Pet Articles and Information

 

Want to grow your audience on Twitter but don't have the time to be on there all day, every day?

Here are four tips to get you started!

 

Social Media Tip FB

 

1. Use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite to schedule tweets for you.

Click on the image below for more information

2. Set measurable goals for your social media and track them.

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (S.M.A.R.T)

You'll be able to see where you're going right or wrong!

3. Don't post more than three hashtags on your social media posts as it looks spammy. 

Of course, Instagram is the only exception to this where you can use up to thirty hashtags per posts.

4. Create Twitter lists with complimentary names.

Then add people to the lists that engage, mention you or those who you want to follow you back, such as influencers or bloggers.

 

woofwoofwednesday 

#woofwoofwednesday

Woof Woof Network also runs the Twitter networking hour #woofwoofwednesday between 8 – 9 pm BST every Wednesday.

I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Katie

 

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SEEING THE LIGHT

It was a sad fact that my beloved Mini Bull Molly suffered from ‘problem paws’ all her life.

She had what I’ve coined ‘Bull terrier’ foot. It’s a build-up of hard skin, which over time makes the pads misshaped. Molly’s paw-pads would crack easily and be very sore, making walking very difficult indeed.

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Molly’s paws were simply too small for her sturdy build - it’s a design fault in the breed. Bullies feet have been selected to reflect the breed standard for “small, compact, ‘cat-like’ paws”.   We battled this problem for 12 years, but despite a host of treatments including surgically removing part of her paw pad and removing a claw, nothing fixed the problem.

That was until I saw the light when world-renowned animal Physiotherapist Sherry Scott treated Molly.

 

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I’d read lots of science about the power of light therapy / Phototherapy in my study with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies. But nothing ever beats the first-hand experience. The effects it had on Molly’s paws was literally amazing!

Molly didn’t mind wearing her special ‘Doggles’ for our sessions until I realised that the light emitted from a Photizo does not harm the eyes. Rather than a laser light that can be harmful, Photizo uses a combination of Infra-red and LED light that is not harmful.

I’ve also used red-light to help Mr Binks (my re-homed English Toy Terrier). He only has one hip as he suffers from a degenerative condition called Legg Calves Perthes. His left hip ball joint was removed before he came to live with us.

Thanks to lots of ‘rehab’ including Acupuncture, massage and regular blasts of red light from Photizo’s Vetcare, he rarely carries his leg now. Nobody can believe he’s missing a hip!  Prudence is a typical accident-prone Mini Bull. She’s recently injured her back leg and Photizo is continuing to help its re-hab.

I’ve also used it to help Prudence with her allergic reaction to a flea-bite. The red light stimulates the affected skin to heal as it reduces the swelling and any itchiness in the skin.  It’s also great to help Prudence calm down and enjoy a massage session. Running the light over her key acupuncture points releases ‘happy hormones’ that ‘zone’ her out.

As some of Prudence’s relatives suffer from ‘Bull Terrier’ foot, I’m using the light on her paws as a preventative measure. I’m just happy to have seen the ‘light’ and be able to be prudent for Prudence.

www.annawebb.co.uk

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With the start of Summer supposedly here (minus a few thunderstorms!) thoughts turn to holidays with family and friends. Whilst a growing number of us are taking advantage of the increasingly popular dog friendly holidays around the UK, sometimes it's not always feasible to take your dog with you if you're going a little further afield! So what happens to your four-legged friend while you're away?

I'm fortunate to have a willing mum nearby who looks after Ted but that's not possible for everyone. So we spoke to the lovely Lisa Suswain from Wagging Tails; a brilliant home dog boarding company who told us all about how her home dog boarding works, as well as some helpful tips about what you should be looking for when finding a carer for your dog while you're away.

 

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WHO ARE WAGGING TAILS?

Years ago, the only option for dog owners going on holiday was to leave your dog with family, friends or in kennels. While there may be good kennels out there, the surroundings are often so different to a home environment, leaving many dogs stressed. The result? Stressed dog = stressed owner! Enter Wagging Tails who want to remove the stress and provide your dog with a holiday as well as you (well it seems only fair your dog should be having fun too!)

Established in 2007, Wagging Tails recognise dogs are family members, so all dogs are cared for in an actual home by one of their carefully selected carers across the UK.

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Wagging Tails want owners to feel comfortable with the carer who will be looking after their dog, so before going on holiday, owners, carers and dogs meet up at the carers home. In fact, they insist on it. This gives all parties the chance to meet and even more importantly allows the dog to become familiar with the human they'll be staying with for the next week or two.

This means when the time comes for the dog to stay with the carer, the dog will feel more comfortable and it won't come as such a shock when the humans depart for their holiday. Sounds perfect to us!!

 

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WHAT CAN YOU & YOUR DOG EXPECT?

By using Wagging Tails, your dog can expect:

One to one interaction with a carer (e.g. your dog isn't going to be with lots of other dogs but will be spoilt with love and attention all to themselves!)

If your dog prefers the company of other dogs though, they can be paired with a carer who has their own sociable dog, so your dog can have a fun partner to play with!

A carer who is fully licensed by individual councils and fully insured too

Fun walks, new sights and smells

Owners can expect regular photos and videos should they require them

Peace of mind!

WHAT SHOULD DOG OWNERS LOOK FOR WHEN SEARCHING FOR A CARER?

There are a lot of people offering to look after your dog on the Internet, but how can you tell the good from the bad? We asked Lisa for her top 3 tips based upon the successful Wagging Tails format:

1. Visit them! As an owner, you should always have the opportunity to visit the place where your dog will be staying while you're away. Alarm bells should probably start ringing if you can’t.

2. Introduce dogs. If your dog is staying somewhere where another dog is present, always make sure you meet with them beforehand to check they're going to get on. You don't want to be away and find there's a problem!

3. Check if the carer is licensed and insured. This means the carer has been independently verified, giving extra credibility and in turn providing extra peace of mind.

 

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OVERVIEW

From speaking with Lisa, Wagging Tails sounds like the perfect home from home experience for any dog in our opinion! In fact some dogs enjoy their stay so much, they visit every year (or even more frequently!) Some clients even travel from as far as Spain to use Wagging Tails which also says a lot. The main point which stood out for us though is knowing the dogs come first. Yes each carer could look after multiple dogs at the same time, but Wagging Tails want to ensure your dog is always the priority. We love this! Most Wagging Tails carers are retired individuals who have time but don't want the commitment of a dog of their own. They all have experience of dogs though and you can guarantee your dog will be loved by the carer as if he/she were their own dog.

If you're interested in finding out more about Wagging Tails either as an option to board your dog or if you'd like to find out more about becoming a carer, just follow the link HERE.

In the meantime, a big THANK YOU to Lisa for speaking with us. We think Wagging Tails sounds fantastic!

Until then, see you next time everyone!

Sarah & Ted xxx

The go to place for all things dog - TWILIGHT BARK UK

 

 

With the start of Summer  thoughts turn to holidays with family and friends. Whilst a growing number of us are taking advantage of the increasingly popular dog friendly holidays around the UK, sometimes it's not always feasible to take your dog with you if you're going a little further afield!

So what happens to your four-legged friend while you're away? I'm fortunate to have a willing mum nearby who looks after Ted but that's not possible for everyone. So we spoke to the lovely Lisa Suswain from Wagging Tails; a brilliant home dog boarding company who told us all about how her home dog boarding works, as well as some helpful tips about what you should be looking for when finding a carer for your dog while you're away.

WHO ARE WAGGING TAILS?

 

Years ago, the only option for dog owners going on holiday was to leave your dog with family, friends or in kennels. While there may be good kennels out there, the surroundings are often so different to a home environment, leaving many dogs stressed.

The result? Stressed dog = stressed owner! Enter Wagging Tails who want to remove the stress and provide your dog with a holiday as well as you (well it seems only fair your dog should be having fun too!)

Established in 2007, Wagging Tails recognise dogs are family members, so all dogs are cared for in an actual home by one of their carefully selected carers across the UK.

 waggingtailscover

Wagging Tails want owners to feel comfortable with the carer who will be looking after their dog, so before going on holiday, owners, carers and dogs meet up at the carers home.

In fact, they insist on it. This gives all parties the chance to meet and even more importantly allows the dog to become familiar with the human they'll be staying with for the next week or two.

This means when the time comes for the dog to stay with the carer, the dog will feel more comfortable and it won't come as such a shock when the humans depart for their holiday. Sounds perfect to us!!

 

WHAT CAN YOU & YOUR DOG EXPECT?

 

By using Wagging Tails, your dog can expect:

One to one interaction with a carer (e.g. your dog isn't going to be with lots of other dogs but will be spoilt with love and attention all to themselves!)

If your dog prefers the company of other dogs though, they can be paired with a carer who has their own sociable dog, so your dog can have a fun partner to play with!

A carer who is fully licensed by individual councils and fully insured too

Fun walks, new sights and smells

Owners can expect regular photos and videos should they require them

Peace of mind!

 

WHAT SHOULD DOG OWNERS LOOK FOR WHEN SEARCHING FOR A CARER?

 

There are a lot of people offering to look after your dog on the Internet, but how can you tell the good from the bad? We asked Lisa for her top 3 tips based upon the successful Wagging Tails format:

1. Visit them! As an owner, you should always have the opportunity to visit the place where your dog will be staying while you're away. Alarm bells should probably start ringing if you can’t.

2. Introduce dogs. If your dog is staying somewhere where another dog is present, always make sure you meet with them beforehand to check they're going to get on. You don't want to be away and find there's a problem!

3. Check if the carer is licensed and insured. This means the carer has been independently verified, giving extra credibility and in turn providing extra peace of mind.

 

sniffing out banner

OVERVIEW

 

From speaking with Lisa, Wagging Tails sounds like the perfect home from home experience for any dog in our opinion! In fact some dogs enjoy their stay so much, they visit every year (or even more frequently!) Some clients even travel from as far as Spain to use Wagging Tails which also says a lot.

The main point which stood out for us though is knowing the dogs come first. Yes each carer could look after multiple dogs at the same time, but Wagging Tails want to ensure your dog is always the priority. We love this! Most Wagging Tails carers are retired individuals who have time but don't want the commitment of a dog of their own. They all have experience of dogs though and you can guarantee your dog will be loved by the carer as if he/she were their own dog.

If you're interested in finding out more about Wagging Tails either as an option to board your dog or if you'd like to find out more about becoming a carer, just follow the link HERE.

In the meantime, a big THANK YOU to Lisa for speaking with us. We think Wagging Tails sounds fantastic!

Social Media Tips For Rescue / Rehoming Centre

Over the past few years, businesses of all types and sizes have recognised the ability of social media to allow them to connect directly with their customers.

Whether you are a restaurant, an online retailer or a plumber it is highly likely that you utilise at least one of the major social media platforms to promote your business.

 

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We discovered recently when running a national competition promoting canine rescue charities, the animal welfare sector has been comparatively slow to grasp the benefits and power of social media.

In seeking support for the competition, we were amazed by the number of organisations that had either invalid email addresses or no social media presence at all.

Given that the ability of rescue organisations to rehome abandoned dogs is reliant on the extent to which people can see the dogs who need homes, they are missing one enormous trick by not fully embracing social media as an awareness raising tool.

Social media is an effective and can be a cheap strategy for charities and rescue organisations to raise awareness and funds, and to connect with supporters.

By following a few simple rules and being persistent and patient, social media can help rescue organisations find forever homes for many more dogs. The tips below are all proven to work – they work for us and our friends at Woof Woof Network and they can work for you too.

If we had to offer one piece of advice ourselves about effective use of social media it is to remember the social component. You are not operating in a vacuum, so do not forget to comment on, share, like and favourite other people’s social media posts. The more you interact with others, the more you will grow your audience.

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Here are Katie Tovey-Grindlay of Woof Woof Network’s tips for getting started on social media:

Facebook and Twitter are both really good platforms to get started on for your canine rescue charity. Both are easy to set up, get started on and free to use.

Facebook and Twitter both have help pages to help you get your account set up. Twitter help also explains some of the jargon used. It may sound a little scary to start with but once you get started you will see there isn’t anything to it.

 

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Below I have listed ten tips to help you

1. On social media (and on your website) ensure that you use good quality photos of the dogs. Photos should not be blurred and have good lighting. Photos need to be clear on which dog needs to be rehomed. The easiest way around this is to only have one dog in the photos unless of course they are dogs that need to be rehomed together.

2. Set up an email account that is purely for rehoming inquiries and ensure that it is checked on a daily basis.

3. Use your Facebook header as an advert for dogs that are in need of rehoming urgently

4. When writing posts for dogs who need rehoming or fostering, let people know how they can contact you to get more information and details e.g Do you want them to email you or send a message to your Facebook or Twitter account?

5. Ideally you should be posting on the Facebook page at least once a day and tweet several times a day. You don’t always have to post about dogs who need homes, you can let people know how they can help the charity, if you have any events coming up etc.

6. Add a FAQ to the notes on your Facebook Page so that you aren’t spending lots of time answering the same questions over and over again.

7. Once someone has rehomed one of your dogs, you could ask them to join a Facebook Group. Facebook groups are really easy to set up and manage and its a great way to give people support, keep in touch, ask questions and you can let them know the charities news and up coming events/fundraisers.

8. Use hash tags on Twitter for the area where the dog is currently based, the breed of the dog you are trying to rehome as well as #adopt or #rehome. Ideally you should use no more than three hashtags in you tweet.

9. Have a pinned tweet to your twitter account for people who are interesting in adopting or fostering one of your dogs. Include a link to your website where they can find adoption forms, foster forms and look at FAQ

10. Join in Twitter chat hours such as #woofwoofwednesday to promote your charity to pet owners, pet lovers and pet businesses.

 

woofwoofwednesday

Responsible Dog Ownership

With the number of dogs abandoned in the UK on the increase, Wagging Tails' Hilary Coates questions whether more people should ask themselves 'am I the right person to own a dog?' before making the decision to get a dog.

After seeing the very sad post on our main Facebook page about the number of dogs abandoned after Christmas actually being on the increase (shared from Dogs Trust), I started to wonder why this frustrating practice is still a problem.

There are many articles entitled ‘Which is the right dog for you’, but maybe there should be more entitled ‘Are you the right person to own a dog’?

Why do some people still seem to think that a dog is something to ‘try out’ and the discard once they realise the responsibility?

It’s actually not a difficult task to list all the pros and cons of getting a dog, but you have to know yourself well enough to decide whether there are enough pros to cons for you and not to be pressured by anyone else.

I went through this process before Bandit came into our lives and I hope that by sharing some of the thought processes I went through, it will help at least one person to properly evaluate their suitability as a dog owner and not to rush out and buy the first puppy they set eyes on.

First of all, I realised that no matter how much my two children, aged 9 and 12 at the time, promised they would help out, I was going to be the main trainer, walker, companion and poop scooper to our dog! Was I ready for twice daily walks, giving the time to train a dog and becoming the main focus in the family for that dog?

Secondly, for us it would be an end to spontaneity in terms of days out (no local family or friends we could ask to care for a dog for a long day or weekend); limiting the trips to see family (the garden was not dog friendly) and having to think about a place for the dog when we went away on holiday.

Third was the cost – not only buying a puppy from a reputable breeder, but all the paraphernalia that comes with a dog; vet fees and regular treatments like vaccinations, worming and anti-flea; kennel fees and then the food bill!

For the first set of questions, I knew that I would be capable of dealing with the responsibility, but would undoubtedly have ‘off days’ where I might regret the choice – actually I can only remember one day when Bandit was about 4 months old when I thought ‘what have I got myself into, there’s another 14 years or so of this’, the rest of the time I have been at peace with my choice and all that comes with it, the good times far outweigh the bad. Having the wonderful Lydiard Park on my doorstep gave me the perfect place to walk Bandit every morning, learning exactly where he likes to disappear to!

For the second load of questions, I made sure that the children fully understood that there wouldn’t be any more waking up and saying ‘let’s go to the Wildlife Park today’. As we had been very lucky to live in a few different countries and been to visit a lot of such places, they decided they would be happy to sacrifice and experience the joys of owning a dog. The family visits would now switch from us doing the visiting to the opposite…….the lure of a puppy would be irresistible for the nephews! I was also lucky enough to have a kennels with a great reputation in the next village (the subsequent change of ownership of that kennel lead me to set up Wagging Tails SN, but that’s another story and at first it was a place Bandit enjoyed going to stay).

As for the cost, I researched lots – breeders and cost of puppies; training classes and costs; costs of crates & dog beds; vet fees; an insurance plan; food and kennel charges.

After all that, I knew that the dream of owning a dog could become a reality…which is when the real fun began, looking for our ideal dog!

Further research into breeds and their characteristics led us to a Beagle, being fully aware that they are stubborn, strong-willed, food orientated and difficult to train, as well as being good with children, having few known health issues and being real characters. I have made mistakes along the way, I think that’s natural, but it’s been a journey of great joy and I don’t regret it…..Bandit seems happy enough with life too!

So please, anyone thinking of getting a dog, do the right thing by that dog, ask yourself some difficult questions and give honest answers – it’s the only way to be truly happy as a dog owner.

Hilary Coates and Bandit own and run the Wagging Tails Swindon franchise offering owners throughout the SN postcode area a home based alternative to kennels.

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Go here to find out more about her Swindon dog boarding service.

 

If you are or have been a dog owner, or owned by a dog as it sometimes feels, you will know how much a dog brings into your life – love, humour, exercise, friendship, dirt and fur… But in addition to all these, dogs also work hard to keep us safe, mobile and even alive. There are many situations where dogs are employed – I don’t like the term ‘used’ - to assist with the activities of people. I am thinking beyond sheep dogs and gun dogs to those that contribute the everyday acts of living. Collectively known as Service or Assistance Dogs, it is not overstating it to say that these animals make a huge contribution to human society.

If asked to list what activities service dogs contribute to, most of us would probably identify police, military, search and rescue, and guidance and assistance for visually and audio impaired individuals. But there is so much more that service dogs are involved with including medical alerts, emotional support and fire investigation.

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Dogs provide us with a huge diversity of services through attributes such as empathy, loyalty, bravery, audio and olfactory sensitivity, agility and endurance. Dogs want to, and are made to be with people and they like to please and feel needed – a bit like the rest of us, really. This makes them ideal for assistance roles like those fulfilled by hearing and guide dogs. It also explains why they are excellent emotional support for those dealing with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism and similar.

Medical alert dogs ‘smell’ when something is not right, sensing low blood sugar levels in diabetes sufferers or when the person they care for is at risk of having an epileptic seizure. This is particularly useful for children, who are less able to manage their condition, especially at school. This sensitivity to changes in our body chemistry is being used see if dogs can be trained to detect cancers and practical trialling is underway within NHS breast cancer clinics.  Research is also underway to determine if dogs can detect prostate cancer, the 2nd most common cause of cancer death in the UK. The detection of the odour from volatile molecules given off by cancers, undetectable by people, especially in the early stages of a cancer’s development has the potential to allow much earlier detection, and hence medical intervention.

Dogs’ noses are well known for their detection of drugs, explosives and firearms, but probably the most unexpected detection service that police dogs perform is finding computer hard drives and other storage devices hidden separately from a suspect’s computer. Child protection and anti-terror activities benefit from this capability.

Search and rescue is a long established activity employing dogs in mountain environments and the UK often sends dog teams to disaster zones overseas, but there are also a large number of volunteer Lowland and Urban search and rescue units that work closely with the police and social services to find vulnerable and missing individuals. Another lesser known group are Fire Investigation dogs who are trained to identify a variety of ignitable substances to determine whether a fire has been started deliberately. Their keen sense of smell is more accurate and faster than technical alternatives, reducing the time required to investigate the scene of a fire. If nothing is found, investigation can focus on other source of ignition.

Dogs regularly make the ultimate sacrifice too. In the USA, six police dogs have died in the line of duty in 2016 already. In 2015, a total of 26 K9 officers as they are known, as were killed, mostly by gunfire. Thankfully the death of police dogs is rare in the UK, but the death of dogs serving with UK Armed Forces in roles of arms and bomb detection is not uncommon and there can be few who are not aware of the French police dog killed during recent events in Paris.

Such is the diversity of roles, pretty much any dog with the right temperament can be a service dog. A great new initiative that is spreading is to take dogs from rescue centres to train for a number of different service roles. Let’s hope this becomes routine and widespread.

The great majority of personal service dogs are made available via charities that select, sometimes breed, and educate dogs for specific roles. For some conditions and situations, the training must be tailored to the individual with which the dog is to be partners, which adds to the time and difficulty of preparing a dog to work with someone. There is a perpetual shortage of trained dogs and some businesses have been established to provide dogs to those able to pay. This is not jumping the queue, but allows those with less acute needs to access this type of support and helps take pressure off the charities providing dogs.

Beyond ‘official’ service dog roles, dogs provide support in a great many ways. Pets as Therapy (PATS), organise visits by calm, friendly family pet dogs and cats to care homes, hospitals, hospices, schools and prisons to allow residents to stroke and enjoy the presence of a friendly animal. In the USA, rescue dogs are helping the rehabilitation of prisoners as they need to care for and train the dogs in a complete way. A similar initiative has been running at Polmont Young Offenders Institute near Falkirk since 2011. The dogs visit the institute three times a week to receive socialisation and training from inmates, who themselves receive formal training and qualifications at the same time.

Rights of access is a big issue for those who depend on their canine partner for assistance. The Equality Act 2010 provides for people with disabilities to have the same right to services supplied by shops, banks, hotels, libraries, pubs, taxis and restaurants as everyone else. However, not all assistance dogs are formally recognised by overseeing bodies such as Assistance Dogs International and many conditions which benefit from canine assistance fall outside the Act. An assistance dog should be wearing a jacket to identify them as such and Assistance Dogs UK provide ‘IDs’ for bona fide assistance dogs. If you own premises that are open to the public, please make sure you allow assistance dogs in.

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W:  www.bigdogbedcompany.co.uk  • E: info@bigdogbedcompany.co.uk • T: 01491 641788

Are you looking for something special to adopt as a New Year Resolution? One that you will be able to stick with?

 

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How about helping your local dog rescue?

They are more than likely to welcome you with open arms, and will be grateful for any support you can give. There are many ways that you can support dog or animal rescue centres. It is not just a matter of giving money, though that, of course, is very welcome. Often time is just as important a commodity.

We tend to think of rescues, or shelters are they are called in North America, as coming in one form – the ‘pound’ where dogs are kept in kennels with runs and there is lots of noisy barking. While there are many of these – and the barking is generally only where there is something interesting going on like a visitor, or dinner time – there are also what might be termed ‘virtual’ rescues where the dogs are in foster homes.

This is particularly the case with the breed specific rescues, who like to foster dogs with homes experienced in the breed. Fostering is also cost effective as the rescue is not paying for buildings and infrastructure. 

The a further advantage of fostering is it keeps dogs in home environments so their transition into a new home is as smooth and stress free as possible, increasing the likelihood of successful adoption. It also helps the rescue assess the behaviour of the dog more closely so it can be placed with the right forever home. Often, fosterers spend quite a bit of time doing ‘remedial’ or top up training.

 

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The demand for foster homes is extremely high, so whether or not you are experienced with a particular breed, you could make a significant difference if you could offer this type of help.

Walking a dog kept in rescue kennels is a good alternative if fostering is too much of a commitment, you work long hours or your own dog(s) would not cope with having a ‘stranger’ come into their midst. It allows you to give some quality time to dogs who otherwise may have very limited one on one contact with anyone for many months. Boredom and lack of good quality stimulation is a real problem for dogs who end up in rescue long term, and it can make it difficult for them to readjust to home life. Walking, going in to play with them or doing some top up training is a great way to help a dog stay ‘positive’ and ready for a new home.

Home vetting is another time consuming activity that can keep a dog in rescue longer than necessary because of a shortage of volunteers. Many rescues check that a family who would like to give a dog a forever home is ready for the change it will make to home life by making a home visit. It is similar to checking that a home is toddler safe. More often than not, it involves advising on things that may have to be altered, if only initially, so that dog and people stay accident and incident free. It does require a bit of knowledge, but advice or if you prefer, training is usually given to prospective home checkers.

If time is what you don’t have, then financial support is always needed. Regular giving can be done by sponsoring a particular dog. The amount typically requested is £5-10 a month. Because the sponsored dog will hopefully be rehomed, it is a commitment that is not endless and you can have the pleasure of seeing your ‘sponsoree’ going to a new home. You can then decide to transfer the sponsorship to another dog or discontinue, depending on what you feel you can manage.

 

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Fund raising events are a regular thing for rescue charities – auctions, raffles, dog shows to name a few. When a dog has high vet bills, there are one-off fundraising events to pay specific bills. You can contribute items to these or perhaps encourage your place of work or business to provide regular financial support to a local rescue.

You don’t have to be hands on with the dogs to help a rescue or even live locally to a rescue that you would like to support. If you are computer competent, then you could help run the online shop or keep the website up-to-date.

Everyone needs to be using social media to stay visible these days, so running the rescue’s Facebook or Pinterest page is another way to offer your support. A great many rescue charities are run by a tiny small number of dedicated individuals. Why not make it your resolution for 2016 to contact an animal rescue to find out how you can to help.

 

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W: www.bigdogbedcompany.co.uk

E: info@bigdogbedcompany.co.uk

Most of us know the Dogs Trust famous quote “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas”. Absolutely correct, but frequently not adhered to. The internet, and in particular Facebook, has allowed a huge number of “rescues” to set up and peddle dogs.

A good rescue is not an easy place to get a dog from, you should expect to be quizzed and be told which dog or dogs suits you. If they act like a shop, allowing you to choose whichever dog you want, walk away.

 

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Rescue is a sadly necessary and rewarding thing to do. I run a specialist rescue for retired Police dogs.

Facebook makes it easy for the bad rescues to hide their mess. On a daily basis there are dogs rehomed who aren’t neutered or vaccinated, not assessed or trained and often passed around endlessly as each home fails the dog, as does the rescue. As these people simply glory seek on social media as they “save” dog after dog, they don’t care who takes the dogs. This has also meant that people turned away by decent rescues get dogs they shouldn’t have.

You need to adopt a dog that has been assessed, neutered, vaccinated and chipped. Otherwise where are their funds going? There should be a proper written contract, signed on the adoption day. You are taking in a dog to be part of your family, to live an intimate life with you all. This has to be a decision made carefully so that you and the dog are safe.

Rescues don’t put barriers up just to annoy you, their job is to rehome safely. Many won’t home where there are young children or full time workers. Some will consider these situations, depending on the dog.

You need back up in case things don’t go well. I see a lot of dogs brought in from abroad, abandoned by the “rescue” and the adopter when it went wrong. I see more sent out by people helping pound dogs that seem to go wrong daily.

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Make the best decision and give your time and money to rescues doing the job properly.

This is what you should ask before adopting:

• Are dogs assessed and by whom

• Are dogs neutered, vaccinated, chipped and insured before I adopt

• What happens if it goes wrong and the dog doesn’t fit in

• Do you have a trainer/behaviourist on staff I can talk to before and after the adoption

• Will you do a home check before adoption

• What does the adoption contract look like

• What procedures are in place should there be an emergency and the dog needs to move straight away

• What advice do you have for the first couple of weeks settling in

Remember, your family need you to make the best decision. Don’t let your heart rule your head and regret it later. Adopting a dog and watching it flourish and become a family member is such a rewarding experience. Research first, ask the right questions and you will end up with the dog you all deserve.

 

Debbie Connolly 1

 

Debbie Connolly is a straight talking North Easterner with over 30 years experience in animal behaviour. She is a member of the Pet Professional Guild of force free trainers, behaviour adviser to Pet Education Trust and Bengal Cat Helpline and runs the only UK rescue specialising in retired Police dogs, Bravo Working Dog Rescue.

Her first book "Better Dog Behaviour" is a funny, honest and helpful view of both owners and dogs and will soon be followed by "Better Cat Behaviour".

She has many media credits in TV, radio and print and is known for her forthright approach.

Debbie Connolly

T: 0208 1445799 (South East) 0115 8883334 (Midlands)

Twitter @Debbie_Connolly

Twitter @bravodogrescue

www.safepets.co.uk

http://www.bravodogrescue.org.uk

www.parentpetclub.com

Training & Behaviour Adviser to The Pet Education Trust and Bengal Cat Helpline

 

 PP Guild

Research before you buy

Pet insurance policies cover different treatments, with different time limits, different financial limits and different exclusions.  It is essential that you research the pet insurance market before you choose a policy. 

It is one of the most complained about insurance products but many of the problems arise because many pet owners do not understand the limitations of the policy they have bought! 

Most cheap policies offer very limited cover so do your research first and find the policy which provides the cover you need! 

Buy a Lifetime Policy if you can afford it 

Many pet insurance policies will only pay for the first 12 months of treatment for each condition, or up to a set amount for each condition.   The danger with these policies is that it is all too easy to run out of time or cover limit and then you are left paying for any further treatment your pet needs for that condition for the rest of their life. 

Lifetime policies reinstate the financial limits each year when you renew the policy which means that they will go on paying vet fees (subject to the cover limit) so long as you go on renewing. 

Treat Pet Insurance as a Major Long-Term Investment 

Pet insurance can cost thousands over the lifetime of your pet.   And if your pet develops a long-term illness or chronic condition you may find you have little option but to stay with your current pet insurance company.   So always buy a policy assuming you may need to keep the same policy for rest of your pet’s life.  

In order to do this you should check the insurer’s reputation for paying out claims,   their reputation for premium increases and the background of their underwriter. 

Claims Reputation 

There are several ways of checking what sort of a reputation an insurer has for paying claims:  

        - Ask your friends, in pet-related Facebook groups, or internet forums. 

        - Check out online review sites  

- Ask your vet which insurance companies they are happy to deal directly with.   

Most vets only deal directly with the companies that they have a good reputation for paying claims promptly.   If a vet won’t deal directly with a particular company, not only might they have a poor reputation, but you will have to find potentially thousands of pounds to pay your vet before you can claim the money back. 

Renewal Premium Hikes 

Also check what sort of reputation the insurer has for renewal premium increases.  Some companies increase your premium after you make a claim, but some don’t.   Some also have a reputation for increasing premiums to unaffordable levels.   So if your pet develops a long-term condition you could find yourself with a choice of paying what seems to be exorbitant premiums or doing without insurance and paying the vet bills for ongoing illnesses yourself.  Do your research and choose wisely. 

Underwriters 

Finally do check out the background of the underwriter.  Who are they?  Where are they based? Are they regulated by UK authorities?     

Choosing the right pet insurance policy for your pets is a time-consuming basis but it is well worth the effort to know that your pet has the best cover available. You never know when you might need it! 

This article was written by Sally Hayward fromThe Pet Insurance Guide.   Sally is a pet owner who is passionate about making sure that all UK pet owners are able to choose the best policy for their pets.   The Pet Insurance Guide, which was recently featured on the BBC1 consumer programme, Rip Off Britain, provides independent and unbiased information about popular pet insurance policies including policy verdicts, reviews and small print analysis.  

sallybio

Sally Hayward

The Pet Insurance Guide 2015
www.pet-insurance-guide.co.uk
https://twitter.com/PetInsuranceGde
https://www.facebook.com/petinsuranceguideUK