Friday, 25 February 2011

Celebrity Dogs (2)

Hello everyone.

This is the second in an occasional series of famous (celebrity) dogs of the past and present.

Way back in 1966 when dad was a lad - long before I was born. The Football World Cup Championship was held in London. The World Championship Football Trophy was called the "Jules Remet Trophy"  The trophy, originally named Victory, but later renamed in honour of former FIFA president Jules Rimet. The trophy was made of gold plated sterling silver and lapis lazuli and depicted Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.

However the trophy was stolen during a rare stamp exhibition in London. This happened just a few short months before the 1966 FIFA World Cup competition in was scheduled to kick-off.

All was not lost, when today's Celebrity Dog Pickles (a super sleuth) came to the rescue.
The trophy was found just seven days later wrapped in newspaper at the bottom of a suburban garden hedge in South London, by Pickles while taking a walk with his owner David Corbett. When England won the competition and the Jules Remet Trophy, as a reward, Pickles was invited to the celebration banquet. His owner collected a £6,000 reward (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £200,000 today). The real thief was never caught.

The Brazilian team won the tournament for the third time in 1970, allowing them to keep the real trophy in perpetuity, as stipulated by Jules Rimet in 1930. It was put on display at the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters in Rio de Janeiro in a cabinet with a front of bullet-proof glass. In 1983, the wooden rear of the cabinet was pried open with a crowbar and the cup was stolen again. So, despite the best efforts of Pickles the Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen once again and has never recovered.

So today we salute the memory of Pickles a super sleuth.

Yip Yap.

XX Poppy

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The dog poo tree!

Hello everyone.

Today, the weather is not so good. It has been raining for most of the night, its snowing now and the wind has been making the boat move about a bit. Dad tends not to sail the boat along the river or canal in strong wind. This is because it is easy to run into the bank if the wind catches us sideways on or comes from an odd direction. But as we are boating for pleasure and relaxation, then time does not matter. Dad sometimes says we travel by the calendar and never by the clock.

Bonnie and Me.

Whenever we spend some time moored up, this is usually good for meeting other dogs. The canal towpath is a favourite place for dogs to exercise their owners. Now dad is always interested in meeting other "dog people" he often stops to chat to them for a while. He chats on about their dog and they often want to know about our boat. Sometimes he even invites people on-board to have a look around. Sometimes we even have dads friends who have dogs on board. One of my friends is Bonnie the German Shepard. Here she is at the top of the steps.

Me in the Galley.

In the main I find that meeting other dogs is good fun. Most of them like to have a chase around and we get some time to have a play around together. Some dogs however, are not interested in play and tend to sit down with their human and wait for the conversation to finish. I find the older the dog the more they like to sit around. I hope I never get old! 

There are however times that we come across grumpy old cur's who would sooner curl a lip and growl, than have the traditional dog greeting of a sniff at each others rear end. Each to their own, but any that are grumpy never get to come on to the boat.

Now, dad can sometimes get quite grumpy about poo. As you know its the duty of the dogs companion to scoop the poop. If dad sees anyone not collecting and disposing of the poo, he always challenges them. What is getting up dads nose (so to speak) are those people that own a dog. They are willing to take on the responsibility of making provision for what goes in at the pointed end. Yet seem to be unwilling to do the full trip and take care of what comes out of the blunt end.

Dog Poo Tree.

Most dog owners, of course, are thoughtful and considerate people who care about the environment. Some, unfortunately, are not caring poop scoopers. I must admit, dad has been known to thrust a bag into an errant owners hand, give a smile and say "I know what it's like to run out of bags, here you are, have one of mine." Do you know, no one ever declines and no one ever fails to clean up. More than anything else, dad has a dislike of those that do clean up, but then throw the bags into the hedgerow.

The upper Calder Valley renaissance project did a terrific publicity stunt - when they created the Dog Poo Tree. They wanted to highlight the problem of thoughtless dog owners bagging up the poop and then flinging it into the nearest bush, there to fester for years to come.  So they festooned a tree at Todmorden Lock on the Rochdale Canal with purple plastic poo bags, each one looking like it held a special little doggie gift.

Now I am sure that everyone who reads this is a well trained pooper-scooper who takes the poop bags home for disposal.  But just in case - raise your right paw hand and repeat after me - "I swear to always take home the scooped-poop for proper disposal."

Dad has been comparing my dry food again. He does not like to feed me what he calls "designer vomit with corn" I must admit that I am not to keen on it myself and it all ways reminds me of his breakfast Müsli which he swears is good for him.  Some days he just seems to worry too much about me.

I have a busy day ahead, so I must run. Love to all my four legged buddies and their slaves.

Yip Yap.

XX Poppy

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Maria Dickin and the PDSA cemetery.

Hello everyone.

Over the last few postings on my blog I have highlighted one or two very brave dogs who have been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal. The PDSA Animal Cemetery in Ilford, Essex is also the final resting place for 12 of the recipients of the Dickin Medal. (The animals’ Victoria Cross - awarded for bravery during World War II.)
An early photograph

In 2006/7, thanks to a grant from The People’s Millions project, the cemetery and the headstones of the animal war heroes underwent a sympathetic restoration. The PDSA Animal Cemetery can be found at Woodford Bridge Road, Redbridge, Ilford, Essex, IG4 5PS.

An early photograph.

There are cemeteries in every town village or city around the world. Most of the cemeteries are special places of peace and quiet where our loved ones are laid to rest. Some are very old and overgrown and have an ambiance all of their own. Whilst others are kept tidy and tended carefully. Both kinds have character, one where there is a slow change as nature over time reclaims the ground in a very natural way.  The second where the cemetery is still a part of the local amenities and maintained like our parks and gardens.

Then there is the PDSA Animal Cemetery in Ilford, Essex. In 2006/7 work was  done to complete the restoration of the PDSA cemetery. It should be noted that the cemetery is the final resting place of some 3,000  animals.

Today the PDSA cemetery is a much more mature place.

Ariel view

The Cemetery dates from the 1920s and is tucked away in a quiet spot with a Garden of Remembrance.

The Cemetery garden offers a place of quiet contemplation for animal lovers. It includes a memorial stone bearing the inscription "Love’s final gift – Remembrance".

Maria Dickin CBE Founder of the
Peoples Dispensary for sick Animals.
1870 - 1951
 Maria Elizabeth Dickin (Founder of the Dickin Medal) was born in London in 1870. At the age of 28, Maria married, Arnold Dickin. In need of fulfillment, Maria launched herself into social work. Visiting the poor she was horrified by the dire poverty she witnessed. It was the sight of animals suffering in silence that she found unbearable. In the streets dogs and cats, raw with mange and often dragging broken limbs, scavenged from the gutters.Maria’s sheltered Victorian upbringing simply had not prepared her for what she encountered in the homes of the poor.

In her book, The Cry of the Animal she recalled the scene: 'The suffering and misery of these poor, uncared-for creatures in our overcrowded areas was a revelation to me. I had no idea it existed, and it made me indescribably miserable.'

Bring your sick animals.
Do not let them suffer.
All animals treated.
All treatment free.
Maria Dickin worked to improve the dreadful state of animal health. She wanted to open a clinic where people living in poverty could receive free treatment for their sick and injured animals. Despite the scepticism of the establishment, Maria Dickin opened her free 'dispensary' in November 1917. It was an immediate success and she was soon forced to find larger premises. Within six years this extraordinary woman had designed and equipped her first horse-drawn clinic and soon a fleet of mobile dispensaries was established. PDSA vehicles soon became a comforting and familiar sight throughout the country.

With success came increased attention from critics at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the Ministry of Agriculture. By providing free treatment for animals belonging to the poor, attracting charitable support and by training her own practitioners Maria Dickin was seen as a threat to the establishment.

In 1937 she was forced to defend the PDSA in a letter to the Royal College: 'If you are so concerned about proper treatment of the sick animals of the poor, open your own dispensaries ... Show owners how to care for their animals in sickness and health. Do the same work that we are doing. Instead of spending your energy and time hindering us, spend it dealing with this mass misery.' An agreement was finally made with the veterinary profession allowing PDSA to continue its work.

Today we salute the memory of Maria Dickin CBE and the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals. Maria will be remembered as one of the great figures in the history of animal welfare.

Yip Yap.

XX Poppy

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Lost Bone

Hello everyone.

Yesterday started out quite good, I woke early and needed to go off the boat and onto the grass to spend a penny. I barked at dad and he got out of bed and opened the door onto the back deck. I had a walk and a bit of a sniff round, before I went back on board. Mum had put a joint of meat into the slow cooker the previous night and there had been a mouth watering smell drifting out of the kitchen. I like it when the slow cooker is in use, as I always get a juicy bone to take into my basket.

A bit later on Jasper returned from his constitutional walk along the canal bank. He likes to go and watch the birds flittering about in the hedgerow. However, Jasper is now so old, that there is no way for him to catch a bird. But I think he likes to go and remember the days when he was a danger to the local rodent and bird population. However, that only lasted until mum and dad fitted him with a very noisy bell attached to his collar. After that, he could only catch the odd arthritic mouse.

Now, Jasper has one habit that annoys me more than anything else in the world. That is when he tries to take up residence in my bed. One of the problems with this is that he also likes to do a bit of pilfering of anything I may have hidden in my bed for later consumption. Yesterday was no exception, when I returned to my bed. Jasper was sat gnawing on MY BONE, I was not in a good frame of mind.

I needed a new plan of action. After some considerable thought, the solution was simple. I would use the age old trick of burying my bone for retrieval later. So when no one was watching, I managed to sneak ashore and engage in some surreptitious bone burial in the hedgerow. I returned to my bed and started to drift off to sleep. Well digging a hole to bury a bone is quite taxing and I need to keep up with my beauty sleep. I can remember slowly drifting off to sleep with the lapping sound of the waves on the boats hull, the muffled noise of the engine and the faint quacks of the Mallards in the reed beds.

Some time later I was jolted awake by the sound of mum and dad knocking the mooring pins into the towpath. Dad has to do this from time to time as passing boats can cause the pins to come loose and the boat to drift away. I lay in my bed and listened to the noise outside for a while and then I drifted off  back to sleep again. Later, I awoke when I needed to go outside again, for another call of nature. This time dad decided to come with me, for a walk along the bank side hedgerow. I dashed out of the boat and onto the towpath to be confronted by buildings. Someone had removed the hedgerow and substituted buildings. I started to walk along in front of dad puzzled by where the buildings had come from. Suddenly, Panic! I remembered my buried bone. I went back to where it should have been, but now there were buildings where my bone had been buried. I checked carefully but I was unable to sniff it out. It was then I remembered hearing the boat engine. We had moved further along the canal. Now my bone could be miles away and lost forever.

When I got back to the boat, the cat was in my bed again. I am having one of those days.

Yip Yap.

XX Poppy

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Special Celebrity Dog.

Hello Everyone.

This is the second posting in an occasional series of famous (celebrity) dogs of the past and present.
Today is a bit of a special celebrity dog day. Only one Wire Haired Fox Terrier has been awarded the Dickin Medal. Being a Wire myself, it is with some pride for my breed sister that I am going to tell you  about "Beauty" today.

Beauty, was a good looking, wire-haired fox terrier. She worked with the civil defence throughout the war. Beauty helped to find 63 animals in bomb ruins and without her help they might otherwise have died.

Beauty and her owner, Bill Barnet.

Beauty led one of the PDSA's Animal Rescue Squads that operated during the Second World War. Beauty's role was to search for other pet animals that had become trapped alongside their owners in the rubble following bombing raids in London. She came to be thought of as the pioneer dog for this kind of work during her wartime service.

The Dickin Medal was instituted to honour the work of animals in time of war. It is awarded to animals that have displayed "conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty" The award is commonly referred to as "the animals' Victoria Cross". The Dickin Medal is made of bronze and bears the initials PDSA and the motto's "For Gallantry" and "We Also Serve" within a laurel wreath. It hangs on a ribbon of green, dark brown and pale blue. 

Beauty is buried in the PDSA
cemetery in Ilford Essex.
Other honours have been bestowed on Beauty for her wartime efforts. This wonderful wire terrier also received the Pioneer Medal from the PDSA. An award usually only given to humans.  She was also awarded a silver collar with the inscription "For Services Rendered during WWII."  Beauty is buried in the PDSA cemetery in Ilford Essex.

Today we salute the memory of Beauty. One very special, foxy lady.

Yip Yap.

XX Poppy

Saturday, 5 February 2011

I can't understand.

Hello Everyone.

Me and dad are very angry today by this despicable joke for a human being. The RSPCA have revealed that a man who was banned from keeping animals for 10 years after being caught on camera kicking and punching a dog was jailed yesterday after the same dog was found in his flat.

Thug Major

Simeon Major, 20, was given the ban, as well as a custodial sentence, in August 2010 after he was caught on CCTV attacking his Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog, named Dream. The attack, which happened in Brantwood Road, Luton, in March last year, lasted 15 to 20 minutes. CCTV footage showed Major kicking and punching the female dog, which was around seven-months-old at the time, in front of a group of friends. The dog was kicked against a wall and punched, and dragged onto the wall only to be punched down again. The RSPCA said yesterday that Major, of Buxton Road, Luton, was jailed again at the town’s magistrates’ court yesterday after the same dog was found in his flat. Major pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching a ban on keeping all animals for 10 years.

The court was told that the same dog was found in Mr Major’s home by police investigating an unrelated matter, and it was clear she was being looked after there. Major admitted the dog was the one which he had been caught attacking on CCTV. Thug Major sobbed in the dock as a four-minute edited version of his savage attack was played to the court.

The court was told Major had given Dream to a friend to be cared for while he was in prison, but she was returned to him afterwards because the friend could no longer look after her. He was jailed yesterday for 136 days, and had already served 68 on remand.

Dream the Staffy

Inspector Peter Warne said: “The original offence was a prolonged and disturbing attack. It wasn’t just one kick and punch, he repeatedly attacked the terrified dog over a sustained period of time.”

The RSPCA said it was currently looking after Dream, and said centres up and down the country were full of “Staffy-type” dogs like her in desperate need of loving new homes.

Our thought today are with our canine sister Dream. A very brave, beautiful and gentle Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Yip Yap.

XX Poppy

Friday, 4 February 2011

Visit to the vet.

Hello everyone.

The weather is a bit warmer today, its good to see the back of the crisp white frost that has been covering the grass. Not that everything is perfect today. Dad is playing his guitar again, badly! It seems to ring in my ears and I feel the primordial need to howl. I much prefer it when he plays the air guitar, to music on his CD player. He was singing and strumming some sort of a made up blues number. The first line went "Poppy woke up this morning, Poppy woke up again this afternoon." Dad and humour has to be endured in small doses, I can see its going to be one of those days.

I like to think that dad is a good dog person. However today he started talking to me about cats. It seems that dad has owned several cats in the past. Malcolm, was a black and white cat. Squeak was an all white cat who got his name because he would not stop begging for food. Midge, was another all white cat who was deaf and so very quiet. Then there was a tabby called One-Eyed Willy, who lost one eye in a collision with a car. It seems that dad spent a fortune at the vets getting Willy fixed up. Then there was last but not least, my bed stealing opponent Jasper. Jasper is at the venerable age of 27years and is very ancient. Now what was it that W.C.Fields said, I think it was something like "A man that hates cats, can't be all bad" I must have a word with dad about the correct position of cats in the pet hierarchy on the boat.

It seems from overheard conversations that a visit to the vet is being planed for you know who! Now, I am a pretty laid-back sort of a pooch. I tend not to get all uptight about anything other than Jasper the cat being in my bed. However, I am prepared to make an exception whenever it comes to a visit to the vet.

It seems I am due a booster injection on my immunisation record card. Now, I am quite a brave girl, I take most things in my stride. However, the vet always wants to give me a full physical check-out. He will pull at my paws, feel at me in strange places, peer down into my ears and shine that annoying light into my eyes.  He even puts a cold hard object on my skin and listens to my heart. However, there is one procedure that I do object to. That's having that thermometer thing shoved up my bottom. A dog is entitled to dignity and there is not a single shred of dignity left, when you are stood on a table with a thermometer hanging out of your bottom.

Say No!
To Rectal

Now humans have thermometers that fit in your mouth and there are even modern ones that can measure temperature without actually needing to touch anyone. So how come us pooches have to suffer the indignity of the rectal thermometer treatment.  So I am about to start a campaign called "Dignity For Dogs" with the aim of banning rectal thermometers being used by vets on dogs. We wires have to stand up on our hind paws and be counted. This undignified treatment must end. We have waited to long for more modern treatment methods. It no good waiting for our Politicians. Dad says "You can always tell when a politician is lying - their lips move."

Wires will fight them on home visits. Wires will fight them in the treatment rooms. Wires will fight them in the surgery. Wires will fight them in the theatres. Wires will never surrender, Wires everywhere will say "This was their finest hour."

I like the sound of that, it scans well and it has a bit of a ring to it, I wonder if it will catch on!

Yip Yap.

XX Poppy

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Celebrity Dogs (1)

Hello everyone.

There are some dogs who have such an emotional link with their human companions that nothing will break the bond or tear them apart.

This is the first in an occasional series of famous (celebrity) dogs of the past and present.

One such devoted dog was "Greyfriers Bobby". Bobby's owner was John Gray who worked for the Edinburgh City Police as a night watchman. Man and dog were said to be inseparable. John died in 1858 and was buried in Greyfriers Kirk (Scots name for church) burial ground. The faithful companion Bobby survived his master for a further fourteen years. Such was the strength of the bond between dog and master. That during the whole of this time Bobby sat in lone vigil over his masters grave.  The only time he left was to eat a meal which was provided for him at a local hotel. In periods of very bad weather he would occasionally take shelter in a near by house.

In 1867, when it was suggested that because Bobby did not have a licence and a master  that he should be put down. The pubic outcry in Edinburgh was such that the Lord Provost, Sir William Chambers (a director of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) paid for a renewal of Bobby's licence, therefore making him henceforth the responsibility of the city council.

Bobby died in 1872. However it was deemed that Bobby could not be buried with his master within the consecrated ground. Bobby was however buried inside the gate of Greyfriars Kirkyard, close to the grave of his master John Gray. Bobby's fame for his devotion to his master was assured forever. He entered into popular culture as "Greyfriers Bobby" as is still revered to this day.

In 1872 a life sized statue of Greyfriars Bobby, was created by William Brodie. This was commissioned by Baroness Burdett-Coutts.The statue stands in front of the "Greyfriars Bobby's Bar", which is located near the south entrance to Greyfriars Kirkyard.

A red granite stone was erected on Bobby's grave by The Dog Aid Society of Scotland. Since the year 2000 this has been utilised as a shrine, by dog lovers from all parts of the world. The shrine often has sticks (for Bobby to fetch) frequently being left. The occasional dog toys and flowers by his band of equally devoted followers.

No visit to Edinburgh is complete for anyone who loves dogs, without a visit to the grave of Greyfriers Bobby and his eternal master John Gray.

The monument reads:
Greyfriars Bobby
Died 14 January 1872
Aged 16 years

Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.

Mary Ferguson, a dog lover has written a poem about Greyfriers Bobby - The poem can be read here.

So today we salute Greyfriers Bobby's memory.

Yip Yap

Love to all (especially Bobby)

XX Poppy

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Celebrity endorsement and spokesdog

Hello everyone.

Well, the media storm around my win of the Animal X Factor has started to abate. I have been doing all the usual media meets as well as posing for the usual celebrity pictures. Plenty of the red carpet treatment seems to be quite fitting for my new found super star status. It is a daunting task, but that's the life of a celebrity and someone has it to do.

In keeping with my new found celebrity status. I expect in the near future to be bringing out my own brand of dog accessories such as Poppy poop bags. Soon you will be able to enjoy the aroma of Poppy's own brand of canine perfume. I will also be bringing out my own celebrity "fight the fat" keep fit video. However, I want to use my celebrity status for more than the simple "peddle of a product". I want to create a customized brand of canine clothes featuring sparkly fabrics and glittery charms hanging on designer lashes. I owe it to my public.

Celebrities and product promotion is hardly something new. Human consumers face many choices these days when buying the best for their pets. As well as the emotional connection with providing only the best as responsible owners. I think that through my celebrity status, I could make a difference between whether a human chooses one product in preference to another. So I shall be careful to only promote the best products and they will carry the Poppy seal of approval. If it says "A Poppy Promotion" you know it will be an excellent product. My primary goal is to tell our human owners how beautifully any Poppy endorsed product is made. After all, having  celebrity Poppy wear it is a perfect way to create a touch of canine magic.

I have been given some information about a job opening for a celebrity UNICEF spokesdog. The requirements are based around promoting responsible human pet ownership, their health and finding the right human to adopt. I can see me enjoying my work as a celebrity UNICEF ambassador. Us celebrities have a wide range of talents dedicated to improving the lives of children and their pets worldwide.

As it says on the UNICEF website "Fame has some clear benefits in certain roles with UNICEF. Celebrities attract attention, so they are in a position to focus the world’s eyes on the needs of children, both in their own countries and by visiting field projects and emergency programmes abroad."

UNICEF was the first to enlist the help of celebrities. Danny Kaye pioneered the role of Ambassador-at-Large in 1954.

It was taken on by Audrey Hepburn and others, building up into the current distinguished roster of international, regional and national goodwill ambassadors.

Must run, my public are waiting!

XX Love Poppy.