Tuesday 28 October 2014

Freshly baked bread

We love this poem by Jacki Gordon, compiler of our fab book My Dog, my Friend – Heart-warming tales of canine companionship from celebrities and other extraordinary people. The book is available now from the Hubble & Hattie website.

She snuggles up.
I adore her.

She looks out for me.
She is devoted.
She seems to know my every need.

Side by side we are strong.
I miss her when we are apart
I love her.

I think we are alike, her and me.
Sometimes I behave like she is my
own flesh and blood.

She smells of the outdoors.
Of almonds.
Of lavender, sometimes.

She says I smell
of freshly baked bread.
People laugh when she says that.

They say
Dogs don't smell of freshly baked bread.

Looka does, she says.

The full interview with Jacki Gordon, talking about the book, her gorgeous girl Looka, and our love of dogs, is now available to watch over at our YouTube Channel. Be sure to check it out!

Friday 24 October 2014

They ate what?!

Ever found your furry friend eating something they shouldn't? You're not alone! Each year, Veterinary Practice News holds an X-ray competition between veterinary hospitals to showcase the most bizzare things our pets ingest when we're not looking.

Remember: Seek veterinary help immediately should you suspect your pet of having swallowed something inappropriate.

Here are a few of our favourites ...

To find out more about the contest, and for the full list of winners, take a look at the Veterinary Practice News website.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Paws for a cause – Cats Protection's National Black Cat Day

There's a certain amount of stigma surrounding black cats. They hang out with witches; they're bad luck; they're 'boring.' Of course, this is all nonsense,  and yet black and black-and-white cats looking for forever homes are often overlooked. That's why Cats Protection is urging people to 'paws' for thought on Thursday 30th October and show support for National Black Cat Day!

The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the many unwanted black and black-and-white moggies in
Cats Protection’s care, many of whom wait longer to find their forever homes – overlooked by potential families in favour of their more colourful counterparts.
“Black and black-and-white cats make up around half of all the cats in our care – and sadly they wait
much longer to find their forever home than the average cat,” said Gemma Smith, Cats Protection’s Digital Communications Officer. “They are just as loving and fun as torties and tabbies, and will make the perfect addition to any home, so now it’s time for us to stand up and show our support for them.

"If you love cats just as much as we do, why not consider adopting a black cat, entering our competition or taking part in our campaign?"

To help raise awareness of the many black cats in need, the charity is encouraging people to enter its
National Black Cat Day competition to win a professional photoshoot, which starts on Monday 6 October.

To enter the competition cat lovers are being asked to take a photo of their beloved black rescue cat and upload it to Cats Protection’s Facebook page, alongside their adoption story. The charity will shortlist its favourites and will be asking Facebook fans to get voting by liking their preferred selfie and story. The photo with the most votes will be crowned National Black Cat Day Champion and will win a professional photoshoot, as well as the honour of becoming the ‘poster cat’ for future rehoming appeals!

The fun doesn’t stop there, however, and there are many different ways to take part on and around the
day. More information can be found on the Cats Protection website and social profiles, and by following the #CPBlackCats and #BlackCatSelfie hashtags on Twitter.
To find out more about adopting a black or black-and-white cat, visit the Cats Protection website, or call the the helpline on 03000 12 12 12.

Friday 10 October 2014

September Gallery winner: Chip

Chip is the winner of our My Dog, my Friend themed September Gallery on our Facebook page!
Thank you to everyone who submitted a photo, and for everyone who voted!
We're now taking entries for October.

Each month in 2014 we'll be compiling an album of your beloved animals. The picture with the most likes at the end of the month, will win a fantastic Hubble & Hattie book of your choice, and feature in our monthly newsletter!

How to submit photos:
Post photos directly on to our Facebook page.
Tweet us your photos
Email your photos

Celebrating spiders!

Love 'em, hate 'em, or run screaming at the sight of them, it's spider season! Spiders get a bad press because a lot of people find them frightening or creepy (eight legs does seem a bit much ...), but our resident spider supporter, Kev, has taken some fantastic photos that prove spiders aren't that bad ... in fact, they can be rather beautiful! Read on to find out more about some of the fascinating eight-legged beauties local to H&H HQ. Be warned, though ... here there be spiders!

Argiope bruennichi, Wasp spider
"The Wasp spider is a member of the orb-web spider family, and whilst it can be found across much of Europe and North Africa, it’s only in the last decade that it's appeared in the UK. These photos show a female, which is much larger and more colourful than the male. In fact, they can be disconcertingly large, compared to most indigenous species; the largest of the three individuals I found was about 8cm with its legs outstretched (this feels MUCH larger when it’s only a few inches from your face!) They do bite, but they’re not poisonous to humans. 

"Being so large and colourful, they’re easily spotted, and quite a spectacular find when out walking. The females are now, and a few of them have large egg sacks – and I do mean large; the largest of the two I’ve seen locally was just under 4cm in diameter, and was being tended by a slightly smaller female.

"The webs are usually found quite low down, about 20-30cm above the ground, and have a unique
‘zig-zag’ section running vertically through them. No one knows quite what this is for, but there are several theories. It may be that it helps attract insects by reflecting UV light. It may also act as a deterrent to ward off predators; when the web is shaken, the zig-zag creates a bright, blurry shape to animals which see in the UV range."

A sea of webs ...
"These webs on the tips of grasses and bushes are mostly Garden spider webs. The name isn’t too helpful here, as Garden spiders aren’t just garden dwellers, and pretty much live everywhere. They also fall into the orb-web family, which also contains our largest by weight native species, Araneus quadrata, which, along with the similar but slightly smaller Araneus diadematus, are the ‘classic’ garden spiders, and – as you can see from the photos – they’re doing very well this year! On a dewy morning, you can see literally thousands of these webs, and they really are a spectacular sight … just make sure you keep to the paths, though!"