Monthly Archives: October 2012

Aran’s Adopt don’t buy campaign

Proud to support ARAN on this new ad. Please be an angel and adopt a homeless pet. xxx

Sharon Shannon got the press flashbulbs going off like firecrackers this morning on Galway’s Shop Street to encourage people to Adopt and Never Buy! Read on…

In the new ad campaign, the staunch vegetarian and animal lover poses cheek to cheek with Foxy and Lilly, just two of her many rescued

companions. The ad was shot in Galway Bay by professional photographer, Martina Regan, and designed by Littlebigdog.ie and is intended to raise awareness about the Irish problem of homeless and abandoned animals and encourages members of the public to adopt a loving animal from their local pound or animal shelter where lots of animals are in need of a good home. Sharon will also be signing copies of her new ad campaign at various upcoming gigs across the country that will help educate even more people to the benefits of adopting a loving, needy animal. The ad will also be sent viral through social media outlets.Sharon now joins a growing list of Irish celebrities who are backing ARAN’s campaigns and programs to help stop cruelty to animals.Thank you for all you are doing to help animals and for your ongoing, vital support of ARAN’s campaigns and programs, we could do nothing without you.

ARAN
‘Fighting animal abuse across Ireland’

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Top Dog Gaffo

An Introduction to my Dogs

Adopt Don’t Buy

BE AN ANGEL AND ADOPT A HOMELESS PET.          

In most cases, when you adopt a dog, you are saving a life. Most dogs in the pounds are there through no fault of their own. The enormous love and appreciation they will show you in return is absolutely marvellous and hugely rewarding and good for the soul.

There are THOUSANDS of stunning mutts (AND pedigree dogs) big and small in the pounds and shelters. Please check the websites and Facebook pages of the pounds and the various wonderful rescues and SPCAs all over the country and you’ll be almost sure to find the dog you want. 

If it’s a cute little puppy you want, you still need look no further than the rescues or pounds. There are absolutely lots of litters of adorable puppies in need of adoption. You also have the option to help the rescues by fostering litters of pups/kittens or fostering adult dogs/cats for whatever amount of time suits you.

If it’s a particular pedigree dog you want, there are also lots of pedigree dogs in the pounds through no fault of their own. These days, 40% of pound dogs are purebred. That’s not including the ‘designer mutts’ which is a mixture of two purebreds ie. Malshi (Maltese and Shih tzu cross) and Maltichon (Maltese and Bishon cross) etc. This is the latest craze with the PUPPY FARMS* and they’re charging astronomical prices for poodle crosses like labradoodle, puggle, cockerpoo, spoodle, schnoodle etc….  KENNEL CLUBS* Worldwide do not approve and do not register these dogs as purebreds. Lots of people buy these pedigree and ‘designer mutt’ pups without realising the amount of care and attention they need and within 5 or 6 months these poor vulnerable babies too are surrendered to the pound by their owners. If in a pound and not vaccinated, they will be in great danger of picking up diseases such as the parvovirus which is a slow and agonising death. (Any unvaccinated dog… purebred or mutt, is very vulnerable to disease in a pound environment.)

There are lots of great advantages to having a mongrel. Because inbreeding doesn’t often occur in mutts, they’re generally very healthy and hardy and usually have a strong immune system which will probably save you lots in veterinary fees. Also you’re guaranteed to have a totally unique dog. Please be aware that it’s still more advisable to vaccinate ALL dogs to keep them safe.

You might like to save a quiet senior dog who won’t be too energetic and who’s only crime was to grow old. Sadly the older dogs are the ones that are most in danger of getting left behind. These dogs often make very suitable loyal and loving companions for older people.

 In Ireland, pound dogs have 5 days to be claimed by a member of the public or saved by a rescue. Some pounds refuse to work with a rescue. When the dogs time is up, they are put to sleep.  In the year 2011, 5,296 dogs were destroyed in Irish pounds. That’s an average of 14 or 15 dogs per day. This figure is now just a fraction of what it used to be ten years ago thanks to greater efforts by lots of sympathetic pound managers to re home them, and some are accepting help from the rescues and SPCAs which is making a huge difference. Now with more awareness being created among the general public, we hope this number will continue to be reduced more and more and we look forward to establishing more good relationships and friendships between the pound managers and the rescues.

When you BUY a dog, depending on what breed you want, it can cost you a lot of money. Sometimes, this initial fee doesn’t even include the first vaccine or wormer. When you ADOPT from a rescue for a minimum fee, you know your pup or dog is healthy, vaccinated and in most cases micro chipped and neutered. Also, most importantly, you will have the peace of mind that if anything ever goes wrong, or your circumstances change, the rescue will take your dog back and re home it for you. The rescues do full character assessments of the dogs to make sure that they and their potential new owners are entirely suited. They also do a home check to make sure the new home is good enough.

Please spread the word that it’s cool to have a rescued animal. It’s not good to to have a particular dog as a status symbol, and don’t support people who use animals for financial gain unless you’re 100% sure that their animals are properly cared for.   Please be compassionate and save a life instead………… and   ‘ADOPT DON’T BUY’.

*Footnote: (puppy farms, reputable breeders and Kennel Clubs) 

For anyone who wants to purchase a pedigree dog, (and for whatever reason doesn’t want a rescue dog): in order to avoid the possibility of unknowingly supporting a puppy farmer, they should really contact the Kennel Club for the name of a reputable breeder. There are a great many devoted and conscientious breeders out there that do not breed dogs that are ‘inbred’ that carry out ALL health tests for the breed and care very greatly about the puppies they occasionally produce. Or check out the Kennel Club’s ‘find a rescue’ section on it’s website. 

Please do not buy from a magazine or dealer or PET SHOP or ANY other source. Be aware that somebody selling a box of cute purebred puppies with a large price tag on them at a fair is more than likely a backyard breeder.  Kennel Club research has shown that as many as one in three could have bought a puppy from a rogue breeder, or puppy farmer.  Regardless of where you get your pup, if it’s not kennel club registered, the chances of your pup being bred by an irresponsible breeder rises dramatically. It’s up to you, the potential puppy buyer, to educate yourself and to avoid being part of the puppy mill/ backyard breeder problem. Do not put your money into the pockets of irresponsible breeders under any circumstances. 

The only reason to breed anything is to better and improve the breed in form, function and health. A good breeder is lucky to break even with breeding and may even lose money. Anyone operating not up to standard is referred to as a ‘back yard breeder’ or a ‘puppy farmer’. People don’t realise that Ireland is the puppy farm capital of Europe and shockingly it is estimated that there are around 250 puppy farms in Ireland…. some with up to 800 breeding bitches who are forced to live their whole lives in cramped and filthy diseased conditions. Check out pictures on the internet of how badly these dogs are treated. Apart from the puppies that are sold in Ireland, around 45,000 puppies are exported to the UK annually. In America, it’s estimated that there are around 15,000 puppy mills who are supplying almost 100% of the PET STORES.                                                                                                                                                     

On the other hand, please bear in mind that the Kennel Club is very concerned that there are not enough regulations for dog breeders. Whilst there are many good breeders …. too many are poor breeders who are damaging dog welfare (and the reputation of good breeders) by breeding dogs for money and appearance over welfare. Check out  ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’ (a BBC 1 investigative documentary which looks into the health and welfare issues facing pedigree dogs bred in the UK): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZMegQH1SPg&feature=related    and  ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed – Three Years On’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opvvhTWqS6U&feature=relmfu for what is described as “one of the greatest animal welfare scandals of our time”

The Kennel Club has made two films, one looking at  the lack of regulation over breeders and how puppy farmers breed dogs in terrible conditions to make money at the expense of welfare:

www.thekennelclub.org.uk/stoppuppyfarming and another one looking at the health issues that affect pedigree dogs and the work being done to address them www.thekennelclub.org.uk/doghealth 

 IF IN DOUBT, ADOPT A HOMELESS PET

the benefits (physical and mental) of having a dog in the home

The many amazing reasons to have a pet in the home.

First of all, it IS a big responsibility taking on a dog because… like children, they need a lot of care and attention. Dogs are naturally very sociable animals and would get very lonely and anxious if left alone for too long. So if you’re prepared to do it right and treat the dog like a member of the family with the amount of love and respect that it deserves, the benefits of having a dog are huge.

1.Companionship
It’s very special and humbling to experience the love and companionship of a dog and the incredible bonds of friendship that are formed together. There is nothing as amazing as the welcome home you get from a dog, even if you’ve only been out for fifteen minutes. The overwhelming love they are capable of is enormous and absolutely marvelous. Dogs are completely nonjudgemental and they give 100% unconditional love **** (see below)

2. Help prevent allergies
Infants and children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall. Having a dog or a cat in the home can lower a child’s likelihood of developing allergies, asthma, eczema and infections by as much as 33%.

3. Curing depression
Dogs keep us healthy physically AND mentally. They’re the best therapists of all. They keep us grounded and sane. People who have dogs in the house are a lot less likely to suffer from depression. One of the best cures for depression is to be physically active. There’s no better motivator than your dog to get you up and out for some exercise and fresh air. They’re the perfect personal trainers because they’re always so delighted and exhilarated to be out and their excitement is infectious. It’s always very enjoyable and therapeutic to be out with your dog no matter what the weather is like. Dogs are great entertainers. If we had a dollar or euro for every time they make us laugh, we’d all be millionaires. Spending quality time with your dog raises the levels of serotonin and dopamine. No matter how much something hurts, dogs will always make you feel better. Stroking and cuddling your dog is equally as soothing to the mind, heart and soul as deep meditation or prayer. If someone is intensely troubled, the silent and devoted nonjudgemental companionship and comfort of a dog can heal like no other source. They will love and help even the most empty and withdrawn person. The responsibility of a dog gives a great sense of value and purpose and importance to people that desperately need it. Dogs are often used to help war veterans that suffer from anxiety, depression and other forms of post traumatic stress disorder. They don’t care if you’re rich or poor, fat or thin, young or old. They don’t care if you’re not popular, smart, funny or attractive to other humans. They’re never offended if you’re antisocial. They’re not interested in whether or not you’re famous, or what you’ve achieved or done or not done in the past. They’re only concerned with the present, and they sincerely appreciate you and accept you just the way you are. To your dog, you are the nicest and most important person in the whole World.

4. Help people with special needs
It is well known that dogs are a great help with developing the social skills of kids with autism and other special needs.

5. Detecting health conditions
Trained dogs can detect a variety of health conditions including epileptic fits, hypoglycemia and even cancerous tumors. It is proven that dogs can detect lung cancer just by smelling human breath.

6. Lower levels of stress and anxiety
Gentle placid dogs are often brought to visit cancer patients to bring them love and comfort. This boosts their adrenaline which helps them to strengthen their resistance to the side effects of chemotherapy.
Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there’s an animal in the home. Having a dog is also known to lower the risk of suffering a stroke. Heart related studies show that dog owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol which minimizes the risk of heart attack. The calming affect of a dog lowers heart and lung pressure. Heart attack patients who have pets generally survive longer and have better recovery rates than those without.

7. They show us good example
They bring out the good in us and teach us to be better people by showing us so much kindness and love, happiness, gratitude, forgiveness, endless patience………. and pure adoration.

8. Helping people with disabilities
Dogs can be trained to bring things to you if you can’t walk. If you can’t hear or see, they will even lay down their life for you if you’re in danger.

So finally, if you’re seriously considering getting a dog, please please don’t do it for any selfish reasons or for any possible financial gains from a pedigree dog.***(see below), or for a status symbol macho image. Be compassionate – and do it for the right reason and save the life of a pound dog who has been waiting his whole life for you and will reward you so richly – and as long as they live, you will always be able to depend on them to be your loyal friend no matter what.
——————————————————————————————————————————————-

**** Dogs Give Unconditional Love ****

Dogs taken from abusive situations hold no grudges toward the human race. A half an ounce of kindness from a new person results in an abundance of affection from the formerly mistreated dog. Humans rarely have the capacity to so completely forgive and love under those circumstances.

Probably the biggest reason the dog has become man’s best friend is because we know that when it comes to love, a dog can always outdo us. The highest form of love, agape love, which is completely unconditional, is something that people often have to work at or grow into. Agape love seems to come naturally between parent and child, but it’s more difficult between husband and wife, and harder still between friends. To love someone regardless of what wrongs they have done you is very difficult for humans.

A dog, however, is born with an endless capacity for unconditional love, and doesn’t even have to work at it. You can be a complete grouch, ignore your dog, and refuse him your love. When you decide you’re ready to be sociable again, your dog doesn’t pay you back by ignoring you too. He’s just happy you’re there. More amazing still, is that the love that dogs and owners feel for each other lasts a lifetime. This is the ideal love humans strive for, but often fail at.

This is why we need dogs. They do something for us that rarely a human companion can do. No matter how much you mess up your life, or how much wrong you do, no matter how many mistakes you make or how often you make them, regardless of your looks, income or social standing, your dog never judges you. He always thinks you are wonderful and loves you with all his heart.

***PEDIGREE DOG :
For anyone who wants to purchase a pedigree dog, (and for whatever reason doesn’t want a rescue dog): in order to avoid the possibility of unknowingly supporting a puppy farmer, they should really contact the Kennel Club for the name of a reputable breeder. There are a great many devoted and conciencious breeders out there that do not breed dogs that are ‘inbred’ that carry out ALL health tests for the breed and care very greatly about the puppies they occasionally produce. Or check out the Kennel Club’s ‘find a rescue’ section on it’s website.
Please do not buy from a magazine or dealer or PET SHOP or ANY other source. Be aware that somebody selling a box of cute purebred puppies with a large price tag on them at a fair is more than likely a backyard breeder. Kennel Club research has shown that as many as one in three could have bought a puppy from a rogue breeder, or puppy farmer. Regardless of where you get your pup, if it’s not kennel club registered, the chances of your pup being bred by an irresponsible breeder rises dramatically. It’s up to you, the potential puppy buyer, to educate yourself and to avoid being part of the puppy mill/ backyard breeder problem. Do not put your money into the pockets of irresponsible breeders under any circumstances.
The only reason to breed anything is to better and improve the breed in form, function and health. A good breeder is lucky to break even with breeding and may even lose money. Anyone operating not up to standard is referred to as a ‘back yard breeder’ or a ‘puppy farmer’. People don’t realise that Ireland is the puppy farm capital of Europe and shockingly it is estimated that there are around 250 puppy farms in Ireland…. some with up to 800 breeding bitches who are forced to live their whole lives in cramped and filthy diseased conditions. Check out pictures on the internet of how badly these dogs are treated. Apart from the puppies that are sold in Ireland, around 45,000 puppies are exported to the UK annually. In America, it’s estimated that there are around 15,000 puppy mills who are supplying almost 100% of the PET STORES.
On the other hand, please bear in mind that the Kennel Club is very concerned that there are not enough regulations for dog breeders. Whilst there are many good breeders …. too many are poor breeders who are damaging dog welfare (and the reputation of good breeders) by breeding dogs for money and appearance over welfare. Check out ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’ (a BBC 1 investigative documentary which looks into the health and welfare issues facing pedigree dogs bred in the UK): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZMegQH1SPg&feature=related and ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed – Three Years On’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opvvhTWqS6U&feature=relmfu for what is described as “one of the greatest animal welfare scandals of our time”
The Kennel Club has made two films, one looking at the lack of regulation over breeders and how puppy farmers breed dogs in terrible conditions to make money at the expense of welfare:
http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/stoppuppyfarming and another one looking at the health issues that affect pedigree dogs and the work being done to address them http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/doghealth

Top Dog Gaffo Clips – Dancing Dogs & Cat and some outtakes

 

 

 

Compassion For Cats

RIP SALLY
A tribute to my cat Sally and all other cats everywhere.

This is my beautiful cat Sally and her daughter Rosie behind her.

A short while ago Sally was chased and attacked by a strange dog before escaping. I searched for her for three weeks and eventually found her dead body and gave her a little funeral and a little bit of dignity. Anyway, my poor little Sally is dead now because she trusted too much and didn’t realise the danger with the strange dog. I miss her terribly as she was such a brilliant character and she loved people and always had great fun and interaction with my 6 dogs dogs and my other cats. Her and Rosie were inseparable. She always had such a welcome home for me and was as loving and loyal and entertaining as any dog.
Throughout the ages, in stories, cartoons, movies, kids books etc, cats are nearly always portrayed as the villains and the dogs as the good guys. In reality….. it’s not often that a cat will terrorise a dog. As everyone knows it’s nearly always the other way around in actual fact.  I am sad to say that unfortunately, maybe this inaccurate and unfair image of cats is placed firmly into people’s subconscious. I have had cats all my life and have always found them to be equally as good natured and affectionate and fun loving as any dog. I have also always found that cats and dogs can live harmoniously under the one roof and are often the best of friends.
Anyway, my reason for writing this tribute to Sally is the hope that it will make even a small difference to the way that some people think abut cats and that maybe something good might come out of her untimely death.
RIP beautiful gentle Sally