Pete Wicks: ‘Dogs changed my party boy life completely’

Lifeline Pete Wicks
‘Through lockdown my dogs have been an absolute lifesaver’ (Picture: Vivienne Edge Photography)
Pete Wicks will be joining our Lifeline event, Woof and Walk for MDD , in support of the charity Medical Detection Dogs this summer. Here, he explains how dogs have affected his life and why he’s supporting our campaign.

‘I prefer dogs to people – I have more of an affinity with them, I think.

I’ve got two rescue dogs: Eric and Peggy, who’s just got the one eye.

I’ve been single most of my life and, until I got them, had a kind of a party boy life, shall we say. I don’t think you realise how much dogs will change things until you actually have one.

Now, my friends take the p*ss out of me. I’ll be on a night out and I’ll say, “right, I’ve got to get back, the dogs have been on their own for two hours.” They are literally like kids in a way.

Through lockdown they have been an absolute lifesaver though. I live on my own, and without the company and love they give me, I don’t know what I would have done.

One of the main reasons I prefer dogs to people is that they don’t care what you look like, where you’ve been, or what sort of mood you’re in – they just want love and to give love.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Former Michael Vick dogs, Sox and Hector, are certified therapy dogs. They now spend their days cheering up people at hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.

Dogs also live for the moment, and I think people can learn a lot from that.

One of the most harrowing experiences of my life was just over three years ago when I went to Korea to rescue dogs from meat farms.

I wouldn’t say I’m the most emotional person in the world, but I was in floods of tears the majority of the time. I have never seen anything more barbaric or horrendous in my whole life.

I’ll never forget the smell, the noise of the dogs and the conditions they were living in. Going there was certainly one of the most bittersweet things I’ve ever done.

Bitter because it made me realise how f**king horrendous humanity can be, but it was also sweet because we rescued 174 dogs from the from the dinner plate that day.

160 went across to America, and we brought 14 back to England, and helped re-home them. They are now living amazing lives.

These dogs have been treated like sh*t for their entire lives by people, but as soon as they got into loving homes they become what you imagine a dog to be – just loving, amazing, loyal friends.

I fostered one of them for a few days, because he had to get used to being in a social setting. The dogs had never even been on grass before, let alone in a home with a wooden floor or a TV. They were born and bred in cages that had mesh bottoms, so they didn’t know anything else – everything was unfamiliar and scary for them.

Use Dog Toothpaste on a Rope Toy. If your dog doesn’t like having his teeth brushed squeeze some doggie tooth paste onto a rope toy & let them go at it. It’s a nice way to start desensitizing them to having their teeth brushed.

Rescuing those dogs was an unbelievable experience and we were supposed to go back this year, but Covid put a stop to that. But it is definitely something I will do again, because there are so many dogs in the world that need love. The first dog I ever had was from a rescue shelter and called Arnie. I was a kid and had badgered my mum to let me have one until she eventually gave in. Arnie was amazing and really started my love for dogs. In 2018 I wrote a book called For The Love of Frenchies, as I adore French Bulldogs so much.
I’d got Eric as a rescue dog a few years earlier and before him had bought a gorgeous boy called Ernest, from a breeder.

Sadly, I didn’t realise there were so many bad breeders out there and terrible puppy farms – I ended up getting him from someone who was more interested in money than the welfare of animals.

I didn’t know it at the time, but because of the way he was bred, Ernest had been born with a heart murmur. It meant that when he was just three and a half, he had a heart attack, which took his life. It was one of the worst days of my life.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Labradors have been the most popular breed in the United States for the last 26 years.

For the short time that I had him, he showed me nothing but love, which had a massive impact on my life and is why I got so into working with rescue dogs.

I think social media has an impact on the way people view dogs – too many people see them as accessories, as opposed to a living creature that needs love and support.

I’m not saying that all breeders are bad, but there are so many dogs in shelters that need love and affection. It’s just about finding the right partnership and forever home for them.

For me, dogs aren’t just pets, they’re part of the family and can do incredible things.

That’s why I’m supporting Lifeline this year and going on their walk to raise money for Medical Detection Dogs . What their dogs do is just unbelievable.

I hadn’t really heard of their work until a few years ago, but their skills are so incredible and literally blows my mind.

Knowing that these dogs can detect illnesses , like cancer, and even Covid now , I just don’t think enough people realise what they can do. So the more awareness and money we can raise for them, the better.’

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: The American Veterinary Dental Society states that 80% of Dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3.

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