Saturday, 31 July 2010

Sneaky peek...

In the early hours of this morning the September edition was put to bed and uploaded to our printers. It's not on sale until August 12th, but for some reason August is a very busy time for printers and we had a very narrow window to hit to get the edition on press this month and a million and one reasons for everything running a little late!
Thank you to my wonderful team for a maverick effort getting the job done this month and every month for the past twenty years, you're fantastic!
Yesterday we also had our photoshoot, which is always hectic and great fun - but this time we had a twist! Blue Peter were with us filming with their lovely new dog Barney.
As well as the Fido Fact breeds we decided to invite along some of what we regard as our extended Dogs Today family this being a special shoot. It was more like a party. We had a ball!
Thank you to everyone who came yesterday, travelling many miles to be with us, old friends and new.
Cracking edition from the team this month!
The two celebrity scoops are:
Formula 1's Mark Webber telling us how his beloved dogs keep him on track, Sam Simon - one of the creators of the The Simpsons - tells us the very special use he's making of those well-earned millions! What a fabulous man.
Loads on alternative meds and 60 lucky readers will get free Aromatherapy worth £11 - wow!
Five luxurious and really dog-friendly holidays to win worth £5k. And in many cases discounts even if you don't win.
First big interview with the new boss of the new Dog Advisory Council. You will want to read Jemima's interview, this could be a potentially key appointment for all dogs.
I could go on and on, when I was proof reading I couldn't help but think - wow, there's a lot in this issue!
On Monday, it's time to start October.
It'll soon be Christmas!
Can I just mention, I know people of my age will be especially green with envy - sorry, but I got a Blue Peter badge yesterday. I am tempted to wear it every day. Means more to me than Bulgari diamonds (honest!).

The Italians are home...

If you like happy endings read on.

Just heard that both Milo and Oscar are both reunited with their owners. Fantastic news.
Just saw this email about Milo... Poor Shelley is still seaching for her Jacob though, more than a year missing. Do please have a look at her blog, Jacob may be living somehwere near you?

Don't know full details - Jane from Doglost just rang and MILO is safe - Cathy was putting on new plasters on her poorly feet, two cyclists went by, and Milo just casually jumped into the back of her car ! Poor Cathy screamed with absolute joy and the cyclists stopped to ask her why! How amazing is this news - I am in floods of tears this is SO fantastic - please spread the word to everyone Cathy will no doubt update everyone later - :o))))))))))


Do you know anything about Jacob ?
Please help us by sharing this link with your address book

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Photo opportunity

Do you have any of these breeds or do you know anyone with them?

Irish Wolfhounds
Giant Schnauzers
German Short Haired Pointers?

We have one of our famous photoshoots on Friday in Slough at Martin Dawe Photography's studios with the amazing Tim Rose, probably the best dog photographer in the world.
It's all been done in a bit of a rush for a number of reasons, hence the late notice here for our next three Fido Facts breeds... but we're looking forward to welcoming Blue Peter so it's an extra special shoot this month.
And we've got some very well known doggie/human celebs coming along, too.  And you should see the doggie bags for this shoot, they really are fantastic!
You also get to keep a copy of all the photography and it's lots of fun, there's lots of parking, it's easy to find - just off the M4, air con and loads of treats for the dogs - and if you're around at lunchtime - loads of pizza!
If you have any of the above breeds please email ASAP.

It's competition time again!

Can you guess Smokey's parentage? I don't think this one is really all that hard at all, so no clues at this point! Entries close August 9th, so you've got a little while yet. And while you're at it - please do have a go at the caption - fantastic photo this month!

Send your best entries for both to

Prize for cross question - a doggie book from Interpet - either breed specific of general dog. Top prize for caption this month is the Company of Animal's Eco Bag Dispensor and 50 bags - and five runners up will get an Arms Length rake and scoop that means you don't have to stoop to clean up the poop!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Panorama or Petorama?

Next Monday, BBC1 8.30pm.

Britain's Unwanted Pets

Last year saw a big increase in the numbers of stray dogs recorded as being picked up in the UK. Tom Heap discovers that many of the unwanted dogs in pounds and rescues are Staffordshire bull terrier types - and asks why so many of them are being let go and destroyed.
Has the fashion for aggressive looking 'status' dogs contributed to the numbers of abandoned pets the authorities are now having to deal with? Panorama has gained access to one of the most famous animal rescues in the world, Battersea Dogs Home, and reveals the shocking truth of the numbers of dogs it is having to put to sleep.

We all know it's happening, but now the rest of the world is going to find out, too. Pounds up and down the country are full to bursting with Staffies no one wants, yet still people breed more and more.

Another disturbing programme to watch.

Can you help these gorgeous Italians find their way home?

I have a huge soft spot for Italian Spinoni - their little (actually quite large) faces look so vulnerable and sad at the best of times.
Two of this quite rare breed are currently missing and their owners are in that horrible heart-in-mouth situation of not being able to rest.
Can you please keep your eyes peeled for Oscar and Milo? Who knows, they may end up out of area. Any new dogs in your area?
Oscar was lost in Nottingham and Milo (who is only 6 months old) was in Cambridge. Milo was hit by a car on Limetree Avenue before running off into the woods. He appeared unhurt but was clearly very distressed. He was seen shortly after still running, but no sightings since.
Click on their names for their Lost Dog links. Do register while you're looking, so if there's a lost dog in your area you get an email.
And while you're looking, don't forget Jacob (above)- the Bracco Italiano who is still very sadly missing after a heart-breakingly long time.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Pembrokeshire holiday advice please!

One of our trusty team, Claire Horton-Bussey is about to head off on holiday with a child, a baby and a dog and is asking for advice (surprised she's not asking for valium!). I said I'd pass on her plea!

Does anyone have any experience of holidaying with a dog in the Narbeth/Tenby area of Pembrokeshire, particularly younger families? 
What are the day holding kennels like at Oakwood theme park? What are the best dog-friendly beaches available at this time of year? Any recommended pubs / restaurants that let in children and dogs?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The seven year itch

While I was away on holiday I heard about Donna's problems with Connor's skin via Twitter. Many years ago we featured a similar tricky problem with Lewis the Labrador and we were completely blown away by the support the readers showed for an owner who really was pulling her own hair out. Eventually something was suggested that alleviated some of Lewis's problems.
Can we try to do the same for poor old Connor?
Please click here to read the whole story. Have you been through anything similar? Able to offer advice or encouragement?
Please do have a read.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Vets are bracing themselves...

Thursday 9pm BBC1 Panorama, It Shouldn't Happen at the Vets.

Although no one has actually seen the programme yet there's much fear and anticipation in the vet world. Click here for the BVA advice to vets on how to cope with the public reaction to the programme. I'm intrigued as to what the vet-only restricted advice is having read the public section! And click here to see what the Medivet chain are saying... it seems they are very upset and they have clips and letters from some of their customers that were approached. Seems like Panorama had a vet nurse on the inside filming.
NEW RCVS have also posted some information in the build up. Click here for their link. THey say... "We have not seen the programme, but understand it is set to cover a range of issues, including the role of unqualified nursing staff in the practice, support for new graduates, over-charging in relation to insurance and regulation of corporate practices."

One to watch by the sounds of things.

Here's the blurb from the BBC... Filming undercover in one of Britain's largest veterinary chains, Panorama reveals evidence of questionable bills, animals poorly treated, and an unrepentant vet struck off for dishonesty.
Pet owners who take best practice on trust are in for a shock.

Sorry my dog bit you, he's feeling a bit blue

I know, I'm on holiday. But just got a message from the office to say BBC Radio Surrey and Sussex want to interview me about today's story in the Mail that says that aggressive dogs are probably just depressed and that basically, some prozac could sort them out.
What do you think of this story folks?
It's true when a dog becomes depressed they can't just put Morrissy on the Ipod and eat loads of cakes. They can't write us hate mail. The reason more people are getting bitten could be there's a lot of sad dogs out there. Here's a link to the story.
Or is this a PR puff from the drug industry? Are we going to just be buying a pill to make our dogs happier when perhaps all they need is a good walk, some quality time with us and a bit of love?
Do let me know your thoughts, interview just after 2pm UK time.

Get a quote, win a trip to LA or your own movie premiere!

Pet insurance provider Direct Line has teamed up with Warner Bros. to offer cat and dog lovers the chance to win hundreds of prizes to mark the release of the new animated family film, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.

Up for grabs is a family holiday to LA, including a VIP tour of the Warner Bros. Studios, and a private screening of the new movie at the winner’s local cinema for up to 30 friends. Runners-up prizes include movie goodies, such as Cats and Dogs DVDS and t-shirts.

To enter the free prize draw simply visit the Direct Line website and complete a quote for pet insurance. By completing a quote cat and dog lovers will automatically be entered into the draw for a chance to win one of these fantastic prizes.

Vicky Perry, spokesperson for Direct Line pet insurance said: “We are excited to be working with Warner Bros. UK in promoting the new Cats & Dogs movie, which is sure to be a favourite with pet lovers of all ages.“

Sunday, 18 July 2010


Last night we went to Grasse for dinner, have to say it was unexceptional - mainly due to having to pick the only restaurant with chicken nuggets on the menu enfant!
But the dogs that were passing were far more interesting.
Two Berger de Pyrenees, a Havanese and an English Pointer.
I have to say all the Pyrenean Sheepdogs are very much smaller in this region than elsewhere - very little. And scruffier! So many with bald patches!
Talking of bald, yesterday we saw a Chinese Crested wearing a sun dress.
Lots of dogs, yet it is so very hot for us humans.
Guess they must get used to it.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

I heard it on the radio (over the Internet!)

As you know we're on holiday so not doing the usual things, but a nasty comment on my blog (which I rejected as it wasn't even as amusingly rude as anony-mouse normally manages!) tipped me off that Jonathon Ross was talking about Dogs Today on BBC Radio 2!
Being overseas I had to think about how to find out what was really being said as my anony-mouse attacker made it sound really terrible.
Turns out BBC iplayer lets you listen to radio overseas even if the TV is off limits so 15 mins after the programme aired I could hear what I'd been hearing snippets about second-hand on Twitter and Facebook. Was I going to be ruined, would all my advertisers flee? Had we been slandered?
Was meant to be in the pool and helping out with the bbq - but instead I was glued to the laptop that was really heating up in the sun.
At about 35 minutes in Jonathon and his sidekick started flicking through the magazine and talking about the adverts and having a real laugh.
Hold on, was I suffering from heat stroke?
A prime time BBC radio programme reading out our adverts and saying what a lovely magazine it is and how they always read it - how could even anony-mouse have thought this was a bad thing?
Here's the link so you can hear, too!
What a wonderful surprise! And on what I think is his final radio show.
JR has reduced me to tears twice already with incredible acts of dog-related kindness, but a plug on his last ever radio show has to be hard to top!
And if anyone has a French Bulldog looking for a home, he'll obviously have a bit more free time for the next few months for walking a new dog!
JR we're going to miss you!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Can I do an acceptance speech, cry a lot and thank my family....? Thought not.

I've just discovered this blog has won an award! If you click on the symbol to the right you can find out more about the top 50 dog blogs, quite a meaty reading list it is!
Apologies for the lack of blogging recently, I'm on holiday with the family so not really working at full speed!
Normal service will be resumed far too soon!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Another date for the diary!

Just had another email I'd like to pass on:

We are holding a fund raiser on Saturday 17th July at East House, East Road, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire - 10am to 4pm to help raise funds for Bichons in Need, either puppy farm rescues or people who can't afford major surgery. We are also hoping to donate to Kitty's Fund.

Scottish Co-Ordinator
Global Moderator

Sunday, 11 July 2010

One day for humankind - big one for pups

Just received this email and very happy to pass it on, hope there's a good turnout:

An event is planned for 12.00-3.00pm on Saturday 31st July outside Petsville International petshop, 68, Richmond Road, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey where a local petition, calling on Kingston Council to adopt stringent licencing requirements for shops selling dogs, will be available for signing.
The local petition is supplemented by an on-line version for those who can't attend the event but would like to offer support. Click here.


Saturday, 10 July 2010

A load of poo

A little while ago someone approached us asking for help getting their new organisation some celebrity endorsements. They weren't asking what we thought of what they were up to, it obviously never crossed their minds that we might not approve.
They claimed to be a new organisation for responsible dog owners.
Well we all think we're responsible, so theoretically we'd all join.
They were against dog poo not being picked up, again - no one is for not-picking-up-dog-poo are they?
And it was against people being bitten by dogs.
Again who could disagree?
Do we really need another organisation telling people that dogs make dangerous poo that makes people ill and that more and more dogs are biting people?
How exactly is that helping?
And why go for celeb endorsements?
Why not scientific?
And it looked to me to be churning out the same old, same old propaganda about dog poo being terrifyingly dangerous.
For me it's bad enough that it's smelly and gets stuck to your shoes.
The fact is, if you set out to catch Toxocariasis from your dog you'd really struggle.
First of all your dog would need to be shedding eggs. Main culprits being pregnant wormy bitches or new wormy pups.
Then the dog would have to poo on the exactly the right surface for the eggs to survive. The poo would have to be in those perfect conditions for about 14 days. Too hot and they'd die, too cold and they'd not develop. Much longer and they'd not be ripe.
Then you'd need to eat it.
It's stinky smelly stuff that you don't want to step on. It's not exactly inviting, there's no Alice in Wonderland sign saying "eat me" on every wormy turd!
Are you really going to eat it?
Okay some little kids in experimental mode might just the once and that shouldn't ever happen, but I've never let my kid crawl about in poo. Have you? I was very fussy about where my kids crawled and what they put in their mouths.
However, some animals are less proud of their poo than dogs and tend to hide it in the soil or in sand pits and I kind of get the fact that you might get some under your nails, but that's why everyone should wash their hands!
Even if every dog wore a nappy and was wormed once a week - would we never see a case of Toxocariasis ever again?
Toxocariasis can be caught via fox poo or cat poo, although you won't find anyone trying to start a responsible cat and fox society will you?
Many more pet cats use the outside toilet than pet dogs. Foxes have no choice.
How many cats and foxes are regularly wormed? How many have their outside poos bagged by humans?
I'm afraid the poo section of this organisation put me right off and I stopped reading.
We all hate poo, it's stinky.
Leave off the scare stories.
Toxoplasmosis actually kills babies, so why not start a campaign about that if you want to cause a sensation. Educate people about cooking meat properly on the barbeque, not handling cat litter trays when you're pregnant.
Starts with the same letters as the Toxocara word too and enough stupid journalists have confused the statistics about the two conditions in the past!
I dimly remember from my history lessons that dictators used to get the public onside by picking on something that everyone hated - like pigeons. It unites people in a common dislike. Just because we don't like poo it's no reason to join up and go to war.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Are you sitting comfortably?

Here's a wonderful short film that really deserves sitting down with a cup of tea and a whole box of Jaffa cakes. It shows an absolutely idyllic Beardie world created by a fantastic breeder who has loved these dogs for as many years as I have lived. The dogs she has today look just like the ones she had when I was a new born baby! Surely this is what dog breeding should be all about - guardianship rather than putting your stamp on the breed and 'improving' them. The Beardies she fell in love with were pretty much perfect. Intelligent, gentle, considerate, shaggy but not overly hairy, and just totally charming. Why change a winning formula.

Sit back and have a watch.... sigh! Oh to be a Beardie!

Brambledale Bearded Collies from Lynne Sharpe on Vimeo.

Lynne's Brambledale website is here

Do compare the photos from the 1960s to the current day, wonderful!
And our Oscar and Tess do The Caucus Race, too! I hadn't realised it was a Beardie game, but it stops as suddenly as it starts and Oscar makes that funny yipping noise you hear on the film! While I was watching this on the laptop in the kitchen (while making kiddie breakfasts!) Oscar and Tess were fascinated!

Monday, 5 July 2010

A bit of alternative thinking!

We're about to collate our section on alternative or complementary medicine and we'd like to give you the chance to provide some personal input. There are several relevant questions on our Think Thank blog and we'd love you to have a browse and to comment if you have anything you'd like to share with other readers. If you struggle to get your comment registered - please email me your answer direct

Here are the subjects and links to the questions, we really do value your input:

What products for older dogs really works at putting a spring back into their step and a glint back in their eyes? Click here

What's your best tip for dealing with slightly gunky eyes? Click here
Is there anything you'd recommend for a dog that has become over-dependent on an owner? Anything to to help with the stress of change and relearning new patterns of behaviour? Click here

What is the difference between alternative medicine and complimentary? And what are the rules as to who can treat a dog? Click here
Any hints for making two weeks in kennels less distressing? Any good ways of boosting a dog's immunity generally? Click here
Any tips for gentle non-invasive ways of fighting cancer? Click here

Have you found anything alternative that works on skin problems? Click here

Can you point a new dog owner in the right direction to find out more about all the alternatives available? Click here

Thank you!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Three days to make us laugh!

Only three days left to submit your captions for the July Caption competition. First prize a Clix Car Safe Harness from the Company of Animals.  Five runners up win a Clix multiclicker.
Pictured above are Finn the Greyhound and Jester a cat.

Please email your best efforts ASAP to

24 - with everything apart from Kiefer Sutherland

On Wednesday afternoon I started to notice a dull ache in my chest that went all the way through to my back. I assumed it was muscular, but couldn't remember doing anything out of the ordinary.
The dull ache continued but I had important stuff to do like school runs and bedtime stories to read so didn't give it much thought.
I settled down on the sofa to watch the Bionic Vet on BBC1 and made the mistake of idly thinking what else might have changed in the last few days to have caused this tightness that was bad enough to stop me bending to put the ironing away.
I'd been put on some tablets a few days before and I decided to look on the side effects data sheet for the first time.
"Urgent, if you experience chest pain seek medical advice immediately."
Noel Fitzpatrick was all teed up ready to watch, but I had to make a call to the GP, I couldn't ignore the warning now I'd read it. Their out-of-hours service was much more efficient than I'd expected. No 'we'll phone you back in up to an hour' routine, a simple 'an ambulance will be with you within five minutes'. Yikes!
I was in my pjs (and not even my best ones) and suddenly I had to contemplate being whisked off.
I grabbed the laptop, a copy of Private eye and my mobile and a dressing gown.(Forgot my keys or any money...tsk!)
In the blink of an eye I was attached to a heart monitor while still sitting on the sofa with Noel on pause. Then it was quickly off to casualty and loads more tests.
I had a temperature and a rash on my arms. But it was established pretty quickly I definitely wasn't having a heart attack.
It wasn't like an episode of House, no one contemplated much as to what was causing the pain or broke into our house to find rare funghi - it was late at night and as they ruled out imminent death I was out of there.
I had noticed my gum had been swollen up for a few days but as it didn't hurt I'd assumed it could wait. I mentioned it to the doctor in casualty in passing, but he didn't think it was significant and didn't look.
I called a cab so husband didn't have to wake up son Kieran who had managed to sleep through the whole ambulance incident.
Getting into a cab in your pjs is a very odd experience.
I was still feeling grotty, but I was very relieved I wasn't about to pop off!
I was back in time for a couple of hours kip before the school run.
When I got back I thought the sofa looked most attractive and finally watched The Bionic Vet, it was very good. Better than I expected somehow, but maybe it was all the anticipation!
Anyway, gum felt a bit different so went to look in the mirror.
Disgusting green stuff was pouring out of it, it really did look like a scene from the Exorcist - or maybe the Exorcyst!
I phoned the dentist who obligingly said to come immediately despite my unexplained absence from his surgery since 2006!
In the next hour I started to feel so much better. Chest pain went and generally it was like someone had turned the brightness up! The gum infection was almost like the vuvuzela noise at the world cup. You start to tolerate it, but life is so much more pleasant when it stops!
I was fit and well to attend Kieran's end of year prize giving that afternoon and was just so delighted to see him win a cup for academic achievement (he's only nine and did have to ask the teacher to explain what academic achievement was!)

As I was awaiting the ambulance the night before it did cross my mind I might not see him ever again if the night got much worse.
So, if there is a lesson to be learned it is:
Look after everyone's teeth
A simple gum infection can make you feel terrible but at least we can pick up the phone and tell someone if it hurts. Our poor old dogs need us to keep checking them.