats! It’s a three day show and apart from Friday when most people were at work, it was really busy, with the sun even managing to come out and say hello.
We were promoting our Harefield rehoming centre and had a few dogs from there on our unit, having a fun day out and maybe even finding a home eventually from being seen there. A Boxer at the centre managed just that!
We had his details and picture on our stand, and somebody saw him, went along to the centre, fell in love with him (and vice-versa) and booked him after we found they were the perfect match for each other…..aah, I’m so pleased!
We had an old Mastiff called ‘Mugsy’ with us on Sunday. That’s him with Mark and Claire (two of the organizers of the show). They loved him and couldn’t understand how anybody wouldn’t want such a lovable old dog as him. (He might still be at Harefield if anybody’s interested...)
The show passed without any dramas this year so a real treat for us. You wait though, there’s a whole year to go yet!
See you next time,
Well Hello Again Bloggers - February 2011
Happy New Year!!
Not only is it a new start to a New Year, but I’ve got a new colleague as well! Meet Laura. (Here she is with a dog called Murphy)
Laura has worked for Dogs Trust for 10 years, so she knows a thing or two about the charity. If you ever get to go to any of the shows we are attending this year, come and say hello to her, she’ll be more than happy to have a chat with you.
The year started very slowly for the Dogmobile, I must say. I was at the Asda at Donnington Wood near Telford for my first venue and boy was it slow. Once again the weather didn’t really help with it being sooooooo cold!
When attending supermarkets we have to set the unit up really early, normally by 7.15am. We have to get in this early before all the parking spaces are filled with customers and we then can’t move. It made for a very dark, cold and lonely morning, I can tell you.
Helen a Canine Carer from our Roden centre helped me on the unit for the two days, as Laura hadn’t started then. Although it was not really that busy, we both had a nice time chatting to the few people that did come and see what we were all about.
I think people are finding times very hard at the moment, so I wasn’t that surprised not too many people were thinking of getting a dog just yet. But, at least they said when they were ready, they would come and give Dogs Trust a visit, which was positive.
My next venue was at Asda, Frome. This time Laura from our Salisbury rehoming centre helped me on the unit for the duration. She bought a Lurcher and a GSD x with her. Both were looking for a home. The dogs thought the outing was great, especially when a little boy spent five minutes poking his cheesy wotsit crisps through the vents into Teddy's kennel! Teddy thought he’d won the lottery. I’ve never had the glass as clean as when he’d finished licking it!
On the second day I had to move the unit to another position in the car park because the wind was that strong, I thought the canopy was going to be ripped off… phew! Luckily with our back to the wind, we were able to continue, but boy, was it windy!
I also met a lady who’d rehomed a dog we’d promoted on the Dogmobile a few years ago at this very venue. It was lovely to speak to her and yes, I really do remember the dog - his name was Archie and he was gorgeous.
Next was Morrisons, Evesham which was Laura’s first venue. I think she found being at a supermarket at 7.30am a bit strange, but soon got into the swing of things. Learning the setting up and closing down of the unit was a bit challenging as well, as there are so many little details you have to remember, but by the end of the venue, it was as if she’d been working on it for years.
We then moved on to Tesco, Stratford Upon Avon. We were given a great spot near the front of the store with the help of Ron the Community Colleague at Tesco. He was exceptionally helpful to us, and a real pleasure to meet. I think the getting up at 5am was a bit of a shock for Laura though! We had to be in really early both days, and what with all the traveling and picking the unit up etc, Laura’s sleep came to a very abrupt end those mornings. Yes, this is definitely not a 9 - 5 job, but I love it and hopefully Laura will too, although perhaps I won’t ask her this for a while, ha, ha!
Both days were pretty busy. We were near enough for people to come and see us, plus we had a gorgeous dog called Murphy who just loved all the attention he got. That’s him in the picture above with Laura.
Hopefully people will give our Kenilworth rehoming centre a visit in the not too distant future. With dogs like Murphy there, how could you resist?
Until next time…………
Wintry Wonderland catch up - December 22nd
The year is about to come to a close, we’ve finished our final venue for the year and phew, what an end it was!
Back in November, the Dogmobile joined many, many other floats in the Lord Mayor's Show parade around the City of London. We had lots of volunteers walking dogs looking for homes from our Harefield rehoming centre. We also had people dressed up as dogs and even some small fun kennels being pulled along. It was a really good atmosphere, with people cheering, laughing and waving banners at us as we went by.
The Dogmobile visiting Sittingbourne High Street, Kent
Our next venue was at Sittingbourne High Street in Kent. This didn’t quite go as planned, I can tell you! First, when we arrived our B&B had no recollection of our booking! This was eventually sorted, but no fun at the time.
Next, we had a fault light appear on the units dashboard telling us of a power loss and to get it into a garage as soon as possible. We then couldn’t get into the originally planned area with the Dogmobile and we had to do a few hasty phone calls to see if we could go somewhere else, and then they told us we were all going to be snowed in! Luckily we managed to get back home before the snow fell, otherwise we might still be there now!
From there we went to Asda, Gloucester, where it was BITTERLY cold for the duration. I couldn’t even clean the outside of the windows, because the spray I was using froze when I sprayed it onto the window! We were ok because we had a heater, coats and blankets to sit on, but outside it was cold. ‘Conrad’ (the dog we had on board) didn’t mind one bit. He had his coat on and sat ‘hogging’ the heater all day. In fact he thought it was great…….Treats, a warm jumper to wear, a warm blanket to sit on, cuddles and fuss all day!
Conrad with his cute coat
Our last venue was at the Braunton Tesco near Ilfracombe, Devon. Once again it was bitterly cold. This didn’t go so smoothly either! On our way to our B&B once again, our way was blocked by a car which had had an accident and was on its roof. The police shut the road for two hours and we had to find another route. Luckily we knew a way cross-country.
What a mistake that was! Imagine a single track road, ALL up hill with thick ice at the sides of the road and freezing temperatures. Then picture everybody choosing this cross-country short cut because of the accident. BEDLAM!! This road was only meant for the odd car, four-wheel drive and tractor, and here it was looking more like a motorway. There were cars backing up, cars going up onto verges, cars slipping and sliding and LOTS of angry frustrated drivers. Let’s say it’s a journey I wouldn’t want to do again.
The venue itself was very quiet due to the freezing temperatures outside. Most people were too busy going from warm car to warm shop and back again to bother about coming to see us. Never mind, people were very generous and dropped treats for the dogs into a trolley we had outside on their way past, so all was not lost.
Plus we helped rehome a dog from our centre at West Down near Ilfracombe from somebody who went along after seeing us at Tesco, so the frostbite was all worthwhile!
Anyhow, that’s all for this year. Have a Happy Christmas, and we’ll hopefully see you around when we do it all over again in 2011!
See you soon!
Catch up - 9th November
We’ve just got back from a whirlwind tour of Scotland, Wales, Cheshire and Ilfracombe!
We started off in Asda, near Slateford, Edinburgh. We managed to get a really nice spot facing the store, so lots of people saw us there. We had two really nice dogs with us for the two days, ‘Danny’ the Collie and ‘Ollie’ the x breed. They were from our West Calder rehoming centre, and were the sweetest dogs out. Two people were interested in rehoming them, so hopefully by now, they will be in a lovely new home. That’s them in the pictures!
We also were asking for donations of biscuits for the dogs’ bedtime treats, and Asda’s customers didn’t let us down… in fact, Asda’s shelves were nearly empty of ‘doggy biscuits’ by the end of the two days! Wow, thank you Asda customers!
Next we were in St Enoch Square in Glasgow City Centre. It was horrible weather the first day. Horizontal rain, gales, cold… you name it, we had it. Unfortunately, this put a lot of people off coming to see us, but I can’t blame them really.
We had a lovely little dog called ‘Kai’ on board though. (That’s him with Sally in the picture). He did his best to say hello to everybody that came on board to see us. In fact, one lady was so smitten with him, she brought her husband down in his lunch break to see him!
We then zoomed across the country to a garden centre at Tarporley in Cheshire for our Merseyside centre. Considering it was half term, unfortunately it wasn’t the busiest of venues, but hey, that didn’t stop people who’d seen us advertised in the Wag Mag coming to say hello to us. The garden centre even had people ringing them up, asking what time we would be there etc, which was really nice, so thank you all those people who made a special effort to come and say ‘Hi’. It is always lovely to see and speak to our supporters.
This time we had a lovely little dog called ‘Shadrack’ on board. (Yes you heard correct. Apparently he’s a character in a TV soap!!)He was beautiful and very well behaved and he thoroughly enjoyed his days out meeting lots of new people.
You’ll be amazed how chilled out most of the dogs become when they’ve been on the unit for a couple of days. It does them the world of good. Not only does it give them some ‘chill out’ time from the stress of being in kennels, but they get to do a lot of socialising as well, which can help them get used to a lot of things they perhaps haven’t met or come across before. This in turn shows people what lovely dogs Dogs Trust really has to offer people!
Last but not least we were at St Johns Garden Centre in Barnstaple Devon. It’s a lovely family run Garden Centre with everything you can imagine to do with gardens for sale. We were allowed to go in a brilliant spot between the Garden Centre and the Tesco store next door. It was a great!
We had three dogs on board over the two days. ‘Sally’ a Collie x, ‘Kez’ a Staffy x, and ‘LuLu’ a Retriever. They certainly enjoyed their day meeting new people and going on different walks. (I bet they have some tales to tell their other ‘doggy pals’ back at the centre when they return.) We had a couple of families interested in Sally as well, so I’m hoping these people give the centre a visit.
The sun was out, even if it was a bit chilly, and lots of lovely people came and said hello. One chap thinks he may have the oldest DT dog. It was a working Collie (now retired, approx 17yrs old), and he still has the original NCDL rehoming receipt all these years later! Wow! I’m lucky if I can remember what I bought a week ago let alone find a receipt from 17 years ago!
Oh well, see you next time
Autumn Fair 2/3 October 2010
Gales, Torrential rain, rivers of running water, yes; it’s the South of England Autumn Fair 2010!
What can I say, we set up in torrential rain and winds, and apart from a dry spell on Saturday morning, we spent the entire weekend with the same weather!
Sally my usual co-pilot was still having a well earned rest on holiday, so Tracey, (Assistant Manager at our Evesham centre) very graciously offered her help for the weekend, which I gladly accepted. (I’m sure she wished she hadn’t at the end of the weekend!)
Still, the show must go on, so the saying goes………
We had the most adorable Lab x called Daniel on the unit both days. He was from our Shoreham rescue centre. He was two years old, and had only come into the centre due to a marriage break up. He thoroughly enjoyed all the fuss and cuddles he got from everybody visiting us.
That’s him in the photo with Tracey. Aww!
Considering the appalling weather, there were still plenty of people coming into the showground. I think the wet weather stalls did a roaring trade though.The amount of umbrellas I saw blowing up the avenues inside out, was amazing!
Still, we were warm and cozy in our unit, although I did find a few leaks I didn’t realise I had before! Oops!
Sunday was the worst day. Gale force winds and horizontal rain for most of the day. Even the hardiest of people gave up mid afternoon, and that’s when the show basically came to an end. One or two stallholder’s tents had broken and blown down in the wind, plus the stock of another stall was ruined by the rain, poor things.
Most stalls had closed up and gone home by 4pm on the Sunday, and would you believe it, after Tracey had taken Daniel back to the centre for the evening and I started to clear up, the rain stopped and the sun came out!
Most of the vehicles were being towed off the showground by tractors, because they were well and truly ‘bogged down’ in the mud. I was really chuffed with myself, because I expected to be stuck and have to be towed out as well, but I decided I’d have a go at getting out myself….I thought what had I got to lose?
I made sure everybody was out of my way, and then very slowly started to reverse. The tyres managed to grip the grass, and bit by bit I managed to pick up enough speed, keeping the wheels in a straight line to drive out onto the concrete. Getting through the muddy tyre tracks of other vehicles slowed me down a bit when the wheels started to spin, but luckily I had enough momentum to keep me going. Stopping at that point would have been the end of my great escape, but before I knew it, I was on the concrete and out. Woohoo!
What was really funny was considering we’d had all that rain during the day, it didn’t rain once on the way home to wash all the mud off the Dogmobile. Typical!
See you again soon,
Surrey Country Fair and PupAid 2010
I love this little show; it’s a real small well attended show, where whatever the weather people still come in droves, and this year was no exception!
Although the weather was a bit chilly and cloudy, everybody seemed to be having a great time. We were opposite the dog agility ring, so we got to see lots of ‘doggy-tag’ competitions, plus lots of jumping, swerving and weaving dogs of all shapes and sizes.
The day didn’t start too well for me though; my generator decided it didn’t want to start and this meant no lights! As the saying goes, ‘the show must go on!’, and so it did. Luckily it was quite a bright day, and it certainly didn’t stop people coming in to see us, just another ‘glitch’ in the life of a Dogmobile on the road.
Louise, a canine carer from our Harefield centre, was helping me out, as Sally my colleague has gone for a well earned rest on holiday. Actually, she has gone to do a half-marathon run, and then have a well earned rest! (She’ll need it after that!)
Anyhow, Louise bought along to our stand two LOVELY dogs - Carraghan an 8 month old Collie pup, and Rob a 5 year old Greyhound. They were brilliant all day, in fact they enjoyed themselves sooooo much, they slept nearly all day. Talk about relaxing!
We had loads of people come and say hello to us. Some people coming back time and time again to see the dogs after falling in love with them. I’m hoping somebody will go along to our Harefield centre where they were from, to see about adopting them. Wouldn’t that be good!
The day swept by, and before we knew it, it was home time. The dogs said a final parting bark and a wag of their tails, and were soon on their way back to the rehoming centre for their tea. People started to slowly go home for tea themselves around 4.30pm, leaving just a few stragglers having their last bit of fun.
The final rain shower unfortunately cleared the showground of them not long after that and at 5.30pm, I was packed and on my way home, only realising once I hit the A3 and its crawling traffic, that it was going to be a LONG evening’s drive home around the M25. Never mind, the day was worth it!
Earlier in the month, we also went to Pup Aid 2010, which was to raise awareness of the cruel puppy farming industry. It was held at Stanmer House near Brighton, and had a host of celebs ready to lend their support.
As for the Dogmobile, well, we arrived to find that there were only two gates to the house, of which one we couldn’t fit through. Luckily the other was slightly bigger, (but only just!), so we squeezed through and into our position, next to our Dogs Trust merchandise marquee, manned by Nicole and Naomi the supporter relations officers at Dogs Trust Shoreham and Tracey the centre manager.
Sally trying to get in a picture with Meg Matthews!
The day soon got into the swing of things with bands playing music, and doggy competitions galore. We saw five celebs, Simon Cowells mum and brother, Christopher Ellison from the Bill, David Spinx from Eastenders and Meg Mathews, former wife of Noel Gallagher. There were some ‘well dressed’ people there, and some ‘not so well dressed’ people that obviously thought they were!
We saw crossbreeds and pedigree dogs of all shapes, sizes AND COLOURS! There were some under-dressed dogs, some over-dressed dogs and some funnily dressed dogs, but mainly we saw a lot of happy dogs.
Lots of people came over to say hello to us and the two little dogs we had on board who were looking for new homes. (One may have even found a home from it, if all goes well down at the centre today. Woohoo!!)
As the day came to a close, everybody looked like they’d had a really good time, with arms piled high from purchases and winnings plus hopefully a bit more of an understanding about puppy farming and the harm they do.
See you next time!
For more tales from the blog, continue reading the Dogmobile blog here!