Friday 30 June 2017

Bye bye to Liz and Maggie May

Last month, Hubble & Hattie waved a fond farewell to Lizbeth, and her trusty Office Pooch Maggie May.

Hello. Do you have an appointment?
Liz and Maggie have been with us for some time now, ensuring all our customers get the best books and customer service. Both have been instrumental in keeping us calm, focussed, and on the ball during hectic times, and making sure that the H&H Office runs smoothly.

Over the years, Maggie (and Liz, of course), have become firm friends with many staff and visitors to H&H HQ. And a few have become firm favourites with Maggie.

"Hello? Yes … that's right … a bag of sprats. It's very urgent."
You may recognise Maggie from previous blog and newsletter posts, including  #BringYourDogToWorkDay, where Maggie took on the role of Official BYDTWD Warden, ensuring pooches were present and correct when required.

In recognition of all that the pair have done at H&H, and with Liz being particularly fond of Vegan food, what better way to show our appreciation than with a selection of fantastic foody gifts … olives, dressings and sauces, from local deli Olives et al … and a gargantuan tin of dolmades (which, being one of her fav foods, only lasted a week).

Still waiting for that BBQ invite …
Of course, you can't live off olives and dolmades alone  (though Liz disagrees) so, with the summer now with us, we also gave her a compact portable BBQ, and a few very broad hints about how nice it would be to be invited to sample her BBQ cooking … I'm sure it'll arrive any day now.

And we ensured Maggie May (aka Dinkatron, Pooch Brisket, Piglet-Pudding) was well catered for, too, with plenty of fuss being made, some mini doggy squeaky tennis balls being thrown, and a bumper bag of her all-time favourite morning treat: dried sprats.

"Top yummers," as Liz would say.

We'd like to wish Liz and Maggie all the best in their new endeavour, and we look forward to trying her new BBQ recipes. Any time. Whenever you like.

So, it's just left to say …

"Maggie; take a bow!"

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Keeping up with Kyrenia

Today, we catch-up with our friends Kyrenia Animal Rescue. Continuing its fantastic work helping pets get to and from Cyprus, here's the latest news from KAR Pet Travel …

Summer is very nearly here, and it has been a busy spring for KAR Pet Travel – with an even busier summer coming,  so it seems.

The Spring Imports – all wanting to get here before the summer heat – came from a variety of destinations: Russia, Turkey, USA, UAE, India, EU, and UK, to name just a few. Many flew in on Turkish Airlines flights, with their owners, and, often, the Customs hall at Ercan resounded with excited barks, as the dogs saw their owners after being parted from them during the flight.

Others (cats and small dogs) were carefully carried into the Customs hall by owners who had flown with their beloved pets by their side (or feet), in the cabin.

Customs officials and airport staff are still often amazed at the distances some of the pets have travelled, and yet they arrive, often excited and happy – rarely do we hear a growl, hiss or screech. 

KAR Pet Travel representatives (meeting incoming pets) are regularly approached by other travellers wanting to know why there are cats/dogs/birds in the Customs hall. For some, it may be the closest that they have been to a dog/cat/bird, and their questions are wide and varied. These travelling pets show them that animals can be part of the family, and are very much loved – something, sadly, that many travellers had not realised or thought of before. Many a time, after speaking to us and the pet owners, we have responses such as "I did not know that you bring animals here," "I did not think that they would survive a flight," and "How can I bring mine?" … and so it goes on. It is a real learning curve for some, one that they have learnt via KAR Pet Travel, our travelling pets and their owners.

Other pets fly into Larnaca or Paphos, and, after being cleared at the airport by colleagues in RoC, are transported into TRNC, and delivered home by KAR Pet Travel. During the entry process at the border, we are often approached by the public with questions. It seems that there is nothing like a large dog in a large box to attract their attention! 

Their questions are answered, but we always ensure, that, although they may be able to see the pets in their boxes in the van, they cannot touch or pester them: they are still strangers, however well meaning and inquisitive! The welfare of the pets is paramount, and we do all that we can to minimise any stress for them.

Delivery to their new home can sometimes cause us more stress than the rest of the import process. It is often dark, and we are trying to find properties, following directions made during daylight hours. The road signs cannot be seen, landmarks are not easily visible in the pitch black, and there have been new roads and properties built after the directions were written.

However, one thing remains the same wherever we are: there will be lights ablaze at home, owners will be pacing up and down, either inside the property or as they hear/see us approaching, outside in the road. They are desperate to be reunited with their pets. All they want is for their pet to be out and have cuddles – lots of them. They know that they have been well looked after during their journey, and will have had updates, but it is not the same as physically seeing them, finally here in their new home in the TRNC.

Often, after we have finished with the formalities and have said our goodbyes, there is a tear in my eyes as we drive away. But it is a HAPPY tear at the very real and HAPPY scene that we are leaving behind.

We have loved meeting our spring import pets and owners, and we look forward to meeting those travelling with us in the summer and autumn.

You can keep up-to-date with KAR's latest work and goings-on on its website at or on Facebook.

Monday 26 June 2017

Lab Animal Day

This year, Monday 24th April was World Day for Laboratory Animals. Instituted in 1979, by the National Anti-Vivisection Society of the UK (NAVS), it has since been used to highlight the issues of unreliability of, and suffering caused by, animal research, and showing how better, more reliable alternatives are now available.

Animal testing, as we know it, is now around 150 years old. Whilst there have been many pharmaceutical products vital to human healthcare resulting from such research, many don't realise that the driving force behind such testing isn't the greater good, health, or longevity of us humans; it's profit.

The animal testing industry today focusses on advancing scientific understanding, developing solutions to medical problems, and protecting the safety of people, animals and the environment. However, such focus is only enabled through funding, and that comes, more than ever, from commercial pharmaceutical companies operating in commercial markets.

Of course, the UK and EU have legal requirements governing the use of research animals, and these encourage the use of alternative methods. Equally, researchers have good ethical, scientific and legal reasons to treat laboratory animals well and use them in minimum numbers. However, this still means that, to create a cure or treatment for a human ailment, they can inflict some of the most inhumane, cruel, and painful treatment on animals of all kinds. And, let's be honest, just as in every other aspect of life, not everyone undertaking animal research cares about the animals subjected to testing.

Courtesy NAVS
Over 50% of the 6000 primates used in European laboratories each year are used for regulatory testing. Dogs, too are used for such tests, more-so than monkeys: in the UK alone, roughly 3000 dogs and 2000 monkeys are subjected to painful experiments, each year. According to Understanding Animal Research,
"Over three quarters of animals used in research are rodents - mice and rats. Fish, amphibians, birds, rabbits and larger mammals such as pigs and sheep are also used. Cats, dogs and monkeys together make up only about two in every 1000 research animals."
We'll leave you to do the maths on how many animals are used in testing each year, but the last year for which we have records (2012), saw the UK alone use 4.11 million animals.

Because it's so widely practiced, and has been for so long, people often  believe that it's not only effective, but safe. However, the scientific community is increasingly highlighting the fact that the differences between humans and other animals, in relation to such testing, is much larger – and more problematic – than originally thought. Whilst many animal are remarkably similar under the skin, even our closest biological matches are very, very different.

You may not be aware of the type and scope of experiments undertaken on animals: we're not going to show you in this newsletter, however, we do recommend that you head to the World Day for Laboratory Animals website, and read the case studies: these really highlight the dangers of relying on animal testing … the dangers to us that is. They also reveal some of the ways that companies cover up misleading results, poor treatment, or use animals that are noted as being unsuitable for gaining certain types of results. It's pretty sobering.

It may not be pleasant, but you'll also come to understand the extent, and – let's be honest – the horrific nature of some the tests that animals are subjected to. It won't be pleasant reading, and you may even be shocked at what a company is allowed – sometimes forced by legislation – to do to animals. But we still recommend you take a look, if only because vivisection is partly still prevalent because companies believe it's what the public want.

But do they? Most of the general public have no idea of the nature of tests used in vivisection, let alone the species of animals used. Vivisection is rarely discussed openly, for a number of reasons: one of the biggest reasons, is that companies know that animal cruelty is a big turn-off for most consumers, even under the pretext of 'testing' within clinical environments. Few people can justify the torture and killing of an animal for a diaper, a pet food (yes, you read it right), or contact lenses.

You can read more about animal testing, failed tests, and some of the technology that can help eradicate animal testing at 

For the other side of the story, visit to see its take on why we should continue with animal research.

And to see how you can help minimise your contribution to animal cruelty, in all areas of research, checkout the National Anti-Vivisection Society,

Finally, head over to to see how you can directly help those developing alternatives to animal research.

Wednesday 21 June 2017

10 mins = 2 late

It's probably not escaped your notice, but there's been a bit of a heatwave here in Blighty. Yes: it's that time of year when we all want to head out to the beach, the woods, the hills … or to the kitchen, to get a cold drink from the fridge.

Not just dogs! This cockatiel was left unattended
and without cooling in a local car park (fear not:
it was fine in the end).
Of course, days out just aren't the same without our furry friends in-tow, and we all like to share our fun time with them. On REALLY hot days, however, it's best to leave your pet indoors, where it's shaded and cool … you can get tips on how best to keep your pets cool in this blog post from last year. But, if you do have to take them, never, EVER leave your pet in a car.

Many people still believe that it's fine to leave a dog, cat, or other pet, in a car on a warm day, as long as the windows are open, and the vehicle is parked in the shade. But don't be fooled: it's a highly dangerous situation for a dog, and other small animals, even in 'normal' temperatures.

Modern automotive glass acts like greenhouse glass, trapping heat, and causing a rapid rise in temperature. With an external temperature of 22ºC, inside a car it can be 47ºC within the hour. On a hot day, opening the windows simply won't make enough of a difference. Dogs pant to cool down, but the hotter and more humid it is, the less effective this becomes, and eventually, a dog simply cannot cool himself.

DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) warns that distress and suffering occurs for pets when temperatures go above 25ºC for more than a few minutes.

I'll just be 10 minutes …

Think you can wind down the window a crack, and pop into the shop for a few moments? Ten minutes is long enough for heat to cause soft tissue and brain damage in a dog … 10 minutes.

With temperatures here in Dorset recently nearing 30ºC, you probably need to think about that for a moment. In this sort of heat, even less than ten minutes in a hot car could be enough to cause permanent brain damage in your dog, and eventual death. How would that make you feel?

And it's not just cars. Caravans, campers, and mobile homes are prevalent on our roads at this time of year, and the temperature here can rise just as quickly.

Here's Sergeant Harry Tangye, from Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, with some advice for the hotter days …

He looks happy enough

Heatstroke in dogs is particularly serious, but there are early warning signs to look for. One of the first, is heavy panting, barking, whining, and excessive salivation. Some dogs bark and whine more than others, of course, but even if you don't know the dog, you'll probably spot the signs of distress, even if he or she appears 'happy' to see you.

In warmer temperatures, such symptoms may only show for a few minutes: glassy eyes, and unresponsiveness soon follow. By this time, cells have started to die, and seizures, coma, and death are likely to follow. There is no time to waste.

There's a dog in there … smash the window!

What if you do find a dog trapped in a hot car, and they are clearly distressed? Do you just smash the window? Force the door open?

Well, the first thing to be aware of, is that only a Local Authority inspector or Police Constable have legal powers to enter a premises (including a vehicle) for the purpose of assisting an animal that is, or is likely to be, suffering.

Any member of the public who breaks into a vehicle to assist an animal would be subject to an investigation for the offence of Criminal Damage. Of course, it's possible that such an action could be classed as 'reasonable,' depending on the condition of the animal. UK law states that you have a 'lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.'

But, if Fido is fine, you'd best get a lawyer!

Who ya gonna call?

Whilst the RSPCA may seem like the first organisation to contact, it may not be able to attend quickly enough to help. Plus, the RSPCA does not have powers of entry, so cannot get into a vehicle without the owner's permission … it be would committing a criminal offence.

If you're in a public carpark, such as a supermarket or store, ask the Manager to make a call on the store's tannoy, and request the owner immediately attends and removes or checks on the dog.

If the dog is already showing signs of distress, then the best thing to do is to dial 999 and report it to the local police. Calmly give as much information as you can: where you are, how long you've been aware of the pet in the car, whether the animal is responsive, showing signs of stress, etc, and the car details, along with any efforts you may have already made to contact the owner, or otherwise help.

Once you've alerted the Police, call the RSPCA. Tell them that you've called the Police, and give them the same info. Let them know what the outcome of your 999 call was – what the Police are planning to do, or when they're likely to arrive at the scene.

But it's going to be too late!

With the best will in the world, sometimes the Police just won't be able to get to you in time. If you think that it'll be too late by the time the Police arrive, and there is no other option than to smash the window, make sure to do the following, if there's time:

  • Tell the Police of your intentions
  • Take photos or a note of the car and licence plate
  • Take photos or videos of the dog
  • Take names and numbers of any witnesses

Even if you, personally, aren't directly taking action, it's worth doing the above if you find yourself in such a situation, and remember …


If you can, try to ensure that a crowd doesn't gather around the car, and that voices – and tempers – are kept low and calm. 

If the owner returns, and they become agitated, try to stay calm: being argumentative only results in more stress for everyone … including the dog. Express your concern, engage them, and be as civil as you can. The Police will be able to handle everything when they arrive.

If an animal has been removed from a vehicle, move him to a shaded area, and give him some water if you can. Soaking a chamois or t-shirt in water, and rubbing this over them can help to cool them, as can fanning them, or spraying a fine water mist over their coat. DO NOT GIVE ICE CUBES IN THIS SITUATION; this can cool them too quickly, leading to complications. 

This (ever so slightly) tongue-in-cheek video from PETA offers some sound advice …

Why are people allowed to do this?!

They're not. Yes, it's true that there is no law that prohibits someone leaving a dog in a car, but there is a law against animal cruelty. In the UK, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, if an animal becomes ill or dies from being left in a hot car, the person responsible could face six months in custody, and a fine of up to £20,000.

And if you're wondering what it would feel like to be stuck in a hot car on a hot day … why don't you try it? Park-up, and leave the car with the windows open a crack, and see how long you last. Don't forget, you can sweat to cool down – your dog can't, so he'll be feeling it 10 times worse than you. Just look how NFL Arizona Cardinals' player Tyrann Mathieu got on, when he tried to sit-out the heat for PETA … 

We hope you never need the above advice, but, should you come across an animal in distress in a vehicle, you know what to.

DON'T do anything rash.
DO keep calm.
Call the Police.

You can keep up with Sgt Tangye on Twitter – @DC_ARVSgt – or on his blog at

 You can head over to the PETA UK website