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Archive for September 2009

Pets can help prevent depression

Sourced from

Keeping a four-legged, furry pet is practically the best safeguard against depression, anxiety or blood pressure, according to an American scientist.

“Research in this field is providing new evidence on the positive impact pets have in our lives,” said Rebecca Johnson, associate professor at the University of Missouri (U-M).

“Pets are of great importance to people, especially during hard economic times,” Johnson added. “Pets provide unconditional love and acceptance and may be part of answers to societal problems, such as inactivity and obesity.”

“The few studies that have been conducted suggest that pet ownership may have multiple health and emotional benefits for both children and adults,” said James Griffin, scientist at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

“But there has been relatively little rigorous research documenting these benefits and examining how and why they occur,” he added.

Accordingly, the U-M College of Veterinary Medicine Research Centre for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) is organising a Human-Animal Interaction Conference in Kansas city between Oct 20 and 25, to show how pets impact the lives of children, families and older adults. 


Why dogs are better than kids


Change a Life by Adopting a Puppy for Just £1 a Week!

 Help support a puppy through its training to help someone with disabilities

Monday 21st September 2009:  Canine Partners (Registered Charity No. 803680), who provide specially trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities, is asking those who like to give to charity to consider its regular giving programme. Rather than donate a one off amount per year, the Adopt a Puppy Campaign allows you to give just £1 a week - whilst helping to train a puppy to change the life of a person with disabilities. 

Supported by Purina PetCare, Adopt a Puppy is a demonstration of how giving a little can go such a long way.  Ideal as a gift or for yourself, those signing up to Adopt a Puppy will be kept updated on how their adopted puppy is progressing through the training programme.  You or your gift recipient will receive an introduction letter, personal adoption certificate, glossy photos and a soft toy puppy.

Purina first chose Canine Partners as their Corporate Charity in 2000.  The partnerships the charity enables revolutionise peoples’ lives – physically and psychologically – and demonstrate just how powerful a relationship with a pet can be. This is why Purina is proud to help facilitate this bond by providing all the food for puppies in training, to give them the best start in life, as well as helping to drive forward campaigns that raise awareness of the charity, such as Adopt a Puppy.

One such person benefiting from a Canine Partner is Andrew Fields (39), who broke his neck in a motorcycle accident in 2001.  “We have now settled into our partnership and I cannot imagine what it would be like not to have Emily - she is my shadow.  She picks things up for me, particularly my keys and my stick; she opens the door for me when asked politely.  She has made a huge difference to my life and our family’s happiness - we are a team.  When we are not together it somehow does not feel right.”

Isabel Campbell, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Canine Partners comments, “With the words credit crunch on everyone’s lips, we see the Adopt a Puppy Campaign as a way to let people give to charity at an affordable rate.  We have 130 active partnerships across the country, with at least 300 people with disabilities waiting to be partnered with one of our highly skilled dogs.  In order to continue training future Canine Partners, we need your help by considering Adopt a Puppy for yourself or as a gift.”

For further information on Canine Partners, please call 08456 580480 or visit

Human food that is dangerous to dogs

It's a familiar sight. Your sitting down for your dinner and along comes Buster with those sad "can I have sonme eyes!"

So we give in and drop him a slice of our steak. However, whilst a little meat or bread is ok for our dogs, there are certain foods that can cause your pet damage or even be fatal.

Poorly dog

On a regular basis, vets have to deal with poorly animals who have had a bad reaction to human food.

So what are the big "no no's" when feeding your dog human food?

1.) Chocolate - Contains Theobromine, an alkaloid from the cacao plant.  In large quantities, it can kill your pet. Dark and unsweetened chocolate are particularly lethal.

2.) Sweets are also bad for pets.  Sugar free sweets and chewing gum which contain xylitol can be deadly. It can cause a dog’s blood sugar level to plummet, which can lead to seizures, liver damage and even death.  

3.) Onions – Onions can damage red blood cells leading to anemia and breathing complications.

4.) Nuts – Walnuts and macadamia nuts can be particularly deadly.

5.) Avocados – The fatty element, called Persin can cause tissue damage.

6.) Grapes and raisins – can cause vomiting and lethargy with an end result of kidney damage.

7.) Bones - Specifically chicken and pork bones can  get stuck in your pet's throat, but also marrow inside the bones is very rich and can cause inflammation of the pancreas.

8.) Don't ever give pets Human medicine to ease pain or suffering. Some drugs, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can cause liver damage, ulcers, kidney failure and death.

If in doubt next time Buster gives you that sad look, stand your ground or if you have to give in, give him one of his favourite doggy treats!
Andrew Lloyd Webber looks for the next Toto!

 Full Article from The Telegraph

However, despite his own misgivings, he is overlooking the advice and for his next BBC series will be

After the success of its previous Lloyd Webber talent shows How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do, BBC One has commissioned this new show to run on Saturday nights next year.

The exact format of the dog auditions has not yet been confirmed, but a BBC source said that "a Barbara Woodhouse-type expert" would be on hand to help with the casting.

The announcement of this new show scotches rumours that Lord Lloyd Webber was about to defect from the BBC to ITV, though it seems that the inclusion of Toto in the programme has been a closely fought contractual issue between Lord Lloyd Webber and the BBC.

"A big sticking point for me, this was," said Lord Lloyd Webber. "This is what the BBC wanted and I had to point out to them that as a cat man, this was not something that I was very happy about at all. The whole thing fills me with extreme concern.

"I might insist on having a cat on the programme, because I think the BBC as a public service broadcaster have got to give equal time in my view to cats."

As well as Toto, Lord Lloyd Webber is looking for a new Dorothy to take on the iconic Judy Garland role from the 1939 film. "I want to play her as a slightly rebellious girl who wants to get away from home," said Lord Lloyd Webber.

For the West End production, Lord Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater will also write new songs to complement classics from the original film such as Over the Rainbow. "We are going to write an opening number, and there is no song for the wizard," said Lord Lloyd Webber. "There isn't really anything for the wicked witch - pretty obvious holes."

The new BBC One show will be called simply The Wizard of Oz, and will be the first West End talent show in two years to feature Lord Lloyd Webber.

He hit back at criticisms of his BBC shows, saying that they had created a number of West End stars who now had ongoing careers, including Connie Fisher, Niamh Perry and Jodie Prenger.

His BBC musical talent show series has been criticised by the actor and theatre director Kevin Spacey for being a "13-week promotion" for a musical.

Recent press reports have suggested that Lord Lloyd Webber would take his next TV talent show to ITV, because the BBC's editorial impartiality rules would have forbidden him from using the show to promote his new musical Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, which is expected to open in the West End early next year. However, Lord Lloyd Webber said that it was entirely a scheduling clash, which the BBC had solved by agreeing to run the new TV show later in the year after he finishes promoting Love Never Dies.

Back-to-school time spells separation anxiety for many pets

Read full article from the Los Angeles Times

With the end of summer comes a day that many parents have been looking forward to and many children have been dreading for months: The first day of school.  But one family member that's often overlooked in the hubbub is the family pet -- which is a shame, because back-to-school time is among the toughest parts of the year for pets suffering from separation anxiety.

How do you know if your pet has separation anxiety?  Many animals, particularly dogs, act out and become destructive when left alone.  (Our own ordinarily well-behaved pup, Django, seemed to make a mission of systematically destroying our favorite books when we first began leaving him home alone.) 

Many pets afflicted with separation anxiety display behaviors like following their owners from room to room; displaying frantic greeting behaviors when their owners arrive home; appearing to dislike or resent being left alone in a fenced outdoor yard; and exhibiting excitement, depression or anxiety when they realize their person is about to leave, according to the Humane Society of the United States

Besides a sudden disruption to its normal schedule (like a child with whom it's spent a great deal of uninterrupted time during summer vacation), a number of outside influences can cause a pet to develop separation anxiety.  These can include the stress of being in an animal shelter or kennel (a common culprit for rescue pets), the addition of a new pet to the family or a move, among other things.

Animal-adoption website Petfinder offers these tips to help owners combat their pets' separation anxiety:

-- Start early: If you have a new pet, you can begin anti-separation-anxiety training right away. Don't make a big deal about leaving, and only leave him alone for short periods of time at first. When you come home, simply greet him and return to your routine.

-- Promote independence: Adults and children can actually over-bond with their pets by spending every moment with them. While your family should certainly show love and affection to your animal, remember that independence is healthy. Place your dog in a sit-stay or down-stay to keep him from following you and your family members around the house, and then praise him quietly when you return to the room he's in.

-- Invest in entertainment: Leave something to divert your pet's attention when the family is at work and school, such as a pet-sitting video. Another great product is the Kong toy, which keeps dogs busy as they search for the treats inside.

-- Exercise with your dog before you leave: Ask your children to play or exercise with your dog before heading off to school. A tired dog is less likely to experience stress when you leave.

-- Practice gradual departures: Collect your belongings and say your goodbyes, but only leave for a few minutes. Increase these training trips by five or 10 minutes at a time. After a couple of days, your pet should be comfortable being alone for a few hours.

The Humane Society also suggests leaving a recently-worn clothing item with your pet, since your scent may help soothe him or her.  For more severe cases of anxiety, leaving the animal at a doggie day-care facility or with a trusted friend or family member may help to reduce your pet's stress level.

-- Lindsay Barnett 


Britain’s favourite soap stars will become dog-show judges at The World’s Biggest Puppy Party on Saturday 19th September

Michelle Keegan

Coronation Street’s Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) will be judging Best Pedigree while EastEnders very own super-slob Keith Miller (David Spinx) will pick the Laziest Dog, accompanied by his canine partner-in-crime, ‘Genghis’ the Irish Wolfhound. The Bill’s DCI Frank Burnside will also be choosing Best Rescue at the event organised by social petworking website and presented by TV vet Marc Abraham, raising awareness of the cruel puppy farming trade in the UK Most people are unaware that bitches on puppy farms live in horrific conditions; breeding machines kept alive just to mass-produce puppies purely for profit. Many of these puppies are very sick and are transported long distances to be sold through dealers. They will usually require hundreds of pounds in veterinary treatment and often come with counterfeit paperwork too so it is impossible to know where they originally came from.  Chris EllisonBy raising national awareness, these dog-loving UK Soapstars are helping to ensure you do not fall foul of this terrible trade, by asking you to never buy a puppy from a pet shop or website, and always insisting on seeing the pup’s mother before you exchange any money. The Kennel Club runs an Accredited Breeder Scheme which demands certain high standards, so contact them if you are looking for a pedigree pup, or why not consider adopting a dog from your local rescue centre. The World’s Biggest Puppy Party is being held at Brighton Racecourse, Freshfield Road, Brighton and, as a non-profit event, admission donations will be split between Hope Rescue, Sussex Pet Rescue and Pro Dogs Direct. For more information and line-up of celebrity judges at the World’s Biggest Puppy Party on Puppy Farm Awareness Day, visit

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