All posts by groovyal24

About groovyal24

I have a National Diploma in Animal Management, and a BSc (Hons) Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare. I love animals and have had a few pets of my own, and experience with many different animal species through various jobs and my studies.

11th November – We Remember


This day, 11th November, we set aside to remember all the fallen in war; the hero’s who gave their today, for our tomorrow. These brave people and animals gave their lives, fighting to preserve all that they, and we, hold dear. Their selfless acts and sacrifices allow us the freedom we have; for that, and so much more, we remember them.

Horses are the animals primarily thought of when war animals are mention (at least in my experience in conversations); a war horse had many uses. Depending on the military role of the division in which a horse was placed, would often determine the use(s) of the animal.

A war horse would carry soldiers into battle, be used as transport for messengers, would pull equipment, machinery, artillery, supply carts, and much more. However, horses were integral to the war, and soldiers would form bonds with their horse, often sleeping close together for warmth when necessary. Donkey’s and Mule’s would also have been used for similar roles; however less so as transport for riders.

Perhaps a lesser-known animal used for pulling equipment and supplies, not used on the battlefield, but back home. Due to the usual animals used (horses, mules, donkeys, etc) as they had been taken into war, their roles at home were taken over by some less-common animals in their absence. Elephants and camels were used for transporting materials and such, as well as for ploughing fields, hauling hay/straw, and other every-day jobs that needed to be done. One of the more famous, was Lizzie the Indian elephant (pictured below); once part of a travelling circus, had her role in life completely altered by WW1 just as many people had – and she was put to work in a scrap metal yard in Sheffield.

Pigeons and dogs were also used to carry messages during war. Pigeons were useful with their homing instincts, being able to bring them back to where the message came from – thus being able to return a response message to the correct place as necessary. Dogs were able to navigate trenches and battlefields with more ease and speed than a human soldier, which made them great at transporting messages this way. Dogs had other uses in war, such as; being guard and/or watch dogs, using their keen sense of smell to find injured soldiers on the battlefield and carry medical supplies, as ratters, and (my no means least) as companions.

Cats would also have been used for companionship, as well as for rodent control in the trenches and living areas of the soldiers, as well as on Naval ships. As rodents spread disease and deplete food supplies, cats were of great value in war-time.

Although you probably wouldn’t have thought it, slugs were also of great value during war. How? Well, slugs have the ability to detect gas before humans. They close up their breathing pores and compress their body to protect themselves, and survive the gas. As such, soldiers would take a “Slug Brigade” with them, and when they saw the slugs react to gas, they put on their gas masks before the gas reached harmful levels, and many lives were saved.

Thanks to brave men and women on the battlefields, and back home; thanks to the many animals playing their part on the battlefields, and back home; thanks to the sacrifices made by so many, we have the lives we live today.

Please check out my November 2014 post Remembrance to see other animals that have been used in wars throughout history.


All other images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AlisAnswers)
. LinkedIn (Ali Lloyd)

Titbit follow-up: Bertie the Schnauzer

So training with Bertie has been pretty straight-forward, and quite easy – until the last time we had a trainging session, in which we continued lead training!

He’s not so keen to walk to heel when he knows a run on the field is just around the corner! But his owners and I have been working with him and he is getting better each time we go out. He is quite good with his recall training, but sometimes gets distracted by the 10 metre lead and decides to play with that instead!

Bertie

Initially treat motivation and reward was enough, especially with the basics; with more distractions and unwillingness to walk without pulling, I implemented a new reward – his favourite squeaky toy! This saw the change in his behaviour, as the motivation to be good for the reward was renewed. Clearly the treats are not what he’s most interested in as a reward, but play time with his favourite squeaky toy is a great reward; he is now motivated to do well again.

Don’t give up when training your pup gets tough – change tactics, change reward, change your approach – incorporate whatever positive thing works.


All other images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AlisAnswers)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Goodnight and goodbye

To paraphrase the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy;

So long, and thanks for all the licks.

Last week (19/09/19) my family and I said our final farewell to our little dog – he was just over 15 years old, and he brought joy to our lives ever since we brought him home as a puppy in 2004.

It’s always sad to say goodbye to a member of the family – our Barney has been a part of ours since I was 13.

It’s never an easy decision to make; but for so many of us it’s a decision that has to be made, at some point, on behalf of our beloved pet. It was the kind call to make, for his sake, even though heartbreaking for us.

A piece of my heart went with him last Thursday, and he’ll always be treasured in our hearts and memories!

All we can do, as responsible persons for the lives of our animal family members, is to treat them well and give them a happy, healthy life. Then, if it comes down to it, we have the responsibility to not let them suffer too much at the end; and to be there for them – the way they’ve been there for us throughout their lives.

We are to do what’s best for them, as care-givers for as long as we get to have them in our lives!

Royal Mail Dog Awareness Week: 08-13 July 2019

Dog awareness week, this week, is to raise awareness of dog attacks on post men and women. The aim is to encourage dog owners to be responsible, with the aim of reducing/ eradicating attacks which can result in permanent/ disabling injury.

Over 2,000 dog attacks happened to post men and women in the past year! Over 80% of which happen when the dog is unrestrained in the front garden and at the door.

This is significant risk when you’re just trying to do your job!

Even the nicest dog can become defensive or fearful if it feels its’ territory and/or pack is being threatened – possibly causing your placid pooch to act out of the ordinary and attack the post delivering ‘intruder’. Any dog is capable of attacking; it is therefore the responsibility of you, the dog owner, to ensure the premises are safe and the dog secure when Royal Mail staff deliver your post.

If you have a dog that is aggressive for any reason, ensure you take necessary measures to ensure the safety of any person that may come to your home. This could simply be by ensuring your dog is shut in the house or back garden, having a cage round your letter box to protect the hand and post that comes through, having an external letter box, using a muzzle, having your dog on a lead … the list goes on! There are many little things you can do to help keep staff safe. This will also benefit your dog, as if they do cause substantial injury it could result in your pet being destroyed.

Post men and women should be able to go to work without fear, and do their jobs in safe environments. Be aware of your dog and those around your dog – be responsible and do your up most to ensure your dog is well trained, and all measures necessary are undertaken to keep everyone safe.


All other images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AlisAnswers)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Want to know more? Crocodiles

With regard to the ears and hearing of Crocodiles – see my previous post. This post is just a short follow-up, with a bit more crocodile info…

Their nostrils can also close up to seal out the water when submerged. They have a long snout full of teeth! The fourth tooth (working from nose), on the bottom, is visible over the sides of the top lip.

The tongue of a crocodile is quite unusual in the fact it is fixed to the bottom of the mouth; it is immovable.

The double spikes along the length of the body and tail are called the scute. Each spike along the scute has bone…

The pattern of the scales on their head and snout are unique to the individual the same way our fingerprints are individual, or the patterns on a giraffe or leopard (etc)…

They really are (in my opinion) fascinating and magnificent creatures.


All other images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AlisAnswers)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Dog groups: Sighthounds

Sighthounds (a.k.a gazehounds) are hunting dog breeds that hunt by sight, and speed! As this group of dogs hunt by sight; they need the stamina, speed and agility to keep up with their prey.

As seen in the below image; Sightounds are slim built dogs (lean), with deep chests, long legs, and flexible backs – all traits which aid the dog in keeping up with their prey.

Saluki Whippet (TMSHG)
Deep chest, long (strong) legs, lean build – Saluki and Whippet. [Photo credit: Paul Morrison/ The Morrison Sighthound Gang on Facebook]
Sighthounds need exercise just like any other dog, but focusing on the type of exercise. As long as your sighthound gets a good sprint, a couple of 20-30 minute walks daily are quite sufficient (in between nice, long snoozes of course)!

Sighthounds playing (TMSHG)
Playful dogs from The Morrison Sighthound gang [Photo credit: Paul Morrison/The Morrison Sighthound Gang on Facebook]
Sighthounds are generally affectionate and friendly dogs, both with their human(s) and other dogs. However, are often not suited to living with small, fast animals as this may trigger their chase and hunt instincts!

Sighthound breeds include:

  • Afghan Hound
    Height: 60-75 cm, Weight: 25-35 kg, Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Azawakh
    Height: 60-75 cm, Weight: 15-25 kg, Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Basenji
    Height: 38-43 cm, Weight: 9-12 kg, Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Borzoi
    Height: 66-76 cm, Weight: 25-47 kg, Lifespan: 7-10 years
  • Greyhound
    Height: 68-76 cm, Weight: 26-40 kg, Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Ibizan Hound
    Height: 56-74 cm, Weight: 20-30 kg, Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Irish Wolfhound
    Height: 76-90 cm, Weight: 47-64 kg, Lifespan: 6-10 years
  • Italian Greyhound
    Height: 33-38 cm, Weight: 3-5 kg, Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Pharaoh Hound
    Height: 53-64 cm, Weight: 18-27 kg, Lifespan: 11-14 years
  • Saluki
    Height: 58-71 cm, Weight: 18-27 kg, Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Scottish Deerhound
    Height: 70-80 cm, Weight: 35-50 kg, Lifespan: 8-11 years
  • Sloughi
    Height: 61-72 cm, Weight: 18-28 kg, Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Whippet
    Height: 45-56 cm, Weight: 6-14 kg, Lifespan: 12-15 years

A Lurcher is a type of Sighthound but is not a purebreed, but a mix (this may be a mix of Sighthound breeds, or of a Sighthound and any other breed(s)). Lurchers will exhibit traits of the breeds that are in them, as with any other crossbreed, but will have the general appearance of a Sighthound.


I recommend checking out (via this link) The Morrison Sighthound Gang page on Facebook for more stunning photographs, as well as videos, and information. I want to thank The Morrison Sighthound Gang for the use of the images (all individually credited).


All other images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AlisAnswers)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

 

 

 

 

Titbit: Bertie the Miniature Schnauzer

So recently I’ve started clicker training with my new friend Bertie. As you can see from the photo above, Bertie is a (young) Miniature Schnauzer. He is such a lovely little pup – so friendly and so smart! But, as with all pups, quite mischievous too!

Bertie is quite fond of the clicker as he has quickly learned to associate the noise with the reward. They key in any kind of training is to find what motivates your dog to use as the reward – with Bertie it is most definitely treats! But with your dog it may be a particular toy or ball, or even just a big fuss!

Bertie responds well to the puppy treats i have been usuing. He is lovely to train as he responds really well to the clicker. He learned “down” in about 10 minutes one afternoon.

As he’s young we (his owners and I) are going to do the basic training, as well as a few fun tricks! I know Bertie will pick it up quickly.

The other week I was dog-sitting so used the opportunity to do a little recall training with Bertie on my own. It’ll be an eye opener to see how well he does this for other people; for a first go he was very good for me, and spent a good amount of time off lead as a result.

Before we left the park he made friends with a Husky cross – even if she was a little unsure of the small dog at first!

I am looking forward to doing more training with little Bertie, and seeing him become a model dog/ student! 😉


All other images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AlisAnswers)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Endangered Earth


In the past 10 years we have lost several animal species – in this day and age we consider ourselves better than our predecessors, yet we are still the main cause of animals going extinct… we’re no better than those before us – in some ways we’re worse, as we are not doing what we do to survive; we are doing it for “fun” or “progress”. In what civilised or ‘advanced’ society is there place for this abominable behaviour? Yes, this post is looking to be an informative rant-type…

In the past century many animal species have been wiped from the planet, below is a selection (from the past decade) of those lost forever:
(1) 2015 – Eastern Cougar
(2) 2014 – Malagasy Hippopotamus
(3) 2013 – Formosan Clouded Leopard
(4) 2012 – Pinta Tortoise
(5) 2012 – Zanzibar Leopard
(6) 2012 – Japanese River Otter
(7) 2011 – Western Black Rhinoceros
(8) 2010 – Alatora Grebe
(9) 2010 – Derwent River Sea Star
(10) 2009 – Christmas Island Pipistrelle Bat
(11) 2008 – Spotted Green Pigeon (Liverpool Pigeon)
(12) 2008 – Caribbean Monk Seal

Many species that are extinct today is due to humans – we hunt to extinction, we destroy habitats, we remove animals from the wild for fashion or entertainment – we first make them extinct in the wild and then we deplete the captive animals until they’re gone… and many other reasons.
The ICUN Red List contains information of the endangerment of species.
We used to hunt sustainably for food, and in many countries/cultures this is still the case, but most of the hunting (at least in first world cultures) is for “fun” or “sport” and is unjustifiably cruel and unnecessary. The man that hunts to feed his family and/or community is not the reason Elephants and Rhino’s are depleting in number and becoming extinct; the cruelty of riding out with a pack of dogs to have them tear apart an innocent fox is not for any justifiable reason; the mind-set of people needs to change to make a difference… the bans we have in place need to be enforced to make a difference… we all want a better world but that won’t happen if we cannot really change.

We have bans (in certain countries) on things like fox hunting, whale hunting (whaling), shark finning, dog and cock fighting, removing animals from the wild (with conservation excepted), and many more abhorrent things – yet these bans are not universal, and often not enforced. If there are no consequences for these actions, or these consequences are not adhered to and/ or enforced, then what power do these bans have? Where then is the protection for these creatures?

Red Fox

Animals are a lot more important to their ecosystems than people give them credit for – the removal or addition of one species has an affect on everything around it. Take the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park for example – video link here (this is in no way my video) – thanks to wolves being back in the ecosystem, the rivers went back to how they used to be, plants that had been destroyed by the overpopulation of deer returned, because the wolves kept down the deer population – things went back to the way they were; back to how they should be. Why did the ecosystem breakdown in the first place; why did the wolves become extinct in Yellowstone? Because of us. Because of humans. Because we killed them off…Grey Wolf

The way we are going, the same thing will happen again and again, with more species. We, as a species, need to change before we are the only species left on a dying planet – small steps to ensure that other species don’t become myth and fairy-tales, instead of living, breathing creatures that share this planet.