Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Two stolen dogs to look out for...

Just got this email from Denise Arnold...

"Fiffi is a 9 year old long coated Jack Russell bitch, and Shammy is our Miniature Pinscher bitch 5 years old. Shammy has got a genetic eye disease and if she doesn't receive treatment twice daily will go blind!
"Both dogs were stolen from our farm in Finchampstead, Berkshire on the 25.07.08 around 10 am in the morning.
"The dogs are the last thing we have left from our father who died of cancer last year and have been in the family since they were puppies. We are so upset we cancelled our holiday and are just constantly looking for the dogs. We are very distressed as Shammy will lose her eyesight without daily treatment (she already has one eye removed) and the dogs are like our babies as we haven't got children.
"Both dogs are chipped, they would be very unhappy in a flat as they have our whole farm to run about all day! They have never been missing. Except Fiffi who has been stolen now for the second time from our premises but last time (three years ago) when she was stolen she was sold to someone who bought her in Newbury who took her straight to the vets and realized the dog was stolen and we got her back within a short time. Unfortunately this hasn't happened. "Also if people took Fiffi to breed with her she is infertile! And Shammy has got the genetic problem!
"We are offering a £300 reward for each dog which is more than the street value.
"Please if you have any further suggestions on how we can find them don't hesitate to contact me on 07976 521 491 or 01189 735 115."

We told DEnise about Dog Lost - so hopefully this is now posted on there, too.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Knife crime hits a new low

Tailwaggers usually hears about dogs and cats in trouble. But every now and again other animals come to our attention. This time it was a letter from a vet surgery in Hexham, Northumberland.
I warn you, Blondey's story is truly shocking.
This poor Shetland Pony was taken to the vets by her owners when they found her in a terrible state. She had terrible wounds and flystrike. Her neck was horribly infected. It was only as the vets started to attempt to treat the painful skin that they realised that the wounds were in the shape of letters - that someone had carved into the poor pony's flesh.
The owners have already paid out huge sums in vet care, but this poor little pony now needs an extensive skin graft and they have just run out of funds. A human skin specialist has offered to do this free of charge but it will still cost £1,500 for the general anaesthetic.
Blondey - a 10 year old pony - is still loving and trusting despite her ordeal.
Tailwaggers will I'm sure be donating, Blue Cross have offered some help too - but even with the vet practice doing some fund raising themselves there's still a significant shortfall and an urgent need to get on and operate.
Tailwaggers will very shortly have their own Justgiving page on the web, so it will be in future much easier to donate, but until then if you can send cheques to Tailwaggers Club Trust, PO Box 1008, Maidenbower, Crawley, RH10 7PY and please spread the word let's see if this blog can help another four-legged creature?

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Can you help Sunny and Madeline?

I have another dog owner in distress that needs some help. Tailwaggers Club Trust hears so many sad stories, but I'm wondering if we have any other lovely petfood moguls out there that may be able to assist?
Here's the story so far from Carol, our lovely lady on the phones...
"This lady left a message on the answer machine asking for help with re homing. She sounded very upset and I got the impression there was a lot going on in her life.
When I spoke to her I asked her why she needed Sunny to be re homed and she explained that her circumstances have drastically changed and she can't afford to feed him. There are health problems, plus her partner left her on Boxing Day with massive debts, she was self-employed but her business has gone. There is an issue with claiming benefits and the amount of national insurance she has paid, which is being reviewed but currently she is living on £26.50 per week.
When I spoke to her she had returned from church and someone from the church had promised to visit her on Tuesday and bring some dog food. (it turned out to be a week's worth.)
She is trying to do the right thing and be a responsible owner and it seems a very sad situation." Sunny is a 4 years old German Shepherd and Madeline has had him for two years - he was a failed police dog, given up by a family as destructive, but too much of a wimp to make the grade as a police dog.
Can anyone help keep these two together? Sounds like they need each other. Anyone prepared to help feed Sunny into Madeline gets back on her feet?
Thank you to everyone - looks like this one is solved!
Lovely Hamish at Burns Pet Nutrition has very kindly donated some of their excellent food. And then dog behaviourist Debbie Connolly very kindly agreed to send Sunny a bag of food every month until things get sorted. She has German Shepherds herself and has been through a nasty relationship split herself so could empathise with Madeline. She said she wanted to give something back as she was helped out by friends when things looked bleak, too. She's recently started a new pet food, the first devised by a dog behaviourist.
Check out Debbie's website . Her food is called SafePets Intelligent Feeding. They are a range of premium foods that are hypoallergenic, free from artificial ingredients and wheat and gluten free.
Don't you just love a happy ending! Thank you everyone for offering to help with this one.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

ID parade

We're pulling together our coverage of the show for the mag and there's one class we can't untangle!
We have about three different versions of the results for augmented look-alikes and we need some help!
Ist was the little girl with the Shih Tzu. 
Mike McClean from Richard and Judy show - wearing a lovely black velour one piece, matching ears and tail was second.
But in which order were the others?
There's Barbara  in the white, Charlotte was wearing red and then we have mystery girl wearing face paint with a Black and White Cocker Spaniel.
Who was 3rd, 4th and 5th and does anyone know our mystery girl?
Please check out the photos and let me know if you can help.
Thank you!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Juggling badly

Working mums out there - how do you cope with the summer holidays? If I thought I was busy before the Cold Wet Nose it now seems like a doddle compared to trying to work and keep my seven year old amused!
He's not in the least bit interested in going to a camp. 
At work today Kieran amused himself with all the dog beds we have on test, he made an enormous den and invited office dog Woody in to share with him! Then he made an agility course out of Company of Animals long handled poo collectors.
As to what else he'll get up to in the office for the next two months – answers on a postcard, or in comments!
Did you hear Chris Evans talking about Cold Wet Nose show on his drivetime show on Radio 2 on Monday. Wonderful.
Been looking at the photos from the show and there's thousands of them and there's some crackers. Pulling together all the coverage for the show is bringing back little memories I'd overlooked. It's going to be a cracking issue - just allocated some more pages for show, as the pictures deserve it. 

Monday, 14 July 2008

Richard and Judy alert!

Emily's mum reckons the Cold Wet Nose item may be on today! So please tune in at 4pm to Richard and Judy or set your videos.

Just doing a bit of random double checking - if you bought your entrance ticket on the day did you get handed a physical ticket?

Sunday, 13 July 2008

The morning after

It's nearly five in the morning, my diet of coffee yesterday ensured that sleep was something highly unlikely. But it isn't just being unused to caffeine that's got me buzzing!
It was the first ever Cold Wet Nose show yesterday and it was ever such a big day on many levels! You spend months and months planning something and it's all over in a blink of an eye. Sounds a bit like a wedding - and in a way it was a joyful joining together of soul mates. People who all know what it is to really love a dog.
I can't edit my thoughts yet, there's just so many snapshots of moments flying around in my head that I just need to just let them tumble out.
The campsite: Our Camp Marshall's Geoff Aldwinkle and Wendy Peacock were volunteers. Geoff requested wooden tent pegs to mark out the pitches - I asked him to source some for me and let me know what I owed him - he went and made them himself!
Graham (my hubby and co-organiser) and I stayed overnight in a little hotel next to the venue as we had such a late finish and early start and we had a restless night due to the thunderstorms and torrential rain. We thought of those in tents and fretted. Then the next day we heard that someone turned up with a big caravan at 11pm at night when the storm was raging and got well and truly stuck.
Even though everyone was tucked up in bed - our trusty marshall's went off in search of someone with a 4x4. The unsuspecting white knight went out in the downpour in his pjs and rescued the situation. Several people pushed in wellies and pjs to get them free, bless them!
The weather forecast had looked iffy all week. But the lovely forum members on Dfordog changed all that.
Sundancing broke out among their members big time and as the hours ticked by the weather forecast changed and I'm sitting here writing this with a totally unexpected sun tan! How did that happen?
We had a couple of light showers, but apart from that the weather was overcast and cool. If we could have ordered perfect weather for dogs that would have been pretty much bang on!
Blog regulars will remember the story of Caroline Rich, the homeless lady who fled terrible domestic violence with just her clothes and her beloved dog Harry the Tibetan Terrier.
(We launched an appeal via the blog to help her feed Harry as she had been accepted onto a housing project but was struggling to make ends meet on the £59 a week she got from the government. Lovely Liz at Organipets stepped in and agreed to feed Harry for a year until Caroline got back on her feet.)
Anyway - Caroline and Harry were recipients of one of our Cold Wet Nose Warm Hearts Awards. But getting them from Cardiff to Guildford was to prove somewhat of an adventure.
They came by public transport - train and bus. But when they got off the bus, they got horribly lost! Caroline said she could hear the show but was just a few fields away and just couldn't find the right road on foot.
Luckily two very kind girls stopped to help her, brought her to the show and even took her back to the station again afterwards. Caroline shared her Vip passes with them as she'd come alone and they all had a lovely time!
As you probably know, the show was much less corporate than the events we'd organised in the past - we have no luxurious banks of paid workers from big charities to help us provide an infrastructure. Maverick efforts were called for and many superb people and tiny organisations stepped up to the plate and did remarkable things.
For example Karen Lawe. She volunteered to help and I threw her a massive job - co-ordinating Top Dog, 1,640 dogs being judged in 12 rings between 11am and 3pm. We did all the pre-show stuff but on the day it was her responsibility to make sure the rings ran to time, that we had a judge in every ring ready to go, that everyone who wanted to enter on the day could and that those 1,640 dogs became just ten - on time - and they were delivered into the main ring at precisely 3pm ready to become just one winner!
The revolutionary formula we use was new to her, but she picked up that ball and ran with it. All of our judges were stars, many of them volunteers themselves found through this blog - and the same was true for Karen's band of booking in helpers. Just truly wonderful people giving their time and making stuff happen.
And loads of helpful feedback, little tweaks to make it run even smoother next time. People using their eyes and ears and caring about it all just as much as we do. Wonderful. Uplifting. Inspiring.
So many golden moments.
Little Emily arriving in her pushchair and the film crew from Richard and Judy looking just totally incredulous that this little girl was a serious competitor!
What a long day it is - especially when you're only just five! She was in the car about to go home when I phoned her mum to stay there'd been a special request for little Emily and Pickle to do their routine in the main ring just one more time. But even though she was looking forward to a sleep, we were all dazzled by the rapport between this sweet little girl and her pup - unfazed by the big ring and the crowds.
A reader of this blog showed me the autograph she'd got! Little Emily, barely five, had written her's and Pickle's names so very neatly! Not just a future Dog Brain of Britain it seems...!
And we did have other starry moments, too. We'd been hoping something very ambitious was going to be pulled off.
When I met Chris Evans a few weeks ago at super vet Noel Fitzpatrick's whizzy new state of the art 10 million quid referral centre in Godalming we'd hatched an incredibly ambitious plan.
Chris would fly-in by helicopter and kidnap workaholic Noel and bring him to the show and give him one of our Cold Wet Nose Warm Hearts awards.
It was such a wonderful idea and Noel's lovely staff were all up for keeping it a secret from their shy boss and just booking him out for a couple of hours with fake appointments.
But Chris is such a busy person and I was beginning to think that this off the cuff idea might never materialise. I even got an email from Chris's PA saying - impossible - he can't be in two places at the same time. But Chris doesn't understand impossible.
While the helicopter part had to be shelved (Chris has only recently got his pilot's licence and any hint of rain makes flight a no-no), we got the call that they were both outside.
Quite a number of people had already admired a striking white American Bulldog called Coal at the show, I'd been one of them. I don't think many people had realised he had a false leg until Chris, Noel and Coal joined Peter Purves in the main ring. Coal had only the second bionic leg ever fitted after he had cancer in his front foot (Noel did the first op, too by the way!) Amputation on such a heavily built dog hadn't really ever been an option. Noel had saved Coal's life with his pioneering surgery. And even though it cost over 10 million pounds to develop the technique - it only cost the devoted owner the same as an normal hip replacement op to make Coal bionic!
Chris became understandably emotional when he told us all why Noel is just such a hero to dog lovers. He isn't just technically a genius, he's just such a fighter. He never gives up if there's a chance for a pain-free future.
The autograph hunter I mentioned earlier revealed that one of her Dobes had also recently had life-saving surgery performed by Noel. Her dog had had the same SpondyloFitz bolts inserted in his spine as Chris's dog, Enzo.
Noel treats every dog and cat as if it were his own. He is tireless. Chris explained he's often up at 3am working, has his bed at the centre, phones his worried clients at all times of the day and night.
We all got a bit tearful really - because we knew Chris's beloved Enzo is still fighting to get better. Noel and Enzo are trying so very hard. I had a word with one of Noel's lovely nurses on the day and while recovery is still slow, Enzo is still progressing and Chris is visiting every day.
I gave Chris a surprise award for being Celebrity Dog Owner of the year - for sharing with the nation his unashamed love for his dogs.
And at the Cold Wet Nose show I think we all experienced a connection at that moment. We had homeless Caroline and multi-millionaire Chris within yards of each other. Both equally rich in their love of dogs. Both knowing that the unconditional love we have with our dogs is just priceless.
I'm welling up again just remembering that impossible-to-script series of events.
Can you believe that was the first award Noel had ever won! Surely the first of many.
Noel likes to make his clients feel hugged. Hopefully yesterday we all hugged him back.
Our other starry moments included the fabulous Kate and Gin. My little boy Kieran had been counting down the days to the show. I'll never forget the moment we watched the amazing BAA agility people doing their main ring stuff when Kieran asked if the clever collie in the ring was Gin.
I told him that no that wasn't Gin, but the dog standing next to him was. His face was a picture!
Kieran, Cameron (stepbrother) and Oscar (our Beardie) all had their photos taken with the famous duo.
Lovely, sweet Kate was nervous about performing at the Cold Wet Nose Show. She'd done all that TV, all those shows up and down the country on the tour - but this was somehow much more daunting!
Kate explained that she felt she was among her peers at this show - she was performing for doggie people.
She'd invented a stunning new routine only the day before and the crowd loved it!
It was an amazing finale to a day that I could write about for hours more. But the caffeine is finally wearing off and I'm tired.
What an amazing team - thank you to everyone who worked so very hard both on staff, the volunteers, the talent, the trade stands, the people who donated smashing prizes and above all all the people and their dogs that came and shared the experience.
I'm off to bed.
Watch Richard and Judy on Channel 4 on Tuesday for the special report from the show with presenter Mike McClean and his dog Ben. The bits I saw him filming were hilarious.
I'm just remembering little Jordan beaming in the main ring pointing to the front cover of the show guide so proudly. His dog Rupert was on the front cover of both the guide and the magazine.
So many memories are popping into my head. The lady at Safedogs crash-proof dog guards was talking to a couple who wanted to rehome a Dobie at the beginning of the day and then at the end of the day found someone else looking for a home for one.
She brought us a note for Peter Purves to read out and the two couples were put together and it's a case of watch this space.
Big sigh. Must take a notepad to bed. Suspect there'll be a million more little memories popping into my head.
This blog has been a brilliant way of solving problems, though. A few weeks ago I asked for urgent help in the office to get through the pile of extra work that this show was generating. Linzi and Mina instantly volunteered and what heroes they both proved to be. And the team - both in the office and working from home, both on staff and freelancers - just all went up a gear and really did their very best. And I can't forget a big mention to husband Graham and colleague Craig. They did all the logistics side of it - and sometimes Graham jokes that I get all the fun bits and that they don't get the praise - but they did a great job.
A big thank you to everyone who came or just wished us well.
Are we ready to do it all again... ? Give us a couple of days to think about it!
Did you go? Please email me any feedback you have about how we could have done things better. You can't be everywhere, can't see everything. For example I think the AA signage was rubbish! I think they assumed we were a village fete. It was fine if you were coming from Godalming and already knew where to go - so I have to say they'll be getting a rocket on Monday.
Apart from sign problems, we'd would love to know your three favourite things and the least favs, too!
Off to bed really... before everyone else wakes up. Goodnight/morning!

Friday, 11 July 2008

It's finally the day before....

Apologies for the lack of structure in this blog - my mind is ful of to do lists!
Please remember to bring your dog's water bowl with you and ideally bring some bottled water. There will be water points on site, but it's a huge arena. There will be a few funky communal water bowls with bottled water should you forget, but our veterinary advice is shared water bowls can spread disease so best not to. (Our dogs prefer slimy ponds, dirty puddles etc and seem to suffer no ill affects - dogs don't seem to bother reading health and safety advice do they!)
And also - please do remember poo bags! Scooperman will be watching - and spectacular scoops and good behaviour will be rewarded with smashing prizes like a Poopod or a bag of treats.
And another housekeeping note, why do people leave bags of poo beside cars in the car park? If you see anyone doing this can you give them a long hard stare!!! It's the worst job in the world sweeping the car parks for used poo bags - people run over them and well yuk! Bag and bin is the way to go.
Scooperman will watching - he doesn't get out much, people from the planet Krapton have limited employment opportunities and it'll be his job to clear the car parks when everyone goes home - so prancing about in lycra seems no hardship to him if it limits the number of squashed bags of poo he has to harvest at the end of the day!
You can still enter Top Dog online until midday today (Friday), should you have forgotten up until now! Classes are filling up fast though.
Here’s a tip enter last category first and work backwards. Most people enter 11am Waggiest heat and the Loveable at 11.30 etc. But if you started with Melting Expression at 11am and worked back up the list you’d not be in such full classes!
And top tip if you want to get on TV - enter Best 6 legs in Top Dog or go in Look-alikes! (And watch Richard and Jody next week on Channel 4). Or equally - if you've phoned in sick from work to go to the show - avoid these areas like the plague!
There are just loads of things you enter on the day - Top Dog included. So don’t worry about missing the on-line entry.
We look forward to seeing you and your dogs tomorrow - or if you're camping - see you later! Sounds like there's going to be quite a party - all the Dfordog forum people are meeting up! Perhaps next year we can have some other campsite activities - I'd always fancied having campsite lectures and stuff. Maybe if we have the wolf people next year we could have a howl-in? Suggestions please for camp activities.
Don’t forget the roof rack – there are some amazing doggie shopping experiences and bargains to be had! Most intriguing - the Poodle jellies on Daisy's Dog Deli stand - can't wait to see them!
One last note – if you haven’t bought your tickets yet you’ll need to remember to get some cash. There’ll be no credit cards or cheques taken on the gate, sorry.
And do keep doing the sundances everyone - the weather forecast did improve after the DforDog forum initiative! Whata talented bunch you are.
A big thank you to all the volunteers for making this show happen, it's wonderful to see so many people working together for dogs.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Cold Wet Nose countdown

I can't believe we're only days away from the show. The office is a hive of activity. Rosettes and prizes being parceled up. Last minute list making interspersed with exciting phone calls.
Did you catch the lovely item on little Emily (the incredible five year old contestant in Dog Brain of Britain) on 5 news on Channel 5  today? Wonderful. I hear the story was on Sky News, too.
Did you see Woman's Own this week. A great feature on inspirational Jordan whose Cocker Spaniel Rupert graces our front cover this month.
All these positive stories of kids with their lovely dogs really lifts the soul and isn't it great to have the chance to celebrate dogs in the media.
There's so much going on it's hard to write everything down - but there are several TV crews interested in showcasing the show. One for CBBC following the great kids and their dogs - and another - well I'm not going to tempt fate by saying, but if it comes off it'll be just amazing. Will know more tomorrow...
And yes, I did forget to do the photos of Oscar and Tess for the Yumega trial. The weather was so grim... plus I worked all weekend (where are the violins?)
I've noticed changes in Tess that aren't just coat related. She is beginning to look more like her old self somehow - pre spay. Her body shape is more athletic somehow - she looks younger somehow. I got to have a chat to the brains behind Yumega the other day and he mentioned some of the other stuff he put in the blend and there is something designed to sort out hormonal problems. It's amazing how quickly I noticed a change in both dogs. There was obviously something lacking and I thought I was feeding a pretty top top food. Just seems its very hard for Omega to survive in prepared food and you've got to add it back in.
Learn something new all the time... if you have any doggie coat skin problems, I'd certainly give it a go. 
Are you coming to the show? Which bits have you entered?
You can still enter Top Dog online right up to the night of the show - so do remember to do it as some of the classes are filling up fast. It's really simple, so go on get organised and plan your day.
You can enter Look-alikes, Dog Brain of Britain and most other things on the day.
Not sure I'll have time to blog again much before the big day. If you're going don't forget to check out Woof factor on the Organipets stand. It's an exciting new competition - but if you aren't at the show you can still enter on-line. Check it out - if you and your dog deserve treating then check it out! Here's their website but I'm guessing the comp only goes line at the show.
Enjoy the show and can we all pray for good weather - not too hot, not too cold and not too wet at all! The long range forecast looks near enough perfect, let's hope the weather men have got it right for once!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Time to win!

First up - can you guess what first cross the gorgeous Alfie is? There are clues as we're so close to closing! Alfie has one parent that some sources would have us believe (although I've not been able to find any actual evidence of this right!) would have free access to all the Royal Palaces in Britain. The other is the smallest variety of a breed that comes in three sizes which unusually are not all in the same group! Now this should go in seconds! Please email me direct with your address and choice of prize - that's how confident I am you'll get this one quickly! Choose between a breed book or a General dog book - please state the breed you'd like if the former!

Extra clues!
Alfie is obviously a trickier cross than I anticipated! Time for some more hints... think my history is right on this one - you may be amused to hear I have a degree in history (makes me smile as I still have no idea of what happened when!)...

Not a roundhead... the red and white's variety are called the name of a palace.

Other parent... A smaller version of a dog that also comes in in Standard and Giant.

Surely this one must go soon! I've not had a chance to check the comps email address - so this may have already have been won late afternoon onwards - but it's still worth having a go as no one looked near as I left work.

And keep sending the captions, we'll be judging those at 1pm on Friday, so go on - give it some thought! Give us a giggle...

We also need good captions for the above photo - please make us laugh! We're all so busy organising the Cold Wet Nose Show we need a giggle!
First prize wins a car Travel Harness from Rosewood and the five runners up receive a medium sized Handi-drink - an clever instant dog drinker which includes a bottle and a hand-held water pan.

Entries to both to ASAP!!

Our July issue competitions are about to close!