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Rescue dogs show off their talents at Crufts 2006

This year Crufts will mark the sixth year that the UK’s leading animal welfare charities have united and formed a Rescue Dog Agility Team. The display aims to demonstrate the talents of dogs who were all stray or abandoned and rehomed through Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, The Blue Cross, RSPCA, Wood Green Animal Shelter and the National Animal Welfare Trust. Read more...

Dogs Trust Christmas Outreach - helping homeless dogs throughout the festive season.

Photo by Isabel Hutchison

Dogs Trust pledge their commitment to homeless pet-owners this Christmas

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity will extend its Hope Project this Christmas to provide doggy hampers for homeless dogs at Christmas opening hostels and project across the UK.

The Hope Project has been helping dogs whose owners are homeless or in a housing crisis since 1994. Read more...

Dogs Trust Freedom Project recognised in Mayor's domestic violence awards.

 Rosanna receiving award. Photo by Hayley Madden.

On "International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women" Mayor Ken Livingstone launched the second London Domestic Violence Strategy.

At the launch Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron announced the winners of the annual Domestic Violence Awards, which honour organisations making a real difference to victims of domestic violence in the capital.

Dogs Trust Freedom Project temporarily places dogs with an experienced volunteer foster carer who cares for them in their own home. The owner is then reunited with their pet when the owner is in a position to have them back. During the foster placement, the Dogs Trust provides all pet food and veterinary treatment free of charge. Read more...

Urgently needed: cat and dog owners aged 55 + to take part in fun research!
Does your pet bring out your inner kitten or puppy side?

Leading UK cat and dog charities, Cats Protection and Dogs Trust (formerly NCDL), have joined forces to conduct some joint research amongst cat and dog owners aged 55 or over concerning our pets’ ability to keep us feeling young, happy and healthy. But the research cut-off date of 13 June is fast approaching and both charities urgently need more respondents to complete the survey!

Taking part in the research project is quick, easy and fun!

For cat owners: to register your interest or for further information, e-mail Emma Osborne ( or Kate Bunting ( by 13 June at the latest. Alternatively, a postal copy of the survey can be requested by calling 08707 708 634 or 08707 708 612.

For dog owners: to register your interest or for further information email or contact Jennifer Blaber on 020 7833 7650, by 13 June at the latest!

Or obtain the form here...

The information you provide will remain anonymous and, unless you indicate otherwise, there will be no further contact from either charity after we have received your completed questionnaire. The only criteria are that you are a cat or dog owner aged 55 or over, and live in the UK.

The findings will be used by both organisations to promote the benefits of pet ownership amongst those aged 55 or over.

Cats and dogs are man’s (and woman’s) best friends. Sharing your life with a companion animal is very rewarding, and Dogs Trust and Cats Protection are joining together to show all the benefits we really do get out of owning a pet.

Danger in the garden

The RSPCA is advising gardeners planning on spending time in the garden this summer to be wary of a mulch product which is potentially lethal to dogs.

If dogs eat cocoa mulch - which is sold in garden centres and DIY stores - it could poison them in the same way that chocolate can. Unfortunately not all manufacturers warn consumers of the dangers on mulch packaging.

Cocoa mulch, which to dogs smells very appetising, contains a strong concentration of theobromine. When swallowed, theobromine irritates the lining of the digestive system, causing vomiting and diarrhoea. The heart reacts by beating more quickly, causing blood pressure to rise and increasing the risk of heart failure. The kidneys are also affected and there may be an increase in thirst. The dog's muscles will begin to twitch, causing restlessness and convulsions, and the animal is likely to be distressed.

Tim Miles, the RSPCA's chief veterinary adviser, said: "The RSPCA is concerned that this product could cause dogs to become ill or even die. There are other types of garden mulch available which are not harmful to dogs. Dog owners using cocoa mulch should do so extremely sparingly and keep an eye on their dogs when they are near it. If they see their dog eating it, they should seek veterinary advice immediately."

Don't forget that chocolate also contains theobromine, which, although harmless to humans, can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions and even death for dogs. If you want to give your dog the occasional chocolate treat, stick to specially-made canine chocolate drops.

Open Letter to canine adoption centres
From Manchester Dogs' Home

The Manchester Dogs' Home has an excess number of dogs whose age, temperament and health status would, to the best of the staff's knowledge, ensure ongoing quality of life.

Nearly all the dogs are young (from one year to three years old), medium to large sized mixed breeds with approximately 50% of them being German Shepherd crosses mixed with a smaller sized breed. We also have a fair number of Staffordshire Bullterrier crosses. The approximate ratio of dogs to bitches is four to one. For the most part, they are loveable buffoons who lack exercise and discipline. There are a few older crossbreeds, too. All are strays when brought here so their history is non-existent to us, but a basic behavioural assessment is carried out on the majority.

The Home is not in a position to offer transportation but by way of "recompense", all dogs will have been vaccinated with DHPPI + L, dewormed with Panacur (fenbendazole), microchipped, and some will have been sterilised.

For reasons of cross-infection (the prevention thereof) and basic husbandry and hygiene, we try to keep dogs who are kennelled in the same enclosure, together. It is, therefore, preferable that any willing organisations be prepared to take dogs in 2's and 3's, i.e. one kennel-full or two kennels-full, etc.

This appeal for assistance with decongestion applies to all canine welfare organisations whose neutering and rehoming protocols are sound. With respect, a letter of reference from the practice that carries out your neutering duties and a rehoming document prototype will be requested from any organisations unknown to us.

If you feel you can help, or have any further enquiries, please contact Sarah on 0795 154 2825.

Pet bereavement deeply affects children, says Blue cross

The Blue Cross is urging parents, teachers and caregivers to be aware of the emotional impact the death of a pet can have on children.

With national statistics indicating that people are now living longer, when a loved family pet dies it is increasingly a child's first experience of the death of something close to them.

The Pet Bereavement Support Service (PBSS), a telephone helpline and email service run by The Blue Cross and Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS), receives a growing number of phone calls and emails every year from distressed children who have lost a pet. The trained volunteers provide reassurance and comfort to younger callers who, in many cases, feel unable to communicate with school friends and family about their feelings of loss.

The Blue Cross warns that the extent of children's feelings can sometimes be overlooked and that the way in which a child copes with the loss of the animal may lay the foundations for how they manage other losses later in life.

In response to these concerns, the charity has produced a support leaflet entitled Children & Pet Bereavement. Designed to be a useful guide for anyone supporting a child who has lost a pet, the leaflet highlights children's reactions to pet loss, provides useful tips on how to support a child and also offers practical advice about getting another pet.

14-year-old James* was feeling confused and angry when he first contacted The Blue Cross's Pet Bereavement Support Service. James's dog Tilly had recently been diagnosed with cancer and his parents had taken the decision to have her euthanased. He was feeling resentful towards a new puppy his parents had bought home in an attempt to replace Tilly and guilty about not being able to show affection to his new puppy.

Jo-Ann Dono, Head of PBSS said: "Children often form very strong bonds with their pets and, for James, losing Tilly was like losing a best friend or a member of his family. Overwhelming feelings of sadness, anger, resentment and guilt are common grief reactions and it is important not to dismiss or trivialise them. Speaking to a trained befriender helped James to talk through his feelings and to realise that what he was experiencing was completely normal."

Psychiatrist, Dr Sally Cubbin MRCPsych, MSc, DCH said; "It is important not to hold back information. Let your child know if a pet is seriously ill and faced with possible death. It is important that adults recognise that the death of a pet is a highly significant event for a child. The death can be a learning experience for your child - a time to learn that death is real, final and natural and most important of all, a time to say goodbye. Some adults have the mistaken belief that we can protect children from these painful experiences."

Copies of The Blue Cross's Children & Pet Bereavement leaflet are available by calling 01993 825539 or by visiting

* Names have been changed.

British women turn to man's best friend for love.

British women think their pets are the cat's whiskers, according to a new survey published today by The Blue Cross animal charity, which shows that more and more women are turning to their pets for affection.

Women pet owners are more likely to turn to their dogs and cats for comfort when they are stressed than men, they are much more likely to talk to their pets and twice as many women as men say they rely more on their pet for affection than they do on their spouse, partner, friend or relative.

A fifth of single women in Britain who owned pets said when given the choice if they went on holiday without their pet, partner, a friend or a relative they would miss their pet the most.

Julie Bedford, head of animal behaviour services at The Blue Cross, said: "It's not surprising that many women have such a special bond with their pets. Pets provide unconditional love, they can be a comfort after a hard day's work and even provide security if you live alone."

As part of its ongoing research into the unique human and animal bond The Blue Cross asked 1,000 British pet owners questions about their relationship with their pet.

59% of women said that they would turn to their pet for comfort if they were stressed compared to just 39% of men.

90% of women talk to their pet compared to 78% of men.

When asked who they relied on most for affection from a choice of spouse/partner, friend/relative and pet, 14% of women said that they rely most on their pet for affection, compared to just 6% of men relying mostly on their pet for affection.

When given the choice of who they would miss most if they went on holiday without their pet, partner, a friend or a relative a fifth of single women said they would miss their pet the most. This compared to just 9% for men.

42% of women said they would expect their pet to come to their rescue if they were in distress.

People most likely to let their pets sleep on their beds at night are single and separated, women, aged between 25 and 34 and cat owners.

45% of single people let their pets sleep on their beds at night with them compared to just 24% of married people.

56% of dog owners said that if they were distressed they would expect their pets to come to their rescue compared to just 28% of cat owners.

68% of dog owners gave their pets human names.

67% of bird owners gave their pets human names.

91% of bird owners talk to their pets.

Blue Cross Survey 2003

Microchipped dog found 100 miles from home

A lost dog that travelled almost 100 miles before being handed in to The Blue Cross animal centre in Burford, Oxfordshire has been reunited with its owner thanks to a microchip the size of a grain of rice.

Bouncer, a one-year-old tan Lurcher, disappeared from his home in Croydon, Surrey, in November 2002.

Despite frantic efforts to trace him, owners Stephanie Winter and Martin Brooker were unable to find their much-loved pet. Stephanie said: "He simply vanished without trace. We called dog wardens, rescue centres and even put up posters - but with no luck."

Two months later, a member of the public handed Bouncer into The Blue Cross animal centre in Burford, Oxfordshire. With sore paws and a torn ear, Bouncer had no visible means of identification. But luckily The Blue Cross routinely scans new arrivals to see whether they have been microchipped and Bouncer was indeed microchipped.

Centre manager Ms Lynn Rogers said: "This was the case with Bouncer, which meant that his owners' details were logged on a central database. A few phone calls later I was able to give Martin and Stephanie the good news that he was safe."

Bouncer's owner Stephanie added: "I'm very grateful to The Blue Cross for reuniting us with Bouncer. He's now had a check-up with our vet and is recovering well from his ordeal. I'd advise all pet owners to have their animals microchipped - it's the only reason we got Bouncer back."

A microchip can be inserted under an animal's skin quickly and painlessly. All dogs and cats at The Blue Cross are routinely microchipped before being rehomed.

Local Events
Dog shows and events to benefit dog rescues and charities are listed here...

The Association of British Dogs and Cats Homes
The Association of British Dogs and Cats Homes now has a website at The association was formed in 1985 to bring together dog and cat welfare organisations. It acts as a platform for identifying and disseminating information on best practice. There are now 26 members of the Association which include charities of all sizes situated throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Concern over shock collars
Animals in Mind the UK charity are campaigning against the increasing use of shock-collars here in the UK. The collars that deliver an electric shock to the dog are being offered as a "quick-fix" for all sorts of training problems. It's a very profitable business that conveniently ignores that the collars can be counter-productive and worse, can have unpredictable behavioural side-effects. More at

Dog fosterers urgently needed
Like many small rescues Happy Dogs Rescue urgently need more fosterers for their dogs awaiting homes. They are based in Ringwood but cover Hampshire, Dorset, and Wiltshire and pay all expenses for food etc. If you could help or would like to know more email Kim of Happy Dogs.

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