Hampshire Country Show – May 2018

Posted Posted in Game Fair

It was a blisteringly hot couple of days at the Hampshire Country Show on 6-7 May 2018 – quite the opposite to Thame a month ago!

Everyone was feeling the heat and we had taken our cool coats for the dogs which they wore all day long.  Many people were asking why our dogs were wearing coats in the heat and were surprised when touching them how cool and refreshing they were – we were also asked if there was a human version as there was very little shade on the showground!  Maybe there is a marketing opportunity here?  We were allowed to pack up slightly early on Bank Holiday Monday due to the heat for the sake of all the animals on display.


Trying to keep in the shade
Dave doing his first stint at entertaining the public!








We were joined by Dave and his family – Dave was the puppy dog from our December 2017 litter and is now living in Calne. He was a natural and enjoyed entertaining his adoring public!

Spot, Dora’s brother from our first litter, came with owner Sandra for both days to help out.  He also managed to find the energy to enter Chase the Bunny Competition on the Monday where he was competing against all sizes of dogs (apart from greyhounds and lurchers) and he performed brilliantly to win through and become Chase the Bunny Champion!  He will now come to Bowood Game Fair for the Chase the Bunny Grand Final later in the year – a great day for Heelers all round 🙂 and our grateful thanks to our helpers and their dogs.

By the end of Sunday we retired to the caravan exhausted, the dogs had done so well and kept going in the relentless heat – Bilbo, whose batteries never seem to run down, eventually caved in and flaked out covered by his comfort blanket:

FAB Agility Show

Posted Posted in Agility, Fun with dogs

Today we attended our first proper FAB Agility Show at the Turnpike Showground in Motcombe.  Just took Dora for practice and to fathom out how an agility show works – quite a lot of waiting around for your turn but everyone is very friendly and helpful to “Newbies”!  Our trainer Tracy Ryan was there competing and pointed us in the right direction although in the excitement of running the course I completely lost my way but Dora was amazing and did the correct route regardless – we didn’t do the weaves as we haven’t got the hang of doing 12 yet!

It was lovely to have the company of Jean and Jazz who at 10 years’ old had not forgotten what agility was all about!  And thanks to Jack for taking the video of our first run.

Dora taking a break

Couch to 5k with your dog

Posted Posted in Agility, Fun with dogs, Health

How to get fitter for agility – Couch to 5k with your dog!

Dora and I have started a 9 week course of Couch to 5k with Poole Joggers.   Well, I have joined Poole Joggers and Dora accompanies us on the two practice runs in between! It is a course especially designed for beginners – based on the NHS Couch to 5k plan  – and is ideal for anyone looking to take up running, meet new friends and get active!

You can download the NHS App from the above link and do it yourself or, as we do, use the app to help you on the two runs you have to do during the week.  Dora kept up really well and has the company of her friend Podrick, a standard poodle, who runs rings around her while the rest of us are struggling to keep up the pace at the moment!  I am sure it will get easier in time 🙂

More photos to follow, if I survive …


Dora in pastel!

Posted Posted in Our Dogs

I decided I would like a portrait of Dora in pastel for my birthday/Christmas present last year to go with the portraits we have of our other dogs.  I wanted an artist who could capture her look and after some research found a local Dorset artist, Mark Hankinson, who had done some amazing dog portraits.

So, here is the finished portrait which has just gone off to be framed – we think it has caught Dora’s look exactly as she often sits like this in the sunshine, watching the world go by, but with an eye out for mischief and ready to shoot off at the drop of a hat – after a pigeon, squirrel or postman!


Recipe for Liver Cake

Posted Posted in Fun with dogs

Making your own dog treats isn’t that complicated and is a way of knowing exactly what ingredients go into the treats.   Our dogs absolutely love the liver cake treats and will do anything for them!

This is a very easy recipe and you can basically use whatever sort of flour you have in the cupboard – I often use a mixture of wholemeal and oats for example.  The garlic is optional but I add it as it helps keep the dogs healthy and as added protection against ticks and fleas.

For the little cupcakes in the photo above I made the recipe below but used the tiny cupcake cases for some of the mixture as it was for a party occasion 🙂  The ‘icing’ is a blob of basic cream cheese.


1lb liver

8oz pl flour

1 large egg

3 tbs olive oil

5 tbs water

Garlic – optional


Liquidise liver with egg, garlic, oil & water

Add flour to get a dropping consistency (add more flour or water if required)

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spread the mixture in the tin

Bake 35-40 mins – 190C / 375F / Gas 5

Cut into tiny squares

Will keep for a week in fridge or can freeze in batches

How to make a Snuffle Mat!

Posted Posted in Fun with dogs
Snuffle mats can be made very easily and keep dogs occupied using their nose to find either small treats or kibble – especially useful when the weather is wet – they are also easily portable and washable.


Click on Dora to see her in action!


You will need:
  • A fleecy throw or two (I found some in Wilko)
  • A Rubber mat – you can use an outdoor mat or a sink drainer
  • Sharp scissors
  • Plus some patience and a good film on tv!

Cut the fleece into long strips about 2 inches wide and varying in length from between 7 – 10 inches

 Knot the strips through each hole of the mat.

Keep going and either make up a pattern or keep the colours random – the dogs won’t mind!


The back will start to look like this.


Turn it over and the mat begins to take shape.


Alabama Rot

Posted Posted in Health

Our local vets have an Information Sheet on Alabama Rot written by Anderson Moores, specialists vets who are investigating this disease.  It is becoming more prominent in the news nowadays, with warnings about walking dogs in wet and muddy areas – however with the weather being as it is at the moment, it is near impossible to walk the dogs anywhere that is dry!

An interesting post on fb was written by someone who had lost one of her dogs to this disease, yet her other dogs showed no symptoms at all.  Her advice was to carry on enjoying the muddy walks but be vigilant for any skin lesions which may appear, typically below the knee or elbow.   So I thought it would be helpful to copy and paste the letter:

Dear All
As some of you will know, we have just lost our beloved dog to Alabama Rot. It’s not how you would wish any dog to end their journey. We moved her to a specialist hospital near Winchester, but yesterday we had to let her go. The vets in that clinic (Anderson Moores) are the only UK specialists on this disease, and although nothing can now help S, I am writing to all of you in case this information will help your own dogs, or any dog.
We spent a long time with one of their AR vets, who explained that there is a huge amount of mis-information out there about this disease, and most of the “facts” you hear bandied about are just guesses. They also feel it is under-reported to the tune of maybe tenfold, partly because some dogs are not taken to the vet or because vets fail to identify it correctly, or the deaths are just attributed to kidney failure etc. AR usually requires post-mortem biopsy to be 100% sure of the diagnosis. Not everyone is willing or able to pay for their dog to be treated, or to have a post-mortem, even though this helps the wider dog community. If a dog is not insured, costs are pretty steep and even if they are insured, you can easily pass the limit depending on your policy… So the problem is bigger than people realise and seems to be increasing. There have been several suspected cases even at our local vets, and Anderson Moores are seeing more and more victims from pretty much all parts of the country.
The bad news is that survival rates are very low, and we understand so little about it. The key thing is that it only affects a tiny minority of dogs – those whose bodies start an incorrect immune response, similar to an auto-immune reaction but this is an immune-mediated reaction – similar outcome, the body does the wrong thing in response to the infection. So in our case, for example, the other dogs walked in exactly the same muddy fields as S but are fine. And dozens, hundreds of dogs walk in the places where only one falls victim. So the fact of where a dog “caught” it is a bit of a red herring, rather like MRSA on humans, which is usually brought into hospital on the skin of the victim. No need to go into exactly how the body goes wrong in victims but it causes the dog to develop kidney and liver failure, inability to produce platelets or to clot the blood. The lesions visible on the dog’s skin are also doing their work in the kidneys and elsewhere. So, by the time even the most vigilant owner sees a lesion, chances are that there are more inside on internal organs – but if not, then you may yet have a good chance.
Obviously this is hideous news for the unlucky few, but I stress that they are only a few. It is not contagious. The other dogs are alive and well, having shared beds, water bowls, dead rabbits with S. This is very different from leptospirosis (though can initially manifest in similar way) so the idea of “catching” it is less of an issue. It is more what on earth you do if you think your dog has developed it. Anderson Moores have saved dogs with AR but in those cases the dogs had only lesions, not any damage to kidney or liver. There is a lack of evidence to say categorically that those dogs would or would not have gone on to develop organ failure without treatment, but that is the other point. There is not really any “treatment” for AR in the sense of simply getting the right antibiotic, because what kills your pet is not the disease so much as your dog’s reaction to the pathogen. The treatments consist of supporting the body to try and get it to the point where it can start to heal itself. A plasma transfusion, for example, is often done early on (S had this very early, at the local vet) but the effects wear off very quickly, and the dog either can or cannot make its own platelets after a certain point. And some of them do, and recover and go on their merry way. It makes no difference the age of dog, the breed or the sex. Some bodies just react badly and keep doing so, others do not.
So I guess my main message is to keep enjoying muddy walks. It seems bonkers that dogs up and down the land are being kept off certain fields or woodlands when so little is known. Similarly, the advice to wash your dog after walking is controversial because constantly wetting the skin is a great way to get bacteria into the bloodstream. My personal advice would be to keep enjoying all your usual walking places, but be hyper vigilant for the smallest sign of a lesion regardless of where you walk. Or even the dog being just listless or losing appetite. The first I knew that S was ill was that on Friday morning she did not want breakfast and co-incidentally had a strange patch of furless skin on a paw, like a cut. It soon looked much nastier and she was being sick, but I now realise that by the time they are throwing up, their organs are involved. If I saw a lesion on The other dogs now, I would not go to any local vet, I would take the dog at once to Anderson Moores. AR is just so rare and complex that the chance of a non-specialist saving a dog are pretty non-existant (and most general vets would agree and rapidly refer you). The dogs who present with just lesions do have the best chance of survival.
Lastly, the people at Anderson Moores did stress that none of their victims has ever died of the disease, in the sense that you actually euthanase before it gets to that point. You have time to monitor the situation with the dog made comfortable. They are, sadly, skilled at knowing exactly when the point of no hope has come for each patient, and that does make it easier for the owner because no one wants to leave it to the point that your dog is really really suffering.
If this information helps anyone by reminding them to check for lesions and act swiftly or just, as I hope, to relax and just keep enjoying their walks, then I would be happy.

Thame Game Fair 2018

Posted Posted in Game Fair, Our Dogs

Weather forecast for the Thame Game Fair over the Easter Bank holiday weekend was not good, but after a ground check on Saturday it was all on for Sunday.  Rather than take the caravan and get stuck in mud – or snow – we got up early Sunday morning to set up first thing.  It was very chilly but the weather was dry and all the activities were able to take place, it was very busy possibly because no one wanted to risk coming on Easter Monday which was wise as the Show had to be cancelled that day due to the rain.

Lynn, Charlie with Mouse, Boris and Katy joined us and our grateful thanks go to them because we all talked non-stop and there was an awful lot of interest in the Heelers.  Several people knew of a friend or neighbour who had a heeler, or had them in the past, with one great story told of a Heeler puppy being bought from the pet department at Harrods!


Setting up on a cold morning! Thame Game Fair
Ready for the punters at Thame Game Fair!


lancashire heelers

Discover Dogs – Crufts 2018

Posted Posted in Crufts, Discover Dogs

A busy time on the Lancashire Heeler stand at Discover Dogs at Crufts this year.

My ears are bigger than yours says Bilbo!


Lots of interest in our vulnerable native breed as well as all the other wonderful breeds in the halls.  I think we all lost our voices after spending a day on the stand talking Heelers.

The dogs all behaved impeccably and certainly were the star attractions!




Lancashire Heeler stand at Discover Dogs, Crufts 2018
Pickle & Bilbo


Dora is Best Bitch at Crufts 2018

Posted Posted in Crufts, Discover Dogs, Dog shows

On Thursday 8 March 2018 we got up at 3am to drive up the NEC, Birmingham for Crufts.  We took all three dogs as we were on the Discover Dogs stand all day but had entered Dora, Madincrowd Bathsheba JW,  into the Open Bitch Class which it turned out had the largest entry of 14 Heelers on the day.

With strong competition, we made the cut and then Dora was placed first – an amazing feeling.  Next into the line up with the other winners from the bitch classes and we got the top prize – Best Bitch and her first Challenge Certificate – I was totally stunned and over the moon.   And all this going on while Stephen was oblivious, chatting away with Bilbo & Pickle on the Discover Dogs stand!

We are still on Cloud Nine