Sunday 24 August 2008

Olympics for pets

While athletes in China were competing for medals in the Beijing Olympic games, 400 pets took part in the first ever 'Olympets' organised by a pet shop in Hong Kong.
Organiser Howard Cheung, who runs the city-centre PetMAX store, said he was inspired by the Beijing Games, but also wanted to help owners keep their animals healthy.
From rabbit hurdles and parrot rope-climbing to cat agility contests, the Hong Kong pet shop has organised 10 weeks' worth of events to try to promote sport for animals
"Pets need to exercise and they don't have much space in Hong Kong. So we are trying to promote exercise and stimulate owners to exercise their pets," he said.
Most of Hong Kong's 7 million people live in tiny cramped apartments and dogs are banned from many city parks.
Nevertheless, pets have become a must-have accessory and are treated accordingly - grooming parlours abound, and the city even has a bakery dedicated to making cakes for animals.
Mr Cheung said the so-called 'Olympets' had proved popular, with 400 animals taking part in the heats held so far.
An awards presentation will be held at the end of August, using pet-sized medals the store has had specially made for the event.
But Mr Cheung admitted the prospect of winning gold was not always enough to inspire the animals.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Companionship (part 2)

"There came another and more diffident rap at the door. 'Come in ' he called wearily. It opened and a dispirited-looking sausage-dog waddled into the room followed by Angela Errol who said, in a tone of strident heartiness not untouched by a sort of aggressive archness, 'Forgive the intrusion, but I came on behalf of the Chancery wives. We thought you seemed rather lonely so we decided to put our heads together. Fluke is the result.' Dog and man looked at each other in a dazed ans distrustful silence for a moment. Mountolive struggled for words. He had always loathed sausage-dogs with legs so short that they appeared to flop along like toads rather than walk. Fluke was such an animal, already panting and slavering from its exertions. It sat down at last and, as if to express once and for all its disenchantement with the whole sum of canine existence, delivered itself of a retromingent puddle on the beautiful Shiraz. 'Isn't he jolly?' cried the wife of the Head of Chancery. It cost Mountolive something of an effort to smile, to appear to be overcome with pleasure, to express the appropriate thanks due to a gesture so thoughtful. He was wild with vexation. "

Monday 18 August 2008


“I shall soon have to change my life radically” he thought “or it will become completely empty. How best should that be done?” Somewhere in the link of cause and effect he detected a hollow space which crystallized in his mind about the word “companionship”. He repeated it aloud to himself in the mirror. Yes, there was where a lack lay. “I shall have to get myself a dog” he thought, somewhat pathetically “to keep me company. It will be something to look after. I can take it for walks by the Nile.” Then a sense of absurdity beset him and he smiled. Nevertheless, in the course of his customary tour of the Embassy offices that morning, he stuck his head into the Chancery and asked Errol very seriously what sort of dog would make a good house pet. They had a long and pleasurable discussion of the various breeds and decided that some sort of terrier might be the most suitable pet for a bachelor. A fox-terrier! He repeated the words as he crossed the landing to visit the Service attachés, smiling at his own asininity. “What next!”

Extract from Mountolive, book three in The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell.

Friday 15 August 2008

Just in case

This is what the RSPCA has to say about leaving dogs in a car:

-In warm sunny weather cars become ovens, with temperatures soaring to 120°F/49°C or even higher. Because of this, the RSPCA advises that animals are never left inside cars.
-If an animal left in a car is panting for breath it may be starting to suffer from heatstroke, which can kill an animal very quickly.
-Leaving windows open or putting a bowl of water in the car does not help.
-Owners who put an animal at risk by leaving it inside a locked car could face prosecution.
Please help us get this message across this summer. It will save more dogs from suffering and avoid the need for us to prosecute owners.
Dogs can die from heatstroke in a minimum of 20 minutes. If you see a dog left inside a parked car on a warm day, please contact the Police on 999 for assistance. In the event of the police being unable to attend, please contact our 24-hour Cruelty and Advice telephone line 0300 1234 999.

Monday 11 August 2008

Please let me off the lead.

This picture was taken in a field on a cliff walk in North Devon. In the background ( not very visible but click on picture to enlarge ) is a flock of sheep. Belle was straining on the lead and eager to round them up. Even though she is a "city slicker", the herding instinct remains very strong indeed.

Tuesday 5 August 2008

Don't let your dog (s) get stuck in the middle

Almost half of the vast number of divorces each year involve dogs, who are more than just "animals" these days. Couples are struggling to do what is right for their beloved dogs, while making one of life's most difficult decisions. Jennifer Keene’s book We Can't Stay Together for the Dogs answers their plight by leading them in choosing dog-friendly solutions and compromises. By integrating training tips and success stories into the text, this self-help guide shows that a dog-friendly divorce or break-up is not only possible, it is the only way to treat our best friends. As the first book on the subject of dogs and divorce or dogs and break-ups, it features simple step-by-step directions and offers a dog-centric point of view that men and women alike will appreciate.
Written by professional dog trainer and "single-again", Jennifer Keene, We Can't Stay Together for the Dogs makes use of personal stories, expert opinions, checklists and humour to guide couples through divorcing (or breaking up) with dogs without treating them like property and while maintaining the unique human canine bond.