During a recent press conference attended by police dogs and their handlers, plans were announced to provide service dogs and horses with lifelong benefits after they retire. Under the plan, the animals will be entitled to government-funded food and veterinary care.
Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said: They are extraordinary animals. Thanks to them, many human lives have been saved and many dangerous criminals have been caught. Caring for them is our ethical duty.
Turkmenistan’s ruler unveils 50ft golden statue of his favourite dog breed in the country’s capital – 12th November (External link)
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov revealed the statue of the Turkmen Alabi dog at a ceremony on Wednesday. The very impressive dog stands atop a roundabout in Ashgabat, the capital city. It features a plinth covered in TV screens that play videos of the dog!
Foreign Office cat Palmerston retires to countryside – 8th August 2020 (External link)
Lovely Palmerston the Tuxedo moggy, who was originally from Battersea dogs and cats home, spent much of lockdown in the country. He greatly enjoyed his time climbing trees and running around on the grass and so has now decided to retire there. He will be very much missed by Foreign Office staff, however.
Possible names for Palmerston’s successor – assuming the link to former foreign secretaries is maintained – include Canning, Bathurst, Balfour, Eden, Rifkind and Miliband.
The Lady Haig Poppy Factory in Edinburgh has been creating the purple wreaths since its ex-servicemen finished making four million red poppies for this year’s remembrance events during lockdown.
Now they have turned their hands to making wreaths for all those animals who served in both World Wars and who still take play a crucial part in our modern day conflicts.
Factory Manager, Major Pelling said:
“They have been transported to the most unpleasant and obscure surroundings to provide comfort as a pet to armed forces amidst the bloody and brutal horror of war and have been thrown from an aircraft in terror to land in a battlefield only to then have to guard against the enemy and walk amongst the minefields.
“The role of animals in service can never be underestimated.”
Very well said! And you can read more about service animals, including the amazing story of Jimmy Muldoon and his dog Khan (pictured above) in the Monumental Tales book.
There can be very few people who haven’t heard the heart warming story of Bob, star of the best selling book, A Street Cat Named Bob, that was written by his owner, James Bowen. James was struggling with a heroin problem when he met Bob, who was abandoned and injured. He went on to take care of the cat, nursing him back to health and the two of them were soon to be seen on the streets of London, selling copies of The Big Issue.
After Alfie, enter Thomas! Rushden station has a new cat – 23rd March 2020 (External link)
One of the many lovely things about the volunteer run, historic Rushden station in Northamptonshire, was its resident ginger tomcat Alfie. Alfie arrived mysteriously at the station in 2007 and stayed for ten years much to the delight of visitors and his many Facebook fans. When he passed away in 2017 a lovely memorial was dedicated to him. Now a rescue moggy called Thomas is enjoying the old haunts of Alfie and no doubt will continue to delight visitors with his antics, both in person and online. There are lots of station cats around the world. Tell us about any you know of!
‘Heroic’ World War Two dog Peggy honoured 73 years after death – 20th February 2020 (External link)
Peggy the Bull Terrier was taken in by soldiers who found her as an abandoned puppy in Malaya when they were fighting Japanese forces there during WW2. She greatly boosted the morale of the soldiers and was apparently quite fearless in defending her comrades!
Peggy was posthumously given the PDSA commendation at a special ceremony at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen. She was nominated by Stewart Mitchell, a volunteer historian at the Museum.
He said: “Peggy was a loyal and courageous ally to her Gordon Highlander comrades. When she saw a Gordon Highlander being attacked, she would fearlessly try to intervene, often at the cost of a blow with a split bamboo cane or worse, a stab from a guard’s bayonet.”
The soldiers were absolutely determined to bring Peggy back to Scotland with them after the war (apparently refusing to board the ship home without her) and she lived out the rest of her life at the barracks in Aberdeen. She died in 1947 and her grave can be found at the museum.
After months of conflict, the town of Kafr Nabl in Syria now has more cats than people – 30th December 2019 (External link)
In one of many partly demolished buildings in his hometown, Salah Jaar, takes cover from the bombs, while sheltering alongside dozens of cats.
“It’s comforting when the cats are close,” Salah tells the BBC’s reporter, Mike Thomson. “‘It makes the bombardment, the demolition, the suffering, seem much less frightening.”
The town was once home to more than 40,000 people, but now fewer than 100 remain. “So many people have left Kafr Nabl,” says Salah. “The cats need somebody to care for them and give them food and water, so they’ve taken refuge in the homes of those who’ve stayed. Each house now has about 15 cats, sometimes even more.”
Could an 18,000-year-old canine actually be a dog? – 28th November 2019 (External link)
An amazingly well preserved puppy has been found in the the permafrost of Siberia with his fur, nose and teeth all beautifully intact. Radiocarbon dating estimates the male pup to be 18,000 years old but DNA profiling has so far failed to determine whether he is a dog, a wolf, or perhaps something in between. Research is ongoing, but if he is a dog, he will be the oldest one ever found!
Cobras, cats and crocodiles! – 23rd November 2019 (External link)
Hundreds of statues and other artefacts featuring cats, reptiles and birds, that were discovered near the Step Pyramid of Saqqara have gone on display this week. Saqqara, which is 18 miles south of Cairo, was an active burial ground for more than 3,000 years. Some of the artefacts feature mummified animals and tests are being carried out to uncover their identity. It is thought at least two may be lion cubs.
Firework free party zone for dogs! – 10th November 2019 (External link)
Hundreds of dogs attended a special “Nae Fireworks” party at a wind farm outside Glasgow to try to get some relief from the stress of what, for many of us, have been days-on-end of exploding fireworks. The event, begun in 2017, has grown in popularity with pet owners reporting it as an absolute godsend.
I only wish I lived nearer Glasgow as my own poor dog, Lexi, has been terrified of the fireworks over the last few weeks. Perhaps this should become a nationwide initiative?
Honouring the “bravery, loyalty and service of the police dogs of West Mercia” – 14th October 2019 (External link)
This beautiful, poignant and highly imaginative sculpture was created free of charge by sculptors at the British Ironworks Centre. Unveiled in October 2019 and made using seized knives and guns, this unusual statue manages to capture the brave and honourable nature of police dogs perfectly, and is a fitting tribute to their service.
The statue can be viewed outside West Mercia Police headquarters, Hindlip, Worcester WR3 8SP
Ely Cathedral eulogy to Sainsbury’s cat Garfield – 29th September 2019 (External link)
Garfield, a ginger and white Tom cat spent much of his time in the Sainsbury’s superstore at Ely. Here he would watch the world go by as he lounged on the shop’s sofas while being petted by customers. Sadly Garfield was hit by a car in the car park back in the summer and killed. Yesterday a service was held at Ely Cathedral for Garfield and all the other pets we have loved and lost. Over 450 people and their pets attended. Cate Caruth, who wrote a book about this friendly, much-missed moggy, was one of the many who paid tribute to Garfield saying: “He was a pet for all those who could have no pet of their own.”
You’ve heard of cat cafe’s but now it’s cake with corgis! – 15th September 2019 (External link)
Not so long ago corgi ownership was very much in decline and Pembroke Welsh Corgis were added to the Kennel Club’s “at watch list” for endangered breeds. But now there’s been a real resurgence in the popularity of these little dogs. A change in fortunes which is thought partly to be due to the popular Netflix series about the Queen – The Crown. And in Thailand, China and Japan, Corgi Cafe’s are springing up and doing a roaring trade. Go Corgis 🙂
It’s National Purple Poppy Day – 23rd August 2019 (External link)
Animals which served and died in wars and conflicts are honoured today, 23rd August. Over 16 million animals served in World War 1 alone and animals continue to play a role in modern day conflicts. The Purple Poppy event is organised by the War Horse Memorial, and donations for the beautiful purple poppies go to charities like World Horse Welfare and the Blue Cross
‘Crazy cat lady’ stereotype is nonsense, say scientists, as dog owners found to be just as neurotic – 22nd August 2019 – (External link)
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that, contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that cat lovers are more depressed, neurotic and lonely than dog owners. In fact, they are just as agreeable and out-going. This will please my mum and daughter who are both cat-obsessed. 🙂
Should people be given time off work when their pet dies? – 15th August 2019 – (External link)
Many of us know first-hand how hard it can be when a beloved pet dies, but should employers allow their staff time off to grieve? Emma McNulty from Glasgow was simply too upset to work after her terrier Millie past away. Millie had been her childhood companion for 14 years and the loss was making Emma physically sick. However, her employer told her that if she couldn’t find a replacement for her shift in the sandwich shop where she worked, she would be dismissed, and unfortunately that’s just what happened. ACAS – The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service told the BBC: “pets are not specifically mentioned within workplace bereavement legislation.” Well, Emma wants to change that and she has started a petition to do so. You can sign it here.
Rescuing the animals of Kiev, in pictures – 1st August 2019 (External link)
You might be forgiven for thinking, as did I, that in a politically turbulent country like Ukraine people may not put animal welfare at the top of their concerns. In fact, there are many volunteers rescuing wild and pet animals, as is documented in this beautiful and inspirational photo essay by photographer Thomas Machowicz. Mykhailo Starozhuk who is founder of the Kiev Animal Rescue Group (Karg) notes modestly: “We are ordinary people. We do not do something supernatural… Anyone can be in our shoes, anyone can save an animal.”
Monument vandals face tougher sentences – 3rd July 2019 (External link)
Not dog or cat news but good news certainly that those who damage historic buildings or monuments will face tougher sentences under newly published guidelines. Courts will now have to take into account the heritage or cultural value of the damaged monument.
Famed Mexican rescue dog Frida retires after nine years’ duty – 25th June 2019 (External link)
The Mexican Navy canine unit held a ceremony on Monday to honour Golden Labrador Frida who has participated in over 50 rescue operations saving 12 people’s lives.
‘King of Ruddington’ Wilbur the cat set for birthday celebrations – 22nd June 2019 (External link)
Villagers in a Nottinghamshire village are so enamoured with their friendly cat Wilbur – who likes to saunter around visiting the building society, shops and a local pub – that they plan to hold a 10th birthday party for him. The event will raise money for defibrillators for the village. Other famous Moggies who have charmed their way into the hearts of local residents and business owners are Hamish of St Andrew’s and Brutus the Morrison’s cat, both of which have been commemorated with statues.
Felix the Huddersfield station cat gets own apprentice
– 22nd June 2019 (External link)
Felix (pictured below) works as a pest controller at Huddersfield railway station. She is also charged with the important task of meeting and greeting passengers. But now Felix has an apprentice – enter little Bolt. Bolt, the all-black kitten is a little shy apparently but we are sure he will soon get more outgoing as he gets used to the job. People travel far and wide to see Felix (who has had a best selling book written all about her) and I must say I am tempted to go to Huddersfield just to see this gorgeous girl and her new little helper. I’m sure Huddersfield has many other attractions too of course!
Felix is one of a number of cats living in railway stations around the country and Alfie the Rushden Station cat is commemorated with a touching memorial.
Bring Your Dog To Work Day – 21st June 2019 (external link)
It’s bring you dog to work day and twitter has been set alight with pics of adorable pooches working at the computer, on building sites, chairing meetings and everywhere else you can think of! Unfortunately I work mostly from home so Lexi doesn’t get to show her excellent work credentials.
The eyes have it – 20th June 2019
Evolution of a facial muscle enable dogs to put on puppy dog eyes!
Cats accident death law plans welcomed by campaigners – 17th June 2019 (external link)
An MP has called for a change in the law so that cat owners can find out when their pets are killed or injured in road accidents like dog owners.
Where dogs wear pollution masks – 9th June 2019 (external link)
Video. South Korea’s high levels of pollution mean that some dog owners are becoming so concerned about their dogs they are giving them masks to wear.
Police dog Finn’s law comes into force – 8th June 2019
After months of campaigning a new law has been passed that protects service animals.
Felines vie to be named top cat by welfare charity – 5th June 2019 (external link)
Helping a teenager overcome depression and bringing comfort to a cancer sufferer have earned two moggies nominations to be named top cat in this year’s Cats Protection moggie of the year awards.
National memorial to K9s unveiled – 23rd April 2019
After years of dedicated campaigning by PC Paul Nicholls this beautiful memorial has been unveiled in Oaklands Park, Chelmsford, Essex. Many police dogs and their handlers were in attendance and a stirring speech was given by Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick.
Can your cat understand you? – BBC Newsbeat – 8th April 2019
Researchers played cats a clip of four random words, followed by the cat’s name, to see if they would respond. They tested this using the cat’s owners voice, and a stranger’s voice. More than half of the cats showed signs of acknowledgement when their name was called, including ear twitches and head turns.