Barking Blondes: Things to take into consideration when searching for the perfect pooch
No. 1 is usually reserved for headliners, No. 2 for the “also ran” and further down the corridor, a plaque with Artists Dressing Room, for the hoy palloy.
Many years ago, whilst performing panto in Bognor, we reached the giddy heights of occupying a No. 1. However, our enthusiasm was slightly curbed when we were expected to share the luxury with one of the ponies.
Having spent most of the run in a trailer within the theatre carpark, the poor animal had shown to be suffering from mange -so how could we refuse the beast shelter?
We spent the final weeks of panto in mutual respect, the pony tethered to the sink, and us squashed on the couch.
It proved to be the most successful of artistic relationships.
So imagine our joy on Tuesday when arriving at the ITV studios for our weekly appearance on The Alan Titchmarsh Show, we discovered we were sharing with four dogs.
Two of them were our own bull breeds, Molly and Matilda (this week they even had their own on set kennels!) and the other two were appearing on behalf on the Blue Cross. They were Arthur, a jack russell, and Jess, a poodle cross/terrier.
Both of them were to promote an item on rehoming having themselves become orphans.
Unlike human beings where being forced to share a space can sometimes result in territorial resentment…dogs just get on with it.
A few sniffs around each others rear quarters and they all settled down to a day of rest and rehearsal.
Arthur on the sofa, Jess on a blanket and our two indulgently on our laps. All mutts performed beautifully in the live show, even alongside a pony and a meerkat and by going home time we had all bonded.
Hence the emotional pull. If we could feel like this after only a few hours in the presence of two needy dogs… how must it be for the staff of these rescue centres?
Rescue centres are bursting at the seams. The staff have to be altruistic to accept the inevitable emotional attachment and driven by the job satisfaction of finding forever homes and a second chance to hundreds of dogs and cats. Sometimes weeks or months are needed to nurse a dog back to health, or to train and rehabilitate for rehoming. Yet the satisfaction for transforming a dog and giving it a second chance must be high.
As one dog finds a home, another fills their empty kennel in minutes …so severe is the problem of abandoned pets. Many owners don’t think through the commitment of dog ownership. Britain is allegedly a nation of animal lovers, yet shockingly 15% of dog owners spend more time choosing their Christmas presents than researching the best type of dog for their lifestyle.
It’s so important to provide the appropriate living space, and energy level for a dog. Let’s face it if you love hiking across the Lake District, a Springer Spaniel might suit you better than a Pug.
Another consideration is budget as an average dog will cost up to £16,000 in care through its life. Vets bill have led 40% of pets into rescue simply because the cost of their care has become unaffordable in these recessionary times. Then there’s grooming bills for certain breeds that will mount up and can mean a Poodle finds itself in rescue.
Research is essential in finding the perfect pooch. Remember the bigger the dog, the bigger the ‘doo-doo’.
Barking Blondes by Jo Good & Anna Webb, published by Hamlyn, £12.99 www.octopusbooks.co.ukTagged in: barking blondes, bbc, dogs, pets, pooch
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