Can You Give Gentle Giant Jagger His Forever Home?

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Great Dane-cross Jagger is looking for a home – and he’ll need a lot of space!

The RSPCA is searching for a special home for one of the largest dogs the charity has ever had to rehome.

Three-year-old Great Dane-cross Jagger will be dancing in the street when he finally secures a new home.

Poor Jagger ended up with the RSPCA as part of a cruelty case. He was abandoned, tied to a lamp post in Sheffield.

An RSPCA inspector managed to track down his owner through his microchip, who admitted Jagger had been kept outside as he was too big for them to cope.

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He had suffered lots of sores from living out in all the elements and, despite weighing 78kg, still needs to put on a little more until he reaches a healthy weight for his size. That’s about the same as super-middleweight boxer Joe Calzaghe!

Jagger is currently a resident at Millbrook Animal Centre, in Chobham, Surrey. But he can’t get no satisfaction in kennels. And deputy manager Liz Wood believes he’s the biggest dog they’ve ever seen.

“Jagger is probably the biggest dog we’ve ever had in – and we’ve been open for 50 years!” she said. “But he really is a gentle giant. He’s a lovely, docile and friendly boy.”

Jagger is, unsurprisingly, very strong on the lead and needs an owner who can continue his training.

The RSPCA would like him to go to a new home with owners with experience in keeping large breeds.

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“It’s important for any potential new owners to consider the costs of keeping a dog the size of Jagger,” Liz added. “He eats almost 1kg of food every day so will be expensive to feed and he will require a house and garden with enough space for him.

“Whoever takes him on will also need a car with a rather large boot! He definitely won’t fit in a Mini comfortably!”

Jagger, who has now been with the charity for more than a year, could live with another, large neutered female dog but wouldn’t suit a home with another male. But he is very friendly towards dogs of all sizes – like fellow rescue dog Arthur, a young Chihuahua cross Chinese crested. He could also live with a family with children of around secondary school age.

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He is a fun dog who loves to run, play and socialise. He is also very relaxed in his kennel so staff believe he could be left for a few hours during the day, once he’s settled in his new home.

“I know you can’t always get what you want, but we’re desperate to get Jagger out of kennels and into his new, forever home,” Liz said.

If you would like to offer Jagger a new home, please contact Millbrook by calling 0300 123 0740.

Jagger’s former owner was convicted of offences under the Animal Welfare Act, following an RSPCA investigation.

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Teenager Launches Online Dog Show For Dog A.I.D.

Megan and Ruby with their poster for the online dog show to raise funds for Dog A.I.D. (

Megan and Ruby with their poster for the online dog show to raise funds for Dog A.I.D. (

Megan Taylor (19) from Surbiton has this week launched an online dog show to raise funds for the Charity Dog A.I.D., sponsored by Barkbeats.

After a head injury in 2011, Megan suffers from dizziness, poor balance, hearing loss and frequent fainting episodes which occur 4-6 times a day.

Megan has been training superdog Ruby herself to carry out a number of helpful tasks and hopes to apply to Dog A.I.D. this year, who help people with disabilities to train their own dog to assistance dog level.

The online show is open to participants around the world who have a dog and costs just £2 per entry. There are ten classes such as Best Trick, Waggiest Tail, Muddy Mutts and Best Working Dog. Entries will be in the form of a submitted picture or video and will be judged an Animal Behaviour and Welfare university student. The deadline is 27th February and judges will choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each category with winners receiving a rosette, certificate and a selection of Fish4Dogs food and treats.

Picture and/or video entries can be sent as an attachment or YouTube link to [email protected]. Alternatively you can send your entries as an attachment via facebook messenger to Ruby the Superdog.

“I decided an online dog show would be an interesting twist on the more traditional format,” says Megan. “By hosting the dog show online, more people get to be involved and hopefully I can raise awareness and funds for the amazing work of Dog A.I.D. Every submission also gets entered for a prize draw to win some great goodies from Kong and Fish4Dogs, plus using our special code people can get £5 off a monthly box of toys and treats from Barkbeats!”

Dog A.I.D. was established in the 1990’s and there are currently 47 fully qualified dogs throughout the country. Training takes from 18 months to two years with both dog and owner receiving specialist education from a network of trainers based around the country. The dog owner is given all the tools required to constantly reinforce training methods learnt and also continue to teach their dog new cues and tasks independently.

For further information how you can support Dog A.I.D. via fundraising or volunteering please visit

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Arty Lobster at FSB Policy Conference 2016

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Four-legged Friend Helps Mum Train For 10 marathons In 10 days

Donna Fitzpatrick with her running companion Bess1

Donna Fitzpatrick, from Bearsted near Maidstone, will tackle 10 marathons in 10 days this May to fundraise for a charity that helps vulnerable children and young people.

Overcoming immense physical and psychological challenges as she re-runs the same marathon each day, Donna is hoping to raise over £3,000 for youth charity Brathay Trust who work with over 6,000 youngsters across the UK each year helping them to turn their lives around.

A full-time mum to two teens, the 47 year old is training hard with the help of a four-legged friend. Every other day Donna runs between 10 and 20 miles accompanied by the family dog Bess, a six year old Working Cocker Spaniel.

She said: “My running partner is my lovely, loyal working cocker spaniel Bess. She is a great companion and comes out with me on every run. No matter how long or short, cold, wet or hot our run is her tail never stops wagging with enjoyment. I make sure our route is close to home and that she gets lots of opportunities to be off the lead. I wish I could take her with me as I shall miss her.

“I started running for fitness and enjoyment a few years ago and I was persuaded to do the Brighton marathon. Since then I’ve done three other marathons. I am both scared and excited about the challenge. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of support from a local friend who has run the 10in10 twice now – Ellan Iaquaniello. My son and husband sometimes join me too on their bikes and it’s great to have their company.

“My goal is to just to complete the 10 marathons to the best of my ability and hopefully to avoid any injuries. I expect I will be running for about six hours every day.

Donna added: “I feel very honoured and privileged to have been chosen to join the 2016 10in10 team. Brathay Trust is a fantastic charity, they do amazing work and I am pleased to be supporting them. I hope to raise as much money as I can and I know it will go directly to supporting young people for whom all else has failed.”

Between Friday 13 and Sunday 22 May Donna will tackle an anti-clockwise route around England’s longest lake, Windermere, in the Lake District. Regarded as one of the toughest UK marathons because of its undulating nature it is also billed as one the most beautiful.

Adventurer and Everest climber Bear Grylls calls it “an epic challenge that will require an epic strength of mind.”

Brathay’s Head of Fundraising Scott Umpleby says the charity greatly appreciates Donna’s support –  one of 12 runners taking part:

“Donna’s fundraising is helping youngsters like Joe. He has been in care since he was seven years old and needs help to make the transition to independent living. And ‘D’, who had to live with his violent dad when his mum died.

“Whilst we can’t wipe away all the terrible things that have happened to the young people we work with we can put them on the path to new and better lives. Every penny raised leads to a new beginning for a child who has had a hard life.”

To sponsor Donna please visit

For more details of Brathay’s 10th anniversary fundraising event and how to enter the Brathay Half Marathon and Windermere Marathon on Sunday 22 May please visit:

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January Is Month Of ‘Unwanted’ Pets


January is renowned for being the month where people return their unwanted Christmas gifts, and there seems to be no exceptions for pets. According to new research by more than one in ten (11%) people who have received a pet as a Christmas present have given it away.

Despite many people opting for modern gifts like tablets and smartphones, it seems pets are also a popular choice of present. In fact, the findings from the leading price comparison site reveal that more than a quarter (27%) of Brits have given a pet as a present. And many people appear to be ignoring the age old adage that a pet isn’t just for Christmas, with the research estimating more than three million Brits2 admitting to having bought someone a pet as a festive gift.

And it would seem that many celebrities are setting the trend for giving animals as gifts. In the earlier days of their relationship, instead of giving Kim Kardashian some flowers or a bit of bling, singer Kayne West decided to give her a white Persian kitten as a surprise gift. However, as TOWIE star James ‘Arg’ Argent found out, giving a pet as a present does not always end well.  After receiving a micro pig from ‘Arg’, partner Lydia Bright described it as the ‘worst ever Christmas present’ and in the end she had to give it away4.

A present is supposed to be something that the recipient appreciates, but as these celebrities have shown this isn’t the always the case when it comes to receiving a pet as a gift. In fact, of those people who have received a pet as a present, almost one in six (16%) weren’t happy with their gift. And more than one in 10 (11%) people were shocked at receiving a furry friend as a surprise present.

Perhaps then it’s not surprising to learn that many people who have been given a pet as a present can’t cope with the reality of owning an animal. Unfortunately, one in 14 (7%)5 people who have received a pet as a present have had to give it up as they were too much hard work. A further one in 20 (6%) gave up their pets as they didn’t have enough time to look after them.

It’s no secret that owning a pet takes a lot of time and commitment, so giving a pet as a surprise gift might not be the best thing to do. In fact, nearly one in 20 (4%) people who gave a pet as a present admitted they would never do it again.

Despite some people showing remorse at giving pets as presents, people are still doing it. In fact, the most popular pets given as presents are:

1.)   Dogs – 31%
2.)   Cat – 22%
3.)   Fish – 14%
4.)   Hamster – 10%
5.)   Rabbit – 6%

However, its worrying to know that of those people who have given a pet as a present, one in 10 (10%) didn’t do any research before making such a significant purchase. In fact, more than one in 20 (6%) people who have bought a pet as a present bought it as a last minute gift because they ran out of time. Yet, with people forking out on average £193 for these presents, you’d think Brits would have put a bit time and effort into choosing the right gift.

When it comes to giving animals as gifts, people may have good intentions, but fail to realise the consequences of their actions. Nearly a quarter (23%) of people who received a pet as a present has had problems with their animal, including the pet being ill on numerous occasions (30%).

The problems also extend to the financial outlay. A pet is a gift that keeps on giving in terms of love and affection. But it’s also one that goes on costing throughout its life. Since being given a pet as a present, people have forked out an average of £1,101 to look after them in terms of food, pet accessories not including any medical care/ veterinary bills. Interestingly, nearly one in five (18%) have spent over £2,000.

As the research shows owning a pet can be expensive, however it’s worrying to know that nearly half (48%) of people who have received as pet as a present aren’t protecting themselves against further costs, as they don’t have pet insurance.

Alex Webb, head of pet insurance at says “It’s worrying to see how many unwanted pets there are in January, and how many pets have been given away after receiving them as a Christmas gift. However, this might not come as a surprise, when almost one in six (16%) people who received a pet as a gift weren’t happy with it.

“Pets aren’t a gift that can be given and forgotten about quickly.  Having a pet requires long term commitment and careful consideration should always be taken when buying a pet, whether the pet is for yourself or a gift for someone else.  With this in mind it’s shocking to see that over 10% of people who bought a pet as a present did so as a last minute purchase or as an impulse purchase.”

“As a nation we seem to have a love for animals and our pets become valued and much loved family members, however they are a big responsibility. Therefore we recommend that people are allowed to make their own choice on whether they want to own a pet. We understand that people want to give a unique gift that no one else would, but we urge people to think of the consequences of buying someone a pet as a present, for both the recipient and the pet itself.”

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Naughty Dogs Help Owners Win A Trip To New York


Feeling lucky: Paul Robinson & his dogs who inadvertently bagged him and his wife a holiday to the Big Apple
Most pet owners berate their animals for causing damage to their furniture, but Paul and Suzanne Robinson are thanking their beloved dogs after a restoration project to repair their scratched sofa bagged them a trip to the Big Apple.

Paul and Suzanne Robinson entered the Furniture Clinic competition to win a trip to New York. The competition asked entrants to use the company’s repair products to fix up an item of furniture before uploading before and after images to the Furniture Clinic’s website.

After removing dog scratches from their cream leather sofa and two chairs so they looked like new, Paul and Suzanne, from Leicester, are now looking forward to their Stateside holiday.

Paul 53, a children’s publishing company network manager, explained: “We have three sighthounds. Ollie is about 11 and is a Saluki Lurcher who we rehomed from East Midlands Dog Rescue. Suzanne used to volunteer there and take the dogs out for walks. Ollie loved his walk with our dogs so much, we decided to keep him.

“Woody is a 10-year-old greyhound who was born in rescue and we re-homed when he was eight weeks old and Dylan is the youngster; a five-year-old Whippet who we’ve had since he was a puppy.

“We’re thrilled that they’ve inadvertently won us a trip to New York. The dogs had worn and scratched the seat cushion areas of the sofa, usually when they made a quick exit from the sofa at meal times. They’re all couch potatoes who love nothing more than relaxing on the sofa after a long walk or run.”

Paul continued: “Suzanne was convinced it was going to be a waste of time and money trying to repair the sofa, but she’s very happy to have been proved wrong. The transformation by simply following Furniture Clinic’s video tutorials after taking advantage of their colour-matching service is excellent.”

While Paul has been to New York previously for a work trip, Suzanne hasn’t yet been there. The pair will be seeing the Statue of Liberty, taking in the views from the Empire State building, paying their respects at the 9/11 memorial and visiting Central Park, even though they admit they feel slightly guilty they won’t be able to take their three pets for a walk there!

Ben Staerck, Furniture Clinic MD said: “We always love seeing our customer stories and photos. The work they carry out on their leather sofas, classic car seats and convertible roofs always looks amazing so we decided to offer a prize to give something back for their incredible feedback.”

Paul sent a leather sample to Furniture Clinic to get the right shade of colourant before working with the firm’s specialist products including its cleaner, filler, and protection cream to get his finished results. For more information, visit: Furniture Clinic.

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Launch Of UK’s First ‘Petnology’ Centre, the online pet store has opened its ‘Petnology Centre’ today, dedicated to developing the future of technology for pets. The centre’s purpose is to help pet owners care for their pets and build a better understanding of their needs through inventions using cutting-edge technology. Watch their video to find out more:

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Britain’s Most Eco-Conscious Dog? 


Paris, a nine-and-a-half-year-old boxer from Bodmin, Cornwall, has an unusual habit: she likes to collect rubbish on her walks and put it in the bin.Fran Hodges, 51, from Bodmin in Cornwall, has dubbed her pet pooch Paris as a “one-dog recycling machine” after she began collecting plastic bottles and pieces of litter while out on walks.

After collecting the discarded items Boxer Paris would take what she had collected back to her home, and put them straight in the correct recycling box.

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Adoption of Four Cats Spells End of An Era 

End of an era – four feisty feral cats become last working animals from a UK coal mine

The last working animals from a British coal mine – four feral cats – have been rehomed by Cats Protection following the closure of the Kellingley Colliery, the UK’s last deep coal pit.

Florence, Betty, Leia and Solo had been kept at the colliery in Beal, Yorkshire, where they carried out essential vermin control duties in exchange for bed and board.

When the pit closed for the final time last month, concerned miners contacted Cats Protection’s York Adoption Centre to ask for help in finding them a new home.

And now one month on from the pit closure, all four are settling into their new homes – and jobs –  after being moved in pairs to nearby farms.

Their relocation marks the end of a long history of working animals in an industry which also called on the services of pit ponies and canary birds. Cats were originally drafted in to mines to keep pony stables clear of mice and rats.

Florence and Betty – named after miners’ wives Florence Anderson and Betty Cook, who took a prominent role in the 1984 strikes – were rehomed to Karen Scholey at her family’s farm near Green Hammerton, Yorkshire.

And Leia and Solo have now settled in to their new home at Amanda Beal’s livery farm in Beverley, Yorkshire.

Cats Protection’s York Adoption Centre Manager James Hodgkison said the charity received a call in December from a former miner who was concerned about the future of the colliery cats.

He said: “Feral cats are those which never received sufficient human contact as kittens and as such are not tame. While they are not domesticated, they are highly valued by farmers, smallholders or industrial settings like collieries as they provide an excellent rodent control service.

“The four cats at the Kellingley Colliery were very much valued by workers for keeping rodents in check. They had been well cared for by the miners who had provided food, water and shelter, and they were in great condition.”

James added that after receiving the call, Cats Protection had used humane traps to capture the cats before finding them new homes in rural settings.

He said: “We can’t tell exactly how old they all are, but they had lived for a few years at the pit. We have no doubt they will continue to work their socks off in their new homes, and we’re just pleased we were able to help.”

Karen Scholey, new owner of Florence and Betty, said: “We’ve had feral cats on our farm for years as they are the best form of pest control you can get and we were on the lookout for a couple more when we heard about the colliery cats.

“It is a true privilege for us to give them a home as they represent so much about the important mining history in the area. It was a very sad day for Yorkshire when the pit closed, and I’m just happy we’ve been able to at least help these two cats.

“It was only fitting they were given names to represent their background, so we decided to name them after two of the strongest women involved in the miners strikes in the 1980s.”

Amanda Beal, who named the two cats she adopted Leia and Solo, said both are settling in well.

She said: “Solo is most definitely very feral and we don’t see much of her – she’s busy keeping the mice under control. But Leia very quickly decided that she likes some creature comforts and moved into the house. She is very nervous but enjoys human company so she must have been well looked after during her time at the pit.”

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping over 205,000 cats every year through a network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres. To find out more about the charity’s work, please visit

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‘Fat Families’ Are Causing Pet Health Crisis 

Leading vets have slammed overweight families for making their pets obese.
Eighty per cent of vets in a newly published report[i] on diet related health issues in pets think there will be more overweight pets than healthy pets within five years, which will significantly impact their wider health[ii]. This will they say lead to an increase in similar types of issues that their owners face including joint problems, respiratory issues and diabetes.

With more than six in 10 adults in the UK now overweight and four in 10 classed as clinically obese, their dogs and cats are sadly following suit, according to top veterinary professionals.
The report suggests obese dogs are three times as likely to have obese owners as non-obese dogs[iii]. Owner misconception of obesity in their pets, whether they themselves are overweight or not, is a major obstacle in pet weight management. In addition the risk of obesity in pets is significantly associated with owner income as owners in the lowest income bracket are more likely to have obese dogs.[iv]
Jenny Philp, veterinary surgeon and Managing Director of Swindon company Pets’ Kitchen explained: “Every day in our practice we see the effects of lack of exercise, overfeeding, poor nutrition as well as not adapting the diet of ageing pets accordingly.”

Current research shows 45% of dogs and 40% of cats are overweight[v] which is mainly due to a lack of exercise and overfeeding, mirroring the lifestyles of their owners.
“Neutering, although recommended, also affects a pet’s disposition to put on weight,” Jenny Philp adds.
“Increasing weight means shorter lives, stress to the joints, respiratory problems, arthritis and we are seeing a worryingly rising incidence of type 2 diabetes  in cats too, similar to humans this is avoidable and diet-related.”
Hypertension has been reported in 23-45 per cent of obese dogs[vi] as well as elevations in cholesterol.[vii]
Obesity is also affecting our pets’ respiratory function and is associated with tracheal collapse in small-breed dogs[viii] and animal asthma more generally.
“The main factors to maintain and improve our pet’s health are exercise and diet,” according to Philp. “It’s imperative that we halt the slide towards a nation of pets who will suffer from pain and discomfort due to owners sometimes misguided or ill-informed actions that are having unintended results.”
The number of meals and snacks fed, consumption of table scraps and an animal’s presence when owners prepare or eat their own meals all appear to be contributing to weight gain.
More than 5.5 million pets get treats as part of their diets[ix], but the treats that are given are totally inappropriate human foods like chips, cake, cheese and crisps, which only add to the unhealthiness of the diet.
“Treats are fine if you give them sparingly and get properly nutritionally balanced treats formulated for the cat or dog,” says Philp.
Aside from obesity and related pet health issues, allergies and dietary intolerances are also increasingly affecting our pets’ health, as well as our own.[x] In dogs these often affect the skin or digestive system such as; eczema, dermatitis, diarrhoea, gastroenteritis and pancreatitis.
Philp says that the problem of diet-related pet health is frequently encountered in her veterinary practice in Swindon, and has encouraged them to formulate their own foods and treats linked to a pet’s age and lifestyle.

“We recognise that pets are beloved companions but owners of both dogs and cats, instead of treating them like another family member, need to understand their specific nutritional requirements, according to age, activity and breed,” says Philp.

[i] Pet dietary health report compiled by Dr Pamela Mason, Research Nutritionist, December 2015.
[ii] PDSA. PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report 2014.
[iii] Holmes KL, Morris PJ, Abdulla Z, Hackett R, Rawlings JM. Risk factors associated with excess body weight in dogs in the UK. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr. 2007;91:166-167.
[iv] Kienzle, E., Bergler, R. & Mandernach, A. (1998) Comparison of the feeding behaviour and human animal relationship in owners of normal and obese dogs. The Journal of Nutrition 128, 2779S-2782S.
[v] PFMA. Pet Obesity Five Years On. 2014.
[vi] Gossellin J, Wren JA, Sunderland SJ. Canine obesity: an interview. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2007; 30 Suppl 1:1-10 and Bland IM, Guthrie-Jones A, Taylor RD, Hill J. Dog obesity: veterinary paractices’ and owners’ opinions on cause and management. Prev Vet Med. 2010; 94 (3-4): 310-15.
[vii] Jeusette IC, Lhoest ET, Istasse LP, Diez MO. Influence of obesity on plasma lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in dogs. Am J Vet Res. 2005; 66 (1): 81-6
[viii] White R, Williams J. Tracheal collapse in the small dog – is there really a role for surgery? A survey of 100 cases. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 1994; 35 (4): 191-6
[ix] PDSA. PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report 2014.

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