Sunday, 29 June 2008

Week five Yumega

Now there is room for a confession before we start. We were away this weekend and had Grandpa (Graham's dad) to stay to look after Oscar and Tess and we forgot to brief him on adding the Yumega. So a few meals went astray... oops!
It's been a very busy week, don't know about the dogs - think I need a supplement!
We had a photoshoot on Friday and met some gorgeous dogs - can't really tell you too much more than that as one of them is a bit hush hush!
But I cuddled some gorgeous pups - Shiba Inu, Swedish Valhunds and a Labrador.
Got my first photoshoot related injury in 18 years - but it wasn't done in anger just an over enthusiastic young dog jumping up and catching me with a couple of claws.
This weekend was my birthday treat at Champneys and I have to say the lady giving me a massage did wince when she saw my arm - it does look like I've been quite badly abused!
Oh well, suspect they've seen a lot worse!
Here's the latest pix - Oscar obviously due a bath and a groom on Wednesday - lots of leaves in his fur! Grandpa tried his best to keep on top of the foliage but he is nearer 90 than 80!

Think it's pretty definite now that the dogs are shinier! Only a week to go. And only two weeks to the Cold Wet Nose Show! So much still to do.... but at least I've had two days at a health farm to prepare me for the week!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Something for nothing!

Would you like to road test a brand new product for dogs called SF4, the main ingredient of which is Green-Lipped Mussel Extract. SF4 is distributed in the UK by New Zealand Biolabs Ltd.

SF4 is specifically designed for dogs, and costs £7.95 for a pot of 100 tablets. We have a pot to give away to 200 readers both via the mag and the blog, and would like you to let us know what difference it makes to your dog.

Bernd Linke, of New Zealand Biolabs, has owned crossbreed Radar for nine years, after she was abandoned at a rescue centre with two puppies. Radar is now about eleven. Nine months ago Bernd put her onto SF4, and explains “The first thing I noticed was an improvement in Radar’s coat, and she just seemed to perk up generally. I have kept her on it since.” Most owners report that their dogs seem to become more alert and lively – possibly because they were previously in pain that had not been picked up.

You may have heard of Green-Lipped Mussel Extract (GLME) as a treatment for Arthritis in people. 30 years ago researchers were looking for a possible treatment for cancer, and included the Green-Lipped Mussel in the programme. This shellfish is found only in New Zealand waters. It turned out to have no effect on cancer, but the research indicated that it did demonstrate significant anti-inflammatory activity, and it has since been used with great success worldwide as a natural treatment for arthritic conditions. It has none of the side-effects associated with normal anti-inflammatory drugs. The mussels are now grown commercially in marine farms in the clear, unpolluted New Zealand waters.

A valuable feature of GLME is that it has natural gastroprotective qualities. Many anti-inflammatory drugs can cause digestive upset. GLME has no such undesirable side-effect and can even help protect the stomach from damaging effects if a standard painkiller has to be used at the same time. There have been no reports of any contra-indications when GLME is taken with other anti-inflammatory products, whether drugs or natural preparations.

SF4 is a natural food complement to help maintain joint mobility and also provides essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent overall conditioning agent for dogs. Tablets are given orally, with the number based on the dog’s weight, from one tablet for a dog up to 10 kilos, to six for a dog weighing over 46 kilos.

Send your request for a free tub to SF4 Road Test, DOGS TODAY, Town Mill, Bagshot Road, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8BZ by July 3rd, 2008. Or email your name and address to (sorry for the typo earlier everyone!) marking SF4 in the subject line. We will need your postal address to send you the product.

If you are not lucky enough to be one of the two hundred picked out of the hat, you can still order a tub at £2 off the standard price by calling Aromatheutics Ltd on 01933 410055 and quoting DOGS TODAY offer.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Week four of Yumega trial

More than anything this trial is proving to me how quickly Sunday comes around, it seems only a few minutes ago that I was writing the last update.
Not much has changed this week - while Tess's coat doesn't look much shinier, she does seem to be at last getting some oil in her coat which will help her become less absorbent on her regular pond dips!
Oscar is looking more beautiful every day - he is a handsome fellow. His temperament is just so lovely, too - but I know without a Champion title he's unlikely to pass on his genes. Will investigate the nearest vet for doing hip testing just on the off chance that he's not the end of the line, he's the most sensible Beardie I've ever met. Will get his eyes checked out too when I get a chance. There's no eye probs in the breed so far - but it's still as best to keep checking!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Doing a degree in dog shows!

I got the following email and I agreed to help - or rather I volunteered you lot to help!

I am a second-year undergraduate at Oxford Brookes University. I am currently undertaking a summer research project which involves looking at the Anthropology of Aesthetic Classification. As a focus, (and to make things a bit clearer!) I am investigating dog breeds and their social, economic and political implications (sorry, I know it still sounds a bit 'wordy'!) The data collected will be published as a journal article in conjunction with Professor Jeremy MacClacy at Oxford Brookes. The topics I am keen to discuss and look at in more detail are:
  • How much emphasis is placed on the significance of pedigree in today’s society and why is this the case?
  • How does the Kennel Club attempt to justify its criteria for assessing, valuing and judging dogs and what controversial issues can arise from this? (i.e. health problems) And finally...
  • The role of dog ownership in class structure - which breeds have became associated with particular social groups?
Any assistance would obviously be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time,
Best regards,
Tom Zierold

Here are the questions that Tom wants us to answer! They are interesting and thought provoking.
  1. Do you feel that the judging criteria for novelty or fun dog shows, for example where a dog is judged on aspects such as the condition of its teeth, ears and coat, is ultimately judging the dog handler in their ability to look after their pet?
  2. If so, could this be considered a more appropriate form of judging than the type that exists at Kennel Club conformation shows where dogs are judged against the breed standard?
  3. What are your opinions regarding some of the controversy that surrounds pedigree dog shows? For instance, to what extent would you agree with the following statement: “Current pedigree dog breeding practices that damage welfare cannot be seen as ethical or acceptable. Members of the public who buy pedigree dogs or attend pedigree dog shows are, unintentionally, supporting a breeding system that surely cannot be justified on animal welfare grounds.”
  4. Do you feel the majority of people who participate in confirmation pedigree shows compete primarily for the love of the breed or do you feel the element of competition plays a much bigger part in proceedings? (ie How much is winning the most important thing?)
  5. Do you feel that ultimately competition at dog shows exists primarily between the people rather than the dogs?
  6. Do you feel there is any correlation between the type of dog being shown and the social class of the owner/dog handler? Can you make any generalisations about Terrier people versus Toy for example?
  7. Do you personally have a preference between fun or novelty shows (like The Cold Wet Nose Show) and Kennel Club shows? Can they be compared or do they target totally different dog owners?
  8. Do you have any other opinions regarding the topic you wish to express?
  9. Do you currently compete in novelty events (like Cold Wet Nose etc) and KC organised events (ie conformation-based shows like Crufts)? Please state either, neither or which one. Which ones (if any) do you think benefit the dog or harm the dog?
Can you email your responses to both Tom and me - as I'm fascinated to hear the answers, too!
My email is beverley@dogstodaymagazine and Tom's is
Can you put "Blog research" in your subject area so I can collect them all together and make sure I don't lose them as my Inbox is somewhat running over at the moment with Cold Wet Nose stuff!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Cold Wet Nose

Don't know if you caught the Daily Mail yesterday - but bless them they did a huge double page spread on some of the Cold Wet Nose Warm Hearts winners.
Click here to view.
I hear it was on Sky news last night. My informant can't confirm what was said as he was watching in a bar and they had the sound turned down!
On Monday the Mail picked up our Chris Evans story - abour Enzo's brave attempts to get the use of his back legs back. There's a ps on that story. Apparently because one leg is so weak vet/god Noel Fitzpatrick is amputating one of the back legs to see if it improves Enzo's chances of walking again. Fingers crossed it does the trick.

Underage Labs and labour

A friend of mine has this friend.... and no I'm not talking about me having an embarrassing problem I can't admit too - this is a genuine case of a second generation problem! I've never met this friend of a friend but have heard lots of about her. My friend is a bit of an angel and is always trying to sort this other woman's life out. To help the kids and save them from the chaos that usually surrounds them. Take them out at weekends, feed them, show them a different life.
I hate to come over all stuffy and judgmental, but I need to set the scene.
Think small house, think five kids between 3 years and 15 - some her's, some his, some their's. One of the kids has a social services protection order on it to stop his parents beating him up.
Surprisingly nice kids, just a bit wild. Eldest has started running away from home and school.
They have two dogs - both Labs. The female not much more than a pup.
There was a sort of plan to breed from these two dogs in the future - mum says she wanted to KC reg them - presumably to get more money from selling the pups. Money is very tight in this household.
Their previous Lab was put to sleep as it got hip dysplasia and they couldn't afford to treat it. Both current Labs are untested for all health conditions because they "cannot afford it".
The plan was not to have pups until the mum was over a year old - so when she came into season they told the dogs not to mate whenever they saw the male dog mounting. The two dogs sleep together unsupervised. Not much of a plan.
The Lab bitch started to put weight on a few weeks after the season.
As doggie friend of a friend I was asked how you tell if a bitch is pregnant.
I send back the message that's its time to go to the vet.
He scans and finds four heart beats.
There's not much space in the house, so they decide to put a stair gate across the front lobby and only use the back door in future. That the Lab can give birth by the front door. They look on ebay for a whelping box - but decide they can't afford one. So they'll just use the existing dog bed - a small hard plastic one.
The plan is to sell the pups on the net and in the local free papers. The friend in common is already getting pressure from her son to buy one of the pups when they are born. She lives in a first floor flat. She can't afford pet insurance, but she fears that when the pups are born the pester pressure will be too great.
What do I say?
I said a lot. A reality check on rearing puppies in a tiny porch with five kids for a start.
I suggested Labrador Rescue taking mum before the pups are born and managing the whole thing so these poor innocent mites find safe homes where the process won't repeat.
But would they let them have mum back afterwards friend of friend asks? To have a 'planned' litter next season. Would they give any of the money from selling the pups?
I just know these people are not going to accept any help, that the lure of the dosh and the pseudo excitement of having pups is too great.
I fast forward to pups being four weeks old if they survive that long - stair gate proving useless. The smell, the noise in that already crowded house.
How do we stop this happening - when it can by just two moves away from me, someone who campaigned for 20 plus years against just breeding for dosh without doing any tests.
And if she shifts the four little unregisterable ones, the next litter is going to be KC reg and worth even more money - who knows she'll probably go for Accredited Breeder status.
It's depressing isn't it.
We're launching our Furry Godmother service in the next magazine.
Wish I could wave my magic wand and get those two Labs out of that house now!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Yumega trial week 3

Here's the latest photos - taken in the same light conditions. I think I'm beginning to see a sheen in Tess's coat. Oscar's coat is starting to look magnificent, but he is a young Beardie coming into his prime and his darker adult coat was on the way. Have to say it's a dramatic change for him in three weeks though and Yumega must be playing a part in that.

Week three above - and below at the start of the trial before taking Yumega

Week three of taking Yumega above - below without Yumega at the start of the trial.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Please help spread the word

Could you take our new Cold Wet Nose Show posters/leaflets to your Dr's surgery, vets, school, library, post office, training school - anywhere where you think they could be seen?
We've just got them delivered yesterday and they are just so lovely. Be just wonderful if you could even just take a few out with you when you walk and pass them on to fellow dog lovers who may not have yet heard of the event!

We really need all your help in this first year.
Be great to get a bit of positivity going among dog lovers who have had a bit of a rough year in the media. And it's such great news that the fantastic Kate and Gin will be performing at the show. We already have a dancing ring for people to have a go and the talent area, too. So anyone who watched Britain's Got Talent and wanted to know how to do it should find out how to get involved in lots of doggie hobbies on the day.
Let us know approx how many leaflets you'd like (ie some - 10s or tons 100s) - please email me your name and address and as a thank you we'll add a mag onto your subscription if you have one - if not we'll send you the next mag free of charge in any case!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

London-based Houndinis? And latest show news

A little while ago I asked if there were any serial dog escapees out there to be filmed with Victoria Stillwell and there was a great response.
They are about to start filming and they'd ideally like just one more than is in the London area.
Does anyone know anyone who'd like a bit of help? They're using a great GPRS tracking device called the Zoombak.
If so can you contact Emma on or 020 3047 4000.

It's been ages since I've had time to write a traditional blog! You can guess it's getting really busy here can't you!
We've got some great news about the show! Kate and Gin from Britain's got talent are going to be performing!
It's still not too late to volunteer to be a steward or judge - come on don't be shy! You get free passes and a lunch. Just just need to love dogs to be perfectly qualified.
Must dash!
Just had a call from a local journo covering the show - it turned out to be Maggie Crowley who was Dogs Today's Editorial assistant back in 1990 when we launched. It's a very small world indeed!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Another urgent request

Just had an urgent call from the wonderful Vera "Meg" Mattinson who says discreetly she's "nearer 80 than 70". She's going to the RSPCA AGM on June 28th and has tabled a motion for the RSPCA to attempt to get dogs (in addition to apes) exempted from laboratory research and would very much like to hear from any other RSPCA members who might help her put the motion as she very candidly told me she's lost her glasses and has some short term memory problems.
She made a similar motion about eight years ago that did get passed, but she feels it needs raising again as Britain appears to becoming the centre of Europe for testing on dogs, and this is a trend she'd like to see reversed.
Members (which must have joined in excess of three months ago) need to book their lunches and confirm attendance by tomorrow - which they can do direct with Tracy Reed at the RSPCA -
Vera would love to hear from any like-minded members attending ASAP - please email me for her phone number -

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

An invitation!

Trinny and Susannah’s
Dog Walk Show!

Trinny and Susannah are holding a fun dog and fashion show for dog lovers, about dog lovers!

Oakwood Park Show Grounds
TN22 3EE
Thurs 12th June from 2pm

Please come along with your dog to see their fantastic make-overs of doggy Lovers and to have a chance to enter your dog into our light hearted dog show.

Please note the aim of the event is that ITV Productions Ltd are filming scenes during the day for the next series of Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation. As such it is possible that you and/or your dog may be filmed during the course of the day. It is also possible that events may take some time so please be prepared to stay for a few hours to enjoy the show.

If you are interested in coming along,contact Jo on 0207 1574663 or

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Blog experiment week 2

This is Tess's bum after one week of Yumega being added to her diet. I have to confess we have been guessing how much to use rather than using a measuring cup so we may have overdone in a bit, but can you see a difference from seven days ago? Here's the picture for you to compare...
Both dogs are bright eyed and bushy tailed - well Tess is bright eyed certainly, you have to take a guess with Oscar! But as you can see he was dashing about so much he's just a blur!

Here's Oscar's close-up of his coat. He was given a full body wash on Wednesday. And no, I didn't brush him for this shot, his coat seems to have more volume somehow - not sure how that can be. Other external factors - a lack of mud this week? Also, time of day. I was late taking these photos so the sun had gone in - you can see the colour of the grass is different and perhaps the change of light brings out the browner tones in their coats? I didn't colour-correct either pic, though. Will try to take the next pix in direct sunlight like week one - that's if we get any sun next Sunday!
I'm interested to see how both dogs get on as the trial progresses and we start using a measuring device instead of the over-generous guess-timates!.
Here's the before photo to remind you of Oscar's thatch... ugh!
Quite a noticeable change in just one week, I'd say. Will keep monitoring. I'd noticed a texture change a couple of days ago - a silkiness returned to Tess's coat that hadn't been there for a long time.
I'd thought it was just me wishing it to work - but normally sceptical husband Graham noted it too independently.

Will try to be good and keep taking the photos each week.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Poor little Wizbet - cruel cruel world

Regular blog readers will have heard about a wonderful woman called Emma Semple who works tirelessly in Surrey to find homes for dogs brought into the pound on the 7-day rule. She has a very kind heart and admirable stamina. She's just alerted me to a terrible story. Here it is in her own words:
"I had a call from the dog warden this morning [yesterday]. He had just had a six week old Jack Russell puppy handed into him who was rescued by an extremely brave lady who when she witnessed him being bashed over the back of the head with a piece of wood, she stormed into the gang of people and took him away.
"I was very concerned because when you hold him his head turns round and round. When he first got here, if you picked him up, he would scream blue murder, although that has stopped now and he has relaxed a bit.
"When you put him on the floor he walks in circles to the left and bashes into things. It seems his treatment has sent him blind and also deaf.
"I took him straight to the vets who did some basic tests and he confirmed that he is at the moment blind and deaf. They looked in his ears and saw no blood (which would realistically suggest a haemorage) but it is possible that he has a small bleed on the brain or concusion. It is also very likely that he is now brain damaged.
"With the injury inflicted it is possible that he may go downhill very quickly if he does have any sort of bleed, but because he is vey happy in himself and was getting seriously stressed out at the vets I decided to bring him home and moniter him throughout the night and take him into the emergency vets if he starts to go downhill. If this happens then he will have to be put to sleep, so tonight is going to be a long and stressy night!
"He has a shot of steriods to try and bring any swelling on the brain down that may have occured and he has also had to be wormed and defleaed because he was dripping fleas when he arrived.
"I have taken some pics of him here tonight in case anything happens to him this evening and then I have got some adorable memories. At the moment he has had a wander about and is now sleeping. We have been told to keep him as quiet as possible.
"I am hoping that this little puppy who I was too late to help will be around to help him through tonight..."
A few days before Emma had been alerted to another puppy who had this time been beaten to death.
This morning Emma posted the following update:
"It is a great imporovement on yesterday as he was just continuously circling. I doubt that he will ever be 100%. He is also a mute. He doesn't make a single noise. No yapping, whining or play growling. And he is going to be the type of dog that you cannot pick up. He is confident on the floor but panics when you pick him up. This is just going to be the way he is. I am also doubting that he will hear ever again but there is slight reactions with his sight now. It seems that he is seeing shadows but no definite shapes.
"Charlie is being like a mother dog. If he isn't playing with him then he is laying next to him sleeping or washing his little bits (his willy and his bottom). It is exactly the same as Tara used to do when her puppies were weeks old. Charlie is very gentle. I might add that Charlie is still looking for a home and if you could take 10 minutes to read his story you will see what vast improvement he has made."

I must say I am shocked by all this barbarity.
Emma tells me a child's pet rabbit has also been stolen locally. It was placed on their doorstep with its head cut off.
Someone needs to find the people torturing pets and start sorting their heads out. There is plenty of evidence that cruelty to animals soon escalates to cruelty to vulnerable people. If they are capable of doing this to adorable defenceless pups what else are they going to be getting up to...
Will ask Emma where approx this is in Surrey so anyone local can be especially vigilant. Whoever is doing this is someone's offspring.
Just heard from Emma, this is happening in New Addington, Surrey and apparently the police aren't interested. Deep sigh. They obviously haven't read all the articles from the profilers in the States that flag up animal abuse by children as being a significant sign of an emerging serial killer. As soon as you lose respect for another's life where will it end?
If you are local please write to your MP and the local chief of police urging them to take animal abuse seriously.
Thank goodness for wonderful people like Emma who always seem to find space in their hearts and homes for another one no matter how challenging.

Do check out Charlie (pictured above) as he sounds like a dog in a million, too. The more she finds homes for the more space she has to save others...

Friday, 6 June 2008

Completely floored

Last night I experienced another of my mind-blowing kitchen floor mysteries.
Kieran and I were returning from a terribly civilised Chinese meal with Liz and John the founders of Organipets. They brought their lovely old dog Raffy, who is their inspiration and I brought along my son Kieran, who is pretty inspirational to me too - as he loves the restaurant and had done all his homework!
Between us we came up with the bones of an idea for an exciting new competition that will be launched at the Cold Wet Nose Show
The contrast between the idyllic evening and what greeted us at home could not have been more extreme.
Now regular blog readers will have read before about my kitchen floor mysteries! But this was no neat, peaceful dead rat or unexplained wet patch.
What it was is something I still don't know - but it stunk!
I suspect I needed the best forensic scientists of CSI Miami to come in with their funny little torches to work out exactly what it was and where it originated.
It had obviously been an animal at some time, but there was just too much of it to have been a rabbit and there was no fur or ears or anything obvious to help with an ID.
It hadn't been there before we went out so it had to have emerged from one of the dogs. If either of them had swallowed it whole, it was surprising - as whatever it was, it was huge!
Part of it disappeared again before I could clear it away and Oscar was very definitely the guilty one.
Both dogs seem none the worst for eating - well who knows exactly what?
Ugh. They're both none the worst for wear today though - although Kieran has probably been horribly traumatised by seeing what would have been a great special effect for a science fiction film.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Go on, have a go!

Photo submitted by the Retired Greyhound Trust

It's competition time again! Can you think of an amusing caption for the above? First prize wins a Fleece Pets Home Mattress from Rosewood and an exclusive Retired Greyhound Trust cuddly Homer Toy. Five runners-up will win Hi-Travel Passport Holders and non-spill Travel bowls.

Photo submitted by Su Pendegrass, Reigate, Surrey

Can you guess which breeds Bolan's parents are? We've not received any correct answers by post so far, so this must be tricky. I'll be giving clues if no one gets it.

Both competitions finish June 5th - so please email your best efforts to before then. With cross question - post as a comment here as I will let you know asap if you are correct - or half correct! Come back for clues...

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Blog experiment week one

Today Oscar and Tess started a blog experiment. Both dogs have some coat issues.

Tess's coat has never been the same since she was spayed. See above.

Oscar's coat is washed every two weeks in an attempt to remove the mud (and frogs... long story) so he tends to be tinder dry.
I had contemplated just putting a splash of olive oil in their dinner each day, but I've found something a bit more interesting to try out and I thought I'd share both dogs progress with you - I'm full of good intentions to take a photo every Sunday from now on. Let's see how I get on!
Here's what we're using.

It's called Yumega. And now for the sciencey bit - it contains high levels of essential Omega 3 oils from golden flax seed and Omega 6 from starflower, antioxident vitamin E from natural plant sources to mop up free radicals.
I'm not entirely sure I understand much of what I've just written - which as you might guess I've pretty much copied off the box!
The dogs thought the name was appropriate, but 'Yum-eager' might be an even better name for this additive, but as both dogs will happily eat the inside tube of a toilet roll perhaps they are not quite the Michael Winners of the canine world (but that's probably not a bad thing!)
So watch this space for more details ... how will Yumega fair? Will we see any gloss returning to Tess's bum? Will Oscar stop looking like a haystack?