Website for the over 60s  June 2017
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      Dora's Diary

Dora in the bluebells

             A monthly dog blog

Hi folks. Hope all’s well with you. They often say that owners look like their pets. I’m not sure that applies to Bossman. I’m a sweet, photogenic little terrier with gorgeous appealing brown eyes and silky brown coat, Whereas, Bossman with his bloodshot eyes and thinning straggly hair. Mmm … less said the better.

But he did have one client who bore a striking resemblance to his dog. Major Marshall and his bulldog, Benjamin. The major was a classic stereotype. Short, barrel-chested. His arms and legs sticking out like those on a Mr Man character. A grumpy Mr Man at that. He had a perpetually wrinkled brow. Sagging jowls. Grizzled, hairy upper lip.

A description that also befitted his bulldog. Although in addition, Benjamin’s jowls were always liberally laced with strings of spittle. Otherwise the deeply creased forehead, the drooping jowls, and the pouches under the eyes were dead ringers for the major. However, the large pink tongue that lolled out, dripping with saliva when excited wasn’t one of the major’s attributes. At least not in Bossman’s presence. At home with his wife? Well that’s another matter.

Major Marshall would announce his arrival in Bossman’s waiting room with a loud command to his bulldog,

Cats cowered in the back of their baskets. Dogs sank down on their haunches immediately, not a sound from them. Whereas Benjamin, stood, elbows out, ignored his master’s order and barked; and if given half a chance would cock his leg against the nearest convenient chair leg and liberally spray it, ignoring the
Stop that AT ONCE, thundered at him by the major until his vigorous jet of urine had subsided to a couple of drops.

One particular afternoon was no exception. When it was their turn to be seen, Major Marshall roared
Heel BEN-JA-MIN, before being forced to drag the bulldog through to the consulting room. Both were foaming at each end of the lead, both sending spittle flying in all directions. Always a good thing to let a dog know who’s boss, declared Major Marshall as Benjamin pulled him across the room. Some people have no idea of discipline. Can’t control their dogs.

Benjamin had, by now, wrapped his lead three times round the nearest legs which included two of the consulting table’s four and one of mine. A vigorous jet of urine was directed up each.
Control’s the name of the game, thundered the major. Stop that BEN-JAM-IN!
Piss … Piss … Piss …

Bossman smiled weakly. Control of Benjamin’s bladder would certainly have been helpful. His warm soggy trouser leg proof of that.

Major Marshall then fired a, “Sit BEN-JA-MIN.
The dog promptly shot over to sniff at the waste bin while the consulting table, still entangled in his lead, screeched across the tiled floor behind him.

Bossman’s nurse, Lucy, rushed in, fearful a cat was being emasculated. Benjamin bounded over, a “Down BEN-JA-MIN,
ignored as he leapt up at her. A “Stay BEN-JA-MIN  also fell on deaf ears when he attempted to follow Lucy as she backed out of the room.

“Always a one for the ladies,
barked the major.
And gents Bossman thought, shaking his wet leg.

“So let’s get cracking, laddie. Get Benjamin’s vaccination done and dusted before he makes a nuisance of himself.

“Now do as you’re told BEN-JA-MIN. Behave.
The dog crashed into the consulting room chair. It went flying across the room to hit the instrument trolley; scissors and swabs fell off to scatter across the floor.

Bossman salvaged a syringe to make up the booster and drew up the shot from a vial of vaccine.

The major squared his shoulders. His ponderous jowls quivered. “Now BEN-JA-MIN this won’t hurt. So be a good boy and stand still. That’s an order.

Fat chance of it being obeyed Bossman thought as he advanced on the dog. The major looked at him. “Had many a jab during my time in the forces. Took them like a man. Backside, arm, you name it.
The major shuffled his feet. Stood to attention. Stock still. Benjamin’s lead wrapped tightly round his wrist. “We’ll not move. You’ll see.

Bossman patted Benjamin’s neck and eased up a pinch of skin as he knelt beside him. “Steady boy, steady
he murmured, slipping in the needle and injecting the vaccine. There was not a sound. No flinch. Not a muscle moved. “There. All done, he said, getting to his feet, while the major, having fainted, crashed down on his.

Let’s hope the only time you crash out this summer is when you go on holiday.

Have a good one.

Love and licks


Pets Aplenty by Malcolm Welshman

P.S. My Bossman is Malcolm Welshman.

His latest novel, Pets Aplenty, is published by Austin Macauley Tel: 0207 038 8212 at £7.99, Kindle version £0.99 and available to buy from  

Malcolm Welshman has his own website at 


  Sunburn Advice
    for Cats in the
     Hot Weather

Sunburn advice for cats in the hot weather

Cat owners are being urged to protect their pets from sun exposure as soaring temperatures puts them at risk of developing sunburn and skin cancer.

Cats Protection says cats with white or pale coloured ears or noses are particularly susceptible to the sun’s harmful rays – with some needing drastic surgery to repair sun damaged skin.

The UK’s largest cat charity advises owners to keep cats indoors during very sunny weather.

Cats Protection’s Education Veterinary Officer Sandra Milburn says, “We regularly have cats coming into our care with early or advanced stages of skin cancer caused by sun exposure. In many of these cases, we need to amputate the ears to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Like many of us, cats love the warm weather and enjoy lounging around in the sun. However, just as with humans, too much sun exposure can be very dangerous and owners should take precautions to protect their cats.

“White cats, or those with unpigmented white noses or ears, are at the greatest risk. It may take a few years before the damage is visible but, once the early stages of cancer set in, it is important cats are given urgent veterinary treatment to prevent it spreading.

Protect your cat from the sun in a pop up tent

“The good news is that you can protect your cat by keeping him or her indoors during the hottest part of the day, particularly during the summer months. It’s also a good idea to provide lots of shady areas in the garden where your cat may like to snooze – whether it’s a large shrub or artificial shade, such as a small pop up tent.

"There are also sunblocks available that have been manufactured specifically for use on animals, some of which have been designed to be lick-proof. Your vet should be able to recommend one or source one for your cat. It is very important that it is suitable for cats, as they can be more sensitive than some other animals to the chemicals included. Please check with your vet before using anything intended for humans on your cat."

One cat currently recovering from surgery to remove both her badly-sunburned ears is Pearl, a 16-year-old former stray being cared for at Cats Protection’s Derby Adoption Centre.

Manager Helen Wood said, “Poor Pearl was in quite a state when she was found as a stray, with both ears having sustained serious damage as a result of sun exposure. Sadly, her ears could not be saved and both needed to be removed to prevent the spread of skin cancer.

“Fortunately, she has coped brilliantly with this and is now looking for a new home. Her new owner will need to ensure she stays indoors during hot weather to protect her from further skin damage.”

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, with over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres helping around 500 cats a day, or 200,000 a year.

For more information about the charity, please visit

RSPCA Reminds Dog
 Walkers to take Care
   around Livestock

RSPCA Inspector, Tony Woodley

  RSPCA Inspector, Tony Woodley

The RSPCA is reminding dog owners and walkers of the importance of keeping their pets under control to avoid devastating attacks on livestock.

As summer approaches, dog owners and walkers look forward to exploring exciting new places on foot and enjoying relaxing countryside walks, but it’s likely they will meet grazing livestock along the way.

RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley, who is based in Sussex explains how easily livestock such as sheep and horses can become anxious and worried by dogs and walkers.

He says, “Whilst the vast majority of people take care as a matter of course sadly accidents can happen and even the most docile and obedient dogs can get distracted and excited by grazing animals.

“You may think if your dog momentarily chases a flock of sheep and comes back relatively quickly that there would be no harm done, but even if there are no visible injuries, actually it could be causing the animals a lot of worry and anxiety, which can be really harmful to their health. Ewes have been known to abort unborn lambs whilst under stress which is just tragic.”

In more extreme cases, severe attacks can happen which have a devastating effect on the livestock, resulting in severe injury and death.

Inspector Woodley adds, “Dog owners should also remember that it is completely lawful for farmers to shoot a dog to protect their livestock - which no one wants to happen. Owners could also be prosecuted by police if their dog is caught worrying livestock.

“There is a very simple way to stop any of this happening though – keep your dog on a lead around livestock.

“If dog owners can spread the word about being responsible around livestock that will really help too.”

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).

For more information about the RSPCA visit the website at

Pet Care  

Cat-sersize for Your Feline Friend

Cat-sersize for your feline friend

Regular activity is an important part of helping your cat maintain a healthy weight. But if your feline prefers a good snooze followed by a nice long nap, you may need to provide a bit of encouragement.

PDSA Vet, Rebecca Ashman says, “Outdoor cats are more likely to get plenty of opportunities to run and play, but for indoor cats it can take a little more effort to ensure they get enough exercise. However, all cats will benefit from some playtime with you – not only will it get them moving, it will help strengthen the bond between you.”

Older cats love to play just as much as young kittens so, whatever their age, your cat will benefit from games and toys. Here are Rebecca’s suggestions on great games to play with your cat:

Fishing rod-type toys are perfect for encouraging your cat to chase and pounce

· Pounce and play: cats love to pounce, and toys that encourage them to act out their natural hunting instincts are ideal. Toys that move quickly and unpredictably are great and fishing rod-type toys are perfect for encouraging your kitty to chase and pounce. Just make sure the toys are good quality and won’t fall apart easily - and avoid playing pounce games with your hands or feet!

· Food for thought: if your cat is very food motivated you could try getting a toy which requires them to work for their dinner. Toys that you can hide food inside, or that encourage them to chase or ‘bat’ with their paws are all great for increasing activity, as well as providing mental stimulation.

· Vertical reach: cats often feel safest when they are up high – peering down at you! A cat climber is ideal, or a comfy bed placed safely and securely on a shelf or wardrobe.

A scratching post is perfect for keeping your cat's claws conditioned

· Perfect manicure: Keeping claws conditioned is vital, and for indoor cats a suitable scratching post is a necessity. It must be tall enough for the cat to stretch fully upright, and heavy enough at the bottom to hold the cat’s full weight without falling over. If it isn’t stable enough, your cat may decide to use your furniture instead!

· Cheap and creative: You don’t always need to splash out on toys and expensive items. Home-made toys such as tubes, paper, and of course boxes, are all free and can provide hours of fun. Just make sure they’re safe for your cat to play with.

Rebecca also adds, “If you find that your cat is very unwilling to take part in activity, or gets tired after only a few minutes, then it’s possible they are carrying a bit of extra weight and you might need to build up exercise very gradually.

“A visit to your vet is recommended to check your cat’s weight and fitness before starting an exercise regime. They can also advise if your cat needs to shed a few pounds and how best to go about it.”

By providing activities that are fun and stimulating, you will help to keep your cat in shape, both mentally and physically

By providing activities that are fun and stimulating, you will help to keep your cat in shape, both mentally and physically.

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

Treat Your Four Legged Friend to a Cosy Break at The Vicarage in Cheshire

Treat your dog to a break at The Vicarage in Cheshire


Award-winning Grade II listed country pub and hotel, The Vicarage, has put together a special dog-friendly package so that guests do not have to leave their furry friends at home.

Dogs are welcomed on arrival with a doggy bag of tasty treats, their own dog bowl and a fleece blanket to use during their stay.

The Vicarage is located just a short walk from the picturesque village of Holmes Chapel. Nestled in the heart of the leafy Cheshire countryside, there are numerous walks to enjoy in the surrounding area and the hotel can provide guests with walking maps.

The Vicarage is located just a short walk from the picturesque village of Holmes Chapel

After exhausting their four-legged friends, guests can return to the food-led hotel to enjoy a three-course dinner from the seasonally-inspired menu, freshly prepared by head chef, Steven Tuke. With dog-friendly areas in the bar, pets are welcome to join their owners for meal and drinks and can choose from a specially selected doggy menu.

The hotel has 20 individually designed bedrooms and six brand new signature rooms, all with complimentary WiFi. These spacious and sumptuous rooms all are uniquely styled and designed to accentuate the hotel's elegant yet rustic country-inn style decor.

The Vicarage has has 20 individually designed bedrooms and six brand new signature rooms

Situated in the most historic part of the building, the signature rooms are luxurious yet homely, with high ceilings, exposed beams and brickwork, king-sized beds, freestanding roll top baths and large walk in showers.

The signature rooms offer 3D compatible 42 inch TVs, Nespresso machines, premium Tea from the Manor tea bags and coffee from Cheshire company, Jaunty Goat Coffee.

Enjoy a three-course meal and doggy treats at The Vicarage in Cheshire

The dog-friendly package is priced at £185 and includes a three-course dinner up to the value of £25 per person, freshly cooked English breakfast, doggy treats, bowl and fleece and is based on two adults and one dog sharing a comfy double or twin room. Guests can upgrade to a suite for an additional charge, subject to availability.

The Vicarage is easily accessible by car, just one mile from Junction 18 of the M6 motorway or 30 minutes from Manchester Airport. The hotel is located just one mile from Holmes Chapel train station, which has direct links to Crewe, Manchester and Manchester Airport.

Enjoy a dog friendly holiday at The Vicarage in Cheshire

To book a stay at The Vicarage call 01477 533393.

Or email

For further information about Dog Friendly packages at The Vicarage please visit the website at

A Diploma in Dog Therapy - Your New Career Path?

Take a diploma in dog therapy

 Julia Robertson (third right) teaching students on one of the diploma courses. Photograph courtesy of the Galen Therapy Centre

As man’s best friend, dogs have been living by our side for thousands of years. And for those with a passion for helping our canine companions there are courses galore teaching us how to train, groom and care for them.

Dog therapy, however, is a relatively new frontier but a canine expert is urging people to consider it, especially if they are thinking of a career change.

Julia Robertson is the founder of Galen Myotherapy, a hands-on muscle treatment used to treat dogs with arthritis and underlying pain, and runs diploma courses teaching her unique remedy to pet owners, vets, veterinary and other canine professionals, along with human therapeutic practitioners.

Since establishing the Galen Therapy Centre in 2002 she has treated thousands of dogs and trained hundreds of people, via her diploma course, who now work as myotherapists across the UK and abroad.

Julia says, “When I set up my therapy centre my aim was to help as many dogs as possible suffering in silence through arthritis, musculoskeletal pain and underlying conditions. I am extremely proud of all the myotherapists I have trained and work alongside.

“Through them, Galen Myotherapy is able to reach and support dogs from across the UK and further afield. They have all been through the diploma and are now working for themselves.”

Julia has been running her externally accredited diploma courses for more than 10 years, which is open to people from all ages and backgrounds. Students with an anatomy and physiology background can go straight onto the diploma while those without can take an introductory course beforehand.

“Myotherapy training demonstrates how dog’s posture is relevant to muscle pain, alongside teaching an in-depth knowledge of canine anatomy and physiology plus our specific empathetic handling by giving dogs choice. These components help to arrest chronic muscle pain and helps to reverse that dreadful chronic pain cycle,” explains Julia.

“With this understanding we can better spot signs that our pet may be in pain or discomfort so we can get them – or give them – the necessary treatment as quickly as possible”

“Working with dogs every day is totally rewarding, nothing says thank you more than a dog demonstrably enjoying their life more, and knowing that you are helping them makes the job completely satisfying and worthwhile. Our diploma course is an ideal step for people keen to work with dog’s in one of the most rewarding ways possible.”

The Galen Therapy Centre is based in Bolney, West Sussex and has been treating dogs since 2002. Galen Myotherapy is derived from massage and is intended to treat compensatory issues from a pathology (condition), past trauma or repetitive strain.

For more information about Galen Myotherapy and the diploma course please visit the website at

   Sixtyplusurfers Competition 

 Win a PetVits Bundle
  for Your Cat or Dog

PetVits Glossy Coat

Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Health Plus to offer one lucky reader the chance to win PetVits Glossy Coat and PetVits Calming Formula to help keep your cats or dogs in tip top shape.

PetVits is a range of nutritional supplements formulated especially for cats and dogs to help them stay fit and healthy.

Simon Bandy from Health Plus says, “From calming supplements for stressed-out spaniels, to energy boosters for moody moggies, PetVits’ range of products has been designed to combat common pet ailments that can often be attributed to nutritional imbalance.

"Formulated with essential vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients to promote good health, PetVits’ natural flavoured, tasty supplements are easy to administer.”

PetVits Glossy Coat is an advanced omega fatty acid formula enhanced with zinc and folic acid to promote beautifully glossy, healthy skin and coat and to help to reduce moulting. The addition of omegas 3, 6 and 9 are not only key components for a glossy coat, but also promote joint and cardiovascular health.

PetVits Glossy Coat is priced at £14.95 for a 30-90 day supply (dependent on size of animal).

PetVits Calming Formula

PetVits Calming Formula is a blend of nutrients to calm cats and pooches in times of stress, such as that caused by travel or fireworks. The supplement also encourages better behaviour in disobedient dogs and feisty felines.

Natural amino acid L-Tryptophan has been included as a precursor to serotonin, to help stabilise mood and reduce aggression, whilst Inositol provides a calming effect. The blend also contains taurine; beneficial for heart health, calcium; for bone, teeth and muscle health and Vitamins B3, B6 and D.

PetVits Calming Formula for Cats & Small dogs is priced at £8.95 for a 45 day supply. PetVits Calming Formula for Large Dogs is priced at £12.95 for a 45 day supply.

Always consult your vet before starting your pet on a supplements programme.

Health Plus was established over 20 years ago with a mission to promote optimum nutrition across the world. Family-owned and run since November 1991, the company supplies a wide range of British made, high quality nutritional supplements. All PetVits pots are made from recyclable HDPE.

PetVits products are available to buy from and

  For Your Chance to Win

Tell us what ingredient in PetVits Calming Formula for Cats and Dogs is beneficial for bone, teeth and muscle health?

      a) Chicory
      b) Calcium
      c) Capsicum
      d) Chamomile

  To Enter the Competition

Tell us what ingredient in PetVits Calming Formula for Cats and Dogs is beneficial for bone, teeth and muscle health? Then send in your answer together with your full name, postal address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address as shown below:

* Please label your entry
PetVits Competition

* This competition is open to
our UK readers only


 Keep your Dog Safe in
    the Car at all Times

Keep your dog safe in the car

As thousands of families prepare for their holidays or a weekend getaway, animal welfare charities are releasing important advice on making sure all four-legged family members are safe and comfy on any long journeys.

Lots of people will be loading up the car and heading off for a weekend break or travelling to visit family as the weather warms up, so the UK’s oldest and largest animal welfare charity is urging pet owners to ensure their dogs are safe and secure inside the car when travelling.

“Our pet dogs are part of the family so it’s great that so many families choose to holiday in the UK and take their canine companion to join in the fun,” says Lisa Richards, RSPCA dog welfare expert.

“There are lots of lovely parts of this country which can best be enjoyed and explored by walking so holidaying closer to home is a great opportunity to get out with your dog and see what the UK has to offer.

“But before you arrive at your destination, you need to get there and you could be facing a long journey with your four-legged friend and other family members in the car and it’s really important to make sure everyone is safe, secure and comfortable for the duration of the drive.”

Before and during your journey

Before you embark on your trip, it’s really important to make sure your pet is comfortable travelling in the car. It’s reported that high numbers of dogs can struggle with travel, likely due to motion sickness or due to anxiety, so it’s really important to teach them gradually - using positive, reward-based training methods - that being in the car isn’t scary. It’s best to take them on lots of little car journeys from a young age to get them used to the experience.

It’s also important to keep a close eye on them when travelling long distances to make sure they are not displaying signs of travel-related problems such as barking, whining, jumping, attempting to run around the car, salivating, vomiting, attention-seeking, licking, cowering, hiding or restlessness.

If your dog is nervous, do not punish him or her for any signs of travel-related problems

If your dog is nervous, do not punish him or her for any signs of travel-related problems. If you have problems, a vet or clinical animal behaviourist can help.

Dogs travel better without a full stomach so it’s best to feed them more than two hours before the journey and give them chance to go to the toilet just before you leave. Remember to take regular breaks on long journeys, so he or she can go to the toilet and exercise.

As dog-lovers, you’ll also want to make sure your friend is safe in the car. As well as having the dog’s welfare in mind, the UK’s Highway Code also states that dogs should be suitably restrained in a vehicle so they are safe during an emergency stop and so they do not distract the driver.

Travelling crates and containers, dog guards and car harnesses can be used to secure your pet when travelling. It’s important to ensure any crate is big enough for your dog, and that your pet is somewhere with good airflow and ventilation so they don’t get too hot. Bedding inside a crate or in the boot will stop them from slipping and will help make them feel comfortable and secure during the journey. Regular breaks with access to water are important during long journeys, as is the temperature inside the car.

Dogs Die in Hot Cars

We would also remind dog owners who are taking their pets away with them this weekend, never to leave him or her in a vehicle when parked up on a warm day. Temperatures inside cars can quickly rise and pets can tragically suffer, or even die, from heat exposure. If you’re going away with your pet, please ensure you have somewhere safe and cool to leave your dog at your accommodation or visit dog-friendly places so your pet can come along with you wherever you go.

PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman says, “Dogs should never be left alone in the car. Even on a cloudy day with the windows open, the temperature in your car can soar dangerously high in just a few minutes, which can cause fatal heatstroke.

“Dogs don’t have sweat glands all over their body like humans. They only have a few in the pads of their feet and their main way of cooling down is by panting. Once all methods of cooling their body down are overwhelmed, as is often the case in hot cars, heatstroke begins to develop.”

If you see a dog in a car on a warm day and are concerned for his/her welfare please alert police by dialling 999.

For more information about the RSPCA visit the website at


     Moving Home
     with Your Pets

Moving home with your pets

Moving to a new home can be an incredibly stressful time. With all the major changes a house move brings, just imagine how confusing it is for pets who no longer recognise the smells, sights and sounds of home.

Preparing in advance can be incredibly helpful in ensuring the sudden changes go as smoothly as possible.

PDSA vet, Rebecca Ashman says, “Worrying about an anxious pet who is struggling to settle into a new environment can be upsetting and add stress when moving home. However, there are some simple steps we can take to keep pets calm and help them through the transition.”

In order to do this, it’s important to consider your pet and how you think they may respond. Nervous animals who take longer to adapt to new people and places might benefit from going to a kennels during the actual move to reduce unnecessary stress for them. If you think you need to take your pet to a kennels or cattery, it’s important that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.

If boarding isn’t an option for your pet, there are lots of other things you can do to help your pet settle. Rebecca provides her top tips below:

· In the lead up to the big move, keep your pets' food and water bowls, litter trays, toys and beds in one room. On moving day itself, your pet will feel more comfortable being in one place for what could be a number of hours.

· Avoid feeding pets close to travelling time as this could cause travel sickness. Ensure they’re fed a couple of hours before travelling or consider feeding them small amounts throughout the day.

· When you’re at the new property, put your pet’s toys into one room with some clothing that smells of you in addition to a pheromone diffuser, to encourage them to feel more settled.

· Make sure your house and garden are secure and take your dog for a walk around the property on a lead. Cats will need to be kept indoors for a few weeks until they are fully settled in their new home.

· Pheromone diffusers plugged in around the house can help your pet feel more relaxed. The diffusers emit natural scents that are undetectable to humans, but can help calm your pet.

· Make sure your pets are microchipped and remember to update your contact information as soon as you move. If your pet were to go missing during the move, being microchipped will increase the chance of being reunited.

For more pet care tips, head to