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Scotland the great holiday destination (and trouble at home)

We have just returned from a brilliant holiday in Scotland – a peaceful isolated dog-friendly cottage, Loch Ness just minutes away, beautiful scenery and lots to do,; who could ask for more? We loved it and so did Buddy and Star.

We stayed at Rowan Cottage (www.lochnesshideaways.co.uk/) and our host Janet made us feel very welcome indeed. The dogs accompanied us on a gondola trip up the Glen Nevis range near Fort William (www.nevisrange.co.uk/summer/index.asp), as well as enjoying a boat trip on Loch Ness (www.jacobite.co.uk/).

Having unpacked and settled to relax and watch some television, the BBC presented us with Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which seems to have everybody hot under the collar. If you haven’t seen the program yet you can catch it on iplayer (www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00d4ljk/), but do we warned as this is strong stuff that many dog lovers will find upsetting. However, it is well worth watching.

Beverley Cuddy, editor and publisher of UK magazine Dogs Today has been approaching the Kennel Club regarding health issues among pedigree dogs for many years, and you can read more from her at her blog ( www.coldwetnose.blogspot.com/2008/08/call-to-arms-or-legs-i-guess-after.... ) . The Kennel Club obviously is unhappy and you can read their statements here (www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/1995/23/5/3).

Understandably, the documentary has sparked very strong feeling on both “sides”. On many dog related sites (and non-dog related ones too) people are proclaiming that they would only give house room to a cross breed, while others would only ever contemplate a pedigree. Some breeders fear they will all be tarred with the same brush, and worry that pedigree puppies will now be unwanted.

Of course there are some brilliant dog breeders who are devoted to developing their breed to become the best – and healthiest – it can. However, there are some (many featured in the documentary) to whom dogs are merely a commodity to be used, abused if necessary, and simply made money out of. Some say the documentary is biased and offered no answers to the problems it exposed. It did however do what I suspect it set out to do, which is to horrify us all sufficiently to motivate us to want to find out more, and if necessary put pressure where it is needed to put things right.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of it, unscrupulous individuals deliberately and knowingly allowing animals with severe hereditary afflictions to breed, or “culling ” perfectly healthy though apparently aesthetically unpleasing puppies is clearly very wrong. For the moment the British Kennel Club seems to be firmly in the dog house; I hope for the reported 10% of unhealthy pedigree dogs, and for all the heart broken owners affected, that this will be resolved as soon as possible.

Take care,

Julie x

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