Cool June slides into hot July – June’s round-up on the blog

Apparently we’re in line for a heatwave in the UK and I, for one, am all for it. There’s a small chap sitting at my feet as I write, however, who isn’t so keen.

We'll be going boating again this month

We’ll be going boating again this month

Bruce’s black fur heats up like a furnace in the sun and overheating means he can’t charge about for as long as he would like. He will be on a constant look out for little patches of shade into which he’ll disappear, so that only his lolling tongue is visible to the human eye. But, before we heat up for summer, let’s recap June on the blog.

Last week the lovely people at the Kennel Club dropped us a line to let us know about their Dog Photographer of the Year competition, which looks like great fun. We’ll be preparing our entries next month – paws crossed!

In Crazy Dog Lady, I wondered if dogs ever hold grudges and lamented the amount of poop lining our parks and pavements. We also looked at the relationship between dogs and cats and how all cats must be called Dave in our house to keep Bruce sweet.

Bruce's becobowl is currently out of action

Bruce’s becobowl is currently out of action

I also checked out five of the best dog bowls and purchased a beco bowl for Bru, which I then promptly left at our best friends’ house. At the moment Bruce is eating from a dinner plate! On the subject of eating, I also discovered that brushing dogs’ teeth is even more important than I realised and have begun a regime of tooth polishing with the little guy that he stoically accepts. Finally, at the very start of the month we visited a fabulous dog-friendly hotel in Norfolk, which we couldn’t help but recommend to you.

This month I’ll have more Crazy Dog Lady nonsense plus another pic of the shoot and all manner of dog-related loveliness to share, including a dog-friendly boating trip on the River Thames. Enjoy the sun!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Could you be Dog Photographer of the Year 2013?

If you are handy with a camera and your favourite subject is your four-legged friend, you might like to check out the Kennel Club’s competition, Dog Photographer of the Year 2013.

 

The competition is free to enter and supports the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which relies on donations and looks after the health and welfare of all dogs, funding research into canine diseases, dog welfare organisations and the promotion of support dogs.

Get down to eye level to really capture your dog's expression

Get down to eye level to really capture your dog’s expression
Photograph by The Mighty Pooch Dog Photographers

There are six categories to enter in the competition: Dogs at Work, Dogs at Play, Dog Portrait, Man’s Best Friend, Puppies and I Love Dogs Because… (under 16’s only). Head over to their Facebook page to find out more – and don’t forget to click ‘Like’ to support it!

You can also find out more at the website www.dogimages.org.uk

You have to enter by 31 August and the winning images, as well as runners up, will be displayed at Discover Dogs 2013 and Crufts 2014, which is pretty cool. The category winners receive trophies to display on their mantelpiece and runners up will be awarded rosettes and certificates.

Last year’s Dog Photographer of the Year winner, Catherine Laurenson, said, “Photographing animals is my passion and I’m absolutely delighted to have won this award – it is so exciting! The photograph is of Max, our working Collie, at home on our farm in Shetland, although he is more of a part-timer these days!”

Heidi Hudson, Kennel Club’s picture librarian, added, “I’ve seen some of our past winners who are also professional dog photographers get a massive jump start in promoting their work through the exposure from DPOTY at Discover Dogs and Crufts.

“There are so many inspiring stories that come with the entries for DPOTY. What’s also great is that, by entering, you are helping to make a difference for dogs.”

Photograph by The Mighty Pooch Dog Photographers

Photograph by The Mighty Pooch Dog Photographers

The Mighty Pooch’s top 5 tips for photographing your dog

1. Get down to eye level with your dog. This provides a much stronger angle and enables you to really capture their expression beautifully.

2. Position yourself so that your dog’s face is turned towards the light source. You want to be able to see light in their eyes (especially with dark dogs), which ensures their faces come alive.

3. Try attracting your dog’s attention with a squeaky toy or a whistle. If you want to capture that delightful ‘cocked-head’ expression, a silly noise works wonders.

4. Don’t bring the treats out too early – some dogs become treat- and pocket-obsessed and, once the biscuits are out, their gaze won’t falter from the grub, making it tricky for you to get eye contact with the camera.

5. Always be really patient and ensure you let your dog have a rest and a sniff between shots, so they don’t get agitated and bored.

Check out www.facebook.com/DogPhotographeroftheYear and www.dogimages.org.uk – and good luck!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Do dogs ever fall out with humans?

I’d like to propose a serious question here, people: is it conceivable that dogs could fall out with humans and then hold a bit of a grudge?

 

OK, I know I’m at risk of making myself seem even more crazy than the title ‘Crazy Dog Lady’ suggests, but I think the answer to my above question is a great big “Yes”. Because I believe I’ve seen it happen.

Are you talking to me?!

Are you talking to me?!

Let’s start this story with a bit of character information about my Gran, who crops up on the blog from time to time as pet parent to Bruce’s Great Uncle Sam. Now, my Gran is a woman with opinions and she’s not afraid to unleash them. It’s fair to say that, if you were so inclined, you could participate in a healthy debate with my grandmother on a weekly – even daily – basis.

And so Bruce’s grudge began. There we were, relaxing in armchairs after a lovely meal, when Gran voiced her opinions on a subject and I vehemently disagreed. And lo, quite a furious debate ensued (more heated than any debate before or since between us), which culminated in some exasperation on both sides. Bruce, sitting at my feet, followed the action like an umpire at Wimbledon.

We cooled off and made friends, Gran and I. We agreed to disagree. But it seems that Bruce did not. Immediately, his body language changed towards my Gran. When she reached to stroke him, he dashed away. When she tried to offer him a treat, he wouldn’t take it. He would have nothing to do with her whatsoever.

It took two weeks before Bruce would speak to Gran again and we concluded it must have been the debate that sparked the cold shoulder treatment. When Bruce finally decided to forgive Gran, we were mightily relieved – and I’m pleased to say he and she are still firm friends.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Let me know …

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

The image in this article is taken on an iPhone and is not representative of our professional work 🙂

Karma, poo and plastic bags

There are around eight million dogs in the UK, probably producing three or four poos each per day. Imagine that piled up into a heap – it would take a pretty daring explorer to scale that particular mountain.

 

Got my poo bags at the ready!

Got my poo bags at the ready!

Dogs Trust says that, for the first time in 10 years, the amount of poop not being scooped on the streets of Britain has increased. They’ve launched a new campaign – along with Keep Britain Tidy – called the Big Scoop, which is aiming to persuade more people to pick up after their dog. TV presenter Ben Fogle, who is involved in the campaign, is unhappy about the amount of poop in his local park and often clears up after other dogs: “I pick up one extra poo each time I pick up after my dog but authorities … need to do more to enforce it.” Collecting more than one deposit is a good idea. But why should it have to be the case? And, let’s be honest, there’s nothing worse than picking up a cold poo that belongs to someone else’s dog. Eww.

One morning on holiday last month, Bruce leapt off the boat and trotted up the bank to deposit in full view of a family on a sailing boat that was also moored up. I lost sight of his movements as I went to get a bag to collect it. I had to get Bruce to show me where the poo was, which greatly impressed the lady on the sailing boat who was watching. All I did really was call Bruce over to the general location I thought the poo was and, because I can’t help chatting to him, said, “Show me where it is then.” Of course, as dogs do, he came over and, as expected, went to sniff his poo, thereby indicating to me where to get scooping. I scooped while the lady on the sailing boat said what a clever dog I have, believing that Bruce had clearly understood my question before pointing out very helpfully where he’d been to the toilet. Did I dispute that? Er, no. Course not! 🙂

She also said what a good dog owner I was for picking up the poo. I was surprised – isn’t that what’s expected of all we dog owners? People shouldn’t have to praise us for it. I explained that I believe in karma – if I don’t pick up Bruce’s poo, guaranteed I will tread in someone else’s poo before the week is out. And, in summer when the open-toed sandals come out, that is a particularly terrible prospect.

It’s simple really. If we always picked up our own dog’s poo, there’d be no poo for us to tread in. We’d never arrive at a friend’s house harbouring a decidedly offensive odour on the bottom of our shoes and we wouldn’t have to spend the majority of our walks looking at the floor to avoid the stuff. Let’s hope the campaign works.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

The image in this article is taken on an iPhone and is not representative of our professional work 🙂

All cats must be called Dave

Contrary to the popular belief that cats and dogs will fight like, well, like cats and dogs really, Bruce has decided that he rather likes cats. But only if they’re called Dave …

 

Last year, a gorgeous ginger tom cat came to live at the mill. Unlike other cats I have observed (I’ve never really known a cat, so forgive my ignorance cat lovers!), this one seemed to be really interested in everything we did. He would wander over when he spotted us getting out of the car or struggling with our shopping and rub his little body across our shins with a contented purr. He even leapt on several occasions into our car boot. In fact, he was once on his merry way to Tesco HQ in the back of a van until a neighbour flagged it down and pointed out that he was lurking between the empty boxes in the back.

Bruce

Bruce

Despite his beauty, this cat suffered the rather unglamorous moniker of Dave. I apologise to all Daves out there but, for such an extraordinarily beautiful creature, his name was really rather ordinary. Perhaps it kept him grounded. Perhaps that’s why he gave us the time of day. With a glitzy Hollywood name like Brando or Orlando, he might have felt the need to turn his delicate little nose up and flounce off without so much as a by your leave.

It wasn’t just me and Michael who took to Dave. Bruce took rather a shine to the splendid little chap too. Usually, the merest whiff of a feline presence within a 100-yard radius would set Bruce’s spine tingling, his nose twitching and his vocal chords going, whereas the sight of Dave simply seemed to pacify him. As Dave swaggered over, Bruce would sit down calmly and watch benignly. Dave would come within touching distance and Bruce wouldn’t say a word. Not so with the cats who dare to strut across my mum’s lawn – they receive the full vocal force of Bruce’s displeasure.

Sadly, Dave has since moved with his family to Wales. However, he has left his mark. These days, we refer to all cats as ‘Dave’ when Bruce is around. Bruce can be barking at full throttle at some unwitting moggy in the garden yet, at the sound of Dave’s name, he is instantly calmer and the hairs disappear from the back of his neck. The party line is, “It’s OK Bruce, it’s just Dave,” and it seems to do the trick.

We appear to have recently acquired a Dave replacement at the mill. A youngster called Alfie, who is rather adorable and inquisitive. Bruce and Alfie seem to have reached an understanding and Bruce has even got as far as sniffing Alfie’s bottom. Alfie gave him a few seconds of sniffing time before gently boxing his ears. Whether this will make cat encounters more complicated I cannot say. We’re deliberating whether we should introduce Alfie’s name into the mix or just call him Dave too, which seems a little unfair on Alfie. Oh the politics. One thing’s for sure, if we ever adopt a cat, we’ll have to find one called Dave!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Five of the best dog bowls

The other day Bruce’s dog bowl decided to leap from my fingers and shatter itself on the kitchen floor. The cheek of it. Aside from the irritating clean-up job that ensued, I was secretly pleased. It gave me the green light to buy a new one and, whatever I set out to buy, I like shopping!

 

Here are my top five dog bowls, starting with the becobowl, which now graces our kitchen floor as Bruce’s replacement.

The becobowl

The becobowl

1. The becobowl is an eco-friendly pet bowl made from waste plant fibres, meaning it’s fully biodegradable when you’ve finished with it. You can shove it in the dishwasher and, joy of joys, if you drop it on the floor it won’t shatter. It also comes in a few nice colours – we chose green – and is pretty cheap, starting at £3.99.

2. The Road Refresher is a water bowl that won’t spill, making it ideal for journeys. It also keeps long ears and beards out of the water and claims to reduce slobber by 90%. From £9.99

Chow Bella's bespoke bowls

Chow Bella’s bespoke bowls

3. If your dog is a fast eater, you could try the Pets At Home anti-gulp bowl to slow their eating habits right down. The indentations inside the bowl stop dogs from wolfing their grub at the speed of sound. £5.50

4. If you want a bespoke bowl to show just how special your pooch is, check out Chow Bella. Each bowl is individually made on a potter’s wheel to your specifications and can include words, symbols and even crystals. Swanky. From £15.99

5. For the design-conscious owners, PetsPyjamas offers this cool white gloss raised feeding station, great for larger dogs to aid digestion. £44.95

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Brush your dog’s teeth to help them live longer

Recently I met a lady whose Jack Russell terrier had just died. Wonderfully, however, the JRT in question had lived to the ripe old age of 19. We got talking and I discovered that this lady had also enjoyed the company of a border collie for an almost record-breaking 23 years. It got me thinking. What can I do to ensure Bruce lives as long a life as possible?

Brushing Bruce's teeth daily could mean we have plenty more wonderful pooch moments to come

Brushing Bruce’s teeth daily could mean we have plenty more wonderful pooch moments to come

I asked this lady what her secret was. She attributed her collie’s long life to a daily routine, no stress (he should have been a working collie but apparently he was hopeless at it, so was more of a pet) and the same food every day for 23 years.

However, perhaps surprisingly, oral health appears to play a huge part in increasing the life span of your dog. Because mouths are wet and warm, they present the ideal breeding ground for all sorts of unpleasant bacteria. When a dog reaches three years of age, he or she has more chance of developing gum disease. If plaque and tartar build up, toxins can seep into the body and cause problems for the kidneys, liver, heart and other organs. In fact, some vets think that good oral hygiene alone can add four years to a dog’s life span! Four years!

We are fairly regular brushers of Bruce’s teeth and he puts up with the experience stoically. However, we don’t brush daily or even every other day. It seems we should. There is a rather good article here that I recommend you take a look at. The closing paragraph quotes a vet called Dr Bellows who states: “When a client asks me how long their puppy will live, I usually respond 15-17 years if you brush their teeth daily … 11-13 years if you don’t.”

Now that has shocked me. Three minutes a day could add years to my little chap’s life. I apologise now, Bruce, but I’m getting the brush out. It’s time for your deep clean!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

The image in this article was taken on an iPhone and is not representative of our professional work 🙂

We’ve found a fab dog-friendly hotel in Norfolk

Last week we headed out on our summer holiday to the gorgeous county of Norfolk, with seven days’ boating in the diary and a three-night stay at a dog-friendly hotel called the Beechwood in North Walsham. Well, what a find that was.

We had booked a three-night stay in a four-poster room, which included dinner and breakfast, and Sunday night in the room was free as long as we ate in the restaurant. Our room was lovely, with a huge four poster and a fantastic bathroom with Molton Brown toiletries to pour into the elegant slipper bath. And, of course, Bruce – who is really in charge of our holiday plans! – was welcome.

Delicious scallops at the Beechwood Hotel

Delicious scallops at the Beechwood Hotel

Upon arrival, we were treated to a delicious cream tea in the bar area (all in with the room price), where Bruce sat at our feet and watched the guests go by. It became apparent pretty early on that every other guest was a repeat customer – and proud of it. It was extraordinary.

Bruce was allowed in the bar but not the restaurant, which was fine as they were happy for us to leave him in our lovely room and didn’t perform a turn-down service unless you requested it. This was ideal for us, as we didn’t have to leave Bruce in the car and he’s very happy in his bed if he can see our stuff strewn around the room. He knows we’re coming back and will snooze away contentedly.

Bruce and Michael on a beautiful North Norfolk beach

Bruce and Michael on a beautiful North Norfolk beach

Dinner was excellent. They brought us olives and little bites first in the bar, followed by canapés, all while we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink. Then we moved to the elegant, candle-lit restaurant where we feasted on four courses, followed by tea or coffee and chocolates back in the bar. The food was superb, with different choices each night. I especially enjoyed the local delicacy, Cromer crab. In the bar after the meal, Lindsay (one of the owners) came round with treats for the dogs, which was a lovely touch.

I've got a bit of sand where?!

I’ve got a bit of sand where?!

Breakfast was another taste-bud delight and we were so full afterwards that we didn’t need lunch. All in all, we had a wonderful stay and the free-range eggs Lindsay gave us for our week on the boat, which he’d collected from his own hens in his garden, topped off a great stay. The attention to detail was superb, all the staff were friendly and helpful (and all seemed to know Bruce’s name!), and it’s safe to say that we’ll be joining everyone else in returning. Visit the website: http://www.beechwood-hotel.co.uk/index.htm

Norfolk itself is a wonderful county to visit, from the idyllic Broads to the beautiful beaches where you can spot seals, and from the lovely little villages to the National Trust and English Heritage places waiting to be discovered. We highly recommend it.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

The images in this article are taken on an iPhone and are not representative of our professional work 🙂

Rounding up a mad May on The Mighty Pooch blog

We’ve had a lovely month, despite the disappointing weather. We headed off on our dog-friendly summer holiday on the Norfolk Broads which was gorgeous – it’s great to be able to take Bruce away with us. He makes a holiday all the more fun.

 

Betsy from Dog Friendly UK. Photograph copyright of Dog Friendly UK

Betsy from Dog Friendly UK. Photograph copyright of Dog Friendly UK

Staying with the holiday theme, we interviewed lovely Zoe at Dog Friendly UK, who’s cute Chihuahua Betsy has become something of a hotel and restaurant inspector.

Dogs Trust featured quite a bit this month too. We interviewed education officer Laura-Jane who, along with adorable pooch Oscar, visits schools to educate kids on responsible dog ownership. We also met the Leeds Dogs Trust sponsor dogs Jake and Millie, who we’re proud to sponsor and delighted to photograph. We also discovered how rescue dogs can become more optimistic and the vital role rescue centres play in facilitating their happiness.

Jake (left) and Millie, Leeds Dogs Trust sponsor dogs. Photograph by The Mighty Pooch

Jake (left) and Millie, Leeds Dogs Trust sponsor dogs.
Photograph by The Mighty Pooch

In other news, we found out that dogs get high when they run, they can help cure back pain and that owners of Labradors and Golden Retrievers can help scientists to combat canine obesity.

In sillier posts, I recounted the story of Bruce’s dip in the canal and the night Sam stole Bruce’s bed, before spending a week in dog bed heaven with some of the coolest beds on the market.

In pic of the shoot we met Milo the Jack Russell, who brought us to our knees quite literally, before discovering that some dogs could be getting their own computers in the future. Then I got quite silly again and imagined what an email from Bruce to his Grandma would read like. I know, I know.

Milo the Jack Russell terrier. Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch

Milo the Jack Russell terrier.
Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch

This month, we’ll be filling our dog blog with more crazy dog lady antics, picking out some more cool canine kit and bringing you the latest interesting stories from the dog world. And of course we’ll be doing a lot more of what we do best: being dog photographers. Happy June folks!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch is a specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Bruce the dog sends an email to his Grandma

Following Wednesday’s article about dogs sending emails on their own computers, I couldn’t help wondering what an email from Bruce to his Grandma Shirley might read like.

Dear Grandma Shirley,

I write to discuss with you a matter of utmost importance.

It has been some time now – certainly a couple of hours – since you and I trotted around the marina and went to visit the ducks. In that time, I have chewed the end of a cigar bone, leapt onto Michael’s lap to quality control the latest batch of dog photographs, and sat on Grandpa Tezza’s knee waiting to shout at the postman. I have even performed the crumb dance, switching from foot to foot with mouth open under Uncle Ben’s feet, waiting for a morsel of sandwich to drop between my jaws.

I'm not just a pretty face, you know!

I’m not just a pretty face, you know!

After using my super food-magnetising powers to attract a good quarter of Uncle Ben’s sandwich from the kitchen top to the floor at my feet, I cleaned between my paws thoroughly on the unauthorised rug. That is, until I was spotted and told to go and wash on my authorised rug. I fail to understand why I’m allowed on one rug and not another. What’s the problem, people?

After going on sniff patrol around the kitchen bin to check Uncle Ben hadn’t missed it when chucking his crumbs, I had a fairly lengthy conversation with the two terriers across the road. Well, I say conversation. Really I told them they had no business shrieking at the top of their voices in my neighbourhood. I shall have to cancel out any of their smells with a cock of my own leg when I next go out. I can’t have those two thinking they rule the street.

Then I sat at the back door on Dave (i.e., cat) patrol. Why is it that, when I spend ages fixing my eye on the very hole in the hedge that the Dave usually creeps into the garden through, it never appears. Yet the second I turn my back, that infernal meowing begins again in earnest. I’m sure next door’s Dave is trying to wind me up on purpose. Well, next time you see it Grandma, you might tell the infernal creature that its tactics are working.

Earlier, someone mentioned Granny Cath, so I sat at the window for a terribly long time waiting for her car to pull up, expecting her to appear at any moment with the promise of a trip to the park. But, alas, this did not happen.

I am now bored, having exhausted all other pursuits. Please pick up cousin James – I haven’t seen him for so long – and come round as quickly as your two legs can manage. And bring a ball. Please.

You will find me in a patch of sunshine halfway up the stairs. It gives me a perfect view of the front door, so I’ll know when you get here.

Yours in licks and woofs,

Your grandog, Bruce X

Words: Bruce Thompson (sort of)

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch is a specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots. The photograph attached to this article was taken on an iPhone and is not indicative of our professional work.

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