Thursday, 30 April 2009

All change at the Kennel Club

Kennel Club committee members very seldom resign mid-office, yet the resignation of two key office holders is announced this week in the weekly dog papers.
If Ronnie Irving (the KC Chairman) were to be playing a game of chess, he's just lost a Queen and a Bishop. And the KC AGM is just around the corner - eek!
Chairman of Crufts and General Committee member Eric Smethurst and fellow General Committee member Bill King have both departed mid-term. Very unusual.
While Eric refused to comment on his decision to quit, Bill is quoted as saying he wants to spend more time on his Theology studies. (My bishop analogy seems very apt!)
Who knows what goes on behind the closed doors at Clarges Street, but as I have a very long memory, when I heard that both these men had resigned I instantly noticed another thing the two men have in common.
Most of the Kennel Club General committee members (a group a bit like the cabinet in our real Government) have risen up through the ranks and are judges, breeders, vets etc. Love them or loathe them, but they're part of the dog world from a practical perspective.
So what about Eric and Bill?
Both of them used to have exactly the same job.
They both worked for Pedigree Petfoods - before they became KC committee members.
They ran the Pedigree breeder service.
A service disbanded relatively recently.
Am I the only one with a long memory?
Just wondering, does anyone ever check KC members interests like they do with politcians?

Keep an eye open for Chester and Drift


STOLEN - Van with TWO agility dogs inside it - please crosspost


Angela Briggs van was stolen with her two dogs; Chester and Drift inside - this is from Angela:

It happened outside Bierley Community Centre, Bierley, Bradford at 10.20pm Tuesday 28th, I have been up all night searching for them, I or the police haven't a clue where the van is or where my boys are, I am absolutely destraught as I write this - its now 03.56am Wed 29th. As soon as its light I am off looking again, goodness knows where but I have to find them, I have alerted police, dog lost so far, when light I will ring dog wardens, RSPCA etc etc. Printing posters as I type this. It must have been a planned thing as as soon as I got out of the van with a view to going and locking the gates after taking our heelwork to music classes, he jumped in it happened so quick but yet in slow motion I was/ am in absolute shock, Karen who was thankfully with me at the time managed to get a glimse of him but he had a white mask on thats why I think it was planned, probably just after the van but my boys were inside.

Van is White Vauxhall Vivaro Reg letter "T14 PAW" (see above ) ... As yet there is no word of either the van or, more importantly, the dogs. Drift is a short coated red and white Collie, Chester is an old dog, black with lots of grey hairs on the muzzle and chest. If you live in the area please keep your eyes open for the two of them, obviously don't know if they are still with the van or have been dumped out of it somewhere.

Angela has been in contact with all local rescue agencies, vets, radio etc but as yet nothing


Well done to everyone!



Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Charity screening in aid of Tailwaggers!

Have you switched off your mobile phone? Got really rustley sweets to eat? Got something in front of the computer screen to obscure part of your view - just like in a proper cinema? Forget all those Z-listers that normally turn out to a screening. Be a real star and click the box to the right to donate to help Tailwaggers help pets in crisis. Enjoy the film!

Time for an ice cream. Before part two!

My colleague Luke (who has a degree in Film studies and news media) has dug out some more about this film!

There were 10 of the Dogville shorts (1929-1931).They were directed by Zion Myers, who also worked with The Three Stooges. These groundbreaking short films opened the door for talking animal movies. Turner Classic Movies shows them in between movies but never announces when they are going to show them.
Back when the Dogvilles were in production, reports of animal cruelty were investigated, but when ASPCA inspectors would arrive to the studio, they found out the all of the dogs were well taken care of and not abused. The film makers used peanut butter in the dogs' mouths to make it appear that they talked.

Just heard some wonderful news from the team at Tailwaggers! The RSPCA have agreed to fund the vet treatment of the pup featured in the previous blog. But do remember that there are many other pets and owners in distress, even if this one is hopefully heading to a happy new home where he won't be bullied.
Tailwaggers spends a lot of time talking to people and trying to resolve their problems. This tiny ancient charity really needs your support.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Between a rock and a hard place

We've just had a distressed lady on the phone from County Durham in a desperate state. She has two dogs, a Rottweiler aged about five and a 10 month old Rottweiler/Dobermann cross. They weren't getting on very well and the vet suggested having them both castrated a while ago which was done. (I know - behaviourists out there will be sucking the air through their teeth and shaking their heads at both getting castrated, rather than just one).
Yesterday the dogs had a massive fight and the youngster has come off worse. He has a very bad injury and is being kept at the vets on antibiotics, but could need surgery. Decision to be made today.
This lady works for the princely sum of £91 per week, from which she has to pay £50 rent, though she does get benefits. She has contacted the PDSA who cannot help as he has been to her own vet for treatment. The RSPCA have agreed to take him on Friday (as she obviously can't keep them both) but has told her that she has to pay for the vet bills - they can't help.
She can't afford the £43 they have asked so far plus the £15 for each night's board, let alone possible hundreds for surgery. The RSPCA centre that has offered to take him is Darlington.
Anyone got any ideas? Any local connections at the RSPCA who can help?
Any other bright ideas? Anyone else able to take him and pick up the vet bill? Tailwaggers Club Trust may be able to help out with some of it, anyone else able to chip in?
It just all seems to desperately sad.
Don't know if this lady's circumstances have changed, but I suspect more and more people will find it difficult to pay unexpected vet bills as the credit crunch hits home.

Thank you to those very generous souls who offered to donate.
I've set up an emergency fund page on JustGiving. Tailwaggers Club Trust always pays donations direct to vets and asks for proof of earnings where relevant etc (While being very speedy and sympathetic to those in distress), so it makes sense to put this appeal via the charity - plus any donations will be increased by Gift Aid. Any excess funds raised will go into the general fund to help other people with pets in distress. Here's a link to the Just Giving page - it says it's Beverley Smith's page (my married name) as that's what my JustGiving account is set up as when I donate, plus the format expects you to be doing a sponsored walk or something! But it seems to work apart from that!

Just had an email from Tailwaggers to say the RSPCA have agreed to fund the vet costs! Hooray! Great news that this pup will get patched up and will hopefully find a new home where he won't be bullied. If you are interested in giving this dog a new home the RSPCA contact number is 07972 368602

Monday, 27 April 2009

These could come in handy

I was just updating the cancer blog when I clicked on a link and arrived at a really fascinating website. I had to blog about it. I have seen this product in books before, but have never known where people got them from.
I'm not sure I'd have a use for one, but I'm still tempted to order one anyway!

They are only available in left hands and you have to wait a little after ordering. Because they are, of course, hand made!

If you're wondering what the application is for these products:

  • Assessing fearful & potentially aggressive animals safely
  • Allows an animal to be touched without fear of being grabbed
  • Getting an animal used to being touched and handled in non-threatening way
  • Keeps both the animal & you feeling safe & confident
  • Countless applications on Trick or Treat night!
If you'd like to order one click here. They've got some wonderful other products, the wraps are great.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Note to self, always put the bins out

Another of those days here.
Last night my husband Graham forgot to put the bins out.
This morning, the first thing I did was open the kitchen door to let Oscar and Tess out for their usual early morning romp around the garden. I always check, the gate looked shut, no bits of fence had blown down in the night.
Then I got busy with the morning routine, getting Kieran his breakfast, checking my email, twittering... you know all the essentials.
On walking from the office to the sitting room for some reason I glanced out of the window and as I did my blood ran cold.
The gate was now swinging open.
The bin men must have been extra efficient - they'd come into the garden to collect our bins but hadn't closed the gate properly after them. It had looked shut but it wasn't on the latch.
I shouted something incomprehensible up the stairs to Graham as I ran into the kitchen to see if the dogs were safe. Tess the Springer was there, eagerly waiting for her breakfast, but Oscar the Beardie was missing.
Tess is an accomplished escape artist, so the fact she had ignored an open gate was very surprising. Oscar was not used to being at large - and to be anywhere without his best mate and leader was very odd.
Oscar is not equipped for going native. He is very heavily coated and he has on occasions tried to follow Tess into rough terrain and got himself completely stuck in a bush. It has taken ages for us to disentangle him.
He also has a very sketchy sense of direction, he just hasn't got the outward bound skills his Springer friend has. He starts off with a top knot that gives him good vision, but if he plays rough he's running blind within minutes as it all tumbles down or becomes augmented with twigs.
He has also got used to following Tess and not concentrating on where he is going.
Graham was dressed and at the door before I could pull my boots on over my PJs and as I hadn't got my specs on I was just as blind as Oscar and pretty useless as I was panicking so much!
Graham found him very quickly. He hadn't gone far. Although from the state of him you'd assume he'd been missing for weeks.
His paws were black and there was enough of the forest in his fur to build a fire. His little heart was beating so fast when he was returned to the fold. He was like a kid lost in the supermarket - I think he'd frightened the life out of himself.
The mud, twigs and other less savoury coat adornments didn't stop everyone hugging Oscar and celebrating his safe return.
Oscar's mum went missing when she was 8 weeks pregnant, she escaped from her breeder through an open gate. She was on the run for days and the birth of the healthy litter shortly after her being found was a huge relief. But I've often worried that he might have inherited the wandering gene.
He isn't called Oscar Wild for nothing.
Bin night now ringed in red on the calendar.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Scooby-Doo where are you?

Scooby-Doo turns 40 this year. To celebrate they're on the hunt for the UK dog who looks most like him. The search will confirm which breed is the closest match, both in looks and personality, to the lovable, but mischievous Scooby – reputedly based on a Great Dane. But who has seen a brown Great Dane with black spots? I'm thinking this is a competition in which a cross is going to win, either that someone with a fawn Great Dane and a talent for canine body makeup!
The press release says the dogs will be judged on strict criteria: a nose for mischief, large floppy ears, a spring in their step, brown coat with large black spots, a lovable personality and of course, an endless appetite! The winning pup will be crowned ‘The Living Scooby-Doo’, with his owner winning an exclusive stage debut on the Scooby-Doo Live Show, which is touring the country over his summer.
Email a photo of your dog with your name, age(!), address and telephone number to: or post to Martin Ayres, Cow PR, 15 Bermondsey Square, London, SE1 3UN
Deadline May 31st. Full terms and conditions on

Footwork or rather a lack of it

I have a very short drive to work in the mornings, yet this morning I forgot how to drive.
Has that ever happened to you?
I drive an automatic so there's not that much to remember.
I was wearing a pair of more summery shoes than usual and I'd noticed they were a bit dusty as I got in the car. They'd been hanging up in the kitchen next to Oscar's bed - tantalizingly close just asking for trouble. They'd evaded his chewing but had been exposed to the airborne mud that evaporates as he dries off after his daily excavations. (I think he may be an archaeologist judging by the size of the dig in progress under the window.)
Anyway it was a straight bit of road so I polished my right show absent mindedly against the carpet in the footwell, which seemed to have the same effect as shuffling a pack of cards. My foot seemed to have no memory of which pedal was which or indeed which foot normally does all the work!
The car in front put on its indicator and started to slow and all the blood seemed to drain out of my body in preparation for a RTA.
The wandering foot did remember its job in the nick of time although I did rather stamp on the brakes.
Needed a cup of tea and a sit down when I came into work.
Luckily my fingers can still remember how to type.
It's all Oscar's fault, obviously!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Dream dogs at the shoot

Just home from a solid day of photography at the Martin Dawe Studios in Slough. As always these are as tiring as they are enjoyable. I'm covered in hair and slobber and aching from scrabbling around on the studio floor trying to get dogs to sit still and put their ears up!
They say never work with kids and dogs, but we had a great time! We had a very photogenic seven year old boy with such a cheeky grin who had an amazing rapport with his serene eight year old Rottie. The big dog was so very careful not to step on the little boy, really gentle and considerate. And we had very cute and smiley baby with the family Giant and Standard Schnauzers. (@pixies_mum from Twitter. Magical photos which she might post on Twitter later.)
At various points the studio changed mood completely and was full of Rough Collies (gentle, quiet but a little bit flighty if there was a loud bang), Rotties - mainly rescue (solid, sociable, gentle and waggy), Pekes (bustling, perky and seemingly very many more than four!) and Irish Setters who fell into two distinct camps (gorgeous and dippy or gorgeous and surprisingly well behaved).
Surprise easiest shots of the day were with the two nine week old Irish Setters. So calm and sensible. They posed perfectly - sitting and staying and just looking adorable from every angle. Just shows you can't always go by the rule book - buying littermates seem to have worked very well in this case, but the owners were very experienced and had obviously put such a lot of work in already.
And the last two dogs of the day - what a treat. Natalie Mangnall with Irish Setter Finnella and Jack Russell Travis. Some of you may know that Natalie is very bravely battling terminal cancer and is enduring lots of unpleasant treatment trying to buy as much extra time as possible.
Even though the treatment would knock most people sideways Natalie always spends lots of time with her dogs no matter how poorly she feels and she has raised and trained her two beautiful dogs to the very highest possible standard.
I have never seen anyone train an Irish Setter to do even a fraction of the things that Finnella did in front of our cameras today. It really was inspirational seeing her work. Everything brain box Travis could do, Finnella could do, too - even though she's only just one year old.
Last time we had Travis at a shoot I asked whether he could put his head between his paws and look sad. Natalie hadn't thought of teaching that command until then and went home and trained both dogs to do this on the command of 'say you're sorry'.
Amazing. And both dogs had mastered a look that melts your heart!
Natalie and her partner came all the way from the Lake District to our shoot in Slough. What superstars. And here I am moaning that I feel tired after my day, I'm ashamed. Natalie really is an inspirational woman.
If anyone wants a dog for acting or commercials I couldn't recommend Finnella and Travis highly enough. I've never encountered better trained dogs even in professional hands. I know how proud Natalie would be see her beloved dogs on TV - it would give her a real boost although I have to say that despite the cards she's been dealt she's such a smiley positive person, you'd never guess. Anyone got any contacts to make a dream come true?
Thank you to everyone who came to the shoot - and to Chloe for organising it all!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Jacob latest

Are you able to get out to Welwyn Garden City today? If so, can you keep your eyes peeled for someone walking Jacob? Yesterday a piece mentioning the GMTV plug ran in the local paper, and we had a sighting of a dog very much like him tied up outside the Co-op. If this is just a look-alike we need the owner to come forward so the search can continue elsewhere. But if it's not... it's just so promising.
If you email and mention Jacob you will be sent up to date posters to print out.
Shelley has talked to the postmen and the shopkeepers - but it really is a case of the more of us helping the better.
Shelley and her husband were walking the streets till after 11pm last night and they plan to do the same today.
We need to keep the momentum going.
Can we get the local radio stations to cover the story? Anyone any contacts?
Here's Jacob's owner's blog.
Fingers crossed that this boy will be home soon. And if you are the person who has Jacob you have nothing to fear, they only want him back and there is a substantial reward for whoever makes that happen.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Jacob sighting!

After the GMTV tweet about Jacob being sighted in Welywn Garden City the local paper ran the story. Today on Dog Lost the following update:

Welwyn paper ran story today and owner has had a call saying a lady has seen him tied up outside a shop in Welwyn Garden city yesterday. Owner on his way to investigate. Fingers crossed! The area is Hall Grove shops, Broadwater road

Fingers very firmly crossed! Heart in mouth waiting for news.

Am I allergic to the KC?

I have to say the KC press release issued about Bo the Obama dog really irritated me. It didn't make me scratch, didn't bring me out in hives, it just made me mad.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Communications Director, said: “The Obamas clearly did a lot of careful research before deciding that the Portuguese Water Dog was for them. The breed standard describes it as a smart, resilient and optimistic breed and its coat is hypo allergenic, meaning it will not aggravate their daughter’s allergies, so it seems to be the perfect fit for the family."

Oh dear. Now that really isn't a very smart thing to say is it? Most allergies are caused by dander or saliva - but here we have the authoritative voice of the KC saying definitively that this none-shedding breed is hypoallergenic. Agrrrr!

More sensible counter opinion is out there, so hopefully people will do more research than just ask the KC for advice. Pete the vet in the Telegraph has blogged this.

I find myself getting irritated every time I hear that the dog's breed, a Portuguese Water Dog, has "hypoallergenic fur".

The truth is that there's no such thing as hypoallergenic fur, nor are there "hypoallergenic breeds". This is the type of hype that's rumoured to be quietly disseminated by certain self-serving dog breeders hoping to sell more puppies. It's interesting that the Kennel Club reports that there's been a huge surge of interest in Portuguese Water Dogs.

Pete the vet is such a gentleman, he points to the KC press release but doesn't underline the fact that it is the KC itself putting out these silly inaccurate stories likely to lead to a surge of interest!
Pete's blog has some very sensible ideas for anyone with allergies thinking of getting a dog.
I would urge caution and spending 24 hours with an adult of the breed before you take the plunge if possible.
Many Labradoodles are given up by people who expect them to be the answer to their allergic child's prayer.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Bo selected

Later there's a Whitehouse press conference on the new American first dog.
It'll introduce a very cute six month old Portuguese Water Dog called Bo. Not really a rescue, but a little bit recycled - so a compromise between ethics and cuteness. Bo went back to his breeder after his first home didn't work out. (They already had an older dog that couldn't accept Bo.)
More controversially, Bo has been away being trained to be a 'little gentleman', rather than being trained in situ by the family. Ideally Bo should be bonding and living with his people, but it is an unusual situation.
How many proper dog people would sell the Obamas a dog? They'd struggle to get approved to take on a rescue dog from most of our national charities. Kids under 12? Both parents working? Lots of overseas travel.... "sorry, nothing suitable."
Little Bo will need some pretty good dog carers around as I suspect establishing anything like a normal routine is going to be pretty tricky otherwise.
And about the choice of breed, isn't it a little testing for a first dog? Not just as the Presidential First Dog, just as a breed to be anyone's first dog?
While the name of the breed sounds a bit like a gundog the dogs were actually used to herd birds into nets - a little like the Nova Scotia Duck Tollers. So a combo of herding and gundoggy? Sounds a bit like a Border Collie x Springer to me... dynamite on the activity levels if the working instincts are strong.
Wonder what shape the Oval office would be in after a bit of doggie DIY?
What other negatives are there with what is a numerically very small breed?
All the American PWD can trace their roots back to 31 dogs!
I do hope the family are going to appoint a good progressive dog advisor. A small gene pool and known autoimmune concerns? I'd be looking at feeding and vaccination regimes carefully as well as stress levels. If MHC erosion is the problem they'll really need to watch those environmental triggers.

Whatever happens Bo will live a very public life in the Whitehouse... perhaps this little dog will heighten awareness of inbreeding issues?
Autoimmune blights my breed and it's ghastly.
PWD get Addisions - found in animals and in people - ironically John F. Kennedy also lived with the disease. There's the usual eye, hip and elbow problems together with some more unusual nasties like Puppy Heart Disease, hair loss at two or three years old particularly if two curly dogs are bred together, and the very nasty neurological GM-1 storage disease - but as that's usually fatal by five months, Bo looks to have side-stepped that one.
I'm guessing this dog has already had every possible test and the breeder and the line has been closely examined.
So with all those months of contemplation, did the Obamas make the right choice?
I'm sure they'll love Bo to bits, who wouldn't. We all love the dog we're with despite any health concerns.

Running for the Whitehouse

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Stick with it there's a very funny cake at the end

About twenty blogs ago we had a thread which KC supporter/member of staff Sirius keeps commenting on and I'm sure most of you are missing the witty exchanges, so I've brought it forward.
Here's the link...
I'd got a bit cheesed off with Sirius slagging off real people while refusing to say who he or she is and being Easter I thought it appropriate to call a chicken a chicken.
It seems to have stirred Sirius up a bit and in her/his last comment she asks for an answer from Jemima Harrison on the Eugenics assertion in Pedigree Dogs Exposed.
Even though it's a bank holiday, here's the answer...
The phrasing of “The Kennel Club was born out of the eugenics movement” is mildly arguable. We should, perhaps, have said that “the Kennel Club was built, and continues to function, on the morally and scientifically flawed principles that underpinned the eugenics movement”. Or as this is a tad unwieldy for TV commentary: “The Kennel Club was shaped by the eugenics movement”. I don’t suppose either would make Sirius feel any happier, though.

The Eugenics Movement itself was not given a formal name until, I think, 1905, but Galton coined the term “eugenics” in 1883. And he first sketched out his theory in the 1865 article "Hereditary Talent and Character," then elaborated further in his 1869 book “Hereditary Genius”, four years before the KC was founded.

But of course the KC was was not born fully-fledged in 1873.

“In 1880 the Committee introduced a system of `universal registration' which was strongly opposed at first, but the advantage of reserving the use of a name for a dog was quickly seen and accepted. Registration in 1880 was nothing more than the registration of a name to avoid duplication in the Stud Book, the pedigree was of little importance and only came as an aid to identification at a later stage.”

In other words, the pimp-that-purity thang came later...

The truth is that the KC was absolutely refining its rules re closed stud books, purity, best-to-best etc during the eugenics hey-day of the early-to-mid part of the 20th century.

Stephen Budiansky/The Truth About Dogs:

“There was more than a passing element of Victorian racist thinking behind all of this. Books and articles about animal breeding from the turn of the last century are full of exhortations to eliminate ‘weaklings’ and to invigorate the face by maintaining the ‘purity’ of its ‘blood lines. There was much excoriation of ‘mongrels’ and ‘curs’ and ‘half-castes’, and much talk of the evil tendencies shown by ‘badly bred’ specimens.

“Virtually all such advice about ‘purity’ is directly contradicted by modern genetic knowledge; in fact it is hybrids that show vigour, purebreds that tend to exhibit debilitating inborn diseases. But eugenics was the intellectual fad of the early years of the 20th century and its scientific trappings gave it considerable influence in everything from criminology to dog breeding....”

“I am not trying to suggest that modern dog fanciers are crypto-fascists. But they have inherited a breeding paradigm that is, at the very least, a bit anachornistic in light of modern genetic knowledge, and that first arose of a pretty blanant misinterpretation of Darwin and an enthusiasm for social theories that have long been discredited as scientifically insupportable and morally questionable.”

In fact, I have a copy here of “Stonehenge on the Dog” (1879) in which there is a whole chapter on judicious crossing to improve dogs. And I also have here “Dogs of Today” by Major Harding Cox (1931) which says:

“As a rule, when cross-breeding is resorted to for the purpose of introducing new blood, or where intensive inbreeding has wrought its individual evil, it is customary to employ blood which is germane to that which is is expected to improve. Thus the Spaniel and the Setter lend themselves admirably to the process since each is in breed germane to the other. Again, the blood of the Spaniel and the Setter amalgamates well.”

Where did they forget all this?

And we have an another reply from the top blogger terrierman. Where else do you get this sort of cerebral stuff on Easter Saturday.

My one-word answer to Sirius is: YES.

The scientific breeding of humans to improve their capabilities was first proposed by Plato who suggested that human breeding be regulated by the state, with the best being bred to the best based on a numerical ranking system.

Several thousand years later, this was exactly the idea embraced by The Kennel Club when “Stonehenge” (John Henry Walsh) created the dog show point system.

The Kennel Club was the creator of a formal eugenics system for dogs, and it continues to embrace this system to this day.

Did the founders of the Kennel Club sit around in 1873 with pit helmets on planning the take over the Sudetenland?


Did it then think then, and now, that a dog is “better” or “worse” based on color of fur, that sterilization and even infanticide was a good way to “improve the race,” and that central control of breeding was (and is) is a good idea to achieve the primacy of a “pure” race?


That is what the Kennel Club is all about.

Ironically, no one else still holds tight to this rope, not because of any fussy fascination with morality or ethics, but because it does not work.

The cattle breeders figured it pretty quickly, and so too did the chicken breeders, horse racers, and the dog men at the track.

A fast horse or dog is not a wrong color, and it almost always has a low COI.

That said, I still do not know why you folks are even reading Sirius.

Ask Sirius to report back on the following connections: Plato, Bakewell, Malthus, Darwin (all three of them), Galton (both of them), John Henry Walsh, and Leon Whitney.

When he or she can write 10 paragrqphs on the above connections, we can continue on with the conversation.
So there you are Sirius, you've got your homework set...

Another old blog getting some really fascinating comments on it is this one...

Sorry for no new blogs today - but bank holiday TV is always full of repeats, too!
I have been having a little bit of a Tweet and can report the successful re-tweet of the Jacob story on Paul Daniel's twitter to... not a lot, actually loads - 13,000 followers - now that really was magic.
Another highlight from my Twittering is Button in F1 disaster a bad taste joke and the most fascinating blog I've ever discovered which combines cakes and dogs, two of my favourite things!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Has anyone seen grieving Romany?

Just heard of this very sad story from Border Collie Rescue - can you please post details anywhere you think it might help?

A man called us saying he had two Border Collies to rehome, 11 yr old sisters. Romany and Niji.
He explained that his wife had just died of cancer and he could not continue to look after the dogs properly on his own, due to work commitments.
He advised us that they had bred a litter and kept these two dogs with the mother, and that the mother had died a week after his wife and that the dogs were grieving for both their human and canine mum.
We decided to act promptly to avoid further issues setting in and set up a date for him to bring the dogs to us.
He told us that he, his wife and all the dogs had been regular climbers of Ben Nevis and he proposed to make a final trip up the mountain to scatter his wife's ashes on Tuesday 24th March, with the two dogs, and drop them into us at York on his way back down country on Thursday 26th.
He turned up with one dog, Niji, explaining that Romany had run off on the mountain side in the fog when they were ascending. He aborted his plan to scatter the ashes and spent as much time as he could searching until the weather set in with sleet and snow.
Romany is deaf and epileptic, but had not suffered a fit for three years and was on daily medication.
He signed both dogs over to us and we started a campaign, via net, emails and twitter to spread the word and try and find her.
The media seemed completely disinterested and so far only one paper, Aberdeen based Press and Herald, has printed an article - that on the local pages for the area. Nevis Radio has been regularly broadcasting appeals.
Several newspapers have contacted us and we have sent details but have printed - nowt!
We have notified all appropriate agencies and have local volunteers searching, putting up posters and following up sightings. Local SSPCA inspector has provided a dog trap, even hiking up the mountainside with it. One helper persuaded a group with a helicopter to sweep the area on one clear, fine day.
The email campaign is now being spearheaded by a lady in Sussex who has sent out hundreds of messages.
She is now emailing vets around the UK asking them to look out for the dog if one of their clients turns up with a new Tri BC. She is chipped and that is now in our name. It is quite possible that someone has found Romany, that she is quite safe and our concerns for her safety are unfounded.
Doglost have a page for her and their Scottish co-ordinators have been out on searches. Local Mountain Rescue have looked - not as a team, but as individual volunteers. Dog wardens, etc all aware. Local search on today. There are tweets and re-tweets going on through twitter. The local area around Fort William is saturated in posters. Many and varied forums now carry the message with a link to our webpage. Details, updates and images on this page.
We are keen to get some press coverage to get word out generally, on the basis that a visitor to the area may have picked her up and taken her home to anywhere in the UK - hence the wide vet email information campaign now in progress.
It's now 2 weeks since she vanished and weather conditions up there have been bad for much of that time, however we are hopeful that she has managed to survive somehow as she is apparently a good scavenger and is used to living and spending time in outside kennel and run.

From a Tweet to GMTV

If any of you are hovering, not yet brave enough to make their first Tweet, do consider if you have room in your life for another addiction. It is powerful stuff.
I have immersed myself in Tweetdom for a few days, I did have noble objectives, but I must say once you start it's hard to stop.
My poor family has endured me wittering on about twittering, put up with missing me on the sofa when the pull of the computer has just been too great and they have tried to look excited when I've had a very successful Tweet.
So what is it?
It's a bit like instant messaging, I guess. It's short - maximum 140 characters (not words). People follow you - ie listen in to what you say and join in. And you can follow anyone you like, too.
When you request to follow someone they get the chance to follow you, too. Most of the celebs won't follow you, don't be hurt. It's just not feasible.
But others with an interest are more likely to respond. If you go into my account you can see all the people I am following and you can click to follow them, too. I've assembled nearly all the doggie Tweeters I can find and all the celebs - so that might make it easy to get started. A few are fakes - Richard Madeley is very odd, if not - same true for Terry Wogan!
The Twitter world has some big players, voices that everyone likes to tune in to. Most people follow @Wossy - Jonathan Ross - he's got 193,234 followers. @stephenfry - 386,868 followers.
Andi Peters (@xxandip ) - is a great introducer of other celebs as is Phillip Schofield (@Schofe) - 132,126 followers. All love to share details of their life and often break stories you'll later read in the papers.
My aim was to get one of the big guns to publicise missing dog Jacob and get non dog people looking for him too.
And within the space of a few days I got the lovely Richard Hammond (@richard_hamster) to help, Russell Grant (@AstrologerRoyal) is putting his mind to it and best of all the lovely Jenni Falconer (@Jennifalconer) gave Jacob the Welwyn Garden City wanderer a plug this morning on GMTV.
Along the way I've tweeted with Jonathan Ross about my old Sinclair Spectrum, discussed whether animal fat from dogs is in soap with Tony Blackburn and helped Gyles Brandreth out by telling him the top three dog names. Claudia Winkleman was my first celeb tweeter and as such will always be fondly remembered.
Let's hope all this Tweeting gets Jacob home. Do get out there and see if you can get your fav celeb to RT the message? It's great fun trying.
Here's the tiny URL to use - full length web addresses take up so many of your 140 characters.
Good luck and do tweet me when you've joined - I'm unimaginatively @beverleycuddy
Click here to start

Monday, 6 April 2009

Please Tweet for Jacob

I've been twittering today rather a lot and neglecting the blog. But I've been writing, too. Wouldn't like you to imagine I've been slacking. My Twittering ambition is to get one of the really huge celebs to ReTweet something about Jacob, the Bracco Italiano that has been missing since January. I just figure all us doggie people already know to keep an eye out for him, we just need all the non-dog people to have a look around their neighbourhoods, too.
I am sure someone has taken Jacob in, bought him in a pub probably. Someone who probably has no idea he has owners worried sick somewhere. Probably imagines he was maltreated as he'd be lean and uncared for after being on the run for so long.
We just need more people looking.
If you are on any non dog forums can you spread the word, too?
If you're on Twitter - please RT.
If you're on any social networking sites now is the time to raise awareness. There's been sightings of a man walking a dog like Jacob in the Welwyn Garden City area.
Let's try another push to get everyone looking for Jacob. He has a pea sized lump on his shoulder if you're not 100% sure.
A few days ago Demi Moore saved a suicidal woman on Twitter, I'm sure a few Tweets could save this dog and reunite him with his worried owners...
I've started by targeting Jonathan Ross - Wossy. He's one of the most popular people on Twitter - if he retweets the message over 100,000 people will know about it. I've had two goes but he's been very quiet on both days and probably has hundreds of unread messages on Twitter.
Here's a message to send to others - you might have more luck.

Please can you help reunite this gorgeous lost dog? One of your followers might have seen him being walked?

Let's spread the word and if someone has Jacob and is unaware he's hugely missed perhaps we can get the message to him!

Here's another video of Jacob.

Missing Bracco Italiano Jacob, who went missing from the Saffron Walden, CB11 4XB area on 21st January 2009. Jacob is a 3 year old male, orange and white in colouring. He stands approximately 27" at his shoulder height and would have weighed about 38kg as at 21/01/09 Any information relating to his whereabouts, or possible sightings please call on 07828 671550 REWARD OF £500 OFFERED FOR SAFE RETURN - NO QUESTIONS ASKED

Here's Jacob's blog

I want one of these!

If the manufacturer has any samples... you know where I am!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Pet Passports - why wait?

At the BSAVA veterinary congress in Birmingham they are discussing the proposal to get rid of the massive delay between applying for and getting a pet passport - to bring us in line with the rest of Europe.
At the moment you need to start the process seven months before you travel, and for many people this is very difficult to foresee. Not many of us get seven months notice of a job transferring overseas or of a relative needing you to look after them after a fall.
The current economic crisis has seen lots of people in Spain caught out. The pound euro exchange rate tumble has reduced UK pensions by 30% and many have had to return to England in a great hurry when they'd hoped to spend their twilight years in their new home. Sadly the seven month wait for passport approval has led to many dogs and cats being put to sleep or abandoned in kennels as pensioners struggle to pay the kennel fees.
What do you think, should we speed up the passport process? The six month wait is after a successful blood test to show the vaccine worked, no further tests are done after the six month wait.
Are we being overly picky on this point and does it make us less secure rather than more? Does having this huge time lag encourage desperate people to smuggle rather than abandon their pets?
What do you think?

I have to admit I haven't used the Pet Passport scheme. Below is copy and pasted from Defra's website and so far as I can see there are no tests done after the first blood test - then there seems to be a six month wait and no re-test. If this is not the case I have to say Defra's website is very misleading!

Blood testing and the 6 month rule

After vaccination against rabies, you may take a blood sample from the animal and send it to be analysed at an at an EU-approved laboratory. Read the microchip before taking the sample.

The vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet will give the best time for a blood sample to be taken after vaccination. You may wish to give your client a signed record of the date the sample was taken with the microchip number correctly stated.

Where the blood sample is analysed

The blood sample must be analysed EU-approved laboratory. An analysis carried out before the recognition date of the laboratory is not acceptable.

Ask the laboratory for the correct submission form and advice on labelling and delivery of the sample. Make sure that the microchip number and the date the blood sample was taken are accurately and clearly recorded on the submission form.

Laboratory containment requirements

Blood test result

A satisfactory test result must show that the rabies neutralising antibody titre was equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml. The test result must show the animal’s microchip number. If it does not, ask the laboratory for one that does. Give your client a certified copy of the result and keep the original at your practice.

Failed blood tests

If an animal fails the blood test, the test must be repeated and this may be done following revaccination depending on your advice to the client. The 6 calendar month wait before entering the UK (see below) would start from the date that a subsequent blood sample that gave a satisfactory result was taken.

Further blood tests

No further blood tests are required following a satisfactory result as long as the animal is revaccinated against rabies on time.

The 6 month rule for entering or re-entering the UK

A dog or cat may not enter or re-enter the UK until 6 calendar months have passed from the date that the blood sample which gave a satisfactory test result was taken.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Jacob is still missing

I posted something ages ago to say to keep a look out for gorgeous Jacob, the distinctive Bracco Italiano who chased a deer on January 21st and got lost. He was in the Saffron Walden area and there have been lots of sightings - but he's still not home.
There is a blog to follow for updates, his poor owners must be exhausted. I know from personal experience you never do sleep properly when your dog is missing.
Please spread the word and keep the search alive.
Click here for the blog.
Here's some video footage, too.
Has someone in your area suddenly started walking an adult dog? Has anyone been offered a dog like this in a pub?
It may be that someone has taken this dog in thinking he's unwanted.
There is a reward of £500 for his safe return, no questions asked.
Any information relating to his whereabouts, or possible sightings please call 07828 671550

Let's all wish Jacob luck getting home as soon as possible.

The slaves of the puppy farming trade

I've just watched a video letter to Carmarthenshire County Council from Puppy Love.
It is upsetting, frustrating... and just plain wrong how these poor dogs are allowed to live a life of misery. How anyone can think these conditions are acceptable, how these people are licensed to enslave.
The terrified Cockers, the matted little dogs, all those sad little faces that will never know a better life.
If you can stand to watch - here's the link. And we need to steel ourselves to look, allow ourselves to be moved enough to find the energy to change the way dogs are let down by the system in this country.
We have a major article on puppy farming in our latest issue.

Can you guess this cross?

Today is the last day for guessing what two breeds make up Quinn, a handsome cross and we have no correct ones so far.
So I'll start you off with a vague clue... mum and dad are from two different groups and both work for a living. We don't think he looks like either parent if that helps! One of the breeds is not KC recognised.
The winner gets the huge honour of winning - and also a doggie book of your choice for Interpet - either a breed book or a generic.
As we have a tight turnaround I'll be giving more clues later - so please keep checking back!
Email your best guesses to or comment here.
First correct entry wins it - multiple guesses accepted.

One of the parents has a seasonal theme. The other is more associated with the weather we get in April.

Gosh this is proving hard! NEW CLUE:
One of the breeds I own ex a breed that many Fell for but not the KC...

It's all over!
Congratulations to Jane Arden for being the first to guess Springer x Patterdale.