To celebrate World Animal Day which is on 4th October EVERY YEAR I was privileged to interview Ryan O'Meara, the WAD ambassador for the UK, recently.


P: How long have you been a WAD Ambassador? How can people get involved and what can they expect to see for their efforts in the long term? I noticed that you founded the Pet Owners’ Parliament. What did you hope to achieve by PO Parliament?  Have you had much success so far with its work?

R: I got involved in WAD primarily because of my involvement in the Pet Owners Parliament - so I can tackle these questions as one. I set up the Pet Owners Parliament because I felt pet owners were not given a true democratic voice to air their views on the issues that affect them and their lives. Too often the large charities (who do a fantastic job) tend to become quite politicised and as a result the average pet owner often feels somewhat alienated. The Pet Owners Parliament is a one member, one vote platform so people can join and have a say no matter what their particular view. It has lead to the setting up of off-shoot groups relating to the UK's (in my view, Draconian) Dangerous Dogs Act and The Coalition for Improved Dog Ownership Standards (C-fidos).

I got involved with WAD because I feel I owe so much of my life to animals and I believe we have such a long way to go on many animal welfare issues. I am one of those people who takes the view that if you can alter just one person's view, can educate just one person, can help just one animal - then it is very much worthwhile. I believe entirely in the concept and principals of WAD and am very honoured to be involved. This year we will be giving up as much platform via the publications in K9 Media's portfolio including K9 Magazine to encourage people to get involved in WAD.


P: You founded the pet publishing company K9 Media Ltd in 2000 launching K9 Magazine and Pet Friendly Magazine. Do you have any plans in the future to launch any magazines dedicated to cats and cat lovers?

R: We learned quite early on the big differences between cat and dog owners. I made the mistake of thinking we could turn K9 Magazine in to a dual dog/cat publication on one particular issue. Wow, did that ever bomb! I now appreciate the subtle variances between the cat person and the dog person and whilst my own passion is very definitely dogs, I have a great affection for all animals. Pet Friendly Magazine is our 'all interest' pet magazine. It has worked far better than trying to turn a dog magazine in to a dog/cat magazine!

We do run a cat adoption website called which has taken on the same principles as and we are currently rolling out our Pet Friendly World brand. I had the vision many years ago where someone could go to a website where everything was pet friendly. Jobs, cars, hotels, products, shops - everything would be pet friendly - a place for pet owners to go where they would know that they didn't have to worry about questions such as 'will they accept pets'. It's a big vision of mine because I realise that pet owners are not necessarily defined by their pet ownership but some of the biggest lifestyle decisions they ever make are impacted by their pet - things such as the job they take, the home they live in, the car they drive, the holidays they take. So the Pet Friendly World is a place I'd like to create because it's a place I'd certainly make use of myself!

P: It’s fantastic that your dogs’ blog has been responsible for rehoming over 2,000 dogs. You must feel incredibly proud of this amazing achievement? But what does it tell you about our society today that such a website as should be needed? Can you ever see our country treating ALL animals with the respect they deserve so that rehoming centres, rescue centres, and the like will be a thing of the past? Do you think organisations like the RSPCA have enough powers to enforce stronger sentences for convicted cruelty cases? Who polices those that are banned from keeping a dog, horse, or whichever animal they’ve abused and neglected? And who or what is to stop those people from getting more animals?  Personally, I don’t think the sentences that are meted out are a deterrent at all.

R: has been - easily - my proudest accomplishment. It was a concept I came up with many years ago but was unable to execute due to technology barriers. I used to watch TV rescue shows where there would be an appeal for a long-stay dog or cat, then the next day they'd announce that thousands of people had enquired about the particular pet. I'd think to myself "Where were these people? This dog has been in shelter for years and yet there are thousands of people who wanted to offer a home!" I realised that it was simply an issue of media. If the media could be made available for people to be able to research animals in rescue shelters, nationally, then I was convinced we could help to get many dogs in to new, permanent loving homes. It was just a case of - as I like to say - providing a virtual window into the UK rescue shelters. It certainly seems to have worked that way!

We launched in 2007 and the site has recently rehomed its 6000th dog. We have a cat version and a rabbit version and I put the success down to making the site so simple and genuinely helping people to fall in love with a pet before they've ever met them. We have plans to take the format international and would really love to find a partner in the USA as we know just how well the DogsBlog format works. On the back of DogsBlog we set up National Dog Adoption Month and that too produced amazing results. As much as anything we have promoted the 'concept' of adopting a dog and tried to steer people away from the media image of shelter dogs being somehow 'broken' or inferior.

Of course, the other side of being involved in a site like this is you see the abandonment of so many loving dogs - and for some truly incredible reasons. It's so sad and I really do have fears that society is actually becoming far more used to demanding something for instant gratification and then disposing of it just as quickly when its novelty wears off. This is a social trend which shows no sign of abating. The way some people treat animals as a commodity is something that disturbs me, greatly. I believe that abandonment when it is done on a whim or when an animal has been badly mistreated should result on real, genuine prosecution. I have believed for years - and gone on record as saying - that punishments for those who treat animals horrendously are nowhere near effective enough. This is an issue that Pet Owners Parliament and WAD can both play an active role in promoting.

Ryan O'Meara
Phone 08700 114 115
The Pet Publishing Company

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A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

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