Friday, 30 December 2011

What do you hope will be in Pedigree Dogs Exposed 2?

We're writing an article looking back at the original documentary - Pedigree Dogs Exposed (PDE) and asking what we'd all like to see in PDE 2 - which will be shown in the New Year by the BBC.
Jemima Harrison's documentary sent shock waves around the dog world. It was undeniably a pivotal emperor's new clothes moment.
Many of us had long voiced concerns about the future welfare of pedigree dogs, but much of the content of the documentary had even the most pessimistic commentator shocked. Things would never be the same again.
Unfortunately the better breeders felt they were tarnished by the documentary, that the general public would think all breeders were just as bad as those on the documentary. They felt equal air time should have been given to the good as well as the bad - but that's not how TV works.
When Panorama looked at MP's expenses it would have been a very dull show if they'd told us about everyone who had made reasonable claims!
It was after all called Pedigree Dogs Exposed - not Pedigree Dog Breeders Appraised.
When you make a big splash there is going to be unexpected ripples, but some in the dog world became polarised into extreme positions and became stubbornly anti-reform and hated the documentary and the maker rather than reacting to the content.
A small group of these denialists formed a facebook group that has attempted to sabotage the making of Pedigree Dogs Exposed 2.
We'd like to know what people from lots of different parts of the dog world would like Pedigree Dogs Exposed 2 to achieve.
I personally would like to see some harmony - where everyone who loves dogs agrees to work together to try to solve the problems that we all know lie ahead.
But how do we get there?
Email with what you'd to see covered by PDE2.
We're not encouraging anonymous contributions, there's already been far too much mud slinging by people made brave by anonymity.
But we would love to hear what you think should be in it and why. What has been the effect of PDE 1 in your opinion? We would also like to hear from people who have perhaps changed their mind about PDE over the years since it was made.
Do please share your opinions.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Three steps to a heavenly new home!

Our adoption special is fast becoming a regular feature of the magazine and we'd like to make it as easy as possible for as many rescues as possible to take us up on this free service.

We have discovered some small rescues seem to struggle to take good photos of the dogs or indeed find the time to deal with emails, so if you have a decent camera and are looking for an excuse to spend some time looking at some of the gorgeous dogs in your local rescue organisation can you offer to help them take up this free offer? You may need to tell them about it, too - as many people running rescue don't have time to read magazines either!

There are just three things we need in order to feature a dog looking for a new home.

1. A good photo.

One that will reproduce in print without looking pixelated. What works for the web isn't high enough res for print. When you attach the photo it should show as neing at least 500kb or ideally 1MB or more. And you need to send the pic as an attachment - not embedded in a document as we can't extract them. Obviously being in focus shot is a massive help, too!

2 We need the answers to these very simple questions - ideally don't repeat the questions and keep it in order, just give us the answers! :

Name of dog:
Type of dog and size if not obvious:
Approx age: (in years)
With other dogs?
With cats?
Good with young children?
Good with older children?
Location (County):
Contact details: (Web and phone)
Foster or forever home?

3 A 100 word statement as if written by the dog. This doesn't have to duplicate any of the info given in the questions - so please feel free to use your imagination. The best ones really do make people stop and think. Here's a couple of our favourites to give you the idea.

My name is Megan and I found myself in rescue after my elderly owner moved into sheltered accommodation. I'd spent most of my life outside, where I was cold and lonely. I was also suffering with a flea allergy, which caused me to lose most of my fur on my back, but the kind people here say that I am still very pretty and, over time, with love and proper care, my fur will grow back.I am a sweet girl who loves cuddles and attention. Could I be the one for you?

Hello, my name is George and I am looking for a lovely person to make my last few months happy, as I do not want to spend them in kennels. If you think you could give me a warm fireside this winter, please do get in touch. I am a bit wobbly on my pins, but I still enjoy a bit of a run around on days when the weather is good. Most of all, I enjoy being with people, as I love everyone and the more cuddles I can fit into one day, the better!

Send all these THREE elements to with 'Adopt 3' in the subject.

The first complete entries received are the ones we will use. So please hurry and make sure you have all three elements.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Have you dogified your home? Want to be on TV and get paid?

Want to be on TV and get paid? Have you changed your home in any way to make it more doggie? Anybody got doggie wallpaper, unusual adaptions like dog flaps? Little steps up to the sofa or the bed? They are prepared to pay! Please do pass it on to anyone who you think fits the brief.

Here's the message I've been asked to pass on...

.Looking for unusual home decor -(including for pets!) and their owners to be filmed for a TV ad job....'Charmingly eccentric' rooms/ interior design/or features for pets and their owners ...anything interior/exterior elaborate dog or cat flap,  animal-inspired decor, a themed pet room, a internal mural or on an end terrace etc...If you know of anyone please pass on or message with contact details and a photo of your creation. We are looking to find and short-list people in the next few days.

The filming is for 'idents' which will run throughout the year on The Home Channel which is part of UK TV. Participants would be paid for taking part in half a day's filming (likely during 3rd-8th January 2012). There is a fee offered to anyone who takes part.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Our campaign to stop breeding Staffies...

made it into the Sun yesterday...
Only a very small piece, but it's a step in the right direction!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Need a holiday yet?

Would you like to win a free trip through the Eurotunnel? 
We have a short-break ticket plus free travel for up to two dogs to give away to a lucky reader! Here's what you have to do and it couldn't be more simple. One person will be chosen at random to win. 
Email your name and address to and put "Dogs Today" in the subject heading. 
Entries close 12 January 2012. 
Or you can post your details to: Dogs Today competition, The Channel Tunnel Group Ltd, UK Terminal, Ashford Road, Folkestone, Kent, CT18 8XX.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Searching 10 more dogs looking for a home

I admit it, I'm a pushover. We had one extra dog come in the day after we filled the last slot in our February adoption special and I couldn't stand the thought of this lovely dog not getting a chance. 
So I've created two more pages for the feature - which means we've got space for 10 more dogs! Please pass it on and spread the word.
We need 100 words as if written by the dog and the answers to some simple questions and a good photo that is big enough to be printed - ie 300 dpi and at least 1MB when you email us - certainly no less than 500kb. 
Email me, with "Adopt me 2" in the subject line. Check out the way the pages look in the current issue to get the hang of how to do the best write up. Write as if you are the dog looking for a home, make your dog an individual and not just a statistic. 
The questions are:
1. Name of dog:
2. Type of dog and size if not obvious:
3. Approx age: (in years)
4. Sex:
5. Neutered?
6. Housetrained?
7. With other dogs?
8. With cats?
9. Good with young children?
10. Good with older children?
11. Location (County):
12. Contact details: (Web and phone)
13. Foster or forever home? 

Hurry! Please spread this far and wide. And yes - this is completely free.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Another Red card for Man United

Footballers Dogs would make a great TV documentary if anyone out there researching such things is reading.
Mr Anderson is out of the Man U squad at the moment nursing a knee injury - whether it was at the hands of a paramilitary branch of the puppy farm campaign group is still unclear at this stage.
Mr Anderson apparently bought two Bernese Mountain Dogs from a certain massive pet superstore in Salford, the one where Wayne and Coleen hang out and other footballing royalty and intelligentsia.
Unfortunately he forgot about sex.
An unusual statement to make about a professional footballer, I know.
But Mr Anderson obviously knew his beloved dogs intimately - for according to the papers he never noticed he had a boy dog and a girl dog until the 10 pups arrived.
Did no one suggest neutering or birth control to Mr Anderson?
Do we really want such an idiot reproducing - never mind his dogs?
And this is most likely to be a brother sister mating isn't it?
Incest in the premier division.
Unless the pet shop had several litters of Bernese Mountain Dogs on offer when he bought a matching pair?
Maybe he thought you buy dogs like you buy shoes?
(That's why they have Hush Puppies after all.)
So just in time for Christmas, Mr Anderson is limping around the parks of Salford trying to offload his 10 pups that are eating him out of tasteful house and home.
If there are no takers in this wonderfully caring way of selecting new homes he is contemplating moving to a castle.
Here's a link to the story if you were hoping I was making all this up... Click here and take blood pressure medication.
Have asked Dogs Trust this morning if they can have a word and take over finding homes for these unplanned pups. Let's hope he does accept the help.
And please step forward a caring, intelligent footballer to show people this really is no way to behave.
I would be keen to start a new annual award.
Forget Rear of the Year, let's have an award for Celebrity Arse of the Year in a welfare context...
Suggestions please as to what the trophy should look like?
I'm thinking a very realistic dog turd...

Monday, 5 December 2011

It's competition time!

Can you think of a funny caption for this photo featuring Kodi and Kaya, Northern Inuits. Best caption wins a Dog Traning Kit for Dummies courtesy of the Company of Animals and five runners up will win a Marrow Ring.

Email your captions to or go to our Dogs Today facebook page and share the fun and read others ideas for inspiration!
We'll be judging tomorrow at 1pm! So hurry.

Adopt me again!

Only seven slots left in next issue's Adopt Me section - so please hurry if you have a hard to home dog you want included and haven't yet applied! We need 100 words as if written by the dog and the answers to some simple questions and a good photo that is big enough to be printed - ie 300 dpi and at least 1MB when you email us - certainly no less than 500kb. 
Email me, with "Adopt me 2" in the subject line. Check out the way the pages look in the current issue to get the hang of how to do the best write up. Write as if you are the dog looking for a home, make your dog an individual and not just a statistic. 
The questions are:
1. Name of dog:
2. Type of dog and size if not obvious:
3. Approx age: (in years)
4. Sex:
5. Neutered?
6. Housetrained?
7. With other dogs?
8. With cats?
9. Good with young children?
10. Good with older children?
11. Location (County):
12. Contact details: (Web and phone)
13. Foster or forever home? 

Hurry! Not many places left, but we can put you on the waiting list as some lucky dogs are homed before we go to press. And yes - this is completely free.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Another episode of Footballers Dogs...

A few years ago the Daily Mail asked me to write a page on David and Victoria Beckham's disappointing decision to buy a Shar Pei pup from a pet shop in Milan.
It was pretty much a whole page of head shaking and saying what an atrocious example they had set. How they had let everyone down.
The couple so many people wanted to emulate had impulse-purchased a dog from a pet shop!
It was an outrage.
They'd fueled the depressing battery farm business that consigns poor dogs to a life of reproduction slavery and misery and pumps out pups into the hands of dodgy dealers.
Fast forward a few years...
Today I was sent a link to the Manchester Evening News and an article that seemed to celebrate that pretty much all the Manchester United squad have bought one or more dogs from an enormous pet superstore called Dogs 4 Us in Salford.
Regular Dogs Today readers will remember that this place used to be called Mayfield Kennels.
If you're trying to imagine it - it's a bit like an pseudo Harrods pet department set in the North. But with many more dogs.
I haven't visited for a while, but this place looked really slick, more like a car showroom than how you'd perceive a traditional sawdust floored pet shop selling pups. There was a massive range of breeds when I visited and the website does still say it's a growing part of their business.
When I was there you could pay by card and you could have your dog delivered if you'd prefer. And it was far from cheap - which is probably why the footballing set like it so much. It's reassuringly expensive.
The newspaper article reveals that one Man U player bought a Chow and came back for a Lab.
Wayne Rooney got a Dogue de Bordeaux and Coleen a Bichon.
(Perhaps it was a 'buy one get one free'? )
And there's long opening hours, too.
It's not like trying to prise a pup away from a caring breeder who will make you put your name down on a waiting list, will grill you like you were trying to marry their children and expect you to travel the length of the country probably several times.
And you can buy all your accessories in the same store at the same time when you shop at Dogs 4 You.
I guess the Man U squad knew their friends had shopped there - so they did, too.
And all their fans see articles in the press about the store and they come to see a pet shop dog as being somehow really aspirational.
This week we also had ITV pumping out on prime time TV that a pet shop is the responsible place to buy a pup if you want to avoid puppy farmers.
Deep sigh.
Surely there's a footballer out there that has some involvement in animal welfare that could make acquiring a Staffie from a dogs home fashionable? Now that's a trend I'd love to see. 
Or do we all give up and concede that pups are nothing special, they're just a commodity with a profit margin and a shelf life like any other thing?
That we just can't get outraged any more.
People like David Beckham and Wayne Rooney have now made pet shop pups chavy chic and the mainstream media seem now to know no better, either?
When Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, KC, Wood Green and BVA all complain and don't even get the dignity of an answer... well it must not matter as much as we all think. Perhaps we're all out of step?
Deep sigh.
Wish I was still writing my column in the Mail.
And I wish someone on these mainstream TV lite entertainment shows would start sticking up for dogs a bit better and start opening the eyes of the next generation. But it seems our experts just get all star struck and tongue-tied, forgetting why they're actually there.
Is it just me that hears the clock ticking for the surplus dogs waiting to see who is next to be chosen for the needle? Senses the unborn pups growing in their mother's wombs - created just to meet the latest trend or fad.
Senses that all these poor dogs have no choice and that we do and someone could stop dogs being hurt by consumerism and greed.
Someone needs to start connecting with the nation and getting them to care about dogs the way dogs care about us.
Before our best friend slips further into being just another disposable commodity.
We need to explain to people how very special and wonderful dogs are - how we shouldn't treat them like things - like watches, fridges or cars.
You'd not have a baby adoption shop where you can buy a child - so why do we sell dogs like this?
They love us unconditionally, we need to protect them from our ugly side.
We need to remove dogs from impulse purchase situations.
Dogs are just so unbearably cute that we need a really long cooling down time and certainly not any extra encouragement to buy.
But we already have many more dogs than we ever had before.
Perhaps dogs will become like sofas.
Furniture used to last our parents a lifetime, now we all seem to buy a new sofa every couple of years. Maybe we'll be changing our dogs like we change our winter coat in the decades to come....
Do I sound as jaded as a feel?
There are 90 good dogs looking for a home in our January edition.
Many have spent years waiting patiently in rescue for an owner.
They are full of unrequited love.
Yet we keep pumping out more and more and more pups.
In the next four or five days 90 perfectly good dogs will die at the end of a needle because we no longer want them, they are last year's must-have dog.
Give me Wayne Rooney or David Beckham for a day and a film crew.
Let me turn them.
Let me take them to the killing fields of Britain's rejected fashion statement dogs.
Let's have them look unflinchingly into those kind trusting eyes as the injection goes in and the body goes limp and all hope of finding love slips away forever.
Footballers, with all your money and all your influence, can you please make rescuing a dog the next trend?
Can you please make it cool to care?
Can you save British people from becoming serial dog killers?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Super Tiny Morals - a storm in a teacup?

We got a big fat no answer from ITV to our concerned email about this show (link here).

Seems we are not alone.... just in from Dogs Trust:
"It was disappointing that the producers of Super Tiny Animals did not respond to our email in advance about the welfare messaging. Dogs Trust would have expected the inappropriateness of some of the behaviour, such as the constant handling of the dogs and the dressing up shown in the programme to be discussed.
"With the programme airing in the run up to Christmas we do have concerns that many people will watch and request a teacup pet as a gift. Although many of the owners shown represent extreme case studies, not all viewers will be aware of the unsuitability of these animals to be domestic pets or the specialist care they require  and simply be blinded by the cute factor. Dogs Trust did point out to the producers that we have just run a campaign highlighting the increase in abandoned ‘handbag dogs’, many of whom are overweight and under-socialised as a result of being carried rather than walked. It would have been more responsible for this type of messaging to be included in the programme."

Also in Wood Green's reaction to the programme:

Following the airing of ITV’s Super Tiny Animals last night Wood Green, The Animals Charity would like to state that as a charity we cannot condone the breeding of ‘teacup’ or ‘miniature’ animals of any kind.  The subsequent fragility of these breeds combined with on-going medical issues and majorly reduced life expectancy in no way complies with any animal welfare standards that we support. To add an exorbitant price tag to these poor creatures just adds insult to injury.  If mother nature intended them to be that small she would have created them herself, minus the medical issues. Wood Green would also like to urge people to think carefully before considering rehoming a new pet this Christmas. It is important to remember that any animal, whether it be a dog, cat, ferret, rabbit, sheep, chicken or goat, will require care, love and attention throughout its' lifetime and not just over the festive period.
Did ITV acknowledge the KC or Blue Cross?  They all told us they were all also contacting ITV with big worries about the programme?

The BVA - the British Veterinary Association - told me yesterday they still hadn't heard anything from ITV.

Not a word.

But the Teacup pages on facebook are alive with on the one hand 'iccle dog 'must have' frenzy and lively debate from welfare crusaders who keep getting banned!

And on Twitter I saw that TV vet Marc Abraham did half a day filming trying to balance out the negatives and the puppy farming concerns - but his contribution was ended up on the cutting room floor! Why?

Another concerned dog lover on Twitter has been very lucky and has received a reply from ITV... but I think it's a standard one as it does not address any of her very valid points.

She wrote:

To: ITV Viewer Services

Super Tiny Animals.
What were you thinking??
Not only did your programme involve poor journalism but you also managed to glorify genetic conditions (when you could of gone down a factual and informative route) and you have also commodified animals in a disgusting level of consumerism.
Do you have any idea how hard animals welfare charities and groups work? And you have quite easily undone there good work RIGHT BEFORE XMAS. This was either very stupid of you or it was a clearly planned PR stunt.
You have been wholly irresponsible with this programme and I will be writing to Ofcom immediately.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Miss Samantha Edwards.

Dear Samantha
Thank you for your email regarding Super Tiny Animals.
Super Tiny Animals is a documentary about the well-established and well-documented trend for micro-pets both in the US and the UK over recent years.  There are stories about the experiences of individuals breeding, owning and petting micro-pets, which encompass their reasons for their involvement with the animals, the pleasure they derive, as well as the drawbacks and responsibilities inherent in dealing with them.  Within the framework of its focus on the trend there are clear references throughout that informed viewers of the need to deal with responsible breeders, and of the presence within the market of irresponsible ones, make them aware of the health problems some species can encounter, the size that the animals can be expected to reach, the level of care they require and their requirement for owners who are committed to their long-term care
 May I take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to contact us here at ITV as we always welcome viewers’ feedback, and your comments have been registered here at Viewer Services.
 If we can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.
 Kind regards

Hmm, so that's okay then Julia! Let's chew over that claim...

"there are clear references throughout that informed viewers of the need to deal with responsible breeders..."

So why was the only person you interviewed about buying a teacup dog a pet shop owner who actually retails teacup dogs? 
And what nuggets of 'informed' advice did she provide about tracking down responsible breeders?

She cheerfully told the viewers that if you buy carefully, ie from a pet shop, your teacup handbag dog might only have a dash of water on the brain - but you need to buy from someone like her - a pet shop - and not a nasty puppy farm cashing in on a craze fueled by idiots like ITV. 

Ah yes. Very good.
Is ITV stupid or just incredibly ignorant? 

Who do they think supplies pet shops with teacup dogs? 
Responsible, caring breeders or... people cashing in on a trend and breeding small dogs for big profits most probably in a puppy farm - even if it is only an 'iccle one? 

Would they ask a drug dealer about the best way to avoid getting addicted to heroin?

A pet shop that claimed "only 70%" of their customers are suitable to buy one of their dogs.
How discerning!
I'm guessing the other 30% can't afford them.

Did ITV listen to ANY animal welfare organisations before they compiled this prime-time Puppy Farm commercial? 

Have they even heard of the "A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas" campaign?

Who in their right mind planned a programme that profiled a series of totally unsuitable mutant and endangered animals in such a sugar-coated unquestioning early evening format three weeks before Christmas? 
For god's sake, I'm told the poor monkey featured is actually on the on the CITES list!!!  
And why did they edit out the 'balancing' section by vet Marc Abraham?

I think we can all predict what's going to be the Xmas number one requested toy this year and it's not going to Barbie. 

Ironically Dogs Trust launch today their Ho No No campaign ... I quote...

"By the end of this week most children would have written their Christmas wish lists so today Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is launching its “Ho No No” Campaign to take puppies off the Christmas wish list.  Research from the charity reveals that over a third of children have asked for a puppy as a present and worryingly 16% of parents would buy one if their child put it on their list.
"Dogs Trust believes that part of the reason puppies are considered suitable “gifts” is the fact they are sold so easily though pet shops and websites. Despite repeated pleas not to get a puppy from a pet shop over one third of parents would still look for “that doggy in the window”; 18% get a dog online and 9% would search newspaper ads.
As part of the “Ho, No, No” campaign, Dogs Trust is encouraging people to send a FREE Christmas card to their local pet shop or more high profile outlets such as Harrods to “Stop selling puppies at Christmas time”. This mirrors Dogs Trust’s own policy of stopping rehoming dogs in the run up to Christmas and New Year. Anyone wanting to get involved should visit "

Was ITV out of their Super Tiny Minds? 

The hashtag #supertinyanimals was a car crash of people lusting after micropigs, microdonkeys and microhorses and, of course, teacup handbag pups.

What next, are we to get ITV appointing Rosemary West their expert on keeping your children safe and patio design?

Here's a link to what you get in your teacup that you may not want should you still want one. 

Please pass that link on to Santa's 'iccle helpers and try to dissuade a super tiny disaster in rescue this year. 

Be interested to hear what others thought - especially the welfare world who appear to have had the small matter of their very big concerns ignored.

Here's the link to Ofcom and ITV complaints...
who may be a tiny bit super busy this morning.

Next issue January's Dogs Today (out December 8th) has removed the Perfect Pup section of the magazine and is instead profiles 90 good dogs that have been waiting in rescue for a very, very long time. Our rescue system  is already full to bursting with at least 20 healthy but unwanted dogs being put to sleep every day. 
If only ITV had instead featured this welfare disaster and urged viewers not to buy a puppy for Christmas - big or small.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

First ever steps on grass

This movie made me cry. These Beagles have only ever known life in a research lab. Yet look how trusting they are, how much they want to be someone's pet.
Dogs forgive so much.

Do you have a hard to place dog?

We've just decided to put some more dogs for adoption in the February edition, we've not got quite so much room this time, so hurry!

Here's what the pages look like in the soon to be published January edition....

Here's how to apply - and yes - this is completely free!

All you need to do is send me a hi-res image of any dog you want to feature and 100 words written as if by the dog themselves and the answers to the following questions...

1. Name of dog:
2. Type of dog and size if not obvious:
3. Approx age: (in years)
4. Sex:
5. Neutered?
6. Housetrained?
7. With other dogs?
8. With cats?
9. Good with young children?
10. Good with older children?
11. Location (County):
12. Contact details: (Web and phone)
13. Foster or forever home? 

Email me ( and put "Adopt me 2" in the subject please.

Monday, 28 November 2011

An historic day for Hounds for Heroes!

Page Three of the Daily Mail this morning and national ITV News this lunchtime and evening, what a momentous day for Hounds for Heroes.
Now that is what I call a launch...!
Cost - zero. 
Impact - meteoric.
Ever eloquant, Allen Parton did a great job and so did Carol Court...  but the stars of the piece clever EJ and the beautiful, clever puppies on parade.
Well done to the breeders and puppy parents and everyone who raised money, gave time and thought and sweat and tears.
Your great work created today - millions more people have heard of the charity tonight than knew this morning.
If by any chance you alight here via ITV News, please do buy some Hounds for Heroes Christmas cards - £2 a pack to the charity - not just a tiny percentage - see the link at the end.
And everyone you send a card to sees the name on the back and lovely little Juno in his jacket.
We are so very proud that we have Juno on our current cover and January (due out on December 8th) has the first five pups and our Fantastic Tim Rose photo that the Daily Mail loved so much they put on page 3... which made the rest of the media sit up and take notice!
Tim had the patience of a saint that day to get that shot - but it was worth every Nurofen he and I consumed. Little pups need you to do the work while they have fun - but we got there with a lot of help from photoshop and numerous cups of tea from the very understanding puppy walkers and trainers who let us do our thing! It was worth it, wasn't it!
A picture is worth a thousand words and page 3 of the Mail is gold dust.
February Dogs Today will have even more news of the charity and we'll be telling you how to get involved a a puppy walker or a fundraiser. This is such a wonderful charity and I know you all want to get behind it as it reminds the public how totally wonderful dogs can be, how a wagging tail can lift the spirit so much better than even the best chosen words. An d of course Allen writes for us every month as regular readers know! They've watched the charity be born.
I'm sure all Dogs Today readers will have watched the news tonight and have cheered Allen on.
Has there ever been a charity started by someone who was once a recipient of charity? Who has got their life back together to such a degree that they can pass the baton on to give other folk like him the sort of chance of a lifetime he had.
It's the stuff that dreams and Oscar winning feature films are made of....!
Kennel Cough vaccines mean the pups are resting up this week and can't do media - the ITV news was showing library footage shot a couple of weeks ago for local TV news. But the world has definitely awoken and is hungry for more.
Allen said to me today while exercising EJ, "It feels like it did when Endal was dog of the Millennium, there's that same media buzz."
I was so honoured and thrilled to be there in 1999 when the media madness started but I couldn't be more proud of Allen than I am today as this is quite a journey he's been on and there's still so much more to come!
Really is history in the making today.
Here's the link for the Xmas cards. Apologies for the advert, but it's for a VERY good cause!
Please do pass it on!

How does your dog's dinner smell?

Just starting to research a feature on how what your dog smells is different to what we smell. Is anyone aware of any research on this subject that sheds some light on what smells a dog finds attractive and why?
What's your dog's favourite smell and why?
Do some dogs have a better sense of smell than others? How about flat nosed dogs - can they smell at all? (My dogs got no nose...etc)
And how does smell and taste relate? I know they are very linked in humans - if we lose our sense of smell we often lose interest in food. What smells are the strongest?
What's your dogs favourite food and what does it smell like?
Anyone got a dog with a very sensitive nose? Our Oscar for example is incredibly fussy and will literally turn his nose up at anything out of the ordinary.
Tess almost has radar for any food left in a bin - even the tiniest smear on a piece of kitchen towel.
Does dog food that smells good to us smell good to dogs?


We may have some news on the real Fenton... watch this space.... but for now what we think is the best Fenton tribute movie so far...

Hounds for Heroes

Have you seen page three of the Daily Mail today? There's a fantastic article on Hounds for Heroes featuring this lovely photo (above)....

Tim Rose and I spent a very enjoyable morning working with these pups to get this shot, you have to work very fast with pups but I have to say they all look like proper little angels don't they! I had a cuddle with all of them and they are bright as buttons and full of character and potential. It's a hard life!
Can you spot which one is Juno - this month's cover dog? He's grown a bit, but he's still absolutely gorgeous.
If you'd like to support this new charity why not buy these special Hound for Heroes Christmas cards - £2 from each £5 pack of 10 goes to the charity - which is substantially more than most charity Christmas cards.

You can order online via this link  or phone the office Monday to Friday 9-5.30 on 01276 858880.
These large A5 Cards feature January's cover fantastic stars Bonnie and Boris. And the photo was again the best dog photographer in the world Tim Rose with a little bit of help from Kevin Brockbank. What a team!
Would you like to stock these cards in your shop or sell them at your event? Email me for more details

Friday, 25 November 2011

Not so Super Tiny Animals?

Here is a copy of the email I have just sent to the ITV press office:

I have already heard lots of people in the welfare world showing grave concern about the upcoming ITV programme about Super Tiny Animals (to be shown Wednesday, 30 November 2011 ITV, 7:30PM - 8:30PM) causing an upsurge in interest in handbag and very small dogs - especially as Christmas is coming. The early evening slot will mean lots of children will be watching the show.

Can I have a quote as to whether the subject will be handled responsibly - will there any reference made to the acquisition of 'handbag dogs' as being a really, really bad idea - or will it be shown as aspirational?

Dogs are an extremely inappropriate fashion accessory as unlike this season's shoes or scarf they can't be pushed to the back of the wardrobe when your idol changes their look. Dogs are sentient beings and should never be bought on impulse as they can easily live 15 years or more and have normal doggie needs and demands no matter how big or small.

The Handbag dog craze has put quite a burden on an already over-stretched rescue system. Britain now has 10.5 million dogs almost double the population of 40 years ago.

Dogs Trust recently went into partnership with Nintendo to make the point that the only dog in your handbag should be a Computer game and that dog ownership is a huge commitment - a message endorsed by the Saturdays. Last year a teenage boy bought a Pomeranian to go with his Christmas outfit and by the New Year his mother had brought the poor little thing into the Dogs Trust for rehoming. Rescue is already full to bursting before Christmas and the last thing we need is a load more people pestering for a handbag dog for Xmas.

Please can I have a statement from the programme makers to assure the animal welfare world that this documentary will not glorify 'handbag' dogs or encourage people to breed extremely small dogs - which in itself has serious health implications.

A copy of this email is on my blog and I would be grateful for a swift response as the rescue world is already beleaguered.

Yours sincerely

Beverley Cuddy
Editor & Publisher

Blue Cross have just issued this statement:

We have seen the number of 'handbag' dogs coming into the charity triple in the past five years so it is definitely something which seems to be a growing concern.

Julie Bedford, head of behaviour at The Blue Cross, said: “We hope that anyone watching the programme will realise you should never get an animal to follow a trend, or for the way it looks. Anyone considering taking on a pet should fully research the breed and its needs to make sure they can give it the happy and fulfilled life it deserves.

“We have seen first-hand the danger of fashion trends with the huge increase in unwanted 'handbag dogs' coming into The Blue Cross.  Dogs like chihuahuas and pomeranians are great pets but they need to be given the stimulation and exercise they need to keep them happy and healthy.  These are little dogs with big personalities and like any pet they must be taken on for the right reasons, not just as a fashion accessory." 

Dogs Trust have also been in touch with ITV and the kennel Club. 

As yet we have received no reponse from ITV.

The BVA have just sent this email, too... people are getting more and more concerned about this programme...

We are concerned that the forthcoming programme ‘Super Tiny Animals’ to be broadcast on Wednesday 30 November 7.30pm-8.30pm, which comes in the run-up to Christmas, might possibly have the potential to encourage people to buy pets such as ‘handbag’ dogs, micro-pigs or exotic species such as mini marmosets, without their giving full consideration to the huge responsibility and lifetime commitment that comes with pet ownership.

We note in the publicity for the programme that it seeks to find out whether the mini-pet industry is ‘a lucrative business or a cruel genetic mutation’.  Given that the programme is also billed as ‘probing and insightful’ we very much hope that sufficient emphasis will be given not only to the demands and difficulties of owning these mini-pets but to the serious welfare needs of these animals.

Sadly there is growing trend for people to buy animals as fashion accessories or status symbols and indeed it is all too easy to take on a pet without realising the responsibilities for the care and welfare of that animal.  Pets are not disposable commodities.  People must understand their obligations under the Animal Welfare Act and, with so many of our animal rescue and re-homing charities stretched to the limit of their resources, we share a responsibility to draw attention to the enormous responsibility and long-term commitment that comes with pet ownership.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards


Helena Cotton
Media & International Affairs Officer
British Veterinary Association

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Have you seen Fenton? Or Benton? We're looking for him!

If you have not yet seen these films, sit down, turn up the volume and have a jolly good chuckle. But do keep reading as we do have a serious point to make.

And this now legendary clip inspired:

Who'd have thought that naughty dogs could travel this far....

And of course Walt Disney has to have a version:

Adding music works:

And some more background:

Are there any more? Do let me know!

But where is Fenton? Did he ever come back and were the deer okay?
We would love to find him and his owner as we have a very generous offer on the table. We'd like to offer them both a deer awareness course.
In the next issue we will have an article that should help anyone else out there with a dog like Fenton.

But if you do know Fenton, please tell him we're looking for him!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Let's put the world to rights...

I'm just starting writing an article and I'd welcome a lively debate on the subject to get me thinking outside the box!
It's my perception that there has never been more good dogs put to sleep.
But is my feeling correct?
Are you on the coal face of rescue?
Are you stretched to breaking point?
Why do you think that is?
I have my theories, but I want to hear yours.
I'd like to hear your thoughts as to the real size of the problem, is it even bigger than the statistics suggest? Dogs Trust say 20 dogs a day being PTS at the moment. Are there any other stats?
Why are we in this mess and crucially what you think would get us out of it?
A breeding amnesty has been suggested, would this help?
How about a breeding tax that put money back into rescue and dog wardens?
Or something else that makes breeding have a consequence like the Puppy Contract?
Is the UK dog population at its highest ever?
And is it just some breeds that have had a population explosion?
Has dog ownership of other breeds other than so called 'status' dogs really declined?
Tell me who you are - pet owner, breeder, rescue person and what you think.
Would really like to hear some alternative theories of how we tackle to the dog problem before I write my happy (!) new year article.
Do either email me or post here or join us on Dogs Today facebook page.

A quick reaction to the first few posts.
If the explosion of Designer Dogs is the cause of the problem why isn't Battersea bursting at the seams with oodles of Doodles?

A further thought...
Many have commented about our throwaway buy-it-now society. But what do we think about people already on the breadline who take on a dog and then discover they cannot afford even the most basic vet bill? Is dog ownership a right or a luxury? Do you feel differently about people who have a change of circumstance after getting the dog?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Remember remember dogs lost on 5th of November

I've been asked to give this a push.

It is always dreadful when dogs go missing, but especially old dogs when it's cold and there's lots of nasty bangs. But this story has people all over the world willing Ruaridh (pronounced Rory) home... can you help, too?

Here's Rory's link on doglost.
Very distressed owner, Aileen is all alone as her partner is visiting his elderly parents in Australia while both her sons are serving in the army. Her sons dearly want to help - but their postings mean they can't get home. They can obviously do without this worry.
People from all over the world are lending a helping hand - maybe they can't just get up to Scotland and search, but they have and are helping with moral support and good ideas - please do join in. The more eyes looking and the more people talking about Rory the better his chances of coming home.
Rory went missing in Boath Park area of Nairn in the Highlands of Scotland on firework night.
He's an 11-year-old neutered male black Labrador cross with an elderly/silver face.
He has a big fatty lump on his right side but no ID as he slipped his collar with the tags on it.
He has a silver tummy due to going grey.
His name is Ruaridh (Rory) and is very friendly-especially with children and would come if called.
Ruaridh (Rory) isn’t chipped due to getting really stressed out at the Vets.
Aileen happened to mention Rory on MSE forum (money saving expert) and lots of people tried to rally round and help. Soon the word was spread far and wide including a Facebook group. With all these people helping we thought it wouldn’t be long before this old timer was found.
The local radio MFR (Moray Firth Radio) was bombarded with emails and after a while they did put an alert out. The local papers ran the story but still nothing.
There were a few possible sightings and these were checked out but by the time someone got there he had gone further a field.
Poor, poor Aileen. Poor Rory.
If you are in the Highlands please keep an eye out for him, or if you are on any forums - doggie or not - can you spread the word and offer moral support?
Rory's facebook page
MSC Forum

Friday, 4 November 2011

Have you been inspired by Allen and Endal?

I'm on the hunt for lovely Dogs Today readers who have been inspired by the Allen and Endal story - who have gone on to raise funds for Hounds for Heroes?
Has this story touched you?
What did you do to raise money?
Or what do you plan to do?
Can you tell me what was it was that particularly inspired you to help? When did you first hear about Allen and Endal?
I can't tell you too much about what this is all in aid of, but it's very, very exciting!
Can you email me and put Hounds for Heroes in the subject.
It's not the amount of money raised that is particularly significant, it's your story as to how the story has inspired you and mobilized you into wanting to get involved.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A spot of brainstorming

I have been collating all the gorgeous dogs' stories that are looking for someone to love them via our special January adoption special and I was wondering would any companies like to get involved?
For example, I'd really like to reward people who choose to take on these dogs.
To somehow mark their generosity of spirit in welcoming a lost soul into their family rather than buying a pup.
Give them a pat on the back.
Or maybe give the rescue a pressie, too to help the next dog that takes the empty place?
What do you think?
Just thinking out loud.
How about some free training advice if it's a dog from a small rescue that doesn't have a behaviour hotline?
Maybe an offer to encourage more fostering? Fostering has been known to turn into a forever home as so many people will tell you!
Anyway, if you're feeling kind and you want to offer the first dog to be re-homed via the adoption special a present, or every dog - or a random dog that you can choose in advance... get in touch with me ( or Fred Cope ( for imaginative ways to encourage people to consider adopting one of those very patient and hopeful dogs waiting for someone to love them.

Friday is the deadline for your rescue dogs please, we're putting as many in as possible but first come and first served... here's what you need to do.

If you know of a dog that needs a new home here's what you need to send to me:
  1. A good photo (ideally 300dpi and remember a picture is worth a thousand words, so take one that is in focus! And send as an attachment - not embedded in a document)
  2. Name of dog:
  3. Type of dog and size if not obvious:
  4. Approx age: (in years)
  5. Sex:
  6. Neutered?
  7. Housetrained?
  8. With other dogs?
  9. With cats?
  10. Good with young children?
  11. Good with older children?
  12. Location (County):
  13. Contact details: (Web and phone)
  14. Foster or forever home? 
Plus 100 words written in first person (ie as if the dog is looking for a new owner) - something that makes people think of this dog as an individual. Don't over sell - just make the dog seem real.

Please include a web and phone contact as not all of our readers are Internet savy.

Email your words and pictues to
and put ADOPT ME in the subject line so I don't lose them.

We will include as many dogs looking for homes as possible, those coming with the correct word count and good photos will be chosen first above those with incomplete information, so please try to follow the instructions!

And yes - this is FREE!

Please do spread this opportunity far and wide. This Friday (morning) is the latest possible for entries and it is first come, first served.

Is your dog psychic? Want to be on TV?

Do you have stories or evidence that your dog may have psychic abilities – or some sort of sixth sense? 

Any dogs that know when their owners are coming home – or have predicted any events – or anything quirky or unusual that might suggest a dogs has unusual powers?

This is for a series on National Geographic called Wild Case Files.  

It investigates strange events in the animal world.

If you have a story... here is the chap...

Help stop the slow death of Japan's abandoned animals

Depressing news from Japan, this is taken from the Mayhew International website:

The situation in Japan is still in such turmoil and for the animals it just
keeps getting worse. The news does the situation no justice, they air
stories of rescues and only the occasional true glimpse into the hell that
the animals in the disaster area are going through.

In the 20km no-go zone around the nuclear reactors people were told they
could not take their animals with them but they would only be gone a couple
of days. It has been over a month, the animals were left inside houses,
tethered in yards and in the case of livestock left in small pens with only
a couple of days worth of food and water and no way to get more. Even with
ARK and a couple of other groups going around the barracades to reach these
animals tens if not hundreds of thousands of animals have died a slow death
of starvation and dehydration. This horrible scene is about to repeat.

With the threat of the evacuation zone being extended to 30km, at least one
other town is scheduled to be evacuated within a month and the authorities
have already told people they will not be able to take their pets with them.
We can not allow them to force people to leave their animals behind again.
We need the voices of everyone in the world concerned with animal welfare to
speak up and let the Japanese government know that this is unacceptable.

Please join us in pressuring the Japanese government to set aside housing
for pets to stay with their people. The Mayhew have prepared a petition, for people
and organisations to sign and send to the three people listed below. If you
could use your organisation's stamp or official letter paper to add to the
authenticity, it would have more effect. Please add comments if you like
too. Please could you post by express mail.

Mr. Ryu Matsumoto, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, 1-6-1 Nagata-cho,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8914

Mr. Yorihisa Matsuno, The Democratic Party of Japan, #240 House of
Representatives, 2-1-2 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8982

Mr. Kouriki Jojima, The Democratic Party of Japan, 2-27 Miyamoto-cho,
Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 210-0004

We are also working on getting property closer to the disaster area to house
animals and to use as a base of operation as our Osaka shelter is not only
too far away but also quite full with the animals we have already taken in.
We would like for this facility to become a place for all organisations
around the world that would like to help in this effort to work together to
rescue as many animals from this disaster as possible. If you would like to
join in this group please let us know.

Thank you in advance for your support, Elizabeth Oliver ARK, Animal Refuge Kansai - ARK

Here is the petition wording - please copy and print out:

P E T I T I O N date: ___ / ___/ ___

To: Mr. Ryu Matsumoto, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan 1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8914
 Mr. Yorihisa Matsuno, Chairman, Democratic Party of Japan #240 House of Representatives, 2-1-2 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8982!
Mr. Koriki Jojima, Democratic Party of Japan2-27 Miyamoto-cho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 210-0004

Purpose of Petition

To request that, when housing is provided to victims of the earthquake and tsunami that
struck eastern Japan on March 11, 2011, measures be taken to allow cohabitation with their
companion animals (dogs, cats and other pets, henceforward referred to as PETS).
Reasons for Petition
1 Housing provided to earthquake victims by the national or local governments generally falls
into the following categories:
a) Evacuation centers;
b) Existing public housing, such as municipal and prefectural housing, or housing built for national public servants;
c) Temporary housing
d) Newly constructed public housing.
2 Meanwhile, it is stated in Article 4 of “Basic Principles of the Environment Ministry in its
Response to the Tohoku-Pacific Region Earthquake” published on March 16, 2011, that
“adequate support will be provided to ensure that pets in the
disaster area receive appropriate care so that people and their pets
can maintain good relations while living within the disaster area.”
For pets to be banned from evacuation centers, public housing and temporary housing,
forcing earthquake victims and their pets to live separately, would therefore be in direct violation of
this stated aim of the Environment Ministry.

 signed _______________________________

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Would your dog like to go to a premier?

Calling all dog owners! London will witness one of first ever fine dining and cocktail drinking experiences exclusively for dogs as new research is set to reveal British dogs are becoming more human as the level of extravagance and pampering the capital’s dog owners bestow on their pets rises.

To celebrate the DVD release of Family Guy Season 11 – and one of the show’s main characters, Brian the refined, human-like and jazz-loving dog – Islington pub The Mucky Pub will be taken over for one evening where dogs will be treated just like people.

They’ll be served sophisticated gourmet food and specially concocted dog-friendly cocktails whilst being waited on hand and paw by butlers and waitresses. A special band will be playing smooth jazz sounds, alongside other entertainment, for dogs and their owners to lounge to.

Some selected menu inclusions:

Hair of the Dog
Dog Island Ice Tea
Salty Dog
Satan’s Whiskers

Appetiser / Entrée
Bow Wow Wow Chicken Liver Parfait
Barking for Beef-Roast Beef. Curls served on a silver platter
Rovers Risotto (rice, meatballs and a baked cheesy crust)
Paw Licking Chicken

Pawtisserie-Bonewhichs and Yorkie Tarts

To register for this event please email

And if you go please can you email me photos!


Monday, 17 October 2011

New Year? New Home? Great opportunity

Our January edition (out in December) will be an adoption special. For the first time in our history we'll be opening up many of our pages to free adverts for dogs looking for homes. Here's an example of the sort of thing we'll be including...


I’ve been waiting for 18 months, but I've never given up hope. People keep picking the dogs on either side of me here, but you'll come for me soon - I know you will. I’m very lucky to be safe, but I’ve so much love to give - seems such a waste to be stuck in the waiting room of life. I was sleeping in a car - I didn’t know any better and I had 10 pups. I lost my ‘home’ the next time I came into season. I loved my people and lived with children and cats - I even slept on my master’s bed when I got the chance. I’d prefer to be the only dog, although I used to live with many others.
Name of dog: Milly
Type of dog and size if not obvious: Staffie
Approx age: (in years) 4
Sex: Female
Neutered? Yes
Housetrained: Yes
With other dogs? Probably prefer to be the only dog
With cats? Was brought up around them
Good with young children: Possibly
Good with older children: Yes
Location (County): Surrey
Or phone:  020 8274 0471
Foster or forever home? Either

If you know of a dog that needs a new home here's what you need to send to me:
  1. A good photo (ideally 300dpi and remember a picture is worth a thousand words, so take one that is in focus! And send as an attachment - not embedded in a document)
  2. Name of dog:
  3. Type of dog and size if not obvious:
  4. Approx age: (in years)
  5. Sex:
  6. Neutered?
  7. Housetrained?
  8. With other dogs?
  9. With cats?
  10. Good with young children?
  11. Good with older children?
  12. Location (County):
  13. Contact details: (Web and phone)
  14. Foster or forever home? 
Plus 100 words written in first person (ie as if the dog is looking for a new owner) - something that makes people think of this dog as an individual. Don't over sell - just make the dog seem real.

Please include a web and phone contact as not all of our readers are Internet savy.

Email your words and pictues to
and put ADOPT ME in the subject line so I don't lose them.

We will include as many dogs looking for homes as possible, those coming with the correct word count and good photos will be chosen first above those with incomplete information, so please try to follow the instructions!

And yes - this is FREE!

Please do spread this opportunity far and wide. If you volunteer in a rescue kennels and you know a dog that you think deserves this opportunity please do offer to complete this on behalf of the kennels, that's how we heard about Milly and how this idea came about!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Wilberforce lords it at Westminster Dog of the Year

Back for the 19th year, Westminster Dog of the Year has once again caught the competitive spirit of MPs across the country. In the face of strong competition from a Conservative group of entrants, Neil Parish and his Labrador Wilberforce were announced the proud winners of the hotly anticipated title.

Says Neil Parish MP:

“I’m delighted that Wilberforce has won and shown what a brilliant dog he is. I’m sure his constituents in Tiverton and Honiton will be as delighted as I am that their local dog has won such an accolade. Events such as this highlight the importance of responsible dog ownership and hopefully more and more people will make the right decisions when choosing a dog and more importantly ensure they take on board what it means to be a good owner.”

Organised jointly by Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club, the award saw a host of MPs, nearly a clean sweep of Conservatives, and their dogs canvassing in the judging ring to be crowned the top dog. Whether describing their dog’s most heroic or good deed to comparing their four-legged companion to an A-list star, the judging was nail-biting stuff. The judging panel - Clarissa Baldwin, CEO of Dogs Trust, Vanessa McAlpine, Discover Dogs and Crufts Events Manager and 2010 Westminster Dog of the Year winner Helen Grant MP were faced with 17 dogs, ranging in size from Elvis the Chihuahua (Simon Kirby MP, Cons – Brighton Kemptown) to Sophie the German Shepherd (Karl McCartney MP, Cons – Lincoln).

Summing up the reason for Wilberforce’s victory, Clarissa Baldwin of Dogs Trust says,

“Our Westminster Dog of the Year competition is all about celebrating the unique bond between person and dog, and Wilberforce is this year’s victor because the judges could clearly see the mutual love and respect between him and Neil.”

 Vanessa McAlpine of the Kennel Club says:

“Each and every year we hold the event as a way to get to meet some of the new four-legged additions to Parliament and we are pleased to see many new faces this year, along with some familiar ones. The variety of dogs that came down to today’s Westminster Dog of the Year shows how dogs of all shapes and sizes can fit into anyone’s lives and today’s event demonstrates how committed these MPs are to responsible dog ownership.”

Last year’s winner was Charlie, a Border Terrier belonging to Helen Grant MP.

The 2011 final three are:

Neil Parish & Wilberforce
(Conservative – Tiverton & Honiton)
Labrador – 4 years

Jake Berry & Lola
(Conservative – Rossendale and Darwen)
Standard Poodle – 2 years

Matthew Offord & Max
(Conservative – Hendon)
Jack Russell – 10 months


I have been asked to give this a plug....

 The Pedigree Adoption Drive, which is back for the fourth year running, has extended this year’s grant application deadline for an additional week and is calling on all members of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) to apply for grants before 7th November.

Launching on the 17th October, the annual campaign seeks to raise funds and awareness for the thousands of abandoned and strayed dogs across the UK.   So far the campaign has raised over £1million  for rescue homes - which has helped to fund the vital refurbishment of dilapidated kennel blocks, supply desperately needed veterinary facilities and provide essential surgical equipment.

Steve Leonard - TV presenter, vet and face of this year’s Pedigree Adoption Drive said:

“With the number of dogs abandoned at an 11 year high*, we need to work together to raise awareness of this issue, offer support to the rescue homes caring for the abandoned dogs and educate the nation as a whole about the importance of responsible dog ownership.”

Grant applications can be made in writing or by downloading a form from
<>   and posting it to The Petplan Charitable Trust.

Those who are not yet members of the ADCH can apply now for consideration, giving them enough time to get their applications in by Monday 7th November 2011.

To find out further information about this year’s campaign and to learn how you can help, visit 

The Jordan Shelley story takes an unexpected turn

Over the last few weeks I have spoken increasingly regularly to Jordan Shelley (he of the One Show training debacle).
I know, it's a very odd twist in the story.
I was after all his most vocal critic.
But I have to say you've got to admire this young guy's spirit even if we didn't like what he did on TV.
I've found out all about his dogs and his past and I find increasingly I have wanted to help him.
He obviously loves dogs. 
Jordan has three dogs, a Yorkie with brain damage he rescued from Spain, an ex bait dog called Jaffa Cake and a Staffie who previously lived with two agoraphobics.
He fosters lots of dogs, too.
He didn't finish school, has been largely instinctual in how he's trained so far and yes, he has watched Cesar Millan's TV shows. But that makes him a reflection of millions of other people who have watched without question.
Jordan wants to be around dogs all his life, he's not just a media creation.
We have all been young and blissfully unaware of what we didn't know at the time.
Most of us get to learn our life lessons in private.
But Jordan's had his moment in front of millions.
I'm amazed he didn't just want to curl up and hide.
But he's a tough cookie.
Against all advice he phoned me up.
He confronted one of his critics and asked for their help.
I'd stopped writing about his journey as initially it seemed the best way, for him to quietly learn without the media following his every step. He'd tee'd up a week shadowing a really great positive trainer who had renounced dominance methods after learning betters ones, had signed up for what has been called the Harvard of dog training courses.
Then I emailed my own personal training guru's Ian and Kelly Dunbar in California to ask would they mentor Jordan as I'm no dog training expert.
What would they do if they were 21 again and just starting out?
And that's where it went a bit crazy, good crazy.
They had followed the One Show story with interest as had many American dog behaviour folk.
That's the fantastic thing about people who really believe in positive training - they don't just teach it, they live it.
They encouraged Jordan to go to the APBT conference in San Diego and went further and welcomed young Jordan into their own home.
He bought his own ticket, paid his way before you all say that it's just so unfair.
Anyone can go to these conferences. I went to one in the 1990s in Florida and I have to say it was mind-blowingly brilliant.
Ian and Kelly are quite simply the most fantastic influences any young trainer could hope for - not just technique and science-wise, but the altruism side of life, too.
I am sure Jordan will come back realising how much he still has to learn, I am sure.
But it's a great step in the right direction and quite an unexpected result.
The Fix the Dog segment was dreadful and it is fantastic how everyone pulled together to sort it out. But we should also celebrate a further victory of potentially having a high profile defector to the positive side!
Let's click and treat him for getting on that plane with a moment's notice and mixing with people who had only weeks before called him a 'clown' and much worse.
A Dalmatian can't change its spots, but I for one hope that a young impressionable dog trainer can change their gurus!
Good luck to Jordan and well done to anyone who now gives him the benefit of the doubt.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A three year ban for cooking your dogs

I don't pretend to be an expert on the law, but if it's not an ass it's a donkey.
Today in Bromley Magistrates Court former PC  Ian Craven was banned from owning dogs for three years after he left his two dogs to bake alive in his car on the hottest day of the summer.
An RSPCA statement said the dogs would have experienced substantial suffering and Craven had been sentenced "accordingly".
I'm sorry, but the sentence doesn't seem in any way appropriate to me.
A lifetime ban, yes.
Community service handing out Don't Cook Your Dog Leaflets, why not!
Six months working in a rescue centre saving as many dogs as he can.
I quote from the BBC report.
On 26 June he left the four-year-old Belgian Malinois called Chay and a six-month-old German Shepherd called Tilly in his vehicle on one of the hottest days of the year.
Prosecutor Andrew Wiles said temperatures that day went from 16.1C (61F) at 7am to 22.2C (72F) by 11am, in the shade.
Craven arrived at about 7am with the dogs in a black plastic cage in the back and parked in front of the main building, in an area with no shade. The court was told he had intended to kennel the dogs while spending the day at the Olympic Village in east London. However, Craven forgot and when he realised several hours later he rang the centre to alert them.
Mr Wiles said: "He was pursued by his colleague, who said he appeared to be in a panic, he was pacing up and down, and heard to say 'I've killed my dogs'."
The court also heard in a previous incident in 2004, Craven had left a spaniel in a hot car at Keston that also died.
Mr Wiles said Craven underwent an internal investigation and pleaded guilty to offences detailed in the code of conduct for police officers and was reprimanded.
RSPCA chief inspector Dermot Murphy said: "Ian Craven, for the second time, left dogs in his vehicle on a hot day and forgot about them.
"This is an unacceptable action and one that is aggravated by the fact that he was a professional dog handler and trainer at the time."
Sentencing him at Westminster Magistrates' Court, District Judge Daphne Wickham said: "I accept it has brought your illustrious career as a sergeant to an end, it may have damaged your wife's career and your reputation with all those around you, and that in itself is a punishment."
In three year's time will he have learned not to forget that dogs die in hot cars? Will his memory have improved?
How many years did it take him to unlearn the previous tragic lesson supposedly learned when he killed his spaniel?
What message does this send to the British public?
That a dog's life is very, very cheap.
That imposing a horrible painful death on your best friend will attract even less punishment than littering.
I know, he tried to kill himself, he's lost his job. He is probably more hated than that woman who put the cat in the bin, but I think he would have expected to be appropriately punished by the court. Going soft on him does him no real favours. The public need to see the crime appropriately punished if they are to move on.
He should not be allowed to have any more dogs, minimum.
He has shown he has not learned anything from the first death.
Why assume that two more deaths will change anything?
District Judge Daphne Wickham, deep sigh, let's hope you don't also let serial killers out again after three years presuming they've learned their lesson. But you didn't even lock this guy up, didn't even fine him - you just stopped him owning any new dogs for three years.
It's nothing.

Chay and Tilly were still alive when they were rescued from that car.
Their brains were bleeding and their internal organs had shut down, but they were still conscious and suffering.
It is a TERRIBLE way to die and Daphne should have been given a lesson on just how horrible before she did her sentencing.
Please support Don't Cook Your Dog, the campaign inspired by this case, and let's try to make sure Chay and Tilly's deaths aren't completely unmarked. Together we can save other dogs from a similar fate. We can look over the shoulder of people who continue to 'forget' they've left their dog in the car. Sadly, it looks like we can't rely on the legal system to take the lead here.