Scottish SPCA supporter from Linlithgow takes on "toughest footrace on earth" to help stop puppy trade

Scottish SPCA supporter Lynne Lamont is taking on the Marathon Des Sables to raise funds to help the Society stop the low-welfare puppy trade.

By Kevin Quinn
Friday, 24th September 2021, 1:00 pm
Scottish SPCA supporter Lynne Lamont with her dog Bramble.
Scottish SPCA supporter Lynne Lamont with her dog Bramble.

The challenge is over six days and involves running over 250km (156 miles). It is billed as “The Toughest Footrace on Earth”and crosses the Sahara Desert.

The Lamont family, who live in Linlithgow, re-homed their spaniel, Bramble, from Scotland’s animal welfare charity after she was seized from a puppy farm with 70 other dogs in 2017. Bramble had to stay in the care of the Society for 10 months to undergo veterinary treatment and rehabilitation.

Lynne said: “When we first visited the centre to meet one of the puppies involved in the raid, the team kept mentioning a dog called Julie who was a working cocker spaniel.

Spaniel, Bramble, was seized from a puppy farm with 70 other dogs in 2017.

“As Julie was brought out to come and meet us, my son Hamish, then 10, was outside the re-homing centre. Julie spotted Hamish and made a beeline for him. It was like she’d chosen us already; it was a beautiful moment. We renamed Julie to Bramble and there’s been no looking back since.

“When Bramble first came home, she was a bit scared. At that time, we had our other spaniel, Fernie, who she took the lead from.

“Bramble comes on hill walks and adores trail running, as do we. She still gets quite scared so doesn’t venture far from us when out and about although does take a keen interest in any nearby pheasants!

“She can also be quite lazy for a spaniel and is at her happiest lolling on her back, with her feet in the air being cuddled.”

Looking ahead to her charity challenge, Lynne said: “I have previously run marathons and I decided to take on this challenge as I really wanted to push myself to the limit physically and mentally to raise funds for something I am so passionate about.

“The Marathon Des Sables involves six stages over seven days totalling 250km. This is six marathons with the longest stage being 80km (52 miles). It is a self-sufficient race so you carry all of your food, cooking and sleeping equipment but with water rations provided.

"Temperatures are likely to be up to 50 degrees and thus it will be a huge physical and mental challenge.

“Knowing that I can do something to help tackle this horrific trade, especially now when the demand for puppies is so high, will really help keep me going as I cross the desert.

“I’ll be thinking of Bramble and many other dogs not so lucky for the duration. Sadly she is just one of thousands of puppies involved in this appalling industry. She is one of the lucky ones.”

The Society receives no government funding and is reliant on generous supporters like Lynne to continue delivering its vital services.

Scottish SPCA director of fundraising, Anna Devine, said, “We are in awe of this incredible challenge that Lynne is embarking on.

“The low-welfare puppy trade is clearly something Lynne is very passionate about after rescuing Bramble from one of our centres.

“We have created sensory gardens in many of our centres which are designed for dogs who have not been well socialised or who have grown up in a kennelled environment, like Bramble would have.

“The gardens have different smells and textures to stimulate a dog’s senses. It’s also a great place for them to go and play outside of their kennel. All of these experiences better prepare a dog for going on to a loving, forever home.

“The funds Lynne raises will go towards the rehabilitation of animals to allow them to go on and live the life they were supposed to, preferably with lots of cuddles and a nice cosy bed, just like Bramble.

“We wish Lynne the very best of luck with the challenge and we can’t wait to hear how it goes.”

You can find Lynne’s justgiving page here: