It is not only your dog that will benefit from plenty of exercise
Having owned various dogs over the years, I know all too well the benefits of regular dog walking. Firstly though I must hold my hands up and say that, for various reasons, our regular walks have been less frequent of late than is really acceptable. The thing is that walking your dog benefits all concerned.
Your Dog or Dogs
Dogs walk. That is one of their main occupations in this life. They need regular exercise and plenty of it. This stimulates their mind and psyche and helps to keep them physically and mentally fit.
Believe it or not, a dog can get depressed, in much the same way that a human being can. It is cruel to keep a dog cooped up all of the time. Bear in mind also that a bored dog may soon become a naughty dog!
If you walk your dog on a variety of surfaces, such as grass and paths, his or her nails should not need trimming. Walking regularly on concrete should help minimise the length of the pet’s nails.
Helping a dog learn to socialise with other dogs is vital. Dog walking should do this. No-one wants a dog that goes wild at the mere sight of another pooch.
Walking your dog can also benefit you. It can help keep you fit, keep your weight down and help you to bond with your pet. It means that you will benefit from exercising in the great outdoors.
When you take regular walks, with your pet, you will soon find that you have a new circle of friends. These will be the dogs and their owners who you meet on your travels. The doggie community are usually quite friendly and sociable.
As a learning experience
Walking your dog can also be part of the pet’s training. Crossing the road, sitting, walking to heel and having some free time, off the lead, can all be practised outdoors.
Make sure that you always have plenty of bags, and anything else needed, on your walks to clean up your dog’s mess. These days I prefer to take small nappy or pamper sacks. These are small plastic bags which are slightly scented. They are designed for disposing of baby's disposable nappies after use. These bags are perfect for clearing a pile of dog poop. This may not be a nice task but it is an essential one.
Take a few small dog toys and treats with you. These can be useful for playing with your dog once it has been allowed off its lead or as a reward. Treats can be handy also for other dogs you may encounter.
If your dog is unfriendly, or you fear that the animal may snap at someone, use a muzzle. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Dogs are very much creatures of habit and, once you have established a dog walking routine, you will need to stick to it. Still, I am sure that you will agree that your dear animal deserves that much at the very least.
Note: Always consider your safety and the safety of others your dog may encounter on walks.
In the UK many animal rescue and welfare charities offer animals like dogs and cats on a temporary basis as foster pets as well as for adoption into a permanent home.
The rules tend to be much the same for adoption as for fostering in that:-
Personal experience of fostering a dog
When we took a foster dog into our home the initial cost of spaying, after her first season, was paid for by the charity but that was all. All other expenses have been down to us. However, we never really asked for anything else when we fostered Jess (shown in the images above) and I suppose, as with most things in this life, it is up for negotiation.
One thing though that I would like to mention is prepare yourself for separation and always keep in mind that your foster pet is a temporary resident. 14-years down the road our foster dog was still with us and going nowhere. If I could have been sure that a good home was found for her, a while ago, I would have willingly parted company with her but husband would not.
He within a short space of time became so attached to Jess that she was soon a permanent fixture.
Fostering an animal, especially if you are not able to re-home on a permanent basis, is very worthwhile and rewarding. Usually both the family and the animal benefit from the experience.
Remember though that some animals, in desperate need of a new home, may have many problems.
Our Jess had been very ill-treated despite her young years. Consequently she was a very naughty dog for a few months and really hard work. Suffice to say she that soon changed but those first few months were a testing time for all.
Contact a local charity to discuss the options for fostering an animal. It may be that you will be accepted as a regular foster owner.
There is also the option to foster an animal simply on a monetary basis. Some animal sanctuaries advertise for long distance foster carers who will supply the money needed for the animal to survive. With regular small payments it is possible to contribute to an animal's well-being.
Foster certificates are on sale online and make great gifts for Christmas and Birthdays.
(Jessie died September 12, 2015. She had been going blind for some time but still had a good quality of life. Other health issues added to old age meant that the kindest option was euthanasia. Her legs went and so the vet visited our home to put Jess to sleep. It was a calm and peaceful end for one of the sweetest dogs I have ever encountered. She was and still is sorely missed.)
In the early 1800's, when the RSPCA was founded, cruelty was a way of life for many people.
With man's inhumanity to man resulting in the dreadful treatment of children, women, the sick and the infirm animals were way down the list of those needing help. True poverty was evident wherever you looked and reforms were needed in many areas.
Thankfully some individuals were striving to help mistreated animals.
After a couple of failed attempts to set up a society to help animals finally a meeting of like-minded individuals resulted in the formation of the RSPCA in England.
It was 1824.
A Member of Parliament, who was one of the original founders of the RSPCA, successfully presented an anti-animal cruelty bill to parliament in 1824 and this gave the SPCA some teeth.
This society was not awarded the title of RSPCA, Royal, until 1840 by which time the society had proved its worth over and over again. In those first sixteen years the amount of prosecutions for animal cruelty showed the British public just how severe the problem was.
So it was that Queen Victoria was proud to be the first Royal to have an association with the RSPCA.
With a solitary inspector, initially, only covering the area of London the work was hard.
By 1842 many other towns and areas had heard of the work being done by the RSPCA and wanted their own inspector and branch of the society. These early branches relied entirely on charitable money and volunteers and dealt with just as many farm animals as those we think of these days as domesticated ones.
In 1950's England the RSPCA still saw and dealt with many cases of animal cruelty but nowhere near as many as today.
In an England that has seen an increase in some poverty, crime and violence unfortunately animal cruelty regularly hits the headlines these days. In fact it is now so common place, and accepted, that it does not make the headlines so often, as it does not even make the papers much of the time.
It would seem that we have gone full circle from those early days in 1824.
However, the difference these days is that we are better educated, not as poor on the whole and have legislation against animal cruelty and neglect.
The regional branches of the RSPCA in England today are all separately funded on a charitable basis. Each one however is run under the rules of the RSPCA. There are also RSPCA clinics, welfare centres and shops around the country. Our local RSPCA does not offer medical treatment for animals but some do.
Locally we have a branch of the PDSA, People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, which offers free treatment for animals whose owners have low incomes. However, such has been the abuse of this charity that our local PDSA will only deal with pet owners who can prove their poor income by such items as benefit books. Of course the PDSA welcomes donations from those pets owners who use this service but unfortunately does not often receive them.
Our local RSPCA has struggled in recent years to keep its head above water. They have been actively seeking help and donations and constantly find that there are more animals needing re-homing than they can deal with. RSPCA inspectors are always busy investigating claims of animal maltreatment and neglect. RSPCA branches in more middle class areas will probably receive more donations and see less maltreatment but that is not a fact just a supposition, which could be wrong.
Inspectors do not have as many powers as you may think and will usually operate with law enforcers such as the police and magistrates.
At present Queen Elizabeth II is the patron of the RSPCA in England. It is one of the largest charities in the UK and the largest animal charity here. There are many forms of the RSPCA around the world, especially in the once colonial countries of Australia and New Zealand. Other countries such as America have their own society but without the Royal status. This does not matter though as their work is just as invaluable.
The RSPCA relies heavily on volunteers for a myriad of jobs. However it needs, and employs, workers also such as Veterinarian staff and inspectors.
Each branch has a Chief Inspector and logistically a few branches will be clumped together with a Superintendent at the helm. There is a National Control Centre and National Headquarters which respond to urgent calls, offer training and house the RSPCA's Executives and Directors. All in all it is a vast society.
The RSPCA is a registered charity (no. 219099) and it receives no lottery or government funding.
Please help them whenever you can as it would be a sorry day if this society folded.
What do you do if a Bee buzzes around your head? Do you flap and swat the poor creature or think thank heavens we still have Bees?
If you live in the UK you should definitely be doing the latter, but perhaps no matter where you live this should be your stance.
Wild Honey Bees in the UK have all but gone.
They are to all extents and purposes extinct.
If we do not treat our environment with a little more respect even honey bees in managed hives in the UK will vanish. Already their numbers are dwindling.
There are many reasons for their demise but a notable one is the use of pesticides.
However in the UK the urban spread has not helped. Add to this the Brits love affair with their cars and you have double trouble.
In cities residents, even those with garages, have willingly ravaged their gardens and block-paved, laid concrete and more in order to provide off road parking. Similar has been done to make gardens low maintenance. The result has been a move back to a concrete jungle.
It is of course possible to block pave areas and still have some trees and shrubs but it needs careful consideration and thought.
The UK government said at one time it would halt some of the paving to small terraced gardens. This was deemed necessary as those changes had added to potential flood problems. In most cities though nothing has changed for the better yet
We can all do our bit to encourage Bees and enable them to thrive.
Plants such as Buddleias, Lavender, wild flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees will all encourage bees into your garden. The bonus is they will attract birds also plus these plants look and in some cases smell good.
Researchers have worked out the labour intensive work and cost of hand pollination, should the number of bees dwindle excessively, and it is worrying.
Working on the assumption that only the minimum wage would be paid, the mail online reported that, "Using humans with paintbrushes to pollinate crops including apples, pears, strawberries, oilseed rape, field beans, courgettes, peaches and plums would cost £1.8bn - the equivalent of 60,000 teachers or nurses. The shocking figure wa srevealed foir years ago just a week after two studies found pesticides are stopping bees finding their way home.
University of Reading, researcher. Professor Potts said: ‘It’s a very high figure and just rams the point home of the economic sense of protecting wild pollinators which do an incredible job. ‘It’s a no-brainer. We need to take action, and the government is just starting to wake up to that.’
As increased technology looks set to limit traditional work available perhaps hand pollinating plants will be a growth industry? Perhaps robots will fill in for Bees?
A much better option though is to save our bees.