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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Can you help with my research?

A few blogs ago I mentioned the strange piece in the Times that suggested you could catch Sars from sleeping with your dog. After 17 radio interviews in which I suggested maybe retiring Chief Vet Fred had had an Edwina Currie moment - as you catch Sars from infected humans sneezing on you, and it was a disease we didn't have in this country in any case I got some interesting calls. First there was a lady saying that the whole story was a smokescreen to distract from the MRSA problem in pigs. (Interesting, but not my area of expertise!) And then I got a call from the people who did the research from Defra.
Turns out the research that provoked The Times to put out what was at best a very peculiar article is sensible serious stuff and not anti-dog. I've spoken to the professor at Liverpool Uni and the team are all dog lovers and they were just as upset by the article in the Times as all of us were!
Anyway, I'm writing something about the research in the July issue and wondered if I could do a bit of my own research too!
According to the study 1 in 5 of us have a dog sleeping in the bedroom. One in seven have them on the bed.
From my own research, there is a further level of information we need!
If you sleep with your dog are they on top or below the covers?
Do you tolerate dirty paws, or do you have a bedtime regime where you clean teeth and feet?
I am looking for the most dogs sharing a bed and would love photographic evidence! Are there any multi-species sleepovers? What's the biggest dog that shares a bed?
Where does the dog/s sleep - feet end or head end? Who gets the lion's share of the duvet.
On one of my radio interviews one of the DJs brought up the indiscreet subject of emissions. Anyone share a bed with a real stinker or a dog that snores?
Anyone fallen out with a human partner over where the dog sleeps?
Please email me full details of your canine bedroom habits and also send any photos please asap! Email beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk Or leave a comment here to encourage others to open up and share!
Is 1 in 7 a true figure or are some people too shy to reveal all!

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Bright ideas?

Just had a lovely letter from a guide dog owner asking if anyone knows of a visibility collar that uses anything other than LED. I think he suggests fibre optics - although I have to say not that surprisingly his handwriting wasn't that easy to read!

Over to you - does anyone know of a flashing collar than isn't LED. I guess he wants something easier for him to see.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Do you sleep with your dog?

Fred Landeg, who is stepping down as the most senior government veterinary officer, says today in the Times that people need to be more aware that new and emerging diseases were just as likely to affect household pets as farm animals.
Dr Landeg, who is often on TV appearances explaining Asian flu, foot-and-mouth, and bluetongue outbreaks, said that pet dogs shouldn't be in the bedroom and that owners also should be vigilant about having pets in the kitchen.
I'm sorry, but was this man ever really a vet? Where does he expect us to keep our dogs - in a sterile room?
Besides the risk of unknown exotic diseases, Fred warns that dogs also carry common food poisoning bugs: campylobacter and salmonella.
The Times reveals that according to a survey of 260 households in a semi-rural town in the South Wirral, where most pets were Labradors or Jack Russells, almost 20 per cent of the animals slept in the bedroom and 14 per cent on a person’s bed.
In the Times Fred said: “When you look at new and emerging diseases many are zootic and passable from animals to man. We can think recently of Sars, which came from animals and another disease, the Hendra virus, from bats,” he said. “As a veterinary surgeon I would never advise people to keep dogs in their bedroom.”
Well what do you think of Fred's views folks? I'm booked to go on a load of BBC radio stations for their drivetime programmes to try to calm all this down a bit.
Will Fred's scaremongering stop you sharing your life with your dog?
I note he makes no mentions of the diseases the poor old dog can catch from us, or indeed all the many and varied diseases you can catch by sharing your bed with another human!
Do send me your anecdotes and tips for what to say so I can do my best this afternoon!
If you want to read the Times article in full click here.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Roxy's poxy owner


Roxy has been in the care of the council for three weeks after she was found straying. She is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Her owner was found and wanted her back, but when the dog warden tried to take her home the owner was not in. After much following up the owner finally announced he actually did not want Roxy after all as he did not want to pay the fine (£24) as he could not afford it.
Roxy has not had a very interesting life so far. She has lived in a high rise flat and the man worked for 13 hours a day. Because of this Roxy needs to be retrained in the house as she as never had any proper puppy training. She is now about two years old.
Roxy is microchipped, but will need to be spayed and vaccinated.
Roxy is in Surrey - if you can help her find a new home and happiness contact Emma on 0797 356 9371 or email: Adrs@aol.com

Also looking for miracles:
Twinkle - approx one year old Staffie x Lurcher. A bit nervous to start with but fine when she gets to know you. She was found running loose with a harness and lead attached but nobody has ever came forward to claim her.
Twinkle is good with other dogs but a bit dominant so would suit being homed with a nice neutered male.
Because of her nervous streak no young children, but teenage/adult household would be fine.
Twinkle will need to be spayed, vaccinated and microchipped.
Trixie adorable little Staffie x Jack Russell who is great with other dogs and brilliant with people. She was picked up after spending a month living under a porta cabin.
She is approx eight months old.

Trixie does need to be housetrained as she has been living wild for at least four weeks. She has shown signs of being an escape artist but only to get to the kennel staff. She loves attention.

Maggie is very confident little brindle and white Staffie of about a year old. She is fine with male dogs and good with people, but does not like her collar being grabbed.
Maggie was picked up as a stray and never claimed.

As Emma said in her email to me... it seems like a never-ending stream of Staffies and Staffie crosses.

Wasn't it lovely to see a post from Otis's new owner a few blogs ago. Makes you warm inside to know that Otis (now Jake) has fallen on his feet. Let's hope for the same results for Roxy, Twinkle, Trixie and Maggie. Fingers crossed!

Good News!
Email from Emma: "I had a call from a lady who has a neutered male Springer Spaniel and she sadly lost her Staffie bitch on Boxing Day. She has now adopted Roxy and is not worried about having to housetrain her.
"All the others are still looking though. Emma."

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Mr Ratty responds to the Emma Milne article...

This letter came too late to include in our June edition, but I still felt I should share it with you!

Dear Ms Milne,

I am writing to thank you for the wonderful, informative article you recently wrote in Dogs Today. My name is Mr Ratty and I am a small Jack Russell terrorist or "small furry" and I have had to spend almost all of my 13 years living with Greyhounds and Lurchers and until I read your article I didn't think there was anyone who understood the abuse and misery I have suffered at their hands.
Only this morning my life was put in grave danger by one of these beasts (Greyhound?? Lurcher?? I dunno, they all look the same from down here....leggy and somewhat lanky). Yes, today I was nearly smothered and I have the photographic proof for you....

This has happened before you know, and sometimes they are all involved, I think they were all trying to kill me here.


And it's not just me who suffers, here I am having to rescue my friend (Boris fluffy bear) from the mouth of one of these "deadly" dogs...


Sadly, Boris later was successfully smothered to death.


It has been a relief to know that you understand these dogs and their "murderous instincts", at last someone recognises my suffering. Others may be fooled by their gentle giant act, but we see them for what they really are don't we?!
So, I offer you my full support and if you would like any further photographic proof for future articles, please do contact me. And I would like to point out that in the next photo, I was in fact trying the now familiar smothering technique (and no matter what anyone may tell you, I am not "loving" or enjoying the close contact, it was a real attempt to kill)



And here...


Keep up the good work Ms Milne, you are so obviously so much better informed than the millions of people in this country who think these dogs are nice pets!

Mr Ratty

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

We're all holding our breath!

A few blogs ago I told you about Penny and Fred. Tomorrow someone is going to be checking Penny out with a view to adopting her. I just got a letter about Fred, too. Someone is interested in him, too!
Please see below the first photos of Otis in his new home. They're a bit shaky, but isn't it wonderful that he's loved, that he's not in a kennel - that he's still alive!



Where would we be without wonderful people like Emma at the pound in Surrey and Anne taking on death row dogs in Wales. They work so selflessly to place these poor unfortunate dogs.
Fingers crossed for Penny and Fred.

STOP PRESS:
Just got this email from Emma:

"They arrived, they fell in love, they took her. :-) Penny has now gone to a new home."

Wonderful news.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Wrinkles that wrankle?

Don't know about you, but until yesterday I thought that tacking was something you did on a boat or to turn up a hem temporarily.
Until I picked up this week's Dog World, I was blissfully unaware that Shar-Pei puppies sometimes have to have their excess skin folds 'tacked' up by a vet so they can see.
Up until now it seems this has been going on with no one at the KC even raising an eyebrow (maybe surgical enhancement had rendered this manoeuvre impossible for them, too!)
I had thought that you always had to ask the KC for permission to show if you had any surgical procedure that altered the appearance of the dog, no matter how minor - even neutering. But the latest statement from the KC implies that before they'd simply been turning a blind eye to it. In fact, they are saying that while they're going to ask Shar-Pei breeders to seek permission to show a puppy that has been tacked in the future, older dogs who have already had this form of plastic surgery can continue to be shown.
But it seems that the KC's attempt to crack down on future tacking may prove tricky. The first press release claimed that in future vets "must" report such surgery to the KC. But it seems the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons were unaware of this arrangement and reported
that their professional code of conduct would "permit" vets to report the surgery but didn't "require" them to.
After Dog World pointed this out the KC revised their statement to say that vets "may" rather than "must" report the procedure. Which rather weakens what I saw as quite a hopeful sign of them starting to try to move away from ridiculous excesses.
It could be seen as quite an empty gesture because if you were determined to keep showing a very wrinkled dog , I guess you'd just shop around till you found a vet that chooses not to report you. or you could choose the DIY option.
In fact the Shar-Pei people themselves are complaining that this move has more to do with politics than anything else.
Mr Barry Bull, Chairman of the Midland Shar-Pei Club is quoted in Dog World as saying: "On whose advice and for what reasons did the KC find it necessary to take such a step at this particular time?
"This is some bonkers idea that someone dreamt up yesterday and didn't think through properly - a quick response to something political."
He explained that the tacking op on a very young pup could save the dog having surgery for entroprion (eyelids that turn in) later in life. That in the US people often do their own tacking at home without a vet and that the KC rule change could encourage people to do the operation at home.
He told Dog World, "There are one or two people over here who we have heard about who do self-tack. I wouldn't want to do that to a two-week old puppy."
Mr Bull went on to say how much the Shar-Pei had improved, but that they don't get any credit for it.
KC Secretary Caroline Kisko told Dog World, "We have to be seen to be moving away from exaggeration in all breeds, to be breeding away the problem. We can't be seen to be supporting this kind of thing, or ultimately the Government will make decisions for us. I believe that the majority of the dog world who are unaware of this practise would be horrified."
So just as we have seen with the 'discredited' accredited breeder scheme - the KC are now running scared of what the Government might do next. Will they ratify the European Convention of Pet Animals like the vast majority of countries in Europe have already done?
Will we see much more of these flashy empty gestures in the next few months as the KC seek to convince Defra that the future health of British dogs is safe in their hands?
Will this announcement encourage the breeding of less wrinkly Shar-Pei, or will it merely mean that the plastic surgery will still happen, just that bit more discreetly? Is the main aim to be seen to be doing something - or to actually do something meaningful? What a shame a more sensible, long-term approach to dog health wasn't adopted by the KC years ago, all this last minute knee-jerk reaction is helping no one.

And please don't forget Penny and Freddie. Click here to read their stories.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Do you have a houndini?

Just had an urgent request through from Victoria Stilwell. She's looking for any case studies of persistent escape artists with a view to filming them Monday or Tuesday 28th and 29th April. It's to do with a brilliant GPS tracking device called Zoombak.
If you have a hound who likes to be outward bound this could be just the thing for you.
If this sounds a possible call Emma Marshall 07875-399995 or email emma_marshall@jcpr.com

Now please, I know this is a straight repeat from the last blog - but I really didn't want Penny and Freddie getting overlooked... so here they are again!
I'm afraid we have another Otis situation. Penny is now in very urgent need of moving, her seven days are almost up. Does anyone have any space in their rehoming kennel or does anyone have an home that would suit Penny?

Penny is not good with other dogs, but is great with people and loves children and is very loving. She will need to be walked on lead because of her temperament with other dogs. She is about five years old. She does not like being left for long periods of time and will complain for a short while, but settles soon afterwards.
Penny will need to be spayed, vaxed and chipped as a condition of rehoming. She is currently in Surrey.
If anyone is interested in helping the contact details are: 0797 356 9371 or email: Adrs@aol.com

I'm also going to mention Freddie again. I think his story has been overlooked.


He's had quite a few disappointments in the past, but he's ever the optimist - like most dogs.
He needs an urban home (away from sheep) and no cats. He gets on fine with other dogs - but best if they're not too small and cat like! Neutered, civilised apart from his sheep obsession. About 4 or 5 years old.
If you think you and Freddie could be made for each other, please call Anne on 01341 241238. He is in Wales at the moment - but he really could do with moving to somewhere else where sheep are less of a temptation, so please don't be put off by his current geography. Freddie should not be a difficult dog to home as he his affectionate and good in the car, but as he needs to relocate that is the tricky part of this particular rehoming.
Another factor is that Anne at Home-a-Dog is obviously poorly as she has terminal cancer. At her request we ran a successful appeal to find someone to take over her vital work with death row dogs a little while ago. The wonderful Demelda takes over Home-a-dog on May 1st, but I do think it would be a tremendous morale boost if Anne could see Freddie finally settled as he isn't enjoying kennels and would really thrive in a home. His previous attempts at happiness have all come to nothing - through no fault of his own.
So does anyone have an urban fireside with a little empty space next to it? Anne thinks Freddie could even suit someone living in a flat.
Please post this one far and wide. Let's put a smile on Anne's face and find Freddie his dream home.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Penny for our thoughts & Fred needs a bed

I'm afraid we have another Otis situation. Penny is now in very urgent need of moving, her seven days are almost up. Does anyone have any space in their rehoming kennel or does anyone have an home that would suit Penny?

Penny is not good with other dogs, but is great with people and loves children and is very loving. She will need to be walked on lead because of her temperament with other dogs. She is about five years old. She does not like being left for long periods of time and will complain for a short while, but settles soon afterwards.
Penny will need to be spayed, vaxed and chipped as a condition of rehoming. She is currently in Surrey.
If anyone is interested in helping the contact details are: 0797 356 9371 or email: Adrs@aol.com

I'm also going to mention Freddie again. I think his story has been overlooked.

He's had quite a few disappointments in the past, but he's ever the optimist - like most dogs.
He needs an urban home (away from sheep) and no cats. He gets on fine with other dogs - but best if they're not too small and cat like! Neutered, civilised apart from his sheep obsession. About 4 or 5 years old.
If you think you and Freddie could be made for each other, please call Anne on 01341 241238. He is in Wales at the moment - but he really could do with moving to somewhere else where sheep are less of a temptation, so please don't be put off by his current geography. Freddie should not be a difficult dog to home as he his affectionate and good in the car, but as he needs to relocate that is the tricky part of this particular rehoming.
Another factor is that Anne at Home-a-Dog is obviously poorly as she has terminal cancer. At her request we ran a successful appeal to find someone to take over her vital work with death row dogs a little while ago. The wonderful Demelda takes over Home-a-dog on May 1st, but I do think it would be a tremendous morale boost if Anne could see Freddie finally settled as he isn't enjoying kennels and would really thrive in a home. His previous attempts at happiness have all come to nothing - through no fault of his own.
So does anyone have an urban fireside with a little empty space next to it? Anne thinks Freddie could even suit someone living in a flat.
Please post this one far and wide. Let's put a smile on Anne's face and find Freddie his dream home.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Thank you - and one more request!

We received so many wonderful photos that show Greyhounds and cats, dogs, rabbits and kids all living peacefully that we will have several pages full of these stories in the next edition. The words have gone off for subbing and layout now - and those whose pix were a bit too small will be contacted to see if they can beef them up a bit. Thank you all for being so prompt and telling your stories, I am sure it will make an impact seeing all those lovely images of harmony. A picture is worth a thousand words.

There is one more thing I am looking for image-wise. We have a great studio shot of a rescue Greyhound that could make the front cover, but I'm wondering if anyone else out there has a special photo that might be even more appealing? I'd like something that shows the softer side of the Greyhound expression - a close-up of the face, maybe head on paws looking at the camera. Or snuggled up. Or anything else breathtaking really - will know it when I see it!

If you have a shot you're really are proud of, or if you know someone who has one that's pin sharp, the right shape - ie portrait not landscape and is hi-res can you contact me as it would be great to look at some more cover options to make this the most eye-catching edition possible.

Email me on beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

Once again thanks for your help in this,
Best wishes
Beverley

PS We now have the most beautiful cover shot, thank you so much for sharing your lovely images. I've really enjoyed finding my in box so full of gorgeous faces. I'll post just a few on the end of the blog so you can enjoy some of them, too!
Barley owned by Lynne Dixon


Jack owned by Alyson Bury

Lilly Blue owned by Erssie


Drum owned by Charlotte Stockley


Millie owned by Clare Savory

and finally...

I got this email from Kelli Windebank:

" This is Aoife, is my special girl. I have only recently rescued her from Greyhound Rescue West of England. She is a tattooed greyhound and she is two next month

"On Friday she suffered a stroke - she is now lying at the vet specilaist paralysed on all four legs. She had a stroke of the spine and it has been one of the worst weekends of my life. Aoife is a beautiful girl. She has only just started her new life with us - we got her at the end of Feb and she was just beginning to enjoy her new life here, she was a real sweetheart and was sent to mend my heart after I lost my lurcher girl Tilly suddenly to Pyothorax in Nov 07 :( . It's so unfair this has happened to her now - but I know she will get back to good health again - she has the spirit of the Greyhound."

I'm sure we all send Aoife all our best wishes and hope she gets better very soon.

Friday, 4 April 2008

How to help us put it right!

One of the positive things we’re doing for next month’s mag is we're including a great article from Greyhounds4U on how to make Greyhounds cat-friendly and what I'd like is to show loads of pictures of Greyhounds with cats, rabbits, small dogs to reinforce the message that not all Greyhounds will be problematic.
Please email me your best pix of Greyhounds with other pets and approx 100 words telling me something positive about your rescue Greyhound.
We've already got so many letters telling us what's wrong with Emma Milne’s article that all the salient points are well covered.
Plus we can also include a few stories from people who know their dog has chase issues, but how their dogs can still live a very happy life without putting anyone in danger.
If pix can be 300dpi and no bigger than 3MB please or they will bounce. Anything too small won't be of sufficient print quality. (If they show up on the email as an attachment of less 500k then you need to resave them as a higher resolution or bigger image size.)

Here’s our standard photo spec blurb from our designer just so any techy people will know what to do!

• Ideally please supply 300dpi jpegs. Please clearly mark the name of the feature in the subject line and if sending several batches, please number them sequentially too.
• The bigger the file size the better so we have scope to use up to full page if necessary.
• If taking digital photos please ensure the camera is set to the highest resolution setting.
• Minimum file size when compressed as a jpeg should be around 500k – but the bigger the better. Full page size 300dpi jpegs will be around 1.6mb when compressed to “high quality”.
• If you prefer to send photos on CD or DVD via post, please email me for a postal address so I know to look out for the pix.

Please email me the pix and words direct on beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk
And please put "Friendly Greyhounds" in the subject box so I can spot them.

Here's one of the lovely pix already received!

Jagger and Fred owned by Anja Kerrison. Jagger is also a blood donor

We are planning other things, so don’t think this is all we are doing. This is just something you can help produce and be a part of.
Those who still need to vent please continue here - I will be reading, but at less frequent intervals as otherwise I'll never get anything positive done.
Once again, sorry about this folks. We're working on next month's package and a much bigger project too for the future.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Greyhounds, dark days

I've been putting off starting a new blog, I'd wanted to wait until Freddie found a home, but the avalanche of email about Greyhounds demands their own blog.
For those who aren't up to speed, our latest issue contains an article by vet Emma Milne. She'd just spent eight hours trying to save a little dog that had been disemboweled by two ex-racing Greyhounds while out on a walk. She didn't succeed and the dogs elderly owner was devastated.
I suspect Emma wrote it pretty soon after the obviously distressing incident.
When she filed her copy it was highlighted by our chief sub as being 'likely to generate lots of letters'. But Emma is a feisty vet and she often get a hefty mailbag as she does tend to say what she thinks. No alarms bells went off for me at this point - which I regret. Emma has written for us for several years. The article was sent for illustration and design.
It was an even busier month for me than usual, I had the dreaded Vat to do and a couple of new staff starting so I'll admit my eye was off the ball. I had already planned the edition and commissioned the major features, but I ran out of time and didn't proof read all the regulars this month - leaving it to others. After a few years columnists are given their head to pretty much write what they feel.
One of my staff did say the same thing - that Emma's column would generate lots of letters. But I'm afraid I still didn't get the hairs standing up on the neck feeling of impending doom.
When the first angry email dropped into my in-box I turned to the magazine and I have to say my jaw dropped!
We should have picked the piece up as a knee-jerk reaction to a horrible series of events.
It was like allowing the mother of an abducted child to write an article on paedophiles. Emma was far too close to the story and needed to have had time to cool off - or for us to interject some balance.
I totally can empathise with how that little old lady felt. If any dogs killed my dogs I would be devastated, but the fact that this was such a shocking episode to Emma must mean it is far from commonplace. I sadly can recall plenty of other stories of small dogs being killed by bigger ones - of all breeds and types. It is everyone's responsibility to act responsibly if they have a dog with a heightened chase instinct. In my opinion some of the passion needs to deflected to the owners of these two dogs for allowing this incident to happen in the first place.
I am sorry everyone has been so upset, and I know it isn't good enough to just say sorry. But to our defence we have spent 18 years being incredibly proactive towards Greyhound Welfare, this article is obviously not a reflection of our views. And for many of you who haven't read the magazine and are just making comments on this one feature, please do try to think a little more charitably of us.
Knee-jerk reactions tend to be infectious and I can recognise the outrage and passion in these posts and emails. It is so unthinkable to suggest Greyhound genocide as a reaction to one dog's very sad death. I'm as shocked as you!
We will be printing lots of your letters in next month's edition and we will continue doing all we can for all the dogs as always.


And please, don't forget Freddie.

I'm sorry if I stopped replying to email last night, I was trying to get back to everyone quickly. I've managed to pick up food poisoning from my trip into London yesterday for a meeting. In the dead of night I did wonder briefly whether the chef might have been a disgruntled Greyhound rescue supporter out to get me, but I know from all the lovely people in Greyhound I've met that you're all gentle souls deep down! (I hope!)