A charity dog walk will take place on Streatham Common later this month, as part of this year’s Streatham Festival.
Mark Jones, 49, of Streatham is organising the walk which takes place on 17 October and will be bringing his own schnauzers, Noodle and Scribble.
All dogs are welcome and participation is free, but any donations will go to Schnauzerfest, a registered charity that helps to pay veterinary bills for rescue dogs, as well as educating on puppy farming and why dogs end up in rescue.
Jones said: “This will be the fourth time that we’ve done it but there’s always a long way to go in terms of raising awareness.
“I think there are increasing issues when it comes to the amount of people who have got puppies over lockdown who aren’t very equipped to look after dogs or who go back to work and can’t leave them.
“But post-pandemic the walk is just a nice thing to do, it’s for a good cause and there’s no pressure.
“If people want to just come along for the walk and it raises awareness, then that’s a good enough objective.”
Noodle and Scribble, a girl and a boy, are seven years old and 11 months old respectively and have their own Twitter account, as part of the #SchnauzerGang, an online community that shares photos and experiences and supports Schnauzerfest.
Jones said: “I used to work in charity years ago and so I liked the idea that we could give back a little bit to something that’s relevant to them.
“Noodle sings a lot, she’s got quite a high pitched voice and she just sings to herself.
“They’re ridiculously loud and in the past we’ve had 40 to 50 schnauzers on the walks, so we do get some funny looks from people when you get all the noise and they just see loads of little bearded dogs.”
Schnauzerfest was founded by Janetta Harvey, 50, who now lives in France having lived in Surrey for many years.
The charity was founded in 2014 after Harvey adopted a schnauzer, Susie-Belle, who had been confined in awful conditions in a puppy farm.
She was very ill and almost blind, and so required months of veterinary treatment before Harvey was able to formally adopt her.
Harvey said: “As soon as I adopted Susie-Belle I began fundraising – she changed my life.
“She lit a fire in me to change things for dogs, to do my best to make a difference every day.
“We shared just four years together before she died from an aggressive tumour in 2015 but in that time I wrote two books about puppy farming, started what has now become a registered charity and I can’t imagine I ever will stop doing things in her memory.
“She continues to inspire me every single day.”
Harvey said things have got worse for dogs in the pandemic.
She said: “It’s been a boost for the puppy farmers and terrible breeders who care nothing about their dogs, only the money that can be made from selling puppies.
“It really is a nightmare for so many dogs in today’s society sadly.”
Harvey added that she loves all dogs but schnauzers have a special place in her heart.
She said: “Schnauzers are sassy little characters which definitely appeals.
“They got under my skin over 25 years ago with our first dog Jasmine and I appear to be hooked on them!”
Streatham Festival features a wide range of events and runs 8 October to 17 October.