Episode 19 - devotion, dieting, umbrellas for dogs and more
Episode 19 of The Dog News Show is a mix of the weird and wacky, alongside the wonderful and the very sad dog related news stories from the last week. Debbie starts the ball rolling with a story about sheep texting...no you didn't read that wrong, this really is a story about sheep texting. However, the texting is actually generated from a collar on the sheep's neck which monitors their heart rate and sends a text alert to the farmer if the heart rate raises too high. It is thought that a sheep's heartbeat triples during a wolf attack, and with forewarning, farmers could protect their stock more effectively - even if they can't afford a sheepdog. But what's the difference between a sheepdog and a guardian dog? And could this texting technology help our understanding and training of our pet dogs?
Julie also has a story about a dog related invention - a doggy umbrella, created by Charlotte Smith from Manchester. Charlotte's own dog Jarvis disliked going out in the rain - and goodness knows we've had enough rain in the UK this year - until he had his own canine umbrella. But could this innovation cause as many problems as it solves? Do you think your dog would welcome the shelter or be spooked by it? Might the raindrops hitting the umbrella be too noisy for some dogs? In short would this device have dogs singing or just howling in the rain?
All dogs need to be groomed but has creative grooming gone too far? This is best described as furry topiary and in the States competitors are taking things to extremes. Dogs are now not only having their fur cut and dyed in unnatural styles and colours, but are having their coat embellished with a variety of accessories to make them resemble muppets or make it look as if an owl is nestling in their fur. So where should the line be drawn between acceptable and necessary grooming and going completely over the top and turning dogs into objects of ridicule? What level of creative grooming would you apply to your dog?
When Lindsey Evans' Rhodesian Ridgeback Millie needed surgery on her leg, Lindsey was shocked when the vet said that Millie needed to lose weight first. Millie weighed in at a whopping nine stone, and was put on a strict diet. The problem had arisen from Lindsey sharing her own unhealthy diet with her dog, including chocolate, crisps and biscuits, which had caused Lindsey's own weight to rise to twenty five stone. Inspired by her dog's weight loss LIndsey enrolled at a slimming club, with the result that Millie lost four stone and Lindsey lost fifteen. Well done to them both, and what a positive story in these times of rising obesity in both people, dogs and other companion animals.
Lesley Banks loved her Rottweiler Brannigan so much she wanted to protect him from any danger - and she paid the ultimate price for her devotion to her dog. In 2009 Brannigan saved Lesley's life when he woke her during a fire, allowing them both to get to safety, and she was extremely grateful. However, Brannigan had bitten Lesley on at least one occasion, and when he bit her in August 2011 Lesley was so scared he would be put down that she treated the bite herself and refused to seek help. Within forty eight hours she was dead from septicemia. Debbie discusses the law involved here and reassures owners that Brannigan would not have been put to sleep if his owner had sought help. But what's happened to Brannigan since Lesley's death, and could this whole tragedy have been avoided?
Schmaltz Corner this week is a celebration of the love and deep bond we develop with our animals. When Hannah Stonehouse Hudson took a photo of John Unger and his dog Schoep in lake Wisconsin and posted it on Facebook she had no idea how many people would respond to the photo. John adopted Schoep from a shelter when he was just a few months old, and now at the grand old age of nineteen, the dog has bad arthritis. So John wades out into the warm lake with him cradled in his arms so that the supportive and relaxing effect of the water eases his pain and lulls him into a peaceful sleep. The photo of John tenderly holding his dog, with Schoep's head nestled into his shoulder has moved dog lovers around the world - and now donations are pouring in to pay for the dog's medical treatment. Only able to pay for painkillers, John's vet was advising that the end might be near for elderly Schoep, but happily now, thanks to the generosity of strangers moved by the pair's story, Schoep is benefiting from laser treatment that he will need for the rest of his life. If you'd like to donate to Schoep's treatment, contact Bay Area Animal Hospital on 715-682-8865 with your credit card number ready, or mail a cheque to 3601 E Hwy 2 Ashland, WI 54806 - all contributions go into Schoep's account. Here's wishing John and Schoep the very best.