Hard-hitting book tells tale of dog walker

Award-winning Wetherby Dog Walker Richie Barlow is publishing his powerful story to coincide with LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

By Janet Harrison
Friday, 20th May 2022, 3:14 pm

Richie - Who Cares? (Lost Childhood and a Boy’s Journey for Justice) tells of his bravery, survival and hope against all odds and will be on sale June 17.

“There are some key people in my life without whose support and interventions I would not be here today,” said Richie.

“They were flickers of hope in my darkest and most desperate times, and I cannot thank them enough for the kindness they showed me when others could not have cared less.

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“My story shared in this book is dedicated to all who gave me hope and to those who, by the failures of adults and authorities, didn’t make it to tell their truths.”

Born in Nottingham and placed in care and foster homes around the UK including Burnley and Durham, he started his award-winning dog walking business across Wetherby and Harrogate, and then across Yorkshire and continues to grow it expanding across the UK.

Richie now lives in Teesside with his husband Benjamin.

The book, published by Leeds-based Scratching Shed Publishing, tells Richie’s emotional and powerful story which is based on true events throughout Richie’s life.

And the publishers describe the writing as hard hitting with graphic descriptions detailing what he endured as a boy who was left to fend for himself.

“He was outed as gay from a very young age, he was repeatedly abused and trafficked for sex as a child and let down by those who were supposed to protect and care for him.

“Richie is to celebrate his 40th birthday in July, a landmark date he never thought he would reach.

“Many were the times – when struggling to survive a desperate childhood and adolescence – that he clinged to a dream of simply making it to the age of 22.”

As a young innocent boy, Richie was abandoned by his abusive mother and stepfather and placed in an inadequate care system, he was sold into child prostitution and criminality.

The book will be on sale from June 17.