Wednesday, 28 June 2017

We're off to Monkey World!

If you're a fan of the TV programs Monkey Business and Monkey Life that are regularly shown on on Pick TV and various Sky TV channels, then you'll already be familiar with the wonderful work of Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset. Set up by the late Jim Cronin MBE 30 years ago, Monkey World was originally set up as a sanctuary for chimpanzees rescued from a life as photographers props in Spain. They have gone on to rescue hundreds of primates from a life of cruelty and neglect across the world.

I am absolutely addicted the Monkey Life programs, I adore all of the wonderful characters at Monkey World - both primates and humans! Tomorrow Mum, my assistance dog Elgin and I are visiting Monkey World - I am so excited!

Over the last few days I have collected up a few bits and pieces that hopefully the apes and monkeys will enjoy. There are plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, some live locusts and mealworms - and even custard and Ryvita crispbreads! There are also some rope dog toys (which are tied together to make climbing frames for baby woolly monkeys) and some Bonio dog biscuits which Elgin bought for the monkeys using his pocket money!

If you are visiting Monkey World with your family this summer, please consider donating a little treat for the primates - they will definitely appreciate it. Here is a poster from the Monkey World website showing a few of the things they need. You can see even more here -

If you are unable to visit Monkey World but would still like to donate, they have an Amazon wish list here -

Fingers crossed that I will be well enough to enjoy my visit tomorrow, as I am ridiculously excited! I have been resting all week and have done fairly well dislocation wise over the last few days - I have only dislocated a wrist, an ankle and a knee which is good for me! 

I am taking my large mobility scooter with me as the park is quite hilly so the battery of my powerchair wouldn't cope. Elgin is all groomed and ready for his day out. He is not allowed in the lemur enclosure as the lemurs roam free, which is completely understandable, but he is allowed everywhere else in the park. Monkey World have an extremely good reputation of being very accessible to people with disabilities, so I am really looking forward to our visit. Their staff have been very helpful about arranging for Elgin to accompany me and the animal care staff will all be notified prior to our arrival so that they know a dog will be on site.

Right, I'm off to bed now to get some rest before my busy day tomorrow. I'm sure I will be bombarding you all with photos of monkeys after our day out!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Review - Rosewood Tail Twisters Chewylicious Chicken Twists

As soon as these treats popped through our letterbox the dogs were interested in them. My assistance dog Elgin brought me the post as usual - with our pet beagle Cherry chasing after him trying to grab the package with the treats! Luckily they made it to me in one piece!

  • Made with 65% pure chicken meat
  • Highly palatable and a proven best seller
  • Great for teeth
  • High protein
  • Low Flat
  • With added vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant
  • No colourants
  • No artificial flavourings
Composition - Chicken (65%), Rawhide (34%), Vegetable Glycerin (0.8%)
Typical Analysis - Protein 75%, Fat Content 3%, Crude Ash 4%, Crude Fibres 0.5%, Moisture 16%
Rosewood Tail Twister treats are available from retailers nationwide, and from many websites including Amazon.

Elgin with the packet of Tail Twisters treats.

As soon as I opened these treats, and saw how much real chicken was on them I knew that Elgin and Cherry would love them. So I also recruited my brother's lurcher, Skipper, to try the chicken twist chews because he is extremely fussy - if Skipper likes a treat then you know they are very tasty! Skipper tucked into the chew straight away (instead of playing with it while deciding whether to eat it or not) and he seemed to really enjoy it. Normally he wouldn't eat a rawhide chew, but obviously the dried chicken made it much more tempting to him.

Skipper eating his Tail Twisters chicken twist.

Skipper did make a bit of a mess while eating the chew, with pieces of the chicken getting everywhere, but this didn't really happen with the other dogs so it must have been the way he ate it. The other dogs were very happy to help clear up Skipper's mess though!

Cherry loved her chew.

The chews didn't last as long as I thought they would. Cherry, Skipper and my brother's other lurcher ,Bandit, ate theirs in two to three minutes. Elgin demolished his in about thirty seconds! But Elgin is a typical Labrador and all food gets hoovered up very quickly so it wasn't really a surprise. They all really enjoyed the chews and asked for more.

I liked that these contained a lot of real dried chicken as it made them really appealing to even our fussiest dog. These treats are also low in fat too, which is important to me as both Elgin and Cherry are prone to putting on weight. I'd definitely purchase these treats if I saw them in our local pet shop as they were very popular with all four dogs that tried them. 

I've asked the dogs their opinion and they'd all give these treats five out of five stars.

Disclaimer - We received a free packet of treats for signing up to Rosewood's newsletter. The dogs liked them so much that we decided to post a review.

Friday, 23 June 2017

All creatures great and small...1000 small pets taken in by RSPCA

The RSPCA is urging owners to look after their pets 'great and small' after four rabbits and two hamsters were abandoned in Essex

Photo credit: RSPCA 

Figures show that more than 1,000 small pets were abandoned and taken in by the RSPCA nationally last year.
The figure comes as four rabbits and two hamsters were abandoned in Essex in the past month.
In 2016, RSPCA centres up and down the country received a total of 1,029 abandoned small furries which includes rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, degus, rats, ferrets, gerbils, and mice.
This is up from the previous year when there were 984 abandoned small pets reported to the RSPCA.
So far in 2017 that number is currently at 410.
Rabbits are the most abandoned small pets with 477 in 2016 and 153 dumped so far this year.
Sadly some of these small animals, which are usually bought as a child’s first pet, can often be abandoned when the owners become bored or no longer want them.

Photo credit: RSPCA 

In Essex, three rabbits were dumped on the driveway of the RSPCA Essex branch in Wethersfield in May.

Two babies, Daphne and Bamboo, and an older male and female believed to be their parents, were dumped on the driveway without any note or explanation. The babies and mum have now found homes but dad Egbert is still looking for his forever home.

Photo credit: RSPCA 

A month later, Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Joe White was called when two Russian hamsters were discovered abandoned outside a property in The Fremnells, Basildon.
The hamsters, now named Aurora and Snow White, were in a very small cage with a bag of food and it is believed they had been there for at least three days.
They were found by a member of the public on Wednesday, June 7, who had been contracted to carry out maintenance work on the property after the previous tenants had moved out.
ACO White said: “It would appear that the previous tenants left the hamsters behind when they moved out.
“Sadly we do see abandonments like this when owners either no longer want their pets or feel they can not cope.
“We would urge people not to abandon any animal, great or small, in this way.”

Photo credit: RSPCA 

Rats and guinea pigs are the second and third highest of the small furries to be abandoned with 178 domestic rats and 112 guinea pigs abandoned last year.
In 2016, the RSPCA also took in 77 hamsters after they were dumped and so far this year there have been 54 hamsters abandoned.
ACO White added: “We understand that circumstances can change which can mean people may no longer be in a position to look after their pet but if something like this happens, we would urge pet owners to act responsibly.”

The Russian hamsters are in a good condition and have now been rehomed to a volunteer at the RSPCA’s South Essex Wildlife Centre.
ACO White continued: “Whether a large pet or a small furry, every animal deserves the right care and attention to make them happy.”
If you have any information on how these rabbits or the two hamsters came to be abandoned please contact the appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
If you find an abandoned pet, call the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).
This week is Rabbit Awareness Week which runs from June 17-25.
This year the theme is all about hay and the importance of hay for a healthy diet.
Participating vets are offering free rabbit health checks throughout June.
For more information visit or search #HoptoHay on Twitter.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Royal Victoria Country Park, Hampshire - review

Attraction - Royal Victoria Country Park

Location - Netley Abbey, Southampton, Hampshire 

Entrance cost - FREE

Parking cost - up to one hour £1.80. Over one hour £4.

Disabled parking available - yes

General facilities - cafe, shop, play areas, BBQ sites, miniature railway (charges apply, see

Disabled facilities - Disabled toilets, accessible equipment in playground, sensory gardens.

Accessibility - The park is largely accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs, staff are very helpful and can advise on the easiest routes. Buildings are wheelchair accessible.

Dogs welcome - Dogs are welcome in the park and there are plenty of places that they can play off lead. Assistance dogs only in the buildings, play areas and sensory gardens.

Date of visit - May 2017

Stars - 5/5

Review -

Our visit in May 2017 was the second time we had visited Royal Victoria Country Park and we were looking forward to exploring parts of the park that we hadn't had time to see during the previous visit. We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather for our visit, ideal for walking, picnics, BBQs and generally having fun. So once we'd parked in one of the large car parks, unloaded my mobility scooter and the dogs, we headed into the park.

Our first stop was the cafe for a lovely cup of coffee. Mum is gluten intolerant and she was impressed that there was a good choice of gluten free snacks available - they weren't badly priced either. The cafe is wheelchair accessible but we had our pet beagle with us as well as my assistance dog, so we sat at one of many available picnic tables outside. We also had lunch at the cafe later in the day and can report that the jacket potatoes were delicious and reasonably priced. The staff were very friendly and helpful, and the food arrived in a timely manner.

Once we had recharged our batteries we headed into the woodland area. The dogs had an absolute ball running around like lunatics, while mum and I had a more relaxing stroll. The scenery is stunning and the paths are well maintained. The only minor problem we had was the lack of signposts in some parts of the park, we haven't got the best sense of direction and ended up slightly lost at one point - and that was with a map of the park! Because I had my large mobility scooter I was able to access some of the rougher terrain and out of the way trails, but there are plenty of easy routes for manual wheelchairs, powerchairs, pushchairs and smaller mobility scooters.

After lunch we headed to the open parkland near the beautiful chapel, which is currently being renovated. I hope to visit again in the future and see the chapel without all of the scaffolding. The large grassed area by the chapel is an ideal place for picnics, playing games with children and for dogs to run around - there is ample space for everyone to coexist happily so you shouldn't have dogs running up to pinch your picnic!

Next stop was the beach and a dip in the sea for my labrador Elgin. There is a ramp that gives disabled access to the beach, so was able to get down onto the beach level - although I obviously couldn't actually go onto the shingle beach itself. Unfortunately the part of the beach we visited had a lot of rubbish on it, which is a shame - I wish people would take their plastic bottles etc home with them!

After a busy day we headed back to the cafe for an ice cream, which was a nice way to end a lovely day out. The dogs had a little bit of ice cream as a special treat too!

We all thoroughly enjoyed our day out at Royal Victoria Country Park, and would definitely recommend it to everyone. It's ideal for nature lovers, dog walkers and families alike. We went home with two very happy and very tired dogs. There is so much to see and do - we spent the whole day there and I don't think we covered half of the park! We'll definitely be back for another visit the next time we are in the area.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Keep your dog feeling cool this summer

Summer is finally here! Yay! Not all dogs appreciate the hotter weather though, so it's important to keep your best friend feeling cool, happy and healthy this summer. I've found a few products that will help your dog keep their cool when the sun is out.


- Make sure there is plenty of fresh water available 

This one is important all year round, not just in the summer. This bowl looks really stylish and practical too - big enough to hold plenty of water, and it has a non slip rubber rim so that it won't easily get knocked over. It has my favourite breeds on it too - Labradors, beagles and spaniels!

Product name: Sophie Allport Woof! Dog Bowl

Photo credit: Sophie Allport

Description: Feed your dogs in style with this lovely Woof! Dog Food Bowl. A perfect gift for any dog owner or for your own cherished pet. It features Fox Red Labradors (like Sophie's pictured!), Spaniels, Daschunds, Jack Russells and Dalmations.

Made from galvanized steel, the bowl's top diameter is 17cm and the bottom diameter is 23.5cm. The height is 5.5cm and it has a capacity of 0.5 litres. There is a practical non-slip rubber rim around the base to ensure it doesn't tip over or slip around while your dog is eating.

Available from or on 01778 560 256
View product on company website:
Price: £14.00
Company: Sophie Allport
Telephone number: 01778 560256
Stockist information:

- Ensure you dog has a cool place to sleep 

On days when the sun is blazing, or the humidity is high it’s hard to stay cool when you’re wearing a fur coat. Committed to the ultimate in canine comfort is award-winning luxury dog bed company CHARLEY CHAU, who offer a gorgeous range of stylish but practical rattan and pretty cotton dog beds to keep your dog cool and chic through the summer. 

Ready to deal with summer stuffiness are the brand’s Raised Rattan Dog Beds. Rattan is a beautiful natural cane and Charley Chau’s Rattan Dog Beds are hand-woven with love to create a breathable and comfortable sleeping environment for your dog. Plus rattan is a strong and durable natural cane and so practical that you can even hose down a Charley Chau Rattan Dog Bed in the garden. Charley Chau’s rattan and wicker dog beds are also a chic addition for most styles of interiors.

Photo credit: Charley Chau

Product name: Charley Chau Raised Oval Rattan Dog Bed
Description: A stunning raised oval rattan dog bed by award-winning British dog bedding designers, Charley Chau - smooth curves, clean lines - quietly beautiful.

This beautiful luxury dog bed is woven with natural rattan core (the solid core of rattan canes after the outer peel has been stripped) and woven onto a frame with a "double-wall" construction to create this gorgeous smooth oval shape with gentle, flowing curves.

The deep-filled luxury mattress is super-comfy and finished with a soft and fluid upholstery fabric in two gorgeous neutrals - Coffee and Stone.

A gorgeous addition to any home.

Sizes & Dimensions

Medium approx. 82x62x34cm
Large approx. 102x74x34cm

Priced from £310.
Price: £310.00
Company: Charley Chau
Telephone number: 0161 848 8702

Cool off with a dip in the sea

As you can see, my assistance dog Elgin loves to cool off by splashing about in the sea. But when it's time to travel home you don't always want to have a soggy doggy in your car. These fabulous drying coats from Ruff and Tumble are ideal to dry off your water mad dog.

Product name: Classic Dog Drying Coats
Description: Ruff And Tumble Drying Coats are made from high-quality, double thickness, cotton towelling. Modelled on the design of a horse blanket, the coats are very simple to put on and take off. Perfect for after wet walks, bathtimes, hydrotherapy, working etc..

No more wet/muddy shake off, no more back breaking drying of soggy dogs and no more old towels!

Ruff and Tumble Classic Collection: Our original and world famous double thickness cotton towelling drying coats. Available in Brick Red, Bottle Green, Sandringham Blue and Heather. Limited edition colours are also occasionally available.
View product on company website:
Price: £38.00
Company: Ruff And Tumble
Telephone number: 03332079960


And finally give them a tasty cool treat after their busy day swimming in the sea.

Elgin and Cherry both have a sweet tooth and love ice cream, but dairy is not good for dogs so Billy and Margot have invented these fabulous frozen treats for dogs. 

Billy and Margot explain about their iced treats -
We originally wanted to call our iced treats – ice cream – because that’s what people think when they see a frozen tub. However, we couldn’t use the word ‘ice cream’ because our products didn’t contain any dairy.

‘Ice cream is defined as a frozen food made from a mixture of dairy products, containing at least 10% milkfat.’

So, instead we named them ‘Nutritious Iced treats’ because they contain some nutritious ingredients. It was also important to only include ingredients that were edible to us humans so if anyone made the mistake of grabbing the wrong tub in their freezer they would have no nasty surprise. In fact many people have tried them (including us of course) and we can tell you that they taste delicious.
All our iced treats are 100% vegetarian.  They all contain fruit, Aloe Vera and flaxseed oil as well as other vegetarian ingredients. You can read more about the ingredients in our product description and Q&A section.
I have been asked many times why I didn’t use meat based ingredients.  Dogs, contrary to popular belief, are not solely carnivores. Cats, on the other hand, are known as obligate carnivores, which means they absolutely have to have meat to survive. Dogs are what are known as omnivores, which means that to stay healthy they do require a variety of types of foods in their diet ranging from fruits and vegetables through to meat. Meat does form the basis of the diet and is required to provide protein and other essential nutrients and elements to the metabolic system. Fruits and vegetables are also required to provide vitamins, minerals and of course fibre.
So we considered fruits and vegetables that we know dogs like and are good for them. These included apple, banana, carrot and strawberry. It is important to know that some fruits and vegetables are toxic to dogs and it is wise to check first before giving your dog any fruits or vegetables. This small list is not exhaustive but it includes: Grapes and raisins, avocados, onions, garlic, chive, tomatoes, green and raw potatoes, rhubarb, mushrooms, fruit pits and seeds, tree nuts.
We currently produce three flavours of iced treats:
Price - £2.99

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

R.I.P Henry - the dog I'll never forget

Henry: 2002 - Feb 2017

Sometimes a person comes into your life and you know they're going to change your life forever - nine years ago this happened to me, but in my case it was not a person, it was an incredibly special dog. Technically we 'rescued' Henry, but in reality he rescued me. He saved my life twice and received many awards for his heroics. This amazing dog has left a huge hole in our lives, I miss him every minute of every day, but I'm grateful for the years we had together.

Henry was the reason I started this blog, and I even named it after him. After a few years away from blogging due to severe health problems, I've decided to restart this blog with another name. It was a hard decision to make, but it was just too painful to keep the title A Dog's Life - Henry and M.E. Plus it no longer made sense as it turned out that I was misdiagnosed with the health condition M.E! The new title is 4 Wheels & 4 Helping Paws, referring to my new reality of life as a wheelchair user and the very helpful paws of my assistance dog Elgin.

For those of you who may be new to my blog, I thought I'd repost Henry's story so you can all see how special he was.

Henry's Story 

Henry was a rescued English Springer Spaniel who we adopted in the summer of 2008.  Henry was abandoned by his previous owner, and was in very poor health.  Little did I know how much this neglected, sad, scared dog would change my life.

He was left in a house alone for several weeks while his owner worked at the other end of the country.  His neighbours rightly complained about this, as he made alot of noise when food etc. ran out, so the next time he had to go away he put Henry in boarding kennels - and never came back to collect him.

Henry was extremely underweight, had a matted urine stained coat, infected ears, sore skin and a sore nose.  He was also suffering from a severe stomach virus, which he nearly died from.  But worse than this was his mental health - he was scared of everything; hated doors closed in the house, was obsessed with food and couldn't be left alone.

In 2004 I had a promising career as a trainee accountant and led a happy, normal life.  Suddenly all normality ended when I came ill and had to leave my job.  I was constantly exhausted, often had black-outs and was in huge amounts of pain all the time.  Eventually I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (a condition which causes severe muscle pain) and numerous other health problems.  As months became years I lost all hope of getting my life back and fell into a deep depression.  I cut myself off from my friends and refused to leave the house unless accompanied by my mum or brother; even then I often made excuses not to go.  My life had become restricted to my bedroom, living room and hospital appointments.  I suffered panic attacks at the thought of having to see or speak to anyone, and would hide in my room if even close family visited.  It had come to the point where I seriously thought that my life wasn’t worth living and thought of ending it all.  Then Henry entered my life and everything changed.

I saw in Henry’s eyes some of the anxiety and fear that I also felt, he too had also lost his former life and was afraid what the future held.  We bonded instantly and I vowed to help him overcome his poor health.  Henry gave me a purpose to keep going, and saved me from a world of dark depression and saved my life.  Gradually Henry’s health improved and he became a happy and healthy dog.  I was proud of him and what he’d overcome.

Over the next few months Henry helped me when I was feeling low, and even managed to calm me down when I had panic attacks my nudging my hand and making me stroke him so I focused my attention on him.  I was proud of my handsome dog and started to take him out for walks using my mobility scooter.  If people came to talk to me I was happy to tell them all about my amazing dog, and didn’t feel the need to rush away.

I didn’t think it was possible for Henry to help me any more than he already did, but boy was I wrong.  I often collapsed when my blood sugars went low and mum noticed he acted very strangely before this happened.  Eventually we realised then Henry was letting me know when my blood sugars were dropping by sniffing my breath and licking my face.  We tested my sugars and he was right every time.  When he gave me this warning he gave me time to eat a glucose tablet to raise my sugars so that a diabetic hypo was prevented.  This has saved me several times over the last few years.

Then in august of 2010 I was asleep on the sofa unwell, mum assumed it was my normal ill health and let me sleep off the pain.  Then Henry acted very strangely pulling her over to me, barking and pawing at me.  Mum came to check me and realised I was burning up with fever and that I was unconscious.  It turned out I had sepsis and was in hospital for a week.  I had an operation to remove some infected tissue from my leg.  It was very serious, and if it wasn’t for Henry I wouldn’t be here now, he saved my life.

Henry I miss you so, so much - the house just isn't the same without you.

Love you Special Boy


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Inseparable sisters hope to finally find new family for Father’s Day

Dogs Trust Shrewsbury is hoping to find elderly sisters a new home in time for Father’s Day

Staff at Dogs Trust Shrewsbury are hoping two inseparable sisters who have never been apart and have found themselves homeless at the grand old age of 13, will find a new family in time for Father’s Day on Sunday (18 June).
Jack Russells Molly and Polly are devoted to each other and have lived together since the day they were born.
Sadly, the canine companions found themselves having to leave behind everything they’ve ever known due to a change in their owner’s family circumstances. They arrived at Dogs Trust back in March and the team thought they’d find a new home at the double - but sadly that hasn’t been the case.
Louise Campbell, Manager at the Telford rehoming centre said:
“We always like to think a dog is for life but sometimes through nobody’s fault, it just can’t be and dogs find themselves without a home.
“It’s particularly sad when older dogs like Molly and Polly come to us. They are a perfect pair and the best of friends and have been keeping each other company. We can’t believe nobody has fallen in love with them yet.”
The team think the two-some might be being overlooked because they are Old Age Pooches, but they say there are lots of advantages to having an older dog, including the fact that they are often calmer and need less exercise than younger dogs, and although these two are still full of fun they like to sit back and rest their paws too.
Louise says:
“Older dogs often wait a lot longer to find their special someone. It’s such a shame and these two will make loving, loyal companions.
“They can live with older children so if after months of waiting they were to finally find themselves at the heart of a forever family on Father’s Day when the love of family is celebrated, that would be really wonderful.”
If you think you could offer Molly and Polly their forever home, please call 0300 303 0292 or visit Dogs Trust Shrewsbury at Roden Lane Farm, Telford, Shropshire, TF6 6BP. It’s open Friday-Tuesday 12pm-4pm, closed on Wednesdays and open 12pm-7.30pm on Thursdays. You can also visit to find out about all the dogs waiting for their forever homes.