Back in September the Kennel Club organised the National Puppy Awareness Week (PAW), seeking to raise awareness and promote the responsible breeding and trading of puppies here in the UK. Finding the right puppy can be a difficult task and locating a suitable breeder can be something of a lottery.
The Kennel Club’s bid to raise awareness and address the issues that arise as a result of puppy farms and also the inappropriate importing of puppies is admirable and a responsible step in the right direction. However, it is important that we appreciate that these issues need our full-time attention and appropriate action if we are to make changes.
This week BBC News Manchester ran the following story, “Pedigree dog cruelty: Bury breeders banned for 10 years.” The article went on to explain how profit was the primary consideration over welfare.
Last April the Manchester Evening News exposed an illegal farm selling 400 puppies a year. The reality is that where there is a market there is a problem. Animal cruelty exists, dogs are being bred in horrendous conditions with disturbing consequences, financial gain often being the motivation.
In 2012 I wrote an article about the problems that may arise from buying a puppy without seeing the birth mother. I have attached the article for reference and download.
The Dog’s Trust – Battery Farmed Dogs: Battery Farmed Dogs Campaign (Puppy Farming)
Dogs continue to prove their invaluable ability to assist us by being trained to become Medical Detection Dogs. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that dogs are able to detect subtle changes in the breath or the sweat of the owner linked to abnormal blood-glucose levels. The dogs also referred to as ‘Hypo Alert Dogs’, are proving invaluable in the management of diabetes for sufferers who have difficulty in managing their blood-glucose levels.
Dogs have an exceptional ability to detect different scents and in the case of the ‘Hypo Alert Dog’ it is able to identify the subtle changes in a human’s odour that indicate low or high blood-glucose levels.
Dogs that are carefully selected to perform this role are specially trained to warn their owner, retrieve testing kits, or press special alarms designed to notify their owner of the impending situation.
Nicola Rooney a research fellow at the Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences said; “These findings are important as they show the value of trained dogs and demonstrate that glycaemia alert dogs placed with clients living with diabetes, afford significant improvements to owner well-being including increased glycaemic control, client independence and quality-of-life and potentially could reduce the costs of long-term health care.”
The domestic dog is an exceptionally talented animal capable of many roles and throughout the world they assist us and help us save lives in many ways. It is amazing to see dogs being utilised to their true potential and given a role to perform alongside their human caretakers. A dog that is given a role in life is more often than not a happy and fulfilled dog.
The UK has a dog population of around 8 million. That’s a lot of dogs, and as a result, a heck of a lot of dog poop. Like many dog owners (and the majority of the population who are not dog owners) I am constantly frustrated at the behaviour of irresponsible owners. I see ‘scooping the poop’ as the responsibility that comes with owning a dog and being part of my local community. It’s as simple as that. Dog owners who don’t clean up after dogs really do damage the reputation of the rest of us.
The problem with dog fouling has risen for the first time in 10 years, according to the Local Environmental Quality Survey of England. So what can we do?
The Dogs Trust and Keep Britain Tidy, have joined together with TV personality Ben Fogle to launch a great new campaign, ‘The Big Scoop’. I’m proud to support it and help spread the word. ‘The Big Scoop’ raises awareness that dog mess bags can go into any bin if there’s no dog bin available. And reminds irresponsible owners that hanging bags on fences or trees is not acceptable! It’s a worthwhile campaign. The rest is up to us. Leading by example, and offering a spare bag to a fellow dog owner feels like a good start. Let me know what you think.