Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter, but please remember chocolate is dangerous for dogs

Enjoy your easter eggs, but please, only share special dog-safe ones with your pets. Human chocolate is dangerous for dogs because of its high theobromine content.

Found: Rottweiler

He was found wandering on a busy road when one of the Vet School nurses was passing, so she took him in to avoid him getting hit by a car. We're going to take him to Park Side police kennels over the weekend so he can be transferred to Wood Green Animal Shelters on Tuesday, after the holiday, as they have the local authority contract to rehome uninjured stray dogs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

News on the 101 St Bernards

I wasn't planning to write about this as we don't have any of the dogs in our branch facilities for rehoming, but there doesn't seem to have been much coverage on the local media because of all the other newsworthy things that are going on, so I'll put up the details from the press release.

The RSPCA is appealing to people living in the East region who can offer a new home to one of more than 100 St Bernards which were removed from kennels in Northamptonshire in December 2008*.

Since then the dogs have been cared for in private boarding kennels on behalf of the RSPCA. However, as they remained the property of their owner, the Society was unable to rehome them.

Now ownership of the St Bernards has been signed over to the RSPCA and so good new homes can be sought.

The dogs are being rehomed in small groups through various RSPCA animal centres. Priority will be given to potential owners who live nearest to where the dogs are currently being cared for to limit how far they will have to travel to their new homes. In the east region, priority will be given to people living in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Nottinghamshire. However, enquiries from other areas will still be taken.

People who would like one of the dogs - or to donate to the RSPCA to help it continue its vital work - are asked to call 0300 123 8000. (Please, don't use any other RSPCA numbers if it is busy as very high profile rescues have blocked emergency veterinary contact lines in the past, putting sick animals at risk.)

St Bernards are large dogs and, as these particular animals have lived in kennels all their lives, they are not used to walking on leads and have not been house trained. They will need experienced homes where there is a reasonably large amount of space. They will also need regular grooming.

Paul Williams, RSPCA animal welfare manager in the RSPCA’s east region, said: “These dogs will need special care and patience. They all have good temperaments but their kennel background means that they will need owners with the knowledge and time to help them settle into their new homes.

“So far caring for these St Bernards has cost the RSPCA around £100,000 and all donations, however big or small, will be gratefully received. If you would like to rehome one of the dogs or make a donation so we can continue to care for animals like these, please call us on 0300 123 8000.”

The majority of the dogs range in age from two years to eight years and older and should make very loyal and rewarding pets for those able to give them the care they desperately need.

Please note that a donation will be required in return for rehoming one of the dogs which helps cover the cost of their neutering, vaccinations, microchipping and veterinary check.

* The total number of St Bernards rose from 101 to 106 when puppies were born after the dogs were taken into the RSPCA’s care.

• RSPCA animal centres have already found a few of the dogs good new homes.

• Possible criminal proceedings are ongoing and for this reason we are unable to discuss the original condition of the dogs or how they were kept.

Missing Oscar — FOUND

Please would anyone who sees a strange tabby and white short-haired cat in the Petersfield/St Matthews area of Cambridge give his worried owner a call on 01223 311828, or email me at

The long-haired tabby and white cat who moves around the same area is Elvis, and he is not lost.

Oscar was adopted fairly recently from an animal welfare group in Liverpool and he had previously lived indoors all the time, so his behaviour isn't quite normal.

Update 03/04/2009
He's turned up, a street away, bit thin and full of ticks, but otherwise fine.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Separation anxiety and rescue dogs

Probably the most frequent cause for rescued dogs being returned after an unsuccessful placement is separation anxiety. This is one reason why we are usually strict about not rehoming to owners who will need to leave their dogs for very long periods. Many rescue dogs are very anxious that their new owner will disappear and not return — after all their previous owner did just that from the dog's point of view. However all of us need to be able to go out sometimes on errands where we can't be accompanied by our pets, so new owners need to be forewarned that this may be a problem and prepared to take action to cope.

One useful tool is a dog crate. This should not degenerate into a prison where your dog is locked up for hours on end, but it does provide a way to keep him safe and your posessions undamaged, while you train him to be less anxious. Properly used, the crate will become a den area where your dog feels secure; knows you will return; can rest comfortably and knows he will have some special toys that he does not have access to anywhere else. If distress at being separated from you causes your dog's house-training to be erratic, a crate lined with newspapers and standing on a washable floor will make cleaning up not too unpleasant.

There is some advice about training to relieve separation anxiety on the dog club site. It may also help (preferably before you acquire your rescue dog) to read some of the books which have been written about adopting a rescue dog, such as Understanding the Rescue Dog, Living with a rescued dog, or Second Chance: living with a rescued dog.