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From the media: assistance dog; Kennel Club; Hitler salute; a vet speaks

Published: Monday, January 10, 2011

From the media:
The Times has two dog stories separated by a day but a million miles apart. The first is about a terrier cross called Sandie who is an assistance dog.  When shopping, Sandie puts  the items in a bag, carries them to the check-out and hands over the money. At home she fetches the post and the phone, loads the washing machine including separating dark and light clothing.  She also locks and unlocks the door to let herself out. Sandie was bought for company by the owner Mrs Lane but was trained by the charity Dog Aid.

The second story is that The Kennel Club (KC) has announced that from next year, fifteen breeds of dog will have to be vetted for signs of ill-health and deformities before they can win Best of Breed.  The KC said the change was to ensure problems with the breeds “do not bring the whole hobby of dog showing into disrepute.” [A bit late in the day. Ed.]

Jemima Harrison who made the BBC programme “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” said that as usual with the KC it does not go far enough and there is a long delay in acting. The RSPCA commented that there are 50 popular breeds with defects which can cause suffering.

The KC is also in dispute with the British Veterinary Association as reported in The Veterinary Record.  The BVA is trying to limit the registration of puppies born as a result of multiple caesarean operations in bitches.  The aim is to stop breeding from mothers which can’t reproduce naturally.  Needless to say the KC is dragging its heels on that one too.

The Guardian and Independent  papers tell the story of a Finnish dog which had been trained to do a Hitler salute on command. German foreign office files from 1941 which have just come to light tell how the Nazi regime tried to silence and ruin the owner but gave up because none of the witnesses would testify against dog or owner.

Guardian Weekend has a column called “What I’m really thinking” where readers are invited to contribute. This week’s column is by A Vet.  It isn’t me but it could have been.

He/she relates the difficulty of trying to explain to pet owners about their overweight pets.  “This can be tricky when the owner appears in need of similar advice. I’m no match for the forces of commercial marketing of an endless selection of pet treats and food.”

On behaviour the write explains that cats are solitary and highly territorial.  Feline tension involves a lot of silent staring rather than fighting.  Owners think that their five cats in a small house are blissfully happy when it’s actually a war zone.

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