Beer for Chalky

June 26th, 2007

Six months after his sad death, the memory of Rick Stein’s beloved dog Chalky has been commemorated by Sharp’s Brewery, based in Cornwall.

The beer, created to go well with seafood, is described by Stein as an impressive beer having a distinctively English taste and will be sold in Sainsbury’s throughout the UK.

Chalky’s Bite was created before the much-loved Jack Russell lost his life at the age of 17, and has since been named after him in tribute to his life. The public grew to know and love him from his well-known appearances on Stein’s television series.

Dog Borstal Unleashed

April 27th, 2007

Mic Martin is back in Dog Borstal Unleashed, starting Sunday 29 April at 20.30.

Tracking down former Dog Borstal inmates, six months after their short, sharp shock, Mic spies on dog and owner to see if they’ve settled back into bad habits. At the end of the show, Mic inspects the offender’s home to look for incriminating evidence!

Mic loves playing up to his hard-man image but clearly wants what he believes to be best for the dog. This should be an interesting series and will no doubt answer the question each of us has at the end of a Dog Borstal episode: will they keep it up?

Don’t forget the Dog Borstal thread on the Dogs Rule forums!

Selina and Chump win The Underdog Show

April 24th, 2007

In a surprise twist, Selina Scott and Chump won BBC 2′s The Underdog Show!

While Huey and Caspar won the audience’s hearts, when it came down to the final two it was Selina and Chump who were able to jump through the hoops set by the show.

From the beginning of the show, it was clear that Selina and Chump had developed a great relationship and that he loved to work with her. It’s just such a shame that Selina feels unable to adopt Chump.

Huey clearly felt that Caspar’s progress hadn’t been appreciated by the judges. When he chose not to take part in the dog dancing, saying that Caspar needed more time to reach that stage, the judges were not impressed.

At times, it seemed as though the judges – more used to the world of professional dog shows – had unreasonable expectations of these wonderful rescue dogs. Is Peter Purves really that harsh, or is he just taking on the bad-guy role?

The Underdog Show was great fun and highlighted the plight of the thousands of dogs abandoned in rescue centres across the country. It seems strange that income from the phone voting went to Children In Need, rather than the Dogs Trust. The Dogs Trust was heavily involved in the show and seems to be the natural choice of charity to benefit from any voting income.

Let’s hope The Underdog Show returns for another series. Next time, perhaps they’ll consider a more appropriate charity to benefit from voting income and introduce some more elements to really demonstrate the joy of life with rescue dogs.

Chat about The Underdog Show in our new forums!

Mechanical digger rescues dog from badger sett

April 24th, 2007

Tyke, a Lakeland Terrier from near Consett, in County Durham, has been rescued from a week trapped in an old badger sett.

After a seven hour operation, in which a mechanical digger moved ten tonnes of earth, Tyke emerged apparently unharmed. He’d gone missing seven days previously, whilst out on a walk.

His owner, Stephen Walling, told the BBC that he’d been back to check on Tyke every day and could hear him barking.

The delay in rescuing Tyke was due to laws that protect badget setts. However, Jim Milner, a spokesman for Natural England, explained:

“In that situation there was a live dog down there which everyone knew was alive.

“From the badger point of view the fact that it wasn’t a main sett meant that there was less risk to the badger. It was probably not a breeding sett.”

Mechplant North East provided the equipment free of charge after hearing of Tyke’s plight.

The Underdog Show BBC 2

March 22nd, 2007

After a great weekend of Crufts TV, BBC 2 is back with more dog-related programming in the form of The Underdog Show.

The show pairs eight rescue dogs from The Dogs Trust’s West London rehoming centre with eight celebrities. Each week, the dogs and celebs undergo increasingly difficult obedience and agility tasks, with their performance rated both by a panel of expert judges and the viewers at home. Sadly, the pair with the lowest score is evicted from the show each week.

The first episode of The Underdog Show was great fun! Unlike Dog Borstal, which focuses on the failings of owners, and the somewhat cynical Help! My Dog’s as Fat as Me, it summed up what’s so great about living with dogs.

Each of the eight dogs displayed huge amounts of character, leaving the celebrities somewhat in the shade. Throughout the tasks, the dogs were clearly having fun, even if the celebrities were occasionally frustrated.

Julian Clary presents the show and is accompanied by his dog Valerie. It’s good to see a presenter who is well known for their love of dogs.

Overall, particularly thanks to the involvement of The Dogs Trust, The Underdog Show is a great way to show the wider public that rescue dogs make fantastic companions. Let’s hope one or two viewers give a home to a dog in need.

Chat about The Underdog Show in our new forums!

Help! My dog’s as fat as me – BBC 3

March 8th, 2007

Nothing much to say about this BBC 3 show, except: people who kill their dogs with overfeeding should be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

Dog blood bank opens

March 5th, 2007

A new charity – Pet Blood Bank UK – has set up the UK’s first pet blood bank.

October 2005 saw a law change allowing vets to store pet blood for future use. The charity is seeking donations from larger dogs, with donation events planned for around the UK.

Once collected, Pet Blood Bank UK separates the blood into plasma and red cells, with one donation helping up to four dogs. Their website explains what they’re looking for in dog donors:

  • good temperament
  • be aged between one and eight years old
  • weigh more than 25 kilos
  • not have traveled abroad
  • be up-to-date on all vaccinations
  • be fit and healthy.

They plan to charge for the blood they supply, promising a reduced rate for major animal charities.

We’ll try to get an interview with the people behind Pet Blood Bank UK. Send us your questions!

Dog diet drug

March 5th, 2007

The BBC reports that a new diet drug for dogs is about to come onto the market.

One interviewee, on BBC radio, explained that she’d use the drug, Yarvitan, because she couldn’t resist feeding her dog unhealthy treats.

The medicine, which works by preventing fat cells from entering the bloodstream, appears to be a get-out for irresponsible dog owners. Fat or not, all dogs need exercise. Quite apart from the physical benefits of a cardiovascular workout and the burning of calories, dogs suffer mentally if they’re locked up in a house all day.
No doubt there will be some cases where Yarvitan will be the right choice. Let’s hope vets prescribe a daily walk and healthier diet before turning to drugs.

Tail docking ban in Scotland

February 8th, 2007

BBC News reports that tail docking will be illegal in Scotland from the end of April 2007.

Ross Finnie, Scottish Animal Health and Welfare Minister, said:

“Tail docking of dogs involves the removal of most or part of the tail, severing muscles, tendons, nerves and sometimes bone or cartilage.

“That cannot be justified because of a possibility that the dog may injure its tail in later life.

“A ban on tail docking is not a step which we have taken lightly.”

Alex Hogg, Chairman of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association argued that not docking the tails of working dogs actually caused more harm:

“The minister has failed in his obligation to protect the welfare of our working dogs and condemned many breeds to a life of pain in his attempts to curry favour with animals rights activists.”

He added, rather menacingly:

“The countryside will not forget.”

The Conservative party suggested that the ban was against all reason but, last I heard, most members of all the UK’s political parties were without tails and so, probably, are unqualified to be quite so forthright on the issue.

So, tail docking: is it a cruel and arbitrary mutilation of a defenceless animal in order that they’re more convenient for human beings, or are we towny-animal-loving-workshy-do-gooders just making a fuss about nothing?

Weasel – the dog with no ears

February 7th, 2007

Weasel - the dog with no earsThe Dogs Trust rehoming centre, at Bridgend, has an extra special canine guest at the moment.

Weasel, a ten week old puppy, is unusual in that he was born with no ears! He has undergone a series of veterinary checks since arriving at the Dogs Trust and vets believe that, despite having no outer ears, he is able to hear some muffled sounds.

Weasel will be sent to a specialist veterinary practice in Southampton, later in the month, to determine whether or not vets can create ears for him. Let’s hope they can and Weasel can enjoy the rest of his life barking at every noise in the neighbourhood.