Sunday, 28 August 2011

I've been thinking

Most of you will now know that my horse, Ella is currently unwell and residing at the Royal Dick Veterinary hospital in Edinburgh.

I haven't been doing much thinking as it is taking all my time to keep up with the doing! The little bit of thinking I have been doing has been rolling around in my head, back and forth. As if to compound this I keep seeing examples everywhere I go. Yet I still can't see a solution.

I have a friend who has a way of doing things that hark back to my twenties. It makes sense and I agree with many of her thoughts morals and ideals yet I have since found that when the chips are down I have my own way of doing things. So l stand with a leg in each camp. Never seeming to fit.

I should be used to it by now as this has been the one constant in my life.

I truly believe that animals should be taught to know what you want…positive reinforcement is the way to go yet I also truly believe once an animals knows you occasionally have to butt heads when they decide, quite understandably, that they don't want to do something. So I don't fit into the absolutely no positive punishment camp or the old fashioned 'you vill do as I say' camp either.

Anyway my friend has horses, they are her livelihood and her thing. They run in small herds and if something goes wrong there are choices, a few less choices than some but still they have choices. Rest, a shot of penicillin or a lead bullet. Harsh? Possibly yet the results speak for themselves, she breeds tough, viable horses that are fit and well and if they weren't they were tough enough to pull through with some intervention.

Where am I going with all this?

Natural selection!

I blame Radio Four. And the journey up to Edinburgh. And the twelve cds or James Herriot talking books with the old fashioned way of doing things.

So few of us deal with natural selection on a daily basis that we would quiver in our boots if we were faced with it now. We don't even often deal with death or ill health. It is something that should be cured or beaten, death is something we try to pretend isn't going to happen. I get a ailment I go to the doctor and expect him to fix it, preferably instantly.

The discussion on Radio Four was fascinating. Talking about how we are still evolving but far more slowly than we ever have, modern medicines are preventing natural selection from working to its full advantage. We look forward to more ill health more serious conditions and more suffering because the unthrifty are breeding and reproducing. Don't forget we are merely mammals part of a bigger picture so getting all squiffy on me for saying this.

Dogs are still subject to natural selection yet without doubt the evolving they are doing is by the hand of human, we still cull, kill it's just not for health reasons as a rule its for preference of cosmetic ideals. What we forget is our dogs are not normal, English dogs are subject to our funny little whims and no longer have the realities of surviving unlike many of the dogs around the world. I wouldn't even begin to work out whether our lives make them more fulfilled than the street dogs around the world.

We now have millions of people, dogs, cats, horses and all manner of pets who are incapable of living without constant medicinal intervention. They can't function normally and it scares me. We have unintentionally created a monster. By trying to fix problems we have perpetuated bigger long term problems. Where do you start?

If we could start from scratch would I feed well, provide a encouraging environment then when illness strikes provide only nominal intervention leaving only the strong to survive? Yes I guess I could still play a little by keeping the spotty ones and or the big eared ones but not the sickly ones unless those sickly ones survived.

Well that rules out most of the animals I have owned, certainly Swift would have died, Buck soon after, Shy would have keeled over without his pain meds and as for Tumble he would still be screeching merrily, lucky me. Of course Ella would be no more. Mmmm difficult.

There is a cruelty to treatment too though, even watching Ella teeter on the edge, not because of the condition, whatever it is, but because of the treatment. How much is too much? Is a short extreme illness kinder than a long struggle for many years? I just don't know.

Of course nothing is black and white of course we should take advantage of the medicines available to us and our animals. I feel we need to not breed with the knowledge it is there though…how do I put it? Breed for animals that will not need it, Ella will not be bred from as I would be purposefully breeding with the definite possibility of creating a unthrifty animal. How would that be fair? Yes it might have pretty spots or a nice chunky butt but it also might have a propensity to try and die at any given moment!

My head is still bumbling along with this….it leads onto so many other things, Hitler and his plans, the lifestyles our animals lead, the new panic about removing diseases from breeds without the knowledge that you can't just remove one problem without affecting the whole system and what we consider to be the facts now only to be looked on in disbelief in the years to come.

Wow how about that for a cheery note? As a very interesting lady I have recently connected with has said we need to think about this, you and me and not just the people in power, the breeders and the vets. We are the ones in that can make decisions. Lets not hide behind our illusions and delusions.

I promise I will have a cheery post sometime soon! Have you joined Facebook yet? No wow you are missing out on the PetNanny Supernanny fun….

The friend in question send me this hilarious youtube video:

Good taste? Probably not!

Friday, 12 August 2011

His name is Tumble

It isn't very often that I talk about cats. Not because they aren't infinitely interesting we just don't spend as much time with the feline world. I have always had a cat in my life and when I moved into my first house I ended up talking the very pregnant farm cat home with me. Her name was Porsche which was ironic as she was more of the bagpuss variety rather than the sleek kind. Maybe she was named Porsche for her incredible purr yet even that didn't ring true as she purred loudly only to squeak on her intake of breath so not exactly an iconic noise!

Anyhoo I wanted to tell you about Tumble. Tumbleweed was so named as he spent much of his early life endlessly rolling around , wobbling, generally not landing on his feet. He could certainly jump unfortunately he hadn't mastered the landing part. For at least two years I had to keep a baby gate on my staircase as he came down the stairs by flipping head tail head tail till he hit the bottom, with a chirrup he'd scoot around the corner as if it was normal as I tried to quieten down my beating heart.

I dread explaining who and what Tumble is as people always presume he should be kindly ended to save his suffering. Take it from me the only suffering that happens in our house is our hearing. Hypo plastic is the correct term for what used to be named Spastics ( oh how I remember that word well it seemed the de riguer for anyone who wasn't popular). So not only is he Hypo plastic he only has one working eye and is completely deaf.

Now coming from a household with two three legged dogs, a horse with a hole in his heart and irregular heart beat you could see people looking strangely at me when I said what I had. Now that those lovely old guys are no longer with me he lives in a healthy household with only one doddery boy so he stands out like a preverbal sore thumb.

Being hypo plastic means he is Peter Pan of the cat world so ornaments remain high up, legs are still to be rugby tackled, dogs to be wrestled despite the gargantuan size difference. He likes to chirrup then run manically, albeit clumsily, around the house sending the podencos into full chase mode before returning to the room, chase hounds being chased.

Most visiting dogs are completely bemused or alarmed at this creature, a cat that behaves like no other. Any friendly dog is immediately smothered by love, dogs that hold off are generally worked on, kneaded, shaped until the are putty in his paws.Cat aggressive dogs are quietly stalked before he heads off to the kitchen. Time for that dog to leave this is Tumbles terrain, unfriendly dogs need not visit.

Yet recently I have noticed something creeping up on my dear feline...he is starting to behave much more cat like. Sure he still loves a ride out in the car, the vets are there for individual attention and a new place to check out a bath is a refreshing change. A few months ago he shocked us all and himself by hissing. He obviously couldn't hear it yet when he hissed he looked a little embarrassed, confused and befuddled. He also is getting less tolerant, no longer willing to put u with someones bad behaviour.

Isn't it funny how it is the little things that define who they are. He loves a pat a good hearty big dogs pat, enjoys having his ears pulled hard. He will only travel on your left shoulder but once there he will stay there rubbing your ear so hard with his mouth that you wince as his teeth connect with delicate skin. Tumble has no inhibitions, if he wants a pat he shoves you so hard on the booby that you feel your bra nearly buckle under the pressure. He has also been known to do that on mens groin, lets face it he isn't daft one way or the other he gets a reaction. Another funny slightly alarming habit is to give you a gentle nip and rag when he wants attention again it works beautifully!

Mind he is loud, what is it about deaf animals that make them think you are deaf. Tumbleweed doesn't meow he MEOWS I mean really BAWLS at the top of his lungs. He also spins so hard that you wait for something to fall off. I can't believe he hasn't worn a track in my rug walking his funny stereotypical march, always when he is hungry or frustrated, he will even jump obstacles on his track. This is usually a dog or feet lying in the way.

The quiet things are to be worshipped and revelled in, when he lies up against you his body rippling off his purring ( ah yes that is loud too), if he wakes his one eye is soft and he gives you such a loving look with a gentle stretch he rubs up against you and slowly slinks back into his dream world. When he wraps his paws around your neck and kisses you I smile then of course I wait.......did I mention one of Tumbles issues? He can put a snotty nosed kid to shame when it comes to being snotty, one snuffle and it makes Bruce run from the room and the two dogs running into the room to check him out. So he kisses you and you get a surge of love and fear he has managed to repel more than one visitor with his unfortunate snuffles.

So as I sit here the dogs are lying down, Flute and Tips chewing bones whilst plotting how to get the others bone, Shy lying in wait for his tea arriving Tumble lies on the settee his back nestled into my thigh and the rhythmical sound of him snoring accompanies my tapping on the keyboard.

Maybe one day you will meet him, ask me to put his hoodie on and I can guarantee you will have seen nothing like it in your life!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Uk2 have manage to lose my web domain name bless then so for my permanent link to my website use this link:

Now have you signed up to facebook yet?

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Missing, 2 year old boxer bitch answers to the name of Jessie. Last seen Thursday 28th July in Forest Hall. Spayed and chipped, very friendly, if you see or hear of anyone trying to sell a boxer please get in touch. She is red with white chest and socks and has an exceptionally long tongue that sticks out even when her mouth is shut. Heartbroken and want her home safe and sound please x".

She is on the dog lost website, there is a poster on their you can print off and use og_blog.php?dogId=31425

Day 5 & still missing. She is spayed so can't have puppies, chipped, if taken to the vets she will be traced back to me. If anyone knows where she is have a heart, take her to the vets to be scanned or ring either cat & dog shelter in Newcastle, both have our details as does the dog warden. We miss her very much. If you can put a poster up email me at We are offering a reward for her safe return.

Day 6: Still no sign of Jessie. She is a red boxer with white chest and paws and a full tail. She has a really long tongue that sticks out her mouth even when her mouth is closed. She went missing 10.15am Thursday 27th July at Forest Hall. She may have been taken out of the area by now so please add all your friends to this group so we can spread the word. I also have a poster nt/d/1WER6r63vHa-fV-whcEuGptPJ 0nE9LO5s2lzrnY3QKD8/edit?hl=en _US&pli=1 if you could print one off and put it up somewhere it would really help. Thanks x

Last seen Forest Hall, Thursday 27th July around 10am. We think someone has taken her and really just want her back, no questions asked. We are offering a reward for her return

Day 7: Still no news. Missing since Thursday 27th July, Red boxer with white chest and paws. We have checked network rail and council and no news so she is still a live and out there somewhere. If you see anyone with a new boxer please get in touch we are offering a cash reward. Call 07958617190 if you know anything

Can we help by keeping an eye out? We all know how we would feel if it were one of our dogs. This is when it doesn't matter if we like the breed or know the dog it is about helping people and dogs.

Hope she is found soon.