Thursday, 23 July 2009

Puppy Vacancies

My puppy space has now gone. There is a slim chance I may be able to squeeze another one in, due to the nature of my new booking, but I won't know until I've done a few weeks and got into the new routine.

I will post an update in a month or so.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Dog Walking Article in Brentwood Gazette

In March the local paper sent a photographer to follow me for 20 minutes or so. I thought it was for an 'interesting jobs' type write up, as they'd had a milkman and neighbours who ran B&Bs but after the photographer had been I heard nothing else.

Since then I've been in the business section when I was entered for an award (okay, by me, I admit it!) talking about my rescue work, and in a free paper with an article about dog boarding, but nothing on the 'interesting' job.

Got a text from my mum this morning, they've put a photo on the business pages, along with a small article which was taken from a press release I sent out (also some time ago).

Perhaps they had a small space to fill this week? Nice to see it there anyway (wish they'd pop my telephone number in though!).

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Rocky & Ruby

Rocky & Ruby are gorgeous cats, very affectionate and playful. I'm taking care of them while Mum & dad are on holiday.

I can't have cats of my own because of the dogs, so I really enjoy feeding other people's! Also some days the peace and quiet (purring excepted) is very welcome at the end of a long, noisy, doggy day!

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Sun Really Does Shine...

...out of the dogs.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Home Dog Boarding in Brentwood - Millie

Millie came to stay a couple of weekends ago, but I've been so busy I haven't had time to update properly.

What a beauty! A working cocker and it took me all weekend and a few hundred photos to get this - she hardly ever sat still.

The weather was very warm, so I made some tuna icecubes:

Took the dogs for a swim:

And went to the beach:

Finally, we got this:

Which is my favourite thing in all the world. A tired and happy dog sleeping.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Safe Car Travel for Dogs

At the front of my mind, at all times, is the safety and security of the dogs that I walk.

Safety while travelling is very important; as I walk dogs in small groups, sometimes my first pick up can be in the van for around half an hour before we get to our destination, again on the way back and the local country parks where I walk are nearly all on 60mph roads. I don't travel this fast, but other drivers do. The dogs need to be transported securely, so they can't distract me, or injure each other.

Millie & Max in the back crates, Beauty & Fred behind them.

In an accident, a loose dog can turn into a missile. If its lucky enough not to go through the windscreen, it could be thrown around inside, most likely breaking bones. If a medium (or larger) dog hits the driver from behind, it can push the driver into the windscreen – some dogs can weigh as much as a small adult – one of the dogs I walk is at least as heavy as I am, if not heavier.

Even in the event of a small collision, doors can be thrown open, or passers-by may open a door to check the driver is okay and the dogs escape – straight into traffic, or out of sight and lost. All dogs I carry are taught an open door is not an invitation to go through it, and they cannot get through into the front of the van.

Fred waiting patiently for his release cue.

Should someone 'helpfully' open a door and try to get the dogs out, if they aredistressed by an accident they may not be able to remember their training and bolt. Or, in their distress or possibly pain, they may bite their rescuer. Crates are essential, to keep the 'helpful' at bay if nothing else!

A lead fixed to a fixture of the car, or to the seatbelt is not secure. The clips are not made to withstand the forces generated by flying dogs and may come undone, or allow the dog to be strangled, or even have its neck broken. Dog car harnesses are an alternative, but most are not 'crash-tested' and still allow the dog to move off the seat, or worse, step on the buckle, releasing themselves. When carrying multiple dogs, they should not be allowed to interfere with each other. Even the friendliest dog may bite if it's been stepped on enough times.

Even if the dog is in a crate, unless it is bolted to the floor it can also be thrown around the car, or, if fold up or 'cheap' crates are used, these can be destroyed by the force of the dog hitting it from the inside.

My van has been specially designed to contain the dogs safely and securely. I have two custom built crates at the back of the van, lockable.

Space for a Great Dane in the back, she chose to get in this crate.

A metal divider and bulkhead for the front half – this works just like the crates in the back but there is more headroom for the larger dogs.

Conrad and Scarlet, enjoying the view, their height lets them see out of the windows.

The bulkhead prevents them from coming forward into the cab, even in the event of an collision.

From the outside, the van looks tiny.

Scarlet and Conrad seem quite comfy though!

Many thanks to Advanced Systems (UK) Ltd in Kent, especially Alan who took my wishlist, told me which bits were ridiculous, and made the rest exactly how I imagined it. I'm very happy with the van!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Puppies, puppies, puppies

From 20th July I have a weekly space opening up for ONE puppy under 6 months old, in the Brentwood, Shenfield or Hutton area. My last remaining youngster will be enjoying her family's company through the school summer holiday, and when she comes back in September she will be old enough to muck in with the teenagers.

I may be able to squeeze in a part-timer as well, depending on which days are needed.

Puppies benefit from two or more 30 minute visits a day. This makes sure they aren't over-tired by my visits, nor are they left for long periods. Prior to vaccination we play educational games in the house or garden, I feed and water them, clear up any mess and make sure they are happy. Once vaccinated we take short walks, play more games and generally have enough fun so pup is happy to sleep once I have gone.

This is a very popular service, so if you are waiting for a puppy to be old enough to bring home, or looking for a puppy now, please do get in touch as early as you can. Most pups graduate to my dog walking service at around six months. I will also take puppies in for boarding, depending on their age. If you have a holiday booked for this year, consider collecting your puppy when you come home.

Some of the pups I've looked after:

Preparing your puppy with skills for life. We can work on any training you are doing, as well as teaching some basic manners and the basis for a solid, lifelong recall.

We visit a minimum of two half hour sessions each day up to around 5-7 months. Puppies under 8 weeks old are not accepted. Up to 12 weeks puppies can be visited three times a day. We will feed, clean up any mess and encourage house training, plus checking water and playing lots of 'educational' games.

Once inoculated and adequately prepared, puppies will be walked for around 10 minutes per visit, progressing to walking the full 30 minutes by 5/6 months.

Walks consist of encouraging focus on me, rewarding toileting, teaching that when I stop, they stop, how to greet people and other dogs and rewarding loose lead walking. I also teach them not to rush out of open doors, although this will need to be reinforced by puppy's owners as well. This can save your dog's life!

Between 5 and 7 months, Puppy can move to a one hour session. Large or giant breeds may need a 45 minute session until they are 12 months. Most puppies benefit from being walked with other dogs, however, solo walks may be an option if you would prefer puppy to continue to be walked alone.

Advice on raising puppies comes from many sources - your pup's breeder should have given you plenty of information and be available to advise through pup's life. We can back up their service with advice on feeding, excercise, training and training classes, chewing, and may be able to help with other issues you may be experiencing with your pup.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

I've Stopped Walking

So the dogs have too.

I like this shot, it's a very, very hot sunny day, but we'll all cool and chilled in the shade. I stopped walking to offer them some water, and good as gold, they all gathered round me and stopped too, just as I've taught them.


Offer water little and often as you walk, remembering to have some yourself too. Some of the dogs I can just squirt water and they'll lap the stream, but others haven't quite got that hang of that yet, so I still carry a fold up bowl. Lots of country parks have water available for the dogs, but unless there is a tap I can use to refill a bowl I avoid using shared water. Often it's full of other dogs saliva, and not only will some dogs refuse this, veterinary advice is shared water bowls can spread disease.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Sad Fate of two Police Dogs

Police dogs die in parked vehicle

Despite all the warnings coming from the dog community, two police dogs died this week after being left in a car. The handler was off duty, and it's unknown if they were in a private car or an offical dog vehicle.

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is saddened to hear about the death of two German Shepherd dogs who were found in a vehicle parked outside the Headquarters of Nottinghamshire Police on Tuesday.

Whilst the cause of death is still to be determined, the charity would like to remind dog owners and police dog handlers that leaving your dog locked in a car can prove fatal, particularly during a heatwave. It can take just twenty minutes for a dog to die and temperatures can reach over 40 degrees in some vehicles.

Dogs Trust has compiled three essential tips for owners to help their dogs beat the heat:

Walk your dog in the morning and evening when the weather is cooler and make sure shady spots and drinking water are available.

Clip the fur of particularly hairy hounds and apply canine sun cream to areas most likely to burn: ears, nose, and belly. Human suncream can be toxic so buy a special pet version from your local pet shop.

Be extra vigilant with older and overweight dogs as they are more prone to overheat. In a real emergency wet your dog thoroughly and use a household fan to blow cool air over their head and body. Seek urgent veterinary attention.

If your dog shows signs of distress – such as excessive panting, blueness of the tongue or collapse contact your local vet immediately.

Today I had a chat with the owner of a Bulldog I walk. Even 8am in the morning is beginning to be too hot for him, so if this heat keeps up we've discussed shorter walks at an earlier time.

It's not difficult. How can a police officer, trained to handle dogs, have any excuse for what happened to those poor dogs?

NEVER leave your dog in the car in warm weather. Just twenty minutes waiting in a hot car can prove fatal.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Dogs Die As RSPCA Urges Owners Not To Leave Dogs In Hot Cars

As temperature soars, so do calls about dogs left alone in the heat.

The RSPCA is renewing its plea to owners to not leave their pets in hot cars as dogs are losing their lives in the crippling heat.

A tragic incident happened yesterday after two dogs were in a car in Nottingham on one of the hottest days of the year. It has also been reported that a dog died after being left in a car in Chichester during the hot weather at the end of last week.

The RSPCA has been inundated with calls from members of the public who are worried about animals which have been trapped in hot environments such as cars or gardens without shade. The Society received a whopping total of 1,058 calls with concerns for the welfare of dogs in the hot weather throughout June. 109 of those calls were taken on Monday (June 29) when temperatures topped 30 degrees. More than 250 calls were also received regarding other animals suffering in the heat.

Pet owners are being reminded to never leave an animal in a car at any time during hot weather. Temperatures can dramatically increase and rise to as much as 47 degrees in less than an hour. Airconditioned cars can reach the same temperature as outside within just five minutes of the system being turned off.

Many owners believe that leaving a car window open or a bowl of water nearby is enough but in reality this will make virtually no difference and the dog is still in serious danger of literally being cooked alive.

RSPCA chief veterinary adviser Mark Evans said: “A hot car can be a death trap for dogs, it is as simple as that. Leaving your dog in a car, even on an average warm, even cloudy summer day, can put your pet at huge risk of suffering and even death.

“This is not a new warning, but sadly too many people still don’t appreciate how dangerous it can be to leave a dog in a hot car, conservatory or caravan. Don’t let your dog be the one to find out the hard way.”

Animals & hot weather – RSPCA tips & information:
• All dogs will suffer in extreme heat, but some are more prone to heatstroke than others. Dogs that are
old, young, short nosed, long-haired, overweight or heavily muscled are more at risk, as well as dogs with certain diseases.
• Particular breeds of dog, such as flat-faced pug dogs and bulldogs are also particularly susceptible to heat stoke.
• Owners should also bear in mind that dogs can suffer from heat stroke at any time, such as when they are out for a walk. It is therefore advised that they are kept out of the midday sun and taken out for a walk in the early morning or evening to avoid the temperature extremes.
• Pets should also not be left in conservatories, outbuildings or caravans during the hot weather as it poses the same risk.
• Owners who fear their dog may be suffering from heat stroke should act with great urgency. Warning signs include overly red or purple gums, a rapid pulse, vomiting and diarrhoea, lack of co-ordination and a reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing or suffering seizures.
• Pets should be moved to a cooler spot straight away before ringing your vet for advice immediately.
• Under the Animal Welfare Act, those found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal face a fine of up to £20,000 and/or a six-month custodial sentence.