Sunday, 28 February 2010

Does Louie have the X factor?

 

Louie is a seven year old Bichon and an ex-stud dog from a puppy farm.

He's a very sweet friendly boy he likes other dogs and would really like a home with another dog. we would prefer a home without kids as he just isn't used to them and it wouldn't be fair to introduce them at his time of life. He would like to be a little lap dog which is of course what he should have been all along.
There's also a tri Basset girl called Lizzie, photo to come soon.

If you are interested in finding out more click here to go to Pro dogs Direct website

The dog in Europe

I was chatting to a researcher on Friday who was moaning about how few reliable meaningful statistics there are about dog ownership and I was agreeing with him.
Then this morning, I woke up with a burning ambition to try to pull together some of the statistics into one place. And I was wondering, many hands make light work, can I persuade some of you to help?
I would like to know more about what life is like for dogs in different countries in Europe and if there's anything we can learn about the way others do things. Are dogs having a better life in some countries than others?
I'd like to find out comparative figures for the numbers of dogs in each European country indexed to human population. The number of unwanted dogs destroyed each year. The number of dogs in rescue. The number of dog bites. The number of deaths caused by dog bites. What dog-related legislation that country has passed.
If we can work out who is getting the best results perhaps we can then look at why that is the case and hopefully learn from their experiences or pat ourselves on the back if we're actually doing okay!
It's a massive project and if someone has already done it or part of it, please point me in the right direction so we can all save ourselves a massive amount of time.
If you have any of the pieces of the jigsaw to hand please do email me or if you'd be interested in being part of a team of volunteers researching this please do email me!
beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

Friday, 26 February 2010

The Shameful History of the Dangerous Dogs Act

I was having a thumb through Kenneth Baker's autobiography The Turbulent Years and stumbled on this about how we got the ghastly Dangerous Dogs Act. (He was Home Secretary at the time.) As there's so much talk of further control orders at the moment I thought it might be worth looking back to how exactly we got the last lot of ineffective solutions... Wonder who that 'dog expert' was? He was a helpful, wasn't he? Is it just me that finds it disturbing how the fate of country's dogs can be decided by a jokey meeting where the pet owner really isn't properly represented at all!

And it seems the KC was a lone voice in calling for genocide - thank god for that!

Becoming The Home Secretary

P 433-4 - subhead Dangerous Dogs

The animal lobbies were very divided on the issue of controlling dangerous dogs. The Kennel Club supported the idea of pit bulls being put down. They did not register pit bulls as one of their recognized breeds and felt that as fighting dogs they have no place in our society. The RSPCA, while having no love of pit bulls, shrank from the physical elimination of the breed, preferring instead that the dogs should be neutered and then die out over time as the breed became extinct. Furthermore the RSPCA used the opportunity to raise its cherished aim of the introduction of a dog licensing system - which I  opposed. I was not in the business of legislating to control chihuahuas when I wanted to rid the country of pit bulls. The vets were also reluctant to destroy pit bulls en masse, believing that this went against their version of the Hippocratic Oath. But one dog expert assured me that "All pit bulls go mad". Unlike any other recognized breed they were unpredictable and could not reliably trained. Steering a course acceptable to all these differing viewpoints strained patience as well as imagination, and I knew that whatever course of action I took I would be attacked by one group or another.

On May 22 I announced to the House of Commons my intention to introduce legislation to ban the breeding and ownership of pit bull terriers and other dogs bred especially for fighting. I then embarked on further meetings with the animal interest group which, in addition to the RSPCA and the Kennel Club, included the Joint Advisory Committee on Pets in Society, the Canine Defence League (
now Dogs Trust), the Royal College of Veterinary  Surgeons, and the British Veterinary Association. The issues we debated  included whether to identify dogs by implanting Micro-chips under their  skin, or by tattooing them. This led to humorous exchanges about exactly who would volunteer to tattoo a pit bull's inside leg, and whether the dog's tattoo should match that of the owner. Would pit bulls have 'love' and 'hate' inscribed on each knuckle.

On 10 June I introduced the Dangerous Dogs Bill in the House of Commons.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Don't be shy, tell us why!

Every month in the magazine we celebrate the story of a dog who has been very good.
They might have been brave or clever. They might have overcome adversity or been a good patient. Or they might have inspired you to keep going through a rough patch or have been a special friend to someone who needed one.
Is there a special beloved dog you'd like us to write about? Just send us the details or if you'd like to write it we need approx 800 words and a couple of good hi-res pix.
Please email luke@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk
Each dog featured will get a hamper of goodies from Good Boy.
So come on, don't be shy!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Enjoying extra time

You may not have checked it out - but we also do a blog for people with pets with cancer trying CV247. Often we get a flurry of activity when someone is newly diagnosed, they get all the info and they either get their vet interested and try it or don't.
We started the blog about a year ago and last night I got a follow up email from one of the first people to contact us.

Hi Beverley
Sorry I haven't been on the blog for so long..almost a year...where does the time go?  My time has been spent enjoying every little minute with Chilli Pepper who is still doing well.  The tumours seem to be getting bigger but slowly in my view as they were cut out last April so I think they are growing slowly as it is an aggressive type of cancer that is in her lymph nodes and liver.  She is finding it harder to poo now but they are still an okay shape (yes I am now a poo watcher!) but apart from that she is healthier, thinner and happier than she has been in her 8 short years.  I was so glad to get her to her 8th birthday as I didn't think it would be possible due to the aggressive nature of her cancer and bleak prognosis from the Dick Vet in Edinburgh.
Needless to say I haven't been back there as I found them a miserable lot and my own Vets are all very positive ie they think she looks great and none of them are saying' well you know she will die of cancer unless she is run over by a car'.  I may be optimistic but I am not stupid and know she will die of cancer probably this year as if the tumour continues to grow it will eventually constrict her rectum, intestine or stomach.  Anyway no more negativity!
The diet has been easy for CP to digest and eats it very well..she is still on carrots, broccoli and raw liver..though I don't add oats to her night feed as she seems to process the veg and liver fine but there is more bulk when she has the oats.  Another miracle is she had a substantial  heart murmur but two of my vets have recently been unable to hear any murmur so she is definitely finding something to make her healthier.  I don't know if it is the cv247 or the diet or the vitamins and mineral supplements I give her but she has never looked better and that is all the evidence I need..she is still on no medication as shows no signs of pain (believe me I would know as CP is a bit of a drama queen!)  She is still going for two hour walks with my other two dogs and doggy friends and never gets tired so I think I made the right decision to start cv247 with the help and advice from you and the other bloggers so BIG THANK YOU to you all!  Taking each day as it comes.

love Nikki and Chilli Pepper XX

Here's a link to their original post to the blog and the exchange that followed.

I Twittered about this email late last night and was stunned to hear back from the late John Carter's son (John invented CV247 - order the April 2009 back issue to read the whole story). He'd read Nikki's earlier post and seen me mention John's distrust of berries and mushrooms! And also lovely vet Richard Allport Twittered back to report he now had dozens of clients using CV247 with good results. Isn't modern media extraordinary.
In pride of place on my desk is a photo of John with my lovely old Sally who he saved. I'm sure he'd be delighted to know people are finding CV247 and it is helping others.
Such a gentle yet powerful thing he created. I really should get on and write that book about John...

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Where do you draw the line? On the dog?

This extraordinary photo was drawn to my attention by the famous Terrierman.

Click here

I think this was taken at Westminster dog show - the American version of Crufts.

Does this not break any rules in American dog shows? In theory, it should be against the rules in the UK, although I did stumble on a website selling doggie cosmetics in the UK with a wide range of colours for covering up unsightly patchy pigment - but that's usually noses rather than eye rims - or at least I thought it was! Maybe the make-up is so convincing everyone is using it!

The rulebook says you're not meant to use any cosmetics on UK dogs and there are sometimes random hair samples taken to check that the dog's natural hair colour has not been enhanced. But to my knowledge no one has ever queried an overly made up nose.

And there have been some very high profile embarrassing fails on the random hair sampling in the Poodle world.

If eyeliner is okay in the US, what about hair extensions or indeed wigs or false legs - and is anyone testing for hair remover in the hairless breeds?  Is that against their rules or indeed our rules? And how would you test for hair remover?

I've seen someone in the UK using hair straighteners at a show - The Guardian by chance photographed it happening at Crufts and included it in their gallery. Against the rules or not? Made me very nervous. I've burnt myself on hair straighteners before, I wouldn't want to put them near a dog.

What's your feeling about dogs - natural or cosmetically enhanced?

What big eyes you've got...
Maybe it's Maybelline?

Because they're worth it, I think someone should put a stop to  this!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Breakfast TV has a bitter taste

I woke up to GMTV and it wasn't very pleasant.
(here's a link if you want to see it yourself - thank you to the kind reader for the comment pointing out the link!)
The new dog control measures being suggested this morning are so reminiscent of the knee jerk  hysteria that resulted in the original catastrophic Dangerous Dogs Act. (DDA)
This morning we had all sides calling for all 'status' dogs to be kept on a lead in public places, wearing muzzles, registered, neutered, microchipped.
So a bit like the DDA on steroids then? And that's been such a very, very successful piece of legislation hasn't it! Children have been so much safer haven't they? Numbers of Pit Bulls are now the highest ever. It's worse than useless.
And then GMTV showed footage of a normal Staffie running around and having a sniff in a public park and all it needed was the Jaws theme in the background. A serious-faced councillor told the camera something like 'this was an accident waiting to happen'.
Would they show some youths hanging around in the park and say 'it's vandalism or a knife crime waiting to happen?' Shoddy reporting.
Would they suggest all young men should be tethered just in case one of them attacks another as there's been some terrible youth murders?
Should we neuter all young men anyway - that'll get rid of rape, too.
Then they put up the photos of the poor children who were killed by dogs over the last few years.
But do they point out where did these poor kids died?
Was it in a park?
No.
It was at home.
In the 'care' of their own relatives.
How many of these children would have been saved by stopping dogs having a run in the park?
None.
People say such silly things in front of a camera, too.
I'm typing from memory, but it's probably the same impression the general public got.
"Our shelter is full of Staffies - it's an animal welfare disaster. They make great pets. We need sensible people to come forward to home them - but you shouldn't have Staffies in the house if you have kids, you should house them outside. Status dogs should not be off lead in public and should be muzzled. "
I'm sure she didn't mean to say those things.
Can't see too many people rushing to take those poor dogs on when even the rescue thinks they need to be muzzled in public and kept on a lead - and kept apart from the family!
Kids should never be unsupervised with ANY dog.
That should be the lesson we learn.
That should be the united message we all put across.
Even the most lovely dog can bite a child if you've not taught it bite inhibition. Often the sweetest looking dogs have no bite inhibition simply because they've never been poked in the ear with a pencil until the day it happens.
Dogs need to be well socialised and trained, not just kept as status symbols.
And certainly not kept outside.
Most of the deaths have been poorly-reared dogs, usually kept outside or away from the family but suddenly getting unsupervised access to a child. 
It's easily done, a kid opens the wrong door.
Probably feels sorry for the poor dog left outside.
Someone fails to shut a door properly because they're distracted or the routine goes out of the window.
Why keep dogs if they're not part of the family?
Keep dogs outside, under-exercise them.... yikes.
Sounds like the recipe for lots more tragedies, to me.
It's in the home that those children were killed, not the park.
These proposed control measures would not have saved a single one of those children whose photos were used to tacitly endorse this campaign.
What a mess.
Who is driving this agenda?
Why?

And I realise all the above is a pretty depressing way to start the day.
So to give you your mojo back without buying a Cheryl-Cole-endorsed hair product, watch this lovely video.
The majority of kids and the 10.5 million dogs get along really well and dogs have saved so many more lives than they've ever taken.
Here's little Emily and Pickle practising their heelwork to music routine for Crufts. (Be hard to do this on leash and muzzled.)
Enjoy.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Protest against the fools on April 1st

Are you upset about the puppy farming situation in Wales?
Want to get involved in a peaceful protest?
Many of the worst farms featured in the TV exposés remain stubbornly council licensed.
Dogs-r-us are holding a protest in Carmarthen on the 1st April. It will be at the council offices, 3 Spilman Rd, Carmarthen, April 1st, noon. 
Here's an extract from Puppy Love's website:

We at Puppy Love have tried, for the sake of the dogs, to keep up sensible correspondence with Carmarthenshire council and Mr Philip Davies in particular.
Recently we have been told our communications will not be answered as they are too repetitive, yes questions are repetitive as we are trying to get honest or at least intelligent replies.
Do check out their website.
 
http://www.dogs-r-us.org


I know a lot of people find it too upsetting to watch the films of the breeding slaves, but if we all stand shoulder to shoulder we might actually get somewhere. Please do support this protest.


Sunday, 14 February 2010

Breeding slave ready for freedom

Caddie is a 3½-year-old female who was a breeding bitch from a puppy farm in Wales who has never lived in a home before. On Pro-Dogs Direct's website she is described as an Old English, but she was emailed to me by dogs-r-us as a Beardie and she does look very like one to me.

Caddie loves all people and loves nothing more than constant attention. 
We would consider homing her to a family with children who are older dog savy, as she has shown no fear of either people or children. 
She has a very soft nature and will make a fantastic companion.

Caddie will need someone around for most of the day and owners who are prepared to work at her pace.

She enjoys going out for a walk and has not shown any fear when out and about.

Caddie has been spayed, had her first  vaccination and been microchipped. 
Caddie's coat has been shaved as she was in such a terrible state when she arrived nothing else could be done. Given time her coat will return to normal.

If you are interested in Caddie, please contact donna.woodford@ntlworld.com for more information. She will then send you a questionnaire to complete.

If your details are suitable for the requirements of the dog, we will arrange a homecheck for the dogs security. If this is passed we will make arrangements for you to met the dog, and hopefully re-home her or him. The time limit on this process varies.

To help defray the costs of neutering, vaccination, flea and worm treatments and micro chipping of each dog, we require a minimum donation of £150 to our funds for each dog.

We have a legally binding Adoption Contract which you are asked to read and sign. Everything known about the dog will be given to you. 
Pro Dogs Direct will be there for help and support throughout the dog's life.

Caddie has never lived in a home but still has an enormous capacity for love. It just breaks your heart that dogs are kept like farm animals. Do check out the other puppy farmed dogs that are looking for a home on Pro Dogs Direct.
 

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Half the calories!


I thought I'd share what happens when you inadvertently grill a Marks and Spencer ready meal that should be warmed in the oven. This was originally twice the size and the black stuff is where the plastic tray was before it shrank!!

I have to confess that Gordon Ramsey I am not! I can't even warm up convenience food.... oh dear! In my defense the buttons on the oven/grill aren't clear and it's not an appliance I have much to do with!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Run a rescue, wacky sense of humour?

Looking to find someone in rescue who'd be up for a joke. TV prog looking to make a donation in exchange for filming, off-the-wall programme.

Email me for more details
beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

Happy endings!

When we started the search for a foster home for 17 year old Candy I did say I thought it would take a miracle to find someone to take such an elderly and incontinent dog that was local enough for her owner (who is bravely battling a very serious cancer) to still see her.
Here she is all settled and happy in her foster home.
Well done to Julia at People and Pets Advocates and wonderful foster carer Rachel. Miracle workers of the week! And what a great charity - do think about becoming a volunteer please!

Intensive farming of dogs in Ireland



Watch this You Tube clip from Irish TV and I guarantee you'll be hopping up and down, not doing an Irish jig, but shouting at the screen.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Calling ethical breeders in Oxfordshire! URGENT

Are you a small scale breeder that goes that extra yard in Oxfordshire? Prime time TV prog doing a piece on best place to buy a dog and wanting to film to contrast puppy farm rearing with a really good breeder. They'll be filming this week and ideally you'll have a litter at the moment if at all possible!

To recap: We need someone that goes that extra yard, health testing, rearing in the home and socializing and really loving their dogs. Ideally very small scale and very fussy.

Please post far and wide and ask breeder to email me with more details. Brilliant opportunity to educate the public!

beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

Thank you to everyone who got in touch, I passed on your details to the programme.


Watch out for an upcoming item on breeding on the One Show on BBC1.


I was aware of a few sad extremely bitter folk who gave people grief who re-posted this appeal - who were urging good breeders not to get in touch - for example see the comment on this blog. Quite why they wanted to stop the BBC One Show doing a powerful item comparing and contrasting puppy farm rearing to the best home rearing leaves me speechless! The item is nothing to do with us, I was just helping the researcher identify a really good breeder who reared in the home rather than in kennels and that's what we believe to be the ideal. The researcher had originally gone to the Kennel Club but they'd only given them large breeders with kennels, hence us picking up the call and coming to the researchers aid!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Are cat owners smarter than dog owners?

Just did a jolly little radio interview with Radio 4's PM programme about whether dog or cat owners are the more intelligent. (click here for the link - it was pretty much the last item nearly 25 mins in) The pro-cat person up against me was the lovely Jilly Cooper who definitely swings both ways and loves dogs just as much, so it was a very positive discussion.
But the research that the unflattering qualifications statistic came from had caught my eye for very different reasons - it was published in this week's Vet Record.
The guys at Bristol University reckon we've been hugely under-estimating the numbers of dogs and cats.
The Bristol study puts it at approx 10.3 million cats and approx 10.5 million dogs. That's 57% more than the previously quoted 6 million dogs!
So how did they do their research?
They telephoned nearly 3,000 or so people randomly and asked them lots of questions. Then they applied the information they gleaned to the population to come up with the national estimate for ownership.
Apparently this seemingly quite small sample is still a lot more statistically significant than the way the Pet Food Manufacturers Association came up with their  previous 6 million guesstimate!
Some more stats:
  • 26% of homes have cats
  • 31% of homes have dogs
People with degrees are more likely to have cats than dogs but the person with the highest qualifications in the poll had both. 7% of people surveyed had a dog and a cat.
Cat owners:
  • 58.3% had one cat
  • 29.3% had two cats
  • 7.2% had three cats
  • 2.1% had four cats
  • 1.6% had between six and 12 cats.
Dog owners:
  • 73.3% had one dog
  • 18.9% had two dogs
  • 4% had three dogs
  • 1.9% had four dogs
  • 1% had five dogs
  • 1% had between 6 and 17 dogs.
By comparison with other surveys it suggests that pet ownership per head of population is higher in the UK than the USA.
So are dog owners less intelligent than cat owners?
As I said on the radio, dog ownership spans such a huge variety of people from the homeless man to the multimillionaire - with nearly a third of the population living with a dog, how can we make these assumptions from such a small sample. Other surveys showed that as many as 80% of people actively like dogs compared to just 40% liking cats - might it just be that people with cats are just waiting for their lives to become  a little less hectic until they can acquire a dog? Could it also just be that intelligent dog owners are ex-directory or were far too busy out walking their dogs when the researchers phoned?
Every dog thinks their owners are the most intelligent people in the world, in any case (and the most beautiful, heroic etc etc) - and dogs are much more intelligent than cats in any case! (meow!)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Ideas please!

Just had a very interesting chat with one of our readers who is writing her will. She wants to split probably £200k between some really deserving charities and I need a little bit of help on this!
There are three areas she wants to help: Horses, primates and dogs.
I can think of lots of lovely doggie charities, but am struggling with UK-based horse and primate.
Margaret wants smaller charities that can really make a difference to the animals.
If anyone can explain what a donation of several thousand would mean to them please post or email and I will forward so she can investigate! She really wants her money to make a difference to the animals.
Please mark your letters 'Margaret's legacy' and I will pass them on.
She's been reading our new Charity Spotlight section in the magazine, so is already aware of those listed - but if anyone could say something like - with £5,000 I could rehome/save X number of dogs - that's the sort of information that would be helpful to Margaret. It really is such a good idea to write a will so your hard-earned cash can really make the most impact.
(Post anything for Margaret's attention to Margaret's Legacy, Dogs Today, 4 Bonseys Lane, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8JJ and we will forward - would prefer by post please as Margaret isn't on the Internet.)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Go on, write a winning caption!

Can you think of an appropriate caption for this photo of Sam, submitted by Sue Cousins.

The winner will receive a Nina Ottosson Dog Pyramid and five runners up will win a tub of Coachies - all thanks to the Company of Animals.

Send your best entries to comps@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk to arrive before Monday, 8th February.

Chips with everything...

More and more organisations and charities are calling for mandatory microchipping and I have to say I have always been resistant to the arguments and I was wondering if it was time for me to have another think. It's been a while since I mulled it over. Lots of sensible people are asking for it, perhaps my instincts are off or things have changed?
What exactly is mandatory microchipping meant to achieve?
What will it alter? Which specific animal welfare problems will it help?
Chips help identify your dog and are I think are a great belt and braces. The collar with a tag is much better. It can can be read by anyone and is still a legal requirement. It is universally accessible to all should your dog go missing. A simple inexpensive non-invasive identifying system already on the statute book.
Has anyone ever been prosecuted for not having a dog tag? Why?
So why will anyone ever take action against people who don't microchip?
Something that usually has no visible clue as to the owner's compliance.
If a collar falls off or is taken off by someone who steals your dog, the chip becomes much more valuable.
That is should anyone bother to take your dog somewhere for scanning. Especially if you dog goes missing on a Friday night and the good person who takes it in has to wait till Monday for the dog warden to come back on duty.
After a few days on the run will someone who takes in your dog assume this poor obviously maltreated wretch has a loving owner somewhere?
As we know, just having your dog chipped is no guarantee that someone will scan your lost dog and contact you.
We have cases of stolen chipped dogs being rehomed to new, unsuspecting pet owners by very reputable charities. Many months later two chips might be discovered and a messy custody battle ensues.
But how often does the old owner simply never get that call because the new owner is already too bonded or the vet doesn't want to get involved?
Sadly many routinely chipped dogs don't have loving owners actively searching for them and people in the rescue world don't have time to become private detectives. How many times would you waste valuable time trying to track down someone who may or may not care about their dog and probably moved house many years ago and didn't bother to update their details on the central database.
They may find it more productive to use their energies to find the dog a really good home rather than find the technical owner that probably allowed the dog to escape in the first place.
Chips can be hard to find even if you know they are there.
If you don't know whether or not the dog is chipped, how long do you keep scanning before you give up? (Oscar's chip, for example, is moving down his leg! I know where it is so I can show the vet where to scan - but would anyone else find it?)
Chips are useful for identifying dogs that are going to be health tested, but even that isn't a fail safe if someone is intent on breaking the rules.
No one has been caught, but I am told by those who know that chips can and have been taken out and implanted in other dogs. DNA is probably the way to go with regard to definitely logging parentage and linking that information to health tests in breeds where there is a temptation to confuse results.
Am I being unfair? Why would someone move a chip or lie about a dog's identity?
Where someone has unbroken chain of very many Champions followed by a beautiful dog that either won't conceive or is perhaps too small to give birth safely - ascribing a litter from another of their own dogs to that glorious pedigree has sometimes been too much to resist. After all they know who everyone really is, so they might think, where is the harm?
Or they may have had an accidental mating between close relatives that would be embarrassing to admit or a litter from a bitch that was too old for the KC to register. Or someone really unscrupulous who has a top winner about to be used at stud extensively and not wanting to risk the possibility of a bad test result so they move the chip to their other dog that has already had a very good hip score and have that dog retested before moving the chip back.
I am told the chip can be removed and re-implanted really quite simply. We all know there are people in the dog world (not vets) with the skills to change an ear set or a tail carriage with illegal operations or indeed implant a false testicle where needed. Moving a chip and reimplanting it is much less complex that cutting a tendon.
Mandatory chips will discourage someone with lots of near identical dogs and only one lot of health insurance from claiming for different dogs under the same policy - which should keep our renewals down a tad. And I guess it will put off some people who might otherwise have been tempted to fake their health tests - but it isn't going to change the world.
It may actually reduce the number of people using the official testing scheme as those who don't want to chip or tattoo will still test for their own records, but their data will be lost from public scrutiny. And those that just didn't like testing generally will have yet another excuse not to!
Some people just don't like the idea of implanting a foreign body in their dogs, especially those in immune-compromised breeds.
Chips are useful for Pet Passports - for linking dogs to documents. But they do sometimes fail or even disappear. And they can always be moved from dog-to-dog to fit the paperwork should someone have the need to move a dog quickly who hasn't been vaccinated.
Mandatory microchipping to me seems a classic red herring.
It reminds me of being at the opticians and being asked to choose between two lenses - "better with or without?" they say - and just like with mandatory microchips - very often I can't see any difference!
The difference I do see is - someone makes loads of money manufacturing and retailing a chip rather than a tag. Someone makes moneymaking and selling scanners so that people can read the chips. Someone gets paid for collecting and updating the data. Someone might get power from knowing more about the people owning dogs and where they live and being able to sell them other stuff like insurance.
Good owners will microchip, bad owners will not. People who do chip will often forget to update their records when they move or forget who holds the data even if they do want to update the records.
No one will enforce mandatory testing even if it does become the law.
I have my dogs chipped, but I just don't think if we're going to the bother to make legislation changes for dogs, couldn't we have something a bit more evolved than this?
Something that does make a visible difference?
Why not have chips and something a bit more meaty?
Universal use of the puppy contract would cost virtually nothing and bring enormous change to the way dogs are acquired in this country.
The puppy contract - a fair agreement between seller and buyer tested in law - would make both sides responsible for doing the right thing. The breeder would be expected to do all the available and appropriate health tests and rear their dogs correctly. The puppy buyer has an obligation to look after the dog properly, too.
In layman's terms it provides a very specific extended warranty that makes both sides obligated to do their best or pay the consequences. The Small Claims Court and Trading Standards would be able to act for all puppy buyers currently saddled with expensive and avoidable vet bills if they've bought a poorly pup - significantly without having to prove that their breeder was a trader.
Good breeders would be completely protected if they do the right things.
Bad breeders would be made to pick up the vets bills.
Consumers could be educated to download the freely available contract and insist that the breeder or even shop should they continue to sell dogs signs it.
The message would be a very simple one. No contract - no sale.
Passive breeders and poor commercial outlets would find dog breeding very much less attractive with the prospect of weighty bills denting their profit margins potentially for many, many years to come if they don't clean up their act and test stock and rear them properly.
The puppy contract is already used extensively in Sweden and is a working model for us to be inspired by.
In Sweden dogs are not sold in pet shops.
In Sweden rescue kennels are few and far between because they are never full.
Novices can and do still have an occasional litter, but they must health test and use the contract. It is clear to all what good practise is.
So in short, why is everyone asking for just chips when I think there's so very much more to be gained with a side order of the universal puppy contract!
Imagine if we could get it included in the law so that everyone selling a dog has to use the universal puppy contract.
I reckon we'd stop puppy farming by just making it unattractive.
We'd also stop people short of money carelessly breeding from their own untested Labradors on every season for tax-free undeclared income. Stop people imagining that having a litter doesn't have very real consequences.
And if we dissuade inappropriate people from breeding dogs, perhaps we'll also have many fewer disastrous impulse purchases, too.
It's all win, win, win as far as I can see.
Something that costs nothing, but changes everything!
I like chips, but I think we need much more for a healthy future for all dogs.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Cancer news

Mail on Sunday carried an article on CV247 but it isn't online for some reason!

Here's a pic of it until we can get a link... hope you can read it.

Click here to our pets using CV247 blog and a list of all the vets currently willing to prescribe it. And click here for all the background reading on CV247 if you are interested in finding out more.

Dogs Today has been very closely involved in this story and we continue to marvel at the potential of this gentle treatment. We are told that there has recently been a huge step forward in the use of CV247 in addition to chemo for human patients.

Reasons to be cheerful....

If you need cheering up today - read on.

Candy, the incontinent 17 year old dog has now found a foster home only 20 miles from where her very poorly owner lives! Click here for the back story and the charity that went that extra yard.

We've had a wonderful foster home offered for the two Labradors whose owners are having to go into urgent temporary un-dog friendly council funded b&b as their house is being repossessed. Click here for the back story.

And this lost doggie Rhona has at last been found in Lincolnshire! Click here for her story.

Have a cup of tea and a jaffa cake and pat yourself firmly on the back if you passed on any of these appeals to your circle! What a lot we can achieve when we pull together.