Top 5 real life hero dogs

by Mark James on August 21, 2010

Here at Dream Dogs, we’ve been looking at celebrity dog owners. All of the pets that we have looked at have been famous by dint of the fact that their owners are famous, but what of dogs that are famous in their own right, standing on their own four paws?

Centuries of domestication and selective breeding have made the dog our closest pal in the animal kingdom. Of course, some would argue that cats are, but have you ever seen a cat wag its tail when you get home from work? Whether it’s someone who is lonely finding companionship in their pet, a child whose dog is his best playmate or a riot policeman, looking on in pride as his German shepherd sinks its teeth into a tie-dye shirt wearing climate protester, it’s not for nothing that we’re known as a nation of dog lovers.

Those with a close relationship to their pet sometimes find that their dog is very protective towards them. For some, this simply entails a daily barking session at the mail dropping through the letterbox, but for others it means them throwing life and limb in harm’s way to defend their master. Let’s have a look at the top five dogs that have done just that.

Rats the Soldier Dog of UlsterRats

Known as the Soldier Dog of Ulster, Rats was an unassuming white and brown mongrel. He accompanied British troops out on manoeuvres day and night, including helicopter missions, and much front line action.

In fact, Rats became such a morale booster that he became a target for the IRA. He was run over, blown up, had his leg broken, was shot and had shrapnel lodged in his spine, but it didn’t stop him in the slightest. He had a nose for danger, and on many occasions he warned a patrol that something was wrong, saving lives in the process.

Rats was eventually given an army number. He was awarded a medal inscribed with ‘Rats, Delta 777’ in a ceremony attended by his whole company and a piper, who in his honour played Scotland the Brave. The plucky pooch was eventually retired to (more…)

Top 5 UK Soap Opera actors who own dogs

by Mark James on August 20, 2010

I have to make a confession: I’m not a huge fan of soap operas. My knowledge of Coronation Street begins and ends with Albert Tatlock, and the last time I watched EastEnders, Nick Cotton had broken in Reg Cox’s flat to nick his war medals.

Despite my indifference, soap operas are huge everywhere. Whether it’s a dour Mancunian grumpfest like Albion Market, the ten-gallon, shoulder padded exploits of everyday Texan oil barons or wigged out Mexican daytime soaps about doctors, inheritance battles and unwitting incest, there’s no mistaking their popularity. In salutation to the humble soap actor, we at Dream Dogs give you our top 5 UK soap star dog owners.

Patsy Palmer

The 38 year old actress, who found fame playing Bianca, the freckled foghorn and bedeviller of cockernee thickie Ricky in EastEnders, owns a Shar Pei called Layla. Although you may think that she’s only ever been in the soap, she’s also starred in Grange Hill, Drop the Dead Donkey and The Bill, but ‘let’s face it, who hasn’t been in The Bill? She also played a teen with a face like a welder’s bench in (more…)

Top 5 singers who have dogs

by Mark James on August 19, 2010

Continuing our week long list of lists, today we turn the spotlight on singers.

It’s funny old life being a rock star or a member of a band. When you’re not holed up in a studio, recording your 152nd take on a backing vocal because you still can’t get it right, filming a reality TV series about your dysfunctional kerr-azy family or twitching in a gutter outside a nightclub after overdoing the Columbian marching powder, you’re more than likely you’re on tour, spending months away from your home and family.

This hardly seems like the behaviour of a conscientious dog owner. We all know that your pet needs love and attention, not to mention feeding, watering and exercise. Luckily for the average rock multi millionaire, he’ll have hired help on hand to assist with the day to day care of his pet, whether it’s an elderly English retainer or a young Filipino manservant. This leaves you free to pose with your pooch for photographs for Hello’s exclusive 8 page spread of your brand new Hampshire mansion.

Of course, this is a sweeping generalisation. In a profession where image is everything, sycophancy abounds, teen idols have a shelf life measurable in weeks and talented people never seem to get the success you think they deserve; the unquestioning loyalty and friendship that your dog will give you can be beyond compare. Let’s have a gander at some of the more famous warblers who have a pet dog.

Robbie and his dogsRobbie Williams

Not long back in the UK after his American UFO hunting jaunt, the one time Take That bad boy and now new Take That bad boy owns several dogs. Due to quarantine laws, he had to leave his pets in Los Angeles for six months when he moved back to Blighty, but this didn’t stop him from spending time with his Labrador/Pitbull cross, German Shepherd, Bull Mastiff, Rottweiler and a wolf called Sid. He shelled out £4,000 per month on first class, 11 hour flights to see his pets. The dogs were (more…)

Top 5 Actresses who own dogs

by Mark James on August 18, 2010

So far in our week-long look at famous dog owners, we’ve cast a beady eye on Premiership football players and actors, but today we address this gender imbalance by looking at famous actresses who own a pooch.

As I surmised in yesterday’s article, the top of the acting profession is a cold, lonely place that fosters suspicion, mistrust, paranoia and a host of medium-grade mental illnesses. This is even more so for actresses, as they are judged more harshly on their looks than their male counterparts. Although there has always been a steady stream of young, good looking actors, it seems that it’s only the women who have to look over their shoulder and keep a wary eye on the next bright young thing foisted upon moviegoers.

Even though both actors and actresses resort to plastic surgery to keep ahead of the competition in the looks department, it seems that less fuss is made about the guys. It would be interesting to total up the column inches devoted to Nicole Kidman’s alleged Botox treatment compared to Michael Douglas’ alleged (more…)

Top 5 Actors who own dogs

by Mark James on August 17, 2010

Hey fiddle-de-dee, an actor’s life for me! Or so we’d like to think. As a matter of fact, being an actor is hard work. Sure, you may think that it would be a chore having George Clooney’s matinee idol looks, Tom Cruise’ money or Jack Nicholson’s charisma, but these guys are at the top of the actor’s food chain. Their success is attributable to hard work, learning their craft, being in the right place at the right time, luck and being hugely talented. For every actor who becomes one of the top dogs in their profession, there are countless other poverty-stricken thesps who resort to eating dog food between acting gigs.

It’s a given that as an actor acquires more and more fame, there’s more of a chance that they will acquire flunkies to tend to their needs and massage their ego. Whether it’s to beat off screaming fans, scatter rose petals in their path or make midnight runs for bowls of blue M&Ms, their every whim is catered for. It’s easy to see how the upper echelons of the acting fraternity could become somewhat paranoid when surrounded by yes men, which is why many actors turn to their dogs for companionship.

No matter if your latest film only achieves a 23 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes or how strange you look after botched plastic surgery, your faithful pooch will not desert you. This is why many are lavished with (more…)

Top 5 Premiership dog owners

by Mark James on August 16, 2010

Ah, Premiership footballers. It’s hard to think of another group of people who can divide public opinion so much. Frequently pilloried for the stupendous wage packets they pick up, it’s amazing how they can be denounced one day and lauded the next. Take David Beckham, for example.

A boyish Beckham bore the weight of a nation’s expectation on his shoulders during the build up to the 1998 Word Cup in France. During a much anticipated match with Argentina in the second round of the competition, he was sent off, resulting in his effigy being burned outside pubs in London.

Fast forward to 2001, and Beckham’s goal against Greece, which qualified England for the 2002 World Cup, completed his conversion to a hero once again.

Doubtless a lot of them live in luxury and are fine fodder for paparazzi, but what of their pets? Do their cats have solid gold litter trays? Do their budgerigars dine only on the same Trill as the Queen’s? What about their pet dogs? The first in our series of Top 5 articles this week, let’s have a look at the top 5 Premiership footballer dog owners:

Ashley Cole

Fully paid up love rat Cole, 29, has recently split up from wife Cheryl Cole. The former Girls Aloud singer filed for divorce due to Ashley’s much publicised philandering. Rather than arguing over who owned which DVD or which of them gets to keep the crockery, the ex couple are headed for a bust up over their pet dogs.

X-Factor judge Cheryl has said time and time again that their pair of pet Chihuahuas, Coco and Buster, are the most important thing in the world to her. The problem is that Ashley also claims the two dogs are critical to his happiness as a (more…)

How to start toilet training your puppy

by Vivien Richardson on August 15, 2010

When you bring home a new puppy for the first time you need to start teaching him to go outside in your garden or back yard to relieve himself.

It is all down to communication; while you are first training a puppy do not have too many high expectations. Your expectations of your puppy should be at the same level that you have of a new born baby.

It takes patience and a little time before your puppy realises what you want him to do, any accidents must not result in you shouting, smacking or rubbing your pet’s nose into his faeces; after all your mother didn’t do that to you when you were a baby!

The procedure is simple; it is down to timing and keeping a watchful eye on your puppy. Each time your puppy goes to the toilet you have to praise him in a light encouraging tone of voice, he will look forward to your praise and try to please you.

Toilet train a puppy

Toilet train a puppy

When your new pal has eaten his meal he will need to go out to relieve himself, it is best you take him to a part of the garden where you have allocated him a toileting space, praise him when he actually goes and after he has finished.

However, if you prefer to wait until he has had all his injections then use paper or puppy pads situated conveniently near the back door so that he will associate the door with going to the toilet.

Do not put puppy pads all over the house, although at night time you can place one in the bottom of his dog crate or dog bed.

If you or your family are at home during the day, each person should keep to the same routine. Your puppy will be confused if everyone expects him to follow a different routine.

One of the easiest ways to tempt your puppy is with the use of dog treats, treats can be kept in a small bag near the back door. When he has relieved himself on the paper or asked to go out by heading off towards the door then praise, and a treat, is his reward.

However, if you are starting off his toilet training for the very first time, taking him out at key times during the day will help him to know what you are asking of him. These times can be when he wakes up, after playing with him, after his meals and last thing at night.

A puppy up to the age of 12 weeks may need to be taken out every hour to get him into a routine, as he gets older he will be able to hold himself for a longer period. When your puppy reaches the age of six to nine months he should be able to hold himself in long enough to last through the night, although there may be a few accidents at certain times.

How to tell if my dog is obese

by Mark James on August 14, 2010

It’s no exaggeration to say that obesity is a hot topic. We’re constantly told that our waistlines are expanding, and that we should be exercising more and eating less. Magazines and newspapers scrutinise celebrities, gleefully highlighting the recent acquisition of love handles or cellulite, or promoting their latest fitness DVD made to cash in on a dramatic loss of weight. More seriously, an ever increasing strain is placed on health services as instances of diabetes and heart disease creep up.


Does my bum look big in this?

An unfortunate consequence of the nation becoming fatter is that our pet dogs are suffering too. Whether it’s because some of us overfeed them as we overfeed ourselves, or don’t exercise them enough, there’s no mistaking that our pets are becoming fatter. The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) recently issued a warning. Drawing from data accumulated from the medical records of over 30,000 dogs, they estimate that the proportion of obese dogs has risen from (more…)

How to tell if your dog has earache

by Vivien Richardson on August 13, 2010

Dog with earacheOne of the most painful irritations that a puppy or adult dog can suffer from is earache. A dog will let you know he is suffering by scratching his ears to the point that he will make slight tears to the skin tissue in an attempt to stop the pain.

Dogs can also rub their ears on the ground or, if the ear canals are totally blocked, they will not be able to stand up; it is the ear canals that connect to a dog’s sense of balance. When the owner of a puppy or dog bathes their pet, water could have penetrated the ear canals causing dampness and earache; long eared dogs in particular tend to suffer from this problem.

When a dog is being dried off, use a cotton bud and gently stroke the tip across the ear, not within the ear itself. This action will take away (more…)

Which dog breeds are best for allergy suffers?

by Mark James on August 12, 2010

A person can be afflicted with an allergy at any stage of their lives. Whereas someone may avoid a particular detergent or soap, dairy products or shellfish if they are allergic to them, a dog owner will often choose to live with their symptoms rather than give up their four-legged friend.

If you find that you start to suffer from sneezing, a runny or itchy nose, watery eyes, a sore throat or skin rashes when you’re around your dog, there’s a good chance that you have developed an intolerance to him. This can be confirmed by a visit to your GP, who can arrange for you to undergo test to determine the source of your allergy.

It’s unlikely that an owner will swap their pet for a breed that is allergy friendly, but there are several measures that you can take to minimise the onset of your symptoms.

First and foremost is cleanliness. Dog allergens will be found on furniture, walls, curtains and clothing, and can remain airborne for some time. Don’t allow your pet to sleep or play on any furniture that you will be using. Dander can gather here, and can cause a severe reaction. It’s essential to ensure that your house is cleaned regularly. Shampoo or steam clean your carpet every (more…)

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