A monthly dog blog
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
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
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
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.
a good thing to let a dog know who’s boss,”
declared Major Marshall as Benjamin pulled
him across the room.
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
the name of the game,”
thundered the major.
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
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
for Cats in the
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
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.
“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
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
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
“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
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
“If dog owners can spread the word about being
responsible around livestock that will really
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
To book a stay at The Vicarage call 01477 533393.
For further information about Dog Friendly packages
at The Vicarage please visit the website at
A Diploma in Dog Therapy -
Your New Career Path?
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
for Your Cat or Dog
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
"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 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
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
For Your Chance to Win
us what ingredient in PetVits Calming Formula for
Cats and Dogs is beneficial for bone, teeth and
To Enter the Competition
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
* This competition is open to
our UK readers only
your Dog Safe in
the Car at all Times
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
“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.”
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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