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The Chop or not?

19 Apr

As you are aware i have had both Maya and Max neutered within the last few weeks. You will also be aware of how hectic life has been since, but i figured it would be worthwhile providing some information about neutering your dog. This is all from a post i did a while back, but the information still stands.


What is neutering?

The dogs trust describe neutering as “he general term used for the surgical removal of the reproductive organs in both male and female dogs”. That means castration for males and spaying for females.

People all have different opinions as to whether or not they should neuter their dog, so here i would like to give my personal opinion and explain a few of the pros and cons to neutering.


The procedure:

Obviously this partly depends on whether you have a bitch (who needs spaying) or a male (who needs castrating). Whether you have a male or female, your dog will need to be anaesthetized (go to sleep). Due to this reason, you will be asked not to give your dog any food after around 8pm the night before (yep, i’m pretty sure they do get hungry). You will also be asked that your dog has his/her water bowl removed the morning before. The reason behind the no food rule, is because it decreases any chances of your dog vomiting during surgery (something that you obviously don’t want to happen).

Males: Luckily the procedure for your little man is a lot simpler than for a female. The vet will make a very small incision in the skin, just in front of the testicles. The testicles are then moved up under the skin and removed through the tiny slit (Max has a “wound” approximately 1cm long, although obviously he is little anywhere so size will vary). That’s pretty much all there is to it. Your dog will then be stitched up (these are often internal nowadays) and then monitored whilst he recovers from the surgery.

Females: With your girl, the vet will make the incision in the center of the animals abdomen. This will be a larger “wound” than with males (usually around about 5cm, but it depends on the dog). Once the uterus and ovaries have been located, the blood vessels will be clamped so that no bleeding occurs and then the uterus and ovaries can be removed. Again, your dog will be stitched up and monitored.


     Maya feeling groggy after her operation, but Max was there to take care of her.


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Max got a cone too! The reason he was neutered so early was because he desperately needed his dew claw removed (hence the bandaged leg).




This depends a little on the dog. You will be told to keep your dog quite and give plenty of rest. Also to avoid strenuous exercise and keep the dog on the lead. To be honest, this is the most difficult thing i have ever ecountered with the dogs. Whilst you know that they need to remain calm, they feel perfectly normal after a couple of days and think its perfectly acceptable to charge around and wrestle with each other.

There is also the importance of keeping the area clean (your dog may require antibiotics and/or anti inflammatory). They must also be refrained from licking, hence the “cone of shame”.

I’m not gonna lie, it is hard work!


When you need a break from the cone, an old t-shirt works great.


When to get it done:

Wherever you live and whoever your vet is, there will be variations to the guidelines. Generally speaking, younger animals tend to recover better from the anesthetic and are easier to operate on. Also, as the dog ages, the benefits of neutering reduce.

In males, the UK tend to advise that you wait until they are 6 months old. This means that they have entered the dog equivalent of puberty, will be of a good size and started to exit puppyhood. However, Max is not yet quite four months old and my vet said that he was able to be neutered early (for various reasons).

With female dogs, there seems to be even more variation. Generally speaking, it is suggested that females should be spayed once they have reached six months old. Some vets will say that there is no need to wait until your bitch has had her first season. However, depending on the size of the dog, it may be beneficial to wait as it can effect bone growth and other issues. If this is the case, it is usually advised (as with the case of Maya) that you wait until three months after her first season. This ensures that there is nothing going on within the uterus/ovaries and everything is stable for operation.


My Personal Opinion:

Personally, I am very pro neutering. This is probably largely due to my own experiences and upbringing, as well as my own knowledge about the pros and cons of neutering:
-all of my past dogs have been neutered. I remember that clay used to mount us and try to “hump” us before he had the chop. This is not a particulalry nice experience for children, and so i would highly recommend it for dog that will be around children frequently.

– I grew up watching animal rescue program’s and reading animal magazines which always stressed the importance of neutering. There are too many animals in shelters that need new homes, people i.e. hoarders end up with far too many animals and struggle and neutering can help reduce behavioral problems.

– I live in an area where dogs are usually let off the lead and therefore knowing that your dog cannot get pregnant, get another dog pregnant or simply run off in search of another dog makes you more confident on the walk.

I feel that unless you have a working dog, or your dog has come from an exceptionally good bloodline with amazing genes and temperament and therefore will be used for breeding, their is absolutely no need to keep your dog intact.

I have heard people complain that neutering their dogs is too expensive: to that i say, you chose to get a dog and it is therefore your responsibility. You should have thought about the costs before bringing it into your life.

Other people argue that it is cruel, or unfair: to that i say look at the benefits, its hardly cruel.


Now for the Pros:

1. Neutering can potentially encourage calmer, more balanced behavior which would therefore make it more suitable as a family pet. This is something i remember seeing in Clay.

2. As i mentioned before, neutering can help reduce aggressive and unwanted sexual behavior  preventing fighting, mounting and destructive behaviour. Again i can use the example of Clay, before he was neutered he pulled up the lino in the conservatory, even destroying cables. Once he was neutered we never had a problem with destruction. Dogs that are neutered are also less likely to mark territory or stray.

3. Reduces the likelihood of strange behaviour in bitches coming into season (for about three weeks, twice a year). My puppy is currently in week one of her first season, and i cannot wait for it to be over. She needs long walks and running around, not to be kept indoors or restrained by the lead and only walking for a few minutes. I have promised her that this will be her first and last!

4. Prevents male dogs desperately attempting to escape and seek out a local bitch in season.

6. The are health benefits, the biggest being that it greatly reduces and in some cases completely removes the risks of some cancers in both males and females, most notable the testicular and mammary cancers.

7. Having your female dog spayed, removes the significant health risks associated with pregnancy as well as the possibility of potentially fatal womb infections (pyometra).

8. Prevents the unnecessary costs of unplanned pregnancies and raising puppies.

9. Reduces likelihood of large vets’ bills associated with certain illness and accidents caused by unruly behavior.


Cons (i would like to point out that these are harder to find):

1. The procedure can be expensive, although i would like to point out here that it would be worth asking your vet about payment plans and other schemes that you can be part of to reduce the price. For example i pay £10 a month for Maya which gives a 25% discount on her being spayed, includes all of her boosters, flea and worm medication and reduces the price of any medication she might need.

2. Loss of breeding potential (of course that is something that you would have considered when buying a dog, i assume?)

3. Studies have suggested that dogs that have been neutered require about 25% less calories. Therefore it could be assumed that dogs that are neutered are more likely to have weight problems.

4. Neutering reduces the animals drive to herd, guard, hunt and work (which is why earlier i said that i understand why working dogs are not neutered).

5.Some people worry about the procedure being dangerous; but actually it is very simple and generally has few complications.

There you have it, a list of pros and cons to neutering your dog. If you decided to get a dog as a family pet, or companion, i would suggest that you consider getting your dog neutered. Of course, its entirely up to you, the question is, to chop or not?


Some websites to look at:



10 Mar

The next breed to feature is the Affenpinscher, the breed that won best in show at the Westminster dog show.



This is a small dog but it is not short on personality. It is a smaller version of the working terrier, and although small, it is by no means delicate. They usually weigh between 4 and 4 kg (7-8 pounds) and reach between 10 and 15 inches in height.  Its body is fairly square in shape, with a moderately broad and deep chest. It has a very pronounced stop between the muzzle and the eyes. It has an undershot jaw which is broad enough for the teeth to be straight and even. It has black eyes which are round and prominent  though not protruding. The natural ears are small, covered in hair, and triangular in shape, folded over and held close to the head. In some countries they are docked so that they stand pointed. It’s coat is shaggy and wiring, usually black or dark grey. However other colors include a lighter grey, silver, red, or black and tan. The undercoat is slightly curly.


Health problems:

This is generally a very healthy breed with few health concerns. Some are prone to fractures or slipped stifle. Very infrequently, a heart condition called PDA and open fontanel, improper closing of the bones of the skull, can be found in the breed. Generally buying from a reputable breeder will ensure that any genetic disorders and major health problems are avoided.


There is no exact data of  when the breed began, but it is thought to have originated in Germany in the 1600’s, traditionally used for hunting vermin in a number of settings. There is no doubt that it is part of the foundation stock of many other breeds, such as the Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon. The name is the German translation for “Monkey Terrier” , a nickname that comes from its monkey-like facial structure and expressions. The breed was probably larger in size initially as they worked as ratters on farms, but were bred to be smaller and become a house pet in the 18th and 19th centuries. That being said, it is still a hunter and makes a great watch dog, being very alert and vocal (but not for no reason). Today the Affenpinscher is primarily a companion dog and was admitted to the American Kennel Club’s studbook in 1936.


This is a true people dog, wanting to be active and involved with everything its owners do. They do have a somewhat terrier like personality, however they do not show the same levels of independence. They are intelligent and inquisitive, always getting up to mischief, however they can be stubborn. They require firm and positive training with an owner that is prepared to assert themselves as pack leader to avoid the dog becoming too dominant and assertive. Like most small dog breeds, they need a human that knows to treat them like a dog and not a cute human or toy to play with. Small dog syndrome could occur if they are not given consistency, boundaries and limitations. They need to know who is in charge, and it must not be them.  They are very easy to train and pick things up quickly, however they will get bored easily so they need a change of routine and lots of breaks between training sessions. Like many terrier breeds, they can be very territorial and will fiercely protect their property, whether that be the home, a toy, or a person. Whilst they can get on with children who are taught to interact with dogs appropriately, they generally do better with older children. Providing they receive early socialization, this is a breed that will usually do well with other dogs and other animals. They love being around people and so do not always do very well when being left alone for long periods of time, and so they should be around people more than they are alone.

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Living conditions:

As a small dog they can do well in an apartment. That being said, they are very active when indoors. Playing will take care of most of their exercise needs, but it does not fulfill their instincts to walk. Two short walks daily would be perfect for this little dog, enabling it to sniff and pick up its “pee mail”.  As always, it is important that this dog is made to walk beside or even behind its owner when on the lead and not in front. A dog that walks in front of its owner is a dog that thinks that it is in control.


This dogs naturally wiring and shaggy coat requires regular grooming to keep it tangle free, this usually means a brush every other day. A wire brush or good quality pin brush, as well as a wide tooth metal comb are usually all the supplies that are required. The coat should never be clipped because it ruins the coat, instead it needs to be plucked. Whilst it is possible to learn how to do this yourself, it is usually carried out by a groomer. Show dogs require further grooming and usually stripping. Sometimes hair is needed to be removed to prevent irritation to the eyes. This is a dog that sheds very little hair.

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Life expectancy:

10-12 years.

Man’s best friend

10 Feb

I know it sounds silly, but it’s true. Of all the animals in the world that have been domesticated, you cant get a better friend than a dog.

I said yesterday, that companionship can be just as important as any other “job”, you tell me, do you agree?


Since graduating university in July 2012, I have had nothing to do. I cant find a job (and before you start jumping to conclusions, i have done hundreds of applications, and i am actually trying), i have nothing to do at home, most of  friends live 100 or more miles away from where i do. Basically, at home, i have my mum, my dad, my sister, and my dog. This is going to sound corny, especially considering some of the other stories i have posted on here, but i really don’t know where i would be without my dog.

Maya is the reason i get up in the morning, without her, i would spend hours in bed, just moping around and feeling sorry for myself. Maya is the reason i get up and exercise, shes a Labrador, she needs lots of walks, and she is a puppy, she constantly wants attention. I take my vitamins, because i remember to give Maya her supplements (shiny coat, strong bones). She actually enables me to talk to other people, whilst out on our walks i often meet other people and walk along with them and their dogs. A dog is the perfect ice breaker. I talk to her when i am bored or lonely. She comforts me when i am having a bad day. I often say that she has been my savior, without her (and my family) there really wouldn’t be any need for me to be here any more.

My Nan and Dad were recently talking, and my Nan commented “It’s a good job you bought her that dog” – and it is!


Lets not forget, she is the reason for this blog!



My dad always says, that dogs choose their owners. I always say, that we get the dog we want, not the dog we need.


For Maya’s case, i think it was fate. I needed her.


I have said before about how she was everything that i planned not to get. But that’s not all, its even in her name. I got her as a graduation present (funny story with that one, i refused to stay at university unless i got a dog when i got home, spoilt brat, i know), her grandfather’s name was Graduation. My mothers name is Deborah, so is her grandmothers. One of her great grandmother’s name’s was Princess, I had read that Maya meant Princess in Arabic (who knows if i’m right?).

Whatever way you look at it, whether you believe in fate, it doesn’t matter, she has been and still is, exactly what i needed.




Appeal for Hearing dogs

10 Feb



I think hearing dogs for deaf people should be promoted much more. Everybody knows about the guide dogs for the blind, but hearing dogs for the deaf is something that is relatively newer, something that not as many people are aware of, i know i wasn’t until recently.

A teacher, a friend, a therapy dog

10 Feb

I absolutely love therapy dogs, i love everything they do, and everything they stand for. The work a therapy dog does is something that many people probably dont really appreciate it. I probably don’t even appreciate it enough.  What i do know, is that i have read many stories about how therapy dogs have changed lives. They can make us feel better, give comfort and love, even teach us important lessons.

For this reason, i am hoping to one day apply for Maya to become a certified therapy dog. When she is older, calmer and i have trained her well, i hope that she will be able to really help enrich someone’s life. I know she has enriched my life, and i want to share that. I hope that one day, i can give up some of my free time and volunteer to take Maya, and really help people. She is important in my life, and i think she can do much more 🙂



“My dog Abbey Rose is a certified R.E.A.D./Pet Partners dog. We go to our local elementary school and work with children who have some delayed reading ablities. We have been doing this for 4 years now. Abbey has a few students that do not read at all yet, but they do have sight word flash cards. I have taught Abbey to pick a word from 2 cards shown. We play a game with the childrens flash cards. When Abbey gets a word right, she gets a card, when the student reads the word right they get the card. One day a little girl who doesn’t read at all. (She doesn’t even try) saw Abbey was winning all the cards..well she started to read all of her cards. She will not read for the teacher, but she will for Abbey! It warms my heart when the kids get into reading that were afraid to read to their peers or teachers. Abbey encourages them with a gentle paw on the book or a nudge. They see that she wants them to read and doesn’t care if they make a mistake.”


For more beautiful stories like this one, check out:

Guide dogs, My story

10 Feb

A Guide dog

10 Feb

“My guide, Amelia, has opened many doors of opportunity; has given me the strength and courage to get out and enjoy
life just as everyone else does. My most difficult time was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My Amelia was there for me all the way, emotionally and physically. She was my driving force to beat it. I had to have radiation therapy five days a week, for seven weeks. Each day when we arrived in front of the hospital door, Amelia knew where we were. All I had to say was Amelia, take Mommy to the room. After a few trips, honestly, I didn’t even have to tell her which hallway we had to turn into, she knew the way. I don’t think I could have faced my breast cancer as I have for Amelia was my driving force to lick this beast.
For I knew Amelia would need me as much or more as I needed her. Our journey still continues with fun and happiness. We have traveled to many places and have met many wonderful people who have the greatest admiration for all guides like Amelia. The trust you gain, the love you receive, and the enjoyment of companionship is unexplainable. If and when Amelia’s journey as a guide comes to a close, I will most definitely seek for another partner to walk with me to reach the different avenues of adventure that is left for us as a team to explore. For then my amazing Amelia will switch to my right side while my new partner is on my left, I then will know and have the angels of God guiding me safely and happily.

Priscilla Arvani”