When I first began writing Moon Dog, I never dreamed how much it would hit the zeitgeist.
My readers describe Moon Dog as a gripping adventure story that brings two lost children, Marcus and Delilah, together in their quest for a dog. It’s a story that warns against the dangers of puppy farming. We have all seen the news and it’s terrifying! Puppies are being delivered like pizzas as everybody wants a dog during lockdown. Designer puppies are popping up everywhere and with Christmas approaching this will only get worst. I had written Moon Dog to entertain, but also to educate, the next generation of dog owners.
Along with so many authors in these days of Covid, my book shop launch was cancelled and after all the months and months of planning, of course I was devastated. That is until Annie Everall of Authors Aloud came to the rescue and started the process of organising an online book launch.
The concept was alien to me. How would this work? What would this be like? And then the realisation of the possibilities dawned on me! Instead of little conversations while mixing and mingling in a book shop, it could be one big conversation. One big very important conversation. And it was!
Looking back on it now, it was an evening of such power.
I zoomed in from the office of All Dogs Matter with general manager Ira Moss. All Dogs Matter is a charity to whom I am an official friend and advocate. I am humbled by the rehoming and rescuing work that this North London charity does. Ira is a force of nature dealing day in and day out with abandoned, neglected dogs. As well as rescuing dogs from London and the home counties they have rescued dogs from China, Italy and Egypt and some of the dogs that come into All Dogs Matter are traumatised puppy-farm dogs. Ira was a huge help in the book’s research process. I will always remember a valuable conversation where Ira lead my imagination through the wall of barking that you would hear in a puppy farm. Which dogs would be constantly barking, which would be silently staring, and why?
My launch was hosted by Anna Webb who is the co-host of BBC London’s Barking Hour, and is of course absolutely brilliant at interviewing people. Anna also has a very successful podcast called A Dog’s Life. She was the perfect person to bring everyone together for the big conversation about puppy farms.
Anna interviewed Superintendent Simon Osborne from the RSPCA who attended the launch in his uniform. I was so touched by this gesture. During the research for my book Will You Catch Me? Simon gave me crucial help and guidance about animal issues – once again he was an amazing help, sharing his knowledge to ensure that the rescue scenes in Moon Dog were as authentic as possible.
Linda Goodman from CARIAD also attended my launch and offered some valuable insights into the puppy crisis. I could not have written Moon Dog without Linda, who devotes her life to mending these broken ex-puppy-farm dogs and campaigns tirelessly for Lucy’s Law which requires puppies and kittens to be born and raised in a safe environment with their mothers and sold from the place where they were born. I respect her so much.
Vet Duncan D’Arcy-Howard from the Royal Veterinary College showed continued kindness, support, knowledge and patience with my endless questions about parvovirus, and spoke very movingly about this terrible disease.
People said the Moon Dog launch was like watching a well put together television programme and I am so grateful to Annie Everall for her impeccable organisation to make this possible.
You might wonder why I have chosen such a subject for a children’s book? Every day a child’s heart is broken because their family has bought a sick puppy from an unscrupulous puppy farmer. Moon Dog is an exciting adventure story that also has a lot of friendship and laughter in its pages, but if at the same time it can reach out to children and show them what to look out for and the right questions to ask before getting a puppy – then my mission is complete.
This article was written in memory of Abi the late Staffie, Ambassador of All Dogs Matter pictured below.
Moon Dog is published by Hachette and available to purchase from all good booksellers.
Any opinions expressed may not truly reflect those of the FCBG.