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    June 14th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Uncategorized

    Retired vet Graham Duncanson is celebrating 50 years in the profession by cycling over 8,000km from the UK to South Africa to raise money for the British Veterinary Association’s charity, the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF).

    Graham, 72, who worked at Westover Veterinary Centre in Norfolk for 40 years, set off on his bike from his home in Crostwick last week (4 June). Graham, who is a trustee of AWF, aims to complete his journey in two years, following a route that will take him through Western Europe and into Greece before flying to Ethiopia and cycling through Kenya, where Graham spent eight years as a government veterinary officer in his early career. He will then follow the Indian Ocean down the African continent’s east coast to Cape Town.

    Graham is raising money for AWF, a charity set up by a group of vets just over 30 years ago to improve the welfare of animals. Today the charity funds research, supports veterinary education, provides pet care advice and encourages veterinary and public debate on animal welfare issues.

    Graham said:

    “I’m no stranger to life on the road – my first job on qualifying was as a field vet in Kenya which I did for eight years. This will be a real adventure though as I am definitely not an accomplished cyclist, however I look forward to the challenge and to raising money for AWF. The route may change slightly as the trip goes along, but that’s down more to government travel advice than my decision – for example, although not currently on my route, I would still like to cycle through Egypt to give a lecture or two, however we’ll need to see what’s possible.”

    Graham cycled via London to join the annual AWF Discussion Forum in Westminster, attended by other vets, parliamentarians and key stakeholders from the sector, before continuing his cycle to the English south coast with TV vet Emma Milne. Along the way Graham will also be working with equine charitable organisations including the Brooke, SPANA and World Horse Welfare, giving equine welfare and dentistry talks, as well as occasionally returning to the UK to lecture and attend AWF Trustee meetings.

    If you would like to sponsor Graham and donate to AWF, or simply find out more about his trip through his regular blog posts, please visit vetduncdares.wordpress.com.

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    June 14th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Uncategorized

    British actress and singer Samantha Barks, best known for the role of Éponine in Les Misérables is joining Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in appealing for more foster carers to help offer a temporary home to the charity’s most vulnerable dogs.

    The actress is a frequent visitor to the world-famous charity and has fostered Battersea dogs in need of a little TLC and time away from kennels.

    With a busy schedule of auditioning for roles, recording her own music and playing live shows, Samantha was hesitant to commit to the rehoming of a Battersea dog. However as a dog lover all her life, she wanted to do what she can for lost, abandoned and unwanted dogs and soon found out about temporary foster caring at Battersea.

    Samantha says:

    “I love being able to make a difference to dogs that find kennel life too stressful at Battersea, giving them time in a normal home environment before their new owner arrives. If you can’t commit to owning a dog, fostering is ideal”.

    Samantha now regularly fosters Battersea dogs to give them a break from kennel life and some love and attention in a home environment, from a few nights, to a few weeks. The actress is urging others to get involved, and promises the experience is just as rewarding for you as it is for the dog.

    “The most rewarding thing about fostering is seeing how even the smallest amount of love and attention can transform a dog’s behaviour, making them happier and more sociable”.

    Battersea relies on dog foster carers to help its dogs that are too anxious to cope with the kennel environment or are recovering from medical conditions. In 2015 volunteer foster carers helped care for 597 dogs, but the charity is always in need of more temporary homes for its animals.

    This year Battersea’s Volunteering and Fostering programme will be expanding thanks to an incredible award of £200,000 from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This generous support will help the Home to recruit additional volunteers to support every element of the Home’s activity, and new foster carers who will open up their own homes for Battersea’s dogs and cats waiting patiently for their new lives to begin. Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have now awarded an incredible £850,000 to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home since 2014 and the impact of their generosity is felt every day by Battersea staff, volunteers and animals.

    The appeal for more Battersea dog fosters comes during National Volunteering Week, running from 1-12 June which celebrates the immense contribution volunteers are making to charities across the UK.

    Anyone interested in fostering a Battersea dog can visit www.battersea.org.uk/fostering

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    May 12th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Uncategorized

    The Kennel Club has approved amendments to the ‘Guidelines for Owners and Handlers with Dogs Taking Part in Canine Activities’ (excluding breed shows and gundog events). The updated document is available to view on the Kennel Club website.

    These guidelines have been set out in order to ensure that a dog’s welfare takes precedence over all other demands and at all stages during the preparation and training of the dog for, and during, competitive and non-competitive canine activities.

    These guidelines set out the obligations that show and event organisers, clubs, trainers/instructors and owners/handlers have for the welfare of dogs taking part in Kennel Club licensed canine activities.

    The guidelines can be found on the relevant pages for agility, obedience, working trials, Bloodhound trials, heelwork to music and rally, via www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/.

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    March 21st, 2016Laura P (Editor)Uncategorized

    A shocking new survey from Dogs Trust has revealed that over 48% of pet dogs have eaten chocolate intended for humans, and over 5% have become seriously ill from it. Of these, 15% have required urgent veterinary treatment and in extreme cases the dogs sadly died from the effects of chocolate poisoning*.

    To prevent the number of dogs that end up visiting the vet with chocolate poisoning, Dogs Trust is today launching its  “Chocs Away” awareness drive after the survey revealed that 4 in 10 dogs found the chocolate themselves after it was left in easy to find places in the home.

    Sadly, many dog owners are simply unaware of the dangers. Over 10% of dogs who ate human chocolate were given the treat by their owners. Easter is a time when we are all tempted to over-indulge, and we might give in to our dogs pleading for a chocolatey treat too. Dogs Trust is advising dog-owners to make sure their four legged friends steer completely clear of chocolate intended for human consumption and instead have to hand some healthy alternatives, such as carrots.

    Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden, comments:

    “Apart from the risks of obesity and the obvious dangers of eating the foil wrapping, the biggest risk of eating human chocolate is poisoning, resulting in an emergency dash to the vet and sadly even death. Chocolate contains theobromine, which, tolerated by humans, is extremely toxic to man’s best friend. The darker the chocolate, the greater the amount of theobromine. Toxic doses vary according to the size of dog and cocoa solid content of the chocolate.”

    “Dogs Trust estimates that 50g of plain chocolate could be enough to kill a small dog, such as a Yorkshire Terrier*, whilst just 400g could be enough to kill an average size dog, so we urge people to make sure they keep treats well out of the reach of pesky paws and make sure children don’t share their Easter eggs with their furry friends.”

    “So that your canine companion doesn’t feel left out this Easter, we would advise giving them healthy treats such as carrots, cheese or tripe snacks. But, whatever your non-chocolatey treat of choice, just as is the case for us all, moderation is the key to a happy, healthy dog.”

    So, if you are partial to Easter eggs and want to keep your dog safe, follow these simple rules.

    Keep your “Chocs Away” – this means hidden out of sight and unavailable to your dog
    Never feed your dog chocolate intended for humans
    If your egg is missing and you suspect your dog is the culprit, contact your vet straight away
    Look out for any of the following symptoms; vomiting containing blood, a sore tummy, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, rapid heart rate and in severe cases, eplileptic-type fits
    If your dog is displaying any of these signs then take him immediately to your vet
    There is no antidote for theobromine poisoning with treatment being symptomatic. Therefore, the sooner treatment is implemented, the greater the chance of recovery
    If you want to treat your dog this Easter, stick to natural doggy snacks that are kinder to your canine

    Cases of death by an Easter egg alone are relatively unlikely, most reported cases of death by theobromine are from dogs eating cocoa powder and cocoa mulch in the garden, so please be vigilant if your dog is also exposed to these products.

    *Survey conducted in March 2015 with over 7,780 respondents.

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    March 11th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Uncategorized

    Sophie Wildig, aged 14, from Hednesford, Stafford, has won the Young Kennel Club Groomer of the Year award at Crufts on Friday 11th March.

    Sophie and her five year-old Affenpinscher Cedric took first place in the YKC ring at Crufts for the coveted title of YKC Groomer of the Year, as well as winning her category for the over 12 years grooming clip/trim and strip. Qualifiers for the competition took place at Eukanuba Discover Dogs, Dogs for Good day and Scottish Kennel Club events last year.

    To reach the Crufts final, YKC members had to compete in their categories for under and over 12s, for Groom Through and Clip/Trim & Strip classes.

    Proud winner Sophie said: “I can’t believe it! I was over the moon to win my age range but to then win the overall title is fantastic. I came in with absolutely no expectations – I have competed before but not in grooming so I was just excited to take part.

    “I am so proud of Cedric; he was perfectly behaved out there and he looked amazing but there was a lot of really good competition today so I am really shocked.”

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “Congratulations to Sophie for winning Groomer of the Year – the skill and talent she showed was outstanding and we wish them the best of luck for future competitions.”

    For further information about Crufts visit www.crufts.org.uk. If you would like to find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join please contact the YKC team on 020 7518 1030 or visit www.ykc.org.uk.

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    March 3rd, 2016Laura P (Editor)Uncategorized

    The Young Kennel Club (YKC) has announced the winners of its eighth annual YKC Artist of the Year competition, which will be presented at the world’s greatest dog event, Crufts 2016.

    The annual art competition, run by the YKC, received an exceptional number of entries from members whose creativity and talent was inspired by this year’s theme, ‘Your dog at their happiest’.
    The overall and 6-11 years category winner, 9 year-old Jessica Smith from Worksop, won the judge over with her picture of her dogs frolicking in a meadow as the sun sets.

    Speaking about her win, Jessica said: “It felt incredible and so exciting! I really enjoy drawing and painting dogs and having come second in my age group two years ago; this was like a dream come true!

    “I just thought, when is my dog really at her happiest, and it is when she is ‘being a dog’, doing what she wants and being free! I love drawing animals and particularly my own animals. I can’t really explain how much my dogs mean to me – I can’t imagine life without them. They help make our house a home.”

    This year’s competition was judged by the Kennel Club’s art gallery manager, Luisa Foster. Luisa has worked within the library and collections department for almost 16 years. Her extensive knowledge of dog art grew after organising the Kennel Club’s vast art collection when she first started in the role as well as being heavily involved in establishing the first art gallery at the Kennel Club in 2003.

    Speaking about the winning drawing, Luisa said: “I chose Jessica’s work as I think it’s such a happy and vibrant picture. It fits in perfectly with the theme of the competition – dogs at their happiest. She has drawn not only the dogs but their surroundings really well. I think for me it’s the colours that made it stand out from the rest – they are lovely and bright! The standard was really high this year so it was difficult to judge. There are lots of young talented artists that entered who should be proud of their work.”

    As well as having their artwork on display at the world’s greatest dog show, all category winners in the competition will receive a bumper artist gift set and have received passes to come to Crufts to view their artwork. As the overall winner, Jessica will also receive free YKC membership, a cheque for £75 and tickets to Crufts for her family.

    The winners and runners up of the Young Kennel Club Artist of the Year competition are as follows:

    Category winners
    6 – 11 Years and Overall winner: Jessica Smith (aged 9)
    12 – 16 Years: Amelia Barrable (15)
    17 – 24 Years: Hannah Gates (17)

    Highly Commended
    6 – 11 Years: Bobbie Lee (9), Beatrice Robinson (11)
    12 – 16 Years: Charlotte Westerman (14), Chloe McLellan (12)
    17 – 24 Years: Emily Small (20), Samantha Webster (19)

    Jessica, Amelia and Hannah will receive their awards at the YKC stand in Hall 3, stand 23 at 11am on Sunday 13th March.

    The winning images will be on display on the YKC stand at Crufts from March 10th – 13th at the NEC, Birmingham.

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    March 27th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles, Uncategorized

    The UK’s largest dog welfare organisation, the Kennel Club, is urging dog owners in Carmarthenshire to have their say on proposals which could restrict where people can walk their dogs.

    Carmarthenshire County Council is able to restrict dog access in the county through Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), which replaced Dog Control Orders, under the Anti-Social, Crime and Policing Act 2015.  PSPOs can exclude anyone with dogs from certain areas, ensure dogs are kept on leads at all times in certain areas, and limit the number of dogs a person can walk at one time.

    The council is currently consulting the public to determine if there is a need for further dog restrictions in the county and the Kennel Club’s campaign group, KC Dog, is alerting its members to the consultation to ensure that the outcome is as fair as possible for all parties.

    Specific restrictions the council is consulting on include bans on certain amenity beaches, such as North Dock, Llanelli, Burry Port and Pembrey.  The Kennel Club believes that beach bans for dogs, if completely necessary and proportionate, should only be seasonal and allow some access each morning and evening, rather than being all day and all year-round, as beaches can provide ideal open spaces for dogs to be exercised off-lead which is important for canine health and wellbeing.

    Furthermore, the Kennel Club holds the view that any ban on dogs from public spaces should be based on evidence and only implemented if there is a genuine need, such as to safeguard certain wildlife that can be affected by dogs, or sensitive areas such as cemeteries, or to protect the wellbeing of both people and dogs.

    Carmarthenshire Country Council’s consultation also seeks to gather views on whether exemptions should be made for assistance dogs and dogs working for the police or armed forces, and the Kennel Club would fully support this.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “It is crucial that as many dog owners as possible in Carmarthenshire have their say on the potential restrictions, to enable the council to make an informed and fair decision for everyone who enjoys the local area.

    “Some aspects of the PSPOs, such as the requirement to pick up after a dog, are very sensible measures to help promote responsible dog ownership. However other aspects such as a complete ban on dogs from certain areas are less reasonable and unlikely to be welcomed by the many responsible dog owners in the area whose pets enjoy local public spaces without any issue.

    “Government guidance highlights that Carmarthenshire Council has many other options at its disposal, such as Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Community Protection Notices, which target enforcement action at the minority of anti-social dog owners, rather than penalising everybody for the irresponsible actions of a few; so it’s disappointing that the council’s consultation does not mention the use of these legal powers.

    “We often find that councils which introduce balanced and proportionate restrictions are viewed far more favourably by local people than those which slap blanket bans on people with dogs, often only serving to create feelings of anger and resentment amongst responsible dog owners who simply want to keep their dogs fit and healthy by exercising them in public open spaces. Regrettably, the consultation does not recognise the many benefits of dog walking, such as owners being fitter and healthier. It’s vitally important that any problems caused by a few dog owners do not undermine the wider social and human health benefits of dog ownership for society as a whole.

    “We appreciate that Carmarthenshire County Council has consulted directly with the Kennel Club, as a national organisation which gives a voice to dog owners, and we have expressed our views on the proposed restrictions accordingly and would strongly recommend local dog owners do the same.

    “As well as filling out the council’s online survey, dog owners can email or write to the council with any specific concerns that are not able to be expanded upon through the online form, to further ensure that the review can be balanced and fair.”

    For further details on the consultation, and to respond to it, visit http://ilocal.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/consultations/pspo/.  The consultation closes on 5th May.

    KC Dog is a dog owner campaign group, free to join, which keeps members updated on dog access issues, and other relevant Kennel Club campaign issues, which may affect dog owners across the country.  Visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/kcdog for more information and to join.

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    March 27th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles, Uncategorized

    UK dog owners are being warned to keep Easter treats away from pets after figures released today from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) revealed that over half of UK vets (54%) had treated at least one case of chocolate poisoning over Easter 2014.

    BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey that ran from 7 May – 8 June 2014 shows that on average vets saw at least one case of chocolate poisoning over the Easter 2014 period, with seven practices treating ten cases each. Regionally, East Midlands saw the highest average number of cases, with vets in the area seeing two cases of poisoning each on average.

    Chocolate can be highly poisonous to pets, with dogs most commonly affected. Although awareness about chocolate poisoning is increasing amongst pet owners, the BVA figures show that the majority of vets still see urgent cases because chocolate treats have not been secured out of reach.

    Chocolate is toxic because it contains theobromine – a naturally occurring chemical found in cocoa beans which dogs and other animals excrete much less effectively than humans. The level of toxicity is dependent on the type of chocolate – dark chocolate and cocoa powder is most toxic – and the size of the dog, with smaller dogs and puppies being most at risk.

    The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within 12 hours and can last up to three days. First signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea and restlessness. These symptoms can then develop into hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, hyperthermia and rapid breathing. In severe cases, dogs can experience fits and heartbeat irregularities and some cases can result in coma or death.  

     Vet John Blackwell, BVA President, said:

     “Easter should be a happy time for all the family including loved pets, and BVA urges pet owners to take precautions to ensure that their pet does not become one of the thousands of cases treated for accidental chocolate poisoning, which tragically can sometimes be fatal. The majority of the cases we see are because a pet has accidentally managed to get access to chocolate despite the owner’s best intentions.

    “It’s worth remembering that dogs in particular have a keen sense of smell and will easily win at any Easter egg hunt. So wherever chocolate is being stored over Easter – inside or outside – make sure it is pet proof and stored out of reach of inquisitive and determined noses and paws to avoid an emergency trip to the vet at Easter.

    “If you suspect that your dog has ingested chocolate don’t delay in contacting your vet. The quicker we can offer advice and treatment, the better. Vets will want to know how much chocolate your dog has eaten and what type. If possible keep any labels and have the weight of the dog to hand.

    “Make sure you know how to contact your vet out of hours and over the bank holiday weekend when opening hours may be different. If you are away from home, use the RCVS’s Find a Vet online service [http://findavet.rcvs.org.uk/find-a-vet/] to find a veterinary practice in an emergency.”

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    March 14th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles, Uncategorized

    It’s Pet Theft Awareness Week 2015. The thought of having your pet stolen probably ranks high on the list of any dog owner’s worst nightmares, but we have compiled a list of practical advice as to how to handle the worst case scenario.

    1) Take pre-emptive steps

    You can read all our advice on how to avoid becoming a victim in the first place here. You should also take regular photos of your dog and have a collection of clear images which you can use on missing posters if required. These should include a facial shot and one of them standing/in profile. It’s useful to highlight any distinctive features (eg a kinky tail or asymmetrical patches) where applicable. Hopefully you will never need these but it can’t hurt to have them on file.

    Ensure that your dog’s microchip details are up to date, and that the paperwork is all in order and in a safe and accessible place.

    If your dog is stolen try to take photographs of any vehicles used in the crime. Write down as much info as you can straight away.

    2) Search the area

    If your dog has gone missing, first you need to establish if they have simply wandered off or if they have been stolen. Arm yourself with treats and toys and visit all your usual local haunts, calling your dog’s name as you go. Hopefully, they’ll return from their inadvertent adventure as soon as they hear you.

    It can also help to return home often, eg walk your usual route around the streets, then return home, then walk the usual route around the fields, then return home. Not only will this allow you ascertain if your dog has found his own way back, but it will also lay a scent map for your dog to follow back.

    Tell anyone you meet that your dog is missing and give them your contact details in case they spot him in the area.

    If you think your dog has been stolen, make a note of any unfamiliar licence plate numbers and anything unusual in your neighbourhood. Something which seems insignificant now may turn out to be the missing piece of the puzzle later.

    3) Notify the authorities

    If the above is not successful, there are a number of official organisations which you should contact in the first instance. First, your microchip provider – they should all have 24/7 numbers listed among their paperwork or on their website. Save this number if your mobile phone so that you can contact them immediately. Tell them your dog is missing and they will update their database accordingly; this information should then pop up if the chip is scanned. If your pet is stolen and sold on, hopefully their new vet will scan for a chip the first time they visit.

    Second, contact your local authority (animal warden service). If you think your dog has been stolen, you should also contact the police and obtain a crime number.  Ask both authorities if you can email them a copy of the missing dog poster (see below) for their reference.

    4) Notify DogLost

    DogLost is the UK’s largest lost and found dog service. Nearly 18,500 dogs were registered lost or found via this website in 2014 alone. They can help you create missing posters and distribute them in your local area, get your missing dog featured in the press, and they have an army of volunteers who can help you both with physical searching and with sharing information via social media. They are official supporters of PTAW and have a helpline which is open 14 hours a day for instant support.

    5) Notify local animal services

    Imagine you had found a lost dog without a collar or tag in your area. Where would you take him?  Places like vets, kennels, rescue centres and even groomers or dog training clubs would be likely answers. Contact any of these services you can think of and provide them with your dog’s details. If you have a poster made up, ask them if they would mind displaying this on their bulletin boards.  If they have a social media presence, ask if they could please share your dog’s details with their followers (see below).

    If your dog has been stolen, state this on the poster and distribute it as widely as you can. The idea is to make the dog ‘too hot to handle’ ie too recognisable for the thief to sell on.

    6) Notify social media

    DogLost and PetLog will do a lot of this work for you, but never underestimate the power of social media. There are a number of Twitter feeds and Facebook pages simply dedicated to sharing details of lost or stolen dogs, and many others (including Dogs In The News) are willing to re-tweet a message sent to them directly. Time is of the essence here, so try to get these messages out as soon as your can after your dog has been taken.

    140 characters isn’t much to describe your dog, so try to include a copy of the missing poster with your information. State your dog’s name and breed (hashtagging this info will often result in more shares), along with the date they went missing and the area you live in.

    Some people choose to open a Twitter account or social media page in their dogs name or something along the lines of @FindOurDog – this is a useful way to keep track of any replies, and keep people updated if there is news or the dog is returned.

    7) Notify the media

    Dogs In The News are always willing to feature a lost or stolen dog story. (We did so with Pixie Lilley in 2013 and were rewarded with a happy ending!)  Many local and even national news outlets are often willing to help too. DogLost can help, but if you are happy to deal with them yourself, write a brief email detailing the circumstances under which your dog went missing (especially important if they were stolen), a description of your dog, and your contact details in case anyone has any information.  Photos are useful, as is any additional information which would fill out their copy.

    Try to think of how the press could present it as a “story”. Ultimately, journalists are busy people and get dozens of requests every day. If you can’t convince them why your missing dog will drive web traffic or sell papers, they won’t bother to write an article about it. Things worth mentioning include if your dog has a special bond with a child or elderly family member, if you think your dog was stolen because of an unusual physical feature (eg being a rare colour) or, if your dog is a show dog, whether they qualified for Crufts or ever won Best In Show or a similar recognisable accolade. Try to envisage the headline and work backwards from there.

    For example, Angel’s owner made national headlines when she re-mortgaged her house to raise £10,000 to offer as a reward for her missing German Shorthaired Pointer. We’re not suggesting that you go to such extreme lengths, but “Gundog stolen” is a dull headline, while “Woman raises £10,000 in urgent plea for dog’s return” is something journalists can work with.

    8) Stay hopeful

    50% of lost or stolen dogs find their way home. Being proactive immediately greatly increases your chances of having a happy ending. But, there are cases of dogs making their way home after weeks or even years of absence, so don’t ever give up.

    A word about rewards

    Angel’s owner was desperate to get her dog back, and was in a position where she could offer a large reward for the return of her beloved Gundog. Not many owners are so lucky.

    Some insurers include a basic reward stipend in their policy terms, so it’s well worth asking that question. You may also have personal resources or savings which you are able to spare.

    Whatever reward you are willing to offer, it is always worth stating that a reward is available on the missing posters. Be aware, however, that some dogs are stolen with the sole purpose of claiming said reward, so do not advertise specific amounts involved. Only disclose details of the reward once you are certain the person will return your dog.

    Have you ever found yourself searching for a beloved pet? Do you have any tips to share with our readers? Please leave a comment below. 

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    March 6th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Articles, Uncategorized

    Six crossbreed dogs are on their way to the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts, to compete in the prestigious Scruffts grand finale on Friday 6th March.

    Taking place in the main arena at Crufts, this year’s judges include Clarissa Baldwin, trustee of Dog’s Trust, and Daily Express journalist, Stuart Winter. The Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year competition, which is supported by pet food makers James Wellbeloved, caters exclusively for crossbreed dogs – dogs whose parents are of two different breeds, or a mixture of several breeds.The six finalists qualified for a place in the Scruffts final after winning classes at heats around the country during 2014 and then winning at the semi-finals, which took place at the Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs event last November.

    James Wellbeloved Marketing Manager, Anne-Laure Jaouën said: “The Scruffts final is the highlight of my year. All of last year’s finalists were brilliant and I can’t wait to meet the finalists for this year. It’s amazing to hear the incredible stories that these crossbreeds have and I wish them all the very best of luck.”

    The six finalists for 2015 are:

    Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog Billy, owned by Terri-Anne Walker from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire – Billy has saved Terri-Anne’s life on two occasions, once alerting her that her car had smoke coming out of it and once preventing her from entering her house because she had a gas leak.

    Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch Wizz, owned by Claire Stanton from Tattershall, Lincolnshire – Wizz arrived at a difficult time when Claire’s family lost their two dogs to cancer within three months of each other. Claire’s mum became depressed and Wizz came along and brought happiness to the family again.

    Golden Oldie Gracie, owned by Alison Hitchins from Alvechurch, Worcestershire – Gracie was found on the streets, heavily pregnant and, within a week, gave birth to six puppies. The puppies were easily rehomed but no one seemed to want to adopt her. Gracie has now been living with Alison for nine years and is a very happy and healthy dog. She takes part in agility, heelwork to music, and is also a Pets As Therapy dog and visits a local hospice every month.

    Child’s Best Friend Humphrey, owned by Miles Rodwell from Bodmin, Cornwall – Humphrey came from the RSPCA after being rescued from a puppy farm. He was very poorly when he joined Miles’s family aged 12 weeks. Miles and Humphrey became best friends and Humphrey was nursed back to health. They started going to training classes and achieved the Gold award in the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme (GCDS) within a year. Best

    Crossbreed Rescue Harvey, owned by Tracey Toft from Castleford, West Yorkshire – Harvey had a difficult start in life and Tracey rescued him after seeing him advertised on a website. He had suffered severe scalding and also had a broken leg. Harvey now lives a happy life with Tracey and her family and is on the road to recovery.

    GCDS Crossbreed Dog Blaze, owned by Marie Hamlin from Winchester, Hampshire – Blaze came from an unwanted litter and went to live with Marie when he was 8 weeks old. He stole Marie’s heart and helped her through tough times by comforting her when she needed it the most. He gave her the confidence to leave the house again, meet new people and to take part in charity dog shows.

    Scruffts is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which has awarded over £8m worth of grants to benefit dogs since its inception in 1987. The Trust awards grants to welfare organisations which make a difference to dogs’ lives, and also provides financial support to canine scientific research and support charities. To find out more about Scruffts, please visit www.scruffts.org.uk. For more information on Discover Dogs, please visit www.discoverdogs.org.uk.

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