Welcome to The Critter Sermon! Where I will be talking about all things fur, feathered and scaled related! It may be general news stories or the adventures my own critters get up too! We are still new and spreading our wings so come back soon to see how we grow!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

another day..another dog in need

Wood green animal shelter do some wonderful work with their animals. Like most animals lovers we keep track on what is going on in rescue world..just today someone saw holly and was like "thats holly! saw her on the rescue site!"

So when I saw these posts from wood green it broke my heart

this is the story of floyd
" Floyd is ten years old, and is nearly unrecognisable as his breed, an Old English Sheepdog.  He has suffered from horrific neglect.  In the middle of the night, 1.30am Saturday 27th August 2011, a dark coloured car pulled up to the exit gate of Wood Green, The Animals Charity's centre in Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire.  Floyd was hauled out of the car and tied to the fence with a piece of string.

Luckily, our Security Team were on site and rushed to his aid.  They took him inside and comforted him as best they could.  He was then given a thorough assessment by our Surgery Team.  Covered in matted hair, Floyd could barely walk, see, hear or go to the toilet.  His claws were over two inches long, which made every step incredibly painful.  He had cysts all over his body and had grass seeds embedded in his paws and ears.  He had to have an urgent operation.  Our vets removed 13 kilograms of matted hair from his body. 
Floyd has clearly been suffering from appalling neglect for a long time.  He needs skin and dental treatment, along with exercises to build up his muscles, as he has been poorly exercised and as a result can not walk properly.  The emotional trauma has left its mark on Floyd and it will take months of special care and TLC from the team at Wood Green to get him ready for a new home."
this is him when he turned up...yes that is a dog

and him after his operation

Just when I think I have seen everything some disgusting person does something even more horrid to an animal. You can help Floyd though by donating HERE like I am about to do. He deserves whatever spare change you have 

Monday, 29 August 2011

dog tired...

So it has just turned 11pm and it is spookily quiet in the house.  The birds are all snoozing and the pups are crashed out asleep either side of me on the sofa (which is lovely but I know once they start dreaming I am going to be feeling some kicks!)  It has been an exciting day for Holly and you can tell as she literally ate her dinner, wandered to her bed and flopped down and went to sleep. Darkley joined in with the excitement and has worn himself out too which is a first!

Tomorrow marks two weeks since I picked my little Holly up. She had a friendly wag but was a nervous girl, every noise and movement made her jump. She couldn’t sleep because she was so on guard and on edge. This past weekend she has relaxed a bit more and sleeps all night at the end of my bed and is not jumping at every bump in the night. So I thought it was time to start her socialization.

So instead of our early morning walk I chose to make it more of a midday one as there would be more cars and people about. This also meant I got an extra hour in bed which I can’t say I was unhappy about. Now in my room is where the lizards are and you don’t really hear much from them. However Mojo loves to jump up at the sides of her vivarium and you can hear her claws scratching about like she was a cat or something. Holly finally worked out that the noise she could hear was a “weird moving creature” and could not take her eyes off Mojo. Holly has a strong chase drive, she stalks like a collie and chases like a greyhound- she is living up to her mixture of breeds! She controlled herself pretty well with Mojo but Mojo was being a cheeky little moo and running about at the glass on purpose. I think that she thinks she is more like a huge monitor lizard and not 16cm long dragon!

grrr look at that scary lizard!

After that experience we went on a little short walk. Oh she is like a steam train on the leash, exactly like Darkley was when I first got him. She was fine with cars going past and walking past people. She saw and heard children and did not seem bothered. She did however see a few pigeons and a cat she was more than happy to try to chase and just end up choking herself on the leash. So a few things to work on but nothing too bad!

Next we did some gardening in our front garden. Darkley usually “helps” me when I do this. Mostly he sticks his head out under the front gate and scares random people who walk by as they don’t see him down there! So we put Holly on the long line and let her wander about too. She did not seem bothered by the traffic or people in the street and was just excited to be there. She tried to help us by eating some of the pulled weeds and by sticking her nose in to rubbish bag to grab the pulled weeds to run off with! One of our neighbours came home and said hello over the fence and Darkley ran over and said hello and got his cuddles. Holly kind of watched for a few seconds and then bounded over and did the same! Her little tail was wagging and she looked so happy! My little nervous pup just bounced over to a stranger for cuddles and strokes, she didn’t even know what cuddles were a few weeks ago.

So with this in my mind I asked my agility trainer if Holly could come along with me and Darkley to practise tonight so she could do some socialising. She said that it was okay, which was so awesome of her to do. Everyone in my class at agility are really great with dogs and I thought that they would be the perfect people to help Holly realise that people aren’t too scary! Holly did me proud tonight, she was so behaved at class. She barked a bit when I went out of sight or a bit too far for her liking but other than that she sat about watching everything going on. She was happy to say hello to everyone and respected the other pups about. Maybe she was having a bit too much fun though as she did not want to go back on the leash at one point! Everyone knew I was adopting a nervous shy girl but what they saw was a different dog. I know it is not anything I have done; it is all Darkely’s work.

Darkley was a barking mess at agility as normal! He gets way too hyped up about it all but that is the collie in him I guess.  He did so well once I worked out my handling issues but I do wish he would slow down now and then as I am shattered! I am very proud of my boy.

So it has been a busy day for Holly. I have learnt so much about her through it too, that she is great with people and dogs but pigeons better watch out! For two weeks I cannot believe how well she is doing. We are off to the rescue centre tomorrow for them to check her over and see how her incontinence is, so far everything seems okay with it.

man my dogs are awesome 

Sunday, 28 August 2011

dont panic!

Whenever I have been in a situation where someone has gotten hurt or ill I am usually okay and deal with it well. Whenever one of my animals has gotten ill or hurt it is a different story!

Today I attempted for the first time to trim one of Darkley’s claws. I have seen it done before, been shown how to do it and read up on it over and over. Yet I still managed to make it all go horribly wrong! Darkley has mixture of black and white claws, so I just attempted a couple of the white ones for now. Try to ease myself in to doing it! Darkley sat and let me do the first one with no problems. He wasn’t bothered at all by what I was doing, such a good boy. So I go on to do the second one and all of a sudden Holly comes bounding in to the living room at a million miles per hour, making Darkley turn as I go to cut. Oh.dear.dog! Here came the blood, all over me, the sofa and Darkley. I shouted to my mum the most bizarre thing I have ever think I have said to her, “Mum can you get me a bowl of flour quick!” I was in full panic mode!  I finally managed to use the flour to stop the blood and I clean everything up. (Darkley had gotten bored and fallen asleep!) So then I put him in the kitchen with a tasty bone so he wouldn’t bash his claw on anything and make it bleed again (and partly because I felt SO guilty, so I found him the biggest bone in the freezer!)

Everything was fine for a while till he decided to leap on to holly and chase her across the living room… yup blood everywhere again. The main issue I have with stopping it is that Darkley has no idea why I keep wrapping a tissue around his paw or telling him to sit still. He really was confused about it all and didn’t seem to realise he was bleeding at all! Plus he is a hyper ball of energy and getting him to rest his paw is a mission. So I put a pathetic little bandage around his paw so there is some padding around the nail for a while. It has also made him sulk so he is sprawled across the floor snoozing as I type this. It’s the only way I can get him to rest it!

While this is going on Holly is running about concerned. She smelt the blood on his paw and paced back and forth. She keeps going up to Darkley and giving him little licks. They are so sweet to watch together!

Many of my animals have medical issues, all of which I panic about and I am constantly thinking about. Darkley has diet problems, Holly has bladder issues, Casper the canary has cysts, Mojo the dragon is part blind and Louie has arthritis... that is just the main issues! It makes me super over protective of them all BUT it has also made me closer to them all. I spend extra time with all of them because of the issues and I have to keep that extra close eye on them too. I wouldn’t change them for the world though all of the issues are through breeding, genetics or age related. Can’t stop the issues being there but I can make them less of an issue. Darkley is finally on the right mixture of food that he is happy with, Holly is still on medication which is working so far, Casper has regular baths and can fly again, Mojo is hand fed and her vivarium is easy for her to run about in and Louie’s cage has been made arthritis and elderly bird friendly.  I will cover all of these in more detail at some point but each has caused me sleepless nights and lots of headaches.  Do I panic too easily? Yes probably. Why do I panic? Because they are my family!

being blind doesn't stop mojo being cheeky!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

chew chew chew..

So Holly is still in the chewing stage and her and Darkley like to play tug of war with the toys. After going through many toys in the past week I bought them a Kong stix
Kong are known for their tough toys, this sadly lasted my two the whole of five minutes! My garden is covered in snow like filling! They still are using the material to run about with but this is not for chewers! Holly also managed to chew some plastic off the Kong jumping jack this morning which Darkley has been chewing and playing with for months! she is one determined chewer! It isn't all solid so she managed to pick at the ends and destroy it that way!
I would recommend this toy though. Darkley and Holly love it because, like the original Kong it bounces about randomly and they love to chase it about! It says you can put treats in it but it is a bit awkward to do so..hasn't stopped the pups having fun with it though!

So i have to mention the original Kong. Darkley got the normal red medium sized one when I first got him and he got the large size later on. They do live up to their reputation! A year and half later they are still going strong and even Holly has failed to destroy them (give her time though!) In summer I like to freeze some nice tasting ice in them for the pups which they seem to enjoy. They are amazing in helping with bored collies also! living in rainy London can be boring for the pups at times and they need something to do apart from roll about in mud and cover the house in it! you can put all sorts of treats inside for them. Darkley needs extra bran in his diet so I mix it up with water and it makes some sort of weird paste and I plonk that in the kong. It takes him ages to get the bran out and he has given up many times and just gone to sleep instead! Holly also has a large puppy kong with a squeaker in it. It is still in once piece and squeaking but she has gotten bored with it pretty easily. I think it is because she can't make it stop squeaking as easily as she normally can!

All in all if you get the right size and chew strength you can't go too wrong with Kongs. The original Kong is a firm favorite with rescue groups, vets and owners for a reason, however don't make the mistake I did in thinking that all their products are up to the chewing test! Some of the cheap £1 toys I have for the pups lasted longer then the stix toy did!

Friday, 26 August 2011

my secret weapon

So it is just over a week since I rescued my little Holly! She is a wonderful dog and has fitted in well with the family. She is however a really nervous girl who is going to need help gaining confidence in herself and with learning to trust us silly humans. This is a challenge I am more then willing to take on and can not wait to see the final outcome of. My other rescue dog Darkley also had a nervous side to him when I got him and with lots of work and love I feel I have a nice confident dog now, a place I hope to see holly.

What I did not realise was that the work and time I have spent with Darkley would be so important in helping Holly. Darkley is my super secret weapon! When choosing a pup to rescue the final say on what pup we got rested with Darkley. He met two other dogs before Holly and although the dogs were lovely, Darkley did not seem at all impressed by them, I got the “mum I am booooored” look! 

Holly and Darkley clicked right away! Running about and playing from the get go. There were a few days of adjusting when Holly first got home but you could see them bonding straight away. Holly is learning from Darkley all the time and it is amazing to watch. Today for example they both rolled in something.. I am not sure that I want to know what! So they needed a bath. Darkley hopped in the bath and got soapy while Holly watched and gave him a lick now and then and he gave her a nudge and lick back. She sat next to me taking it all in with a little wag as I told them that they were both being good pups. Next I put Holly in the tub and let her have a sniff at the bottle of shampoo and the shower head which she did not seem bothered by. She then was fine with being washed down and scrubbed! Next I brushed Darkley and blow dried him as she watched from her bed, she was not amused! Don’t worry I didn’t go near her with the hair dryer but she sat and watched me using it on Darkley and kept an eye on what was going on. She settled down and chose to ignore it which is better then running away from it!

I totally believe that the bathing would have been a lot harder with Holly if Darkley hadn’t shown her that it wasn’t too scary. It was also obvious to us that she wasn’t really sure what cuddles were but she knew she liked them! Darkley is a cuddle monster and will cuddle and snuggle with anyone who will let him. Many times I have woken up to Darkley snuggling up to me giving me his puppy dog eyes. He also will ask for tummy rubs from anyone, which is lovely but not when we are in the middle of an agility course! Holly has slowly picked up on what Darkley does. Yesterday she rolled right over for the first time to get her tummy rubbed and today she climbed up on the sofa with me for a cuddle (well kind of a cuddle, she didn’t really know what to do so she half laid on me and half stood up with her butt in the air! Very lady like!)

So Holly has only been here a short time and I have already learnt a lot and I think both the pups have too!  Your hard work with your dog can pay off in ways you won’t even think about!