A cat called Buckets

Some 10 years ago we were visiting a very good friend in Australia who worked there as a vet. She introduced us to a cat called Buckets, whose unflappable character really impressed us. And when Katie told us his story we were even more impressed.

On a hot day in Cowra, Australia, some children brought in a heat-stressed kitten that had been chased by some dogs. His temperature was 41.8! He was placed in a bucket of cold water to bring down his temperature, but his temperature did not fall, because he was still severely agitated. Katie decided to sedate the kitten and then lowered him into a bucket of ice water. Finally his temperature came down.

Buckets was castrated, vaccinated, wormed and treated for fleas. And he didn’t leave, he became the ‘practice cat’, and spent most of his time in the waiting room, observing and interacting with other cats, dogs, sheep and goats.

Karen and I met Buckets when some Blue Heeler Cattle Dog puppies were there too, and the video below gives you some idea of the kind of cat Buckets had become – supremely confident with the patience of a saint.

This story has an addendum, but I’ll keep that for the next blog post.

Hot dogs

We’ve had a lot of rain recently, and it hasn’t really felt like summer for much of the time. While I really miss the sunshine and the warmth, Brian the Boxer revels in this kind of weather.

The main reason why Brian doesn’t enjoy warm weather is that he is a brachycephalic, a flat-faced dog.

Some breeds, like Boxers, but also the increasingly popular Pugs, French Bulldogs and  English Bulldogs, have been bred to emphasize certain features that appeal to people, like large eyes and wrinkled foreheads (basically a worried baby look). This was achieved by shortening the muzzle bones, but the skin and soft tissue in those areas did not decrease accordingly, and this has resulted in narrower airways, hence breathing problems.

As we know dogs lose heat primarily through panting. Brian has more problems panting than Casey, our Labrador, due to the shape of his mouth and airways. So Casey cools down more efficiently.

We’ve had a few hot days this summer, which gave us the opportunity to test a ‘wet jacket’ on Brian. This jacket slowly releases water, which has a cooling effect. Brian seems fine with it, and you’ll agree that he looks good too.

Please be aware that all flat-faced dogs need extra attention and care when it is warm. We often take Brian for swims rather than walks, and although he prefers to splash rather swim, it does cool him down.

Karen & Harry

Successful run for Pancreatic Cancer Research

We successfully completed our London run. It was uncomfortably warm and neither of us was in the best of health. But most importantly, we managed to raise more than £1,600 for the PCRF (Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund). We are very grateful to all those who supported us. THANK YOU!

Maggie Blanks, founder of the PCRF, with sweaty but happy runners on either side



Running the British 10k in London for Wendy and Ken

I’m running the British 10k London again, on Sunday 9 July. This time without Lisa, who is injured. But with Marieke, my cousin.

Wendy Butler and Ken Smith both lived in our village and succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Every year I run, in their memory, to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. Last year we raised in excess of £1,600 and we hope, with your help, to raise a similar amount this year. So please help us. 

You can donate by clicking on this link:

We are also collecting money at the practice, if that is more convenient.

If you want to find out more about PCRF, and the good work they do, please click this link: http://www.pcrf.org.uk/

Thank you!



Billie is 18 today!

This is Billie, today is her 18th birthday, and (see below) she’s off the scale!

Happy birthday, Billie

We’ve known Billie all her life, and this past week we’ve had the privilege of looking after her. Initially she was a bit quiet, but gradually she had made her presence felt, especially during breakfast, lunch and dinner time. The old girl has a healthy appetite. Tomorrow Billie is going home and we’re all sad to see her go. We wish her all the best.

This helpful table indicates (with a modest degree of accuracy) how old a dog is in ‘human years’. As you can see, Billie is immeasurably old!


Cogges in Dahab – final day

Our last day! The week has flown by. We had a shorter day today as we had to clear up as well. Managed to neuter 12 animals bringing our total to 76 – quite a good result as we were expected to do 50. All in all a very successful TNR.
Karin arranged a lovely end of TNR celebration at her home up in the mountains. Great food and lovely, interesting company. A really amazing bunch of people from all over the world who do so much for the welfare of animals – warms the soul.
Without all these volunteers there would be no TNR, and Dahab would be a very sad place  for cats and dogs.
Now we just disappear into the sky and the work of Animal Welfare Dahab continues, day in, day out. A big thank you to all of the volunteers and also to the people in England who have given donations and support. Thank you also to Karin, Anna as José for organizing everything and to Axel for lending us his lovely house. Also a big thank you to the staff at Cogges Vets who have to work much harder while we are away – we thought of you lot every time we dived into the ocean or sat at a beach cafe! A very big thank you to Paul for donating the x-ray machine. It was great fun bringing that into the country.  Everyone here is very excited about the possibilities.

Karen & Lisa in Dahab – continued

Today we took a break in the morning and went for a dive.
Well, Lisa dived and I was dragged along the reefs by Marlies, the most amazing dive instructor in the world. She could persuade anyone that they could do it.
The reefs around here are stunning.
Before leaving for our dive we had a cup of coffee at a cafe on the beachfront (yes, life is hard) and were amazed by the appearance of a dog that you will all remember from a previous TNR, Leany. Leany is the dog who met us in  the desert post surgery, wearing his buster collar, after someone had let him out of his overnight abode. We were totally amazed that he recognized  us and came running to join us and leaned against Lisa and put his foot up on my leg. Later in the day he joined us again at a different site. Lisa now thinks that he wants to come with us to England but I think that he is a genuine beach bum and Oxfordshire is a bit short on beaches. These dogs are so wonderful  and so devoted and intelligent. Leany is also truly special.
We were also joined at lunch by a cat with an ear that had been tipped – one of our previous patients.  What a forgiving gang!
A lovely French lady brought a cat in for neutering and told us that Tripod, the 3 legged cat who initially inspired us to do work out here, is alive and well and fat and lives in her house. Lovely to see and hear that a lot of our patients are surviving and even thriving.
We spent the afternoon neutering. We were joined by Dr. Amira with one of her patients. Amira wanted to learn how to remove an undescended testicle (which her patient had). She is always trying to improve her skills and opportunities for continuing professional development are hard to find out here.
So the total so far is 48 neutered animals. Up early in the morning to start again.


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