Pupaid – Could 2014 be THE year?

Puppy farming is defined as ‘a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare and is often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of dogs in their care’. And yes its a big problem here in the UK.

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This is something that makes most animal lovers angry and sad – why does this go on in an animal loving country like the UK? But the problem is that a lot of people don’t know about it – websites like Gumtree advertising cute puppies, pet shops (even those luxury ones) that sell puppies – they all come from puppy farms. Step in TV vet and animal welfare campaigner Marc Abraham (or Marc the vet as he’s more commonly known). He is the man behind Pupaid – the UK’s biggest anti puppy farming event.

Lovesniffy’s met up with him recently in primrose Hill – home to this years event…

“I was working in an emergency vet clinic a number of years ago now, and I noticed that we were getting more and more cases of sick puppies coming in and an increase of them having parvovirus. I started studying puppy farms on the internet to see what they were all about and how, if at all, they were regulated. To say I was shocked when I saw my first puppy farm is an understatement. I had to do something. I knew that there was a puppy mill awareness day in the US, so decided to start one here. I actually came up with the idea in the bath…”Marc-Abraham

From the bath to Brighton racecourse, Marc put on his first event in 2009. When MP Caroline Lucas turned up Marc knew his passion was gaining support,

“The first event was the called worlds biggest puppy party, I had no idea if anyone would turn up to be honest. But people did and were so supportive that I knew this was a cause that wasn’t one I was going to have to battle on my own. Since then the worlds biggest puppy party became Pupaid and we’ve had stars like Bob Geldolf talk about it, Ricky Gervais tweets about it and Liam Gallagher, Pual Weller and Brian May signed a guitar that was auctioned off – the support has been incredible”.

(There was also some air guitar with Brian May in his garden but thats another story!)

Since then Pupaid has moved to London and the event has taken place in Primrose Hill. This year’s event is certain to be the biggest so far with more interest, stars and trade coming than ever before.pupaid

As far as the campaign goes, 2014 is by far the biggest year in it’s history with the debate taking place in parliament tomorrow after the e-petition to stop the sale of puppies without their mothers present reached well over its 100,000 signature target.

“We need everyone’s support – we want puppy farming to become a thing of the past in the UK and its possible to achieve – in the US dog mad states like Los Angeles have banned the sale of dogs in shops. We can do it”.

Be part of Pupaid’s campaign – make sure your MP is taking part in the debate tomorrow and lets make puppy farms a thing of the past. If you’re unsure what to do visit the Pupaid website for all the info.

Join us at the UK’s biggest anti puppy farming event in Primrose Hill on September 6th and be part of something that will change animal welfare in the UK for the better. Lovesniffy’s are very proud to be a part of and support Pupaid.Pupaid

For more information visit Pupaid

Always remember the following when buying a puppy:

Only buy a puppy if:

You can see puppy interacting with mum
It’s a breeder recommended by the Kennel Club (preferably Assured Breeder)
It’s a rescue centre that’s a registered charity
Be suspicious of a puppy farmed pup if:

Mum isn’t there (she’s most likely miles away on cruel puppy farm)
You’re told mum’s at the vet, been run over, sick, basically anywhere else
Price is either very cheap (£100-£350) or very expensive (£2000-£7000)
Pup is being sold in a pet shop or garden centre

Rescue Dog Files…Cloud

They say every Cloud has a silver lining – well we hope this story will end with one.

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Gorgeous Cloud is around 3 years old and very friendly.

She loves treats and walks nicely on the lead.

She is full of love and affection and would make a fantastic friend for someone out there.

A bit like Nacho before he met little Twiglet, Cloud would be best living as the only dog in a home as she is very unsure of other dogs. This isn’t because Cloud doesn’t like them – she just doesn’t know how to interact and behave ‘properly’ – she probably missed out on the “rules” as a pup without a caring owner to show her the ropes.

Cloud is also best with no cats and if any children, they should be older ones over 12 only who would know how to behave around a little dog that isn’t sure of how to deal with the world around her.

Cloud deserves a loving home as she has so much love to give. Whilst brindles tend to stay in rescues for a long time we hope that this little girl will find her forever home soon – she deserves a chance to be loved.

For more information about Cloud click here.

If you can offer Cloud a home please contact http://www.findingfureverhomes.org.uk/

Rescue Dog Files…Honey

Hello my name is Honey.  HONEY LARGE

I am an adorable 2 year old Brussels Griffon cross.

I am quite a happy, excitable young lady who loves to play and enjoys going out for long walks.

I really love having company and like to be kept occupied so I would benefit from an owner who has lots of time to give me all the love and attention I need. I really like treats and I am keen to learn so would benefit from some all-round reward based training once I’ve has settled into my new home.

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I am quite excitable and full of beans so will make a lovely addition to an active home where I can be given lots of exercise and have my mind kept busy.

I would like to be the only pet in the home.

Honey is currently at the National Animal Welfare Trust in Hertfordshire – do get in touch with them if you can offer this lovely girl a home.

Rescue Dog Files…Denzil

As you know we are big into rescue dogs here at Lovesniffys and we will be featuring a different dog each week that needs a loving home.

Up this week is Denzil…Denzil3

Pint sized little monkey Denzil is a one year old male Miniature Pinscher crossbreed.

Denzil arrived at The Mayhew after being found abandoned on the streets of London through no fault of his own.

Denzil’s Vital Stats:

IntelligentDenzil 2

Active

SensitiveDenzil1

Nervous of strangers at first (which is no surprise) but it doesn’t take long for Denzil to make friends with people who are calm and gentle.

Super affectionate to people he knows and trusts

Barks at strangers who visit the house but regular visitors will be warmly welcomed.

Loves going to the park

Loves a cuddle! (Not so keen on toys)

 

From the Mayhew…

Denzil is now looking for a calm and quiet forever home with an experienced person or family who have owned dogs before and have researched my breed type. He can live with children from sixteen years of age and upwards but no visiting young children please. He could possibly live with another dog who could tolerate his lively nature and can also live with dog-confident cats. It’s not yet known how long he cope being left on my own for so he is currently looking for a home where there is somebody around for most of the day. Denzil’s new owners will be expected to continue my training and socialisation with strangers, take him to training classes and provide him with a minimum of one hour of active off-lead exercise every day.

If you’re interested in adopting Denzil you will need to be fully prepared for the hard work and long-term commitment involved in caring for a dog, you’ll be taking on a fourteen year commitment which must not be taken lightly.

Weight: 3kgs

If you can offer Denzil the home he deserves please contact The Mayhew Animal Home via their website or call 0208 962 8000

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Rehoming A Rescue Dog

As many of you who read our blog will know we are big fans of animal rescue and are very passionate about the rescuing and rehoming of abandoned dogs. Living in North London we have two fantastic charities on our doorstep that we work with – The Mayhew Animal Home and All Dogs Matter.

Nacho when he was found

Nacho when he was found

Our first dog Nacho came from the Mayhew – he was found in a bin bag at just a few weeks old. Nacho was our first dog and after getting him at 3 months we were getting used to the toilet training and those little razor teeth. Four years on Nacho is a dream dog and he comes everywhere with us.

Nacho at a past Doggy Sunday

Nacho now enjoying the life of riley!

We have been thinking about getting a second dog for a long time but have always been nervous as Nacho isn’t generally over keen on other dogs. This all changed when little Twiglet arrived at our house. From the moment she walked in Nacho was in love and that hasn’t stopped in over a week.

Around 2 years old and a proper Heinz 57, Twiglet was found wandering by a motorway and taken in by All Dogs Matter. When we first met her she was nervous and very shaky. Well a week on – she’s been on a weekend to Cornwall and now sleeps in bed with Nacho. The shakes have gone, she is great off lead and is eating well. Nacho is very food possessive and they ended up sharing a bowl yesterday! We think she may have been hit previously as she cowers when Sam goes to put a lead on for walks. However this is improving daily and she now wants to sit on his lap.Twiglet

We are big fans of positive reinforcement training and this is working wonders for her recall as she gets used to her name and is also working with toilet training. So far we have only had one accident in a week – pretty impressive I think.

If you’ve ever considered getting a rescue dog but were put off by the possibility of erratic behaviour or past trauma all I can say is give a rescue dog a chance. Twiglet has not had a good start to life but is a joy to have in our home. She settled (sleeping by me right now) in right away, eats her food with gusto and loves Nacho. It’s as if she has always lived in our house. Part of me thinks she is so pleased to finally have a home she can relax in and part of me likes to think she was always meant to end up here.

Over 20 dogs are put to sleep every day in the UK so why buy when you can adopt and save a dogs life? You can get all types of breeds from rescue centres – Ive seen everything from Cockapoo’s, pugs, shelties and chihuahuas. People pay thousands of pounds for a puppy when a perfectly healthy dog that just wants a loving home is waiting round the corner. The myth that rescue centres wont give dogs to people who live in flats, have young kids or work are false. We don’t have a garden, work and have visiting children.

The trend of buying dogs from the internet or in a shop is a worrying one and one that we want to see an end to. Dogs should never be sold in shops – chances are they are from a puppy farm and in poor health (see our previous posts about Pupaid) Something you will never get from a rescue as they will have been vet checked and vaccinated.

I can highly recommend The Mayhew Animal Home and All Dogs Matter, and all the other rescue centres out there saving these beautiful dogs.

Just look how happy these two are…

 

 

Meet the pawsome charities Bring Your Dog To Work Day is helping…

 

We’re so excited about the launch of Bring Your Dog to Work Day with Butch and Bess. Not only does it promise to be a super fun day for everyone involved, but it’s also going to help raise crucial funds and awareness for the work of three amazing charities that we hold very close to our hearts here at Lovesniffys. Even if you already bring your dog to work every day, you can help spread the word and upload a pooch selfie on www.bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk. And if you can’t bring you dog with you then you can still show your support for these great charities!

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There are so many dogs finding themselves without a loving home. All Dogs Matter take these dogs in need into care, whether they come from the streets, the pounds or even straight from the owners who no longer want them nor can keep them.

For All Dogs Matter, their mission is to pair up the dogs that come to them with a new owner who will give them a new life with the loving home and security they deserve. Much of the work that goes into rehoming these dogs is voluntary, but because each dog is fully assessed, health checked, vaccinated, neutered and microchipped before a new home is found for them, funding is vital to maintain the essential work the charity carries out.

The charity is regularly involved in successful fundraising and awareness events, including their biggest annual event Pup Idol which will be returning for 2014. On May 3rd All Dogs Matter hosted The Great Hampstead Bark Off where dog lovers and cake fanatics, even some celebrities, were able help this worthy cause.  

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Puppy farming is a problem in the UK. Puppies are bred for mass commercial production with no care given to theirs, the mothers’ or the stud dogs’ welfare. Many of these dogs are subject to horrific conditions and suffer from incurable and infectious diseases. The puppies that are sold are often in poor health and many die early on, causing both the animal and new owner heartache.  

Pup Aid seeks to raise awareness and bring attention to this cruel and tragic practice. Promoting responsible dog breeding practices and rescue dog adoption, the charity is constantly striving for puppy farming to end.

This year the charity is seeing movement with its ‘Where’s Mum?’ campaign. Over 110,000 people have signed the petition pushing for the practice to be stopped, which has now brought it to the attention of Parliament for debate.

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Animals Asia is an international charity seeking to promote compassion for animals and improve their welfare in China and Vietnam. Founded in 1998, the charity campaigns against the cruel bear bile industry, the trade of cats and dogs for meat and the abuse of animals in captivity.

Working with communities, the charity is trying to promote this change sensitively. They look to provide sustainable solutions for all parties which can help better welfare for animals in these areas and encourage respect. The charity has rescued over 400 bears providing care for them in award-winning sanctuaries in Asia.

In April this year, Animals Asia made the news when it struck an unprecedented deal that will allow them to convert a bear bile farm in China into a bear sanctuary, where they will be able to care for the sickest bears and provide urgent veterinary attention.

Each charity works tirelessly for fantastic cause, so if we can help out, even just by having a day at work with our dogs then that’s just what we’ll do!

Further information about the work of these brilliant charities and how you can help can be found at:

http://alldogsmatter.co.uk/

http://www.pupaid.org/

https://www.animalsasia.org/uk/

 

Animals Asia

I’ve been trying to write this blog ever since I returned from Chengdu and my visit to the amazing bears. Why am I finding it so difficult? It’s the bears – I just don’t know how to sum them up. Majestic creatures – yes. Awe inspiring – yes, but that doesn’t really go far enough. The trip has had a major effect on me – just as many people told me it would, just as it does on everyone that visits.

I don’t want this blog to simply be a diary of my trip I really want to tell you the bears’ story along side that of the utterly magnificent Jill Robinson.

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I have never met anyone like Jill.

Having started campaigning for the welfare of moon bears in 1993, and moving to rescue them from 1994, Animals Asia have rescued over 400 bears and have sanctuaries in both China and Vietnam. One woman started this charity with a vision of ending the bear bile trade in Asia.Image

Jill is recognised as one of the worlds leading experts on the trade and yet when you meet her it is the absence of ego that you first notice; she is eager to listen even to the untrained and goggle-eyed-tourist that was me. Her passion for the bears is clear to see and spending time with her at the sanctuary was a very special thing indeed.

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The sanctuary itself is a tranquil place made up of zones housing different bears. Some need their own space like the beautiful brown bear Oliver.

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Oliver is a very special brown bear that was in a cage for 30 years. 30 years in a cage being drained of his bile every day. He now ambles slowly (due to his legs being very obviously damaged) around his own little piece of paradise and while we observe him taking drinks from a little pond in his enclosure. The fact he is still alive is nothing short of a miracle and still brings a smile to Jill’s face.

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Another bear that moved me was beautiful Bluebell. We had been walking around the sanctuary for most of the day and had seen the wonderful Peter Egan’s namesake Peter bear. We were in this part of the sanctuary at a particular feeding time and there were a few bears eagerly waiting for their food. This is where we saw for the first time some stereotypical, caged bear behaviour – displayed at this point in time a swaying of the head or pacing – a coping mechanism if you like. This was the time when I saw Bluebell, a beautiful lady missing a leg and an eye. It was her face that tipped me over the edge – the cruelty these bears have had to endure which will obviously never leave them really hit home. It must be one of the cruelest things man does to an animal – trap them in a cage for their natural life to drain them dry.Image

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Seeing a moon bear close up for the first time is difficult to describe. They are like no other creature I’ve ever come across. You can tell these large fur balls mean business – they have claws that could rip your arm off in a second and yet all you want to do is give them a hug (we did not do this!). They are strong and elegant creatures but the most remarkable thing about these bears is their willingness to forgive.Image

Some had been locked in cages for the majority of their lives, cramped and unable to move whilst being tortured to extract their bile, but we witnessed Bamse the bear having blood taken. After all he had been through he voluntarily put his arm into a hole so the needle could draw the blood – the only thing needed for a little persuasion was condensed milk (might suggest this to my Doctor!). It was truly humbling sight, particularly because this is not something could have happened overnight. A long process is undertaken with each bear, built on trust, (condensed milk) and the kindness of the staff. This really demonstrated the values of Animals Asia to me. The time and love spent on each and every bear is what makes this place truly remarkable.

At the sanctuary the bears move around freely, foraging for food as part of their enrichment programme.

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The staff put various fruits and vegetables in sometimes difficult to reach places so the bears have to find the food, thus stimulating their natural instincts. This is done daily, but never repetitively in the same place. Animals Asia methods are all about trying to provide as natural a habitat as possible. This is not a zoo; Theres no petting, No stroking and no posed pictures with a bear here, and the only part of the sanctuary’s activities that don’t mimic the wild are to do with the bears health.

The bears have a health check every 2 years – checking teeth, mobility and scanning for any disease and I was lucky enough to see Harley’s health check up close. I wont go into the details as not being from a veterinary background I observed with fascination as the team, along with my travel buddy Marc Abraham (or Marc the vet) set about doing the various checks (which Im sure Marc will tell you about in his blog). The health check really was fascinating – seeing Harley up close was amazing. His fur was quite corse and his hands and feet so soft – a bit like the back of a dogs pads.

Image I saw harley’s scars from where the bile was extracted and felt how hard that part of him was compared to the rest and where he had been biting the bars of his previous prison making groves in his teeth.

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The care with which the health check was carried out was remarkable – his hands and his foot (Harley only has one leg) were covered in knitted water bottle type covers to keep him warm. I was also lucky enough to give harley’s nails a bit of a trim!

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Harley had to have a tooth extracted which was a long and tricky process due to the size of the teeth. However when we saw Harley the next day he was chomping down on a carrot!

As we walked around the sanctuary Jill showed us the grave yard and memorial which was very moving. Local staff visit and tend to the bears graves – each one bearing the mark of the moon bears – of course the Chinese love these bears just as much as Jill does.

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The great thing is that attitudes in China are changing. When I visited only seven years ago there were around 10 animal welfare charities. There are now, in 2013, more than 100 animal welfare groups in the country. Animals Asia help educate the former and even current farmers of bears. It is that willingness to engage has won them great advancements in the cause and now the Chinese government is on side in the fight against the bear bile trade.

Of course its not just the bears that Animals Asia help – they help fight the dog meat trade and are encouraging therapy sessions in their Doctor Dog programme – I will bring you more on this in Part 2 of this blog.

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Can a rescue dog be trained?

Having volunteered at The Mayhew Animal Home for over 4 years I have seen all sorts of dogs come through their doors; Dogs that were abandoned, mistreated or simply no longer wanted. Some of these dogs have never had any form of training – not even knowing the basic commands of sit and stay. So is it possible to train a dog thats had months or years to develop bad habits?

Step in Wallace…

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Wallace was brought to The Mayhew at eight months old due to his owners ill health. Wallace had all the energy you would expect from a young German Shephard – he was exuberant and sometimes a little full on but was eager to please. He needed someone that had the time and experience of his breed to explore his potential. Step in Robert – an ex police dog handler. Wallace was in for a treat.

I met up with them both last week to see how Wallace was getting on (a normal part of the post adoption process). To say I was impressed is an understatement. We stood in a field whilst Robert showed me some of Wallace’s repertoire – including search and rescue of items that Robert had left in the field the previous evening (one of which was half way up a tree), heel work, recall and scent trails. Wallace aced all of it.

Wallace has been with Robert a mere 6 months and clearly adores him although I think the feeling is mutual.

Wallace is set to become a security patrol dog as he is getting ready for some very thorough and challenging tests which he will surely breeze through. He is taking these tests far earlier than Robert predicted he would and goes so far as to say Wallace is one of the brightest dogs he has ever trained.

Yes Robert has the skills to teach Wallace above and beyond what most owners usually do (myself included) however the fact remains that rescue dogs are just as trainable and eager to please as any dog you buy from a breeder. It may in some cases, take a little more time and patience but boy is it worth it!

Please note that in this video (which is a little far away as I didn’t want to interrupt) Wallace is NOT on a lead and didn’t need any treats or bribes – just a ball at the end.

For more information on the Mayhew Animal Home and dogs waiting for adoption click here