Autumn is upon us

Autumn is truly setting in now, time to think about all our friends who will be getting ready to hibernate, hedgehogs in particular.

Their numbers have fallen by 30% over the last 10 years, it is thought that there are less than a million in the U.K. now, so very sad.

Please do help to make your gardens a safe haven for these wonderful little creatures.

Log and leaf piles, wilderness areas and purpose-built hedgehog homes make great places for hedgehogs to nest and hibernate.

Fallen leaves also make the perfect nesting material, so make sure you don’t clear all of these away.

Polly would like to introduce to 2 adorable new clients of ours, Casper the Maltese and Trixie the Yorkshire Terrier, both about 5 months old this month.

They have recently come into their owners life after the sad loss of her much loved Yorkshire Terrier cross, Benji, last year.

I am sure you will agree that they will bring much joy to their owner in the years to come.

Christmas message and more…

We wish all our existing clients and prospective new clients too, of course, a very Happy Christmas 2016 and a wonderful New Year too!

tara

Whilst not wishing to be doom and gloom at this festive family time of year, we would like to remind you all that Christmas can be difficult for our four legged friends.

Why buying a puppy for Christmas is a really bad idea!

Getting a new pet on Christmas day would seem to be a lovely idea for your children, but it’s not great for the pets. Christmas time can be a stressful time for pets – noisy, lots of people coming and going, all clamouring to hold the new bundle of fur; excitement, parties, decorations…..all of these things can be stressful for a pet at the best of times. Moving into a new home is stressful enough, so bring a new pet into the house at a quieter time in the New Year instead.

Also, Christmas is a wonderful time for us humans, but sometimes we are so caught up in the festivities we forget about the dangers to our pets.

Please be aware that the following are hazards for our furry friends, dogs in particular.

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
    (all of the above are extremely toxic to dogs)
  • Cooked bones from the Christmas roast
  • Mistletoe and holly berries
  • Christmas tree baubles

All are toxic/dangerous for our much loved pals, so please keep them out of harm’s way!

‘Tick’ watch…

All this paperwork to do and not even a biscuit with my coffee!
All this paperwork to do and not even a biscuit with my coffee!

Hello everyone, isn’t it great to have some good weather at last?! I have been rolling around in the grass, having fun in the sun.

However, the long wet winter has brought an unprecedented level of ticks, lurking in the long grass and the woodlands, so please watch out for them. Do check your dogs and cats regularly and treat them with the preparations that are put onto our necks and shoulders, the effects last for a month and also mean that we don’t get fleas either.

Ticks come in a variety of sizes depending on how old they are and how recently they have fed, from the size of a pin head up to around the size of a fingernail. They are oval or rounded in appearance, and come in a range of colours from a pale cream up to a fairly deep dark grey or brown, and everything in between.

Generally, the appearance of a tick on your pet’s skin will look like a small rounded pebble, as once a tick has attached itself to your pet you will be unable to see their legs or the probe which they use to pierce the skin with.

We can contract nasty infections from these nasty little arachnids, especially if they are not removed correctly, leaving the mouth parts behind. There is a special tool available very cheaply from pet shops/online, it is turned anti-clockwise, (the ticks bury their heads into your pet by turning clockwise), clever little devils aren’t they?

See photo below.

ticks

Dogs and sticks

polly_the_dogHello Readers,

This ball chasing that you humans seem to insist we take part in, is a tiring pastime you know, AND I only do it to please everyone, I don’t really enjoy it all!

Here we are barely into spring and everyone in the office is fretting about Christmas bookings already! So, here I am reminding you, that if you do plan a holiday at Christmas or New Year, we do get booked up very quickly; it is never too early to reserve a pet sitter with us.

We had a potentially nasty incident involving a client’s Labrador, this month, so this is a helpful hint to anyone out there who doesn’t realise quite how lethal twigs and small tree branches can be.

This particular dog, whilst in the care of our sitters, picked up and ran with a stick, he stumbled and said stick broke in his mouth. Our sitters reported back to the office that they couldn’t see or feel anything in his mouth, but the following morning, we had an unusually quiet and poorly dog, to rush to the vet.

A small piece of the woody bark had stuck in his soft palate, causing a bad infection and involving an overnight stay plus a course of antibiotics.

We always recommend that owners actively discourage their dogs from picking up sticks and also stones, which can lodge in the stomach, again causing real problems. If your dog has a tendency to do this, simply get them to drop the stick and offer a throwing toy or a tugging toy instead; always better safe than sorry.

Polly

TIM’S STORY (in our client’s own words)

Hello, Polly here again,

I thought you would like to see me with my 2 “best dogs”, Charlie and Tilly, we have a lot of fun, walking and playing when they come to visit me in my home!

dogs

Sue asked me to tell you about one of our regular clients’ much loved pet, Tim the cat, who sadly died recently, aged 18. This family has taken on many pets over the years, dogs and cats, all needing good loving homes; thank goodness for animal lovers such as them.

Here in the office, we all felt very emotional, on reading the words that are underlined, I think they say it all.

So this is the story of the lovely cat called Tim

Tim has been a bit ‘iffy’ for a while – I never expected him to make Christmas 2013 but he rallied and did, then I never expected him to make his 18th birthday on 11th December last cat_tomyear – and he did! He was such a little trooper. It has been a ‘roller coaster’ for a long time. I think I knew when I emailed you, and had already made an appointment with my dear vet, but it was difficult to actually put it down on paper (or email). My vet had known him from Day 1 when I picked up a batch of tiny abandoned kittens and some adult cats, on behalf of the Cat Protection League.

It was obvious Tim was totally blind, and it is why I decided to adopt him; he came home to join the family of 13 cats and 7 dogs! He has had a really wonderful and relatively ‘normal’ life – “he was just a cat that couldn’t see”, so he couldn’t ‘free range’ like our other cats, but on lovely sunny days, went out into a pen with large run (and grass) with a few other cats to keep him company!

But 18 years is a very long time, in fact, unbelievably with all his problems, he has outlived 23 ‘healthy’ felines and I shall really miss him.

Winter months pet and wild life care

Here I am helping Rosey with the invoices, it’s a dog’s life in here it really is!

polly_blog_jan2015

We are very busy this month, as usual after the Christmas break. Clients are booking their summer holidays already; so, if you need us to look after your pets, it is never too early.

Don’t forget we care for every type of pet, from hamsters to horses and farm animals too, no pet too big , too small or too exotic!

This month I am reminding all my readers about looking after our garden wildlife as well as our pets. January and February can be very hard on the little creatures, the birds in particular.

You will see a few ‘Polly tips’ to help our wonderful and diverse garden visitors, listed below.

Provide some water for wildlife, a bird bath is good – creating a pond is even better!
If your garden is suitable plant a native British tree or shrub such as hawthorn, holly or rowan this provides shelter and food for birds and other animals.

Grow some native flowers in your garden to help local wildlife – you can use the Natural History Museum’s Postcode Plants Database website to find out which plants are suitable and which animals live in your area.

Put up nest boxes for birds or bats on trees and fences – or have a special nest box for bees in your garden.

Put out food for the birds – seeds, peanuts and fatballs in feeders, or on a bird table.
Make a compost heap.

Choose garden plants that provide food or shelter for wildlife, such as buddleia, sunflowers, clematis, cotoneaster, lavender and other herbs.

Collect rainwater in a water butt, mulch your flowerbeds, and grow plants that are drought tolerant.

Don’t tidy up your garden too much – old plant stems and log or leaf piles make cosy winter quarters for helpful animals such as ladybirds and hedgehogs!

Avoid using pesticides and chemical fertilisers – going organic is better for wildlife, and for you!

Goodbye for now, keep warm!

Hello everyone

dogWell, there I was chasing off a helicopter that dared to fly over the office and generally having fun, when I was called back to write this blog – goodness me, I really do work with spoilsports!

We are all busy helping people to get away for a Christmas holiday. This is always a busy time of year for us, so if there is anyone out there needing a 2015 Christmas booking, please let us know as early as possible in the year.

As the ‘festive season’ is almost upon us, I am offering some advice about the human food that you enjoy, but is toxic to me and my friends. I am sure that you are aware of the top 3 really toxic foodstuffs, but I have still included them in the list.

Chocolate

This contains Theobromine and is very toxic to us causing heart, central nervous system and kidney problems. We would love to eat chocolate, if we got the chance, so PLEASE hide all your Christmas chocs away safely.

Caffeine

I know some of our owners like to treat us to the odd treat of milky tea, however, caffeine causes similar problems to chocolate, plus we cannot digest milk either. All in all, it is much safer to let us only drink water.

Grapes /raisins and sultanas

It isn’t understood yet what the toxic substance is in grapes but they can and do cause kidney failure. No Christmas cake for us please!!!

Onions

Garlic and chives too, but onions in particular, whether raw or cooked are toxic to us. If, as some owners do, you feed human baby food to puppies, do take care that it doesn’t contain dried onion flavouring.

Avocado

Although almost all vegetables are very good for us, avocados contain ‘Persin’ in the fruit itself, the leaves and the skin. If we ingest any of this, it will cause vomiting and diarrhoea, so please keep your avocado and prawn Christmas starters AND the throw away bits, well away from us!!!

Do get us to the vet as soon as you can, if we do manage to snaffle any of the above, when you are not looking. Some of us are able to absorb these toxins with not too much ill effect, equally to some of us they are deadly, even in small quantities.

Speak to you again soon.

Polly

Time at the Border Collie Trust

border_collie_trustWhat an informative and thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours I spent meeting Ben and some of the wonderful dogs as well.

I learnt such a lot, in a short space of time; Ben has a revelatory take on the behaviour and rehabilitation of these sensitive and intelligent dogs.

The dedication and care of staff and volunteers is a joy to see.

Thank goodness for these rescue/re-homing centres and for the wonderful people who give loving homes to so many dogs.

 

Hello everyone, Polly here again

married_coupleI thought you would like a photo reminiscent of sunnier days, now that we are into autumn! As you see, we also have yet another wedding, this time our lovely pet sitter, Kay Cameron is now Mrs. Harry Walker. Not only are we pets wonderful companions, we play Cupid too.

We are approaching November 5th and I have a few tips to help you with all my fearful friends out there, including Casper the cat, he hates me but I will win him over one day!

Helpful Hints for our four legged friends:

  • Create a cosy, snug ‘den’ for us to hide if we need to; make it attractive with treats or a favourite toy.
  • Close the curtains and keep all the lights on, turning up the radio /T.V. to muffle the loud bangs.
  • If we are trying to settle down give us along lasting chew or a Kong filled with healthy treats, to focus on.
  • When we are fearful, please don’t follow us around or cuddle us; your attentive behaviour just makes us think there is something to worry about. Also consoling and reassuring us makes us think that showing our anxiety is the correct way to behave!
  • Some of my friends have very extreme reactions; there are good medicines, obtainable from your vet to help keep us calm.
  • Any outdoor pets, in pens/aviaries, for example, it is a good idea to partly cover with a thick blanket and a waterproof cover to soundproof plus block out some of those scary flashes.

sues_dog_oct2014I hope this is useful, personally, I like to run into the garden, try to catch the lights and bark at the bangs.

Goodness you humans have some funny ways to enjoy yourselves, what’s wrong with a rubber ball and a tug toy, I say.

Have fun anyway and be careful out there!

Polly

Hello again to all lovely human beings and potential clients reading my blog!

pollyI, Polly, made sure everyone was working so hard in July & August we had no time for my news.  So, here we are at last in September.

I hope you all like the photos of our pet sitters who got married this year.  Who needs a dating site – all you need are four legged friends like me to bring people together.  All of us at While You’re Away Ltd wish our newly married sitters every happiness.

Just a little thought for you to ponder on; having a dog to share your life is like looking after a toddler that never grows up.  It isn’t for everyone; if you have any doubts, then don’t even consider inviting one of my brothers & sisters into your life.  But, if you enjoy “well disciplined” fun, dogs will give you great joy in return.  To be able to fully command a dog’s love is to build a loyalty that will surpass anything life can throw at you.

See you in October, I promise you.

wedding2_2    wedding1                                      Karen & Colin Price                                                  Pamela & Don Yates

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