We are delighted to report that Boris the Brave has agreed to become poster boy for the first National Animal Day this Sunday (August 23, 2020)…
With his mane of blond hair, his intent gaze, inquiring mind, Romanesque nose and his ability to stay calm in the face of persistent danger, we decided him the perfect choice to represent all that is good, brave and loyal in the animal kingdom.
No, not that Boris! Our Boris is a 24-year-old grey gelding (pictured here on the right), who is happy to come out of a peaceful and well-earned retirement with The Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire to launch the event.
Police horse Boris was decorated for his “outstanding bravery” during the London riots and was retired with honour after a 20-year career, during which he was awarded the PDSA’s Order of Merit (the “animal OBE”) for his courage under fire in August 2011. He was never the biggest but always the bravest and so led the others, giving them confidence in dangerous situations.
National Animal Day will honour the service of animals in war and provide a lasting legacy for animals in need. Despite coronavirus restrictions, thousands of volunteers and supporters are busy selling purple poppy pin and knitted poppy badges – the official emblem of the day – across the UK and beyond. And knitted poppies have been created for horses, dogs and cats to wear to show the importance of animals in war and peacetime.
Alice Morgan, Director of Fundraising and Marketing for The Horse Trust says ‘We are delighted that our brave boy Boris will be launching this year’s National Animal Day. The Horse Trust is honoured to provide respite and life-long retirement to horses which have served the country in the military, police, Royal Mews and charities which help people such as the RDA. We recently entered into a partnership with War Horse Memorial – an incredibly fitting alliance – as we were the first ever animal welfare charity to offer retirement to war horses, with one of the first being San Toy, who was taken in to the sanctuary in 1919 to see out his days after serving for the whole of the Great War. We hope as many people as possible will join in celebrating the lives and dedication of these hard-working equine and animal public servants’.
While we remember horses, mules and donkeys with our purple poppies, we are reminded that over two world wars tens of thousands of dogs and cats also perished. Their contribution and sacrifice was immeasurable, and yet little is said or done to commemorate the role they played – at home and on the battlefield. We are redressing the balance by asking people to wear our purple poppy pin badges with pride and show support for ALL animals by honouring the service of animals in war to help us provide a lasting legacy for animals in need like the retired horses of The Horse Trust. We have extended our campaign until, early Autumn and, thanks to kind-hearted knitters from across the UK and the Commonwealth, we are also able to offer three sizes of knitted poppies suitable for equines, dogs and cats. Visit our SHOP to find out more.