Tuesday, 31 January 2012

More news about Mandy and her pets

Mandy was the victim of domestic violence. She lost her home, her family, her job. She became very depressed and had a breakdown. The only thing she has left that she cared about were her pets.  Two dogs and a cat.

Sadly, the only council temporary emergency housing she was been offered was not pet friendly. All the existing network of help for people with pets in domestic crisis were unable to assist. She needed to be in London for the Dogs Trust to be able to help her and the local RSPCA initiative weren't keen on the types of dog involved. Luckily a local domestic violence group used personal contacts to find a short term bolt hole for the pets. Mandy contacted Dog sToday via our facebook page and asked if she could ask for some help - she was amazed by the response.

Mandy was offered, very generously, some temporary accommodation where she, her elderly rescue GSD, her young Dobe and her cat could all stay together -  but even though it would have been cheaper than the B and B the council had put her in, they refused to fund it and further told Mandy she would be making herself "intentionally homeless" if she moved out of the B & B and she would go to the back of the queue for housing.

Mandy can't drive, and needs to be close to the hospital and her counsellors in St Austell, Cornwall for support and medication. Dogs Today facebook followers again came up trumps and a group of dog lovers in Cornwall started to ask around and a very generous offer of a kennel and cattery space for the pets came in.

Mandy emailed me devastated when she realised the animals boosters had lapsed with all teh upheaval and upset and she didn't have the money to fund them. Without vaccination the pets couldn't got into kennels.

Ancient charity Tailwaggers kicked in and made a call to the vets to say that to please proceed the cost would be covered and the good people who were fostering the pets agreed to keep them a bit longer.

Mandy has been so touched by the support she's received and to be honest I've been inspired by how the doggie world has come to her aid. Really brilliant when folk as far away as Sweden pitch in. The kindness of strangers is really something.

Mandy is obviously much relieved and delighted. If anyone is able to donate to the Just Giving fund we've set up it would be a huge help to cover the costs of the foster and the vets and have some in reserve in case there are any other unexpected turns. And if we are lucky enough to raise more than this case needs we can use those funds to help other emergency cases that arise that do seem to fall between the cracks.  See below for more details or click the just giving box to the right.

Tailwaggers Club Trust has set up this fund so that we can help Mandy keep her family together. If you could offer Mandy any other help contact beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk.
Thank you so much to everyone who has helped so far, you really are brilliant.

It's a long shot - but searching for 60 Dachshunds!

We get some unusual requests but this is a first!

Is your dog a work of art?

Would he or she like to be?

Interested in the United Nations?

Got a Dachshund?

Able to travel to Birmingham?

This event was made for you. Really. 

I have so enjoyed watching footage of artist Bennett Millers earlier work. 
Mini golf to get us to think more deeply about Iran... genius. 

Here's how to get involved....

email dachshund@wearefierce.org

60 dachshunds from across the West Midlands are needed  to participate in a piece of live art.

'Dachshund U.N.' is to be performed in a central location in Birmingham on Saturday 31 March. It is a fun (and often chaotic!) piece, and will be a great meeting of Dachshunds in the city, and dog and art-lovers alike.

Here's a video of the performance in Melbourne in 2010  http://tinyurl.com/DachshundFierce

If you take part - please let us know!


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Can anyone please help?

Mandy was the victim of domestic violence. She lost her home, her family, her job. She became very depressed and had a breakdown. The only thing she has left are her pets. Sadly, the council temporary emergency housing she has been offered is not pet friendly. Via an earlier appeal on facebook she was offered, very generously, some temporary accommodation where Mandy, her elderly rescue GSD, her young Dobe and her cat could all stay together but even though it would have been cheaper than the BandB the council refused and further told Mandy she would be making herself "intentionally homeless" if she moved and she would go to the back of the queue for housing. The pets are currently in a short-term temporary foster home, but that runs out very shortly and we need to find a plan B. Mandy can't drive, and needs to be close to the hospital and her counsellors in St Austell, Cornwall for support and medication.

We have received a very generous offer of a kennel and cattery space for the pets. But it has come to light that all the pets boosters have gone out of date in all the upheaval. Tailwaggers Club Trust has agreed to fund this immediately and the cost of fostering until they are all good to go into kennels. Mandy is delighted - but if anyone is able to donate to the Just Giving fund it would be a huge help and if we raise more than this case needs we can use the funds to help other emergency cases that arise as it does seem like people like Mandy can find they have no where else to turn. See below for more details.

Tailwaggers Club Trust has set up this fund so that we can help Mandy keep her family together. If you could foster the dogs and cat or help in any other way please contact beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk. The RSPCA and Dogs Trust have all been informed and are unable to assist. Any donated funds not needed for Mandy's case will be used on other Tailwaggers emergency cases.

Post-show blues

Last night's BBC1 Documentary was a depressing affair. 
Did it tell anyone anything they didn't already know? Did it move anything further on? What were your feelings after watching the show? 
I was disappointed they didn't uncover some more of the facts about the dog that killed the little boy 'looked after' by his Granny. Took me a few seconds on Google to discover that Pit Bulls were being bred in that house, that two of his three dogs had fought - one to the death. One of the two left was heavily pregnant with 11 pups and their owner had just left to join the army leaving Gran in charge of his pack.
Not aware of the DDA? Come on. 
Not aware that these dogs could turn - after one had killed it's companion? I think that puts this 'surprise' unforeseeable attack into a completely different context and puts their proposed muzzle-every-dog all-the-time solution into the crazy deluded bin. 
We saw a lovely dog dying, people crying about the child they had lost, people and dogs living in terrible conditions, people not coping with life generally and having their innocent dogs taken away to be killed. All in all a very depressing film with not much conclusion apart from society is in a mess. If we were to revisit the same houses and look at every other aspects of those lives we could probably further depress ourselves. 
Reminded me of the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding school of documentary - where we take a sneaky look in and see how different some people's lives are. But we're looking in this case at miserable lives made all the more upsetting when the only creature that loves them unconditionally is ripped from their midst by a bunch of storm troopers because a neighbour has told the police it's a Pit Bull not because it's being bad, or is being neglected. 
The only dog that had actually bitten anyone was released to the owner with seemingly no behaviour advice - someone who didn't much seem to want it back. 
What a wonderful nation we have, what a great legal system and who would do the job of snatching these usually innocent dogs off the streets just to kill them because the tape measure says they're dangerous? 
And are the dogs better off dead than returned to homes that neglect their needs? All seems like madness. 
You need to stop folk breeding these dog - have the neighbours phone in litters rather than pit bulls - and ban casual breeding. That Great Dane cross that was obviously unwell... and giving away Am Bulldog Great Dane crosses... gulp. Why are people doing it? 
Can we stop this at source and stop casual breeding?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Where's my muzzle?

Clarissa Baldwin was very good this morning on BBC1 Breakfast. So full of tact and reason. So difficult when the woman sitting next to you has lost her son in a dog incident.
Society is very respectful towards folk who have lost their children.
Apologies if what I am going to say offends anyone. But I need to get this off my chest.
The McCann's are always on our TV screens.
I am sure I can't be the only one at home thinking the same terrible thing.
How can they live with themselves?
Intelligent people, leaving their children alone while they go out to eat in a restaurant.
Who on earth does that?
I'd rather go hungry than leave my kids.
But how few interviewers ever make that point?
No one wants to rub it in. Their pain is so obviously so great in any case.
Everyone makes mistakes, but the consequences of this one were just so huge.
If you make a mistake you admit it and then sympathy follows.
I don't think you'd ever forgive yourself.
I'd feel such terrible shame.
The same is true with this woman on our screens this morning.
A young life ended is a tragedy that few mothers can ever recover from.
Is it a displacement activity to move the blame away from the only family you have left?
Is it logical or just part of grief to blame all dogs, rather than the humans in whom you put your trust?
When I entrusted the care of my son to my Mum she would never have put my son at risk.
She knew that babies and dogs do not mix.
And our dogs were Beardies, not Pit Bulls.
If she wasn't capable of making rational decisions like that one what other risks might my son be confronted by?
Might she not realise that boiling kettles should not have a trailing flex or that the bleach needs to be out of reach. But kids who die from other Granny-related bad judgement calls don't make the news and certainly don't result in campaigns to ban kettles.
How many of these incidents does there have to be before people work it out not to take unnecessary risks with their kids. That you don't leave your kids with Granny and your brother's Pit Bull unless you have an agreement that two are not to meet. And that it's not needed to be stated that you don't leave the child to sleep on the sofa with someone else's dog and then introduce food into the equation.
And as if it need saying - you also don't keep unsocialised Rotties locked outside in the yard all the time if you have little kids the other side who can open the door.
And you don't let your half insane tormented guard dogs kept chained on the roof of a pub anywhere near your newborn baby.
And if you do, you accept that you and/or your family have let your son down and you grieve.
True this dog had not killed a child before, but you know other children have already died in very similar scenarios.
Do you blame all the dogs in the world and or is it time for some quiet introspection?
It makes gripping TV, because no one dares to say what they really think.
Tonight's BBC1 documentary at 10.35pm looks to be 60 minutes of edge of your seat tension wondering how much worse they are going to make life for the Staffies especially.
Especially as dog law maestro Trevor Cooper's balancing footage has already been consigned to the editing room floor.
The press blurb comes with a dramatic photo of a dog who is probably barking but still looks scary. It seems people do like doing these easy to make documentaries that press people's buttons.
Remember 10 million dogs and 99.99% of these behaving themselves. But let's just freak everyone out and get some more knee jerk legislation that does NOTHING to make children any safer.
Slippers and balloons* kill more people than dogs and horses put more people in A&E - but let's not let the facts get in the way of a documentary.
Has anyone asked how many kids die while being looked after by grannies?
I think you'll find that dogs are not the biggest risk when grandparents get left to cope.
But are we ever likely to see a Death Row Grannies documentary? or A Dangerous Grannie Act?
I am a mother.
I am a dog lover.
My son is now 11 but I would never, ever have put my son in that situation when he was less than eight - and I certainly wouldn't entrust him to someone who didn't agree with me. And it wouldn't matter how nice the dog or how well brought up. Stairgates are great at keeping dogs and kids apart.
I do feel very sorry for their loss, but surely it is time to grieve and contemplate how this could have been avoided rather than mount an ill-thought out knee jerk reaction campaign.
Would they put a parent on the sofa at BBC Breakfast whose son had wandered out of the front door and been run over? Would they let that mother say that all cars must be made of sponge so this never happens again? Or would they think perhaps granny should have kept her son from danger when she asked her to babysit and that mum really needed to accept that painful fact and allow herself to grieve.
And would the muzzle-every-dog-all-the-time campaign have resulted in a sofa position today if it wasn't to plug a BBC documentary showing later today?
Using a mother's loss to boost ratings.
It's a cynical old world.
And to have a woman calling for more dog legislation who claimed to have not even known about the already existing Dangerous Dogs Act. If the DDA didn't work why did she imagine her brother would have complied with a muzzling order?

Here's the press blurb...

Death Row Dogs looks at the growing problem of illegal fighting dogs and “status dogs” on the streets of Britain. Despite being banned in the early 90s, pit bulls have become the dog of choice for criminals and irresponsible owners; sentences are lower than for carrying a knife or a gun but the results can be just as severe. However the problem isn’t just confined to pit bulls, injuries caused by dogs are at record levels and rising. Sadly fatalities are not uncommon.  

Pitbulls were one of the named breeds banned by the 1991 Dangerous Dogs act – but the numbers being bred and crossed with other, legal breeds like Staffies and English Bull terriers is on the rise – making the job of tracking them down, even harder…

This film gains access to the work of the West Midlands Police Dangerous Dog Unit led by PC Keith Evans, as they try to tackle the growing problem. These officers have the unenviable task of rounding up the area’s dangerous dogs and taking them quite literally to dog death row, closely guarded kennels where the animals await destruction. We see raids on high profile gang members, crack dealers, a suspected fighting dog ring and a mother who keeps a pit bull for protection. Under current law the police sometimes have to destroy a friendly sociable dog, as they are prevented from rehoming and let the potentially violent ones go free.

We also follow the tragic story of one family whose toddler son was killed by an out of control dog. How did it happen? Could it have been prevented?  And how have the family dealt with the shocking trauma of such a brutal death?

The film explores why dangerous dogs like the fearsome pit bulls are such an issue and what is being done to stop the problem getting worse...and the film  illustrates that the current legislation is left wanting…

Executive Producer: Paul Hamann  
Filmed, Produced and Directed by: Jon Alwen

* Someone here thought I was joking about slippers and balloons killing more people than dogs. Here's the book if you'd like to read it.

Dogs are dangerous. And they are more dangerous to children than to adults. Not as dangerous of course, as kitchen utensils, drapery cords, five-gallon water buckets, horses, or cows. Not nearly as dangerous as playground equipment, swimming pools, skateboards, or bikes. And not remotely as dangerous as family, friends, guns, or cars.
Here’s the reality. Dogs almost never kill people. A child is more likely to die choking on a marble or a balloon, and an adult is more likely to die in a bedroom slipper related accident. Your chances of being killed by a dog are roughly one in 18 million. You are five times more likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning.
The supposed epidemic numbers of dog bites splashed across the media are absurdly inflated by dubious research and by counting bites that don’t actually hurt anyone. Even when dogs do injure people, the vast majority of injuries are at the Band-Aid level.
Dogs enhance the lives of millions more people than even the most inflated estimates of dog-bite victims. Infants who live with dogs have fewer allergies. People with dogs have less cardiovascular disease, better heart attack survival, and fewer backaches, headaches, and flu symptoms. Petting your dog lowers stress and people who live with dogs just plain feel better than people who don’t.
Yet lawmakers, litigators and insurers press for less dog ownership. This must stop. We must maintain perspective. Yes, dogs bite. But even party balloons and bedroom slippers are more dangerous.


Monday, 23 January 2012

If acting goes to the dogs...

I was struggling to find some new doggie puns for an article I was writing and I asked our friends on facebook and Twitter to come up with their best ones and said I'd provide a prize. But I am struggling to pick the best! Here's our office favourites so far - and this is the short list from an enormous list. More than one person may have supplied the same suggestion, so if picked we will pick the one that came in first.

Angelina Collie
Annette Crossbreed
Arnie Schnauzenegger
Ashton Lurcher
Ben German Shepherd
Benedict Clumberbatch
Billy Great Zane
Brad Pit Bull
Bridget Dogue De Bordeaux.
Burt Lancaster Healer
Catherine Akita Bones
Clint Eastwoof
Colin Feral
Colin Furth
Cybill German Shepherd
Dandie Dinmont Nicholls
Dawn French Bulldog
Denise Welch Corgi
Edward Fox Terrier
Elizabeth Tailor
Eric (Great) Dane
George C Scottie
Gerard Dogue de Bordeaux
Glen of Imaal Close
Gwyneth PAL-trow
Hugh Grrrrant
Hugh Jackalman
Jack Black Labrador
Jack Russell Brand
Jack Russell Crowe
Jack Russell Nicholson
Jamie Foxx Terrier
Jennifer Grey-hound
Joan Collie
Jude Paw
Kim Basenji
King Charles Bronson
LabraDora Brian
Lassie Mannelli
Leonberger Dicaprio 
Linda Greyhound
Lindsay Lowchen
Marilyn Mongrel
Megan Fox Terrier 
Michael Canine
Michael Dog-less
Michael J Fox Terrier
Mini Schnauzer Driver 
Mutt Damon
Pawl Newman
Reece Whippet Spoon
Rockweiler Hudson
Saint Bernard Breslaw
Samoyed Neal
Samuel L Jackapoo
Sandra Bulldog
Sarah Lancashire Heeler.
Sidney Pointer
Sigourney Woofter
Simon Pug
Spaniel Craig
Spaniel Day Lewis
Spaniel Radcliffe
Spinone Weaver
Staffonie Powers
Terrier Hatcher
Terrier Thomas
Timothy Westie
Tom Baker’s complete
Uma Furman
Vanessa Red Setter
Vinnie Bones
Waltervuren Matthau
Weimaraner Ryder
Whippety Hedren
Woofy Goldberg

And some sent us people who weren't actors, but they were still good!

The Music business:

Akita Harris
Collie Murs
David Greyhound
Elkhound Brooks
Gracie Field spaniel
Husky Springfield
Kanye Westie
Lady Galga (female Spanish greyhound)
Lady Grrr Grrr
Maremma Carey
Mariah Corgi
Shirley Basset


Bark Cavendish
Eddie The Beagle
John Terryier
Lewis Hamilstonstovare
Kenny Dogleash
Mark Finnish Spitz
Paul Bleu de Gascoigne

Famous people generally:

Airedale O'Hanlon
Cavalier Prince Charles
Cindy Pawford
Collie Willoughby
Dalmatian Hurst
David Barkham
Great Dane Bowers
J K Growling
Jack Russell Grant
Jeremy Beagle
Jerry Springer Doodle
Kerry (Blue) Katona
Larry King Charles Cavalier
Michael Flatcoat
Vicpawia Stillwell
Victoria Barkham
Virginia Wolfhound

People who don’t to change their name at all:
Clare Danes
Goldie Hawn
Robert Wag-ner
Sam Shepherd

Which are your favourites? Who should win the prize as the funniest dog pun? You tell me!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Small miracle needed - in Cornwall ideally

Domestic violence meant that this lady has lost her job, her home, her family. She's had a breakdown and took an overdose and needs to be close to the hospital and the domestic violence support team. She can't drive so she gets the bus. She's on a very limited budget. The council have put her in a b&b until her name comes up for somewhere to live where she can be reunited with her pets.
Her pets are all she has left. Her pets are in foster care and the funding for that ends on Friday and then she's into the unknown. Her 8 year old GSD was a rescue and he's not coping well with being apart. And that is further stressing her, obviously. She's afraid that if he was assessed now he'd fail as he's been so stressed out of late and she's scared he'll get PTS. Her other young dog is a Dobermann and she has a male cat she hand reared.
She has to be in St Austell and she'd prefer to be with her pets as she's worried about them and they're all she's got - quite literally.
RSPCA have a pet retreat in Cornwall but as the dogs are what they called, "traditionally dangerous breeds" they'd be unlikely to be able to help. And she's worried that they'd be separated if they could and that the GSD would end up getting so stressed he'd be put down.
Dogs Trust Freedom and Hope projects couldn't help.
So, we're looking for a miracle!
Anyone got a holiday cottage she can borrow? She will get granted somewhere to live eventually, but people fleeing domestic violence with kids take priority.
She'd even accept somewhere to pitch a tent, but I'd worry about her freezing to death - but that's how desperate she is to stay together with her family.
I've forwarded her the phone number for the tourist board so she can approach holiday lets.
If you can think of a solution please email me: beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk
Pets really do mean such a lot and I'm thinking this woman could really do with a bit of good fortune so she can start putting her life back together. Just knowing we all care is a start.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

New home for the new year?

We still need more dogs who are looking for new homes - 25 slots still left to fill in the March edition out early February.
There are three very simple steps. 1. We need a good photograph (about a 1MB when attached, in focus ideally!)/ 2. The answers to these really simple questions.  3. A 100 word statement from the dog that makes people look twice.

Here are the questions:
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:
Foster or forever home?

Email all three of these elements to me: beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk (retype this as copy and paste for some reason often will not work!) and put 'Adopt me' in the subject. 
Here's what a typical page of the the Adopt me feature looks like.

And here are some excellent 100 word statements to give you inspiration!

Hey I’m Shady! Will you throw my ball for me?
I’ve been in Rescue for over a year now which my carers say they are very surprised about. I love the company of people and get quite stressed if left on my own for long periods of time.
I’d love an owner with a lot of time on their hands; I’ll thank you with my devotion and wagging tail!
My new year’s resolution is to find a loving new home where I can play lots of games of fetch – could you help me make it come true?

I am the busiest dog in the world! I like to train, and play games, and love my obedience classes here in Leeds. I have lived with children with severe learning difficulties in a very busy house, and with another dog. I am much prettier than my photo, but I won’t keep still long enough for anyone to take one – I’m too busy seeing if the photographer has treats! I would love to live with an active family who like to get out and about as much as I do. You can watch videos of me training at the Iron Mountain website.

I’ve been at Battersea over a year – the Home never puts on a limit on how long it takes to rehome a cat or dog – and I’m a real favourite in the offices where I spend a day or two a week chilling out, being good-natured and friendly, well-mannered and very affectionate. For someone who looks like they ate all the pies, I’m actually a delicate and discerning eater – I once said no to a Bonio! Like my namesake Cleopatra, I am very beautiful, with carefully applied eyeliner, and would like to be building my own little homely kingdom soon.

And please spread this message far and wide!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

It's competition time again!

Can you guess which breeds the beautiful Spirit's parents are? Email your best guesses to comps@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk asap. I would give you a clue but at the moment I have no idea who Mum and Dad are either! I'm hoping someone else has! First correct entry will win a breed or general dog book of your choice from Interpet Publishing.

And also - make us laugh with a caption for this photo and win luscious Pet Head goodies from Company of Animals. Either enter on our Dogs Today facebook page or send your entry in by email to comps@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk. We'll be judging the caption competition on Monday.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Hurry - still time to enter!

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 info.marketing@eurotunnel.com 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.