Friday, 27 February 2009

Take the dog for a pull?

Have you heard of the latest craze - dog scooters? At first I thought it was just the natural evolution for clever dogs who had already mastered the skateboard, but this is a scooter you ride on while being pulled along by your dog...
Apart from having some serious concerns about my own dogs' concentration levels when a rabbit might cross our path, it sounds like an fun way of keeping up with very athletic dogs.
Click here to reach our sister blog the Think Tank for more details.
Also new on there - a question about really top notch healthy puppy diets. What's your favourite? Didn't know that Naturediet did a pup variety!

Everyone's buying a Patrick Burns this year

What will be the must have item at this year's Crufts? Sadly, not this.

Bags from Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Lauren always look like copies even if you've pawned the family silver to buy real ones. And what do these items say about the purchaser? Nothing intelligent - they're often just designs made up of someone else's initials.
Why not buy a bag that actually says something.
A piece from the new Patrick Burns evolutionary collection won't cost the earth, but the message it conveys may change the dog world!
And if you click here you can order this design on T-shirts and mugs, too. Plus there's this other one, too...

Still wondering what to wear at the NEC next week? And should you be worried that the clothes won't arrive in time for Crufts Patrick has very kindly provided a free download option so you can get the design run out on any garment of your choice free of charge at your nearest Tshirt shop.

If you want any more lifestyle pointers or to download the artwork check out Patrick Burns (also known as Terrierman), here's a link to his excellent blog.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

No BBC, No DT....

Possibly in a moment of euphoric madness I thought I'd apply for a press pass for Crufts this year - for the first time in ages.
I think I thought it might have been interesting to check out the start of the much awaited KC reformation.
But any hopes that the Dalmatian might have changed its spots since the days the KC penned a memo to their staff banning them from even reading Dogs Today seems so have been somewhat premature.
There wasn't an immediate no, so I thought maybe things might be thawing between us - now that they are finally starting on the long road to behaving themselves.
That they may soon be on the same side as us.

But no, just got this email...

Dear Ms Cuddy

After careful consideration of the situation, the Kennel Club has once again taken the decision not to accept any applications for press registration from yourself and anyone else representing Dogs Today at this year’s Crufts. I am sorry for any inconvenience caused.
Yours sincerely etc

I stopped being surprised by the KC's approach to media relations some time ago.
I would so dearly love to be surprised by them on many fronts.
Imagine if they brought in automatic searchable Coefficients of Inbreeding over the Internet without them having to be put in a corner and bullied into it?
Introduced guidelines for breeders to help them move away from intense inbreeding.
Willingly grasping those nettles before it's too late for breeds already riddled with recessive nasties that might have been avoided with less tardy action to counter the overuse of popular sires.
Wouldn't it be lovely if they'd instantly changed the rules about weighing Dachshunds instead of just trying to cover up the starved and dehydrated dogs by banning this practise at only one show in the year.

I could go on... but I think you get the point.

Never mind, maybe next year we'll have a KC which will be on the same side as us, in the vital battle for pedigree dog health.
Hope so for dog's sake.

Please visit the Think Tank...

I think it's time to draw your attention to our sister blog the Think Tank. We'd really like as many of you to get involved as possible and share your knowledge. The more people thinking about the questions the better! Do stop by as often as possible as stories develop on there every day. For example the very sad story of Poppy the Boxer traumatised by a burglary - we've just sent Think Tank behaviourist Amy Hatcher to make a site visit and we're hoping that Poppy will be blooming again sometime soon. Do keep checking for updates.

Here's some of the recent questions we still need answers to, if you can help do either leave a comment on the blog or email me and I'll post your reply if you're finding it tricky.
If you click on the title it will take you direct to the page on the blog where you can leave your comment - or you can email
If you have a question you'd like answered email who edits this section of the magazine.
Much of the Think Tank will end up in print and will be even wider read and the answers will stay searchable on the blog to help others with similar problems, so please do share your experiences.

Retraining a deaf dog
I rescued a seven-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff with severe ear problems about a year ago. He has had a number of chronic ear problems in the past, left untreated by his previous owners, which have now caused abnormalities in both ear canals. Yesterday the vet had to perform a bilateral TECA/LBO and he is now completely deaf.
Does anyone have any experience of retraining an older dog who has lost his hearing? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Kim Stock

Manic Morph
I’d like some advice regarding my recent family addition; a two-year-old neutered male Border Collie called Morph, who’s been living with us for seven-and-a-half weeks. I know very little of his history as he was a stray.
We discovered he was microchipped, but when we spoke to the people he was registered with they told us they had lost him four months previously, had seen him walked by someone else and he looked so happy they didn’t want him back, which sounded a bit suspicious to me.
I decided to give him a trial and he hit it off with my Border Collie bitch, Ebony. It has become evident, however, that he has received very little training or stimulation of any sort. He pretty much has every problem an under-stimulated collie could have. He chases everything (including my cats), he stalks cars and sometimes he tries to catch them, throwing himself at them. Ebony also had this problem when we first bought her and I managed to stop it, but she was younger and a lot easier to hold on to than Morph!
He also takes food from the worktops and barks constantly when he’s in the car. I’ve tried a humane collar that shoots out air when he barks. It was fantastic at first, but then he discovered that it was just as fun to bark at the air coming out of the collar. When he’s not barking he’s licking the windows or grating his teeth on them. I don’t know whether this is because car journeys are stressful for him or whether it’s because he wants to chase the cars.
When excited, Morph tends to use us as springboards. He also fixes his sight on various things (quite often light bulbs) and just stares at them and jumps straight up at them. He also chases his tail; in fact he’s chewed the end of it off.
I love him to pieces and I know that he hasn’t been with us very long, but I’m wondering if I’ve taken on a dog that’s too much and if he would be better off with someone who had more time to devote directly to him. I’m self-employed and the dogs are with me as much as is possible. They also have a three-hour (minimum) walk each day.
I know he’ll be the most fantastic dog once he’s trained. I just want what’s best for him. I’d rather rehome him sooner or later if I have to, but directly, and not via a rescue centre. Is there any advice you can give me with his multitude of problems?
Amy Britcher, by email

Ashes to Ashes?
I'm wondering if anyone else has read what's in their dog food and has gone ugh!
I feed a really top notch food that's meant to be really healthy - yet even that has 5% Ash in it.
What is Ash and why is it in seemingly in every prepared dog food? Is it just something to bulk it out - surely it can't be healthy eating ashes?
Will Holmes, Weybridge

What's a Belly Band?
Just heard that the KC have concerns about the misuse of belly bands, I'd never even heard of them before then. What are they, what are they meant to be used for and how could they be abused?
Sarah Stevens, Slough

A Belly Band seems to be an American invention - it's a wrap secured by Velcro that goes around a male dog's middle stopping them weeing or even mating! Correctly used they stop dogs from scent marking - particularly useful for hard to housetrain dogs or dogs that may be incontinent. Incontinence pads can be used inside the wrap. The KC are worried about these wraps being too tight or being left on for too long.

Heavy Price to Pay
I had to change vets recently due to having no transport to travel to the practice I have used for 20 years, which is 10 miles away.
The medical records were transferred for my dog Millie who has a heart problem. She has been taking Fortekor 5mg, for which I have been paying £26.54 for 28 tablets. After a consultation (as a new patient) I was given the usual tablets but was charged over £42 for them. When I questioned the price difference I was told that this was the price they were charged from their supplier. I explained I would find it difficult to afford this price and she then said that perhaps they could do a 'deal' and suggested £31.50.
Is it a common thing for medication to vary so much in price between different vets? I find it quite shocking.
Deborah Lyons, Leicester

Reprogramming Needed
I have a five-year-old Westie bitch who has increasingly taken to attacking the television whenever a programme or an advert comes on that has a dog in it (sometimes other animals too) – in fact there is one advert in particular that really sets her off – the Specsavers sheep shearing one! She actually launches herself at the television, barking and growling and trying to paw at the dog or animal. I have tried to use a distraction but to little avail, even the odd food treat when she leaves it alone has no impact; I have even shut her in another room until she calms down as advised by another dog walker. If I put her on the lead she does calm down and settles almost to watch it but I do not want to keep having to do this to her every time I have the television on. Any suggestions would be most welcome!!!

Reaction or just a coincidence?
Is it possible to have a reaction to other injections - not just a vaccine?
I have heard of a dog developing a lump on the site of an anti-biotic jab. What could cause that? Is their any other ingredients in an antibiotic jab that a very sensitive animal could have a reaction to? Or could the antibiotic itself set off a lumpy reaction? Or could it just be a coincidence?

Fading Away
I've noticed that sometimes my dog's nose and lips can become less brown. It's usually when she's about to come into season. Is it an old wives tale or could this be a sign of a lack of iron?
An old breeder friend says to give her kelp - but where do you get it? Someone else recommended Brewer's Yeast. But how much and how often? (She's a Springer Spaniel)
Should I go to my vet and get her checked out? Could this be a symptom of something more serious? I read on a forum that autoimmune can be linked to fading pigment.
Sarah Stevens

Eye Don't know
My dog has quite unusual eyes, but they seem to have changed colour as his coat has got lighter and darker. Is this just an optical illusion? Or is it possible for dogs eye colour to change?
My dog is a Beardie which is one of the few breeds to have the greying gene which means their coats change colour all their lives. Could this be true of the pigments in his eyes, too?
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

The Big Sneeze
Can dogs catch colds? I have had a very heavy cold over the past week and now my dog has a runny nose and keeps sneezing.
Karen Hughes

The Lawn Ranger
We have a two-year-old neutered male Labrador who enjoys the run of our back garden. However, after he wees or poos he kicks up great lumps of turf with his back feet. I understand that he is marking his territory, but how can we stop him from digging up our lawn?
Megan Owen

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Strictly Comes to Crufts?

Now I am scratching my head to try to remember why I compared Crufts to Strictly Come Dancing! I guess both have a certain amount of glamour and glitz - but the point I was making was that no one really suffers as a result of SCD. Unless you think the celebs get a bit of a hard time from the judges or we all suffer from Brucie's bad jokes!
I was having a lovely chat to John Walsh from the Independent that seemed to go on for hours and I'd relaxed and I'd almost forgotten I might be quoted. Ruth Padell, (the brilliant poet and Darwin relative) had been reading Dogs Today's coverage of the post-Pedigree-Dogs-Exposed world and had urged John to write a column on Crufts.
I was just meant to be setting the scene for him and as it's my pet subject -but I might have gone on rather a lot!
He's ended up almost writing a book - today's Independent has literally gone to the dogs.
Here's a link. John's immersed himself in the doggie world and done lots of research. I think it's a great piece. He can see the beauty in the dogs as can I, people imagine I am somehow anti-pedigree dog - but it's my love of all our precious breeds that makes me want to protect them so passionately.
But do go and get the paper as the photos are very good, too and you don't really see that online. And it's a paper that deserves our support, it really is a breath of fresh air. Which is what we should all want all dogs to be able to enjoy without impairment.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Caption competition

Percy, a Pug submitted by Pauline Read

As you were so speedy guessing the cross question let's see if you can get your teeth into the caption competition.
Go on have a go - prize this month is a premium dog crate, quality fleece liner and a lint roller courtesy of Cumfy Pets.
Five runners up will receive an easy-clean vinyl heat pad - great for older dogs, ones that just feel the cold or very useful for whelping.
Please send your best captions to or share them via this blog - but remember to check back on March 5th to see if you've won as we'll need your details.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Cross question time

Now last month you were so very hot at guessing the cross that we didn't even go to one clue.

I suspect you'll definitely be stumped by this one - I didn't get either parent in my first ten guesses! Send you best guesses to First correct winner gets a book of your choice - so please specify which breed you'd like it to be about or if you'd prefer a generic dog book instead.
Clues tomorrow - think you're going to need them!

One parent's breed name is associated with a protest involving a hot beverage, the other comes in two types one of which might be found on a lady's dressing table.

Size zero and no heroes

Did you catch the enormous comment on the last blog from Sirius? Gosh that must have hit a nerve!
(This is the person who crops up on numerous forums spouting the KC line yet maintains they don't work for the Kennel Club. If Sirius isn't an employee she/he should be as no one works harder on their behalf than he/she!)
Thanks for the references Sirius, but I was well aware of all the KC had done on this issue - despite them sending us to Coventry on the press release front!
We can all see that the KC had sniffed a potential PR disaster a couple of years ago and banned the scales at Crufts as they didn't want any anorexic Dachshunds swooning under the lights.
It was a quick fix - but it didn't really stop any Dachshunds suffering, it just stopped it happening in the full glare of publicity on the famous green carpet.
The KC had recognised there was a problem - which was great - but they just never followed it through and sorted it out at grass roots level.
To have qualified at Crufts all the Mini Dachshunds would have been weighed at the qualifying shows even if there would be no weigh-in spectacle at the NEC.
I had flagged up this issue a couple of months ago in our mag and even in Our Dogs predicting this would look terrible to the outside world if the KC didn't take action and the Dachshund world didn't clean up its act.
But still the KC didn't do the relatively simple thing and ban the use of scales at all KC licensed shows. Instead we had the suggestion of a bowl of water in the ring to offset any negative publicity.
Well whoever gave them that piece of PR advice wasn't very good were they? It didn't stop a predictably grumbly piece in the paper which reflected badly on the whole show world in general - and that's obviously upset the KC judging by Sirius's response.
This story had already been in the friendly press in plenty of time for the KC to take action - so why didn't they?
The progressive Dachshund people who want the weighing to stop are being pretty brave and need all our encouragement - judges who want to stop weighing are being put under enormous pressure by the sort of doggie dinosaurs the KC has to force to evolve or die if they ever want to improve their reputation. Not wanting to make a rule change seems an odd reason not to take action. If you want to be in charge you have to make changes - you have to rule and in this case sitting on the fence has resulted in a pain in the posterior for the KC.
The KC need to consistently support the reformers if the public are to trust them to do the right thing when they are out of the media spotlight.
Oh and if you're wondering about the Fluffikins reference, it's my pet name. And yes, romantic fiction I don't like to talk about it, but I may have penned a few steamy volumes under another name.
Funnily enough I was talking to the postman just a few minutes ago and he mentioned he'd heard I'd answered the door at home in my PJs at the weekend - I was the talk of the local post office.
Yes - they were pink and those slippers were definitely a bit fluffy.
Sometimes I do wonder how well Sirius knows me - or is it my doppelganger that hangs out with the Poodle boys on Hampstead Heath?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Crufts season starts

The Sunday Telegraph is the first of the papers to cover Crufts and they have chosen to go with the Size zero Dachshund story, an issue covered in our magazine several months ago.
You'd have thought the KC would have taken firm action on this issue even if it was only for PR effect. They could have banned the scales at all shows, but instead only chose to ban them at Crufts - probably hoping this would keep the issue out of the news.
Banning them at their show proved they thought there was a welfare issue, yet allowing the scales to continue at all the qualifying shows showed inconsistency.
Knowing this story was brewing the KC issued a statement saying water would now be available in the Mini Dachshund rings at shows... but as Jemima Harrison points out in the Telegraph, as dogs are shown on leads it's not going to help.
It's a bit like London fashion week saying they'll be taking action on size zero models by lining the catwalk with cream cakes.
Rather oddly the Telegraph picture desk has chosen to illustrate the piece with a photo of a Chinese Crested - in the on line version at least... only the Mini Dachshund is weighed at shows, but never mind!
Tucked away at the end of the story is a mention that Crufts will be broadcast this year via the KC's YouTube channel.
Here's the link to the story.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Endal the documentary

We've just heard that the documentary on Endal and the Partons will air on March 9th on Sky Real Lives.
(I am hoping all footage of me will be edited out as the day the crew came to our photoshoot I was full of flu and I am afraid the redness of my nose will confuse people into thinking the program is somehow linked to Comic Relief!)
Endal the book is still going up the charts and funnily enough there are two Labrador books playfighting for position with Marley and Me having a heightened profile again due to the film.

Do you want one?

There's a new bit in the magazine this month that has a dimension that some readers may have missed.
Each month we have a double page spread highlighting interesting products called "I want one!" And each month one lucky person will win one of all of the goodies featured.
How easy is that!

So if you'd like a new bed, a ramp for your swimming pool or boat , a clever bowl that slows eating down, a sparkly head collar and a clever disk that repels fleas and ticks for two years, read on!
And if you have an unusual product that you'd like to feature in this section in the future phone Terry or Craig on 01276 858880 or email

You just need to send your name and address to : I want one! Dogs Today, Town Mill, Bagshot Rd, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8BZ to arrive before March 5th 2009 when we will pick one lucky winner, here's what you can win:


WHY: Does your dog eat too fast? If so, you're bound to be worried by the risks of indigestion, vomiting and, in more serious cases, bloat. The Brake-Fast bowl,with its three obstructions, is the ideal solution to slow down your dog's eating and thus reduce these risks. The patented design simply does not allow dogs to bolt their food; aggressive feeders will find the bowl sliding away. Vet tested and recommended, the Brake-Fast bowl comes in three sizes.
PRICE: Small £14, medium £15, large £16
THE PRIZE: One bowl of any size to suit your dog
CONTACT: 0161 727 9259


WHY: Do you have a swimming pool? If so, you will certainly have worried about your pet possibly falling in and not being able to get out. Fencing and gates are all very well, but accidents happen! The Skamper-Ramp is new on the UK market and offers peace of mind not for only pet owners, but anyone who worries about wild animals falling into the pool. It fits every type of pool, and is also suitable for boats and marinas. Lightweight and sturdy, UV- and chemical-resistant, the Skamper-Ramper is manufactured in white, a colour that all creatures can see.

PRICE: €89 plus €5 delivery
THE PRIZE: One Skamper-Ramp
CONTACT: 01273 573859


WHY: Because all dogs attract the occasional unwelcome visitor! CatanDog's is a unique, natural product that has a 95 per cent success rate in repelling fleas and ticks from your dog or cat for up to two years. It is a 2.5cm disc that attaches to the animal's collar and uses the earthly magnetic field to produce electromagnetic and scalar waves to repel parasites. Non-toxic, water-resistant, containing no chemicals and requiring no battery, the CatanDog's is a natural answer to an age-old problem, and is suitable for cats and dogs of all breeds and ages, including sick and pregnant animals.
PRICE: Please send cheque for £28.75 ( inc. p & p) payable to NTTL Ltd.
THE PRIZE: One CatanDog's disc
CONTACT: NTTL Ltd, 5 Jardine Court, Church Road, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 1FX. Tel: 01494 601000


WHY: A headcollar is a very useful and popular item, but it has to be admitted they can look a tad boring! New from Dogmatic is the award-winning, leather-lined and very effective model with a choice of three types of 'bling' embedded into the noseband - truly a 'Dazzling' alternative! The Dogmatic Dazzler comes in black/silver with clear rhinestones, brown/brass with pale pink rhinestones, or black/silver with a silver metal pattern. The rhinestones offer the added advantage of reflecting the light. A product fit for a princess - available in sizes 3, 3L and 4.
PRICE: £28.50
THE PRIZE: One Dogmatic Dazzler of your choice
CONTACT: 01652 657922

WHY: All dogs deserve a comfy bed, and all owners deserve one that looks good and is easy to care for. The Faux Leather Dog Bed from Pet Beds & Baskets is an all-round winner. Its deep 10cm polyester fleece padding means it's utter luxury for your dog, and the bed can be cleaned simply by a wipe with a damp cloth, which is easy for you! This classic style will complement any room. The cover is removable, and has an easy-care nylon base. The bed is available in two sizes - 90cm x 65cm and 110cm x 80cm.
PRICE: The smaller costs £43.99 and the larger £57.99
THE PRIZE: One 90cm x 65cm bed, to fit a dog up to Labrador size
CONTACT: 01634 222380

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Golden Oldies

Have you got a beloved older dog you'd like to pay tribute to? Do you have any hints to pass on about how best to help the years lie lightly?
All of the dogs featured in next month's magazine will receive a freshly baked treat courtesy of Daisy’s Dog Deli. The oldest will be sent a turkey and rosemary bone-shaped cake and the others will receive a bacon and cheese muffin. For details of the full delicious range of biscuits, cakes, snacks and hampers visit or call 020 8859 0041.
If we calculate that your dog's age in human years is more than 100 we'll send you a telegram from the Queen's Corgis!
Email your stories and photos to ASAP.

Licenced or incensed?

Just been looking through the two dog papers and there was an interesting letter about the KC no longer refusing to register litters from people who have two litters from the same bitch in a year. I have to say I thought they rejected these litters and those born to bitches over 7 years of age.
The comment from Dog World printed after the letter was that the KC never did refuse to register these litters - but that it was against the law for licensed breeders to register two litters a year, but there was nothing to stop unlicensed breeders so these litters could be KC reg.
Is it just me that is shocked that the KC will register these litters? When I was working at the KC 20 plus years ago and the computerisation was just kicking in, too little gap between litters was one of the things the system highlighted automatically and I thought these litters were then rejected or at the very least strictly investigated!
Can't believe the KC is registering puppies that would even be illegal if bred by a licenced puppy farmer!
KC registration really needs to be the mark of quality that the public imagines it to be.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The dog magazine whisperers

Just heard a really odd rumour.
Someone is spreading a story that all the Dogs Today staff have walked out.
Also heard that someone has been making really weird malevolent anonymous phone calls about us.
Sometimes I do wonder if I need to be in a less stressful job!
Who'd have thought a little dog magazine could be such a hot bed for espionage!
Just emailed all my people (it's half term so I've not yet walked in to the office to see for myself - who knows they might have walked out!) and I've had email back to say they are definitely all there!
Might have to order pizza for the guys today just in case they decide not to stick it out till the end of the day! It's hell working on a dog magazine quite obviously.
I guess technically the rumour is true - the employees walk out of the building at the end of the day and then they walk back in the next day - so long as it's not under water!
Jeez, where do these things start and why?
Do let me know if you've heard any whispers, we're writing them all down!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Marley and Me

You don't get invites to many premiere's in my job, but I almost got an invite to the red carpet opening of the movie Marley and Me.
Story of my life...
Of course it went and snowed on the day of the real premiere didn't it so it got cancelled. When it got rescheduled it was downgraded to a screening, but it was still pretty cool seeing it a few weeks before it came out. No celebs in sight, but a very full cinema full of reviewers and even though I've not read their reviews yet - there was a spontaneous round of applause when the credits finished.
I had read the book and also the kids' book to Kieran, so we knew what to expect - we knew to take tissues and I left off my mascara.
Pedigree had very kindly given us four tickets so the whole family got to sniff back the tears in public. Pedigree get loads of product placement in this movie by the way!
It wasn't a bad film although I can't see anyone getting an Oscar, in some ways the doggie content was less controversial than the book. Fewer training references that could make hard core doggie people have those sharp intakes of breath when someone knees a dog in the chest for jumping up etc! And lots and lots of cute dogs playing Marley at all the stages in his life.
Defy anyone not to cry at the end, even though you know it's coming.
If you're going to see it in the cinema try not to sit in front of any eight year old boys as my son kicked the poor woman in front's seat quite a few times, especially when it was either a sad bit and he didn't want to cry - or an embarrassing bit where the two main characters kissed.
His review, "I preferred the book." But the kids' version didn't have any of the relationship stuff that made him blush!

Crufts demo

The Kennel Club seem to be publicising a demonstration at Crufts. Not an agility demo, or heelwork to music - an actual proper demonstration with placards.
They have issued a press release...
The Kennel Club would like to reassure people planning to visit Crufts, following speculation that a protest has been planned by animal rights activists to coincide with the event.
Both the Kennel Club and the NEC are keeping a very close eye on the situation and all exhibitors and visitors to the show are advised that everything is being done to prevent any undue disruption which may affect the enjoyment of their visit.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson, said: “We are treating this information very seriously and taking all necessary steps to deal with the situation accordingly.
“Both the Kennel Club and the NEC have considerable experience of dealing with similar incidents in the past, and would like to reassure visitors and exhibitors at Crufts that any protest will be carefully managed to prevent it from spoiling their enjoyment of the show.
“Crufts 2009 will go ahead as scheduled and will be a great celebration of happy, healthy dogs. The Kennel Club would urge visitors not to let any potential protest put them off from sharing in this celebration.”

Now until the KC issued this press release, how many people even knew about this demo? And who would it be that organises these things?
I did a bit of searching and found this link - and who would have thought that the scary group behind this demo is none other than the Veggies Catering Campaign (Nottingham)! When I first heard of this group I could kind of understand where they might be coming from. Having endured many years of working at Crufts I'm surprised we haven't had campaigns before for more toilets, too - never mind improving the food offerings. But it seems the Veggies aren't campaigning about the lack of healthy herbivore options at the NEC, they always campaign outside Crufts wearing dog suits asking the public to kick the cruelty out of the show. It's just no one has taken much of an interest in them until now.
Their campaign points are:
  • Breeding unhealthy dogs for aesthetic purposes is morally wrong.

  • Breeding dogs is pointless when there are existing dogs all over the world needing homes
They are asking anyone wanting to join them to:
  • Dress in dog costumes
  • Bring cuddly dog toys
  • Make Banners/Placards with slogans such as
    • - Rescue, don't breed
    • - Mutts can love too
    • - Stop breeding dogs to death
    • - Crufts: eugenics for dogs
I'm sorry, but I don't think these veggie people sound all that intimidating, do you?.
Isn't it a free country? Who is going to be upset by a bunch of vegetarians wearing dog suits carrying fluffy toys?
And how do we know they are animal rights activists? Do the KC have any proof that these people have used firebombs or intimidation?
Every year I've walked past peaceful protesters about various issues - most usually involving show sponsors that do animal testing on dog food.
Certainly don't remember seeing a pre-show press release from the KC warning us about the likes of Uncaged leafleting at the entrance etc.
Why make out the sort of people who want health reforms are all extreme animal rights activists?
From where I'm standing EVERYONE who loves dogs wants health reforms.
I suspect there'll be a few show people that would have a foot in both camps and may be rustling up their costumes already.
I'd love to see someone with a really right-on placard saying "bring in automatic COI calculation now" or "stop the overuse of popular sires before it's too late," or
"EBVs are more important that CCs!"
Still I'm sure the Veggies in Notingham are delighted for this unprecedented PR push from the KC to publicise their little demo. I'm guessing like me you might not have heard about it otherwise!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Cv247 gets its own blog

I've just set up a new blog that is going to be dedicated to CV247 - this gentle cancer treatment alternative invented by the late John Carter.
I'm hoping to persuade some people just starting out on the treatment to give us regular updates. It was always a huge comfort to talk to other people in John Carter's waiting room and share tips on diet etc. The new blog is meant to give all these people our virtual support. Jake is the first dog's story to appear and if you check I've also included links to all the stories shared on this blog already by previous patients.
We've also just finished an article on CV247 which will be published in the April issue of Dogs Today out early March.
Here's the new address - just click here

Thursday, 12 February 2009

A history of spinning

Do watch this classic footage from 24 years ago that shows that the KC were still spinning away and making inconsequential tweaks to breed standards all those years ago in response to hard to ignore criticisms! And look at that Bulldog and then look at the modern ones on the Pedigree Dogs Exposed clips from a couple of blogs ago. That 1980s breed standard revision certainly didn't help did it? The 1980s dog looks if anything much healthier - although the sound of him trying to breathe under the studio lights still disturbs me a great deal.
And wasn't Simon the vet ahead of his time!

Another John Carter memory

Scooby as a pup

Hello Beverley

Just stopped having a little cry. We went to John Carter in 2002 / 2003 with our beloved dog Scooby. He had epitheliotropic lymphoma, advanced My vet gave me the biopsy results, did a check up and said "Shall we go ahead?" I was stunned and said no, he is leaving the surgery with me. My dog was very ill and a few days later after a heartbreaking night with him being sick and lying outside in a storm in the middle of the night (he was petrified of thuder) I decided I had to let him go. At work the next morning I saw a Dogs Today magazine in the shop featuring the work of John Carter. When I got in I phoned John, expecting that there would be no answer. He picked up, asked me about my dog and if my vet would fax the diagnosis to him. He asked me if I was willing to travel down from Manchester to London weekly or fortnightly to see him. Yes. We went that weekend and experienced just what you described. I thought I was mad, my family did .... my dog started to feel better. He was off steroids, on organic food, vitamin C and CV247. The terrible sores started to shrink, he was happier and so were we. I remember talking to John about how we would spend Christmas, the most important factor to me being with my dog that I had had since I was 18. We decided a nice quiet Christmas, see friends, family (furry and non furry). He said he would light a couple of candles. Each year I light a candle for my dog and I light one for John too.

We got extra time with our boy, a last holiday and New Year's Day on the beach with him and my family and their dogs. My dog let me know when enough was enough. He had a gaping wound reappear on his back and he left us.

I hope John's work continues and is of further benefit to animals and humans alike. I loved reading about him, my husband and I were saddened to hear he had died.

Claire Fitzgerald

Scooby in old age

Extra time from Pedigree Dogs Exposed

Here are two of the bits from Pedigree Dogs Exposed that hit the cutting room floor.

First: Bulldogs

Second: German Shepherd Dogs

More out takes may shortly be released.

The Bulldog piece shows some very peculiar handling techniques and even more disturbing mating devices! Perhaps we should have a 18 cert on that film!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

RSPCA review is out

I had a chance to have a read through the RSPCA review into Pedigree Dog Breeding.
It is a very good, solid piece of work. It pretty much rubber stamps everything that Pedigree Dogs Exposed highlighted, but gives all the scientific references for people who want to look everything up.
It isn't easy for the media to get all excited by this as there's nothing much obviously new to angle an article on, apart from it's now a major animal welfare society saying urgent action is needed - not a TV documentary.
It calmly tells us what we already know, methodically and logically - proving every detail at every stage.
If you want to have a read yourself here's the link to the summary (cup of tea and some Jaffa cakes will help) or for the whole report (you'll need a flask and a pack lunch to keep you going).
Very interesting reading, and something to keep going back to and dipping into as there are some hidden gems of information.
It has made the task of the next review into pedigree dogs a lot more simple as this neatly roadmaps all the resources.
The KC are spinning away as usual saying how favourable the report is to them.
I think they're probably surprised at how fair and independent it is. How the science is shining out and all temptation to sensationalise the facts has been resisted.
Fact is without added drama it does show a very worrying state of affairs.
Click here for the KC party line (I would resist drinking and eating while reading for fear of spattering your computer screen!)

Damp and down in the dumps

Our office is down the first river on the right

We can't get to work again today. Not snow. Floods.

Just spoken to the Environment agency again - their website (above) is still not registering that this is a flood! The bloke argued that it probably did still fit the 'Flood Watch' category rather than the 'Flood Warning' one or the next one "Severe Flood Warning". I did point out that the TV news crew in the village thought it was a flood! But they were "watching" the flood - and the Environment Agency certainly weren't "warning" anyone!

According to the environment agency there are officially either No Warnings in force for our postcode or Flood Watch - the lowest alert you can have. So that's okay isn't it. I'm meant to get a text to warn me when there's likely to be a flood, too. No text so far.
But at 4am the village of Chobham was cut off and Craig (who is very tall) has just waded through the river which has relocated to the road and so far while the water is lapping the steps of the front door of the office and encircling it from the field at the back, it hasn't yet entered the building.
Abandoned cars are everywhere.
It's not exactly a heavy shower that has occurred here. Wonder what the Environment agency need for it to classified as a flood these days?
Chobham's a ghost town today - this is normally stationary traffic jams! Road are still closed, cars still abandoned. (And yes that is the little jewellers that appeared on Crimewatch recently - it all happens in Chobham!)

(We've been flooded twice in two years - I can't tell you how disrupting it is. First time it took almost a year for the office to be dried out and refurbed and we lost three skips loads of precious things, second time we had less to lose but it was still three months of camping out.)
I phoned the Environment Agency again to ask where we might get sandbags. "Your council," was the reply. Had it gone to flood alert yesterday I'd have sourced sandbags before we got cut off - but I trusted the text alert scheme and the internet warnings. Foolish.
A little girl tries to cross the road outside our office - her mum's going to be annoyed about those wet PJs!

I phoned the council to be told curtly, "no it's your responsibility to get your own."
Wonder how the little old ladies in the village get along sourcing sandbags. It's not like you can get Ocado to deliver them for you.
I've gone home, which is pretty dry. Craig is staying put at the office and has his socks drying out on the radiator.
We're hoping the water is going to go down soon.
Ironically we were just about to move the office to home, having come to the end of our soggy lease at last.
Wish we could send all this water to Australia - they'd appreciate it.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Virtual dog show to help the Australians

Just cross-posting this from another list with permission:

I am sure that you have heard about the dreadful wild fires that have hit Victoria, several kennels have been wiped out. The Alaskan Malamute fraternity is mourning the loss of an entire family Mum, Dad, kids and all of the dogs. There are many more sad stories at present the death toll is 108 and rising. The areas that were hit were very popular with dog, cat and horse breeders, and they did not stand a chance. Very sad, have shed lots of tears in the last couple of days. I believe that DogsVictoria are setting up a Paypal method of entry, I wondered whether you could pass this on in the UK for me. I will understand if it is too difficult.
If anyone wants to contact me to find out more please give them my email address, and I will see if I can answer the questions for them.

Just got this from the Ozshow list Dogs Victoria is running this as a fund raiser.
All money raised will be shared among our members who are victims of the bushfires

A catalogue of ‘the show’ will be given to each of these members as a sign of the support of their friends

The catalogue will simply show breed, dog’s name and owner’s name. Why not make an entry in the name of your favourite dog that may no longer still be with you.

Entries $10 per dog (make cheques payable to DOGSVICTORIA)
Enter as many dogs as you like

Send entries to: Peter Frost
28 Currajong Rd
No stamped addressed envelope is needed)
Let us make this the biggest dog show entry ever.

For more details click here

The PayPal facility is now available. I am sending you the link, for international donors who may have a PayPal account should they wish to donate. If you scroll to the end of the notice you will see the PayPal symbol Donate
For Australian exhibitors, who wish to enter, there is the facility to download Entry Forms.

Lynda Webb
Lokynnda Beardies,
South Australia

Friday, 6 February 2009

More John Carter memories...

Here's some more reminiscences of brilliant cancer vet John Carter:

He was an incredible character and we got to know John quite well over the years. On a few occasions when we were there on Saturday mornings we were there the same time as you Beverley. I remember you bringing your Beardie for treatment. That would have been in the early 90's when I first went with our old Beagle, Bramble. She had bladder cancer and our own vet gave her 3 months maximum to live but with John's treatment she lived for 14 months and had good quality of life.
I used to drive to his Surgery in Middlesex from Birmingham three times a week to start with and after a couple of months only had to travel about once fortnightly.
A friend used to travel with me and she had a dog with lung cancer and was only given three months to live and she actually lived for another 3 years and she was 13 when she died.
As for the diet, when our dogs were on the regime it was 2ozs raw organic (or NZ ) lamb's liver plus a good portion of mixed organic vegetables, preferably raw but if not just lightly cooked. John Carter did after a while allow cooked organic chicken, again just 2ozs. That was for a Beagle sized dog but obviously more would be given to a larger dog etc. I used to give mine potatoes, carrots, cabbage, swede. No salt or sugar in the diet at all and no cereals other than organic oats. I used to cook the potatoes and swede as he told me not to give those raw but the greens and carrots were given raw, just grated and mixed up with all the other stuff. They could have any veg so long as it was organic but no parsnips as apparently they had too much natural sugar in them.
Since those days I went back to John with 3 other dogs and he helped them tremendously even though they were in advanced stages of cancer or at least 2 of then were and the other one who was misdiagnosed originally turned out to have a fungal disease (Aspergillosis) and sadly died but I am convinced the drugs she was on killed her.
John use to sit and talk to us after surgery as he was fascinated about our life in the countryside. He was so annoyed about all the difficulties he was trying to overcome with the powers that be and his battle with the drugs companies who would have loved him to fail.
It is so sad that he isn't alive to see this progress but I know he will not be far away from it all.

Our current vet has always been interested in John's treatment and I know he will follow it up and probably try and get to administer it to anyone he feels wants to try it for their animals.

Our vet has told us that he has ordered some CV247 and will be starting treatment next week on a couple of his patients where conventional treatment can no longer do anything for them.

At least there is now hope for their owners.

So many of us know what it feels like when you are told there is nothing left for them

There are no nasty side effects with the treatment btw.

One of our dogs is having chemo' at the moment as after John died we couldn't get hold of anyone to administer it as it hadn't been licensed at the time.
We now have to continue with the chemo' as it is very much tailored to Jan's condition but she finishes the course in April. If unfortunately she relapes which is quite possible we will be taking up the CV247 treatment.

I have to say though that it is so important that you stick to the diet as the nutrition part of it goes hand in hand with the rest of the regime.

I wish you all the very best


Thursday, 5 February 2009

Competition time!

Can you guess which two breeds combined to make this lovely dog? We've not had any correct answers so far.

I will be giving clues tomorrow if no one gets it right - I can't actually remember the solution, so until I get to work I won't be able to tell you if you're right or wrong!

Send you solutions to and include which breed book you would like or if you'd like a generic dog book instead.

Hurry up - first correct guess wins the prize.

It's all over already! We need Louise to get in touch ASAP to claim her prize!


Wednesday, 4 February 2009

CV247 John Carter remembered

It has been such a joy to hear from so many lovely people and I've very much enjoyed hearing memories of John from so many sources.
Here's Gunner's story. A Belgian Shepherd Dog being treated at the same time as my old Sally.

Dear Beverley

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences of John Carter and his treatment and for including the link to the news item on your blog - it brought back so many memories as I too took my dog to John for cancer treatment in 1994. I was very fond of John so extremely sad to hear of his death last year but delighted to hear that his CV247 has at last been licensed for veterinary use - albeit in Hungary! (although I think I'm correct in understanding from your blog that any vets in this country can now apply for supplies of it to use? [editor's note: I hopefully wil be able to very soon share with you the name of the first UK vet that will be able to treat using CV247 and also supply your own vet if they are happy to treat]) - I do hope John is looking on from the afterlife and so knows about it too!

I'm also delighted to hear that you would like to write a book about John and his work - I too have always thought that he should have been awarded the Nobel Prize - maybe it can be awarded posthumously?

You'd be most welcome to include my story if you felt it would be of use to you?

My beloved dog, Gunner (a Belgian Shepherd - Terveuren) was the absolute love of my life who went everywhere with me - one of those "once-in-a-lifetime" special, special dogs. Everyone who met him fell in love with him, even people who didn't usually like dogs - he had such a gentle, loving and wise energy. So you can imagine, when he was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in his left hind leg at the age of 10, I was absolutely devastated and prepared to do anything to try and save him. (Incidentally, on another theme - this was within about a month of having an "extra-large" booster vaccination - I hadn't had him vaccinated for some years, having started to hear rumours that it maybe wasn't such a good thing, particularly for older dogs, but was then strongly persuaded otherwise by a new vet - something I'll always regret.)

Gunner seemed completely fit and healthy in every other way, other than limping on that hind leg (and having a swelling where the tumour was). I had, thank God, met John a couple of years previously - a friend had wanted to find a homoeopathic vet and his name came up as being the closest (although he wasn't actually homoeopathic but as you know very keen on many other natural methods of treatment) and I'd gone along with her and been impressed enough to take Gunner for a check-up at age seven and on that visit noticed that most people there had dogs with cancer and so learnt that that was what he specialised in.

I was living in Exeter at the time of Gunner's diagnosis, doing a Fine Art degree as a mature student - but immediately gave that up and moved back to my parents home in Twickenham in order to take Gunner to John's for treatment as I felt this was our only hope. So within two days of the diagnosis we were in John's surgery in Kenton Road being given details of the diet, armed with bottles of potassium, niacin tablets and vitamin c tablets and being told quite sternly by John that we would need to come twice a day for treatment as, unfortunately osteosarcomas are the hardest form of cancer to treat - as the tumour is in the bone itself and the blood supply to the bone is quite poor so difficult for the nutrients in John's treatment to actually get into the tumour (bit hazy about the science of it - I suppose more likely it would be the nutrients boosting Gunner's immune system and his T-cells and maybe harder for them to get to the tumour).

The first week or so was really hard - I was so upset and in shock I think - I had no car so had to persuade friends and family to drive me or take taxis to Harrow twice a day (a 40 minute trip each way if we were lucky - more usually an hour due to traffic - nothing though compared to the distances some people were travelling as I gradually discovered!) But gradually John's kind and friendly presence relaxed us and we met such a lovely group of other people and dogs who were going through the same or similar to us - some also going daily, some only needing to go twice or once weekly. Gunner had always hated going to the vets, but somehow he knew this was different and always happily trotted into John's waiting room with his tail wagging, completely relaxed - wondering which of his friends he would see that day. I then managed to buy an old banger and drive myself (hair-raising in itself, having not driven for five years or more!) and we settled into a routine of getting up, juicing carrots and wheatgrass, making up Gunner's food for the day (as John had said it was important he didn't go too long without eating) making sandwiches for myself and setting off for Kenton.

As you say John was a lovely eccentric character and had no conception of time (!!) so we spent many hours waiting for him to arrive - some people did get annoyed at this but I just felt there was nowhere I'd rather be - as long as I was there, Gunner would get the treatment and was hopefully getting better. By then there was a core group of us who were in it for the long haul and the support that gave to us all was immeasurable. When I think back its amazing that all the dogs got on so well together - I think there was a special sorting of healing atmosphere in that place, even though it looked pretty austere!

So we continued having twice daily treatment for eight months - Gunner thrived on the diet - his fur got shinier, he was relaxed and happy, full of energy and love - raced around on three legs as if nothing was wrong (it was obviously uncomfortable for him to walk on his bad leg, although he did sometimes, amazingly - but other than that he wasn't in any discomfort at all - amazing as I've since heard that bone tumours are usually extremely painful).

The cancer didn't spread (it usually does, quite quickly, with bone cancer) and the tumour didn't get any bigger - but it was still there and Gunner's leg started to get quite swollen. Another of John's patients with osteosarcoma (a female yellow labrador called Dash, who Gunner adored, incidentally) had had six weeks of treatment (she had also got secondary cancer in lungs and heart as I remember) - and her owners then made the decision to have her leg amputated (they were having to come down from Exeter twice or three times weekly). This amputation was very successful - she coped perfectly with three legs and the cancer had gone from her lungs and heart (and incidentally she was still doing well a couple of years later). Because of that, we reluctantly made the decision to have Gunner's leg amputated as it seemed as if the treatment couldn't actually get rid of the tumour - and we were worried that the swelling could get worse and start to cause him discomfort. He would be fine on three legs, we knew that, as he was already in effect only three legged.

Anyway, we took him to a lovely vet a few miles away, who John referred us to - he obliged us by x-raying Gunner's leg without using an anaesthetic (Gunner was so good they were able to ask him to do "dead" and he just lay still on the table) and we booked him in for the op.

That day was awful (for me) - I was so worried Gunner wouldn't survive it - but all went well, they kept him in overnight and by the next day said he could go home - they were astounded by how well he had recovered - he was up and about and barking when I went to fetch him, and hopped into the car as if nothing had happened!

Unfortunately for us though, a miracle healing wasn't to be. Two weeks later, Gunner suffered some sort of stroke - I rushed him back to the vet who'd done the operation and they kept him in overnight - how I got through that night I'll never know - I stayed at a friend's house, sleeping (well, lying!) on the sofa (I couldn't bear to go home, in case that dreaded phonecall came to say he hadn't made it), and lay awake all night praying and praying for a miracle and then just praying that I would at least see him again. My latter prayers were answered - they stabilised him and I was able to collect him the next day - but they weren't very optimistic.

My beautiful boy was so full of life, he still wanted to go for walks, ate with gusto, still went to John's for his CV247, still loved to see his friends, although his body wasn't working properly (he was still lop-sided from the stroke). For a week he seemed to be improving and I really thought he'd make it, but then he started to decline - I took him to a spiritual healer but nothing helped. I stopped taking him to John but John rang me every day to offer support and advice - he was such a good friend during it all. My soul was ripped in half when two weeks after the operation, on 22nd December 1994, my beautiful Gunner died.

A friend of my brother's, who is a doctor, told me that strokes can quite often follow amputations - something to do with bone marrow in the blood stream (in fact my nan had died of a stroke after an amputation a few years previously) - if only we had known that before (although I believe its rather a controversial opinion so I'm sure many vets and doctors would refute this).

We'd tried everything but it seems it was Gunner's time to go home. I just thank John so much for those blessed eight months we had together where Gunner was so happy and pain-free - for the wonderful friendship and support we received from John and his other clients and their dogs and most of all for the gift of spending those eight months entirely in each other's company - Gunner and I that is. Gunner was my most beautiful, precious golden boy - a true gift from God - he taught me so much in his living and his dying. He lives on forever in my heart - I will never "get over" losing him but I'm used to him not being with me now and know his wise and wonderful spirit lives on as I'm sure John's does too.

As one of the wonderful spiritual books I read after Gunner's death (Who Dies? by Stephen Levine) says, being healed doesn't always mean your body will survive. Gunner was truly healed in a spiritual sense I think. It took a while longer for me as I was so bereft at losing his physical presence. I thought I could never have another dog but six year's later I felt ready and now Oboe, another (rescued) Belgian Shepherd shares my life - I know Gunner approves!

Anyway Beverley, I'm sorry I've really waffled on here - probably much too much info. that wouldn't be relevant to your book - I hope you don't mind me sharing the details of my story with you.

Actually, I forgot to say, I even met you at John's surgery one day - I remember it was a boiling hot day and we were stuck in traffic on our way to John's as usual, and I was periodically spraying Gunner with a plant spray to keep him cool - when we arrived at John's it turned out that you had been behind us in the traffic - you commented on having noticed I was a more than usually dedicated dog owner (or something similar) and should have known I was coming to John's! You had brought Sally for a check-up I think - it was only afterwards I discovered who you were as you left some copies of Dog's Today for the waiting room (and some of the other regulars knew you I think - and I remember the older couple who used to bring their Yorkie from Yorkshire were there that day and you being really impressed by that!)

Anyway Beverly, as I said before, thank you so much for sharing your story of Sally and your father - I was very touched to hear it and I really do hope you manage to write the book. John really did work miracles and deserves to be widely known about - I'm just so thankful his treatment is now secure and will go on to save many more lives.

Keep up the fantastic and tireless championing and campaigning for our dogs that you do.

with very best wishes

Mandy Payne

PS Having thought a bit more about the diet John used to prescribe, I think it varied a bit depending on the severity of the cancer - for Gunner, he wasn't allowed any protein except 2oz of lamb's liver per day (that was for a 62lb dog); no salt in any form (even cucumber's weren't allowed as apparently have some sodium in them); only grains allowed were oats, to be made into biscuits just using water; no mushrooms (but all other veg OK and had to be organic); carrot juice VERY good and had to be given several times daily - as much as he would drink; sprouted wheat and alfalfa also VERY good and given daily. No fat of any kind. Only bottled mineral water to be given to drink and for making the oat biscuits (NO tap water, ever!) - and sodium content to be checked so one very low in sodium to be used (some are quite high).

Obviously this diet pretty restrictive so you wouldn't keep a dog on this for ever, just for duration of treatment then ease some other things in. To make up for the low protein, Gunner was given a B12 injection every day by John. He also had liquid potassium every day and Vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid) was to be added daily to his food; also given Nicatinamide tablets (a form of Vitamin B3 - this particular form causes the blood vessels to expand so helps circulation - but causes something like a hot flush - which obviously you can't see in a dog but did used to make Gunner pant! I think that effect is lessened if they're given with food) And given pancreatic enzyme capsules several times daily (derived from pigs) - so quite a lot more involved than just the CV247, so hopefully this info. will be given out with the sachets (as I'm sure all these supplements can be obtained quite easily) - obviously the Hungarian vet who worked with John would know all the precise details of this.

I know the diet was based on the Gerson Therapy used to cure cancer in humans - lots of info. on that on the net - Max Gerson's book " A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases" talks in depth about the diet in one or two chapters and his reasons for it (John lent me his copy at the time to read) but there may be more books out now for anyone who wants to really go in depth into the reasons for it.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Work is white out of the question

I expect many of you have awoken to a blanket of snow. The kids' school is closed so they are now climbing the walls and none of the Dogs Today crew were able to get through the snow to work so the office is unmanned and the answerphone is having to take the strain, should you be wondering where we all are!
I'd like to report that the dogs are loving it, but they went out once and came straight back in ASAP. The kitchen is like a swimming pool. All the little snow balls concealed in Oscar's coat have started to melt! Thought Beardies were meant to be rugged Scottish dogs, don't see how he'd survive in snow - he grew to twice the size in minutes!
Stay warm, stay safe - guess this is pretty much an unofficial holiday for everyone.
If you get bored with daytime TV do have a go at answering some of the problems on the Think Tank.