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PUP AID 2010: Provisional Timetable

PUP AID 2010 will take place on Sunday 19th September at Stanmer Park, Brighton.

Here is a rough outline of the fun dog show classes & bands so far…

10am
Doors open & dog show registration starts

10.30am
PUP AID 2010 is officially opened by the Mayor of Brighton & Hove

11:00am
April in the Shade Soul/Blues Rock

11.40am
Maria Daines  Folk, acoustic.

 

Midday
Scruffts: Prettiest Bitch Crossbreed Dog (6mths – 7 years)  
 

12:20pm
The Morning Orchestra Bright indie pop
 
12:45pm
Scruffts: Handsomest Crossbreed Dog (6 mths – 7 yrs) 
 
13:00
Conrad Vingoe Acoustic/Folk
 
13:30
Scruffts: Child’s Best Friend (6 mths – 12 years  & children 6 – 16)
  
13:45
Laura Critchley pop/rock/country

14:15
Parade of ex-breeding puppy farm bitches
followed by
Scruffts: Golden Oldie Crossbreed dog (8 years and over)
  
14:30
Mimi Soya  Teen Punk Pop
 
15:00
Best Six Legs (owner & dog)

15:15
Rubylux
 
15:45
Best in Show
 
16:00
REX Factor & Liam Gallagher-signed Epihone Casino Guitar Auction
 
16:30
VERY SPECIAL GUEST

There will also be a display ring with have-a-go agility, Canine Partners demo and Guide Dogs too.

5pm
PUP AID 2010 ends.

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Bone Look Back in Anger: Dog-loving Liam Gallagher helps UK’s Dogs

Oasis lead-singer Liam Gallagher signed a classic Epiphone Casino guitar with All Saints wife Nicole Appleton, their Dachshund ‘Ruby Tuesday’ and TV vet Marc Abraham in the Gibson Guitar Showroom in Central London to launch PUP AID 2010 – the UK’s first charity boutique music festival and fun celebrity-judged dog show.

(Left to right) TV Vet Marc Abraham, Liam Gallagher with the signed Epiphone Casino guitar, Nicole Appleton and ‘Ruby Tuesday’ (Please credit Gareth Gatrell)

PUP AID 2010 – taking place in Brighton on Sept 19th – aims to raise awareness about the cruel industry of puppy farming – basically the battery farming of dogs in the UK purely for profit.

ThePet.net co-founder Marc, who’s also the resident vet on ITV’s This Morning and Sky1′s My Pet Shame, commented: “As a massive Oasis fan I’m honoured Liam and Nicole are involved and helping me to promote dog welfare as well as raising much-needed funds for both rescue and the research into the health and happiness of all dogs.”

Marc advises that: “People looking for a dog should always approach the Kennel Club for their list of Accredited Breeders or consider adopting from a rescue shelter instead.

“Never buy pups online, from pet shops or free newspaper ads, as these are usually farmed pups which – if they survive the first few days – will often develop severe behavioural and/or medical problems that can often be both impossible and expensive to fix – leading to pain and suffering as well as family heartbreak.

“Always insist on seeing the pup interacting with it’s mother and beware of scams. Please remember that you may think you’re ‘rescuing’ the pup – but its mother’s still suffering and now must produce another pup you’ve just made room for.”

This uniquely signed Epiphone Casino guitar will now do a tour of the festivals to gain even more legendary dog-loving signatures and will finally be auctioned at the PUP AID 2010 event with monies raised going to Dogs Trust, Kennel Club Charitable Trust, and Oldies Club – a small charity dedicated to the re-homing of older unwanted dogs.

To book your tickets click here.

For further press information, images or interview requests for PUP AID 2010 please contact hello@thepet.net

ThePet.net Awards 2010 entry extended!

We have extended entries for ThePet.net Awards until 30 July 2010. So for those of you who haven’t had a chance to enter there is still time! Enter now

The extension is due to an unfortunate technical fault preventing some people enter. Thanks for your patience to everyone who has already entered. We will be announcing the shortlist at the beginning of August.

About  the Awards

ThePet.net awards  – back for the second year running – celebrate businesses that offer the BEST for YOUR pet.

We aim to honour pet friendly businesses working tirelessly across the UK putting pets, customer service and value for money first.

If you are a business offering a service to pet owners make sure you get recognition for all your hard work.

There are 14 categories covering everything from your Favourite Pet Friendly Hotel to your Favourite Pet Sitter.

You are invited to submit your entry by 5pm, Friday 30th July 2010. The judges will then create a shortlist of the top 3 in each category which will be placed back on ThePet.net website for you, the pet owners, to vote for the winner.

Enter now

Enter Your Pet in this Fantastic ‘Paws For A Portrait’ Competition

Welcome to Paws For A Portrait, your chance to win a portrait by myself of your best canine friend as well as helping to protect and re-home dogs in need with Dogs Trust.  Not only that but the winner will have the opportunity to meet with Marc Abraham, the renowned TV vet when he will present the finished painting to you.

All the money raised from the £5 entry fee will help to ensure that Dogs Trust can give the very best care to an ever-increasing number of dogs.

Last year they re-homed nearly 500 dogs from the Shoreham centre and across the country they cared for more than 16,000 dogs.

Contributions such as this also pay for veterinary fees, equipment, food, and bedding and of course, the development and general maintenance of the re-homing centre.  So please pass details of this competition to all of your dog loving and owning friends!

Entry will close on the 15th of August so you have two months to find a spare fiver and get your entry posted off; all details are on the entry form.

Marc and I will be spending a long time deciding which dog is to win the portrait, so please take time to fill in details on the entry form of why your dog is so special to you, what makes you love them the most.

This is not a beauty contest, it’s about the incredible relationships we have with our canine friends.

Once we have decided on our winner we will get in touch and arrange a photo shoot of your dog to capture an image that reflects their character and soul and I will use this to work from.

ThePet.net’s vet Marc Abraham’s PUP AID Puppy Farm Awareness Day is on 19th September at Stanmer Park in Brighton. Part of the day will be the presentation and public unveiling of the finished painting and the chance to meet and chat with Marc afterwards. This is another special date for your diary, please come along and support us.

Please click here and go to print out the entry form, filling in all areas and securely attaching a photo of your dog (please remember to add the dogs name and your phone number to the back). If you are unable to print the form out please contact me and I will post one to you.

A very big thank you from myself, Marc and all the good folk who work at the Dogs Trust.  THANK YOU!

Sara Abbott

www.sara-abbott.com

always_paint@hotmail.com

07766 168 027

Visit www.dogstrust.org.uk or follow on Twitter @DT_Shoreham

ThePet.net Vet & Gavin & Stacey’s Joanna Page to front ‘My Pet Shame’ on Sky1

My Pet Shame is a new factual entertainment series on Sky1 starting next Wednesday 14 July.

The show, fronted by Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey, Love Actually) and ThePet.net TV Vet Marc Abraham (This Morning), will look at pets and the excruciatingly embarrassing ailments they often suffer.

My Pet Shame is a light, informative show, where Joanna Page will be on hand to look at people’s pets and the embarrassing problems they can suffer from, including stinking emissions, rude outbursts and seriously antisocial behaviour. Vet Marc Abraham, will aim to diagnose and treat each strange, often shameful illness and in turn provide the animals and their owners with a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Page commented: “After hearing about the new Sky 1 series My Pet Shame my heart melted at the animal stories I heard.  As an animal lover and dog owner myself I decided I really wanted to be a part of the show.  The cases we visit are truly some of the strangest you could imagine, and I must say, at times very funny too.  I hope people enjoy meeting these intriguing animals as much as I have.”

The first episode’s cases include Lulu the barren Bullmastiff, Moog the farting cat, Millie the chewaholic rabbit and Dillon the nervous Dalmation. Packed with useful training advice and surprising facts, My Pet Shame will help even the seemingly most hopeless of cases, proving that when it comes to your pet, it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

For more information please click here.

Beginning Wednesday 14 July at 8pm on Sky1 HD and Sky1

Twitter: A Beginner’s Guide and how it can help your Pet Business

Most of us by now will be well-aware of the concept of social networking. In fact I’m sure the vast majority of you reading this will have already embraced Facebook, and enjoy dipping into its slick functionality to catch-up, share photos and arrange gatherings with friends and family.

Social networking’s recent astronomical rise in popularity is due to a number of contributing factors. Firstly not only is it simple to use making it universally understood by all ages and nationalities, but also because it’s not only fun and has a habit of easily and quickly relaxing us, as well as being very conveniently available 24/7, and of course absolutely free of charge to use.

Furthermore with the topic of communication in the pet-industry literally on everyone’s lips and finger-tips right now, what better way to engage with clients both existing and prospective than by using the latest in social media?

Indeed it’s not even that you ‘should’ consider engaging in this way; today’s convenience-culture governed consumers – particularly in their 30s and 40s are now already subconsciously expecting those brands they trust to provide them with that extra dimension of communication.

One where they can feel they can interact, send messages or ‘talk to’ in their down-time and simply bond – and weirdly enough – sometimes not even expect a reply!

But I’m not talking about Facebook for this particular business-client relationship (although Facebook does have a place which we’ll get to shortly); for I’m referring to the world’s latest craze – Twitter, or www.twitter.com to give its full name.

Now most people you mention Twitter to will automatically snap back with “Isn’t that just bored celebs telling me they’ve just had a cup of coffee?”, or “I just don’t have the time in my day for another thing to do”.

But with any forward-thinking business (vets, behaviourist, responsible breeder, pet-shop, kennels, cattery, etc) especially one that’s already invested time and money in a decent website with interesting and relevant dynamic content that you control (e.g. a blog), I’d say it was absolutely essential.

For those who still aren’t totally sure, a ‘tweet’ is a short message that is available to view by all who ‘follow’ you, and vice versa. This could be anyone from clients/individuals with pets, charities, animal behaviourists, pet-food to pet-insurance companies, or, even pet-loving celebrities too.

But Twitter isn’t an in-your-face selling business tool as such; it’s much more subtle than that.

In fact Twitter works in a completely opposite, reverse-psychology kind of way, briefly engaging the client with your practice logo and permitted 140 characters or less of interesting and relevant information – or better still – by adding relevant web-links straight back to your own business’ website.

Twitter gives your ‘followers’ the option to read or click on that link, thus the opportunity to inform/educate your own brand’s personal audience of pet-owners, and at the same time driving the all-important traffic to your site; and all from the click of a button – live from your consulting room, reception desk, office, or even mobile.

By far the Golden Rule to remember when tweeting is the ‘reason to tweet’. And when you work closely with animals, we’re all never short of animal/pet facts, or stories that we know our clients will find interesting.

And continuing the PR-tip, it’s a lesser-known fact that local papers across the UK are crying out for animal stories, and in my opinion, this channel of client communication is vastly under-exploited.

It’s amazing the difference that arranging to meet one of the reporters from your local newspaper for a simple coffee with can make to your pet-business brand’s visibility in your community.

Get an email address and keep sending them stories – they’ll no doubt all appear after a request for pictures and usually an interview with the excited owner. Everybody wins – and all just for the price of a latte.

But Twitter is for the here and now: Summer pet tips? What operation you’re about to do next? Even a link to your opening hours webpage? It doesn’t really matter as it’s all good relevant stuff that can capture however briefly or in depth the attention of your followers making sure your business is communicating like any other well-respected brand in the marketplace, and therefore has a trusted voice in which your clients and customers can enjoy engaging with.

Twitter can be a gold-mine of information to you and your business as well. By following vets, animal charities, dog trainers and other pet-owners across the globe you’ll be handed on a cyber-plate a wealth of links to relevant and interesting websites all over the world giving you easy access to content you may never have come across otherwise.

Indeed just typing in search words will tell you in a second who’s talking about important animal/pet issues, topics, conditions; and all playing a truly fascinating part in the world’s biggest conversation.

So what about Facebook then? Surely we can set-up business pages for clients or customers to become ‘fans of’ or ‘like’. Well you can, and I suggest you do, but be extremely wary of the content, i.e. what you write.

When people are on Facebook they are generally in an escapism-type of relaxed state, either taking a quick break from stressful work or relaxing watching the telly at home, so the last thing they need to feel is a business engaging with them and being all ‘businessy’ or worse-still being directly sold-to. If anything it could prove detrimental to your brand.

However by uploading photos of puppy parties, cattery open days, interesting pets, etc, you’re providing interesting and more importantly relevant content without offering ugly discounts on vaccinations or neutering deals that could potentially turn people off your brand for good.

Incidentally by uploading photos of cute pets, these will usually be shared across the owners Facebook friends like wild-fire ensuring that now someone else unconnected work-wise to your practice is now helping you to spread your net and capture like-minded local pet-lovers – a bit like the pyramid selling model but with no actual money changing hands – just valuable brand awareness.

Furthermore if your Facebook Page is linked directly to your Twitter-feed (very easy, quick, and free to set-up) your follows on both sites will be engaging automatically with your brand and continue to further increase both on- and off-line practice-loyalty.

If you’re now wondering how to start tweeting you preferably need to be online at your place of work (you may laugh but sadly still in 2010 not everyone is!), although you can of course use an iPhone, Blackberry, etc.

Indeed these devices are perfect for ‘Twitpics’ from their inbuilt cameras too – photos of pets that can be uploaded and viewed by clicking on a simple weblink and made public in a second.

Setting up Twitter for your business to use is so easy and only takes a few minutes.

Your business’s name can be your username, then write a short description of what you pride yourself on (i.e. value for money, cats, dogs, etc), add your business website URL (long bit at the top of the browser) if you have one, and start following other animal/pet related users, and away you go!

Personally I would recommend that all browsers used are Mozilla rather than Internet Explorer, and you also download (again free) a widget called Echofon.

This makes Twitter easier as it not only allows the user to click on a tiny icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to view their personal Twitter-feed when needed, but it also has the huge advantage of shortening your posted URLs (weblinks) thus allowing more space in the 140 allocated characters for your relevant content.

In an ideal world all computer screens in the building should have Echofon installed on them so any colleague in your busy team can update your business Twitter feed and continue to provide that extra dimensional voice to your rapidly expanding group of eager followers.

By exploring Twitter and getting accustomed to its unique way of communication, you’ll soon grasp the power and meaning of the ‘Re-tweet’ (RT), the hash-tag (#) and even ‘Follow Fridays’ (#ff), and discover why it’s such a great, must-have, add-on to your business as you develop your relationship with potential clients, and supporters.

But please don’t be too put out if someone you follow doesn’t follow or answer you back – it’s quite normal and sometimes takes while.

And to really take full advantage of your new communication toy, try hooking your website upto a free-to-use online analytics tool, e.g. Google Analytics, Statcounter.com; you’ll also be able to track how much traffic is being driven to your site from twitter and what your followers enjoy reading about the most. A Twitter and Facebook ‘button’ on your business’ homepage is also very handy.

Lastly if you’re not sure knowing who to follow then here are some well-established and excellent pet-themed tweeters that are definitely worth a click: @DogsTrust, @KCLovesDogs, @marcthevet, @OldiesClub, @petethevet, @HeeneRoadVets, @kittentocat, @TheMayhew, @Vetsonline, and us @marcthevet.

So now you can enjoy what Twitter can do for you. It’s alot more useful as a business tool than you could possibly imagine, as well as a great way of gaining and informing new and existing clients and customers; and at the same time a really fun cutting-edge way of communicating – and it’s all completely free!

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