SUMMER 2015 – The Beginning
In the summer of 2015 I realized that owners and lovers of the Bolognese breed were lacking a group to share experiences, health care advice and friendship. I was pretty determined to set something up, so got thinking.
I had been involved in dogs for many years and served on a breed club committee. I had knowledge of editing, PR and marketing and I am a trained veterinary nurse from many years ago. Initially, I just had the idea of a website containing articles about the breed, but as you know it turned into much more.
AUGUST 2015 – Website Launches
I decided on a name and worked with an amazing web designer to create a logo, Facebook and an interactive website. The website runs a programme allowing people to interact on-line and have their own area to post pictures and words about themselves and their dogs. I was quietly confident that we had something special and were way ahead of other breed clubs. With support from Chris Thatcher and a few others, we became a ‘proper’ dog club, with a committee, club rules, members and subscriptions.
SEPTEMBER 2015 – First Digital Newsletter
Our web designer also set us up with a system to send digital newsletters by email to all members and this soon became a valuable part of communicating with members. The first newsletter was mainly explaining how the website words and we ran a CAPTION competition.
Since the first digital newsletter, things have really developed, we promote Bolognese related merchandise and our events, run competitions and publish pieces about members and their dogs and give health advice. It’s all very exciting and fast moving.
JULY 2016 – First MEET UP
The first MEET UP we did was at Hoffam Park in Bognor Regis on the 31st July 2016. Monty Bear is a Bolognese who lives in KENT and he came to Bognor Regis with his mum Janet Frodsham to visit his canine family for the first time in over 5-years.
So I thought it would be a nice idea to ask other Bolognese to join us for a Bolognese picnic. After this event, we gradually started adding MEET UPS round the country and they have been a most amazing success. We started running raffles and having little fun events with prizes. People have become good friends meeting up each year.
DECEMBER 2017 – First NEWS ROUND
Moving on from digital newsletter, I wanted to product a printed newsletter and post it to all members. We found a company who printed newsletters for other dog clubs. I set all the pages at home and send them to the printer ready to go. The first year was hard, it’s still time consuming, but worth it.
The printer who did the newsletters did calendars, so we took a leap of faith and went for calendars the next year. The result was really professional. In 2021 we started including dogs and owners names. On the first of the month, each page is posted on our Facebook page.
Aside from calendars we have been introducing different Bolognese related merchandising. We produced Tea Towels and Canvas Bags with member’s dog’s pictures on. Starting this year we have given all Pro-club members a FREE Bolognese Christmas Decoration. We will produce a 2023 decoration next year and so on.
After Mary & Ian Poulter received their decoration they said, “Just a little note to thank you for the Christmas decoration you kindly sent us. It really is beautifully made and so very sweet. The Club is an absolute delight“.
I’m so pleased we have a committee of 9 to help run the club. As the club continues to grow, we have needed committed people to help and input from people with ideas and enthusiasm – long may it continue…
Melanie Thomas, CHAIRPERSON