Toxic plants: Avoid growing plants that are poisonous to dogs

Many common garden plants, such as apples and tulips, have some toxic elements that could prove dangerous to your dog. The majority won’t cause much more than an upset stomach, and most dogs won’t eat plants that are poisonous to them.

poisonous plants

Most toxic garden plants, such as granny’s bonnet, bluebells and hellebores, need to be eaten in such huge quantities to cause harm, that they’re very unlikely to do so.

However, some garden plants can be lethal to dogs. It’s therefore important to identify the worst culprits, so you can avoid growing them. As with all fear of toxicity, if you suspect your dog has eaten part of a toxic plant then seek veterinary advice immediately.

With help from Dogs Trust, we’ve created a list of the most toxic plants to dogs. All of these are plants can be lethal to dogs and dog owners would be well advised to avoid growing them. Browse our list of plants that are lethal to dogs…

Apricot

The kernels of apricots contain cyanide and can be fatal to dogs.

Azalea

If ingested, all parts of azaleas and rhododendrons cause nausea, vomiting, depression, difficulty breathing and even coma. They can be fatal to dogs if eaten in large enough quantities.

Castor bean, Ricinus communis

All parts of the castor oil plant are lethal to dogs and humans,and even the tiniest amount, such as a single seed, can kill.

Daffodil

Daffodil and other narcissus bulbs are toxic to dogs and cause
nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. They can be fatal.

Elephant ears, Bergenia

Eating the leaves or flowers of elephants’ ears can cause burning, irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat. If your dog’s tongue swells enough to block its air passage it could die.

Grapevines, Vitis

Eating grapes and raisins can cause serious kidney failure and death.

Jessamines, Cestrum

Eating the berries and sap of jessamines can cause digestive problems, including vomiting and diarrhoea, affecting the gastrointestinal tract and nervous system. Can be fatal.

Jimson weed, Datura

Eating any part of the plant can cause extreme thirst, distorted vision, delirium, incoherence, coma and death to your dog.

Larkspur, Delphinium (young plants and seeds)

Eating young larkspur plants and seeds can cause digestive problems including vomiting and diarrhoea, nervousness, depression. Can be fatal to dogs.

Mistletoe

While it’s unlikely that your dog would reach mistletoe growing in the garden, problems can occur when you bring plants into the house for Christmas. Eating mistletoe berries can upset the gastrointestinal tract and cause dermatitis. Just a few berries are enough to kill puppies.

Deadly nightshade, Atropa belladonna

Eating any part of the plant can cause severe digestive problems and death.

Oleander

Eating any part of oleander can cause heart problems, severe digestive problems, dermatitis and sometimes death to dogs.

Poison hemlock, Conium maculatum

Eating any part of the plant can affect the nervous system, cause dermatitis and be fatal to dogs.

Ragwort

Any part of the plant can cause irreversible kidney and liver failure in your dog. Tiny doses can be fatal.

Wild cherry, Prunus avium

Eating the twigs and leaves of wild cherry can be fatal.

Yew, Taxus baccata

Eating yew berries and foliage (but particularly the foliage) can cause dizziness, a dry mouth, abdominal cramps, salivation and vomiting. Can be fatal to dogs and death can come without any prior symptoms.

Reducing the risk of poisoning

Bear in mind that most dogs don’t eat plants that are poisonous to them. Those that do may be bored or stressed, so consider looking at ways in which you can change your dog’s lifestyle to encourage them not to eat garden plants in the first place.

(Article source: BBC Gardeners World)

Clever canine: The dog that knows the names and categories of its 100 toys!

In the current times of uncertainty and darkness, James Gorman visits a dog which can identify its toys by name to shine a little bit of light.

clever dog

There’s something about a really smart dog that makes it seem as if there might be some hope. The world is in the midst of a frightening viral outbreak, and nobody knows what will happen.

The warming of the planet shows no signs of stopping; it reached a record 21C in Antarctica this month. Not to mention international tensions and domestic politics.

But there’s a dog in Norway who knows not only the names of her toys but also the names of different categories of toys, and she learnt all this just by hanging out with her owners and playing her favourite game.

Whisky is a border collie who lives with her owners and almost 100 toys, and Whisky’s toys have names.

Most are dog-appropriate, like “the colourful rope” or “the small Frisbee”. However, her owner, Helge Svela, says that since the initial research was done, her toys have grown in number to 91, from 59, and he has had to give some toys “people” names, like Daisy or Wenger.

“That’s for the plushy toys that resemble animals like ducks or elephants (because the names Duck and Elephant were already taken),” he says. During the initial research, Whisky proved in tests that she knew the names for at least 54 of her 59 toys.

That’s not just the claim of a proud owner – and Svela is quite proud of Whisky – but the finding of Claudia Fugazza, an animal behaviour researcher from Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, who tested her.

It makes Whisky part of a very select group, although not a champion. You may recall Chaser, another border collie who knew the names of more than 1,000 objects and also knew words for categories of objects. And there are a few other dogs with shockingly large vocabularies, Fugazza says, including mixed breeds and a yorkie.

These canine verbal prodigies are, however, few and far between. “It is really, really unusual, and it is really difficult to teach object names to dogs,” Fugazza says.

Whisky’s achievement is even more surprising, Fugazza says, because she didn’t undergo the kind of intensive training received by Chaser and by other animals, like baboons, that have shown an ability to group objects into categories.

Fugazza set the group of new toys in one room while she and the dog’s owners waited in the kitchen. One of the owners would ask Whisky to bring ‘a ball’ or ‘a rope’

“The owner is not a trainer,” Fugazza says. “He reported that Whisky attended a puppy course but she didn’t go on with training.” That’s another encouraging part of the story: so what if you didn’t get an MA; you might still be able to write that novel.

Whisky learnt the names of the objects in her cornucopia of fun by playing a game with her owners in which she would go fetch the toy they named.

They played a lot. Fugazza and a colleague at the university, Adam Miklosi, wrote in the journal Scientific Reports that Whisky had 10 balls, seven rings, four ropes and four Frisbees.

Since the names of the objects always included a specific adjective and general noun, like “small Frisbee”, Fugazza wanted to test if Whisky had gotten the idea of what a Frisbee was, and what a ball was, in a general, abstract way.

To do the experiment, Fugazza went to Whisky’s home. In initial tests Whisky fetched most of her toys successfully.

Then, for the category test, Fugazza would try her on four new toys at a time, first letting her play with the new toys with her owners in one test, or just explore them herself in another test.

Then Fugazza set the group of new toys in one room while she and the dog’s owners waited in the kitchen. One of the owners would ask Whisky to bring “a ball” or “a rope”.

She was successful about 50 per cent of the time when she was given a chance to play with the new toys before the test. Given that she was choosing from four different items, that is much better than chance, Fugazza says.

Her achievement meant not only that she could group objects in categories in her mind but also that she knew the words for those categories.

While Fugazza suggested that all dogs had the ability to think in categories, only a select few, either because of training or natural ability, actually knew words for categories. And she had learnt all that “naturally, in a way that is actually a little bit similar to what happens to human children”, Fugazza says.

Monique Udell, who studies dog behaviour and cognition at Oregon State University and was not involved in the study, says that it’s hard to draw general conclusions from one dog. But, she says: “This study is an important reminder that animals are often learning from us even outside of formal training sessions.”

She says the work suggests that scientists should keep in mind the whole learning history of a dog when they use canines as test subjects. And dog owners might remember that “our animals may be learning more from us than we think”.

As a side note, no animals were harmed in this experiment. Fugazza says that Whisky quickly got the idea that if Fugazza showed up, it was time to play her favourite game over and over again, something that border collies like to do.

“If we wanted to give Whisky a break,” she says, “we had to go out of the house because otherwise she wanted to keep playing.”

(Article source: The Independent)

Pain in the grass? 5 ways to stop dog urine killing your lawn

Have you ever noticed that one patch of grass in your garden that’s inexplicably dry or burned? Ever wondered how it got there? Here’s a hint. Watch where your dog goes to the toilet. Is it in the spot with the dried up grass? Bingo! Guilty as charged.

dog urine

Dog urine is like the arch nemesis to your humble garden grass. The levels of Nitrate in your dog’s wee can cause some long term damage to grass every time your fur baby needs to do their business.

Why does dog urine burn into grass?

Dog wee actually has a variety of nitrogen compounds which
burn your grass, leaving yellow patches behind. If your dog picks
different spots on the lawn to do their business, then urine burn
is unlikely to become an issue – BUT- if your dog has a favourite
spot they always return to then you may be in trouble!

5 ways to stop those yellow pee spots

1. Go pee somewhere else!

The grass is suffering – there’s no more hiding the dry brown patches – but your dog insists on peeing on the same tuft of grass. If your dog insists on going to the toilet on your grass, you will probably need to train them to urinate in a grass free area of your garden. This might include beds of soil, sand, tanbark or gravel. If there’s a specific area of grass you’d prefer they use then encourage them to go to the toilet here instead. To train your dog to select a different area to go to the toilet, accompany them when they go outside to wee. When they make a bee line to the lawn, get their attention and shepherd them to an area without grass in your back garden. You could also use a citrus spray on the lawn to deter them from weeing in the area.
This method is time consuming, so if you’re quite time poor, consider pee posts for the garden to encourage them to wee in the exact spot you want them to.

Pee posts contain dog enticing pheromones. Your dog will be attracted to the stick because of its bright yellow colour and once they’ve sniffed out the area, they’ll wee in that exact spot.

Use a Pet Loo

No, this doesn’t mean training your dog to sit on the toilet and do their business on command. The Pet Loo replicates a small, square patch of grass for your dog to pee on. It’s a sustainable and economic alternative to a big lawn in a garden. Ideal for those who live in flats or units with minimal outdoor space, the pet loo is super easy to install and maintain. It keeps odours to a minimum, so while it is best placed in an outdoor area or well
ventilated space, it won’t stink up the laundry if you have no other option but to keep it inside.

Best of all, the pet loo comes in different sizes to suit your home and the breed of your dog. Training your dog to use the pet loo is easy because the grass on top looks and feels authentic. It’s hygienic and environmentally friendly so you can’t go wrong!

Use Dog Rocks

What on earth are dog rocks? While they’re relatively new to the market, Dog Rocks have actually been used for years! These rocks help to remove the nitrates in your dog’s drinking water. You are what you eat (and what you drink), so it makes sense that the reason why your lawn is not pushing up daisies can actually be traced back to your dog’s drinking water. Dog Rocks are non-invasive – in fact all you need to do is put them in your dog’s drinking bowl. As they sit in the water, removing any small amounts of rubbish, including Tin, Ammonia and Nitrates. Best of all, while this is happening, the rocks do not alter the pH level of the water or your pets urine.

Technically speaking, dog rocks are a unique natural remedy for turning your dog’s pee into a fertilizer, and provides a stable matric and micro porous medium, in which active components are made to act as a water purifier instead of an acidic fluid. You will be giving your dog a cleaner source of water by using Dog Rocks. They do need to be replaced every 2 months.

Give the area some love

Even if you combat the problem at the source now, the weeks or months of urinary damage your dog has inadvertently done may not be erased easily. What we do know is that some fertilizers are quite useful in helping grass with minimal burn regain some green colouring. You can also take some steps to ensure that the lawn is being adequately watered and has sufficient irrigation. By giving your lawn some TLC and encouraging your dog to wee
elsewhere, eventually you will see the results.

Give ‘em a drink!

Bottoms up! Or tails up… Whatever it is, it’s mighty important that you provide your dog with enough water throughout the day. It goes without saying but leaving your dog with sufficient water is the best way to keep them healthy. By drinking more and more water, your dog will ultimately end up with diluted urine which means there’s less chance of your lawn suffering from urine burn. It’s a win-win, although unfortunately if your grass is already showing signs of burn, it may be too late to solely use this as a preventative method. Regardless, encouraging your dog to drink has multiple health benefits.

If you’re not at home to supervise how much water they’re going through, try install a water fountain that keeps the water fresh throughout the day. This encourages them to continue drinking while also ensuring that water stays sanitary throughout the day.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and go save your grass!

(Article source: My Pet Warehouse)

John Burns: Vet started dog food business with £72 and sack of brown rice and is now worth £24 m

John Burns is probably one of the richest people in Wales you’ve never heard of. This is how he went from working as a vet in Carmarthenshire to the helm of a multi-million-pound business.

John burns

The Burns Pet Nutrition logo is probably something you’ve seen but never really registered whether you have a pet or not.

Yet that simple geometric pattern belongs to a brand which has created one of the richest people in Wales you have probably never heard of.

That person is 71-year-old John Burns, a man who has created a £24 m dog food business from just £72 and a sack of brown rice.

On the day we meet he wants to be photographed with the dog. It is after all his trademark and how he made his fortune.

He introduces Gregory the second, a pure-bred collie. There was a Gregory the first but he died a few years ago.

John also wants to be pictured wearing a kilt, true to his Scottish roots. “I’ll just run to the car and get it,” he says. When he says run, he really does mean it and he literally sprints across the car park with a swiftness that belies his 70-odd years.

Left minding the dog, I strongly suspect the current Gregory won’t outlast his sprightly master and John will have to find a third.

Any self-made millionaire is likely to walk with a spring in their step but John is genuinely pretty fit and still heads to the French Alps every year to ski.

He does a park run in Llanelli every weekend too, coming in at “30 minutes-and-a-bit”. He’s pretty competitive, he admits, and gets frustrated when he is beaten by “the only other bugger” in his age group. Yet it is that competitive streak which has helped him develop Wales’ biggest pet food business, which is based in Kidwelly.

John speaks deliberately and concisely as he describes how an interest in first animal health and then human health in the 1970’s translated into a multi-million-pound niche dog food business.

Originally from the west coast of Scotland just south of Glasgow, John arrived in Carmarthenshire in 1971 after qualifying as a vet. His first job at a practice in Whitland was the first he was offered. He thought he’d stay for just a year but 49 years later he is still in the county and calls Ferryside home.

“I can remember the very first caesarean I ever performed on a cow was by torchlight in the middle of the night,” he says, stood in the Tarmacked car park outside the Burns Nutrition offices in Kidwelly.

As a young vet in the 1970’s John could have been described as “alternative”. Even then he was eating brown rice for breakfast, long before it was being served up in hipster cafes in 2020.

“It was mainly large animals at Whitland but when I got back to the surgery in the afternoon the receptionist would say Mrs so-and-so wants to bring her dog down so we’d see the odd pet,” he explains. “But even at that stage I was seeing health problems in pets like itchy skin or ear problems.”

In those days antibiotics or drugs were seen as the answer but John used to say to his clients: “This isn’t really curing the problem, we don’t really know what’s causing it.” When the drugs finished the problem would come back again.

“I thought: ‘Well that’s not what veterinary science ought to be’, not for me anyhow,” John continues. “I read an article about acupuncture and thought that looked promising at solving recurring health problems.”

His interest was piqued, so much so that he left Whitland in 1976 and enrolled in a course on human acupuncture while working as a locum vet, which in turn led to interest in alternative medicine and nutrition. If it worked for humans then it would surely work for dogs, John reasoned.

“Basically the traditional way of eating for humans had been abandoned by the modern world and had become high in meat and animal products with hardly any cereal grains or vegetables,” he explains.

“Part of the thinking was that many health problems had been caused by abandoning our traditional way of eating – things like cancer, diabetes and obesity.

“Rather like humans, obesity in pets is the most common issue affecting health.”

He moved back to Llanelli and started telling clients in his practice that while he would treat their animal with drugs they needed to stop feeding their pet conventional pet food and start it on a wholemeal diet of brown rice, vegetables, and meat in equal portions.

The difficult part, however, was convincing people that his approach was the right way to go. After a few years of trying to get his message across he realised the only way was to make the pet food himself.

He already sold packs of brown rice in his surgery. “It was a job to get hold of quality brown rice back then,” he said. “It’s not like now, although even today it’s hard finding high-quality brown rice in west Wales.”

Still it took another decade for John to work out how to manufacture the ideal pet food in a commercial way. Armed with his perfect formula, he criss-crossed the country looking for a manufacturer who would make the food for him. In 1993 he eventually found one in Llandovery.

“The incubation period of my business was not far off 20 years,” he chuckles. “I wish I’d done it earlier, perhaps, but it might not have been right back in the 70’s. People might not have been ready for it.”

The young John had no doubts about his enterprise: “I thought this was going to be big news, a vet making his own pet food,” he says.

With the benefit of hindsight John is more realistic about his early endeavours. He spent just £72 on a box of plastic sacks and wasn’t fussed on colour.

“I didn’t have proper packaging – it just came in a plain polythene bag and I designed the leaflet and a label to go on that polythene bag,” he said. “So you can imagine what that looked like. It was a very unappealing appearance.”

The wholesalers told him no-one would buy it and he was advised to develop his local contacts instead. “It was the best piece of advice I ever received,” adds John.

He changed his ambitions and instead of rolling it out nationally he loaded up his car and went round to the local vets and pet shops.

From Neath to Pembroke Dock, the response was positive despite the makeshift bags. “Before I knew it I had a one-man business which was doing okay,” says John.

By now he had sold his vet practice and moved in to a bungalow in Kidwelly with his wife and their two young children.

“I had to make a go of it,” John says. “You can’t concentrate on one business while you’re doing another. I decided to concentrate full-time on the pet food business.

“Five or six months after I started up I can remember thinking: ‘You know, it’s just me, I’m working from home, I’m delivering food out of my car, I’m not employing anybody, I’m making a living and I don’t get called out at night; I’m doing all right here’. I was making a living quite easily compared to working at a vet practice.”

The young family used to sit around the TV putting cupfuls of food in bags and sticking labels on. “I got the children on to it and they would earn some extra pocket money by sticking labels on bags,” says John. “They got three pence for every sample they filled.

“We had a garage outside and when a delivery came in everyone had to come out and help carry the bags into the garage and stack it up there. It was more of a family business in those days.”

From the initial two tonnes of dog food in 1993 production soon expanded to 20 tonnes and today around 1,000 tonnes are produced every week. The turning point was a two-page spread in the Dogs Today magazine, which kicked the business out of West Wales and into the national realm.

It took a year before John hired any extra help. Now he employs 110 people, including two vets in Ireland, and the dog food is exported internationally. Burns Pet Nutrition is worth £24 m today.

Despite the millions Burns Pet Food has less than 2% of the UK dog food market. But luckily for John the pet food market is vast and there is money to be made.

“Somebody said to me this could be a monster but I didn’t really
believe them,” he said. “If you’d said this could be a £20m business I would never have thought that could be conceivable. It’s only because I’ve grown with it that I’ve adapted and become used to that.

“I can remember in the early days working from home one day, a Sunday, I got my bank statement out and I looked through it and I totted how much money had been paid into my account in the month. It was something like £30,000 and I thought: ‘Bloody hell, I’m rich’.

“And then I got my cheque book out and started looking through that and realised I had written cheques totalling more than £30,000 that month so that was a sobering thought.

“It’s a huge amount of money being turned over and it’s just something I grew into really as the business grew.”

Over time he has reluctantly learned to delegate and says he doesn’t do much of the heavy lifting any more. “I do the thinking but the main running of the business is by other people,” he says. He talks like a businessman rather than a vet and it is clear that his success is down to shrewd and calculated decisions along the way, however much he tries to gloss over them.

“Early on I decided I wanted to keep this as a privately-owned company based in west Wales and owned in west Wales,” he explains. “And I make that decision every three weeks because I get approached all the time to sell up or to put the company on the market. But I want it to remain a private business and in the family.”

He has five children and nine grandchildren. His family will continue to own the business even if they don’t become actively involved. But John has no thoughts of retiring just yet.

“It’s a way of life as much as anything, it’s not just a job,” he adds. Today, it’s the Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation which takes up as much of his thinking space as the business. Set up in 2007, it is basically a way of channelling money from the company and into the community, he says.

But equally it is another example of a sound business decision. “My hope is that Burns Pet Nutrition’s investment in community activities will raise the company’s profile and recognition through useful work rather than using conventional advertising and PR,” he explains.

Not that he doesn’t find the charitable arm of the business rewarding. “I’m in a position to be able to do that and use money I’ve made from the company for charitable activities I’ve set up,” he continues. “I find that very gratifying and satisfying to be able to do that.”

As part of that John started the Parc y Bocs Farm Shop on the outskirts of Kidwelly. What started out as a roadside honesty box to sell surplus eggs from the farm has flourished into an impressive farm shop, pet food outlet, and a major community project.

John started selling eggs at the end of the lane after buying several hundred hens to lay eggs to go into his dog food. But the factory wasn’t ready and he had to find a way to get rid of the excess eggs. After setting up a little stall he soon found he was selling 1,500 eggs every week and then someone started stealing the proceeds.

Today the swanky farm shop building also boasts a market garden and playground. The site is used for the company’s Better Tomorrow scheme where those who are disadvantaged or have learning difficulties can visit and undertake supervised projects. There’s even a minibus which goes around collecting isolated people in the community and brings them together at the farm shop cafe.

Stood in the car park under a deep blue summer sky John couldn’t be further away from his early days as an eager vet, delivering calves by torchlight.

But decades later the lessons he learned in 1971 are as applicable
as ever.

“People do love to spoil their pets by giving them treats and too much food,” he says.

“The biggest problem I see today is people overfeeding their pets. People want to indulge them, spoil them – that’s human nature of having a pet. Many people give their pets too much food and not enough time. A real treat would be an extra walk.”

Although buying a bag of Burns Pet Nutrition probably won’t hurt them either.

(Article source: Wales Online)

‘Woof’ worker! 10 tips for taking your dog to work with success

Every June we celebrate dogs in the office with ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’. While office life isn’t possible (or ideal) for every dog, it can be a pretty great perk. I’ve been taking my dog to work for nearly 5 years, and can’t imagine going back to a job where dogs aren’t allowed.

dog at work

Thinking about taking your dog to work? To make it a success for you, your dog, and your co-workers, here’s what you should keep in mind.

Consider your transportation options

On the first day, take whichever form of transport your dog is most comfortable with. Dogs are usually allowed on metro buses and trains, but I’d suggest driving the first day if you usually commute in.

It will be a day of a lot of firsts, and putting your dog on a bus or train might just amplify their anxiety. If your dog is older, or used to being in a carrier or bag, then you should have a smooth experience on the bus.

Bring a cosy bed (or two) from home

My dog is a burrower, so I have beds and blankets galore surrounding my desk. You always want a cosy spot for your dog to rest, and have a special “spot” while at work. Any type of bed or blanket does the trick; just bring what your dog is used to.

Puzzle toys are great, and treats are a must

You’ll still have to get work done, aside from introducing your dog to every.single.one of your coworkers. The easiest thing to keep them busy while you’re crunching away is to bring some type of puzzle toy, or a chew.

Squeaky toys are a no-no in my office, but KONGs are a huge help for those times I really need to focus. Gus already knows the drill, he brings it to me every morning, I fill it, and then we both get to work.

Not everyone loves dogs as much as you, and that’s (reluctantly) ok

Fact is, not everyone is super-crazy about dogs. While I don’t fully understand that concept, it’s good to assume that you should only let your dog approach new people or coworkers if they’ve asked to pet your dog.

If your dog is nervous about meeting strangers, be sure to make that known by placing a sign on your desk, or having them tethered close to you.

Have plenty of water

New environments can be stressful, so make sure you have plenty of water. If your dog is lucky enough to have a playmate in the office, make sure they both have access to fresh, clean water.

Take lots of potty breaks

Sometimes this involves taking your dog outside in your (matching) Halloween costumes because, well, nature calls.

Make sure to take your dog outside more than they’re used to, to prevent any potty accidents as they’ll most likely be drinking more water than normal. Sometimes accidents happen, and we’ve all been there. Just apologize, and make sure to clean it properly as soon as possible.

Be prepared for distractions

There’s an adjustment period that comes with productivity, especially when there are multiple dogs in the office. Some people find it hard to work near dogs who bark, whine, or play with toys that make noise.

In the event that someone contacts you about your dog being a distraction, approach the conversation with an open mind and work with your peers to find a resolution that works for everyone.

Have a plan B

Excessive barking? Lots of gas? (That’s a thing.) Marking their territory? It’s always good to have a backup plan. Puppies are prone to barking, and if that’s the case for you, take shelter in a conference room or try taking your dog for a long walk at lunch to tire them out.

Dogs are the perfect mental reset

Sometimes you’ll be working on a big project, and need to step away for a moment to rest your eyes and recharge. Dogs are perfect for this! Just turn around, cuddle that dog or go on a walk and you’ll come back nice and refreshed. Works for me every time.

Leaving the office? Always ask for help

If you need to run errands or go pick up lunch, it’s always best to ask a colleague if they can look after your dog. You’ll want a point person for your dog because sometimes they can become stressed once you leave. I usually ask “hey, can you keep an eye on Gus while I grab lunch real quick?” and I’m good to go.

Once you get in the swing of things, having your dog with you at work really is one of the best things in life!

(Article source: Rover.Com)

Grieving woman ‘sees dead dog’s face in clouds’

A grieving pet owner has told how she saw her pet dog’s face in the clouds just hours after it died.

face in clouds

BBC News reports that Lucy Ledgeway’s 14-year-old Parson Russell Terrier, Sunny, died in her father’s arms on Saturday.

She had gone out for a drive to clear her head when she thought she saw Sunny in the sky.

Miss Ledgeway, 19, of York, shared a picture along with a photograph of the terrier on social media where it has received more than 100,000 likes.

She said: “When I saw her face I laughed to myself, ‘that’s my girl,’ knowing it was her letting us all know she’s OK.”

Miss Ledgeway, from York, said her father was taking Sunny to the vets on Saturday morning when she suffered a seizure and died.

She said she cried to her boyfriend asking for a “sign in the sky”.

Her boyfriend took her out for a drive with Miss Ledgeway sitting in the same seat where Sunny had died.

She said that as they were passing Clifton Ings, where Sunny used to go for walks, they saw her face in the clouds.

She said: “My boyfriend couldn’t believe what we saw. It was a special moment that we will treasure always.”

Scientists have studied the phenomenon, known as pareidolia, in which people see faces or familiar shapes in clouds or inanimate objects.

However, they are divided over its cause. Some have suggested it is because the human brain is wired to detect faces from birth, others believe it is due to our brain’s desire to assign meaning to random images.

Miss Ledgeway, who describes herself as an Instagram influencer, posted about her experience on Twitter where it was shared about 7,000 times.

She said that of the many replies she received, 99% were “amazing, sweet messages,” although there were some people who claimed the image had been edited on Photoshop.

Miss Ledgeway, who posts on Instagram, added: “It hurt that people were trying to ruin a moment that was special to me.

“However, I woke up the next day and felt happy and blessed that I’d witnessed what I did and that so many people found comfort in my story.”

(Story source: BBC News)

Ricky Gervais among stars urging Boris Johnson to help end exotic pet trade

‘Ending the exploitation of wildlife will take us one step closer to safeguarding the future of the natural world,’ open letter states.

exotic pet trade

The Independent reports that Ricky Gervais is among several stars to have signed an open letter urging Boris Johnson to help end the exotic pet trade.

The open letter, which was sent on behalf of World Animal Protection and the Campaign to End Wildlife Trade (CEWT), was signed by 24 NGOs including World Animal Protection, Compassion in World Farming, Four Paws UK and Cruelty Free International.

Its celebrity signatories included Gervais, who is frequently outspoken about animal welfare; actor Dame Judi Dench; comedian Sue Perkins; Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch, singer Leona Lewis and presenter Paul O’Grady.

In the letter, it stated that “the demand for wild animals and wild animal products is a primary cause of the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases and a severe risk to world health”.

It explained that diseases such as Covid-19, in addition to other conditions including SARS, Ebola and Mers, are “believed to have passed from wildlife to humans”.

“With your global leadership we must ensure a zoonotic pandemic like this never occurs again,” the letter said.

“Therefore, we are calling on you to lead the G20 to end the international trade in wild animals and wild animal products, asking global institutions and bodies to put in place mechanisms to develop, facilitate and implement this ban.”

According to the CEWT, the UK currently imports thousands of protected wild animals into the country, which are captured in the wild and then legally imported.

These include animals such as tortoises, pythons and monitor lizards, the organisation stated.

Author and television presenter Simon Reeve, who signed the letter, said that “tackling the source” of the Covid-19 outbreak, which has had a “devastating impact on all our lives”, “must be a priority”.

“Ending the exploitation of wildlife for use in the exotic pet, traditional medicine and entertainment industries will take us one huge step closer to safeguarding our health and the future of the natural world,” he said.

Sonul Badiani Hamment, UK external affairs adviser at World Animal Protection, said that a global effort is needed to end the exotic pet trade.

“To build back stronger we need to tackle the causes of the virus, avoid the inaction following previous epidemics and work together with countries around the world to end the wildlife trade and help prevent future zoonotic outbreaks,” Badiani-Hamment said.

“Covid-19 will be at the top of the agenda at the G20 meeting of global leaders in November and we urge the PM to back a global wildlife trade ban to protect billions of animals, our health and the global environment.”

(Story source: The Independent)

Adorable Great Dane is still obsessed with the cuddly toy she had as a puppy

A gorgeous Great Dane is still besotted with a dragon cuddly toy that she has had since she was a baby – and the pair are never apart.

Great Dane

The Metro reports that Elliot Mae – who was even named after the character from Disney’s Pete’s Dragon – became inseparable from her stuffed toy when she was only tiny.

Now fully grown at three years old, their friendship is as strong as ever, And an adorable series of photos charts their beautiful bond from the very early days when Elliot Mae was just a nipper.

The film that sparked this friendship is about the bond between a boy named Peter and a dragon named Elliot, which in many ways mirrors the closeness between Elliot Mae and her cuddly namesake.

‘I got Elliot from a breeder in May of 2017 when she was eight-weeks-old,’ says Elliot’s owner Mandy Helwege.

‘My Elliot was named after Elliot the Dragon, I had her name picked out shortly after she was born. ‘I ordered the dragon toy from Amazon so her breeder could use it in a photo shoot with her that I paid her to do when she was four-weeks old. ‘We have kept it with her old collars as a keepsake for close to three years.’

Mandy, who lives in Denver, Colorado, says Elliot is full of life, energetic, loving and independent.

‘She’s the best hiking partner and loves to adventure and explore the mountains we have surrounding us…maybe as much as she loves being in front of the camera and the centre of attention,’ adds the 33-year-old.

‘She’s not the brightest crayon in the box sometimes but she makes us laugh constantly and is my best friend.’

‘I’d often heard the phrase of people referring to one of their dogs as their “heart dog” and I can’t say I understood that sentiment until Elliot came into my life.’ ‘We have a connection unlike anything I’ve ever experienced or even could’ve imagined the first time I laid eyes on her.’

Don’t worry Elliot – you’re never too big for cuddly toys. We have a feeling that the bond between Elliot Mae and her beloved dragon is going to last for a lifetime.

(Story source: Metro)

A Street Cat Named Bob: Stray who inspired series of books dies

A pet that inspired the book A Street Cat Named Bob has died aged 14.

streetcat bob

BBC News reports that James Bowen met Bob in 2007 during his battle with drug addiction when he found the cat abandoned and injured and decided to look after him.

He began taking the ginger cat with him when busking or selling The Big Issue in London.

Bowen eventually wrote a book about their relationship which became a smash hit and was made into a film, featuring Bob, in 2016.

A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life was published in 2012, and there have since been five further books released in more than forty different languages.

A second film, A Gift from Bob, which also features the eponymous feline, is due to be released later this year. Bowen credits his scarf-wearing companion with aiding his own recovery.

In a statement on the official Facebook page for his books, the author said Bob had saved his life. “It’s as simple as that. He gave me so much more than companionship. With him at my side, I found a direction and purpose that I’d been missing.” “He’s met thousands of people, touched millions of lives. “There’s never been a cat like him. And never will again. “I feel like the light has gone out in my life. I will never forget him.”

(Story source: BBC News)

Cardboard football fans: Greyhound Cilla is a hit at Colchester United

A greyhound became an unlikely star when her cardboard cut-out appeared at a football match.

cardboard greyhound

BBC News reports that three-year-old Cilla’s photo was used among a crowd of virtual fans at Colchester United’s behind-closed-doors match against Exeter City.

Owners the Priest family were “amazed” when they saw Cilla on TV, and even more shocked by the thousands of messages they received
afterwards.

“It’s gone crazy”, said Kate Priest. “But I think it worked, as we won”. “People were talking about it on fans’ forums and all sorts,” said Mrs Priest.

Mrs Priest said the family was watching Thursday’s match when “all of a sudden” they saw Cilla on the television.

Football presenter Michelle Owen was among those who commented on Twitter, saying: “There will not be a better cardboard cut out of a fan. Ever.”

The club, like a number of others, has introduced cut-outs as a way of generating revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Freddie Mercury” was also in the virtual crowd watching Colchester beat Exeter 1-0.

Kim Kimber, head of retail at Colchester United, said there were about 500 cardboard fans in the stands for the team’s 1-0 win.

“It’s a bit of fun isn’t it? “But the fans are so gutted they can’t be here,” she added.

Cilla took her place in the stands alongside 500 other cardboard fans. The Priests have now set up an Instagram account for their famous dog, called “Cillathecardboarddog”.

However, Mrs Priest said Cilla did not seem fazed by fame and was “currently sleeping underneath a Colchester United flag in the lounge”.

(Story source: BBC News)