Thursday 28 June 2018

Lily & Laura Update

It's been a few months since we last heard what author Laura Hamilton and her Golden Retriever, Lily, have been up to with regard to promoting Lily: one in a million ... a miracle of survival. That doesn't mean that things have gone quiet though: oh no!

Laura has been working extremely hard to get Lily's story out to the world, and her efforts have certainly paid off! So, in today's blog, we bring you up to speed on all that this dynamic duo have been up to.

Stop Press!

Lily has appeared in a number of print articles since the book's initial release back in March. First off, she featured in the April issue of Hampshire WI News. Lily also featured in the Southern Daily Echo on April 20. More recently, Lily appeared on the front page of the Portsmouth News on June 13, with a splendid article that makes up most of page five!

Portsmouth News, June 13

This last article proved a major turning point in Laura's efforts, as within a couple of hours of the paper appearing on newsstands, Solent News and Photo agency was on the phone, requesting a telephone interview there and then! It also led to a lengthy photo shoot at Laura's home, all whilst Lily was eating her lunch. Fingers crossed this may lead to more national coverage for Lily's inspiring story.

Lily and Lauren – with an added piggy!
School visit sparks inspiration

As Pets As Therapy (PAT) dogs, Lily and her mother, Pilot, are regulars at local junior and infant schools. One such visit inspired a student so much, that she decided to write a short story to enter in a national competition!

Seven-year-old Lauren wrote a 500-word short story from Lily's point of view called A Canadian Saved my Life, which was then entered in the National Young Writer's Awards, judged this year by David Walliams. Lauren received plenty of positive feedback on her work, with it being described as original, having a sophisticated style, and great character development. She was awarded one of the highest marks, and was even shortlisted for the regional final. A huge well done to Lauren!

Book signings galore!

Fareham Library poster
Lily and Laura have had a whole host of book signings over the past few months, with Lily's custom left-pawed stamp at hand, starting with Locks Heath Community Centre on April 25. Next was a talk at the Litchfield Abbey Women's Institute on June 12, which was such a success that Laura got so involved with the talking side that there wasn't enough time for a lot of signing! A week later saw Lily and Laura at Fareham Library. Attendance was good, with one lady waiting for three hours in order to meet the stars! The librarian who co-ordinated the event then got in touch with other libraries, to see if any would be interested in holding a similar event: watch this space!

The Portsmouth News article was published in-between the last two book signings, and it certainly helped spread the word, and elicit interest for other events! Waterstones in Fareham, which is close to the library, was motivated by the article to consider stocking Lily's book, to follow on from the book talk Laura gave. Branches of WH Smith in Fareham and Whiteley are also interested in holding their own book signing with Lily and Laura, which is great news!

Laura spotted on June 27 that Waterstones, Fareham, has stock of Lily: one in a million, displayed on a table for all to see. She even signed a few copies, so if you want an exclusive signed edition, you'd better be quick! Laura described seeing her book on sale in a major bookshop is "a great experience that I had always hoped to have."

Lily in Waterstones

A Royal connection

Laura is keen to do her bit to publicise her book, and she has her hopes set high, as she plans to send a copy of Lily: one in a million to the newest member of the Royal Family. It's well known that the Duchess of Sussex has a love of dogs, but Laura has a fair few other things in common with Meghan, prompting her to share Lily's story with her:

  • Toronto is a big part of Laura's life, having been where she was born and raised. It's also where the new Duchess lived whilst filming her last acting job, Suits
  • As did the new Duchess, Laura left the United States to marry a British man, and has happily embraced this country as her own
  • The Duchess' father worked as a lighting director on American soap General Hospital, and Laura's uncle worked as a sound technician on the very same show! Laura used to spend a great deal of time on the set with her uncle; it's a small world! 

Fingers crossed that the newly-wed Duchess has a chance to read Lily's story in amongst her busy schedule as a Royal; we're sure that she will love this miracle of survival story!

Visits and musings

Laura has been pro-active from the get-go about getting Lily's story out to the world, and to her, there is no such thing as aiming too high! In her own words, she says she "won't stop until Lily is on The One Show!"

In amongst all the amazing feedback Laura has been receiving, many people have told her that they can 'hear' her voice as they are reading the book, with several asking if she has considered doing an audiobook version! It's something that has crossed Laura's mind before, and here at Hubble & Hattie, we "never say never!", so watch this space ...

May 5 was a very special day in the Hamilton household, as Lily celebrated her 4th birthday!

Happy birthday, Lily!

On June 21, whilst taking part in her weekly PAT Read2Dogs programme at Sarisbury C of E Junior School, Lily met – and had her picture taken with – local councillor Sean Woodward. They spent an hour together, whilst reading with the children, and Laura gave Sean a copy of her book. Much to Laura's delight, Sean revealed that his family has a German Shepherd; Laura's first miracle dog, Ty, was a German Shepherd, and he is mentioned in the book's preface.

Say cheese! Lily with Sean Woodward

The dynamic duo, along with Pilot, were back at Sarisbury School for their annual summer fete on June 23, where both dogs had an intergalactic encounter! Check out this great picture of the pair with a couple of Stormtroopers! Hopefully, these were the dogs they were looking for, as who wouldn't want to meet this adorable pair!

The force is strong!

Phew! That is quite a list! Be sure to keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and in Animal Magic, as no doubt there will be plenty more to come from Lily and Laura!

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Man's Best Friend – and Co-worker!

It's that time of year again – Bring Your Dog To Work Day! Of course, we encourage this year-round in our office, and there are a number of great reasons why other workplaces should follow suit ... 

It's been well researched that there are many great benefits to having a dog in your life. has an excellent piece on the many ways in which having a dog can be beneficial for your mental health. With a plethora of information, this blog covers a large spectrum, covering people of all ages, and an array of mental health issues. 

As Hubble & Hattie is an official sponsor for this year's Bring Your Dog To Work Day, it's only fitting that we share with you the benefits of having canine colleagues in your office!

They can keep you on your feet
Office jobs can leave you desk-bound for the majority of your day, which can have a detrimental effect on your health. Having your dog join you at work will help encourage you to get up and move around, even if it is only to take them outside to do their business. 

The best way to de-stress 
Finding those spreadsheets a nightmare to deal with? Petting or stroking a dog is one of the ultimate ways to unwind from the stress of office life, as it helps to release the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Dogs have a calming effect on those around them, so even if he's not your own, having a pup in the office can help just as much!

Dogs increase job satisfaction
There are a number of ways in which having dogs in the workplace can be beneficial not only to you, but your employer and your dog as well! If a company allows staff to bring their dog into work, they are more likely to stay in that role for longer. It's also an effective incentive to attract a younger workforce. Canine co-workers can also help boost morale and productivity, as well as improve work relationships. Your commute to work will be of benefit to your pooch, as it will help them develop their confidence in public, whilst social interaction in your workplace will exercise them mentally. 

We're not sure how many pooches will be roaming the offices of H&H HQ this Friday, but Jude will be providing doggie day-care for Bonnie and we hope that Kevin's trusty companion, Indie, will be with us.

L-R: Bonnie and Indie

Some great pics from previous Bring Your Dog To Work Days!

L-R: Jeff & Solace, Paul & Olive, Lizzie & Frodo

As an official sponsor for this awesome event, we've donated to the mega prize draw! For a chance to win over £900 worth of goodies, including £50 worth of Hubble & Hattie books of your choice, all you have to do is upload your best pooch selfie to the Dog with a Job Hall of Fame on #BringYourDogToWorkDay! For more information, visit the official website. All proceeds from the day will be donated to All Dogs Matter

From all of us here at Hubble & Hattie HQ, we hope you enjoy Bring Your Dog To Work Day, and we'd love to see your pictures on our Facebook or Twitter pages, with the hashtag #BringYourDogToWorkDay

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Canine Aggression – Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindness and compassion

Our second release of the year is proving a popular one.

Canine Aggression is the inspirational story of Calgacus, a dog-to-dog aggressive Bull Mastiff, and first-time dog owner Tracey McLennan. Learning how to understand Calgacus and encouraging him to direct his own learning alongside clicker training, TTouch, trick training, and lots of fun, allowed him to conquer his issues, and find joy in playing with other dogs. 

Described as "a vital resource for dog owners with problematic dogs" (Pet Owners Association), it's easy to see why this book has been eagerly anticipated, and a popular seller already!

If you're local to the Linlithgow area, and were one of the lucky few who managed to grab a ticket for this now sold-out event, Friday the 15th of June sees a fundraiser for Paws for Progress, in which Tracey and a number of top dog experts will be in attendance, talking about all-things training. The event is also acting as a book launch for Canine Aggression, with copies available to purchase on the night – you can even get them signed! All proceeds from this event will be donated to Paws for Progress, to help the company continue its wonderful work. 

In amongst planning events – as more are in the works due to the popularity of the first – Tracey has also been working on her own online dog training business, geared towards those who have read the book and wish to learn more; it's called Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd.

Having all of the required qualifications – a BSc (Hons) in Canine Behaviour and Training, an MA (Hons) in Philosophy, a qualified Telling TTouch practitioner as well as a member of the UK TTouch Guild of Practitioners – combined with the glowing reviews that Canine Aggression has been receiving, it's no wonder that Tracey's next venture was to start her own dog training business. You can read a snippet of what Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd is all about, direct from Tracey's website, below: 

"I first experienced how powerfully online communities can help when I found myself caring for a Bull Mastiff who was aggressive towards other dogs. I had no idea what to do to help him and was struggling to find in-person help with him. I found help and support on internet forums and this was so powerful that it helped me to find ways that helped my dog. Not only that – many of the people I met that way continue to be valued friends over a decade later. 
"I have a passion for problem solving and have been lucky enough to share my life with dogs who prove to have challenges in one way or another. I have worked to help my dogs through issues such as dog-to-dog aggression, resource-guarding between dogs, high prey drive and separation anxiety." 
Best Dog Learning & Stuff Ltd is still under development, however be sure to keep an eye out on the Canine Aggression Facebook page for more updates!

Canine Aggression – Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindness and compassion is available on our website now, and be sure you have subscribed to our newsletter Animal Magic for more updates on Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd.

Friday 1 June 2018

French Bulldogs

With their friendly personalities, and small but adorable stature, it's easy to see why French Bulldogs are on course to become the most popular dog breed by the end of the year – overtaking the UK's current favourite, the loveable Labrador Retriever. But there's more to these pups, and important aspects that you need to be aware of before deciding whether or not to give one a home. 

Due to their genetic makeup, French Bulldogs are prone to a number of health problems, with most linked to how they are bred. Their squashed-up noses may look cute, but this is technically a genetic deformity, and contributes to breathing problems, slobbering, and flatulence – as short-faced breeds gulp air when they eat. Their respiratory problems can be more evident during hot weather, and they tend to overheat quickly, possibly resulting in heatstroke, During cold weather, there respiratory problems can cause dehydration of the nasal passages.

Due to their dwarf legs and long back, roughly one in three French Bulldogs suffer from malformed hip or knee joints, leading to early arthritis, or a malformed vertebrae, which can cause pain or even paralysis.

A study by the Royal Veterinary College, London, highlights ear infections, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, and skin problems as the most common issues presenting in Frenchies. Furthermore, it appears that males tend to be less healthy than females.

"While it's a lovely breed, it is very unwise to buy one simply because of a cute appearance or its fashionable appeal. Anyone doing so could inadvertently be contributing to an impending welfare crisis," says Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary

Frenchies are incredibly easy going and make for affectionate companions. They love to play games and are fairly quiet but may be stubborn, and will require consistent training for the first few months.

So, before you go looking for the perfect French Bulldog, make sure you are fully clued up on all of the possible health problems that he or she may suffer from. And remember: adopt, don't shop!