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!
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.
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.
Let’s go walkies!