Website for the over 60s  January/February 2018
 Home
 
Books & Gifts
 Food and Drink
 
Health & Wellbeing
 
Travel & Holidays
 Entertainment
 Music
 
Competitions & Letters

 Facebook
 Twitter

 Chat and Socialise
 
Retirement & Hobbies
 Beauty & Hair Styles

 
Fashion & Accessories
 
Pet Care
 
Homes & Gardens

 Our Friends

 

      Dora's Diary

Dora


         A monthly dog blog

Hi folks. Hope you’ve all had a cracking Christmas and are now set to have an equally cracking 2018. Mind you it can be a bit of an effort to stay cheerful what with all these long, dark days combined with dreary weather. Difficult to look on the bright side of life.

Bossman’s receptionist, Beryl, has made an attempt to keep in a cheerful mood by deciding to come into work encased in an extremely colourful jumper.

Goodness, Beryl, you look like … the words faltered on Bossman’s lips as he arrived at the hospital that January morning.

So what do you think? she queried, raising her arms and twirling round. Makes a change doesn’t it?

She was obviously fishing for a complimentary comment. But not the likes of what Bossman landed her with.

Streuth, Beryl, you look like a squashed satsuma.

Ouch, that wasn’t very tactful, was it?

Bossman hastened to make amends.
Very cheerful, Beryl. Helps brighten the place up.

Seems he was referring to the voluminous orange sweater that Beryl was wearing. Certainly, a lurid colour. Far removed from the black polo neck and black cardigan with matching black trousers that made up her usual daily office outfit.

Thanks, replied Beryl, as she plucked at one of the shapeless sleeves, pulling it up from where it had slipped down over her hand.

Orange is associated with improved concentration, she went on. Helps overcome feelings of dread.


She gave Bossman a cheery smile. Perhaps I should knit you one.

I can tell you Bossman thought that a dreadful idea.

Mandy, the senior nurse, remarked on Beryl’s buoyant mood while Bossman checked on the routine ops booked in for him to do that morning.
Must be that orange sweater.

More likely this. He tapped the ops’ list. Ernie Entwhistle’s collie, Bess, was down to be speyed. Apparently, Beryl and he had become close friends since the death of his previous collie, Ben, last summer. It had started with chance meetings on the Green when Beryl and Bossman were tackling their lunchtime baguettes. And had then progressed to afternoon teas and strolls along Westcott’s promenade with Beryl and Bess at the weekends.

By all accounts, Ernie was a dapper polite gentleman of slight build, always meticulously turned out in navy silver-buttoned blazer, crisp white shirt and tie with knife-edge creases in his trousers.

When Bossman had finished speying the collie, he was able to reassure Beryl that the op had been straightforward.
I’ll let Ernie know then, she replied, pulling her orange woolly sleeves up as she bobbed back up to reception. Rolling along the corridor, Bossman’s analogy to a ‘satuma’ took on a certain element of truth.

The usual routine with standard operations was for the owners to phone up later in the day to see what time they should collect their pets. They would then be met by one of the nurses with any instructions for follow-up appointments if required. In the case of speys, an appointment for removal of stitches in ten days’ time would be booked.

An exception had been made for Ernie Entwhistle at Bery’s request. Bossman was to see him and hand over Bess.
Would that be okay? How could Bossman possibly refuse?

Beryl’s jumper bristled with expectation as five o’clock approached, the agreed time for the handover. By then Bess had recovered from her op and though a little woozy, was on her feet and ready to go.

Ernie’s arrived in the car park, said an excited Beryl, dashing down to the office to let Bossman know, then speeding on down to the ward in a blur of orange to bring to bring Bess up. Bossman made his way to reception just as the front door opened and Ernie Entwhistle entered. Bossman was expecting the usual nattily dressed gent in navy blazer but Ernie appeared encased in a huge sweater that hung down over his wrists and sloped in a jagged edge round his hips. And the colour? Bright orange.

When Bess appeared, there were frenzied wags of her tail, while Ernie and Beryl embraced in what could only be described as an orange squash.

I can just picture that encounter. Can you? Those two bright orange blobs. Very funny. Thank goodness, I wasn’t there though as I can’t say I like the colour orange. So you can imagine how I felt when Bossman came home last night with a little jacket from Beryl that she’d knitted for me. And yes, you’ve guessed. It was bright orange.

Whoops.

Love and licks

Dora

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
www.amazon.co.uk  

Malcolm Welshman has his own website at www.malcolmwelshman.co.uk 

 

Antifreeze Warning after Pet Dies

Monty dies after antifreeze poisoning

Rescue cat’s owners appeal for care using antifreeze after their beloved pet dies. ‘Monty’ couldn’t be saved after ingesting this extremely toxic substance.

The owners of a much loved rescue cat are urging people to take care using antifreeze after he was poisoned in Boston, Lincolnshire.

Nine year old ‘Monty’ managed to stagger back to his home in Monks Road, Swineshead on 23rd November, and was rushed to the vets by his worried owners Vik Mudd and Paul Miller. Blood tests revealed he had been poisoned with antifreeze, which is extremely toxic.

Monty died after antifreeze poisoning

Sadly, his organs began to shut down and vets couldn’t save him so he was put to sleep to prevent further suffering.

Vik said, “I’m so upset. I hope it was a careless mistake, not someone having done this deliberately, and that someone has spilt some antifreeze on the floor or de-iced their car with way too much antifreeze, not realising.

“But that makes me angry too - the idea that someone being able to see clearly through their windscreen has cost our harmless and much loved Monty his life. Paul and I are utterly devastated.

“Please think the next time you use antifreeze and use enough to get the job done or just turn on the heating in your car to clear the windows instead. Even a small amount of this horrible substance is lethal to pets and wildlife.”

Signs of poisoning can be seen anything from 30 minutes after a cat has ingested the chemical, though it can be two or three days before signs of kidney failure are seen.

The signs of poisoning can include one, or several of the following:

· Vomiting

· Seeming depressed or sleepy

·
Appearing drunk and uncoordinated
Seizures

· Difficulty breathing

What to do if you suspect your cat has been poisoned

If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned you should take them to a vet immediately. If possible, you should take a sample of what they have eaten/drunk, or the container.

Poisoning a cat deliberately is a criminal offence. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the maximum penalty for those found guilty of this offence is up to six months imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Monty died after antifreeze poisoning

It’s the first antifreeze incident RSPCA inspector Becky Harper has dealt with this winter and she hopes it’ll be the last. She says, “If anything is to come out of what happened to poor Monty it’s a warning to other people about what can happen.

“We don’t have any reason to believe that Monty was deliberately poisoned at the moment but if anyone does have any information please call us on 0300 123 8018 and ask to leave a message for me.”

To help the RSPCA to continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, and to support the charity’s ‘kindness’ campaign, please visit www.rspca.org.uk/winterappeal

 

  Lords & Labradors
   Launch New Dog
   Breed Collection


Lords & Labradors launch new Homewares Collection


Lords & Labradors are delighted to announce the launch of their brand new Homewares Collection. Perfect for ‘fanatical breed fanciers’ the range is available in five stunning breed variations; ‘Fabulous Frenchies’, ‘Loveable Labradors’, Perfect Pugs’, ‘Silly Sausages’ and ‘Cuddlesome Cockapoos’. These are the first designs on offer in what will be a whole range built on our captivation with specific breeds.

Consisting of mugs, aprons, double oven gloves, tea towels and canvas tote bags, the pieces make elegant additions to any home and the perfect gift choice for any dog lover or pet owner looking for breed specific memorabilia.

The range is the brainchild of Lords & Labradors founder, Johanna Buitelaar-Warden, who knows only too well that people fall in love with specific breeds and anything related to that breed. Johanna says, “We’ve been working with pets and pet owners for years and it’s clear that many people have a strong affinity with certain breeds and can’t get enough of items related to that breed.

These really do make fantastic gifts for dog owners – if someone is difficult to buy gifts for as they seem to have everything (but also own a French Bulldog) they will almost certainly love a gift featuring French Bulldogs! The new range has been designed with owners of some of today’s most popular breeds in mind but we shall be expanding across other breeds early next year.”

Cuddlesome Cockapoos Mug

Each breed design features a beautiful print in subtle Farrow and Ball inspired hues adding a chic and stylish twist to any home – whether contemporary urban or classic country. All fabric items are crafted from high-quality cotton and are machine washable at 30°C.

So whether someone is potty about Pugs, soppy about Sausages or fixated with Frenchies, Lords & Labradors has the perfect collection for them and there will be new breed collections added throughout 2018.

Cuddlesome Cockapoos Double Oven Glove

For more information visit the website at https://lordsandlabradors.co.uk
 

Pet Care  


New Year's Resolutions for Your Pets

New Year's Resolutions for your pets

 

If your New Year’s resolution is to shed a few excess pounds that have piled on over Christmas, our pets can be the perfect companions to help us – and we can help them too, if they are carrying a little extra weight.

Around four out of every ten UK cats and dogs are thought to be overweight or obese, which can lead to some serious health problems including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and some cancers. Too many calories and not enough exercise are the key culprits, and the bad news is that owners are responsible for both! However, the good news is that there are some simple changes you can make to improve your pet’s health and happiness.

The first thing to do is to find out whether your pet is a healthy body shape. PDSA’s website has a handy guide on how to check this for dogs, cats and rabbits (www.pdsa.org.uk/healthypets).

As a general rule you should be able to feel, but not see, their ribs if you run your hands down the side of your pet’s body

As a general rule you should be able to feel, but not see, their ribs if you run your hands down the side of your pet’s body. You should be able to see a tucked in waistline from above, and there should be no rolls of fat at the base of the tail. This assessment of a pet’s shape is called Body Condition Scoring.

Your vet or vet nurse can also show you how to do this, and remember that it’s important to take your pet for a check-up before starting them on a diet. Your vet can check for any underlying health issues that could be causing fluctuations in weight.

Ask your vet to weigh your pet if you are worried about their weight

Pets also shouldn’t lose weight too quickly and a vet or nurse can advise a target weight and weekly weight loss targets, as well as an appropriate exercise regime. Rapid weight loss can be particularly dangerous for cats and rabbits.

If your vet does advise that weight loss is needed, they will give plenty of information on how to succeed.

Here are a few tips to help beat the bulge

Cut out the treats if you are worried about your pet's weight


· Cut out the treats – even a small treat can significantly increase a pet’s calorie intake. So don’t give in to their ‘puppy dog eyes’ – find different ways to reward them with play or grooming sessions.

· Increase exercise – it’s tempting to cut down on walks in bad weather, but it’s important to ensure your pets stay active all year round. Dogs need at least one walk a day including time off the lead when safe, although it’s nicer to do more frequent walks rather than just one long one. Cats can be encouraged to play hunting-style games using fishing rod-type toys. The extra exercise might even help you towards your weight loss goals too!

Increase your pet's exercise

· Weigh out food – it’s surprising how easy it is to over feed pets when you judge amounts ‘by eye’ or using scoops. Follow the feeding guidelines on the packaging or check with your vet and weigh out the exact amount. Split this into two or more meals a day, depending on your pet’s preference and needs.

About PDSA

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment.

Funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

For details click on www.pdsa.org.uk

Owners Blow Hot and Cold about Walkies when Weather Turns

It's important to remember that dogs need regular exercise - come rain, shine, or snow!
 

Weather patterns have a marked influence on the amount of walkies a dog gets, according to pet technology company Pitpatpet Ltd, makers of the UK’s number one dog activity monitor ‘PitPat’. Pitpatpet has released findings from their growing number of dog-owning app users that show on average (per day) their dogs exercise 30 seconds less for every 1mm of rainfall and on really inclement days, 20mm of rain resulted in 10mins less exercise.

Data collected throughout the year also showed a notable reduction in dog activity levels during hot weather, seeing a particularly large dip in activity on June 21st – during the longest continuous hot spell since 1976! The company’s ‘tech hounds’ also noted a spike in activity levels on the 19th July - a day which saw a large number of thunderstorms take place across the lower half of the UK.

Pitpatpet Ltd CEO Andrew Nowell says, “It’s fascinating to see how the weather changes our Pack’s activity levels. The day of the thunderstorms was particularly interesting as it suggests that many dogs were up and about (potentially feeling anxious) during the storms. Based on these findings we hope that by using PitPat, owners can gain a better understanding of their dog’s behaviour, help reduce anxiety and help strengthen their bond.”

Owners may also have seen an uncharacteristic spike in their dog’s activity in the hours leading up to the storms. Many theories suggest that dogs are capable of sensing a barometric pressure drop and even smell the ionisation in the air which they learn to associate with approaching storms.

The PitPat app and device helps owners care for their dogs by giving them a greater understanding of their pooch’s exercise needs. The app gives the owner a tailored exercise guideline for their dog and a daily break down of their activity in minutes and calories burnt.

The findings come as PitPat partners with the UK’s largest animal welfare charity the RSPCA, who hope to use the data to get a better understanding of the behaviour and activity trends of the UK’s dogs and their owners.

Lisa Hens, RSPCA dog welfare expert says, "It's interesting to see how the changing seasons and unpredictable weather can have an impact on the amount of time dog owners spend outside walking their pets.

"But it's important to remember that dogs need regular exercise - come rain, shine, or snow! However, if your dog is more of a fair weather walker and doesn’t like the rain or cold, then avoid forcing them to go out. Exercise is more than just going for a walk so allow them to go to the toilet, sniff, explore and play games.

"If the weather is so bad that your dog is reluctant to go out then spend time interacting with them in a different way by playing games indoors while still making sure they have regular opportunities to go to the toilet.

"PitPat is a great way of helping make sure that you're making time each day to exercise and play with your four-legged friend whether it’s a beautiful, spring day or a cold, wintry one!"

The insights provided by PitPat are not only beneficial to individual owners and animal welfare organisations - they could also provide valuable data to the pet industry to help tailor their products and services more closely to the needs of our nation’s pooches.

For more information about PitPat visit the website at  www.pitpatpet.com

Bruce Almighty is Rescued After
Getting Stranded on

an Island in a Lake

Bruce Almighty is rescued after getting stranded on an island in a lake

 

A dog named after movie character Bruce Almighty had to be rescued by the RSPCA from an island in the middle of a lake - as unlike his namesake, this little pomeranian couldn’t walk on water!

Bruce Almighty - the dog - got himself in a bit of a pickle after chasing a squirrel onto the island in Pennington Flash Country Park, in Leigh, Greater Manchester.

The tiny dog swam over to the island in the cold water but seemed to instantly regret it as he wouldn’t swim back.

The tiny dog swam over to the island in the cold water but seemed to instantly regret it as he wouldn’t swim back

RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer Steve Wickham and Animal Collection Officer Gina Ratcliff attended to rescue little Bruce.

Steve said, “When we got there we could see Bruce barking and shivering on this island. He had chased a squirrel onto there and had bravely plunged into the cold water and swam 20ft onto the island, but once he was on there he didn’t want to go back into the water, which is understandable as it was very cold.

“I got into my wet gear and waded through the water - which was chest-deep on me - towards Bruce, who was barking away. Thankfully he managed to stay still long enough for me to put a lead on him and bring him back to safety.

“He was very cold and shivering but we wrapped him up in a blanket and he seemed content that his ordeal was over.

“It made us laugh that he was called Bruce Almighty - but of course, he can’t walk on water like Jim Carey’s character could!”

Bruce with his owner, Pat

Bruce was being walked by his owner’s dad, Glen Wadeson, when the incident happened.

Glen said, “My wife Pat and I look after Bruce every day while our son Martin is at work. Bruce is very good off his lead and stays with us, but he saw this squirrel and went to chase it - next thing I know he was on this little island. He must have thought that the green slime on top of the water was grass.

“He wouldn’t come back over as he was frightened.

“Bruce was such a good boy throughout the whole rescue. When we got him home we gave him a bath and he started running around - we call him ‘The Bullet’ as he runs around a lot. He is absolutely fine after his experience.”

Bruce Almighty was rescued after getting stranded on an island in a lake

If you see an animal which needs rescuing, call the RSPCA’s 24-helpline on 0300 1234 999.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals who are in desperate need of care please visit the RSPCA website at www.rspca.org.uk

RSPCA Centre Appeals
  for Homes for Ferrets


Martlesham Animal Centre appeals for homes for the large array of ferrets in their care


The RSPCA is desperately appealing for new homes for an array of ferrets currently in their care at the Martlesham Animal Centre.

Martlesham Animal Centre currently has 10 ferrets and a polecat-ferret hybrid all in desperate need of new homes

The RSPCA Suffolk East and Ipswich Branch, which runs the centre, is overrun with the small furries and staff are hoping they can find new homes for them soon.

The ferrets who have been named after popular pasta and rice dishes, apart from Phil and Rudolph, have either been given up by their previous owners or were found abandoned or straying.

Each ferret has their own unique playful and friendly character and would make the ideal pet for the right owners.

Tom Patrick, pet supervisor at the centre says, “We do seem to be overrun with ferrets at the moment and it would be great if we could find some loving new homes for them soon.

“All of the ferrets we have in our care are full of character and really would make wonderful pets for the right owners.

“Those looking for new homes include: Fettuccine, Tortellini, Ravioli, Penne, and Linguine all came in from one home as they were an unwanted litter. Then we have Basmati, Pilau, Paella and Risotto came in as they were abandoned. Rudolph and Phil the polecat-ferret was also found as strays.

“Ideally ferrets should be kept as pairs or more. They are very sociable animals and most tend to enjoy each other’s company. Although they may sleep for up to 20 hours a day, when they are awake they are highly active and inquisitive animals, needing regular change in their environment to prevent them from becoming bored.

“Most ferrets are very curious and enjoy exploring and investigating their environment. This means they need plenty to keep them occupied so they don’t become bored. There are many ways to keep them busy, for example giving them plant pots, tunnels and tubes, squeaky toys, hammocks to explore. You can also hide food around their enclosure for them to find, which helps stimulate natural foraging behaviours.

“Our ferrets are all very unique individuals but they all love to play, chase race around, play hide and seek, or just enjoy some fuss and a snooze.

“Ferrets can make wonderful pets and we would encourage anyone interested in taking them on as a pet to give us a call and we can provide more information.

“All our ferrets have been neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.”


Fettucine and Ravioli

To find out more visit the branch website, or call 0300 999 7321.

You can find out more about caring for ferrets here.
 

     Keep Your Pets
  Happy and Healthy
  in the
Cold Weather

Keep your dog warm with a coat


As temperatures drop and the cold of winter starts to bite, PDSA is offering advice for owners on how to help keep their pets safe and cosy over the coming months.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Katy Orton says, “We can put on thick warm clothes to keep out the cold, but pets can’t do this themselves. Despite their fur coats, some pets do feel the cold, but with a bit of attention we can help them to stay warm.”

To help owners, Katy has put together some top tips for pets this winter:

Cats and dogs

Ensure your cat has somewhere warm to sleep


1. Ensure cats and dogs always have access to shelter and a warm area to sleep.

2. Pets can develop a dangerously low body temperature (hypothermia) quite quickly if they are left outside; if you spot any shivering bring your pet into the warmth straight away and never leave them outside unattended for long periods of time

3. Never leave pets in cars or unheated conservatories and caravans, as the temperature can drop rapidly

4. Young and elderly pets get cold very quickly, so should only go outside for short supervised periods, and only if they want to

5. Dogs should wear a suitable dog coat if they’re underweight, have thin fur or are very young or old. A layered coat is ideal – waterproof on the outside to avoid your dog getting wet with a fleecy layer that you can remove as your dog gets warm after exercise

6. It’s better to keep cats indoors during dark winter nights, although if your cat is used to going out they could get a bit grumpy, so have plenty of toys and activities available to prevent them getting bored

7. Give cats lots of sleeping options with warm areas in high places, like a top shelf in an airing cupboard

8. Take your dog on regular short walks rather than long walks if necessary, and if they get wet, be sure to towel them dry as soon as you get home

9. Don’t let pets lie on frozen ground for a prolonged period, as this can lead to frostbite

10. Protect your pet’s feet from ice, grit and salt by keeping the hair between their toes trimmed, and rinse and wipe their feet dry after a walk. Special boots are also available for dogs to help keep their feet warm and toasty if they have a particular problem with ice between their toes

11. Wear a high visibility jacket yourself and use a reflective collar and lead on your dog if you have to walk them in the dark, as this means you can see them in the dark and reduces the risk of a road traffic accident when walking near roads

Small pets

Give your rabbit extra bedding

1. Guinea pigs, rabbits and other small pets should be brought inside during the winter – a car-free garage or shed is ideal, but they still need access to daylight and an exercise run

2. If small pets are brought into the house, make sure they don’t overheat due to central heating and ensure they still have access to an exercise area

3. Check drinking bottles daily to make sure they’re not frozen

4. Provide extra bedding hay to help keep them warm, and put a thick blanket or piece of carpet over hutches to help keep out the cold – making sure it doesn’t obstruct ventilation

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

For details visit www.pdsa.org.uk
 

  Rolo, Puppy Farm
     Survivor Helps
    Hospital Patients

Rolo helps hospital patients

It was touch and go whether Rolo would survive when he was rescued by the RSPCA - but he’s come a long way! When the RSPCA plucked 30 dogs and puppies from an “appalling” puppy farm in Essex just weeks before Christmas, many of the survivors were in a terrible way.

RSPCA inspectors went into the South Ockenden puppy farm in December 2013, removing three adult dogs and three litters all thought to have been bred for the Christmas market. The dogs - a mix of cocker spaniel cross poodles and springer spaniel cross poodles - were taken to the RSPCA’s Essex South, Southend & District branch nearby for rehabilitation and rehoming.

Branch trustee and dog rehoming coordinator Kathy Butler said, “The litter came in around Christmas time. They were unsold and had been living outside in sheds and barns, many in appalling condition. In fact, little Rolo almost didn't make it.

“One of the nurses at the vets fostered him to give him round-the-clock care and, thankfully, he pulled through.”

When little Rolo was 12-weeks-old he went to live with Claire Dean, her husband and her two sons - 13-year-old Robin and Oliver, 19 - in Southend-on-Sea.

“If it hadn’t have been for the RSPCA taking these dogs in, I’m sure Rolo would have died,” Claire said. “Two of his siblings had already died of E.coli and he was so ill. He was fostered for a week over Christmas by one of the lovely vet nurses and we collected him on 2nd January 2014 - although he was much better he still weighed only 2.5kg and needed much more TLC.”

Now, aged four, Rolo is the picture of health and happiness. And, after being rescued and given a second chance at life, the crossbreed is now giving something back via Pets As Therapy (PAT).

“He is now completely well, thriving, a bundle of fluffy joy and such a sweet-natured fellow. He absolutely loves to say hello to everyone and nearly every dog. It’s funny, when on a free run, he always says hello to the owner as well as the dog.

“As a dog, he is very friendly, fun, clever and professional – he knows when he is working and how to behave. But when not at work, he can be a mischievous boy, but also extremely funny! He is a ball thief – in fact he will steal anything that is clothing, footwear or cushions, and if the back door is open will trot out in front of you, with whatever he has taken, hoping for a chase!”

But he also has his serious side. Rolo visits Southend University Hospital every week as a PAT dog, helping patients through extremely difficult times in their lives.

Claire, who is also a volunteer for Guide Dogs, explains, “Even before we ever had a dog, I remember saying to a friend that if we ever were lucky enough to have our own dog, then I would love to share, knowing how much joy they bring, by doing PAT. And so I did!

Rolo helps patients at Southend University Hospital

“Rolo (and I) go to Southend University Hospital every week. We have been visiting the Oncology Ward, Elizabeth Loury, for more than two and a half years and the Neptune (Children’s) Ward for 14 months – in fact we are the first and only dog partnership allowed in the children’s ward - I feel very flattered!

“Sometimes we go to one of the stroke wards, depending on time, but we always go to visit specific patients, if asked, wherever they are in the hospital, no matter how long we have been there. It can take some time to get to where we are actually planning to go because of people wanting to stroke Rolo and talk to him, as they see him along the corridors. Many people are surprised to see a dog in the hospital. Rolo goes up to the patients and is just incredibly friendly…and calm.

“Rolo also lifts the mood of visitors and most definitely the staff - and has become quite well known now in the hospital. It is very special to hear if patients have been talking about Rolo and asking when he is coming in next.”

Deborah Dow, CEO of PAT says, “We’re so proud of all of our volunteers, without whom PAT wouldn’t exist. However, when you've had a tough start in life and you go on to bring joy and comfort to so many people’s lives - it’s a wonderful thing. Well done Claire and Rolo. You’re both inspiring examples of what volunteering with PAT is all about.”

As well as his incredible work at the hospital, Rolo has also taken part in the Read2Dogs scheme at a local primary school, visits residents at a nearby care home, and attended a talk at a school as an ambassador for the RSPCA to thank the children for choosing to support the charity’s work. Claire and Rolo (pictured) were also given an award for their volunteer community work.

Kathy adds, “I’m incredibly proud of Rolo and how far he’s come. When we saw that little bundle of fluff being carried out of that horrendous place, so weak and vulnerable, I’d never have believed he could be doing something like this just a few years later. He’s a wonderful example of what rescue dogs can achieve when they’re in the right environment with a loving family - and when they’re given the opportunity to be themselves.

“I’d like to thank Claire for giving Rolo such a wonderful life and for giving him a purpose.”

Rolo

This winter, the RSPCA expects to receive 2,000 calls a day about animals who, just like Rolo as a puppy, are in desperate need at Christmas time. To make sure the RSPCA can help many more dogs like Rolo please make a donation to the RSPCA’s Appeal www.rspca.org.uk/winterappeal