Black Dog Campaign

Campaign History

The Black Dog Campaign was created as a celebration of SANE’s 25th anniversary in 2011. Former Kinks lead singer Ray Davies headlined a launch night compered by Clive Anderson at Meltdown Festival as the campaign aims were introduced. A host of other celebrity friends joined in the celebrations with a variety of musical and theatrical performances, and the Black Dog Campaign was born.

The campaign immediately hit national news, with the Observer and London Evening Standard featuring pieces on the arrival of the first Black Dog statue, Horace. The dog’s coat was designed by Anthony Cleyndert, who also created the beautiful stained glass window at our Prince of Wales International Centre for SANE Research in Oxford.

As a long-standing patron and supporter of SANE, comedian Rory Bremner was one of the first to meet Horace, dedicating his show at the Udderbelly Festival that year to the campaign.

He said: “Many charities vie for attention. I chose SANE as one of the few I support because they’re not afraid to speak out against stigma and apathy. They have fought a brave battle to highlight the suffering and needs of people who experience depression and other mental illness.”

The campaign goes on

Since 2011, the campaign has gone from strength to strength. Originally planned as a 15-month project, the Black Dog Campaign has grown beyond its initial aims, and reached a pack of 13 dogs by 2018. The statues have made their way around the country, with the campaign as a whole reaching over 80 different locations.

In 2016, a new Black Dog volunteer team was set-up to run awareness events in schools, universities and workplaces. Led by young people, the team has held over 160 different events, ranging from awareness workshops to panel discussions, from yoga and wellbeing sessions to inspirational speeches.

With the volunteer team following up the powerful symbolism of the Black Dog statues by providing forums for open discussion and education on mental health, the Black Dog Campaign is currently stronger than ever.