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.
Beryl, you look like …”
the words faltered on Bossman’s lips as he arrived at the
hospital that January morning.
what do you think?”
she queried, raising her arms and twirling round.
a change doesn’t it?”
She was obviously fishing for a complimentary comment. But
not the likes of what Bossman landed her with.
Beryl, you look like a squashed satsuma.”
Ouch, that wasn’t very tactful, was it?
Bossman hastened to make amends.
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.
replied Beryl, as she plucked at one of the shapeless
sleeves, pulling it up from where it had slipped down over
is associated with improved concentration,”
she went on.
overcome feelings of dread.”
She gave Bossman a cheery smile.
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.
be that orange sweater.”
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Antifreeze Warning after Pet Dies
Rescue cat’s owners appeal
for care using antifreeze after their beloved pet dies.
‘Monty’ couldn’t be saved after ingesting this extremely
The owners of a much loved rescue cat are urging people to
take care using antifreeze after he was poisoned in Boston,
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.
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
“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
Seeming depressed or
Appearing drunk and
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.
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
“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
Launch New Dog
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
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
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.
For more information visit the website at
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
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
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.
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
Here are a few tips
to help beat the bulge
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
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!
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.
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
Owners Blow Hot and Cold about Walkies when Weather
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
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
"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
"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
Bruce Almighty is Rescued After
Getting Stranded on
an Island in a Lake
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
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
“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 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
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
RSPCA Centre Appeals
for Homes for Ferrets
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
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
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
“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
“All our ferrets have been neutered, vaccinated and
To find out more visit the branch
call 0300 999 7321.
You can find out more about caring for
Keep Your Pets
Happy and Healthy
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
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
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
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
drinking bottles daily to make sure they’re not
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
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
Rolo, Puppy Farm
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
“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
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
“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
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 (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
“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
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
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.”
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