Monday, 27 June 2011

Dogs and summer weather

When the sun comes out usually there’s an increased number of outdoor activities, playing in the park with children, and of course our furry friends.
When you’re slapping the high factor sunscreen on your children and yourself don’t forget that animals can also suffer from sunburn, dehydration and overheating.
Here are a few hints and tips to help keep your dogs safe in any warm weather:
  • Take your walks and playtime in the mornings and evenings when the temperature is cooler.  This helps avoid your pet overheating.  Make sure not to exercise after feeding.
  • Whenever you take your dog out in the car, make sure you have some water available and some form of shade (a window blind or child screen can do the job nicely). 
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car.  Parking in the shade and leaving windows open is NOT safe.  The sun moves throughout the day so although you’ve parked in the shade, it won’t be that way all day.  Leaving the windows open may allow your pet, or your car to be stolen.
  • If you allow your dog to run around outside in your garden or dog run during the day, make sure there’s plenty of drinking water and shade available and consider bringing him/her indoors from midday until 3pm when the sun is at its hottest.
  • Watch out for tarmac!  It can become excessively hot very quickly and will burn your dogs paws if they are standing still or have no alternative area to stand/sit on.
  • Take care around garden areas, not all garden chemicals/pesticides are pet or children friendly.  If your dog ingests something or you suspect they may have, take them to the vet immediately.
  • If you do see a dog in distress please call the RSPCA cruelty and advice centre, open 24 hours a day 0300 1234 999.  

Thursday, 23 June 2011

450km from Irun on the Atlantic Coast of Spain across the Pyrenees to Cabo de Creus on the Mediterranean coast.

"450km from Irun on the Atlantic Coast of Spain across the Pyrenees to Cabo de Creus on the Mediterranean coast.

It's going to take us 10 weeks. It will be amazing, emotional, exhilirating and very tough. It's something I have dreamed about for many years and I am finally getting the chance to do it. I am taking my buddy Shadow with me who is a 4yr old Husky/Malamut cross and my best pal.
I served in The Parachute Regiment for 14 years and have faced many difficulties since leaving the Army but I want to do this to help others and a charity which is very close to my heart.
Please give as much as you can to support us on our epic journey so that other veterans like me can get the support they deserve."

Graham Povey served in The Parachute Regiment for 14 years and left 5 years ago after being injured.

He has spent much of his spare time as a volunteer mountain guide and has always dreamed of crossing the Spanish Pyrenees via the legendary R11 route from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean coasts - a trip of 450km!

Graham has had many difficulties during the last few years with divorce and separation from his children as well as numerous health issues. His closest friend in the world is his beloved Husky, Shadow.

The journey across the R11 route will be a journey of huge importance to Graham and to the charity as Graham will be raising money for the charity by collecting sponsorship donations. The trip will give him a huge and much needed confidence boost and get him back in to the mountains where he feels happiest. It will also do the world of good for Shadow.

Please Donate:

The project is Support by Project 65.
Project 65 – The Veterans Charitywas founded in 2008 to provide support for the Veterans of the UK armed forces. Our focus is to support ALL Veterans and to ensure that their needs are met as quickly as possible.
There are hundreds of different issues faced by Veterans, both young and old, serving and ex-serving from mobility equipment needs to transport, healthcare or even housing or employment issues.   
We aim to deliver direct and real impact to the lives of individuals who have or are serving in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
To us, a Veteran is someone who deserves our support. These do not just include current service personnel but veterans of conflicts in Kosovo, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Borneo, Aden, Korea and of course WWII. Many Veterans are often forgotten and some simply ‘slip through the net’. We want to ensure that ALL Veterans get support – ALWAYS.

Monday, 13 June 2011

One More Happy Customer.

Thank you so much for your very speedy service. I have received my dog’s doggles today!

Unfortunately he has dry eye condition, so I thought your doggles would help keep the eye from drying out and stop debris blowing in.

He is a little ruby cavalier king charles spaniel, and he looks super cool in them. 

UK doggy shelters take note!

Pedigree New Zealand came up with a fun new way to promote doggy adoption - Doggelgänger, “Human to canine pairing software, designed to connect real homeless dogs to their human doubles.”

The site uses NEC’s facial recognition technology, normally used for anti-terrorism and border control, to analyze a photo of your face and compare your features with those of dogs needing homes. The software then matches you up with the dog that looks most like you.

Even if you're in the UK and unable to adopt, it's still great fun. But hopefully it will take off here too!

Allergy-sniffing dogs help children with peanut allergies avoid exposures

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. - Boo and Riley are more than affectionate, protective family pets. To their owners, the specially trained dogs are a furry layer of security to sniff out peanut products and other life-threatening allergens.
The dogs' Connecticut owners are among many people who are turning to allergy-sniffing service dogs, who accompany their handlers to detect allergens and their residue at school, during social events and in other everyday activities.
As their popularity grows, though, some owners are having mixed success in convincing businesses, schools and those in charge of other public venues that the dogs must be accepted as service animals, just as dogs whose handlers' disabilities are more readily apparent.
They're already specifically recognized as medical service dogs in recent updates to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, but some parents are taking it a step further by lobbying their local and state officials to update their regulations, too.
"The dog is just one way we can help our daughter have a more normal life," said Pam Minicucci of North Haven, whose seven-year-old daughter, Gianna, is constantly accompanied by her allergy-sniffing St. Bernard named Boo.
Minicucci asked Connecticut lawmakers this year to add allergy-sniffing dogs to the state statutes to mirror the ADA language, but the bill languished in a committee without full General Assembly action.
Gianna's allergy to peanut products, tree nuts and their residue in the air or on surfaces is so severe that even minuscule particles can trigger hives, itching and difficulty breathing that has sent her to the hospital several times. She carries an inhaler, wipes, Benadryl and EpiPen injectors everywhere in case she encounters anything to which she's allergic.
She and Boo get mixed reactions as they go to public venues and school, even though the dog wears a vest identifying it as a service animal.
"Our goal is for the dog to be with her everywhere she goes," Gianna's mother said. "I don't expect people to change their world for us, but I do expect them to allow us to protect our child in the way we need to."
State and federal agencies do not track the number of allergy-specific service dogs in the U.S., but handlers and trainers say they're fielding more inquiries and orders in recent years. They attribute it to a growing awareness about the allergy-sniffing dogs and an increase in peanut allergies among many of today's children.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates four of every 100 children have a food allergy, and says rates are highest among preschool-age children. It's also growing quickly: From 1997 to 2007, food allergies increased 18 per cent among American children under 18 years old, though researchers haven't conclusively determined why.
Gianna Minicucci's allergies emerged when she was an infant and though she's grown out of some, others have remained so profound that her family decided the allergy-sniffing dog was a necessity.
Depending on the trainer and dog, the animals can cost between $10,000 and $20,000, including the training to teach them how to sniff out particular allergens and alert the handler with a specific signal. Often, that means abruptly sitting in place, often putting their own bodies between the allergic person and the allergen.
Owners tell of almost-daily incidents in which the dogs found something that their young handlers never would have spotted on their own.
In Gianna Minicucci's case, for instance, Boo once was so insistent on blocking her from walking down a non-food aisle in a big-box store that Gianna's mother questioned whether the dog was ill. When Pam Minicucci peered down below the shelves, she found the reason: a minuscule amount of peanut butter on a mouse trap far out of reach, but still close enough to potentially trigger Gianna's allergies.
The training for Boo and other allergy-sniffing dogs is similar to that of police dogs learning to track scents or dogs being trained to sniff out explosives for the military — which, in fact, inspired trainer Sherry Mers to work in the field after seeing a television show on bomb-sniffing dogs.
The Monument, Colo., woman launched Angel Service Dogs after getting a trained dog to help her 10-year-old daughter, Riley, avoid peanut products and residue from cross-contamination. Mers said the dogs may not be the right fit for every family, but that for children like her daughter, they literally can be life-savers.
"It's not just about the dog, it's not just about the allergy. It's about making sure your kid can exist in a world today so they don't have a disability," Mers said. "The reaction seems to be extremes: Either people are so accommodating they can't help but help you more, or they immediately go to this place of feeling that I'm violating their rights by trying to protect my child."
In a few cases, those disputes have attracted widespread attention.
In Indianapolis, for instance, a woman with a potentially life-threatening allergy to paprika got a specially trained dog to sniff out the substance. When she brought the dog to work, though, a co-worker who was allergic to dogs had an asthma attack.
The dog's owner filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after she was asked to leave the dog at home or take unpaid leave. The case is pending.
In other cases, though, the dogs have been welcomed.
In Ansonia, Conn., school officials have been so accommodating of 13-year-old Jeff Glazer's dog, Riley, that they installed special HEPA filters to the schools' air-circulation systems to ensure the yellow Labrador's presence wouldn't cause problems for children allergic to dogs.
Though Jeff's mother says they encounter some people who have concerns about the dog, they say others are supportive.
"Now that I have Riley, I can go to restaurants and movies and my friends' houses and not have to worry about it," Jeff said on a recent sunny afternoon, getting ready to stretch before a game with his travelling baseball team on a Middlebury sports field.
Before Jeff enters the dugout or touches the gear, though, Riley sniffs down everything for lingering residue from previous players who might have eaten peanut butter sandwiches, candy or other items. If Riley finds something, they use sanitary hand wipes — which Jeff and his family carry — to clean the surface thoroughly so he's not endangered.
Other than Riley's red service dog vest, he looks like any other pet accompanying his young master — exactly the kind of normalcy that once seemed out of reach.
"Riley really has changed his life. It's not a perfect world, it's not a perfect solution — we also have to use our heads and be aware of what's going on," said Jeff's mother, Lisa Glazer. "We still read labels, we still ask questions, we still go through the whole thing at restaurants, but Riley is our safety net."