Remember, remember! November is here, which means toffee apples, fireworks, and jumping in piles of autumn leaves. It also means Bonfire Night is almost upon us, an important reason to be mindful of our animal friends this month! Read on for some top tips on ensuring your pets have a stress-free and safe firework night. We've also got some great upcoming book news, plus the next instalment of our Kyrena Animal Rescue series. So snuggle up indoors with your very own animal friends, relax, and enjoy!
Toni & Karen's ten-step firework guide
Top tips to ensure your dog has a stress-free and safe bonfire night
Unexpected noises and flashes can be incredibly stressful to dogs. Every year, many are injured, go missing or are killed as a result of fireworks being set off while they are out-and-about. In fact, more dogs get lost in the UK on 5th November than any other night of the year. In light of this, H&H authors Toni Shelbourne (The truth about wolves & dogs
and Among the wolves
) and Karen Bush (Dog-friendly Gardening
) have teamed up to write HELP! My Dog's Scared of Fireworks
, to help dog owners ensure their furry friends have as stress-free a time as possible whenever the fireworks start flying.
We're giving Animal Magic readers an exclusive sneak-peek at Toni and Karen's book, with their top ten tips for getting through Bonfire Night. Check them out!
When out walking
Take your dog for his main walk while it is still light, and out again to toilet before dusk falls and fireworks can be expected to start, as it may be some time before it is safe to venture outside again for him to relieve himself. Wait until well after the fireworks have ended before taking your dog for his final toileting break before bed. If he's afraid to go out or you can still hear firework noise, get up a couple of hours earlier than usual the next morning to let him out.
Do not be tempted to go out for a last late night walk when you think all the fireworks have stopped.
Very often another one – or more – goes off when you are least expecting it, and a slight change in routine for a few days is far preferable to increasing your dog’s anxieties. Whatever the time, it is a sensible precaution to keep your dog on a leash at all times when walking him during the firework season.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a garden, do not go any further from your front door, or stay out
any longer than is necessary for your pet to relieve himself.
If you do have a garden, don’t assume that it is escape-proof. If your dog needs to go outside do not
send him out there alone – go with him, and no matter how good your fences are, keep him on a lead, even if things seem to have gone quiet. A dog who is crazed with fear can succeed in breaking out from the most secure of areas, and may possibly badly injure himself in the process.
Don’t leave your dog at home alone ...
... or shut away in a separate room from you either, except very briefly if unavoidable. If he can be in the same room as you, he will feel safer. Ensure that you have done all the necessary jobs for yourself so that you don’t have to leave him in order to carry out activities such as cooking and showering. You will then be able to monitor him closely and provide reassurance and support if it is needed.
Make sure your dog wears a collar with an ID tag, and is microchipped, just in case the worst happens and he escapes and runs off in fright when the loud noises start.
Stick to normal routines
As much as possible, keep to your normal routine. Where you need to change them slightly – for example, to fit in exercise and meals at times when it will be quiet – start to adjust them gradually and well in advance, as abrupt changes to routine can in themselves be stressful for some dogs. Make sure that you feed your dog well before any fireworks are due to start.
As it gets dark
Shut all windows and draw all curtains to block out any scary flashes of light and muffle the sounds of fireworks. If you don’t have curtains or use blinds, hanging blankets over the windows will increase the sound-dampening effect. If you don’t have curtain rails, drape them over spring-loaded tension rods which are non-permanent, easy to set up, and require no DIY skills to fit.
Double-check that all windows and external doors are shut
If you have a cat or dog flap, make sure it is securely shut and locked to prevent escape attempts. Fear doesn’t encourage rational thinking, so even though the fireworks are outside, a terrified dog may still attempt to run out there, and, once in the middle of it all, will then panic even further. Leave internal doors open, however, so your dog doesn’t feel trapped, and has access to his favourite denning area if he has one. If he does want to den up, allow him to retreat, but check on him occasionally.
If your dog is settled and calm when the noise starts ...
... leave him to his own devices. Do not draw attention to the fireworks by looking in the direction of the noise, holding your breath or acting in any other way than you would during a normal evening.
Keep an eye on the level of the drinking bowl
Anxious dogs tend to pant more, and will get thirsty and drink more than usual.
It is okay to be proactive and get hands-on
It is not necessary to ignore fearful behaviour in your dog, as is sometimes advised. Spend ten to twenty minutes doing some Tellington TTouch Training (TTouch) body work on your dog before the noise begins, and apply a body wrap or Thundershirt for him to wear for the duration of the evening. Once the noise starts, if he becomes upset but is staying near you, administer some more TTouch, ensuring that you are matter of fact about it. You will not make his reaction worse by applying body work at this time.
Be aware of your own safety
Always bear in mind that a frightened dog may behave out of character, so be mindful of yours, other people's, and your dog's safety.
Full of advice, tips and practical exercises which will help you to keep your pet safe, as well as work towards overcoming his fears. The book is available now from Amazon.co.uk
And remember, remember ...
It isn't just dogs who are affected by bonfire night. If you have a cat, ensure that she is kept in at night over the firework period, and has plenty of hiding places around the house where she feels safe. Any outside animals should have their enclosures covered and soundproofed with blankets to block out the noise and lights, and extra bedding for burrowing into.
If you're planning on having a bonfire in your garden, wait as long as possible before constructing it, and check thoroughly before lighting it for hedgehogs and other wildlife that may have burrowed in, looking for somewhere to hibernate.
New this month!
A tale of two horses – A passion for free will teaching
HH4794 • Paperback • 22x17cm • £14.99 • 144 pages • 80 colour pictures
• ISBN: 978-1-845847-94-4 • UPC: 6-36847-04794-8
Two horses with behavioural problems embark on a rehabilitation programme using only positive, reward-based methods, developing into self-confident, well-balanced horses. Woven throughout is the story of their owner’s life on a rural farm, and insights into her work as an animal behaviourist with dogs, cats and other species.
"A peaceful, inspiring and rewarding read ..."
We're already getting great feedback about A tale of two horses ... check out this fantastic review from TTouch Instructor and Behaviour Counsellor, Sarah Fisher:
"I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and found Kathie’s honesty and self-awareness, as well as her true love and understanding of the glorious Thoroughbred, delightfully refreshing. This is more than a tale of two horses; it is a celebration of the harmony that can be achieved when we take time to observe, listen to, and learn from animals whether we are experienced guardians or not.
"Kathie combines her knowledge as an animal behaviourist with an innate sensitivity to
liberate two ex-racehorses from anxiety, and enable them to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives as valued companions. She explains how scientifically proven positive reinforcement can be used successfully to educate and rehabilitate troubled equids thus negating the need to employ all too commonly championed aversive techniques (stemming from misguided conceptions and beliefs) that rely on suppression, fear and force.
"Anyone who has a passion for horses or an interest in animal behaviour will
find this publication a peaceful, inspiring and rewarding read."
A tale of two horses
will be available later this month. For more information, or to be notified when the book is in stock, visit the Hubble & Hattie website
A day in the life of ...
... a KAR Rescue Centre Volunteer
High in the Besparmak Mountains of Northern, Cyprus, is Kyrenia Animal Rescue. It's a rescue centre very dear to H&H Publisher, Jude, as it's where she met and adopted Immie, the resident H&H hound, 14 years ago.
The centre is run for the most part by hard-working volunteers, and we would like to take a moment to salute these dedicated people who make the lives of Northern Cyprus' stray dogs and cats a lot brighter.
Over the next few months, we'll be getting to know some of these volunteers as they take us through a typical day working with the animals in their care. This month, we're joining Caroline as she gets cooking ...
"Up at 6.00am – an early start. A hasty snack for breakfast before I pack my bag with the requisite items: sandwich for lunch, water and a pair of appropriate shoes. It looks as if, yet again, it will be hot. Very hot. I swap my small bottle of water for a larger one that has been in the freezer.
"I join two of the team who live nearby, and we pile into the car, heading through the early morning
traffic to Girne, all of us chuntering about the state of the roads. We manage to negotiate the worst of the traffic and roadworks, and join more of our fellow workers at the KAR van. A well-worn but trusty vehicle, it stands high off the ground, and we short ladies with a larger waistline have a bit of an undignified scramble to climb in the front. Those who can’t fit next to the driver sit on old cushions on the floor in the rear for the trip up to the Arapkoy Centre. In all there are six of us today.
"The combined choir of three hundred-plus dogs in the compounds greets our arrival. The cats yawn,
stretch and peer sleepily out of their beds and boxes. On this particular morning, there are no animals abandoned at the top of the track leading to the Centre – an all too common occurrence. The team are allocated specific tasks, and today I am on ‘The House’ – responsible for the animals staying in the main building (two puppies and two adult dogs), cleaning up the kitchens, loo and prep rooms, cooking a vast amount of pasta, and subsequently feeding the fourteen dogs in the adjacent compounds. A busy day lies ahead ...
"KAR depends solely on the donations of the public, its voluntary workers and the kindness of a variety
of benefactors to keep it going. Some hotels kindly supply us with leftover food from their kitchens to help feed the animals – and the results can be fairly interesting. As we are slopping out today’s mush of bread, gravy and veg to feed the four dogs in the back room of The House, I come across a rather odd-shaped lump of flesh. I am wondering quite what this is when one of the lads informs me that it’s a sheep testicle. We dig around in the slop (rubber gloves a must) and find several more, so we chuck them in a pan ready to cook later for the puppies. I casually mention that I shall have to chop them up into very small pieces, at which there is a concerted wince from the chaps. Concealing a smirk, I take the items out to be boiled and put on two huge vats of pasta to cook.
"In the back rooms of our building we have treatment pens for small, sick animals, or those undergoing
treatment. Larger dogs who need to be isolated are accommodated with their beds in the two rooms available. Today, I have two small Pointer pups in one of the pens – siblings who are being given preventative treatment for Parvo. A pretty Golden Spaniel and a black-and-tan Lurcher make up the remainder of the group.
"I set to with the poop scoop, mops and buckets to clear up the night’s detritus, cleaning out the pups
and moving them into a fresh, clean pen with a plastic bottle to play with whilst I get their food ready. It is not a job for the squeamish, or those with a sensitive stomach!
"The main office holds the Centre administrative functions, and is where we greet visitors. A different
mop and bucket is hauled out (another load of pasta is put on to cook) and I dust, polish and mop to make the place look nice and tidy. Through the door, I can see my team-mates trundling their equipment around, hosing out the pens, filling bowls with fresh water, and making sure that any medication is administered. The ‘cat people’ move a group of cats out of their pen into the play area, and do the same.
"Next I clean the kitchen areas, and I decide to boil the testicles while I am working in there. The resultant
pong is truly horrendous, and every fly in the neighbourhood drops in to see what this delicious concoction might be. I beat a hasty retreat, leaving the noisome mess bubbling on the stove whilst we break for coffee.
"A family turns up with cans of dog food. They tour the pens and fuss the dogs, then bath two pups. One
takes exception, making a bid to escape and causing mayhem as he runs around the yard with us in hot (literally) pursuit. The bath may not be popular, but the strokes and cuddles while being rubbed down and dried make it all worthwhile.
"After lunch, another four packs of pasta are boiled up. The preparation room now holds dustbins full of
food, and it is time to feed the dogs. Bowls (many well chewed) are filled and taken out. I stand in the pens that I am working on as the occupants eat to make sure that war doesn’t break out, also giving the animals some fuss – and a once over for ticks and fleas. Some dogs like to have their food placed up on top of their kennels, others cheerfully amble from dish to dish, sampling everyone else’s as well as their own. There is no animosity; everyone gets enough to eat. The bowls are washed up and the residue of gravy, bread and vegetables cleaned off the prep room floor. Empty food bins are hosed out and the testicles, now cooked and cooled, are chopped up and gleefully welcomed by the puppies as their second meal of the day. Yummy!!
"I clean up behind the pups and dogs in the back room again, then head outside to watch a puppy out in
the main run. She is racing round, nipping her mates and jumping on them. The others join in, and a mad five minutes of silliness ensue before they all suddenly collapse and go to sleep in the shade, piled up together in a furry heap.
"Last job – clean the loo so it’s fresh and nice for the staff and visitors the following day. The team have
closed up the pens, made sure that the security cameras are on and the gates to the walks are locked. We have had people breaking in, vandalising the compounds and upsetting the animals. I put all my mops in water and disinfectant, then do a last-minute water bowl check, pat a head and rub a proffered tummy.
"Back on the van, the return journey is a mirror image of the morning. As I get home, my own three
dogs race around the corner of the house to greet me, three lucky little animals who all came to us from the Centre. I throw my clothes in for washing, shower and sit down to a peaceful evening. One dog hops up beside me on the settee and puts her nose on my knee. It has been a busy day – ten hours from end to end – but worth every moment for the pleasure of seeing vulnerable animals well cared for."
Two pints of lager and a pack of pooches, please!
Celebrating dog-friendly locals
A pub in Weymouth, Dorset (which is, handily, just down the road from H&H HQ!) has been voted the best pub for pooches in this year's Be Dog Friendly Awards!
The Spice Ship was nominated by a regular patron, and voted to first place by the public as the best pub in the country for encouraging their customers to bring their hounds along for a pint (of water, obviously), and for making them feel welcome.
The pub's manager, Wendy Buckingham, said in an interview for The Dorset Echo: "Being a real dog-lover, it is so important to find places that give a warm and friendly welcome to owners with their four-legged friends ... I am over the moon with the award for the Spice Ship and wanted to thank everyone who voted for us."
The competition aims to give recognition to dog-friendly accommodation, pubs, beaches and days out across the country. Research shows that a positive approach to canine visitors helps boost tourism and trade, with dog owners more likely to visit an area or town if it has a reputation for dog-friendly establishments.
We'd love to hear about your favourite dog-friendly pubs, attractions and places to stay, so please send us your stories and photos, and we'll feature them in Animal Magic!
You can read more about the Spice Ship's victory here
, and learn more about the pub itself here
This month's competition winner ...
If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning, simply fill in the competition form which you'll receive with every Hubble & Hattie book when you order direct from us! Send it back to us and you'll be entered in our monthly draw, and could soon have a £25 Veloce gift voucher winging its way to you! Good luck!
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Please visit our website www.hubbleandhattie.com for details of all books and the latest information on new and forthcoming books.
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