October 2020 Edition
The place to stay connected with the people, topics and current affairs shaping the pet industry today.
When we entered the unknown back in March, we could never have known as the clocks moved forward for summertime how our world would change over the long hot summer. Now as we prepare for the winter months many us are thanking our lucky stars for the love and companionship of our four-legged family members. Dogs play such an important role in so many lives. Companions, assistance dogs, therapy pets and service animals all making a difference every single day. I was recently chatting to Anna Webb, broadcaster and host of ‘A Dogs Life’ podcast about her most recent episodes. She featured members of the Battersea Dogs and Cats home, as they celebrate their 160th birthday. 160 years providing love and care to vulnerable pets and helping them to find forever homes. Listening to the podcast I realised that Battersea also find special roles for dogs that show capacity and ability to become service animals. Amazing, and got us talking about another charity project. As we approach Remembrance Sunday, we would like to shine a light on a wonderful charity project. National Military Working Dogs Memorial (NMWDM UK). The charity was founded in 2017 to establish a memorial to commemorate the Military Working Dogs who bravely served their country in both world wars and subsequent conflicts. Emma Ward, NMWDM Trustee gives us an insight into their vision: “This project aims to develop and maintain the first national statue monument within the UK which will serve as a national reminder of the contribution military working dogs have made and continue to make to the country’s security. The memorial will form an important part of the UK’s cultural heritage and allow visitors to connect with the conflicts which have shaped the world today. There has been a huge demand for this monument for many years among serving military personnel and veterans alike. The donation of the land has been a catalyst for action as there is nothing of national significance. This encompasses tri-service, encompassing all military working dogs. It will constitute a traditional central folly with four decorative paths leading North, South, East and West culminating in four plinths, which will each support a bronze statue depicting medal winning dogs representing the branch of the military service in which each served. The dogs that we have chosen to represent the military services have bravely served their country in World Wars and subsequent conflicts as in Bosnia Afghanistan and Iraq. Meet the dogs that we have chosen to represent the military services: North – Army – THEO, a black and white speckled Springer Spaniel was gifted to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps by a member of the public. What was Civvy Street’s loss became
Exactly four years ago, after moving into our new home with written permission to have our family dog Vinnie with us, we received a note from our neighbours on the residents committee. It was a simple message; “get rid of ‘The Dog’ or we will take you to court”. Vinnie’s only crime was having four legs and a tail! Andrew Rosindell MP, speech yesterday introducing Jasmines Law to Parliament was a surreal moment. In 10 short minutes he summed up everything PAAW House has dreamt of achieving since its inception. Andrews speech was both honest and moving, we are so grateful he has elevated this important topic to Parliament and we look forward to supporting ‘Jasmines Law’ in any way we can as he continues his journey. You can read Mr. Andrew Rosindell MP speech to Parliament yesterday below: Mr Speaker, I beg to move that leave be given to bring in a Bill to establish rights to keep dogs and other animals in domestic accommodation; to make provision about the protection of the welfare of dogs and other animals; and for connected purposes. What makes somewhere home, is the special moments that are created by living with family, friends or companions. Moving into a new home is a normal part of life, but what if every time you moved, you faced the threat of being separated from someone you loved? Can a house or flat ever really be a home, if you have been forced to abandon a family member just to be able to move in? Mr Speaker, as you know more than anyone, animals are family! And as the owner of two Staffordshire Bull Terriers myself, “Spike” and “Buster”, I also know just how close the bonds between a dog and owner can be, and how devasting it is to lose them. Dogs are more than ‘man’s best friend’: they are equal members of the family and for most people, being separated from your dog is no different than being separated from a brother or sister. But every year, pet owners who move into rented accommodation are faced with the reality that their family could be torn apart because most landlords in Britain have unnecessary bans or restrictions on pet ownership. And for those people who depend on the companionship of their dog and who need that loving friend to be there for them, especially those who live alone, such restrictions are nothing less than discrimination. Cruel to both owner and animal alike. So my Bill brings an end this discrimination, making it a right for someone to own a dog or another domestic animal to live in their rented home, provided the owner demonstrates responsibility and
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Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Author, has studied natural nutrition and therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She lives in London and is owned by Prudence a Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier. www.annawebb.co.uk Could a clever gadget named RelaxoPet reduce firework fear at Halloween and beyond? Glorious autumn is perfect for walking the dog, but it’s a sign that Halloween is on the horizon and the two-month onslaught of fireworks. Diwali, New Year’s Eve, and The Chinese New Year annually also make this season bang out of order for Britain’s pets. Worryingly the RSPCA revealed that 62% pet parents confirmed their pet showed signs of distress at fireworks being an acute ‘environmental stressor’. Affecting livestock, horses and wildlife too, the RSPCA receives over 500 calls a year of emergencies caused by fireworks fears. Amid concerns that the pandemic’s social distancing rules could mean public displays are cancelled, driving folk to stage their own in gardens or in parks at random times. Over 85% owners concurred that Fireworks should be restricted to specific dates, displays should be licensed and the manufacturers should reduce decibels, even make them noiseless, making them less scary to animals. With thousands of puppies purchased through lockdown, already displaying anxiety from a lack of ‘normal’ socialisation, coupled with 37% of pre- lockdown dogs also showing increased anxiety as a result of Covid restrictions. If displays become random in gardens, it might not be possible to be at home with your pets as advised when an onslaught occurs, unlike if you can diarise and plan around public displays. Turn up the TV and cook a delicious meal, distracting your dog with sights sounds and smells inside. Exercise your dog really well in the day and provide lots of chews, stuffed KONGs as a focus away from the onslaught outside. I’ve tried desensitising with special sound CD’s with limited success. Last year I was asked to test a new device called RelaxoPet on Prudence my Miniature Bull Terrier who is noise sensitive like 45% of the dog population. For Prudence fireworks clearly make her very edgy. If I were not at home when a random display kicked off, Prudence’s anxiety would tip the barometer. I was intrigued to see if RelaxoPet would make a difference as Prudence’s noise sensitivity has impacted on her overall behaviour albeit happy, but very excitable. It took a few days for me to notice, but Prudence definitely dropped down a gear on her excitement graph and became calmer and more confident. RelaxoPet is a very clever ‘sound system’ for dogs that uses subliminal high sound frequencies to calm your dog mentally and emotionally. Inaudible to the
Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Author, has studied natural nutrition and therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She lives in London and is owned by Prudence a Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier. www.annawebb.co.uk Could Social Media be to blame for black dogs waiting in rescue longer than other coloured dogs? With National Black Dog Day on the horizon, I’m shocked that darker coated dogs generally stay in rescue 70 per cent longer than fairer colours. One common reason they’re snubbed is for not being photogenic. Perhaps I am bucking trends but all my dogs of 19 years have been predominately black. Molly my first Miniature Bull Terrier was almost all black. Prudence is a dark tri-colour and Mr Binks is mostly black with tan highlights. Even my cat, Gremlin, is black and white. Both Battersea Cats & Dogs Home and Dogs Trust revealed that black dogs are being shunned in favour of their fairer counterparts, with some people rejecting them on the basis they won’t look as good on Instagram! With over 28 per cent all adoptions based on looks, this ‘Black Dog Syndrome’ or BDS as it’s known, is a phenomenon in pet adoption centres across the world. In 2002 a study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science of dog and cat adoption in California, pure-black coat colours featured as a negative factor in adoption rates for both dogs and cats. This shortsighted view of black-coated dogs and cats may stem from history. Since medieval times black dogs have been associated with death and the devil. Throughout European mythology black dogs have been a portent of death as a nocturnal apparition, a shape-shifter, or a super natural hellhound. Enshrined in mythology black dogs are also wrongly deemed by some as being more aggressive and as being unlucky. Cats Protection concurs that black cats are similarly overlooked in rescues too. Having had a long mystical association as ‘Witches’ cats and seminal to witchcraft, its ironic that when a black cat crosses your path, it’s considered a sign of luck! Since the early 20th century the ‘Black Dog’ was the phase attributed as a metaphor to depression and mental health, which was coined by Winston Churchill despite being a dog lover himself. Surely if science backs up that black dogs are no more aggressive than other coloured dogs, and that they make great family companions, why are black dogs and cats still disregarded? Could social media be fuelling the old medieval myths? Or is it just that black isn’t a photogenic colour? Arguably I know that when Molly, my first Miniature Bull Terrier and I were on ITV1’s The Titchmarsh Show, she didn’t ‘pop’ as much through
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Hello Burlings Hope all my dog and human friends are safe and well and COVID hasn’t played too much havoc with your family life. It’s been a tough few months for everyone but my Dad tells me I was a little rock. To be honest I was delighted to have him around all the time! I’ve managed to keep in touch with my friends on Instagram and I had a catch-up call with Vinnie every week to find out what was going on at PAAW House HQ. Me, Vinnie and the PAAW Dogs, Barry and Bibi had lots of events planned over the summer before lockdown. We were very sad that they had to be cancelled especially as they were in aid of our favourite charities StreetVet and the Wild at Heart Foundation. Rather than feel sad, Vinnies humans decided to organise an online event, called PAAWstival. I know it was a bit of a challenge as they had never done anything online before, I thought it was great and even put in a guest appearance. The best bit, PAAWstival raised over £2000 for our friends at StreetVet, who continued to support the homeless and their dogs during lockdown. I must admit, I did miss getting out and about on my usual adventures during those few months, I’ve tried to make up for it since lockdown eased. My Dad bought a bike, I had never ridden on a bicycle before. It has a cool basket on the front, I get to sit inside wrapped in a blanket and see all the sights whilst he does all the work, result! I We cycled to a couple of family parties in the park, it was safer for everyone to meet outside and the weather was lovely. I also had some socially distanced meetings with Vinnie, we had good fun and it was great to catch up. It was at one of these meetings I overheard them talking about Dogstival. What? Whoop, finally I was off to a real live dog event with my Dads! After months with mostly humans for company (no complaints) we were off to Dogstival. We got the train to Bournemouth. It’s a bit strange getting used to seeing humans wearing masks but I know it’s important. As soon as we arrived in Bournemouth, I got to go to the beach for the first time ever. I loved it! I played in the sand, caught a big wave, and totally destroyed my hair, my Dad was on hand to sort that out! The morning of the festival finally arrived. We were off to a place called (did I hear that right?) Burley Park! I know I’m
Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Author, has studied natural nutrition and therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She lives in London and is owned by Prudence a Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier. www.annawebb.co.uk As we acclimatise to a new normal, ‘Lockdown’ puppies and their parents are chomping at the bit to experience the outside world’s sights, sounds and smells. The ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme with up to 50% off your meal is a ticket to get out, support your local dog friendly eateries and socialise your pup. It’s morally mandatory to train your puppy the ground rules for model ‘doggy dining’ and pub culture etiquette. Socialisation is essential to a puppy’s life skills. But just as important is setting the ground rules that can be adapted to different situations. When you turn your dog’s world into a game, based on rules and teamwork you’ve hit the jackpot. Games can be everything from travelling in the car, on a bus, train or tube. Walking in the park or joining you in the pub, visiting friends – the sky is the limit! The unspoken rule in situations where food is being served, your pup must fly the ‘good’ dog flag as not everyone around you is dog friendly. There’s two key behaviours to train: the ‘settle’ and ‘meet and greets’. Creating the game that’s settle ‘on the mat’ / blanket or lightweight bed until you’re advised otherwise is key to doggy pub culture etiquette. It’s also useful for budding ‘office’ dogs and for those who’ll be working from home. Only ever reward when your pup is ‘on the mat’. Encourage him onto ‘the mat’ with a treat to go down. Praise this calmly and reward in position on the mat. Repeat. Repeat. Gradually move a step away, asking him back into position every time he moves. Build so you can leave the room, return and he’s on the mat! ‘On the Mat’ needs a release command – like all done – so your pup knows when to get off ‘the mat’. Never feed your pup from the table as that won’t help as puppy will expect titbits and likely cause a scene when he doesn’t get what he wants. The other unspoken rule is for your pup to practice polite ‘meet and greets’ with new people (and dogs!). It’s such a bad look when your pup has imprinted muddy paws on a clean pair of white pressed jeans. Simply ignore any ‘jumping up’ everywhere and use a long line indoors to pre-empt any over excitable behaviour with visitors in line with social distancing rules. Encourage four feet on the ground rewarding this