Website for the over 60s  December 2017
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      Dora's Diary


         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 called.

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, could you?

It’s not that I’ve anything against entering the spirit of Christmas and having some fun. Bossman’s of the same opinion.

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 smiles.
Well Beryl, what do you think? Rather fun, eh?

His receptionist shook her head.
No, 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 room.

Ding a ling. Ding a ling.

He’s 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.

Just 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.

Good boy, Tinkerbell, 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.

You worn out as well? he said to Beryl, as she switched off the computer.

I 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 budgie.

Beryl and Bossman looked at each other and grinned.

Their mutual
Hee…Hee…Hees rang out.

Here’s hoping you folks all have a very merry Christmas and that your pooches don’t see any trace of furry fake reindeer antlers.

Love and licks


Pets Aplenty by Malcolm Welshman

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 


Scam Warning

RSPCA National Control Centre

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.

When a 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 public.

“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 bill instead.

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.”

RSPCA National Control Centre

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

All About The Dog colouring book with illustrations by Martin Bell

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 best friend.

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 play.

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 million animals.

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 paperback.

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

Pet Care  

The Best In Show
Guide to Christmas Shopping for Pets

Best in Show Dog Hamper


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
Fabulously Festive 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.

Countdown to Christmas

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 bone-shaped gift for your dog

Alternatively, the
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.

Stocking Fillers

Looking for some fun-filled stocking fillers? Come and meet our colourful menagerie of
rope toys. 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, cheeky Fred the Gingerbread Man and super sweet Phoebe the Penguin

Or, for something a little different, why not introduce your dog to a
Tuber Chew? 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.

Festive snacking

Festive snacks for your dog

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 flavourings.

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 anyone?

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.

Showhome Chic range for dogs

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.

With the Showhome Chic range, you might lose the occasional cup of tea or seasonal eggnog toddy, but your favourite mug should – fingers crossed – remain intact.

Fabulously festive gifts from Best in Show

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

Christmas Advice
for Your Pets

Christmas advice from 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.

Keep your pets safe at Christmas

“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 left undisturbed.

“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 entertained.

“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. Click here for recipe.

“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

Ruff & Tumble Drying Coats for Dogs

Ruff & Tumble Drying Coats for your dog


Keep 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.

Ruff & Tumble Drying Coats for your dog

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!

Ruff & Tumble Drying Coats for your dog

All coats are machine washable and can be tumble dried on a low heat.

For details visit

  Sixtyplusurfers Competition

  Win a Cosy Fleece
      Travel Blanket

Win a Cosy Fleece Travel Blanket from In Your Dog House Gifts

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.

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.

The Fleece Travel Blanket has a drawstring pouch

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 has a drawstring pouch

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 £25.

The Fleece Travel Blanket is available in a choice of Red, Blue or Grey colourways from In Your Dog House Gifts


For further information visit the website at

  For Your Chance to Win

Tell us how is the Fleece Travel Blanket pouch fastened?

 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 below:

* 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

    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.

Encourage your cat to play with indoor toys

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 levels.

Dog-friendly, interactive toys can stop them from getting bored and stimulates their minds

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 and advice.

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.


      Dartmoor Ponies
  Celebrate Christmas

Help The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust by buying their soap

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 Festivities.

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 the DPHT.
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 landscape.

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 animals.

Moorland scene by Michael Lees

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