A monthly dog blog
Hi folks. You can tell Christmas is on its way by the number
of festive catalogues dropping through the letter box. Only
yesterday, Bossman was glancing through one and started
chortling when he came to a page of festive fun, as it was
There was a picture of novelty bathroom accessories and yes
– you’ve guessed it – the loo seat cover was the head of a
Santa Claus while the toilet surround was his tunic. Can you
think of anything more gross? Well, actually I can. Me
donning a pair of fur reindeer antlers and a silver collar
with bells on it. Perish the thought. As for him, should he
have been sporting a beard, there was a set of nine clip-on
plastic beard baubles. Honestly. You couldn’t make it up,
It’s not that I’ve anything against entering the spirit of
Christmas and having some fun. Bossman’s of the same
In fact, one Christmas at the vet practice, he tried to make
things jollier by bringing in a life-sized plastic Santa
which he’d picked up at a car boot sale. It was attired as one
would expect. Red tunic trimmed in white, red hat with bell,
brown sack on his back. He was of medium height, sporting
long flowing white locks and beard. His smile looked fixed
as did the glazed look in his eyes. But he shuddered into
life when one opened the front door into reception, rocking
backwards and forwards while emitting a croaky Ho… Ho… Ho…
reminiscent of a grasshopper being eviscerated. This was on
account of Bossman who had wired him up to the door.
Apparently, the Santa suddenly erupted into another spasm of
jerks and Ho… Ho… Ho's... as Mrs Paget, Bossman’s ex-landlady,
entered with a toy poodle. The little dog took one look at
the rocking Santa, raised his hackles and with a
high-pitched growl, shot under a chair. Mrs Paget, having
registered her arrival to see Bossman, scooped the dog up,
muttering reassurances to him as she quickly disappeared
into the waiting room.
Bossman bounced up from the office, his face creased in
Beryl, what do you think? Rather fun, eh?”
His receptionist shook her head.
not really, to be honest. This Santa has a sinister look to
him. Especially when accompanied by that diabolical laugh.”
When Bossman eventually got to see Mrs Paget he was
confronted with her toy poodle shaking his head. His topknot
was tied up with a red ribbon and some tiny Christmas bells
so that he was ringing all the way through to the consulting
Ding a ling. Ding a ling.
been doing it for a couple of days now,’ she said. ‘I’ve
tried to stop him and told him off several times.”
Told or tolled? Bossman wondered.
Ho…Ho…Ho… went Santa down the corridor.
hold his head while I have a look down his ear canal,”
he instructed. With the cone of his auriscope gently eased
down the poodle’s ear he could see the cause. A pine needle.
He inserted the tip of some crocodile forceps through the
cone and was able to grasp the needle and pull it out.
said Mrs Paget with a sigh of relief. The
poodle, true to his name gave a final ring of his head.
By the time Bossman had finished afternoon surgery he was
feeling quite frazzled. The wretched Ho Ho Ho-ing constantly
echoing up from reception, contrary to filling him with
Christmas spirit, had given the opposite effect. He now felt
quite hostile to the Santa. I felt quite sorry for him.
After all, he had been trying to inject some festive cheer
into the hospital.
worn out as well?”
he said to Beryl, as she switched off the computer.
coped. But I can’t say the same for him.”
She nodded at the Father Christmas. There were yellow stains
up his trousers where Bossman was told several dogs had
cocked their legs. The long scratches down his tunic were
due to a cat that had clawed him. And the green droppings
that hung from his hair and beard were from an escaped
Beryl and Bossman looked at each other and grinned.
Here’s hoping you folks all have a very merry Christmas and
that your pooches don’t see any trace of furry fake reindeer
Love and licks
P.S. My Bossman is Malcolm Welshman.
His latest novel, Pets Aplenty, is published by Austin
Macauley Tel: 0207 038 8212 at £7.99, Kindle version £0.99
and available to buy from
Malcolm Welshman has his own website at
Rogue websites advertising
fake RSPCA numbers are scamming the public and potentially
leaving animals without the care they need.
These premium rate numbers are designed to rack up a heavy
bill for the caller and are giving the false impression that
they are affiliated with the animal welfare charity.
member of the public dials the fake number they will be
charged a premium rate and are then diverted to the RSPCA's
National Control Centre which means the caller may not be
immediately aware of the scam.
The RSPCA is urging people to make sure they have the
correct number for
reporting animal cruelty and avoid these ‘0844’
phone call scams.
A search found eight different sites with incorrect numbers
in the first 10 pages of Google*.
Dave Allen, Head of Education and Advice at the RSPCA says,
“The amount of sites out there advertising incorrect contact
numbers for our charity is very worrying. We are urging
people to watch out for websites with fake numbers and
information that doesn’t sound quite right. Some of the
sites can be quite convincing with unauthorised feeds from
the RSPCA official Twitter and Facebook page which makes
them look all the more real.
“Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get these sites shut
down but the RSPCA has been trying to solve this issue by
reporting the problem to Google so that the sites are not
ranked highly in searches. We have also lodged a complaint
to the UK’s communications regulator OFCOM and now we are
trying to raise awareness of this scam with the general
“Not only can these numbers leave people with a hefty phone
bill but it also means members of the public may be put off
contacting us when an animal is in desperate need of care.”
The RSPCA receives a call to its cruelty line every 27
seconds and in the month of September alone there were
64,379 calls to the animal welfare charity in England and
Wales**. Unfortunately, it is not possible to record the
volume of calls from these fake numbers as once the call is
diverted to the RSPCA it comes through like any other call.
Dave Allen continues, “Unfortunately, we have received
complaints when a person believes they have contacted our
national control centre directly but they have actually
contacted us via an 0844 number and been left with a huge
Calls direct to the RSPCA cost the same as a
call to any UK landline number. However, these fake and
premium rate numbers can charge as much as 7p a minute plus
your phone provider's access charge.
“We rely on the public to contact us when an animal is in
need and the last thing we want is for someone to be put off
by an awful scam like this.
“Please ensure you have the
correct number when searching by clicking on the
RSPCA official website.”
If you need to report cruelty, or a sick or injured animal,
contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
For more information about the RSPCA visit
All About The Dog
A Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Colouring Book with
Illustrations by Martin Bell
All About The Dog: A
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Colouring Book, published by
Laurence King, celebrates the irresistible appeal of man’s
From tiny Chihuahuas to huge Great Danes, hardworking
sheepdogs to pampered Shih Tzus, and not forgetting lovable
mongrels, the official colouring book from Battersea Dogs &
Cats Home features over 35 breeds of dogs at work, rest and
Informative descriptions of each breed mean you can discover
more about your favourite canines as you colour them in. All
About The Dog must have book for dog lovers everywhere.
About Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is one of the oldest and
best-known animal rescue centres in the world. Since its
foundation in 1860, the Home has cared for more than 3.1
Battersea’s vision is that every dog and cat should live in
a home where they are treated with love, care and respect.
All About The Dog: A Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Colouring
Book is published by Laurence King. Price is £9.99 for the
Produced under license
from Battersea Dogs Home Ltd. ® Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
Royalties from the sale of this product go towards
supporting the work of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
For more information about the book visit the website at
For more information about Battersea Dogs & Cats Home visit
The Best In Show
Guide to Christmas Shopping for
Are you looking for something special
to treat the pet in your life this Christmas? A new
toy, perhaps, or a delicious treat?
For all the best pet gifts, we’ve teamed up with
luxury pet product company,
Best in Show,
to create our Guide to Christmas Shopping for Pets.
It’s packed full of natural dog treats, tasty gifts
for cats and
Christmas presents for all the family.
There are also treats that, while making the perfect
Christmas present, can be enjoyed all year round –
perhaps becoming your pet’s new favourite.
We’ve started the Christmas countdown with a
Biscuit Banquet Wreath
which holds both original and carob-flavoured bone
biscuits, baked for full flavour. And, because
there's 26 treats, the wreath can double up as an
advent calendar so you and your dog can count down
to Christmas together - with extra dog treats for
Christmas Day and Boxing Day of course.
12 Days of Woofmas
makes the perfect Christmas present for your dog.
This beautiful bone-shaped gift contains 12
delicious carob and oat biscuits to enjoy each day
after Christmas – or before if you can’t wait that
long. Made in the UK, these baked biscuits are the
closest thing to a dog-safe chocolate biscuit.
Looking for some fun-filled stocking fillers? Come
and meet our colourful menagerie of
They make excellent dog gifts and will last into the
New Year and beyond, becoming firm - and frayed -
friends. And for something super seasonal, we have
the very handsome
Stanley the Snowman,
the Gingerbread Man and
super sweet Phoebe
Or, for something a little different, why not
introduce your dog to a
Harvested by hand, our Tuber Chews are 100% natural,
untreated tree roots from a secret eco-sustainable
source. Though we wouldn’t usually advise feeding a
tree root to your pet, these durable and safe, and
will not splinter, no matter how hard your dog tries
to chew them. And, when they do chew, your dog will
release the vitamins and minerals that are naturally
present within the roots.
Tuber Chews act like a fun, natural toothbrush,
caring for your dog while they play.
Christmas is the perfect time to curl up on the sofa
and watch a film – cheesiness required! While you’re
snacking on your favourite treat, your dog can too
thanks to our range of delectable dog treats,
combining new flavours with natural ingredients and
clever health benefits for your pet. Carefully
created by pet lovers, for pet lovers.
Together you can tuck into our
Popcorn for Dogs
during movie time - this is low calorie, with no
salt and no preservatives. Affectionately air-popped
and left delightfully flavour free. Or, why not try
Best in Show’s
Crisps for Dogs
which are cooked in natural sunflower oil in the
U.K. with human grade potatoes. They have all of the
crunch and none of the salt or unhealthy
Or if you’re feeling particularly cheeky, share a
tipple or two! That’s right, DEFRA approved, beef
flavoured beer courtesy of
Woof Dog Beer.
This isn’t like drinking with any of your
other friends either, you won’t have to carry a
tiddly terrier to bed after one too many as it’s
completely alcohol free!
Egg nog toddy
For the pet lovers in your life, we have a range of
sturdy yet stylish crockery, which makes the ideal
gift for all dog lovers and cat lovers.
Put a smile on their faces with The
Dog Father mug
and make them feel loved with The
Cat Loves Me Best (Also
available in a canine version for the dog lover in
your life, to save arguments).
We’ve made sure this range is super sturdy as we've
seen what happens when excited dog tails meet
delicate china cups on coffee tables or excited cats
skip across kitchen surfaces.
And we all know there’s lots of food lying around at
Christmas, which means it’s even more likely that
things will get messy or break.
range, you might lose the occasional cup of tea or
seasonal eggnog toddy, but your favourite mug should
– fingers crossed – remain intact.
We hope you all have a wonderful, safe and happy
Christmas and enjoy the holidays with your pets.
Happy Christmas from everyone at Best in Show!
For more information about Best in Show click on
for Your Pets
“Christmas brings lots of presents,
fantastic food, and we get to spend time with family
and friends, and of course our pets,”
says Jane Tyson, RSPCA. “However, the festive
season can be potentially hazardous and stressful
for our pets, so we’ve got some tips to make sure
that they too have a happy Christmas.
“You might not realise chocolate, mince pies,
Christmas pudding, onion gravy and alcohol are all
poisonous for pets and should be stored securely out
of reach. Bones from carcasses can also be a
dangerous choking hazard and should be disposed of
carefully where our furry friends can’t get to them.
“It’s also important to consider your festive
decorations. Plants such as holly, ivy, poinsettias
and lilies can be toxic. Tinsel and wrapping paper
might be tempting for your pet to play with but it’s
important that owners make sure they don’t eat it.
“As Christmas can often be busy and chaotic, it is
also good to keep your pet to their normal routine
as much as possible. Provide them with somewhere
cosy and quiet where they can retreat to and have
their own space away from the festive excitement. If
they do seek out their quiet spot make sure they are
“All cats will benefit from extra hidey-holes and
cat pheromone sprays may help some cats feel a
little more at ease. If you are planning to visit
friends and family over Christmas and are planning
on taking your dog with you, make sure to bring
something that is familiar for them, such as their
bed to help them feel secure. Taking some of their
favourite toys and chews will also help keep them
“In case of accidents it’s always a good idea to
have the number of an emergency vet on hand, ensure
your pet’s medication is stocked up before the
holidays, and be sure to make plans for your pets if
going away over Christmas - whether they’re coming
with you or not.
“Christmas is a time for giving and we all want to
treat our pets at this time of year too. It can be
tempting to give them tasty treats, but too many can
lead to weight gain and health problems. If giving
pets something extra, make sure the calories are
accounted for in their daily food ration and feed
them a little less for dinner. You could also try
making healthy, homemade dog treats such as Honey
and Banana Dog Biscuits.
“And of course, don’t forget to add a stocking for
your furry friend too! There are plenty of toys on
the market for your pets but the RSPCA online shop
has a range of toys, beds, bowls and collars for
cats and dogs, as well as gifts for all the family,
which will also help other animals live a life free
from neglect and cruelty.”
For more information visit
& Tumble Drying Coats for Dogs
your dog warm and dry with a Ruff & Tumble Drying Coat.
Ruff and Tumble Drying Coats are
modelled on horse blankets. They go on over the head
and are a tailored to fit, with a cosy neck collar
and a wide belly strap which fastens with Velcro.
They are made from top quality double thickness
cotton towelling which makes the coat soft,
absorbent and comfortable for the dog to wear.
Perfect for after wet walks and bath times Ruff and
Tumble Drying Coats are also fantastically warm for
the cold winter days and can also be soaked in cold
water to create a cooling coat for hot summer days!
All coats are machine washable and can be tumble
dried on a low heat.
For details visit
Win a Cosy Fleece
Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with In Your Dog House
Gifts to offer one lucky reader the chance to
win a gorgeous Fleece Travel Blanket worth £25.
The Fleece Travel Blanket is the ultimate comforter
for your pets with its lovely soft fleece fabric and
handy travel pouch.
Take the scent of home, sweet home away on your
travels and help your pets sleep soundly wherever
they need to snuggle down (and keep sofas and car
seats clean too!)
This cosy silver grey fleece blanket with black
blanket-stitched border has an integral heart shaped
corner with a drawstring pouch and no plastic
toggles (so no chewing!) in the unique ‘Little
Rufus’ printed fabric.
Simple pull the blanket out of its neat little pouch
and it's ready to provide a bed on the move, keep
puppies warm and safe when they are in your arms or
use it protect your furniture.
It's always ready to use and can be safely put away
when it's not needed. Perfect for taking on holiday
or keeping in your car.
The Fleece Travel Blanket is made in England
exclusively for Poppy & Rufus.
The Fleece Travel Blanket is available in a choice
of Red, Blue or Grey colourways from
In Your Dog House Gifts. Price is
For further information
the website at
For Your Chance to Win
Tell us how is the Fleece Travel Blanket pouch
a) With a zip
b) With velcro
c) With buttons
d) With a drawstring
To Enter the Competition
Tell us how is the Fleece Travel Blanket pouch
fastened? Then send in your answer together with
your full name, postal address and telephone number
to the blue Sixtyplusurfers email address as shown
* Please label your entry Fleece
Travel Blanket Competition
* This competition is open to
our UK readers only
Keeping Your Pets
Happy and Healthy
During the Winter
Katy Orton, PDSA Vet Nurse
Winter is steadily setting in, daylight hours are
shorter and there’s a nip in the air.
And, while many people think the winter months
affect just us humans – causing us to feel more
tired – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may also
cause our pets to feel down in the dumps too.
PDSA vet nurse, Katy Orton says, “With the darker
evenings and colder weather here, it may be that
your pet prefers to stay indoors rather than burn
off calories outdoors. Being at home in the warmth
can seem far more appealing than romping around when
it’s dark and cold outside. But, this can cause them
to gain weight and become less and less active. Your
pet may appear to have less energy, and just like
us, may want to sleep more in the winter months.
“The cause of SAD in people isn’t fully understood but it is thought to be
linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the
winter, which increases melatonin levels. Melatonin
is a hormone that causes us to feel drowsy and low
and it’s possible increased levels of this hormone
affects our four-legged companions too.”
However, PDSA is urging pet owners to kick-start
their pets’ winter health care routine, to help keep
animals happy and healthy.
Katy adds, “If it’s difficult to go outside, there
are various indoor games that you can play with your
pet to help cheer them up. Just because it's winter
doesn't mean your pet's diet and exercise plan
should stop completely.
For example, encourage cats to play with indoor toys
and you can encourage them to move around more by
putting their food around the house at different
Dog-friendly, interactive toys can stop them from
getting bored and stimulates their minds. Training,
playing games and having fun with your dog will also
help strengthen the bond between you.
Even if your pet isn't in the mood to exercise as
much as during the summer, it’s important to keep
them stimulated when it isn’t possible to spend as
much time outdoors. Keep an eye on your pets’
behaviour and if you’re worried about any changes,
your local vet will be able to offer further tips
For more information and top tips on keeping your
pets happy and healthy during winter months, visit:
PDSA is on a mission to educate the nation on pet
wellbeing and is delighted that funding from players
of People’s Postcode Lottery is helping the charity
to continue this vital work.
The Dartmoor Pony Heritage
Trust (DPHT) is a registered charity commited
to preserving the Dartmoor Pony on Dartmoor for
future generations to enjoy.
By choosing one of their products as a Christmas
Gift, you will directly support their work and
give some unusual and lovely presents. Or
organise a free fun day out with their Guides at
Bellever, near Postbridge, for all the family
and friends to walk off some of the Christmas
Gifts include the most gorgeous lemon and mint
scented Dartmoor Pony soap (for humans of
course)! As its ‘chosen charity’, the Dartmoor
Soap Company is donating 5p from each bar of
every kind of soap it sells across the world, to
Take a look at
There are also the most beautiful and exclusive
Christmas cards featuring Dartmoor pony ‘Hope’.
Or how about ‘adopting’ a pony? A gift suitable for
anyone, of any age, who loves horses and ponies,
but for whom buying a real one is simply not an
option. The cost is just £20 per year for UK
residents: £25 for those who live abroad. Every
Adoption Pack includes a beautiful line drawing
and an adoption certificate; and you’ll receive
regular updates on the antics of the pony you
have chosen, over the following year.
Adoption ponies George, Charlie, Smartie, Rolo
look forward to meeting you and to becoming part
of your family! Come along to groom and handle
them and find out all about them, follow their
interesting lives, discover their true value and
how important they are to the Dartmoor
By buying an Adoption pony, you'll helping the DPHT to feed and care for the ponies based at
its Centre at Parke, Bovey Tracey, Devon; and to
give young moorland-bred ponies a basic
education, so that they are more suitable for
domestic and conservation grazing homes than
coming straight off the Moor as wild, untouched
Renowned artist Michael Lees painted a beautiful
moorland scene for the trust a few years ago and
a limited edition print is available in a
variety of formats and sizes. See Michael Lee's website at
All monies go towards giving the ponies greater
value and to deliver innovative educational
programmes, ‘Ponies Inspiring People’, making a
big difference to young people’s lives using
Dartmoor ponies as the ‘platform for learning’.
Find out more about The Dartmoor Pony Heritage
Trust (DPHT) at