I’ve had such a wonderful year at Happy Paws, meeting and looking after so many lovely new pets. In fact, I’ve been so busy that I decided Happy Paws could really do with an extra pair of hands. Trusting someone with your dogs, cats and other pets is something of paramount importance to me, so it really needed to be a person I knew would be caring, professional, reliable and above all an animal lover like me.
I am, therefore, delighted to announce that my wife, Julie Smith, is joining Happy Paws. Julie is a lifelong animal lover and pet owner like myself and she is very excited about the prospect of taking care of your dogs, cats and small animals at Happy Paws. As well as being the owner of two cats, Starsky and Hutch, and our young Labrador Retriever, Murphy, Julie has owned a variety of small animals including chinchillas, rabbits and hamsters.
Julie will initially be joining Happy Paws on a part-time basis mainly cat sitting, small animal visits and helping with dog and puppy visits. Eventually, her role will become full time once our son starts school full-time next year.
Welcome to Happy Paws Julie. I know you’ll be a fantastic addition to the team.
We’ve had a wonderfully rewarding week at Happy Paws.
Our old friend Milo was in need of some extra tlc while his owners were away from home this week. Poor old Milo had been feeling pretty bad. He was lethargic and refusing his food. It turned out that he was suffering from a severe liver infection. I had the pleasure of twice daily visits this week to administer a mind boggling five different medications, most of which the poor lad had to endure on both visits. He was real trooper though and soldiered, purring throughout and ended the week back to his old self. His appetite was so good that supplies ran out and a search party was needed to replenish stocks!
Evie the ShihTzu was a troubled girl when I first met her at the start of the year. Fearful, aggressive and confused, it was difficult to see how we could help her turn herself around. She’s now a changed dog, enjoying her life at her loving new home and starting to overcome her fear of other dogs and the great outdoors. This week was a real milestone for Evie as although she has been joining in group walks for some time, this was her first time of really being part of the gang. Rather than distancing herself from group, she took an active part, showing pack behaviour throughout her walk on Friday with Buck and Jimmy. It’s times like this that make this job so rewarding. Well done, Evie.
We enjoyed many great walks this week, notably a grand total of seven hours with Myah the Great Dane and Marley the Husky, including an early Friday ramble sidestepping the debris of the previous night’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Marley was not impressed!
The week was rounded off with a present for us from new pal, Harry. Harry has a giving nature although his choice of gifts aren’t always welcome. Sunday morning’s blackbird and scattered feathers weren’t my first choice as a thank you for our week’s visit but that’s life at Happy Paws!
Saturday’s surprise snowfall in Newcastle may not have been too welcome for many Northern residents still trying to recover from the recent floods, but to two of our dogs at Happy Paws it was just about the best thing they’d ever seen.
Oscar and Murphy had their first walk together and boy was it a memorable one. The snow started to fall heavily about an hour before we were due to begin our walk in Chapel Park and by the time the hour arrived there was a good inch of snow covering the ground.
I brought tennis balls as Oscar takes Labrador ball love to another level. He’s not happy until he has a minimum of two in his mouth and then he’s on red alert for any unsuspecting dog who leaves a ball unattended. The game of fetch the tennis ball seemed even more attractive to our two canine friends than usual given the snow. Poor little Murphy tried gallantly to retrieve a ball but never had a chance against the reigning champion, Oscar. Oscar has a habit of leaving one ball to chase another or even to follow the scent of something enticing before returning to pick up the original ball. This tactic is great under normal conditions but in this weather we soon found ourselves down to one ball.
Game over for now, so we set off on a wonderful walk through a winter wonderland and met a few other lucky dogs enjoying the snow. Murphy had the time of his life, following Oscar as a small boy follows his older peer, wide eyed and tail spinning like helicopter blades. Our blissful walk was only briefly interrupted by Oscar nicking a friendly dog’s ball and a ten minute scramble by the owner, me, Murphy and said dog trying to retrieve the stolen goods. Tennis ball safely returned we finished off with a final game of fetch and a mammoth drying session.
Oscar and Murphy in the snow
The snow has all but gone now and who knows it may be the last we’ll see at Happy Paws this year but at least our two boys enjoyed its brief appearance.
Everyone loves a Labrador don’t they? They are the world’s most popular dog after all and the perfect family dog. That is if you don’t mind the appetite for destruction, their even more insatiable appetite for anything they can fit in their mouth, the muddy footprints, the fascination for water in all its forms, that poo is both a food source and moisturiser to them, tennis elbow from the lead being yanked as you’re pulled around the world…….I could go on indefinitely, of course. But these little ‘character traits’ are part of the reason we love them.
This is just as well as Happy Paws has been fortunate enough to have received a sudden influx of Labrador Retrievers. They’re a young bunch of black Labradors all from gun dog lines and we’re sure they’re all going to be best pals.
We have our own Murphy, who was seven months old this week. He’s a real charmer and has made a few guest appearances on the Labradors North East Facebook page. We might as well not exist when we take him for a walk, the oohs and aahs and isn’t he so cute ring out for this crowd pleaser.
Next up is two-year old Taryn who much to the chagrin of her owner has a fascination for eating poo that is extraordinary even by the standards of this breed. She’s a great, friendly character with bags of energy and always so happy to see us.
Oscar is also two and loves water and balls. Put the two together and you’d better make sure you have plenty of towels ready. One ball is never enough for this boy and his favourite trick is to carry two at a time, at least until he drops one, usually in a pond then goes fishing. He’s got bags of energy and will play fetch until the cows come home.
Our latest, youngest arrival is Tenzing. Named after the famed Sherpa, Tenzing is just 12 weeks old and the world is his playground. He’s only been with his owners and Happy Paws for a week but he’s settled in so well already. As you can see he’s a real cutie and we’ll be looking after him with puppy visits and helping with his development until he’s ready to join in the Group walks with the other boys and girls.
I’m the envy of my wife, looking after these beautiful dogs. She loves the Labs. So much so, that for her birthday in October I bought her this cracking read Labrador by Ben Fogle. She managed to get a few paragraphs into the introduction before the tears started to follow. I took that as a good sign.
We’ll keep you up to speed on the progress of our Labradors and feature more of our dogs and cats of many breeds in coming blogs too!
Yes it’s that time of year again, nestled between the spooky fun of Halloween and the wild eyed excitement of Advent, when partly developed men such as I try to become the real deal. We do this by attempting in vain to grow something resembling a full moustache during the month of November.
I don’t do this on a whim. No fashion inspired top knots or hipster beards here at Happy Paws. I won’t be trying to sell you any cereal at £5 a bowl from a pop-up shop in a cool neighbourhood still dripping with the fresh paint of urban renewal. No, I shall be sprouting sparse stubble in the hope of raising a few quid for a very noble cause with the Movember Foundation.
This year I’ll be not only be cultivating a poor man’s Mo but I’ll also be taking the Move Challenge by exercising in one form or another every day in November. There will be plenty of us out there so be prepared for mildly amusing (or downright sickening depending on your viewpoint) re-enactments of the 118 TV ads breaking out all over the UK.
From previous years’ experience, I hold no expectations of a Freddie Mercury ‘tache or Merv Hughes-esque style handlebar. It will be pitiful but please don’t feel sorry for it, simply donate anything you can afford and it will all be worthwhile. As you can see from the photo I’m displaying four days paltry growth and clinging to similar fuzz on the chin. The chin hair will be on its way soon, once the donations start arriving.
The Movember Foundation is a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier, longer lives. Since 2003, millions have joined the men’s health movement, raising £402 million and funding over 1,000 programmes focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.
One of our cats at Happy Paws, Starsky, has been getting a lot of publicity of late. Mainly due to a nasty scrape with a neighbourhood cat of dubious morals. Lurking in the shadows, his brother Hutch has kept a low profile. That’s the way he likes it. Lulling everyone into a false sense of security.
Starsky and Hutch Cat Napping
Hutch was the only black kitten in a large litter of black and whites. He stood alone. The black sheep of the family. We couldn’t resist him, or Starsky whose incredible climbing skills, acrobatics and persuasive meowing would have caught anyone’s attention.
We took them in. Starsky has grown into a lovable, friendly, cutesy, chocolate box and calendar cover cat. Hutch hasn’t. Hutch has an alternate moniker. The dark destroyer. He may be small. He may look as sweet as apple pie but please don’t be misled. He lures you in. Rolls on your lap. Purrs like a top of the range sports car. Then you’ve had it. The teeth sink in. The claws lock on. Suffice to say the first aid kit in our house is frequently replenished.
To celebrate Cats Protection National Black Cat Day 2015, Hutch returned from a brief jaunt to wail on the doorstep. An unusual sound warning us that something wasn’t quite right. As I opened the door he looked up at me. His eyes said see I love you really. I’ve brought you a present. A freshly killed field mouse.
At Happy Paws we recently compiled a top 10 list of our favourite cat related songs. After a few woofs of protest from some of our canine friends, and dog walkers too, we decided it’s time for the dogs to have their day with our top 10 dog songs for dog walking. It’s been tough and we’ve had to leave a few cracking tunes on the dogpile but hopefully there will be one or two that make you want to do the dog! If you love ‘em or you want to let us know your favourites, just use the comments box below. Enjoy!
Walking the Dog – Rufus Thomas
Aah Rufus Thomas. A Stax legend and very fond of a novelty dog ditty he was. If anyone deserves to make a list of top 10 dog songs it has to be Rufus. He didn’t simply record ‘The Dog’ and call it a day. He followed it up with this dog walkers anthem ‘Walking The Dog’, plus ‘Can Your Monkey Do the Dog’ and ‘Somebody Stole My Dog’. Barking Mad.
The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel
Of course not really a song about dogs but with a title like that we hope you’ll forgive us for letting it sneak onto our list. Like so many of Simon and Garfunkel’s ballads it is beautiful and relaxing and just the ticket when we put our feet up with a nice mug of hot chocolate after a busy day’s dog walking.
Dog Eat Dog – Adam and the Ants
Darrin has vivid memories of Adam and the Ants playing one of the rare concerts at the Royalty in one of our favourite stomping grounds, Gosforth. He hung around the cinema with friends for hours hoping in vain to catch a glimpse of his hero Adam. The Royalty may be long gone these days but this tune has stood the test of time and helped launch the band from cult status to pop superstardom.
The Hounds of Love – Kate Bush
She’s a national treasure is Kate. CBE and everything. Incredible vocals, memorable songs and a unique performer. Battier than the Batcave, a bag of baseball bats, Batfink and the Guana Batz (full points if you remember them) put together though. Great stuff.
Walking With the Beast – Gun Club
Great title for a great song that many of you may be unfamiliar with. Jeffrey Lee Pierce howls his way through this bluesy classic. He crammed a lot into a short and troubled life but he left us with gems like this to keep us dog walkers going through a long day of walking.
Scott Walker – The Girls and the Dogs
One of the many Jacques Brel songs that Scott covered with aplomb. In fact Scott can do no wrong over here at Happy Paws HQ. If he ever needs us to look after either his girls or his dogs we’re waiting. Patiently.
Howling at the Moon – The Ramones
Too tough to die proclaimed Da Brudders on the album spawning this sixties influenced cracker. Unfortunately time has proven that boast to be inaccurate as all four members of the original line-up are no longer with us. These punk pioneers are one of our all-time favourites at Happy Paws and we wear the t-shirt with pride not as a fashion accessory 😉
Golden Retriever – Super Furry Animals
Gruff Rhys and the boys pay homage to one of our favourite breeds here and even don dog suits in the video. We have a lovely new Golden Retriever by the name of Lacey on board at Happy Paws. This one’s for her and many happy days of walking ahead.
Straw Dogs – Stiff Little Fingers
Former long-time Newcastle resident and big NUFC fan Jake Burns barks this punk anthem out with all the anger and frustration of the times. He’s mellowed a bit these days but a trip to see the band each February is still treat for the Happy Paws team. Long may they continue to rock and grow old disgracefully. Just like us dog walkers!
Whip It! – Devo
Alright. We know it’s a stretch but we are in the North-east of England. Whippets here, there and everywhere. Unlike Akron Ohio, the home of Devo, where we are led to believe the small sighthound is far less common! No quips from you wags out there regarding the band’s conical hats resembling what comes of the rear end of a whippet either!
Whether you love some of these tunes or think they’re dog rough, let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts on our top 10 dog songs for dog walking.
Starsky’s had a rough old time this last couple of weeks. A naughty neighbourhood cat decided to chase him. Starsky, not being a streetwise moggy, fled. The result was a bite on the bum for our boy that soon developed into a large egg-shaped abscess right on the base of a floppy tail. Ouch, there was no cat sitting for Starsky for a while!
Three visits to Westway Vets, a vet collar, plenty of medication and daily cleansing later means he’s almost back to his old self again. His tail is a bit lop-sided and we don’t know if it will ever be the same again as there may be nerve damage. He’s on a strict curfew for now but being the great escapologist that he is, he’s broken through the cordon already. The cliché ‘once bitten twice shy’ clearly does not apply here. He does have a rather more confrontational brother in Hutch to look after him. They were both rescue kittens from PARRT in Northumberland five years ago and they’ve grown up together with plenty of brotherly love.
Starsky the cat sitting comfortably at last!
It also happens to be Starsky’s Mam’s birthday today so he’s celebrating by trying to break into the edibles and drinkables among her presents. He may have been poorly but I’m not too sure he’ll have any luck there. Julie is guarding them like Gollum and the ring (no physical resemblance implied obviously!).
I think I might sneak him a treat or two. I think he deserves it.
Cat sitting is a labour of love for us at Happy Paws. We really love the cute furry little critters. We’ve got two of our own, Starsky and Hutch and they reign supreme like the Kings of an ancient empire at Happy Paws HQ.
When we come home from a day of dog walking and cat sitting we like nothing better than to put our feet up and kick back to some great music. For our entertainment and, hopefully, yours too we’ve put together top 10 purrfect cat songs that will warm you up on the chilly autumnal nights ahead. It’s an eclectic mix and we’re sure to have missed some of your favourites so let us know what you think in the comments box below!
Stray Cat Strut – The Stray Cats.
A double whammy with a cat band and song. The real bonus is that it is a stonker of a tune from Brian Setzer and the boys too. If anyone out there still has the free tattoo that came with their first album we’re ready and waiting to rock it like Slim Jim. Darrin will even roll his sleeve up to show it off on those crisp early morning walks.
Cat People (Putting Out Fire) – David Bowie
The Thin White Duke is a pretty slick cat himself and he’s cooler than a cucumber on this track that he re-recorded for his monster album, Let’s Dance. It featured again on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.
The Lovecats – The Cure
This magical number was The Cure’s first top ten hit and was wedged in the middle of a rollercoaster ride of memorably catchy singles in the early to mid-eighties. The more sensitive among you will be pleased to know that no cats were eaten by Bob Smith in the making of this video.
Wild Cats of Kilkenny – The Pogues
Which Pogues cat song to choose? A furry tail of New York? A Manx you don’t meet every day? A purr of brown eyes? We opted for this instrumental which is sure to get your feet moving. It’s a real ‘Pogue Mahone’ classic.
An Cat Dubh – U2
The black cat in Gaelic. Long before Bono tried to save the world single-handed, when The Edge still had hair, Adam Clayton only dreamed of super models and the drummer just drummed, U2 knocked out a rather fine debut album in Boy. That’s where you’ll find this one and rather good it is too.
Everybody Wants to Be a Cat – The Aristocats
A Disney classic movie produced this wonderfully frolicsome cat tune. The movie was the last Disney project to be approved by Walt and we definitely approve of this number.
Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? – The Cramps
This one could grace not only a cat sitting top 10 but a dog walking one too! Risqué, raucous, fabulous. The Cramps at the finest and their first UK chart single. I’m sure Lux is still rockin’ somewhere.
Pads, Paws and Claws – Elvis Costello
This was one of several songs Elvis Costello composed with Paul McCartney and is well worthy of a place on this list. Enjoy.
We The Cats Shall Hep Ya – Cab Calloway
A bit of a wild card this one but fun nonetheless. Cab was the original scat man and he definitely has the energy to keep us going on those long days of cat sitting and dog walking. Our cats are hep to this one.
Cool For Cats – Squeeze
We saved the best for last. Darrin bought this on 12” pink vinyl with his pocket money back in 1979. He can’t remember what it cost but whatever it was it was money well spent. An absolute cat classic for sure. Squeeze are currently churning out a raft of catchy ditties for the Danny Baker BBC sitcom Cradle to Grave which is well worth checking out to!
We hope a few of these tunes put a smile on your face. Let us know what you think of these top ten cat sitting songs!
It’s a question that we’re sometimes asked at Happy Paws and there are several good reasons to make the choice.
First and foremost, all dogs need exercise. Young, healthy dogs need plenty of long walks and although older dogs and puppies, once ready, may need shorter walks, regular exercise for all ages is essential. A good professional dog walker can offer you a flexible range of walks to suit your dog’s needs making sure they receive the level of exercise suitable for their breed and age.
Most of us these days lead increasingly busy and often hectic lives. Work, family, social life and illness can mean you can’t always be there for your beloved pet. This means that many dogs, often through no fault of their owners, spend large parts of the day alone in the house. A bored pooch, no matter how well trained or behaved, can soon become difficult and destructive.
When you are away from home, it’s understandable that you can worry about your dog for any number of reasons. Are they bored? Do they need exercise? What about toilet time? How is that new sofa looking?! Fortunately, a professional dog walker is there to help ease your concern and keep your dog happy, well exercised, boredom free and given those vital toilet breaks!
Two Border Collies enjoying their walk
Socialisation is also key to a happy and fulfilled doggy lifestyle. A good walk where they can be socialised with other dogs and people can not only help to prevent behavioural problems but also provide your dog with essential mental stimulation. This kind of regular exercise and socialisation can go a long way towards treating common behavioural problems including whining and barking, and chewing and destructive behaviour in the home.
With a professional dog walker your dog will receive the personal one to one attention they need and love. With regular walks, your dog and your dog walker will develop a bond and enjoy each other’s company and a few belly rubs and treats too! A good dog walker can not only become a trusted friend to your dog but to you too. Someone you can rely onto care of your dog when you can’t be there and to provide the exercise, socialisation, stimulation and boredom breaking fun to make your dog happy and healthy.