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Tag: scotland

Sweet idea: Turning a dresser into a dog bed

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This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode in which Kramer turned a large dresser into lodgings for visiting Japanese tourists.

But I doubt that was the inspiration for “Sheltie Shacks” — the personalized dog beds that Kaylee Robertson, an emergency medical technician from Shetland, Scotland, makes out of old dressers.

kayleeRobertson, who lives on a small island off the coast of Scotland with seven dogs, makes no money from the past-time, paying for materials herself and contributing all profits to animal charities.

She said she likes to “provide pets with their own little safe haven that they can sleep happy in.”

“Let’s be honest, your typical dog bed is pretty ugly!” Robertson, 27, told ABC News in an email. “They’re normally these limp, dull, lifeless, smelly things that just lie in the corner. My hope is that by providing a bed which is also a piece of furniture, the dog is introduced more into the living area.”

Unlike Kramer’s tourist lodgings, I think this one has a future:

Robertson said she makes only about 30 a year because she doesn’t want to “shove something shoddy together.” She ships anywhere in the world.

Each one is custom-made and personalized, using information provided by the owner. She contacts the buyers to find what they’d like — from the paint color and wallpaper inside to the kind of knobs.

dresserbed3Every bed is completely deconstructed, sanded down and re-backed, then give several coats of paint in a design of the customer’s choosing.

“This should be something that lasts, and more importantly, a piece that people are happy to display as the centerpiece of the room,” she said.

Working on the projects allow her to clear her head after “some pretty horrific days” as an emergency medical technician. And that, she adds, is more important than money.

“Yeah sure, I’m not driving around in a Ferrari and I don’t have my own private jet, but we’re OK,” she said. “We have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge and a comfortable bed to lie in, and that does us fine!”

Don’t expect her to jump on your order right away. Recent publicity has nearly smothered her with requests.

“A couple of weeks ago I made a particularly nice bed, it even had top drawers in it, so I put a video of it on Facebook.” It quickly garnered more than 2 million views and led to hundreds of emails.

In the face of all that, Robertson might be tempted to cash in, but I doubt it.

“My gain is in the thought that when I press that “donate” button on our charities’ websites, that some wee soul will be given the lifesaving treatment they need to get better. No amount of money in my back pocket can beat that feeling.”

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(Photos: From the Sheltie Shacks Facebook page)

Study finds dogs prefer reggae

A new study by the Scotland SPCA and the University of Glasgow reveals that dogs have a preference for reggae music.

The study concluded that, while each dog has its own musical preferences, reggae and soft rock were the two most favored genres of the five that shelter dogs were exposed to during the tests.

“Overall, the response to different genres was mixed highlighting the possibility that like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences,” said Neil Evans, professor of integrative physiology at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine.

“That being said, reggae music and soft rock showed the highest positive changes in behavior,” he added.

Five types of music were played for the shelter dogs used in the experiment — Motown, pop, classical, soft rock and reggae, according to the BBC.

The dogs’ heart rates showed a decrease in stress levels while listening to soft rock and reggae, and researchers suspect that could have something to do with the tempo and repetitive themes of those genres.

The experiments were conducted at a rehoming center in Dumbarton, and based on its findings the Scottish SPCA says it plans to invest in sounds systems for all its kennels.

“At present both our Glasgow and Edinburgh centers are able to pipe music into their kennels,” said Gilly Mendes Ferreira, education and research manager. In the future every center will be able to offer our four-footed friends a canine-approved playlist, with the view to extending this research to other species in our care.”

Scotland’s animal welfare charity released research in 2015 that showed classical music led dogs to become more relaxed, but that those effects were only short term.

Both that study and the new one were published in the journal Physiology and Behaviour.

(The video above, showing a dog howling along with a Bob Marely song, is unconnected to the study and not presented here as either anecdotal or scientific proof of absolutely anything)

Dog drives tractor onto highway in Scotland

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A dog named Don “took control” of a farmer’s tractor yesterday and drove it across a field, through a fence and onto a busy highway in Scotland, tying up rush hour traffic.

Don and his owner, Tom Hamilton, were in the tractor together when Hamilton hopped off to tend to a lamb, leaving the tractor running, and neglecting to engage the emergency brake.

The border collie leaned on the controls, causing the tractor cross a field and end up on the M74 in South Lanarkshire before crashing.

Traffic Scotland reported in a Tweet that the traffic tie up was “due to a dog taking control of tractor … nope, not joking. Farmer and police at scene …”

When the traffic cleared, the agency reported, “Route is clear from earlier incident and dog is fine. Has to be the weirdest thing we have ever reported! No delays in area.”

Hamilton, who is 77 and has run the sheep farm for 52 years,  told ITV: “I was out in the mini-tractor and had stepped out of it to get a lamb, which looked like it was about to get out of the gate. I had not put the brake on the tractor and when I turned round I got a fright as the vehicle was careering down the hill, through a gate and on to the M74.”

(Photo: Twitter)

A new wrinkle in case of Scottish shar-pei

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Whether it’s his worried and wrinkly-faced appearance or his sad situation, a shar-pei mix found abandoned at a train station in Scotland, a suitcase at his side, is garnering support, donations and love from around the world — even as his story still unravels.

Now, according to the latest reports, it seems the dog was the subject of an online transaction gone bad.

A woman has stepped forward to say she found the dog for sale online, and made arrangements to pick him up in Ayr, but then went home without him after the dog’s seller slipped away before the deal was done.

After making the train trip from her home in Newmachar, Aberdeenshire, to Ayr, and seeing the dog, she had doubts about whether he was the one advertised, and began wondering if the man selling him had stolen him.

“We had been messaging back and forward for a couple of days about the dog. He was supposed to be a one-year-old and his name was Pluto,” Fin Rayner is quoted as saying in a BBC report.

After meeting the dog in the train station, she asked the seller if she could take the dog for a short walk, so she could see him in the daylight.

The man insisted on a deposit first — of £150. As she walked away, so did he.

“Before I got to the door, I looked back and he was gone — he had disappeared in his car,” she said.

She tried calling him on the phone, she said, and he agreed to come back for the dog. But, after 15 minutes, he still hadn’t showed up.

“I got into the station and the dog wasn’t settling. He was pulling on the lead and peeing everywhere,” she said. “I thought that it wasn’t my dog — I didn’t want him.”

Rayner said her panic disorder kicked in, and she began worrying that she might get caught with a stolen dog.

Needing to get a train, she informed train station officials the dog didn’t belong to her and that she was leaving him there. She said a station official suggested she tie the dog.

He was picked up  and is now in the care of the Scottish SPCA, which hopes to arrange an adoption in the days ahead.

Already, he has received surgery to correct a problem, common to shar-pei’s, in which his eyelashes dig into his eyeballs — all funded by donations from the public, according to the Daily Record.

And he has been featured in a new PETA ad encouraging potential pet owners to be responsible and adopt animals rather than buy them online.

The dog had been advertised on the website Gumtree.

The ad uses the photo of the dog in the train station, and reads, “I’m Kai. I was bought and sold on Gumtree and ended up homeless.”

“When people buy a dog off the Internet, they’re not only funding breeding but also robbing a homeless animal of his or her chance at adoption,” PETA director Mimi Bekhech told the Scotsman. “Unlike animal shelters, breeders don’t screen their buyers or perform home checks, so there’s no way to ensure that the animals are going to good homes or that the new guardians receive an animal companion who’s suitable to their household.”Kai is now the star of a new  advertisement, the Scotsman reports.

The man trying to sell the dog has not been identified. The suitcase contained the dog’s pillow, a toy, food bowl and food.

The Scottish SPCA traced a previous owner through the dog’s microchip but were told it was sold in 2013 to someone else.

Since taking the dog in, the SPCA has received offers to adopt him from across the globe. Donations to the Scottish SPCA — which plans to use any excess Kai donations to help rescue other abused, abandoned and injured animals, you can visit this page.

(Photo: Scottish SPCA)

Why do dogs keep jumping off this bridge?

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For some strange reason, dozens of dogs have jumped to their deaths off Overtoun Bridge, a 50-foot high span near the Scottish town of Dumbarton.

Some claim the bridge is haunted. Some postulate (ridiculously) that dogs crossing it are suddenly overcome with suicidal urges. Others blame the minks who live below.

It is believed between 50 and 100 dogs have jumped to their deaths from the bridge in the last five decades — five during one six-month span in 2005.

cassie1The latest to make the leap, a springer spaniel named Cassie, survived, the Daily Mail reported this week.

Alice Trevorrow, 50, was walking Cassie across Overtoun Bridge when the dog jumped over a parapet and disappeared from her sight.

“I will never forget the awful whine she made as she leapt,” said Trevorrow, a nurse. “My heart just dropped. I have no idea how she survived, the bridge is so high. I was almost certain that she had died.”

Trevorrow and her son Thomas ran to the edge, looked over and saw three-year-old Cassie struggle to her feet.

She said the dog suffered only a pulled muscle in a hind leg.

Only one other dog has been known to survive after leaping off the 19th century span that some, including the makers of a documentary about it, have dubbed “Dog Suicide Bridge.”

The Daily Mail says the Scottish SPCA has sent an animal habitat expert to investigate why dogs leap off the bridge, which about as high as a four-story building.

The most logical sounding explanation is that dogs are detecting the scent of  the minks who live below and, in their enthusiasm, leaping off the bridge to investigate.

Out with the mess in Inverness

poopscoopRewards will be offered to pet owners who pick up and properly dispose of their dogs’ waste in Inverness, Scotland.

For the next three months Highland Council enforcement officers will hand out vouchers to “responsible owners,” the BBC reports.

The vouchers, appropriately enough, can be exchanged at a local veterinarian’s office de-worming tablets, aimed at cutting dog roundworm infections.

Most parklands in the city are thought to be contaminated with dog roundworm, which poses a risk to human health, particularly among children, according to the BBC report.

 “Dog feces are a known risk for the development of disease in people, particularly children,” said Sonia Howell, manager of Crown Vets which is a partner in the project. “But fortunately this is easy to prevent by removing dog waste from public areas and by regular treatment of dogs with an effective wormer.”

Officials pointed out that, though officers will be looking to reward considerate pet owners, they’ll also be prepared to issue citations to the less than considerate ones.

In May, joint police and environmental health patrols were launched in an effort to combat dog fouling and littering in part of Inverness.

European ban on dog fur takes effect

(Warning: This video contains graphic and disturbing images)

A total ban on dog and cat fur goes into effect tomorrow across Europe.

The ban, endorsed by European Union governments in 2007, prohibits trading in dog and cat fur in the 27 EU countries from the start of 2009. (Five countries have already unilaterally banned the trade – Italy, Denmark, France, Belgium and Greece.)

“The ban comes just in time as I understand there is something of a revival in fur in the fashion world,” said Struan Stevenson, who campaigned for the ban for nine years. “The onus is now on retailers and others to ensure that such demand doesn’t encourage unscrupulous fur dealers to search for ways to break the law.”

Stevenson said the ban would save the lives of millions of animals slaughtered every year in Asia – mostly in China – to serve a European market. But he warned it was now up to importers and retailers to stay vigilant against a “vile” trade in which cats and dogs are rounded up and often skinned alive.

Humane Society International first exposed the trade nearly a decade ago, revealing evidence of a thriving cat and dog fur market in many European countries including France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.

The proposed ban was supported by Heather Mills and her former husband Sir Paul McCartney. Mills collected more than 250,000 signatures in an on-line petition on her web page demanding an EU ban. More celebrity support came from Dennis Erdman, the director of television show “Sex And The City,” who persuaded Hollywood celebrities to write to the European Commission supporting a ban.

The ban follows similar legislation in America and Australia. China continues trading cat and dog fur.