Our chosen charity this year is Hounds for Heroes. Hounds for Heroes provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled people from the UK Armed forces and Emergency Services. Through the assistance dogs it is hoped that their clients quality of life is enhanced though help and practical support. Puppies are carefully chosen and placed with ‘puppy parents’ for their first year of training. They then enter into advanced training to turn them into assistance dogs. The dogs are trained to open doors, pick up items, collect money from ATMs, open train doors as well as providing companionship for someone. nFor more information on these fantastic dogs and the jobs they do please see www.houndsforheroes.com. We are pleased to give our Christmas donation to Hounds for Heroes instead of sending Christmas cards to our clients this year.
On Oct 11th 2016, we attended the Mum and Working Academy and Awards after Julia, our lovely Bath franchise owner, was made a finalist in the Franchisee of the Year Awards. It was a great honour to attend and mix with inspiring business mums and entrepreneurs. Guest speakers and judges included Caprice Bourget, Sarah-Jane Honeywell, Janey Lee Grace, Debbie Bird and Sarah Willingham, famous for being a BBC ‘Dragon’!
Julia was lucky enough to be chosen from some very high quality nominations as the winner of the Franchisee of the Year and all of us at Friends for Pets are immensely proud of her for al that she has achieved.
One of our franchise owners has become a finalist for the National Mum and Working awards! We are so proud of her as she truly deserves to be in the final! Here is a little big about Julia and her role…
Animals have always played a huge part in Julia’s life. She has a vast amount of experience growing up with a wide range of different species from hamsters to horses! When Julia saw the role of pet carer advertised for the Bath area with Friends for Pets she was very excited to have a career change to what she had always wanted to do. After excelling at the role she was offered to take on the Bath franchise which she jumped at. The Bath franchise became so successful that Julia also took on neighbouring areas being Bradford-on-Avon and Frome. Julia now has her own managers running the day to day aspects of the pet care whilst she oversees all the teams and can therefore spend a bit more time bringing up her very young family. Being made a finalist for the National mum and working awards is a huge honour and it is rewarding to have all the ‘juggling’ work and family life acknowledged. We wish Julia and all of the other finalists at the Mum and Working awards the very best of luck. You are all doing an amazing job!
A great walk with wonderful views over the Longleat Estate and Frome. There are nice shady parts in the forest for the warmer days. It’s quite a flat, pathed walk so not to stretching if you want an easier route which is also good for wheelchairs and buggies. It’s fairly popular with dog owners and walkers on nice weekends. There is free parking as well
Beautiful lakeside walk which can be extended into woods and hills if you would like. The walk around the lake is mostly flat and wheelchair and buggy friendly. Dogs should be kept on the lead and any mess (as in all the listed places!) taken home or disposed off in an appropriate bin.
3. Colliers Way
A gorgeous 25 mile disused railway link between Radstock and Frome suitable for walking with buggies and wheelchairs as well. It can get very popular with cyclists and horse riders too so keep doggies close by to ensure their safety. There are plenty of attractions along the route and some lovely places for a refreshment or two!
There are plenty of fields and woodland in the area suitable for some beautiful walks. A popular one follows a river. The walks are mostly flat so not too strenuous.
5. Harridge Woods
Is a beautiful nature reserve close to Nettlebridge. The reserve is made up for five sections so there are plenty of different walks within the Woods to choose from. There are pleasant streams for dogs to cool off in on warmer days and stunning views from the higher parts of the walks. There are a variety of species of wildlife here including threatened species such as Dormice so it is really important to keep dogs under control at all times when visiting.
We are very lucky to have such beautiful countryside for us and our dogs to enjoy!
With the summer months fast approaching, hopefully more people will be able to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Here is a copy of the countryside code to help keep people visiting, land owners, visiting dogs and livestock safe on their walks.
1. Respect the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on the countryside ie. don’t park across gateways or footpaths.
2. When riding a bike or driving a vehicle, slow down or stop for horses, walkers and farm animals. They have right of way over cyclists on bridleways.
3. Co-operate with farmers working in the countryside.
4. Go Green! If possible leave your car at home and use public transport or a bike to visit the countryside.
5. Leave gates and property as you find them.
6. Keep to the marked footpaths. Let the local authority know if you think a sign has been placed illegally.
7. Don’t touch livestock or farm machinery.
8. Use gates or stiles rather than climbing over walls etc incase you cause damage to them.
9. Do not disturb the birds, rocks, plants, trees or pick wild flowers.
10. Take all litter and leftover food home.
11. Do not start fires.
12. Keep dogs under control at all times especially around livestock and horses. Some local authorities ban dogs from certain areas and also restrict the number of dogs walked by one person at any one time so check with the local authority of the place that you are visiting first.
13. Remember to bin or take home any dog mess from your dog.
As part of our community work this year we have recently launched our charity collection bins project. We have collection bins located in a couple of locations around the Cheddar and North Somerset areas (hoping to bring this project into a couple more areas soon). Lovely donators can then drop their pet related donations off in these locations and Friends for Pets will collect and deliver the donations to the local pet related charity. Friends for Pets will also match any donations given with a monetary donation. Our first charity we are collecting for is Dogs Friends http://dogsfriends.me.uk . They are particularly looking for:-
* Collars and leads (second hand are just great)
* Sardines in sunflower oil
* Lots of toys for puppies and adult foods – all sizes
* Treats, chews, etc for all dogs and pups – (out here now for fosters)
* Tins of dog meat, especially for puppies
* Soft dogs beds
* Duvets – getting through lots
* Cleaning products – for washing bedding, floors, hands, etc.
* Used stamps
* Wicker baskets to make up hampers for our stall.
We currently have a bin in the Pet Shop in Cheddar but hoping to place them in some other places shortly. If you or you know of anyone that spare anything the lovely homeless doggies will appreciate greatly xx
It takes a lot of trust as a pet owner to give someone that you might not know a key to your home, let them know when you will be out of your house and let them have access to your four legged pride and joy! So how do you know what you are opening yourself up to and how can you minimise the risks?
With the large array of dog walkers and pet sitters available the choice is vast and can be a bit of a minefield as to who to choose. Top priorities in choosing a dog walker or pet sitter that you don’t know might include:-
1. They should always have insurance. This should include for all pet services that they are offering, insurance to cover the loss or injury to your pet in their care, key and lock insurance and third party insurance. Most insurance companies only cover for six dogs to be walked at any one time, ensure your dog walker sticks to this number for your dogs welfare as well as the insurance risk.
2. They should have a DBS check. This is the new form of CRB check to prove that they do not have any criminal records or burglary.
3. They should be able to provide references from other clients.
4. If they are visiting your home when you are not there you should ensure they are providing a discrete visiting service. You should consider carefully if choosing a pet siting service which arrives at your home in a liveried vehicle. There are many many horror stories of homes being broken into if the vehicle is being followed, your dog may also be at risk from theft if travelling in a marked sign-written van. It is a well known fact that more often than not dog walkers are usually visiting house which are unoccupied. They even remove the guard dog for an hour or so!
5. You should ensure that your dog is not left unattended in a vehicle for any period of time. If your dog is walked in a big group what is happening to your dog whilst the pet sitter is collecting and delivering all of the other dogs on the walk? I the summer they may get overheated within minutes if left in a non- temperature controlled vehicle. If they are not securely separated then this could lead to unsupervised, confined conflict between dogs.
Dog Poo! An ongoing problem affecting public spaces in the UK, it is horrible to see it lying on the ground but even worse to step in. It is estimated that dogs in the UK produce around 1000 tonnes of dog poo per day, equivalent of roughly half an olympic sized swimming pool. That is A LOT of poo. Imagine the environment in which we would live if no one picked up dogs in their care’s waste! If dog faeces is not picked up and disposed of appropriately it can be harmful to people and the environment. Dog poo contains numerous different parasites and harmful bacteria including:-
- Hookworms – these can cause respiratory symptoms in human once the hookworm larvae have reached the lungs, diarrhoea, fatigue and blood loss.
- Ringworms – symptoms of infection in humans include vary between a red, irritated ring on the skin to blisters and pus-filled sores around the rings.
- Tapeworms – symptoms of infection in humans include abdomen pain, vomitting, diarrhoea, dizziness, malnutrition and jaundice.
- Salmonella – symptoms of infection in humans include Vomitting, diarrhoea, fever and headache
- E.coli – common symptoms in humans include sever stomach cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting. It can cause serious blood and kidney problems which can lead to kidney failure, long-term disability or death in some children and older adults.
- Fecal coliform bacterial – symptoms in humans include diarroah, vomitting and sever dehydration.
Local authorities are estimated to spend £22 million per year on trying to combat the problem of dog waste. In many areas it does not seem to be working so if more funding is available in local authorities does dog waste collection need to be a priority or is investing in local health services, housing and education more important? Imagine if dog waste was not an issue, everyone collected it and disposed of it appropriately and an extra £22 million could be redirected somewhere else within the local communities.
Dog Poo and the Law!
You can now be given an on the spot fine between £50 and £80 (depending on the local authority) if you do not clean up after your dog. Refusal to pay the fine can lead to you being taken to court and fined up to £1000. Some local authorities are striker and now fine if you are not carrying a poo bag if you are out walking your dog.
Increasing the number of dog poo bins available is one way which has had success but some local authorities have tried more radical solutions to the problem including:-
- Spraying the poo and bright colour to highlight it all to inconsiderate dog owners and walkers.
- Little flags have been placed on top of piles of poo.
- A tree was decorated with all of the poo-filled plastic bags that had been flung into the hedges and grass.
- Volunteers identified dog owners and they were named and shamed.
- The Bis Scoop! A campaign run by the Dogs Trust to get public support to help combat the problem.
- A Poover – a hoover developed to suck up the dog poo.
- A dog warden stake out! Where they catch irresponsible owners in the act.
- DNA testing to identify the owners of the dogs.
- Banning dogs from public places.
Wow, what a year! It’s been a busy old year here at Friends for Pets with growth and expansion in all of our teams enabling us to care for lots more of our furry, feathery and scaly friends! We have focused a lot on staff training this year and have developed some new training schemes for pet carers and managers to enable us to improve our services to you and keep pet care standards as high as possible.
We have recently said good bye to our manager of the South Bristol team, Jim, who has retired from the manager role but staying on to help us with pet care duties. We would like to thank him for all his hard work over the past few years. You have been invaluable Jim! The South Bristol team is now being run by Meryl Fogg who also runs the North Bristol team. We would also like to wish Chantelle, our Chew Valley and Wells manager all the best as she finishes her area manager role with us to go on maternity leave. Amy Wall, Cheddar team manager, will now be managing her teams. We also welcome Alison to the role of the Bath manager since Sarah has moved to Sweden and she is doing a fantastic job!
Friends for Pets wish you and your pets a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year xx.
Pet Carer Award
As of 2016 we are introducing the Friends for Pets pet carer award scheme. The award covers training and awards in areas of pet care work at Friends for Pets including animal behaviour and communication, basic first aid and basic training in behavioural issues. The award will be rewarded to all pet carers who meet the required criteria. We hope that all pet carers will achieve the award. The award aims to keep our standards exceptionally high and for your pets to be extra happy in their care.
Rather than sending out ‘real’ Christmas cards we prefer to send an electronic card to our lovely clients (You can view your card here) and give a donation to a pet related charity. This year our chosen charity donation will be made to Medical Detection Dogs. This is an amazing charity works with dogs that are trained to assist individuals who manage complex medical conditions on a day to day basis and help with cancer detection. For more information please see http://medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk/
Find us on Social Media at:
If you have any social media accounts we have lots of extra info, pictures of our clients and lots of news through out social media pages. If you would like to follow us our details are:- See you on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsforPets?ref=hl
See you on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/company/friends-for-pets
Follow and Tweet us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/FriendsforPets
A few Tips to help keep your Pet Safe at Christmas
- Keep your tinsel out of your pet’s reach to stop it being ingested and potentially causing a blockage in their digestive system.
- Keep any wires safely out of your pet’s reach particularly if they are fond of chewing things!
- Keep ornaments out of reach particularly if they can break into sharp pieces easily.
- Keep pine needles cleaned up from floors to stop them injuring little paws or being ingested.
- Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats so keep them out of reach.
- Chocolate tree decorations and any extra chocolate treats should be kept out of reach of our doggy friends.
- Keep candles at a safe distance from lovely wagging tails.
- Mince pies, Christmas pudding or cake containing raisins (and alcohol!) can cause serious illness and be potentially fatal so keep them out of reach of pets.
Christmas Office Hours
As usual we will be busy caring for pets throughout the Christmas and New Years break but will be shutting our offices for a short break between 5pm on Monday 21st December and 9am on 4th January. We will of course be checking our phones and emails sporadically in this time for any urgent messages for your pets in our care over Christmas.
Pet Care over Christmas
If you do require any pet care from Friends For Pets please contact us as soon as possible as spaces are being filled very quickly especially for our overnight home from home dog boarding.
Team Contact Details
Bath – Alison 07474 066361 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bradford–on–Avon – Julia 07766 968397 or email@example.com
Bristol – Meryl 07585 504867 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cardiff – Tania 07502 316670 or email@example.com
Cheddar – Amy 07584 050544 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Chew Valley & North Somerset – Amy 07584 050544 or email@example.com
Frome – Julia 07766 968397 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hertfordshire – Amanda 07825 777176 or email@example.com
Wells – Amy 07584 050544 firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Enquiries or Franchise Enquires – email@example.com
All the Best from
Friends for Pets
The stereotype of a professional dog walker usually involves one to two people holding the leads of a large ‘pack’ of dogs. Here at Friends for Pets we avoid this at all costs! Why would we do this? Well here are our reasons:-
1) The Personal Touch – Your dog probably does not live with a large changeable pack if dogs so will be used to having plenty of 1-1 time with you. We aim to replicate this.
2) Insurance – The majority of dog walking insurance companies will only insure for up to six dogs to be walked together at one time with many insuring for less than this. Although we have insurance for six, we will tend to stick to a maximum of a few dogs at a time.
3) Safety – However well trained our doggy clients they are still animals with minds of their owns. Picking up scents, coming across third party less well trained dogs, unforeseen veterinary emergencies can all lead to problematic situations very easily. With just a couple of dogs this situation can be controlled much easier than having to scramble to get a large ‘pack’ of dogs under control.
4) Stress on your dog – Our doggy clients tend to build up very close relationships due to the 1-1 nature of our set up. If dogs are walked in large ‘packs’ then these are likely to change each day causing stress in sorting out a new hierarchy each time or more passive dogs may become more insular. ‘Pack’ is also a term regularly used by professional dog walkers, a dog walk usually refers to a stable group of dogs rather than an unbalanced group which changes each day.
5) For the love of the dogs – Financially it makes more sense to walk multiple dogs at a time as its more money for less work. Here at friends for pets our pet carers are true animal lovers and would prefer to spend more time with each pet than rushing lots of dogs through each walk. Most would do if for free!
6) Controlled Socialisation- Smaller groups mean a higher input from the dog walker therefore we can oversee any dog interactions more closely keeping dogs safe as well as socialising. This is very important for very young or elderly pets or other vulnerable dogs.
7) Transport – Due to not having to collect lots of dogs up our doggy clients are not spending long periods of time in our vehicles. Especially important in the hot summer months, if your dog gets stressed when travelling or gets car sick.
For more info on our local dog walkers please see your local team page http://www.friendsforpets.co.uk/dog-walking/