Friday, 29 May 2009

Competition time again!

Can you guess which two breeds combined to make Tai? You have till June 3rd to guess but we've not had any correct answers yet. I'll be giving clues next week if no correct answers come in. Email your solutions to The first correct entry will win either a specific breed book or a general book on dogs courtesy of Interpet Publishing. Please mark your entry with your preferred choice of book.

Can you make us laugh with a funny caption for this great photo of Hobo submitted by Sarah Narbeth, St Albans, Herts.
The overall funniest will win a Clix Agility jump courtesy of the Company of Animals. Five runners up will win a Clix Whizzclick again courtesy of The Company of Animals. It combines a clicker with a whistle!
Send your best efforts to again by June 3rd.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The 30 most deserving dog charities in Britain

Please also read for guidance before posting a comment!

One of our wonderful readers has just contacted us for some help. She is looking to identify 30 of the most deserving dog-related charities as she has an elderly friend intending to leave approx £25k to each.
Her friend is keen to identify charities that are not going to use the money for PR or admin, she wants the money to make a real difference to dogs.
Quite a challenge!
We can think of quite a few, but 30 is a fabulous number.
Who would you recommend? What a great idea - making such a difference to so many.
I think the quest could make a great article.
Please let us know the charities you are familiar with for whom a £25k legacy could make a huge difference.

There has been a huge response and if we're not careful some of the tiniest charities may get lost as they don't have the numbers of supporters to campaign for them. Can I ask if your charity or point is already covered in comments please don't post again, we're not looking necessarily for the most popular charities - just trying to identify the ones who will make the best use of the dosh to help dogs.
The lady has confirmed that only registered charities would be eligible.
"The only criteria is that the recipients must use the money solely on the dogs,and that they are registered charities. I know that this is going to leave a lot of causes in the cold, but how else can I make sure that the money is used properly?"

Pulled through a hedge forwards

My best typing finger is hurting.
As Tess is basically going balmy, she can now only be exercised on a Flexi. So that means the joy of letting both dogs out of the kitchen first thing to run around like mad things and do their business is now not an option. Chances are Tess will leap the boundary fence and the one after that, too and who knows what she'll do if she meets a plane spotter, or a plasterer or indeed anyone.
So this morning our routine was I got fully dressed with shoes on before I let them out. I put Tess on the Flexi and Oscar still gets to run around like a nutter.
To make the morning gallop a little more interesting I decided to take both dogs into our paddock. It is fenced, but not to Tess levels of security. And up until today I'd assumed it was Oscar proof, too.
Big mistake.
On the first circuit of our wild and overgrown paddock everyone was enjoying the sniffs and having fun. At the end of the second circuit Oscar vanished.
I caught a glimpse of the end of his tail disappearing into a hedge and my heart pretty much stopped.
Tess escaping is something I've come to dread but expect and I am now fairly confident that even though it will take some time, she will eventually find her way back. But Oscar is as good at direction as me and sadly he doesn't have Sat Nav.
I was relieved when after much rushing up and down I could at last see Oscar bounding about in next door's garden, and Tess and I rushed to a bit that was separated only by trellis. He could see us and we could see him, but there was no way through. The only way out was either to wake up the already grumpy neighbours - this was crack of dawn stuff - or try to get Oscar back through the hedge.
Oscar seemed to want to come back, but seemed to have totally forgotten how he got through in the first place.
I decided to gamble.
I asked Tess to bring Oscar back and took the brake off the Flexi. The hedge was very deep - probably 15 feet at least. Tess needed to go in a straight line and not deviate or she'd run out of line or get all tangled up inside the hedge herself!
She seemed to understand perfectly what was needed and off she went and Oscar followed her back through the hole.
When he emerged he was considerably larger than when he started. He was wearing much of the hedge.
Which is why my best typing finger is hurting. It was a very prickly bush and I had to help him out of these very uncomfortable new clothes!
Tess is off to get her DNA test in a moment. Oscar is off to the groomers - I'm going to be popular! There's still enough woodwork in his coat to build a raft.
And today I start a radical new diet. Already had my first 20 minutes of vigorous exercise running up and down the fence trying to get Oscar back!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Most famous dog breeder in world gives up

The Queen has announced she is giving up breeding Corgis after the upset of losing two of her beloved pack to cancer in recent months.
At 83, perhaps this is just an age-related decision. But, unlike most people of this age the Queen does have a considerable back room team to support her should her health falter.
Is the Queen finally giving up on Corgis because of concern for her health or because of their's? The Queen Mother was still active and acquiring pups well into her 90s.
For the first time the Queen now owns more crossbreeds than pedigree dogs. Is it possible that after 60 years of continuous breeding from the same closed gene pool the Queen has decided that mixed blood rather than blue blood is the way to go?
Losing two dogs tragically early would make anyone think hard about genetic health. Another of the Queen's Corgis was reported to have died as early as eight years old.
In the past the Queen's Corgis have enjoyed up to 17 years of life.
The Queen's current pack now includes three Corgis and four Dorgis - the Dachshund/Corgi cross.

The Queen has owned more than 30 Corgis during her reign, starting her breeding line with Susan who was a present for her 18th birthday in 1944. Most of her dogs have been direct descendants from Susan. But her love of Corgis started even earlier than that, in 1933 when she was just seven years old she was given her first Corgi, Rozavel Golden Eagle, better known as Dookie.
The Queen's latest Corgi was said to have died of cancer at only 12 years old. In April 2001 it was reported that Kelpie, a ninth-generation descendent of Susan, was put to sleep at the grand old age of 17. And Susan, the very first in the line, was 15 when she died in 1959.
Each Corgi bitch was allowed only one litter and the Queen was reported to prefer dogs with a reddish tint. The puppies were never sold, but those that were not kept were given to good homes.
However, in a report on a royal trip to Australia in 2002, it was revealed that the Queen had been trying to breed tricolour Corgis and had finally succeeded in a litter from Emma. She produced two tri pups. The Queen kept one of these pups, Linnet and gave the other, Monty, to her mother.
The Queen remains patron of the Kennel Club, but her love of crossbreeds has been a slight sticking point in the past. When the KC wanted to commission a portrait of the Queen to hang in the club rooms she only agreed on the condition she would be depicted with one of her Dorgis.
Probably the only crossbreed hung in Clarges Street!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Have you seen this dog?

Just seen this very sad story on

Hugo the English Bull Terrier, worth around £1,000, was dog-napped from Laura Patch’s East Reading flat near Cemetery Junction a week after a man wearing a hoodie tried to steal him from stables in Warfield. Nothing else was taken during the raid.

The 22-year-old animal warden, who raised her two-year-old pooch from a puppy, said she is now completely lost without her companion, who was taken while she was on a night out with friends.

Miss Patch, who has offered a reward for his safe return, said: “I was absolutely hysterical when I got home and realised Hugo had been taken and just ended up breaking down in tears.

“Hugo’s my life and I’m always with him. I really miss him and it just breaks my heart that somebody has done this.”

She continued: “I’m pretty sure he was targeted and someone must have followed me home from the stables as I’ve only just moved to Reading from Essex and not many people know where I live.

“It is very suspicious as my neighbour said they saw a silver BMW near the flat when Hugo was stolen and after a man tried to steal him at the stables he ran into the same type of car.”

English Bull Terriers, known as the gladiator of the dog species, are bred as companion dogs but due to their heritage and appearance are often confused with other fighting dogs.

Miss Patch said her pride and joy could be worth a lot in the underground dog-fighting world either for breeding or fighting,

but reckoned he was too soft for that.

She added: “He’s such a big softie I don’t think he would want to fight. I’m really worried about where he might be or who has taken him and just want him back safely.”

Mark Young, a spokesman for the Bull Terrier Club, said dog thefts among the breed were not uncommon.

He said: “Some unscrupulous people do target the dogs as they think they are fighting dogs even though most of them won’t actually fight.

“It is dreadfully sad to hear about and we would always encourage any pet owners to be careful with their animals as there are people who will target certain breeds to get some kind of cash gain.”

Police spokeswoman Andrea Bennett said witnesses with information should call PC Mandy Gibson on 08458 505 505 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The owner is offering a £200 reward for Hugo’s safe return.

Call 07825 913 138.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Testing times

First load of blood tests normal.
We're doing the DNA test for Fucosidosis on Wednesday, and if that comes back normal we're off for a neurology consult.
Tess has been at my side all day today and has been an angel.
However, I did notice something. She likes to do a variant of a beg, where from the sit she puts her front paws either on my arm or leg - it's very appealing.
Three times today she's lost her balance doing her begging.
She seems extra clingy and affectionate.
Poor old Tess.
She had the muzzle on for two minutes. That's how long it took her to find a way of taking it off. We have a no patting rule now in the office and an exclusion zone around my desk.
Humming the Jaws theme has broken the tension a little!
She does look like butter wouldn't melt.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Tess at the vet

Tess was nervous. Big pupils, sniffing everything. She was spayed at this vets, so was probably wondering if she was going to be staying.
The vet wanted to see her off lead as we talked. There was a huge Dogue de Bordeaux in a cage at floor level and Tess wanted to have a sniff but was told no.
Few seconds later, Tess looks at me and urinates on the floor. Very untypical.
As the kindly vet cleans up I notice Tess is over sniffing the Dogue, she's a scheming little dog. Or at least that's how I chose to interpret it. Could be she's just forgetting her house training as well as her recall. A few minutes later she pees on the floor again. Weird.
Full blood tests and after I've given the history, they want to muzzle her. I feel like I've blackened her name as she really doesn't bite in these circumstances, she bites in random situations - but I guess that's not a recommendation, either! And at the moment no ones actually safe.
The vet asked if I'd starved her that morning - so perhaps they might have chosen to keep her in? What to do? Xrays? Metabolism tests?
The vet's first thoughts were maybe a liver enzyme problem as sometimes that can mean toxins go into the brain. She hadn't heard of Fucosidosis so it was good I'd printed it all out and was able to tell them the test had to go off to the AHT. I'd printed the blog out too so she had the history to refer to.
Poor Tess, she looked so vulnerable getting the blood taken. She looked me in the eye the whole time. She's such a sweet dog (most of the time!) and she trusts me completely. So far I've never been on the other end of one of her turns.
This is going to be hard, but at least we've started.
I'm waiting on the blood test results. If nothing obvious it'll be neuro tests next.
Thanks for all your best wishes and kind thoughts.
I have already Twittered about Tess and Oscar's adventure last night. Tess had one of her absences again last night where she seemed to forget who we were. She was off chasing rabbits and husband Graham took Oscar along too to find her and bring her back.
I got what could have been a dirty phone call. It was Graham panting hard. "Man with Oscar... airfield."
I had no idea what he was talking about but went outside into our little lane to have a look.
Tess came running up the lane from the common at great speed, completely filthy.
I grabbed her and the next minute I saw Oscar coming off the airfield and running towards us - equally filthy carrying half a forest in his coat.
Turns out Oscar saw a man on a bike with a Staffie. Oscar chased the dog who was following the bike. Which meant Graham had to chase Oscar. Tess obviously found all this fascinating and she appeared from the bushes and was tagging along at the end of what probably looked like an episode of Benny Hill!
Apparently the bike rider refused to slow down when Graham called out to him and even speeded up. Maybe the Staffie wasn't his and he now thought everyone was after him?
Graham had been hoping to train for the marathon so this two mile chase may have spurred him on!

Just heard from the vets, the info about the Fucosidosis test was out of date. It's no longer a blood test, it's a swab and we have to wait for the kit to be sent from the AHT.

Still no news on the other blood test results.
But I bought a basket muzzle at the vets just in case,although I'm not sure when I might use it as it is so random when she has had a turn.
She looks like butter wouldn't melt. It's so hard to believe its come to this.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The trouble with Tess

"Are you talking about me? I'm not a bad dog, honest."

I am rarely reluctant to write about my dogs, but there's something I've been trying to pretend isn't happening - hoping it'll pass.
I am very worried about Tess.
I have never met a dog like her before. I have never seen this behaviour. Have you?
I've made an appointment at the vets tomorrow.
It will help clarify my thoughts if I catalogue Tess's story.
Tess is an elegant, shorter-eared working-type English Springer. She came to us from Dogs Trust when she was nine weeks old. We'd gone along for the opening of one of their refurbed centres and there she was, seemingly with our name on her!
My soon-to-be husband Graham had previously had Welsh Springers. I had been Beardie-less for about a year after the last of my oldies died. We were ready to adopt.
We virtually had to wrestle her from Dermott O'Leary's arms - he'd come to re-open the centre - but a week or so later, when she finished her vet checks, she came home with us.
She had a strange unexplained little hole in the top of her head. There was some confusion as to her history, the dog warden said she was found running along an A road, but a kennelmaid at Dogs Trust had originally told us she was found in Tesco's car park - hence us calling her Tess.
She was a perfect little pup, very quick to learn and gentle. Affectionate and willing. We used the Dunbar method on her, took her everywhere. She was a little star and was loved by all the family. But I noted that if you raised an arm anywhere near her - to get something off a shelf for example - she flinched.
A year later Oscar the Beardie pup came along and completed our doggie family. They quickly became firm friends. So much so that Tess saved Oscar's life by rescuing him from our pond when he toppled in.
They played like littermates together, rolling over, chasing, mouthing each other. Sometimes it got quite loud and intense. But while Tess was the obvious leader, they never tired of each other's company. To this day they play this way.
When Tess reached a year old we had her spayed as that was part of the agreement in having her from Dogs Trust.
Nothing significant happened for a long time and the only odd incident I can think of in that time was the first time Tess saw Barney, our office cleaner.
Barney is a big chap with a beard and he would make a great Father Christmas. Tess was on a lead and she jumped up at him barking, which was odd. He's a very gentle, softly spoken fellow.
The next strange thing to happen could potentially explain things - or could just be a red herring.
About two years ago I fell suddenly very ill. I was talking to my GP on the phone as the symptoms began to worsen and she told me to go immediately to hospital and offered to call an ambulance.
I said I didn't need an ambulance and while I was home alone when I was speaking to the GP, I was confident my husband would return quickly and take me.
While I was being examined in the hospital I heard my name being called. I was shocked when a policeman put his head around the door in my consulting room which was already overflowing with Drs and students trying to diagnose what was for them an interesting case. (I'd lost sensation in my tongue, had started talking nasally like someone who might be deaf. When I swallowed liquids, they came out of my nose. I hadn't realised earlier that the GP had been very afraid that I might suddenly stop breathing as there were three conditions which my symptoms fitted and all of them could mean me losing the ability to breathe without assistance very rapidly.)
The policeman explained that he was very, very sorry but he and his colleagues had just broken into our house as the GP had been very worried that I might have collapsed before phoning my husband. (My mobile was switched off as I was now in hospital, so she had got no answer.)
He quickly added that Tess had bitten him but it had been quite understandable as they had made a lot of noise making a forced entry and they'd had to smash our double French windows. They had patched things up as best they could and made secure the damaged doors. They wanted to find me to make sure I had made it to hospital safely and to give me the key to the padlock as they'd had to smash the lock!
Tess had obviously been terrified as we had never known her to bite before. I was in hospital for another eight days so by the time I came home Tess seemed totally back to normal.
Nothing spectacular happened and life returned to normal and I got better, which was lucky as the prognosis had been terrible!
A few months ago, while Cameron my younger step son and I were sitting quietly at the kitchen table doing homework, we were to see a strange side of Tess.
Tess was sitting at his side and every now and again he'd reach down and pat her in between maths questions.
(Cammy is a very mature 10 years old. He's very gentle and caring.)
Without warning Tess made a fearsome noise and butted him with her closed teeth on the side of his head. It hurt and there was a red mark, but Tess was instantly back to herself as if nothing had happened.
I examined every bit of her to see if something was sore and Cammy had touched a painful area without realising. But there was no reaction no matter how hard I pressed.
We all forgot about it as we couldn't explain it.
A few weeks later the exact same thing happened again. Reluctantly I told the children not to pat Tess anymore, that she was unreliable.
Around this time some other strange things started to happen. Tess has always been an escape artist and a lover of chasing rabbits and birds. But when she went native there were now times when she seemed to have no idea who we were. She'd previously been very responsive to the whistle. But now it varied: sometimes she would come bounding back wagging her tail and sometimes she would look straight through us as if she didn't know who we were. She'd come back on her own eventually, looking delighted to see us and very much the old Tess.
She stopped being as successful at catching rabbits, too. She still loved to chase them, she just didn't catch them anymore.
I also noticed that when Oscar barked excitedly, Tess would sometimes make a very odd noise, more like a wail than a howl or a bark. I'd never heard a dog make that noise before. It was un-dog-like.
If that noise was odd, the day she saw the plasterer who had come to work on the office was really disturbing.
He wasn't your typical builder. For a start he cleaned up afterwards and brought his own Green Tea! He was bald, not very tall, very clean, quietly spoken, gentle and dog friendly - being a Golden Retriever owner. In no way an obviously intimidating man.
Yet, as Tess saw him approach the house for the first time she let out a terrible scream. We all assumed she'd trapped her feet under the door and that she was in agony. It was a blood curdling noise. Her eyes were wild, her heart was thumping.
I checked and she hadn't hurt herself - there was nothing obviously wrong with her.
The plasterer came straight in and patted her and everything was fine.
Again I hoped - maybe it was just a one off. Perhaps he reminded her of someone. She'd welcomed every other visitor to the house up until then - apart from the policeman who was in full uniform.
Then on a day when Tess had run off after a rabbit and had had one of her forgetting who we are moments we saw another weird piece of behavior.
Graham had at last got Tess back on a lead, he had never been present when Tess has had a funny turn and has always suspected that I was probably exaggerating. (We always reward her for coming back so it's not like she has been trained to stay away.)
In the tree line at the edge of the field was a twitcher or a plane spotter - it's hard to tell the difference - we're next to a small airfield. He was a tall man with a beard and he was standing quite still using binoculars. He was nowhere near Tess, yet she once again let out her blood curdling scream and started growling and going well... nuts! She threw herself on the floor and was inconsolable.
Last week Chloe who works on the magazine was in the kitchen boiling the kettle when Tess asked for a pat and a fuss. Chloe has been brought up with dogs. She was patting Tess and as usual Tess went on her back offering her belly for a tickle.
Suddenly, without any obvious warning, Tess flew at Chloe making her mad noise - but she was quick and got out of the way. Seconds later Tess was asking her for pats again.
Today was the final straw. I couldn't pretend to myself any longer that we didn't have a serious problem.
Luke who works for me was patting Tess in the office, I'd nipped over to the house to find something and was only gone a few minutes.
When I came back I could sense a tense atmosphere.
Tess had been asking for pats and then she'd suddenly flown at Luke and butted him in the face with closed teeth. It had hurt and she'd broken the skin. Poor Luke was already feeling fragile as he'd had a nasty car accident the night before. Within seconds Tess was asking him to pat him again as if nothing had happened.
I had to face it, there is something serious going wrong with Tess and I have to take action before she headbutts someone who will take action or does more serious damage.
I'd already asked a canine neurologist and a behaviourist for their hunches and they both said get referred, check everything out.
We'll needs loads of tests to fill in all the blanks as there's no stand out answer to why she's turned into a Jekyll and Hyde dog. Thank god she's insured with Pet Plan.
Jemima Harrison asked if I'd considered Fucosidosis, which I hadn't. But that's something we can blood test for hopefully and get a quick answer to. And it's been suggested as she's a working type and quite fine boned - maybe she's got some Cocker blood - could this be Cocker Rage?
So tomorrow we start at the beginning with the vet.
I've already confessed all to the receptionist and it does feel like something to be ashamed of.
My dog is attacking people without seemingly any provocation.
I guess we rule out the physical first and then we get referred to a behaviourist.
She's also recently started being odd with Oscar. She'll suddenly fly at him for no obvious reason and just knock him over backwards. He's a very gentle dog and rarely protests but it takes him by surprise.
Plus she's not just not catching rabbits, she's not as good at catching treats as she used to be.
My hunch is it's physical. Her gums looked quite pale after she'd lunged at poor Luke.
She's such a lovely young dog - most of the time.
I am dreading what we might discover once we start looking. But I also dread not finding anything to fix as it's going to be very hard coping with this behaviour if it continues to escalate.

Early birds and dogs

Is there anybody there?

Oscar decided it was such a nice morning that I should see more of it. It's very early indeed. I think he likes coming to work so much that he thinks we should all start earlier.
Wednesday, ahh Apprentice day on TV. Only 16 hours to go....!
Still haven't had my Lovers Lead arrive and I have been watching for postie to bring a package every day.
Maybe it will come today. Maybe that's why Oscar's so full of the joys of spring this morning.
Wonder if I can kip on the sofa for an hour before the kids get up?
Here's a survey to fill in if there's any other night owls or early birds out there....
As you might see there's considerable debate as to whether this breed health survey is flawed, but you may as well fill it in so it's as representative as possible as it seems to be going ahead despite these legitimate worries.
I think we need as many pet owners as possible to fill a form in online. One of the flaws of the survey is it is totally anonymous and there's nothing to stop someone inputting hundreds of bogus surveys to sway the results in any direction they want.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Putting your dog on a pedestal?

A few days ago we got an anonymous letter alerting us to a new product called a show stacker. It was a very grainy scan of a photo. But I've just had a search and found the website for the product and found these photos on

The website says:
"Can't get your dog to behave and stand still on the table at the shows? Does your dog stand still while he's examined by the judge? No? Well, we've got the problem solver!"
  • Stable!

  • Positive!

  • Portable!

  • Affordable!

  • Lightweight!

  • Easy To Use!

  • And They Work!

  • Used by BIS Winners

The SHOW STACKERS are portable and lightweight, easy to travel with, yet strong and secure for your dog to feel at ease on. A few minutes a day training on the SHOW STACKERS will turn your fidgety dog into the confident show dog a judge will notice, and one you can be proud of!

In the show ring, your dog may have to remain stacked for up to thirty minutes or more depending on the number of exhibits. Make it easy on yourself and your dog, train them on Showstackers.

I have to say I am speechless. I thought I had seen everything...

Healthy debate

In our recent Dog Census we asked:

Do you think pedigree dogs are living longer?
Yes 26%
No 37%
Don't know 37%

Do you think pedigree dogs are getting healthier?
Yes 11%
No 59%
Don't know 30%

Isn't it interesting? We have analysed a small group of 100 just to get a trend in advance of the survey closing, but isn't it fascinating that there is such a difference between perceived life expectancy and health even in a small group of people?
What do you think? Are pedigree dogs living longer or not?
If you're just going from personal experience there are so many other factors to consider.
I've had lots of Beardies in my life, even so I struggle to find a definitive trend. Some have lived very long lives - 16 is my best, some have died at 12 or younger of something odd. Some have had pups, some haven't. Some have had some trauma or an infectious disease. Will have been fed a certain commercial diet or fresh homemade food. Some were rarely vaccinated, others annually.
In that time I've had brilliant vets and sadly some really very ordinary ones. Great pet insurance or none at all - which possibly changed the options my vet may have put to me.
Sally for example was on Vivitonin for years, none of my other oldies before then were ever offered this wonder drug and that may have extended her life in both quality and quantity dramatically.
How will we ever get proper scientific data on life expectancies that factors all these variables out?
I guess we can just measure perceptions and ask lots of people in different professions and then take the average of them all.
Has there ever been a survey that suggested pedigree dogs are getting healthier and living longer?

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Invent a mnemonic to commemorate Endal

Just got this email in from Mei Lee and I wanted to share it with you as she sets us a great challenge, and those of you that are on Twitter will know I do love word games!
For those who maybe from another Universe who might not be familiar with the Endal story - or for those still unaware of the most famous dog in the world's passing click here.
The Sky documentary is next repeated this evening, Saturday 16th May at 11pm on Sky Real Lives, channel 243. Have the tissues handy. (Wish I had when we were filming it, I had flu as those who decide to watch in HD will unfortunately be very aware of!).
If you want to add to the 98 tributes already recorded on this blog click here.

Dear Beverley,

Words simply cannot describe ENDAL who was just Love on 4 Legs. Allen and Endal proved to the world that there is nothing greater than love.


Allen brought the best out of Endal too, as much as Endal did Allen!

May I suggest an annual award in Endal's memory to either train a "Hound for a Hero" or to honour a "Hound for a Hero"? and maybe a competition to find out the best 5 word phrase for


One other note - what your magazine has done to stop cruel inbreeding of pedigree dogs is amazing. You are more than a doggy magazine - Dogs Today is an advocate for dogs.

I was sorry to miss the Sky broadcast on Endal - would you by any chance know when it might be repeated? Or is there a DVD I could borrow?

Thank you for a wonderful magazine and giving Endal the Millennium Dog honour - paws down, he was the right choice.

Bless you, Mei
I'll start you off... here's my go...

Now and again a
Dog can
Astound us by reminding us what
Love can achieve

or is we stick to a list format, how about


I like the word numen, I think it sums up Endal. He was almost human! For those unfamilar with the word it means...


n. pl. nu·mi·na (-mə-nə)
  1. A presiding divinity or spirit of a place.
  2. A spirit believed by animists to inhabit certain natural phenomena or objects.
  3. Creative energy; genius.

Please post your best efforts here...

Friday, 15 May 2009

First week in the new office

I'm sitting at my new desk, the birds are all tweeting and out of my window all I can see is green. Oscar and Tess love the new regime and are much more relaxed here than in our old office, the one with the one dog clause in the lease!
The light is better here somehow, there's a happy atmosphere.
It's peak time now at the magazine but it's time to shut this computer down and close the door - and go across the garden to start work on my laptop!
See there is still a work home divide! It's just a narrower one.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Home sweet Home office

Well it's almost all done. Everything we need to work is now installed. No dramas with BT, everything is working beautifully.
The team worked ever so hard, thank you to husband Graham for DIY beyond the call of duty, to Kevin our illustrator (and my son's Kieran's dad - we're a very dysfunctional company/family but everyone seems happy!) for helping out with the move today and all his DIY stuff, too. And thanks to all the editorial team for lugging stuff and juggling generally without moaning. And to Craig of course for all the hard graft and driving the big lorry without hitting anything.
For some reason my feet are killing me and I really did nothing compared to everyone else!
Shall sleep well tonight. No excuses for being late for work now! Guess those who were carrying fridges and photocopiers will have some twinges tonight.
Still the attic to clear at the old office and some storage issues to juggle, but at least we all have phones and Internet, chairs and desks!
I do hope everyone is going to be happy being in "The Dog House". The dogs are enjoying all the comings and goings, they only escaped once when the kids came home. All the grown ups know the gate rules, will take the kids a while to realise the changes to routine when they come home from school. Sure we'll work it all out!
Can I also draw your attention to the previous post on canine brucellosis and puppy farming in Ireland. Some really excellent comments, really in depth - thank you and do keep us informed of any developments.

Canine Brucellosis latest

No one seems to be in charge of the alleged 'outbreak' of Canine Brucellosis in an enormous Irish Puppy Farm.
Because Canine Brucellosis isn't passed to farm animals it doesn't fall under the remit of the Department of Agriculture. And according to the Irish Independent the puppy farming family are still refusing to co-operate and allow Gov vets access to the estimated 1,000 dogs in their kennels.
It is assumed that they are continuing to trade through this period.
The breeders are denying the outbreak but local vets are quoted in the article as saying there have been cases.
Here's the Irish Indie article.
Apparently legislation to cover puppy farms in Ireland is still being written, but presumably this will not attempt to outlaw breeding on this scale - it will merely (hopefully) provide some minimum standards.
To stop puppy farming on this scale we need to remove the demand. The public needs to stop buying pups from pet shops and dealers and taking more care as to where their pets were reared.
I suspect this farm in Ireland is the biggest in the world and I also suspect that the UK is the biggest customer.
Why aren't they letting anyone in to see what goes on behind those closed doors?

Sunday, 10 May 2009

A moving story!

Monday morning is move day. We're finally moving to drier land after two major floods in our current office.
We had hoped to move last week, but there were some last minute hitches on the build - but a last push has seen "The Dog House" looking all lovely and inviting ready for all our furniture.
Our phone will be on divert until the BT men have done their switchover and we'll be offering a skelton service until we've unpacked all the boxes and plugged everything back in.
So if you need us urgently - email maybe your best bet. Blackberry's work wonderfully no matter what!
It will make quite a change to be moving office without getting our feet wet!
New address: The Dog House, 4 Bonseys Lane, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8JJ. Phone numbers etc to remain the same.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

There's a cat in the kitchen...

A lady with a Weimaraner just phoned with a difficult dilemma. She'd heard a noise in the kitchen and found that her dog had next door's cat in his mouth.
She retrieved the cat, who was somewhat the worse for the exchange and returned it to the neighbour. Her dog was badly scratched and needed vet treatment, too.
The lady has neither pet insurance nor household insurance as both have recently lapsed - so I'm guessing money is tight.
She wanted to know if she is liable for the cat's vet bill as she feels it is likely the neighbour will want her to pay it.
She points out she hadn't ever invited the cat in and already has a strained relationship with her neighbour. The lady also has birds and fears the cat was probably attracted to those.
Legally - what does she have to do? And what would you do if you were her?
If a cat strays into your home are you responsible for its safety? What about if it comes into your garden? What if a cat approaches your dog on a walk? One of our office dogs was attacked by a cat on a walk and had to have an operation to repair a damaged eyelid.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Children reselling rescue dogs - what next?

I have been approached by a breed rescue who have a real dilemma.
Their representative went out to home check someone interested in taking one of their male dogs. The person applying was not yet an adult, living in very crowded council accommodation with a one dog rule. They already owned one dog of the same large breed - a female. They were trying to obtain a male.
They admitted during the home check that the adults in the home were on benefits but they were hoping to use a local shelter for vet cover. The adults were less able to speak English than the children, so that is possibly why the applicants had been so young.
The home check was obviously a fail on a number of points, but the household applied again for another dog via another breed rescue and people within the breed started to swap notes.
A search on Google of the mobile phone number listed showed many dogs for sale via Internet sites for the same breed of dog. They appeared to be running a business selling dogs from their home.
They were charging hundreds of pounds for adult dogs and the photos on the web showed big dogs in very small spaces. Some very sad faces.
The rescue contacted the RSPCA but they felt there was nothing they could do. The council didn't seem too bothered either.
You have to wonder where they are getting these adult pedigree dogs from. Who would rehome to this environment? If they are getting rescue dogs somehow - do the rescues know they are being sold on? Perish the thought, could these dogs be possibly stolen?
There is something terribly wrong with our dog legislation if council tenants can become dog retailers when the simplest of checks reveals a totally unsuitable environment for even one dog to be kept.
Are dogs so insignificant that children can sell them?
In a week when I've heard that there is a 700 breeding bitch puppy farm in Ireland I have to say I do despair! And I am just stunned that despite the real fear of a very contagious disease outbreak no government vet has been given access to check on the condition of these poor dogs.
Nation of dog lovers - don't make me laugh. Our laws afford these poor dogs no real protection.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Puppy farmed dogs disease risk

There are worrying reports of an outbreak of Canine Brucellosis in Irish puppy farms. As many UK pet shops source their stock from Ireland there is a real fear that this devastating disease could quickly spread here.
Should the import of puppy farmed dogs cease to stop this ghastly disease spreading? We'd do it if it was a Foot and Mouth outbreak. If these people want to behave like farmers they should be treated as such.
Let's stop the trade in puppy farmed dogs immediately.

The Dublin SPCA website is carrying the following warning:
Canine Brucellosis (Brucella canis) poses a public health hazard since it is transmissible to humans, especially those handling aborted fetuses. Humans may develop a serious liver impairment or arthritis.
Information received from reliable sources has led Dublin SPCA Animal Welfare personnel and their colleagues from the Ulster SPCA to visit a puppy farm in Offaly to investigate reports of a potentially devastating outbreak of a virulent disease amongst animals kept on the premises.

The farm, near Moate, is one of Europe’s largest mass breeding establishments and churns out thousands of so called ‘pedigree puppies’ each year to meet demand in Ireland and the UK for ‘designer dogs’.

The operators refused cooperation on the visit but reluctantly confirmed the presence of Canine Brucellosis. This is a highly contagious bacterial disease and will now be endemic amongst the hundreds of dogs and pups currently on the farm or recently exported from it.

There is NO vaccine or effective treatment for this disease and it is likely the farm will require depopulation. The outbreak clearly has potential welfare and economic repercussions in the Republic and it is imperative animals are not removed from this farm until their health status has been assessed. Both the Dublin SPCA and ISPCA have contacted veterinary authorities in the Republic to request an immediate quarantine of the premises.

In the absence of any effective welfare legislation North and South both the Dublin and Ulster SPCAs are constantly warning the puppy buying public of the pitfalls of buying dogs from unknown sources. This outbreak emphasizes our many warnings; the puppy farming industry in Ireland breeds both dogs and disease and must be properly regulated.

Jimmy Cahill, Chief Executive, Dublin SPCA said: “We are calling on the Department of Agriculture or Department of Environment to take immediate action and quarantine this puppy farm to prevent any further contamination of the canine population in this country. We anticipate that this breeder will start moving animals off his premises today thus escalating the spread of this virulent disease. Every hour increases the risk of a countrywide Canine Brucellosis epidemic. This health risk is an inevitable result of the antiquated legislation in this country which allows inhumane over-breeding to continue.”

Stephen Philpott, Chief Executive, USPCA: “Puppy farming in Ireland, unlike most European countries, has no regulations governing its practice. In the absence of effective legislation in both the North and South the USPCA is constantly warning the puppy buying public of the pitfalls that can lurk in an apparently innocuous looking ad offering them the puppy of their dreams. This outbreak underlines our countless warnings; the puppy farming industry in Ireland, fuelled by greed, breeds both dogs and disease and must be properly regulated.”

Dublin SPCA and Ulster SPCA are jointly issuing warnings to their colleagues in the RSPCA, Irish and UK Kennel clubs and Veterinary Council of Ireland as well as Government Departments. Minister for the Environment John Gormley must introduce dog breeding regulations first promised by the department in 2006.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Something to get your brain working

I've just completed the Royal Veterinary College Companion Dog Welfare Survey and I must say there are some interesting questions that got me thinking.
Do have a go and get yourself a cup of tea as it will take a while. Really does make you think!
Click here.

Russian lost in Bracknell

Examples of Black Russian Terrier found on web

Yuri, Christine Bowles' Black Russian Terrier has slipped his collar whilst staying at a Travel Lodge in Bracknell, Berkshire.
He's two years old entire male. No collar, no tag, no microchip.
He's wearing a green bib.
He was entered into a grooming comp today so has his full coat. If anyone is in that area can they help look for him? Sightings have been around a Tesco's in that area. He's very nervous and scared.
Mobile no's are: Christine 07742190004 Joe 07745820899 Mick 07931959819
Fiona 07931742138
Apparently already reported to Dog Lost but not yet showing up.

Russian Terriers are quite Schnauzer like and are 25-28ins (64-72cm)


Sunday, 3 May 2009

Beware of cat burglars

Even when they're causing a crime wave, somehow our feline friends always get a good press. Henry has stolen 57 socks from neighbours in Loughborough and his owners are leafleting the area in an attempt to reunite the stolen booty with their rightful feet.
No one yet knows this recidivist's methods, whether he is taking the socks from washing lines, linen baskets or off people's feet.
If you are finding it difficult to find a pair of socks it may be that another gang member is operating in your area.
Now, please don't have nightmares. Remove temptation from sox maniacs like these, start wearing sandles!
Do you have a dog that pinches stuff? Do share your stories.
My old Misty used to sneak up behind my Mum when she was putting out the washing and pinch her on the bum and run away!
Chi-Chi my first Beardie would steal any food possible.
One day she got up onto the kitchen work surface and drank the contents of a cold chip pan - with no ill effects, just a remarkably shiny coat!
Annie, my best behaved dog of all time perfected the art of stealing only one slice of cake from a plate so no one was really sure if she'd been bad.
Chi-Chi used to shoplift from trade stands at dog shows. We were forever having to take things back to pay after we'd discover she had a stolen squeaky mouse in her mouth several stalls later.
Oscar and Tess currently love stealing the fridge magnets and they have a great technique for dislodging them. I think they've been watching too much David Attenborough as Oscar particularly looks like a Great White Shark as he launches an attack on the fridge.
Let's have an amnesty on doggie petty theft. Confess your pet(ty) criminal's escapades here.