Cornish pet shop turned into bar selling dog-friendly beer and coffee

Dogs like to hang by the bar too, you know.

Dog bar

Metro reports that a pet shop in Cornwall is now a doggie social spot with its own bar for dogs – where they sell up to 40 bottles of ‘beer’ a day.

The Doghouse Deli & Bar in Polperro, Cornwall, has two bars stocked with the likes of Bottom Sniffer ‘beer’, a ball pool, McDoggo’s drive-thru, Starbarks coffee and an art gallery catering for doggievision. The fake booze on offer includes Bad Spaniels, Pawroni and Wagners.

Pups can now enjoy human vices, thanks to this dog destination. Pets also love the daily scent that’s fanned around the shop – it could be anything from bacon to a Cornish pasty.

The popular bar is the brainchild of Gareth Evans, who has enjoyed so much success he’s planning to open another shop in Devon.

Mr Evans said: ‘I started as a dog photographer, but realised I couldn’t just have a shop just doing that, so we decided to do other things in here and it’s grown from there.

‘We’ve been going for four years and word is really growing. We wanted it to be really different and interactive. ‘It’s essentially a bar for dogs – during the summer we sell around 40 bottles of ‘beer’ a day. Dogs love it in here and because it’s a pretty small shop it can get absolutely manic!’

Another key feature is a 6,000-strong ball pool which is the site of a competition to see how fast a dog can retrieve three tennis balls from the pit.

Top of the leader-board for the past two years has been an enthusiastic Border Collie called Pippin who does it in ten seconds. There’s also a drive-thru where pampered pooches can pose with their heads through a car window while a fan blows their fur, and a coffee bar area filled with coffee-orientated toys and treats.

(Story source: Metro)

Blood donor spaniel Arnie retires after saving at least 80 sick dogs

A spaniel who has donated 21 pints of blood over the years is retiring – after helping save
the lives of at least 80 other dogs.

blood donor spaniel

Metro reports that English springer Arnie, nine, started donating to Pet Blood Bank in 2015 but has had to stop after reaching the age limit.

Canine lifesavers must be between one and eight, more than 25kg, fit and healthy, and not have been abroad recently. Arnie started donating when owner Rachel McFarlane, 36, read an appeal for more blood donors to help save dogs.

Each pint has the potential to save four dogs’ lives, meaning Arnie has helped some 84. He can give blood every eight weeks at a local vet’s.

Dog groomer Rachel, from Falkirk, Scotland, said Arnie didn’t start donating until he was nearly three but she would have signed him up sooner if she had known about the service.

Rachel said: ‘It’s amazing the number of people who have never even heard of dogs donating blood.

Dogs have two blood types, positive and negative, with positive being the most common, which is what Arnie is. ‘Each pint can go towards helping four other dogs.

‘I don’t think a lot of people know about it – until you are in the situation it’s maybe not something you think about. ‘It is very unusual for a springer spaniel to be able to donate because they are generally under 25kg.

‘It is normally bigger dogs like poodles, labradors and German shepherds you see donating, but Arnie is big for his breed so has been able to do it.

‘When he goes in they take a little sample of his blood to make sure everything is OK. ‘Then they get him up on the table to put the needle in his neck to draw the pint. ‘Some dogs are so relaxed they are almost sleeping while the blood is being taken.’

Rachel explained: ‘The nurses distract Arnie with lots of gravy bones and treats. ‘He is always fine when he is getting it done and loves having everyone fuss over him.

‘The dogs get a goodie bag after every donation which has treats and toys in it, and they get a bigger gift bag every fifth time – Arnie got a lead in his. ‘He also got a goodie box when he retired with treats and toys. ‘Arnie isn’t the cleverest of spaniels, but he has certainly done a wonderful job over the years – he’s a good boy.’

(Story source: Metro)

‘Happy dog time’: Boom in UK dog-sitting as owners return to office

Dog borrowers are stepping in to help with the challenge of fitting new pets to a post-lockdown lifestyle.

dogsitting

After a difficult year including a bad breakup and her parents moving abroad, Aimée Lou McAvoy was desperate for a change of scene. She started occasional dog-sitting, escaping London for days at a time to stay in country homes and care for adorable pets while their owners were away.

With more people returning to the office after the end of the government’s advice to work from home because of the Covid pandemic, the business of looking after dogs has been booming.

New customer inquiries at Barking Mad, which offers local dog home-boarding services, are up by 1144.36%, in the year to date for 2022 against the same period last year, and up by 482.75% compared with pre-pandemic demand in 2019.

While McAvoy’s short breaks are hard work and unpaid, it means she can work from the countryside homes she stays in, and the dogs give her a welcome sense of routine as well as a mood boost.

“They all love me and even after a week it’s really hard to leave them,” she said. “It’s a relief if you’re anxious to have animals around. They follow me around the house and come sit by me when I’m working, they wake me up in the morning – it’s really cheerful.”

About 3.2m households in the UK have acquired a pet since the start of the Covid pandemic. While this has brought a myriad of benefits to new dog owners, from helping them cope emotionally with the social isolation and stress of lockdowns to keeping them fit and active, the ending of restrictions has raised fresh challenges, among them how pets fit into their owners’ post-lockdown lifestyle.

In a Kennel Club survey, one in five new owners cited worries about behaviour, time and costs related to caring for their dog after lockdown.

About 20% of new owners who bought a puppy during the pandemic said they had not fully considered the long-term commitment or responsibility of having a dog, and 18% were not sure how they would look after their animal when they returned to the workplace.

Even for many existing dog owners, their pets had grown so used to them being at home that the changes have led to similar difficulties, including separation anxiety.

Rikke Rosenlund, the CEO and founder of BorrowMyDoggy, noticed more borrowers signing up to the platform during lockdowns, while more owners had signed up for help after. While some owners had less need for somebody to walk their dog during the pandemic as they were at home more, others such as key workers some needed the help, she said.

She said people were continuing to borrow dogs to help them cope with loneliness.

The end of restrictions also brought together the problem of people going out more while realising their dogs – many of them new – had not properly socialised.

BorrowMyDoggy has also experienced dog owners borrowing dogs, rather than buying another, to help socialise their pet.

The pandemic reinforced a sense of community between borrowers and owners, she said. “When we were all told to stay at home, a lot of our members started to deliver food for each other, or dogs would temporarily move over to the borrower’s house if needed,” Rosenlund said.

“A member of my team had Covid early on and the person she borrows dogs from delivered food to her. Then later on in the pandemic, the owner had long Covid and the dog actually moved over to her house for three months.”

Jeanette Blackaller, 71, and her husband, Michael, 78, of Plymouth, would have faced total isolation during lockdowns were it not for the walkers and sitters who borrowed their five dogs through BorrowMyDoggy. “We were vulnerable and neither of us have family in the area – we could’ve been really isolated.

But they were on the doorstep saying what shopping do you need, let us take the dogs and give you a break. It meant that our lives could carry on as normally as possible, and the dogs stayed fit and well.”

One of their dogs, Maya, a chihuahua, was eventually rehomed with one of her sitters. “It’s opened up the world for our dogs and saved us so much stress trying to exercise them. We couldn’t have managed Covid without our walkers,” she said.

Rosenlund said people who use the platform build strong relationships over their love of dogs, with no money exchanged between parties: “They’re just doing each other favours by either getting some happy dog time, or getting help with socialising and walking their dog.”

Meanwhile, McAvoy says most of the owners she helps out need their dogs looked after while they visit holiday homes or go on business trips abroad, so she will continue dog-sitting whenever she needs to get away from it all, taking the opportunity to stay in lovely places she wouldn’t normally visit and enjoy the unconditional love of dogs.

“It’s like going on holiday, it’s short-term relief, but it’s good for when you really need to get away from everything and just roam the fields with a dog,” she said.

(Article source: The Guardian)

When pets come between partners: 10 top tips to avoid the ‘it’s me or the dog’ ultimatum

Relationship expert Judy Cogan reveals the 10 most common arguments couples have over pets and how to avoid them.

pets and partners

Pets can bring endless amounts of joy to a home. But it’s not all blissful country walks and companionship.

Pets can often spark arguments about anything from general discipline to where they sleep at night and how much they cost to keep. “A pet can change your life and impact your relationship massively,” relationship expert Ness Cooper tells i.

“This often takes people by surprise and can challenge the shared beliefs you have established as a couple, causing friction. But often it is about embracing your new pet as part of your relationship.” Here, Cooper shares tips on how to avoid the “it’s me or the dog” ultimatums.

We clash over disciplining our pet

This is where the roles of good cop/bad cop often come into play. Couples will argue if they’re not on the same page with pet rules and routines. Discipline is important for pets, especially dogs, and you’ll all benefit from sticking to a consistent plan in the long run. It’s up to you to teach your pet where they can and can’t roam and what they can play with and chew. Make a room or area of your home a pet-free zone. Allowing your pet to be comfortable in certain spots will give you more space to relax as a couple.

I’m left to do all the dirty work

Having a pet can be fun and rewarding. But picking up dog mess in the park or changing the litter tray is less so. If one person is always cleaning up, patience will wane and tempers fray.

Navigate this by agreeing to a pet schedule dividing the time spent on your furry friend equally. But don’t just focus on the messy jobs. Make sure you both get to enjoy the pet with play routines, snuggles and activities to do together. Taking on its care as a partnership will give you a joint goal and strengthen your connection.

I’m always doing the early walks in the rain

No-one likes getting out of bed early on a cold and rainy winter morning. But this task needs to be split equally to maintain balance. Simply take it in turns. When it’s your turn, treat it like “me time” in the morning.

Choose a nice walking route, stop for a morning coffee or meet up with another dog walker to mix it up. If you really can’t agree, find a local dog walker or use a free app such as Borrow My Doggy to help avoid arguments.”

The pet was bought with an ex

Pets often pick their human and form an unbreakable bond. It’s natural to feel jealous if you’re the outsider, but if bonding with the pet doesn’t work, try to gain an understanding of your feelings and talk to your partner. If you are concerned the pet represents a past relationship dynamic, that might relate to deeper issues in your relationship. It’s important to respect your partner’s relationship status with their pet. Pets shouldn’t be seen as competition even when they pre-date your relationship.

Having a pet stops us being spontaneous

If you feel your pet has zapped the spontaneity from your relationship, have a rethink. Spontaneity is a mindset and the focus shouldn’t be on when romance and intimacy happens, but whether it’s fulfilling when it does. Planning can still be rewarding and allows for excitement and suspense to build.

Arranging regular doggy day-care days or stints in the kennels will give you time to be more spontaneous. And if you’re taking the pet on holiday with you, bring items to distract it when needed.

The responsibility is crushing

Caring for a pet can be overwhelming and young animals can be especially challenging. Feeling frustrated is natural. Your life has changed and, much like having a child, you need to accept this and give yourself time to adapt. But once you form new routines things will get easier. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family to help out if you need a breather and plan pet-free time as a couple to ensure your bond stays strong.

The cost of the pet is escalating

If one of you is overspending on doggy grooming, cute accessories and toys on top of essential costs such as food, bedding and vet bills, this can cause friction. You’d be surprised how many people don’t look at their finances before getting a pet. Try and work out a pet budget with your partner and look at areas you can claw back. Also remember the dog is not just for Instagram likes. It is a living creature with its own emotions. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make it happy and the rewards it gives you are priceless.

I hate the dog sleeping in our bed

A pet sharing your bed you can at best interfere with your night-time routine and at worse ruin your sleep patterns and sex life.

The pet might feel loved and safe, but it takes up space, pongs and leaves hair all over the duvet. Getting this comes down to compromise and setting boundaries. Who comes first, your relationship or your dog?

Talk about it and try a transition period to train the pooch to sleep elsewhere. Distract it away from the bed with toys and treats until it learns the bed is off limits.

The pet gets the most attention

A recent study found four in 10 adults admit to giving their pooch more affection than their other half. If the dog gets showered in treats and affection and sits in prime spot on the sofa at night, communicate your concerns to your partner in a positive way. Letting your partner know you enjoy snuggling up on the sofa and being close to them will renew your connection. If all else fails, accept the pet is here to stay and buy a bigger sofa.

The pets make the house dirty

If one of you is house proud or needs order to feel calm, messy pets running riot can be a sensitive issue. You both need to compromise by learning your hygiene thresholds in the home and respecting them. Sharing cleaning equally each week or hiring a cleaner can reduce conflict. Learning healthy ways to deal with conflicts is key, because pets pick up on tension and often react accordingly.

(Article source: Inews)

‘We bonded big time’: The man who trains guide dogs with love, dedication – and a broken heart

After losing his own dog, Gary Lyon decided to avoid heartbreak by taking puppies. The Guardian Angel sends toys to his current charge.

guide dogs

Fostering guide dogs was part of Gary Lyon’s plan to never get his heart broken again. It backfired spectacularly.

It all started when Lyon, a 75-year-old retired plant pathologist, had to put down his pet dog, Zac.

“He was a lovely boy,” says Lyon. “But he had all sorts of health problems towards the end, and was off his feet and not happy.”

Zac, a Lhasa Apso, always had a very responsive tail. When it was up, he was happy; when it was down, he was sad. “We noticed his tail was down all the time,” says Lyon, “and realised the end was nigh.

After it was done, my wife Carol and I said we never wanted to go through that again.” It is the first of many times in our phone call that Lyon almost cries.

Lyon lives near Guide Dog UK’s dog training centre in Forfar, north of Dundee, where puppies finish their training before being rehomed. “I’d seen people locally with guide dog puppies,” says Lyon, “and thought, ‘That’s a good way to go. That way, I don’t ever have to put another dog down.’”

He signed up to be a trainer in 2014. For the first year of their lives, puppies live at Lyon’s home. He teaches them basic commands and more complex skills, such as how to lead people upstairs and how to stop at a curb and wait for the lights to change.

“Guide dogs are some of the best-bred dogs,” says Lyon. “If there are any medical or behavioural issues, their parents are taken out of the breeding programme.

They’re intelligent, inquisitive, confident.” Most are labradors, golden retrievers or German shepherds – or a mix of these breeds.

One of the first dogs Lyon trained was Elvis, a labrador. Lyon taught Elvis how to identify a door. “What you do,” he says, “is say, ‘find door’, go to a door, rattle the handle, then give him a treat.”

To test him, he took Elvis to a shopping centre in Dundee. “I said, ‘find door,’ and he took me to the nearest exit. We hadn’t even come in that way. I had no idea how he did it. I think he smelled the fresh air.”

When he started working with Elvis, Lyon thought it would be easy to give him back. (Lyon usually gets the puppies when they are seven weeks old, and hands them back to continue their training when they are 14 months.)

“When we first got Elvis,” Lyon says, “people said, ‘Won’t it be hard to give him up?’ We said, ‘Oh no, it’s not like putting a dog down.’ I had no idea. I just disintegrated when the dog went.” He chokes up again.

The next dog Lyon trained was Murphy, a lab-retriever cross. “He was so cute it was unbelievable,” he says. Murphy went to Sarah Parkinson, who is 55 and lives in Newtongrange, just outside Edinburgh.

“I became very depressed when my eyesight deteriorated about five years ago,” says Parkinson. “I had to give up work and felt completely confined to the house.

But when I got Murphy life just started getting better. He enabled me to live a full life again. He’s changed my life completely.”

Lyon, she says, is a truly remarkable person. “He’s so dedicated,” she says. “He produces such rounded dogs. They’re so loving and caring and well-trained.”

Parkinson, Lyon and Carol are now friends: she comes to visit, and brings Murphy with her.

Watching Murphy interact with his new owner is a bittersweet joy. Murphy looks up at Sarah with such love, Lyon tells me. He is emotional again.

After Murphy, there was Rocky, a German shepherd. “God,” says Lyon, voice cracking. “He was lovely. I bonded with him big time. Floods of tears when he went.”

The most recent dog was Forest. “He was the best,” says Lyon. “He was stunning. My wife bonded with him and said, ‘I can’t do it again.’”

It’s a bitter irony, I point out, that a plan to avoid the heartbreak of putting down another dog has locked Lyon into a perpetual cycle of loss – only with many animals, not just one.

“I am torturing myself,” he agrees. “But it’s worth it.” He says it is a privilege to train the dogs. “I’m doing something useful. You can’t always do something useful in life.”

When asked about his treat from Guardian angel, Lyon is resolute: the only thing he wants are some fresh toys for his current charge, Danny, a 13-month-old labrador-retriever cross.

“He loves soft toys,” Lyon explains, “but they don’t last long.”

Online pet boutique Love My Human provides Danny with a box, which the puppy immediately gets to work on.

“He’s shredded one of them already,” says Lyon. “It was a pig. There’s only a tail left now.” They’ve been playing tug-of-war with the remaining toys: it takes all of Lyon’s effort not to fall over.

“They’re such strong dogs,” Lyon says.

Watching Danny gambol and play with his new toys is a bittersweet experience for Lyon.

“I’m not yet dreading him leaving,” he says. “That comes later, when they’re getting ready to go. I just want him to succeed.”

(Article source: The Guardian)

Doggy down in the dumps? Dogs get depression too – and they’ll need more than walkies to make them feel better

Mental health problems affect three-quarters of dogs, according to a survey – and owners need to learn to spot the signs.

dog depression

On Tuesday, my puppy, Penny, didn’t eat her lunch. She’s been healthy and apparently happy for the seven months since she joined our family, and has never missed a meal, treat or stray crumb. But I was prepared for this, and diagnosed her with pre-menstrual stress. Later, when she was sick, I realised she’d probably chewed too many sticks.

It never crossed my mind that she may be depressed. Her life is flush with walks, warm beds to snuggle in and lots of attention. But this week the charity Guide Dogs announced that 74 per cent of Britain’s 8.8 million dogs could be showing signs of depression and anxiety and 18 per cent may have symptoms every week.

It sounds like a canine mental-health crisis. The figure “one in four” is often used for poor mental health in human adults: could it be that as our mental health has plummeted in the past two years, the wellbeing of our dogs has followed suit?

Experts have predicted a surge in these problems as owners return to work and pandemic puppies have to adapt to drastically reduced hours with their humans.

Penny tends to look for trouble when she’s not getting enough attention. She has a morning walk followed by a long nap. When she wakes she eats, finds a toy and brings it to me.

She only needs 10 minutes of intense playtime, but if I turn away to meet a deadline, 15 minutes later I’ll find her emptying the recycling box or shredding a loo roll.

She might get the hump during my daughter’s bath and bedtime and get a slipper between her teeth and come and show me that she’s chewing it because she wants to play. This feels like standard puppy behaviour, not a cause for concern.

“It’s outdated to think that dogs just need a walk or two a day to be content,” explains Dr Helen Whiteside, the chief scientific officer at Guide Dogs.

“Without different forms of mental stimulation, dogs can begin to show signs of behavioural issues, such as anxiety and frustration.”

Penny’s puppy trainer told me that five minutes of a mental workout, such as doing some scent-work with treats, can demand far more from a dog than physical exercise. We have rubber toys you can hide treats inside, there are also real puzzles around for dogs and if you’re balancing home-working and pet care, these toys are like live-in day-care.

But how can I tell if my dog is actually depressed? Guide Dogs says the most common symptoms are loss of appetite (36 per cent), destructiveness (32 per cent) and low activity levels (31 per cent).

Preventing depression

Food-based problem-solving puzzles: Hide treats under cups and move the treat around, releasing it when the dog chooses the right cup.

Foraging for toys and treats: Satisfy your dog’s natural urge to hunt, problem-solve and play. Use household items to hide the treats instead of buying toys.

‘Sniffari’ walks: Try walks that go at the dog’s pace, allowing them to stop and sniff wherever they like.

Interactive toys: Give less active dogs a reason to move – encourage owner and dog to play together.

Sensory activities: Teach dogs to find smelly items or treats, or turn on a bubble machine in the garden.

Physical activities: An agility course might suit some breeds. Create your own using tree stumps, low walls or other obstacles.

Hyperactivity, incessant barking and a loss of interest in things they used to enjoy are other signs. This sounds to me more like boredom or frustration – but these are contributing factors to overall wellbeing.

According to the Kennel Club, different routines or environments – divorce, house moves, children growing up and leaving home or the change in working patterns so many are experiencing at the moment -can cause depression in dogs.

Many owners are proactive – according to Guide Dogs, 58 per cent will take them on a long walk or pet them when they notice signs of unhappiness, while 51 per cent offer treats – but these feel like baseline requirements to me.

It is not yet clear what will become of many pandemic pups, but I really hope that the vast majority are continuing to get regular walks, treats, love and much more.

(Article source: Inews)

Dogs experience a form of mourning when another dog in the household dies

Research finds behaviour changes in dogs who have lost a canine companion.

dog Mourning

The loss of a loved one can have a profound impact on humans, affecting everything from sleep patterns to appetite. Now researchers say they have found similar behaviour changes in dogs who have lost a canine companion.

While the team say it is not clear if the findings can be described as grief, they say the work potentially indicates an overlooked welfare issue.

Dr Federica Pirrone of the University of Milan, who is one of the study’s authors, said: “Dogs are highly emotional animals who develop very close bonds with the members of the familiar group. This means that they may be highly distressed if one of them dies and efforts should be made to help them cope with this distress.”

Expressions of grief are not unique to humans: great apes, dolphins, elephants and birds are among species that have been observed to take part in rituals around death and appear to mourn.

Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, Pirrone and colleagues describe how they analysed the responses of 426 Italian adults who completed a “mourning dog questionnaire” online to investigate how canines experience grief.

All of the participants had experienced the loss of one of their dogs while at least one other dog was still alive, and the questionnaire looked at the behaviour and emotions of the owner and their surviving dogs after the death. The results reveal that 86% of owners said their surviving dogs had shown behavioural changes after the death of another canine in the household.

Pirrone said: “Overall, dogs were reported to play and eat less, sleep more and seek more for owners’ attention.” She said the results did not appear to be affected by the level of attachment between the owner and their dog or whether they humanised their pets, suggesting the owners were not simply projecting their grief.

The team said the changes did not turn out to be linked to how long the dogs had lived together or whether the surviving dogs had seen the corpse. The researchers said there were a number of possible explanations for the findings, including that the death may have disrupted shared behaviours for the surviving dogs.

“In support of this hypothesis we found that if dogs used to share food during life, the surviving dog was more likely to reduce her/his level of activities and sleep more after the loss,” the authors wrote. The results also revealed behavioural changes were stronger for dogs that were reported to have had a friendly relationship with the animal that had died, or who had been their parent or offspring.

“Most likely this means that the surviving dog has lost an attachment figure, who provided safety and security,” said Pirrone.

Human emotions may also play a role: increases in the surviving dogs’ levels of fear and a reduction in food consumption were associated with greater suffering, anger and psychological trauma in the owners in response to the death. “This means that there might have been some form of emotional contagion or of social transmission of fear, that is common in social species as part of an adaptive coping strategy with potentially dangerous circumstances,” said Pirrone. The team said, however, the finding could also be linked to owners’ perceptions of the surviving dogs’ behaviour or emotions. Pirrone said the definition of “grief” in dogs, as for young children, was not straightforward.

“Dogs do form emotional bonds, and hence the loss of a companion animal in their household can be expected to cause behavioural changes, like those we recorded in our study, which overlap what we normally interpret as being grief and mourning,” she said. “Of course, based on our results we still cannot tell whether these dogs were responding only to the ‘loss’ of an affiliate, or to their ‘death’ per se.”

Prof Samantha Hurn, a social anthropologist at the University of Exeter, said it was important to understand what a dog may experience upon the death of a canine companion, but added the study had limitations, including that owners were not always good at reading dog behaviour, while the use of questionnaires involving scales for such a subjective issue may limit the conclusions that can be drawn. She said: “In the course of my own research I have experienced many dogs and other animals behaving in very different ways, but ways which nonetheless suggested to me that they were emotionally impacted by the death of a close companion.”

(Story source: The Guardian)

UK dog-groomer to travel to war-torn Ukraine with van full of pet food

Kate Geernaert has launched a public appeal for donations ahead of the journey.

Dog Groomer

Berkshire Live reports that a dog groomer is preparing to travel to Ukraine with a van full of pet food and aid in a bid to help those with animals fleeing the conflict. Kate Geernaert, from Paulton in Somerset, plans to head to the Polish border next week with her partner Clint Sheppard.

They will set off in convoy with vehicles from the charity Dogbus, first taking the Eurotunnel shuttle to France before driving to eastern Europe. On reaching Poland, one of the vans will venture into Ukraine to provide aid, while others will help those who have crossed the border, reports Somerset Live.

More than one million refugees have fled the country since the Russian invasion began eight days ago, according to the UN refugee agency. President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a full-scale assault on Ukraine has been condemned internationally, with many countries including the UK responding with heavy sanctions.

Ms Geernaert has launched a public appeal for donations ahead of the journey. She is calling for items – including large bags of dog and cat food, jerry cans, medical supplies, leads, carriers, dog coats and blankets – to be gifted to The Dog Groomery in Paulton ahead of Monday, March 7.

Any human aid, from first aid kits to warm clothes for children, will also be kindly received. The couple have already received hundreds of cash donations totalling more than £10,000.

Ms Geernaert said she had cancelled a holiday to Rome, Italy, to free up time for the trip to Ukraine. In a Facebook post, she wrote: “As we know, the Ukrainian people and animals are desperate and in need of help. Families are fleeing to safety with their pets and very few belongings and supplies.” “We can’t even imagine how scary this is for these people and pets right now”, she added. “Many of us locally have wondered how we can help, now you can.”

Labour councillor for Paulton, Grant Johnson, has lent his support to the campaign. He wrote on Facebook: “If you can, please donate to this fantastic local initiative […] which will make sure families fleeing Ukraine with their beloved pets can get them the food they need to survive.

“I think all of us have been shocked at the devastation being caused in Ukraine and heartbroken to see families torn from their loved ones. This is one of many aid appeals you will see but uniquely targeted at supporting the pets that will be comforting owners as they make the most perilous journeys of their life. I will give Kate and Clint all my support with this project, and wish them the best of luck.”

(Story source: Berkshire Live)

How animals in Ukraine are being rescued during war

More than one million people have now fled Ukraine, with the EU suggesting that number could rise to four million.

animals rescues

BBC News reports that the scale of the tragedy is still unfolding – and while the focus is rightly on the humanitarian disaster, it’s meant some people have had to make agonising decisions about what to take with them.

And that includes what happens to their much-loved pets.

The devastation caused by some of these rocket attacks, that open environment full of glass, concrete and metal is dangerous to people but also to animals,” James Sawyer, UK director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

His organisation supports shelters in Ukraine and has been supplying resources like food, veterinary supplies and paying the wages of staff during the war to ensure animals can carry on being looked after.

“Local supplies are running out, one of the two animal shelters we support has been damaged by shells, losing one of the animals,” he adds.

Emergency support

James says it’s “too unsafe to be able to put boots on the ground”, so the IFAW is focusing on the best possible support remotely.

They’ve been providing emergency aid to staff who’ve reported a dire situation with 1,100 dogs in their care.

And staying to look after the animals is obviously dangerous. At one shelter, staff say they’re too scared to light a fire in case it draws unnecessary attention.

Crossing the border

There are also issues trying to evacuate across the border, with rules around microchipping and vaccination for animals normally in place.

PETA Germany has been on the border trying to “shepherd animals out safely”, according to Jennifer White from the animal rights group.

Like IFAW, she says the group is working with partner organisations in neighbouring Romania who’ve managed to get into Ukraine to rescue abandoned animals, along with offering to vaccinate dogs and cats.

She says two tonnes of cat and dog food have been donated, as well as giving blankets to people who’ve been walking vast distances.

When you think of animals, it’s not just about household pets.

“Whenever an area is hit by war, those animals stuck in the zoo are dependent,” Jennifer says.

Reports suggest animals from the Save Wild bear sanctuary near Kyiv were transported to Poland, where a zoo has offered them refuge for the duration of the war. But that’s not the case everywhere, with staff at the Kyiv zoo reportedly saying the opportunity to evacuate its animals has now well and truly passed.

“It’s almost impossible to evacuate animals, because it’s impossible to provide appropriate veterinary service and transportation,” says Kyrylo Trantin, the zoo’s chief.

What can people in the UK do?

Jennifer says people should be writing to their MPs to urge government action on relaxing rules to allow entry for people in the UK with their companion animals.

A statement by DEFRA says are “strong biosecurity measures in place to protect the public and other animals from diseases”.

But it adds it recognises “the difficult and distressing situation” that Ukrainian nationals faced and the UK government was “looking at options to provide support” to those entering the UK with their pets.

The charity Paws And Whiskers Sussex say they are working with groups in Romania, trying to empty as many shelters there to make space for Ukrainian animals, by getting the animals to the UK.

“The plan is once the Ukrainian animals have received veterinary care and assessments, then we can also begin to find homes for them as well,” says Hannah Carter, director of the group.

James adds people shouldn’t travel to the war zone and instead should support organisations doing expert work.

“Most importantly, you need to remain committed for the long-term, because solutions for people and animals require that commitment and approach.”

(Story source: BBC News)

People fleeing Ukraine cling to their beloved pets amid war

Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing Ukraine after Russian troops invaded.

ukraine pets

No one should have to experience a heart-breaking situation like this, but even in the toughest of times, the victims refuse to leave any loved ones behind. That includes their beloved pets.

Many photos have appeared on social media showing Ukrainians holding their pets close as they evacuate. This includes dogs, cats, and even fish! Luckily, many people are supporting the Ukrainians’ dedication to their furry friends. Countries are helping them get pets to safety while people are donating to keep animals safe. Even in the most difficult times, no family members get left behind.

Helping humans and animals to safety

Clean Futures Fund is a Missouri-based organisation that provides international support after industrial accidents and long-term remedial activities. They were forced to suspend operations at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant amid the Russian invasion. So, they’re unable to support power plant workers.

This organisation also had a Dogs of Chernobyl program to provide food, veterinary care, and spay/neuter procedures to stray dogs and cats. Their efforts have helped reduce the area’s wild dog population by 50%. But right now, there’s nothing they can do to protect the canines in Ukraine.

Even without the help of major organisations, pet parents in Ukraine are doing everything they can to support each other. Many people are taking their pets with them as they evacuate. Photos have been
posted of people holding dogs, cats, pet carriers, and fish tanks during the war.

Luckily, other countries are doing everything they can to help people take pets with them. Poland, Romania, and Slovakia are letting Ukrainians bring pets across borders without requiring veterinary
paperwork. These loosened travel restrictions have likely saved the lives of many pets so far.

How Can You Support Ukraine Pets?

While many pets are safely evacuating the country with their humans, not all pets and humans are safe yet. Many animals left behind in Ukraine are in desperate need of food and medical attention. Some volunteers and shelter employees have chosen to stay behind to care for animals in need, despite the risks involved.

Several organisations are offering support to animals in Ukraine, but they need the public’s help to function. Here are a few places you can donate to if you want to save some animals amid this horrific war:

• UAnimals – This organisation helps animal shelters that are struggling to collect food and supplies in Ukraine. Give a Paw, Chance for Life, Pif, and Sirius are just a few shelters they’re assisting.
• Happy Paw – Happy Paw is supporting shelter animals and strays. They’re currently gathering information to find out the shelters’ biggest needs, and they’ll support them in any way possible.
• Shelter Ugolyok – This is an animal rescue and sanctuary that’s providing food for animals in need.
• Sirius – Sirius is a shelter in Kyiv that currently needs all the support they can get.
• Casa lui Patrocle – Volunteers with this organization are helping find housing and veterinary care for families with pets to ensure that no animals are left behind.
• International Animal Protection League – This animal refuge is located just outside of Kyiv, and they are still caring for hundreds of homeless animals during this time.

Many pets have already escaped Ukraine with their humans, but not everyone is safe yet. Donating and spreading the word about these organizations can help protect more people and animals.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who are ensuring that pets don’t get left behind in Ukraine.

(Story source: I Heart Dogs)