We are writing to you to introduce our Yellow Dog UK campaign to you and hope you will support our cause and help raise awareness amongst dog owners. You may have already heard about us but we hope that whether you have or not, you might consider becoming involved with the scheme and help to spread the word.

The Yellow Dog Project is a registered charity and was created to bring awareness to dogs that need space while in training, recovering from surgery, or being rehabilitated. The campaign was started in November 2012 and was launched at Discover Dogs in Earls Court with a fantastic response. We are part of an international campaign which was started in Sweden and now runs in over 20 countries.

If you see a dog with a YELLOW ribbon, bandana or similar on the leash or on the dog, this is a dog which needs some space. They are indicating that their dog cannot be close to other dogs. How close is too close? Only the dog or his people know, but by displaying what is becoming an internationally renowned symbol, it gives them time to move out of your way.

There are many reasons why a dog may need space; maybe it has health issues, it may be a rescue dog being rehabilitated. The world can be a very scary place for these dogs.

It may have had a bad experience with another dog or is just not like the kind of friendly dog which always want to say “Hi!” A bitch may be in heat, the dog may be in training, it may be very old and arthritic, it may be very nervous or shy and other dogs cause it stress.

In short, a yellow marker on a dog means it needs some space, those of us who own these dogs appreciate your help and respect.

We have many veterinary surgeries working with us and some local authorities on board who are helping us to create awareness in their areas including Worcester, Pembrokeshire, Bromley, Birmingham, Chesterfield and Cheltenham. Our aim would be to provide as many locations as possible with posters for display in local woodlands and leaflets to be given out.

We have recently been contacted by one supporter who lives in Monmouthshire. She has a dog which is very poorly, and suffers from anxiety and stress when out and about which can seriously exacerbate his condition.

He wears a ’Yellow Dog’ bandana and has two yellow ribbons tied to his lead but it appears that in the area they live, the Yellow Dog scheme or the significance of dogs wearing yellow is not as well recognised as it is in other areas. This results in dogs off lead being allowed to race up to him and bounce around barking, growling and generally being a nuisance which quite often increases his anxiety, leading him to become unwell.

We know how stressful it can be for a Yellow Dog and its owner when a social dog or off lead dog approaches. We believe that by making the Yellow Ribbon an accepted representation throughout the UK that a dog needs space will benefit everyone and make dog walking a more enjoyable experience, allowing both the dog owner and the dog to gain more confidence.

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Alison Gibson-Stark

(Yellow Dog UK)