Beverley Cuddy is the EDITOR of Dogs Today magazine and an influential advocate for
dogs in social media.
1. What led you to setting up and developing Dogs Today?
Dogs Today was founded in 1990 by the late Viscount Rothermere, the proprietor of
the Daily Mail and a huge dog lover. I was the launch editor. One of his major reasons
for wanting a dog magazine was to try to encourage the Government to scrap quarantine
as it was hugely distressing for dogs and owners to be separated for so long. With
that objective out of the way, it soon became clear there were many other pressing
areas of reform needed for the good of dogs. I was very fortunate to be allowed to
do a Management Buy Out and retain Viscount Rothermere as one of my shareholders
and since December 1992 I have been the majority share holder as well as editor.
2. What do you think is the biggest welfare issue for pet dogs today? Overproduction
of dogs by passive people for whom breeding has little or no consequence. The results
of these litters no one really wants clogs up rescue and mean that good, healthy
dogs are being put to sleep in increasing numbers.
3. Do you think that the mainstream
media promotes responsible and ethical dog ownership?
There have been some terrible TV programmes of late that seem to encourage dogs being
seen as impulse purchases. We are in dire need of better programming on dog issues. 4.
What is the most common myth about dog behaviour and can you dispel it for us? Too
many to choose between!
5. What is one change that a dog owner can make to have
a happier dog? Quality time, that is what they want – time shared with their people.
Who do you find most inspiring in the dog world? Dr Ian Dunbar has always been
my hero, on dog behaviour and just every aspect of how to live your life. Love the
way he thinks we can save almost anyone and talk them around and point them on to
the right road. Optimism and intellect. 7. Are there any current campaigns for improving
dog welfare that you find particularly creative and impactful? There is a campaign
every few minutes and I like the fact that social media allows everyone to pull together
and react with one voice. I was amazed by how everyone stood shoulder to shoulder
on the Don’t Cook Your Dog Campaign to promote zero tolerance on leaving dogs in
hot cars. 8. You have a popular active and timely blog (ColdWetNose); what do you
think of the role of social media in education and spreading awareness? As above,
it has changed campaigning. Our first big success was two Christmas’s ago when John
Lewis ran a TV campaign showing a dog left out in the cold at Christmas as a somehow
aspirational beautiful Christmas scene. Without Social media we’d never have stopped
that in time. Social media has also really helped raising funds and getting help
for urgent Tailwaggers cases like the recent case of the woman homeless due to domestic
violence who needed help keeping her pets while in emergency housing. Social media
unites dog lovers and makes them feel powerful because you can solve problems as
they pop up.