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Through no fault of their own, a sweet pair of Staffordshire Bull Terriers have found themselves back in rescue and have now been waiting over 100 days to find their perfect home, but so far have not had any luck.
“Although they may be slightly more distinguished than before, Roxy and Conkers are still young at heart.”
Nine-year-old Roxy and six-year-old Conkers were adopted separately from the Berkshire centre as young dogs but sadly, have found themselves back at Battersea again after their owners’ circumstances changed.
The mature pair are currently at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in Old Windsor and have now been at the centre for three times the average length of stay for a Battersea dog.
Sean Welland, Rehoming and Welfare Manager at Battersea Old Windsor said, “When Roxy and Conkers came to Battersea as much younger dogs, they had no problems finding a new home. But, now that they’re slightly older, and are looking for a home as a pair, they’re really struggling to find a new family to live with.”
“Although they may be slightly more distinguished than before, Roxy and Conkers are still young at heart. They love nothing more than chasing one and other around the garden or playing with toys and their favourite people.”
“Many people prefer to rehome younger dogs, as they will have them for longer and spend most of their lives with them. But older dogs definitely have their own advantages; this pair have some lovely manners in place already and have years of love to give. They would love for someone to give them a retirement home together.”
As Roxy and Conkers find being in kennels quite stressful, they are currently spending some time in a foster home. Now, they are looking for new owners with experience of bubbly bull breeds.
In May 2017, Winston’s life was turned upside down when a tumour on his spine resulted in the loss of use of his hind legs and toileting habits. But it wasn’t going to hold the Staffordshire Bull Terrier back.
Winston’s owner, Rachel Wettner, looked into wheelchairs for dogs to help them walk again and was lent Winston’s first set of wheels by a likeminded Staffie owner.
Since getting Winston’s own pair of wheels, Rachel has set up Winston’s Wheel fundraiser to help other dogs stay mobile or be able to socialise in strollers.
Winston using wheelchair
Says Rachel, “I started the fundraiser cause as Winston has an inoperable tumour on his spine. We had to buy a wheelchair but couldn’t afford one as it was £484. We found a another owner on Facebook that loaned them out. It was such a help to us and we wanted to do our bit. We currently have 54 wheelchairs out with dogs and also strollers too. We are very busy.”
As soon as funding is reached, a set of wheels is purchased and loaned to a dog for as long as they require it. To date, they have purchased and loaned out 15 strollers and 54 sets of wheels.
As well as weekly raffles on their Facebook page, Rachel will also be running a tombola stall at Sesaw Open Day & Fun Dog Show on 28th July, 12-4pm at Stoke Road, Leavenheath CO6 4PP. Entry is £1 per adult and children go free.
My Yorkie-Chihuahua cross has developed a bit of an attitude when it comes to meeting bigger dogs. I don’t think she has ever been threatened by a bigger dog, but she obviously feels it because as soon as she encounters a dog that is much bigger than her, she’ll go on the offensive and start barking and won’t stop until the other dog is out of sight. Is there a way I can teach her that big dogs don’t pose a threat and she doesn’t need to bark at them?
Kirsten Dillon advises…
Your dog’s barking behaviour is completely normal and something we often see in smaller dogs. It is natural for a smaller animal to have an innate sense of wariness, if not fear, of something larger (their species would be extinct if they didn’t). What this means is that she knows a bigger dog could be a potential threat on a genetic level, not necessarily a learned one, so it’s unlikely to have been anything you have done.
Small dogs often do pre-emptive barking (barking before the dog is even anywhere near them). This is an attempt to warn off the larger dog and gain the much-needed space from it that she desires. And this strategy actually works very well indeed. Either you, or the other owner/dog move away, so she basically thinks that this method is extremely effective and will keep it up. This is why you think she has ‘developed an attitude’, when actually she has learnt that barking madly works!
Firstly, I would suggest you employ some management techniques and walk away from, or around, larger dogs, providing her with all the distance she needs. This method is to interrupt the habit she has fallen into and stop her practising barking (we all get better and better if we practise).
Secondly, you could do some work around larger, friendly dogs with the help of a professional. This would mean meeting another dog at a distance that she could cope with and working slowly from there. It is vital that this kind of desensitisation work is only done with a qualified behaviourist, so take a look at the APBC website (www.apbc.org.uk) for one near you.
I am hopeful you can help her be happier when she’s out and about.
Vet warns dog owners of the risks of adder bites in warmer weather after a family dog was left fighting for his life.
Five-year-old field spaniel, Osker, is believed to have been bitten by an adder while sniffing out sand dunes in North Wales and spent almost two weeks fighting for his life at Willows Veterinary Hospital in Hartford.
“It was a worrying time but all we could think was that he was in the best place possible.”
The venom was so toxic, it caused the skin on Osker’s abdomen to blacken, die and peel off while causing severe damage to his liver, leaving vets extremely concerned.
Veterinary surgeon Mairead Currie, said, “Obviously, these things are very difficult to predict. It’s more about getting the message out there that it is a risk and to follow the necessary advice. Snakes are more common in some places than others, and tall grassland is a particular risk. It’s definitely something to bear in mind if you have a wandering dog.
“The majority of bitten dogs make a full recovery with appropriate treatment. However, Osker was really, really poorly when he came to us and it is only through extensive supportive liver medications, broad spectrum antibiotics and fluid therapy that he came through.
“We’ve not seen a case as severe as this before and we believe Osker had multiple bites. His wounds were reassessed daily and the situation was very dynamic but with adequate pain relief we managed to keep him comfortable.”
Willows Veterinary Hospital, Northwich Osker the spaniel recovering after a suspected snake bite; Pictured is Osker with owner Alison Wallace and Vet Mairead Currie.
Osker’s owners, Alison and Mark Wallace, were on holiday in North Wales when Osker was suspected of being bitten while investigating a recently strimmed area of grassland close to the sand dunes. Although he continued to play and fetch his ball normally, he became lethargic when they returned home and later developed soreness and pain on his left side.
The couple sought veterinary advice on holiday and it was suspected Osker had pulled a muscle but his condition gradually deteriorated and they were forced to return to their home near Delamere Forest early.
“We were told we were not out of the woods, even with his liver enzyme levels started to come down. It really was touch and go.”
“Quite a number of people who are dog owners have no idea this can happen. Of course we don’t want to scare people but if there’s any chance a dog has been bitten you need to know what to do quickly because the symptoms might not show for one to three hours.
“He was on a number of intravenous medicines – I don’t know if he could’ve come through it by himself.We were extremely distressed. It was a worrying time but all we could think was that he was in the best place possible.”
Mairead, who qualified at the University of Edinburgh, said Osker had started to develop bruising around his groin area when he returned home from North Wales. “We took his bloods and his liver enzymes were through the roof,” she explained.
“His tummy had started to swell and ooze where the skin was dying. It is best not to operate multiple times. The dead skin was actually acting as a bandage. We waited until the skin dying process was complete before operating.”
The team then flushed and drained the wound repeatedly. Around a week after he was first admitted, they operated to move some of the healthy skin towards the centre of the wound and promote the healing process.
A secondary operation went ahead where Osker’s skin was brought together with staples to fully close the wounds and he’s now recovering at home. “Osker has been fantastic. Throughout all this he was the bravest trooper,” said Mairead.
“During most of the dressing changes he would just lie there for us. He was so good. “Everyone has absolutely fallen in love with him. He’s such a little character.”
Alison added, “We’re just so grateful to everybody. They were so good at communicating with us and everyone was so friendly and lovely. They made a difficult time bearable.
“We’re just trying to keep him calm at the moment which is tricky as he does love to chase Mabel, our cat. She was so pleased to see him when he came back. She kept sleeping in his bed while he was away. He’s back pottering around the garden and going out for little walks. He’s seems much better.”
Pictured is Osker with his owner Alison Wallace, Veterinary Surgeon Louise Parker and Vet Mairead Currie.
The adder is the only venomous snake native to the UK and will only attack if threatened. They prefer woodland, heathland and moorland habitats as well as coastal and grassland areas.
Snake bites in dogs are uncommon in the UK but they can occur, particularly in spring and summer and interestingly between 3pm and 4pm in the afternoon when the adders are most active.
You can identify an adder as a greyish snake, with a dark and very distinct zig-zag pattern down its back, and a red eye. Males tend to be more silvery-grey in colour, while females are more light or reddish-brown.
“What made it difficult for Osker was that he only presented with a very non-specific pain down one side,” said Mairead.
“The message is, if you notice anything unusual, take them to a vet immediately. It’s better to err on the side of caution. We are all very hopeful Osker will continue to make a very good recovery. His liver values are almost completely back to normal.”
Animal care manager Gary Taylor said, “Harley is absolutely beautiful – though not necessarily in the most conventional ways. He’s one of the most good-natured and gold-hearted dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
“But life hasn’t been as kind to Harley as he deserved and the state of him when he first entered our care was testament to that.
“When he arrived you could count each one of his vertebrae from the other side of the room. His skin was taut over his exposed ribs and he was, for the most part, bald. His body was blotchy and raw in places. He staggered and stumbled. His eyes were sunken.
“He was at his lowest ebb but he remained strong. And he’s come on so much since.”
Staff have spent three months building up Harley’s strength and teaching him to trust again.
Gary added, “We have seen an amazing turnaround for Harley. Each and every day his fur thickens across his back and his bones are now hidden beneath replenished hair, muscle and heft. There’s still work to be done but his progress so far has been above and beyond all hope and expectation.
“Now the real Harley has been able to shine through. He plays and bounces now. He’s gentle and loving. At other times he’s playful and silly, clever and cuddly. He nuzzles into you and buries his nose into your lap. He loves socialising, being scratched and cuddled.”
According to staff, Harley loves being with people and also gets on well with other calm dogs. He walks well on the lead, is house-trained and knows lots of basic commands like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’.
He loves toys and treats but can be a bit greedy and often scrounges for snacks. He’s looking for a home with children aged over 10 and could live with another dog but would be best with a family with no other pets like cats or small furries as he likes to chase!
“Harley is such a unique, amazing boy and desperately deserves a loving home,” Gary added.
“You will never regret allowing Harley into your life. It would be all the richer for it.”
For more information on Harley please visit his online profile or call the branch on 01246 273358 (phone lines open between 10am – 4.30pm, Tuesday through Sunday).
Military working dogs and their handlers have demonstrated their unique bond during the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment (Royal Army Veterinary Corps) (1 MWD Regt) Commander’s Canine Challenge.
The arduous 12km cross-country course included eight military stands that tested the fitness, training, skills and endurance of both the dog handlers and the military working dogs.
JIAG 2019 MWD CO-Annual Biathalon
Victory went to Team 105A from 105 Military Working Dog Squadron (MWD Sqn) and individual prizes were awarded to Corporal Hewitt from 105 MWD Sqn for Best Team Commander, Private Emma Gooden and Military Working Dog Tess from 102 MWD Sqn for Best Protection Team and Private Bobbi Norman and Military Working Dog Bod from 104 MWD Sqn for Best Search Team.
JIAG 2019 MWD CO-Annual Biathalon
Private Bobbi Norman said, “It didn’t feel like work; it’s been a really good day. We’ve had to take plenty of water breaks for both ourselves and our dogs because of the heat, but it’s great to be outside spending all day with our dogs.”
The course included obstacles where dog and handler had to crawl under netting, negotiate tunnels and climb low walls. Handlers had to also carry their dog 100-metres between obstacles. The Agility Stand saw soldiers pushing the dogs in wheel barrows, testing the handler’s originality of thought and the dog’s obedience.
JIAG 2019 MWD CO-Annual Biathalon
The Obedience Stand featured tennis balls on poles and bowls of sausages laid out to act as distractors, whilst the search and protection stands allowed the teams to demonstrate their prowess within specific areas.
The teams also found themselves giving emergency first aid and evacuating one of the dogs at the Pre-Veterinary Emergency Care stand. The dogs receiving the treatment were life-sized, life-like manikins which provide realistic training for veterinary techniques that may be needed in the field.
JIAG 2019 MWD CO-Annual Biathalon
Private Ben Last who competed with MWD Charlie said, “It’s been good to get competitive. We all wanted to do well, and Charlie has been great. He’s a little cheeky at times but great at his job.”
JIAG 2019 MWD CO-Annual Biathalon
Event Organiser Major Jo Gillies from 1 MWD Regt added, “The competition has brought the Regiment together whilst testing important military skills. The climbing, lifting, jumping, shooting and the endurance that have all been tested in this competition are essential skills that the military working dog handlers and their working dogs have to have for their jobs. This is simply testing those skills in a fun environment.”
We are going to be collecting our new Cavapoo puppy in a couple of weeks time. We are really excited and are busy making sure we are prepared for her arrival and that we have everything we need. We are thinking of getting a crate or puppy pen, but are unsure which is best.
She is currently in a puppy pen at the breeder’s and is used to a crate. Which should we get or should we opt for both?
Sue Williams advises…
It is excellent that the breeder has got her used to a crate and puppy pen, as it will save you a lot of time getting her acclimatized to them. I personally like to use both so if you have the room, opt for the two.
Although both do the same thing – restrict a puppy’s access to places – they are useful for slightly different things.
Crates act as a dog’s bed area: they are for resting and sleeping. They are really useful in helping to toilet train your puppy. Most pups won’t go to the toilet in their sleeping area so, as long as you take them out regularly, it helps them learn to be clean – particularly at key times, such as overnight.
Puppy pens allow more freedom: there is space for a puppy to move around and play yet still be safe. I would use the pen for times when you are around but can’t keep a close eye on her.
The competition, open to all BVA members, is calling for entries in two categories. ‘All creatures great and small’ is open to images across the animal kingdom – whether it’s wildlife, livestock or pets – taking inside or outside of the workplace. Meanwhile, in the ‘One Veterinary Community – #WeAreBVA’ category the judging panel will be seeking snaps that show veterinary working life through a lens and celebrate the diversity of BVA’s membership.
Last year saw over 500 entries hoping to catch the judges’ eyes. Stephen Ashman won in the ‘All creatures great and small’ category with a picture of a pair of wild ponies, while Peter Myatt won in the ‘Human:animal bond’ category with a photo entitled ‘Best part of the job’, which shows a laid-back 10-week-old cocker spaniel puppy lounging contentedly on Peter’s lap.
HR winner Best part of the job
This year, the winner in each category will receive a £250 John Lewis gift voucher and get the chance to have their photographs displayed at BVA Members’ Day in September, at other BVA events and used in BVA communications.
Simon Doherty, BVA President, said, “The annual photography competition is a real calendar highlight and an incredible showcase for the diverse, valuable and often eye-catching work being carried out across the veterinary community. Every year since the competition launched we’ve been really impressed by the quality and range of entries and I’m really looking forward to seeing our talented members keeping standards just as high this year. Whether you’re a serious snapper or a casual clicker, we really want to see how you catch on camera the animal kingdom and what being a BVA member means to you.”
All submissions should promote responsible animal interaction as well as positive animal health and welfare. The deadline for entries is midnight on 1 September 2019. To submit an entry, visit the website.
Saving dogs in need are often the inspiring stories many rescue centres share with us to highlight what can be achieved in animal rescue.
But to highlight the sadder side of rescue, Mayhew Animal Home has decided to honour the memory of a dog euthanised last month and show the difficult decisions the team are faced with on a daily basis.
Eight-year-old coco, a long-haired Chihuahua, was sadly put to sleep following a tragic car accident. Not every animal that comes through the Mayhew’s doors can be saved – but the charity wishes to highlight that every animal is treated with dignity and respect regardless of the circumstances around their admittance.
Coco arrived at the centre last month after she was hit by a car and left badly injured. Coco was clearly in pain and distress so she was immediately taken to the Mayhew’s Community Vet clinic for investigation. A radiograph revealed Coco had broken her pelvis and reconstructive surgery was scheduled but whilst on cage rest, vets also noticed that Coco hadn’t passed any urine or faeces since the accident.
This indicated that Coco had also suffered severe nerve damage which was irreversible and together with the risks of major surgery, her prognosis was extremely poor. Vets made the difficult decision to end her suffering and put Coco to sleep. She was provided with a safe and comfortable space to spend her final hours.
Although not every animal the charity sees has a happy ending, the charity says it won’t stop trying to help those in need and says if you are having trouble looking after your pet, or you suspect that something is wrong with an animal, please call their Animal Welfare Officers on 020 8962 8000 for free, non-judgemental advice and assistance.
Every year Dogs Trust finds forever homes for around 15,000 dogs, and are always thrilled to find out how they are getting on in the homes they deserve. To encourage more potential owners to adopt not shop, Dogs Trust have launched a series of mini-films celebrating second chances.
Over the course of a year new owners who have chosen to give a rescue dog a forever home were asked by the rehoming centre team to catch their favourite moments on camera to show the lifelong bond they now share – with joyful results.
Dasher with his forever family
One film shows Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dasher, who headed home at the grand old age of 13 with Steve and Gillian Adlam after being found as a stray just before Christmas in 2017. Sadly, Dasher passed away a year after being adopted but the last months of his life were filled with the love and good times he deserved, as the mini-film shows.
Crossbreed King was born at Dogs Trust Leeds just before Christmas 2017 after his heavily pregnant mum had been found as a stray just a few days earlier. Having spent the festive season being looked after at the rehoming centre, Mark Riddell and Colette Cox from Leeds fell in love with him and gave him his forever home.
King was born at Dogs Trust Leeds just before Christmas 2017 after his mum was found wandering the streets just a few days earlier.
Colette says, “He is the best thing that has ever happened to us. He has got a great cheeky side to him and is a real softie too. He loves getting out and about and having adventures, particularly exploring the woods but when he’s home he loves a cuddle. We think he’s a Great Dane Cross, so he is big but that doesn’t stop him sitting on your knee! He is fantastic and we’d encourage anyone to rescue.”
Amanda Sands, Dogs Trust Leeds Manager, says, “We want to say a huge thank you to everyone that has adopted a Dogs Trust dog, and as we approach the busy summer months we also want to encourage people who would like a dog to be part of their family, to do lots of research in advance. That will help give owners the best chance of being able to share many happy years together with their four-legged friend.
Adoption day! Colette Cox and Mark Riddell say King is the best thing that has ever happened to them.
“Our dogs will always be part of the Dogs Trust family so it’s wonderful to see them in their forever homes, living the lives they deserve to live, with owners who adore them. We always do our best to make sure families find a dog that will suit their daily lives, so if you have a Buckley, Dasher or King shaped hole in your life, we hope you choose to give a rescue dog a second chance at happiness.”
Watch more of the heartwarming mini-films here: www.dogstrust.org.uk/mydogisforlife Dogs Trust is encouraging dog lovers and owners to use the hashtag #MyDogIsForLife to share their rescue dog stories, tagging @dogstrust To find out more about all of the dogs waiting for their forever homes at Dogs Trust, visit our rehoming pages.