DOGS, as we all know, are our best friends. Ginger the actual Wee Ginger Dug is the independence movement’s best friend. It sure as hell isn’t the BBC.

We invite dogs into our lives and our families, and they repay us thousands of times over with their love, devotion, and joy for life.

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They help us in ways that dogs themselves can’t even begin to comprehend as they stare into our souls with their deep brown eyes. Ginger certainly helped to keep me sane and ensured that I didn’t withdraw into myself when I was dealing with the grief and loss that came with the illness and death of my late partner Andy. We owe them.

Sadly, all too often we don’t treat dogs with the same love and care that dogs give us. Ginger is an example of that. He’s a rescued dog, found abandoned by an irrigation canal near Elche in southern Spain. He had obviously been neglected and abused for a long time as he was nothing but skin and bone. His ribs and spine were sticking out, he had a terrible infestation of fleas and ticks. He was missing some of his front teeth, suggesting that he’d been subjected to violence.

Some of his other issues only became clear afterwards. Ginger was a young adult dog when he was rescued, but he had clearly been taken from his mother far too young.

He was never socialised properly with other dogs, and that has left him with lasting psychological issues that can’t be undone. While he’s now well-fed and confident, happy with his life and his human daddy and exceptionally sociable with people, Ginger doesn’t understand doggy body language, and probably doesn’t realise that he’s a dog.

That means he can’t be allowed to run free in a dog park, and his life is restricted in important ways because the priority is to keep him safe and to keep other dogs safe from him. He doesn’t understand other dogs, and so he’s nervous and aggressive around them. The physical damage that was done to him in his early months and years has been cured, although he’s always going to be missing those teeth. The psychological damage will remain with him for life.

Ginger is an example of why it’s vitally important that we care for dogs properly at all stages in their lives, from early puppyhood into adulthood, and particularly during that crucial transition from their doggy birth mother into their new human families. SNP MP Lisa Cameron is well aware of this, as she and other MPs support a petition to Westminster called Lucy’s Law which aims to outlaw third party puppy sales. Lucy’s Law is named for a King Charles Spaniel who was rescued from the puppy farm system. Lucy had been used as a breeding machine for years with no consideration of her health or welfare. She was rescued and adopted by barrister Lisa Garner in 2013 and is now a mascot for the anti-puppy farm campaign.

Lucy’s Law, if implemented, would outlaw the sale of puppies by pet shops and other third party commercial dealers. It would not affect dog rescue charities.

The law would ensure that when buying a dog, members of the public would be able to see the puppy with its mother, giving them reassurance that the puppy was being bred in acceptable conditions and both it, its mother, and its litter mates were well cared for. The petition has now received over 120,000 signatures, and enjoys the support of 92 MPs. East Kilbride MP Lisa Cameron is the primary sponsor of an early day motion in the Commons to debate Lucy’s Law.

Lisa says: “Lucy’s Law has overwhelming public support. It is vital we address the cruelty of third party puppy sales and puppy farming. The UK and Scottish governments must close the loophole for puppy farming and importation to make sure that puppy welfare is at the heart of policy.”

Ginger the dug, and his human dad, are both happy to lend our support to Lisa’s campaign. Anything that prevents dogs suffering the kind of damage that Ginger suffered is a cause well worth supporting.

However, even if adopted by the Commons, Lucy’s Law would only be effective in England and Wales. In Scotland the Scottish Government supports an initiative from the Scottish SPCA, which seeks to regulate third party commercial dog dealers, but not to outlaw them entirely.

Vet and animal welfare campaigner Marc Abraham, who has been one of the leaders of the campaign to ban third party puppy sales, gives as one of his motivations the damage that puppies suffer by being removed from their mothers too young. Marc believes that simply ensuring that puppies are sold via recognised and licenced third party dealers isn’t enough to ensure their welfare, and that Scotland needs its own version of Lucy’s Law – its own Wee Ginger Law.

Marc, who as a vet has many years’ experience in dog welfare, says: “Prospective puppy buyers should always be able to view pups interacting with mum in the place they were born. Removing pups from their mums and transporting them to a different place for sale is well-known to harm their welfare; often creating sick, traumatised, and dysfunctional dogs. Selling puppies via commercial third party dealers, eg pet shops – legally or illegally – will usually result in damage to both the pups and their hidden-from-the-public mums, as well as preventing any breeder accountability; so legitimising and regulating commercial third party puppy dealers is ineffective to prevent this harm, as the pups are already damaged goods before reaching the seller; and legal (licensed) third party dealers also provide the all important ‘without mum’ framework for any illegal activity, eg imported pups from Irish puppy farms and sold in Scotland. So an outright ban, ie Lucy’s Law, is therefore necessary ASAP.”

Let’s not see Scotland fall behind England and Wales in our treatment of our canine friends. It’s time Scotland followed suit and adopted its own version of Lucy’s Law.

You can support the online petition calling for a ban on third party commercial puppy sales by folowing this link.