And so it begins. Halloween has happened and Guy Fawkes is finished, so here comes Christmas- #BusterTheBoxer flying the flag for Christmas dogs.
The John Lewis advert was released to much fanfare as this timely reminder that the season of festive cheer has officially started. It's a nice advert, and rather than focussing on penguins or lonely men living on the moon, this year John Lewis decided to focus on something much closer to home, a trampoline and a motley crew of British wildlife.
It’s already been noted that the badger (which one hopes isn’t shedding TB all over the trampoline) would probably have tried to eat the hedgehog and not just have a cheeky bounce, and this isn't the place to start discussing urban fox culling, but the casting choice for Buster the Boxer is an interesting one.
A few weeks ago the BVA released their long overdue statement on brachycephalic dogs (2), expressing their concern over certain breeding practices and trying to ensure there was adequate public awareness of the problems faced by many breeds. If I had a pound for everytime I met a client on EMS that had no idea their pug was predisposed to eye/respiratory/spinal etc. problems, then I’d almost be able to afford doing EMS. A friend even heard a client remark “I got tired of the genetic problems labradors have so I decided to get a pug instead”. Pugs have been getting a lot of air time from Vision Express (3), with their advert showing a pug breaking its glasses in the snow , to a pug riding a sledge in the snow for Three mobile’s advert from 2013 (4). There have been calls in the past for the media to stop their use of pugs and other brachycephalic breeds in order to reduce the public demand for unhealthy animals, and so perhaps it’s finally not falling on deaf ears.
But hold on, it may not be Buster the pug, but boxers suffer a fair share of problems too. Perhaps the scene in which Buster waits by the bed, watching his little human jumping, he isn’t being polite but instead he can’t breathe properly. Maybe the scene where he’s staring out the window longingly, it's because his eyes are dry and painful. Maybe he runs out of the house so fast because he’s not happy being indoors all day.
So I suppose it is a step in the right direction that he’s not a pug, but we as a profession still have work to do educating the public that boxers do not make ideal pets for trampolining.
John Lewis, Christmas Advert 2016, Available: https://www.youtube.com/user/JohnLewisRetail accessed: 10/11/16
BVA, 2016, BVA and BSAVA statement on brachycephalic breeds, available: https://www.bva.co.uk/News-campaigns-and-policy/Newsroom/News-releases/BVA-and-BSAVA-statement-on-brachycephalic-breeds/ accessed: 10/11/16
Vision Direct Christmas Advert 2015 – A Pug’s Christmas- Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGAqUGjdh-M accessed: 10/11/16
Three Mobile Christmas Advert 2013, Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLrk259CwMw accessed: 10/11/16
Regodon, S., Vivo, J.M., Franco, A., Guillen, M.T. and Robina, A., 1993. Craniofacial angle in dolicho-, meso-and brachycephalic dogs: radiological determination and application. Annals of Anatomy-Anatomischer Anzeiger, 175(4), pp.361-363.