At 11am on Friday 13 November 2015, representatives from The Donkey Sanctuary will be standing with others for 2 minutes' silence at the Animals in War Memorial in Park Lane, London to remember the animals who lost their lives in war and areas of conflict.
Major Nicola Housby-Skeggs from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will open the memorial service by reading Henry Chappel's moving poem "A Soldier's Kiss.
A Soldier's Kiss
Only a dying horse! pull off the gear,
And slip the needless bit from frothing jaws,
Drag it aside there, leaving the road way clear,
The battery thunders on with scarce a pause.
Prone by the shell-swept highway there it lies
With quivering limbs, as fast the life-tide fails,
Dark films are closing o'er the faithful eyes
That mutely plead for aid where none avails.
Onward the battery rolls, but one there speeds
Heedlessly of comrades voice or bursting shell,
Back to the wounded friend who lonely bleeds
Beside the stony highway where he fell.
Only a dying horse! he swiftly kneels,
Lifts the limp head and hears the shivering sigh
Kisses his friend, while down his cheek there steals
Sweet pity's tear, "Goodbye old man, Goodbye".
No honours wait him, medal, badge or star,
Though scarce could war a kindlier deed unfold;
He bears within his breast, more precious far
Beyond the gift of kings, a heart of gold.
- Jeremy Hulme, Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad - Animals in War Zones
- Garry Botterill, Service Dogs UK - Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Dogs
- Clare and Christy Campbell - Remembering the Pets that Went to War
- Dogs Trust poetry competition winners - reading their poems
- Jan McLoughlin, The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals - The Dickin Medal
Laying of wreaths
The following charities will be laying wreaths at the memorial:
- Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
- Blue Cross
- British Mule Society
- Brooke Hospital for Animals
- Cats Protection
- Dogs Trust
- Greyhound Rescue Wales
- Horse Trust
- Irish Draught Horse Association (GB)
- Irish Terriers
- Petplan Charitable Trust
- Redwings Horse Sanctuary
- Retired Greyhound Trust
- Royal Airforce Police
- Royal Army Veterinary Corps
- Royal Pigeon Racing Association
- Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals
- Service Dogs UK
- Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad
- The Donkey Sanctuary
- The Kennel Club
- The Welsh Pony and Cob Society
- Warren Mead Junior School
- World Horse Welfare
This year's remembrance gathering has been organised by the Dogs Trust and Petplan Charitable Trust.