Barking Blondes: Discover Dogs, chased by owners and doggy wheelchairs
Along with Johnny Ball, we are choosing the best Companion Dog Club classes for boy dogs. How on earth can we make such a decision fairly? What sets one dog apart from another?
Not only are we confronted with the pleading look of the owner but also the honest and eager to please eyes of their dogs. It can be quite emotional, for many reasons.
Last year we judged alongside the actor Anthony Head (right) and after a gruelling hour the three of us all resorted to sharing a hankie. We also learned it was best to leave the building under a blanket.
A distraught but proud owner of a miniature schnauzer who, unfortunately was beaten to first place by a beagle, accosted us outside, demanding to know our reasons. After extolling the virtues of her mutt whilst trying to explain our decision, we beat a hasty retreat with dog and owner chasing after us. It was akin to all those alarming tales you hear about American child beauty pageants.
The show’s main attraction must be however, the opportunity to discover which dog is right for you. Most breeds are represented along with breeders who can discuss the dog suitable to your lifestyle. For example, if you live in a flat, a Leonberger is not for you but it’s great to pat one though. If you see us at Earls Court, please come and say hello and if you are competing and we don’t place you, please don’t chase us!
How many of us have been fascinated and amused to see a dog whizzing around town on its own set of wheels? This week on our radio show we interviewed an enterprising bloke who makes and manufactures wheel chairs for dogs. These literally give disabled dogs a second chance.
In the past, vets would have “put down” a dog whose back legs were paralysed or amputated. In fact with some species such as horses this is still the case. However, entrepreneur Jim Colla has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience around canine disabilities and exports wheelchairs to dogs all over the world. What a wonderful business.
It began with the paralysis in his own German shepherd dogs and his determination to make their lives easier. His carts support the skeletal structure of the dogs on the pubic bones and shoulders. They are the most orthopaedic designs on the market allowing the back to stretch without stress.
The weight of the cart is borne on the wheels and the shoulders not the spine. So the padding doesn’t cause pressure or sores. The dogs can get easily into and out of them and whizz about so freely that some can even chase a football. We love the idea of British built canine carts whizzing around attached to dogs in China and India.
Jim talks enthusiastically about all the classic designs of doggy wheelchairs and their pros and cons. He is the Jeremy Clarkson of the dog world. For us, we marvel at how a dog will adapt to having only three legs or a set of wheels attached to its body or even a bonnet to prevent scratching. There is even a collar now for blind dogs. It’s quite basic in that cables are attached to the collar like whiskers and act as antennae to the animal to allow them to “feel” their way around obstacles.
Isn’t it gratifying to know that animals, who are constantly being used to assist us for conditions such diabetes, epilepsy and blindness are now being assisted themselves with these inventions? Their adaptability and philosophy of living life in the moment is gradually being rewarded.
‘Barking at the Moon’ is on every Thursday from 10pm to midnight on BBC London 94.9FMTagged in: Anthony Head, Discover Dogs, Earls Court, Jim Colla, Johnny Ball, pet care
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