Friday, 22 August 2014

Get your motor tweeting!

Here's a Hubble & Hattie and Veloce crossover we never thought we'd see! A mechanic from Bournemouth found a nest containing three Pied Wagtail chicks behind the bumper of a car he had in for service!

Westover car technician Jon Brooks was about to begin an oil change on the car when he heard chirping. Looking behind the bumper, Mr Brooks and his colleagues saw a nest balancing on part of the car’s undertray. The nest was carefully removed, and the RSPCA was called to collect the tiny birds, who had travelled about five miles to the dealership!

Inspector Graham Hammond, the RSPCA officer who arrived to take care of the birds, said: "We’re very grateful to Mr Brooks and all the staff at the dealership for acting so quickly and carefully to protect these tiny birds. Thanks to them they have been given the best chance of surviving, but you do have to feel a little sorry for the parent birds who would have come back to find not only their nest, but the whole car gone."

In normal circumstances, if you find fledglings, the best course of action is to leave them alone, as their parents will return to them. For more information on what to do if you find a fledgling or baby bird, visit the RSPB's page by clicking here, or you can check out the RSPCA's press release here.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Kitten Diaries II

Veloce author Lindsay Porter is not only a car enthusiast, but also a huge animal lover! In this latest instalment of the kitten diaries, we find out what Lindsay and his wife, Shan, decided to name their new arrival ...

"We were starting to worry about our new arrival – despite our efforts, she wasn’t going to the toilet. A trip to the vet (and a thermometer up her bum!) soon put our minds at ease – apparently, kittens can go a couple of weeks without pooing. In celebration that all was well, we named the kitten Alice.

And then, a couple of days later, the inevitable happened … we were about ready to hang out the
bunting as Alice did her first poo! After much wiping of her bottom with a warm, damp cloth by my wife, Shan, she went into the cat litter, strained comically for a while, then shrugged her shoulders and walked off – at which point, out it came! She looked at it with considerable disgust before deciding it had nothing whatsoever to do with her.

Playing games with a kitten after the 4am feed is a real test of stamina. If I was still working full-time, I don’t know how I’d do it! But the daily improvements in Alice were amazing. She’d clamber smoothly over small obstacles that had been a major impediment to her only the day before. The rapid change in her we put down to her making up ground, since she was so small when we found her.
Back at Sapey Common, the place Alice was rescued from, the mom cat and other kittens made their
return. Our friend, Fi, spotted them within a metre of her when she went to put food down for them. We planned to continue feeding them regularly, and then add some worming powder to the food to help keep the family healthy.

One of the kittens had a ‘gungy’ eye – not unlike Alice when we found her – but at least they were
returning, both physically, and in their confidence with us! If, as it seems, the mom was at some point a domestic cat, we were certain it would help enormously in making friends with her. Fi told us that the mom look excited when the food was being put down, suggesting she’s had some previous contact with humans.
We moved a few items from the abandoned shed in which they were being fed to make it less dangerous for them, but didn't want to alter too much for fear of scaring mom off again … time would tell if our efforts made a difference …"

Next time: From strength to strength

Friday, 15 August 2014

Paws for a cause – Serbia's Forgotten Paws
Formed in 2012 by a group of positive and determined volunteers from across the UK, Serbia's Forgotten Paws aims to improve the lives and welfare of the dogs and cats in two Serbian shelters, as well as neutering strays across the country. The first shelter, based in Nis, has over 350 dogs in its care. The second shelter is in Mislodjin, and provides care to around 80 dogs.

While there are groups and individuals who already assist with the provision of food, vaccinations,
kennels, and care of dogs and cats in Serbia, the volunteers of Forgotten Paws, motivated by the powerful images and distressing stories of Serbia’s strays online, felt they could make a huge difference by improving these animals' quality of life.

Primarily, the hope is to rehome as many animals as possible through adoption in the UK and Europe.
For those animals that are unable to be rehomed, Forgotten Paws hopes to improve their living conditions. The volunteers are busy raising funds to purchase land around the two sites to allow the construction of warm, safe, permanent enclosures, where the dogs can interact with each other and with their human carers.

Forgotten Paws also hopes to raise awareness in the UK and beyond of the terrible cruelty faced by
animals in Serbia, and to encourage the Serbian government to improve the current situation.

If you would like to learn more about the work of Forgotten Paws, adopt or sponsor a dog, or other ways you can help, why not visit the website.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Competition time with PetFocus magazine!

We all want to give our pets the best life possible, and truly appreciate the time we have with them, but sometimes their complex needs and wants can be a mystery.

PetFocus magazine offers a guide to being a responsible owner and understanding the needs of our pets. It gives guidance on what to do in an emergency, ideas for creating a pet-friendly garden, potentially harmful things your pet should avoid, and much more.

Landing on the doormat four times a year, PetFocus opens up a world of heartwarming stories about our animal heroes, the latest celebrity pet news, and top tips for keeping your pet happy and healthy.
Experts provide essential knowledge on, for example, helping your car-sick dog, how to slim down your overweight cat, and protecting rabbits from fly strike – covering all pets from cats and guinea pigs to horses and bearded dragons!

Not just for adults, PetFocus’ pull-out children’s section bulges with games, posters, weird and wonderful facts, cut-out animal masks, and fun features to help them learn more about animals.

Hubble & Hattie has teamed up with PetFocus to offer a year’s free subscription to one lucky animal lover. For your chance to win, simply answer this question:

 Which breed of dog features on the cover of the above issue of PetFocus?

Email your answer and your name to us at We'll announce the lucky winner in next month's Animal Magic. Good Luck!

For more information on PetFocus, visit the website, and remember to like the Facebook page for all the latest news, photos and competitions!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My Dog, my Friend book trailer video

Check out this 1 minute trailer video for the forthcoming book, My Dog, my Friend (published by H&H, September 2014) ...

My Dog, my Friend – Heart-warming tales of canine companionship from celebrities and other extraordinary people. Compiled by Jacki Gordon.

A kaleidoscope of vivid, moving and highly entertaining accounts of the delights and benefits of dog ownership: an anthology of stories, freely contributed, from TV personalities, broadcasters, politicians, writers, and many others. Brought to life with colour photographs of the writers and their beloved canine companions, this is an ideal bedside or coffee table book that can be read cover-to-cover, or simply ‘dipped into.’ It conveys the key message that dogs can – and do – have a positive impact on the way we feel and live. All author royalties go to the charity Samaritans, to support its invaluable work of alleviating emotional distress and reducing suicidal behaviour.

Contributors include –

• David Blunkett • Esther Rantzen • Lynne Truss • Jenni Murray • Rankin • Alan Titchmarsh • Antony Worral Thompson • Mohamed Al-Fayad • Charlie Dimmock • Simon Callow • David Shrigley • Brix Smith-Start • Jon Landau • William Mcllvanney • Stanley Coren • Quintin Jardine

Click here for more info about the book.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Kitten Diaries II

Veloce author Lindsay Porter is not only a car enthusiast, but also a huge animal lover! A good example of this is this great story Lindsay shared with us a while ago, about a little stray kitten in need of a loving home ...

"It all started when we received a call from our friend Fi, who was looking after her dad's and step-mom’s house while they were on holiday. The call was to say there were some surprise visitors at the house in the form of a mother cat and her kittens.
We went round to see what we could do. The mom and two or three of the kittens shot off at the sight of us, but one was too weak. Naturally, we brought her home. That evening, Shan, my wife, took her to the emergency vet in Ludlow to get checked out (aside from being tiny, she had some discharge from her eyes). We were given antibiotics to add to her food, and some drops for her eyes. The vet reckoned she was about three weeks, but, since she was very much smaller than her siblings, she might have been four.

The vet suspected she had cat flu, and wasn’t certain that she'd get through that first night. We set her
up in a large dog cage in the garage, with heated pads and all mod cons! This was the same crate we used to ‘civilise’ another of our cats, Daisy, who was also feral, but about six months old when she came to us.

Our new addition was a fighter, and the next morning she was beginning to find her paws. She’s a very fussy little thing – touches your face with her paws, washes your nose (perhaps she thinks we might regurgitate something nice for her to eat!), and is very lovable. Well, except when she needs to go to the little kitten's room – did you know that young kittens can't go to the toilet on their own? You have to stroke the appropriate department with a damp, warm cloth to mimic mom's washing ... who knew!
We decided not to name the kitten until we were confident she was going to make it. Cat’s Protection
advised us that she’d need feeding during the night as well as the day for ten days or so, so early to bed for us!

Sadly, the mom and other kittens seemed to have disappeared – she was obviously feeling threatened – but what can you do? Our friend, Fi, continued to put out food and water for the family, and Cat’s Protection was on standby, should we make contact again …"

Next time: A name fit for a kitten ...