A local rescue dog from Horsham has been chosen as one of 12 four-legged stars to feature in the 2020 Kennel Club Breed Rescue calendar.
Compiled from professional ‘pawtraits’, the calendar includes stories of dogs that have overcome the odds and are now settled into their new homes, with sales of the calendar raising funds for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, one of the largest charities dedicated to dog health and welfare in the UK.
Eight-year-old Akita, Kiwi, came a long way from living in sad conditions in Cardiff to becoming the queen of her new owner’s home. Kiwi spent the first years of her life with a neglectful owner and ended up being rescued by the Akita Rescue and Welfare UK when she was just two years old.
Kiwi spent over a year in rescue before she found her forever home with Dan Pook-Barnes.
“When I got Kiwi she was so scared of everything,” said Dan, who has another Akita. “But she has grown and found her voice, quite literally. She barks now and is clearly more confident.
“She’s so loving and so gentle and has come such a long way. I think it has a lot to do with her being with my other Akita, they’re inseparable.”
Dan believes that Kiwi representing her breed in the calendar is important to change the perception of Akitas: “I think Akitas are a very misunderstood breed. All you tend to see in the media is that they’re big and dangerous. But really they are sweet and very loyal.
“I’m thrilled Kiwi is featuring in the calendar too to help raise awareness and funds for other rescue dogs who need it.”
Akita Rescue and Welfare UK, which rescued Kiwi, doesn’t only help with re-homing, but also provides information and guidance for owners on behaviour, training, diet and health of the breed. The centre works with each Akita individually, assessing its past and behaviour to ensure they find the right new home.
Each of the rescue organisations featured in the calendar receive a donation from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, and Akita Rescue and Welfare UK plans to put the funds towards transport costs associated with re-homing, as well as health checks.
Professor Steve Dean, Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, said: “Through these beautiful photographs, we can showcase all these special dogs and their wonderful personalities, while highlighting the importance of the work that rescue welfare organisations do for hundreds of dogs across the country.
“The welfare organisations work so hard to find these dogs their forever homes and give them a second chance at life. The re-homing stories in the calendar highlight the importance of having a breed that matches your lifestyle, as well as the fulfilling nature of providing a home for a dog in need.
“It is so important that when buying a dog, owners do their research thoroughly in order to ensure they are buying the right dog for their lifestyle to help prevent high numbers of dogs ending up in rescue.”
Kiwi features alongside 11 other rescue dogs in the Kennel Club Breed Rescue calendar, which was launched at Discover Dogs in London in October and is now on sale via the Kennel Club’s website.
The money raised through the sale of the calendars will enable the Kennel Club Charitable Trust to continue to make a difference for dogs in 2020, by funding a wide variety of work ranging from research into canine diseases, supporting rescue centres and dog welfare organisations and training support dogs – all of which give dogs and their owners a healthier, happier life.
The Kennel Club Breed Rescue costs £5 and is now available at the Kennel Club online shop.