My friend's dog died today…

My friend’s staffie, Rocky, was put down today.  He’d been awfully ill for some time: he used to have a voracious appetite, but for the past couple of months he’d been right off his food; he was vomiting at least once a day (usually more); and the once-active dog was reduced to lying spread-eagled on the floor all day.  If he needed to answer the call of nature, he could just about stagger outside to the garden, then peed and crapped right there.  And his crap was so dark, almost black.
This morning my friend took Rocky to the vet’s for a scan – a few hours later he got the dreaded phone call: “He’s got tumours spreading through his insides.  There’s nothing we can do.  I advise you to have him put down now, before his suffering becomes too much to bear.”
So my friend returned to the vet’s, gave Rocky some fuss, a piece of his favourite chocolate, and bade him farewell.  Then the lethal injection was administered and Rocky fell asleep forever.
Rocky had had a good innings – he was approximately 11 or 12 years old, and for the last 10 years he’d been spoilt rotten.  He’s had a good life; but that doesn’t make it feel any better.  And now my thoughts have turned to my own dog’s mortality.  DD, my American bulldog, is only six-ish, and she is as healthy as can be – but I’m well aware that I’m probably going to outlive her.  It isn’t fair: why can’t dogs live forever?  You get a pet, love it as much as any human, and then it dies.  Life is so unfair.
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Beware of beware of the dog signs

I’ve got an American Bulldog (note, this is not the same thing as the so-called “American pitbull terrier“, which breed was specifically banned in British law as a banned “dangerous” dog).  My bulldog is extremely friendly, but she barks loud and often, and some of the expressions she pulls would definitely scare strangers.
Anyway, she spends her day going out of the house to the garden, then back again, barking at cats, dogs and children it encounters.  The garden is securely fenced.  But what’s worried me recently is this new family who’s moved into the neighbourhood.  I’ve seen these idiots’ kids actually sticking their fingers through the fence so they could “touch the doggy”.
All this reminded me of a story/urban myth/whatever it is that claims a dog owner who put up a BEWARE OF THE DOG sign is admitting he knows his dog is dangerous and therefore is more liable for any dogbites than an owner who “didnt know” their dog might bite.  From one point of view that seems quite reasonable… if you know your dog bites you should muzzle it or something… but from another POV it’s ridiculous: you’ve gone out of your way to inform possible trespassers that they might get bitten.
I decided to look around on the internet for any pointers on this (all the time remembering that the net is full of people from different places, with different rules, so I was unlikely to find a definitive answer.  And I found a typically self-contradictory discussion on  It seems that in some jurisdictions, a BEWARE OF THE DOG sign can be seen as an admission by the dog owner that his animal is a potential danger.  Whereas in other places such a sign is considered “fair warning” to potential trespassers and if someone gets bitten it’s his own stupid fault.  Which is the argument I agree with – if some fool enters my property knowing it’s guarded by a big barky dog, awful things may happen and it’s the trespasser’s own fault.
But laws are rarely sensible.  And if one of my new youthful neighbours lost a few fingers through teasing my dog, it’s quite likely that my poor mut would be dragged off for a lethal injection.  Doubleplusungood, eh?
But apparently there are ways around this.  One such is a picture of the dog looking suitably horrible, and a message saying something like I LIVE HERE!!!  This isn’t a threat – it’s just informative, right?  I’m not telling potential thieves and trespassers that they may get eaten if they enter my garden; I’m proudly showing off my pooch.
To this end, I have created the sign below.  It isn’t a threat; it’s just a statement.  My pretty little dog hangs out in my garden.  Maybe you’d like to stroke the pooch – some people do.  But if a stranger enters my property… well, it’s like I say to the neighbourhood kids:
Kid: Does your dog bite?
Me:  All dogs bite!  That’s why they have teeth!
Anyway, I want some feedback.  Is the sign threatening?  Or is it just informative?  Should I tie the pic to my fence or keep it in the house?  Please leave a Comment: I’d really like to know what people in general think of this.  Cheers.

UK to ban the poor from owning dogs

I’m a dog owner, and this story has really pissed me off! It appears that the UK government is considering law changes that will make dog ownership all but illegal for the poor!
The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has been carrying out a consultation, ostensibly to see what legislative changes are required to improve control of dangerous dogs. A copy of the document has been leaked; and it seems that DEFRA are seriously considering the introduction of a “dog owner’s competency test”. As the paper spells out, establishing such a scheme would be very costly, and would be funded by charging a prohibitive fee for those taking the test and reintroducing dog licenses.

If you're short of cash you can kiss your puppies goodbye!

DEFRA haven’t responded to the reports, claiming they never comment on leaked documents. But it’s a fact that for some time now there’s been a concern about the ownership of pit bull terriers and other so-called “status dogs” amongst poor white males. This concern has been fuelled by a number of attacks, such as the case of John-Paul Massey, a four-year-old Liverpool boy, who died after being savaged by the family’s pit bull. There is a stereotype amongst the British tabloid press of young men roaming council estates with vicious pit bulls instead of knives and guns.
It is only a stereotype – there’s no real socio-economic link between poverty and dog attacks – but the tabloids have conjured up this image so often, there is now a very real belief among many people that the poor are using dogs as weapons. Now government spokesmen are talking in the same terms. And as a result of this “tail wagging the dog” mentality, some politicians are seriously thinking about banning the poor from owning dogs. Or at least introducing fees that will make dog ownership an expensive luxury.
Britain is well known to be a nation of dog lovers. Normally, the idea of pricing dog ownership out of the reach of the poor would be a ludicrous notion. But with a general election looming, and a hung parliament a real possibility, politicians of all parties are considering any idea that might win them a few votes. Remember when the Liberal Democrats used the spectre of racism to try and win votes in the east end of London? I’ll bet most of you never thought you’d see the day when liberals sided with the BNP, did you? So don’t dismiss the idea that desperate politicians will take pet corgis away from hard-up pensioners, in the name of clamping down on so-called “dangerous dogs”. We need to tell the politicians to keep their paws off our dogs! Or, never mind the pit bulls, we’ll bite the bastards ourselves!

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