How I became involved with Bolognese, by Melanie Thomas

I had worked with dogs for many years, first as a kennel maid in quarantine kennels and then as a veterinary nurse. I had owned a cross breed and had a short stint showing, breeding and judging Shar Pei, including being on the committee for The Shar Pei Club of Great Britain.

My daughter was 8 and I had just moved into a new house and I felt it was time to buy a puppy. I was spending a lot of time at home. The idea was that by daughter Ellie learned junior handing.

As I was working in PR for pet companies, I was receiving lots of dog magazines including Our Dogs and Dog World. Our Dogs had a Rare Breeds Supplement and I read the profile for the Bolognese. I was interested in the Bolognese as my daughter was asthmatic and did appear to have allergies to most cats and even some dogs. I am also attracted to rare dogs, having Shar Pei when they were very first in the country. The first litters of Shar Pei were born in the quarantine kennels where I worked, 3 litters at the same time!

My first Bolognese was a male from Jill Richards and my daughter called him ‘Spaggy’. ‘Spaggy’ & Ellie were a successful pairing for junior handling until Ellie decided that getting up early for a dog show, was not for her anymore!


Also from Jill Richards came Candy 5-years later, sadly we lost candy at almost 13 this year. We have bred 7 litters keeping Lily from the first litter, she is now 10 and Harry from my last litter he is 2-years old. My daughter is now in her 20’s and has recently returned from travelling in Asia and Australia.

I was quite happy showing and breeding, not realizing that events would catapult me into a MUCH bigger involvement in Bolognese in 2014. I was encourage by a group of people to put myself forward as Chairman of The British Bolognese Club, but was not voted in. I then thought about a website offering support and advice on the breed, but was encouraged to make this a club with members, subscriptions and a committee. So I thought, OK we have nothing to lose. I was already working with a web designer for other projects and gave him a brief for a Bolognese dog site, coming up with the name Bolognese Dog Club UK.

I put my own money into the project in the beginning, as I knew we had to spend money to have a decent interactive modern website, with a digital newsletters and PayPal. The website we achieved far exceeded my expectations and the club was launched. Running the club has been brilliant, I now know so many lovely Bolognese owners and have kept up to date with all kinds of relevant issues. We have had great fun organising MEET UPS and visited some lovely venues. I am proud of the clubs achievements at running shows, producing merchandising, providing so much valuable content and newsletters and reports. It’s hard work at times, but it’s all been worthwhile and I am still thinking up ideas that will please people and bring us even closer together.

Melanie Thomas, Belstown Bolognese

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

I live in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex with 2 Bolognese and I show one of my dogs.

4 thoughts on “How I became involved with Bolognese, by Melanie Thomas

  • Love your story Mel, so glad you decided to start up the Bolognese Dog club it’s certainly bought us Bollie fans together, I am sure I speak for many in the club I appreciate all your hard work you put into the club your love for the Bolognese Breed certainly shines through & I truly value your friendship, here’s to many more bolo meet ups xx ????

  • Aniko

    Bravo ??

  • Polly O'Neill

    Very interesting reading Mel, and I and Alfie have attended some very memorable meetups – Alfie of course being a non Bolognese. He’s a Maltese/Bichon mix and has achieved honorary membership status by dint of being white and fluffy! I believe he won waggiest tail once?

  • Jennie Hegarty

    So interesting to learn all about your life with Bolognese (and others) Fizz and I really appreciate your hard work in running the club and we really enjoy and look forward to the meet ups – great fun all of them and we are hoping to join you for at every one this year. Can I also add how much I enjoy the Christmas hard copy especially the fact it is produced at such a busy time of the year.

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