Wednesday 6 January 2016

The gift of a pet!

Hi everyone. Sorry it's been a while. With the festive season and closing my tour, plus performing in a panto, I've been a little busy. With that in mind I wanted to write my new blog about giving an animal as a present at Christmas or as any gift actually.

Now I know your intentions are wonderful and that you can not wait to see the receivers face. It is such a beautiful thing for them both. But please be aware of everything that comes with owning a new pet before you wrap the pretty bow round their neck.

Statistics show that around half the cats and dogs bought for Christmas are returned!!!!

January and February are the busiest times of year for the animal shelters. How upsetting is that?

Certain factors were clearly not thought out before this poor little creature was cuddled, fussed over, thought it was finding its forever, loving home then given back when the going gets tough!

I'm aware it's a difficult decision for most. I know that it's breaks a lot of hearts. So I thought I'd come up with and reinstate some 'food for thought' and ideas that may help.


Think about it, put it off, think about it again, put it off some more. Then if you still feel the need. Do your research!!

There are so many sites now and groups in your locally area where you can practise living and sharing your life with a animal before you commit to one of your own. Try a free site which I actually joined and adored a king Charles Cavalier. Ask a neighbour or a friend for a doggie sleep over or pet sit while they are away. Visit your local 'Dogs Trust', 'Cats Protection' or animal shelter and bombard them with your own questions. Walk around your nearest park and spend an hour meeting your community and throwing the ball for their pooches. Visit a petting zoo often or farm. I always take my nieces and nephews to one or even 'Pets at home' to play or watch the bunnies for 30 mins. You could even foster pets now. Guide dogs in training are amazing and always need a comfortable home to nurture them to their full giving potential before they meet their companion. Or even older guide dogs who are deserving of retirement need a good home too. Ask at your local shelter or internet sites for your options here. 

With all of these suggestions exhausted your urge to snuggle your own fury friend may be satisfied 😊

If not

Ask yourself....


What kind of commitments do you already have?

Can you be there for the pet when they need you? Dogs should not be left alone for longer than 4 hours at adulthood or for over an hour as a pup. Can you commit to this? Cats are indeed more independent when fully grown but do they have access to the home and garden when you are out?

Will work 'work' around your new addition? Or is it unpredictable???? Will you need help from friends and family members? Are they as enthusiastic?

Do you like short breaks or holidays often out of the country? Are you prepared to leave them in kennels/catteries (do you know a GOOD one) if there's no one to help?

Have you got the time and enthusiasm to train your pet properly so that it effects your life in a positive way rather than the nuisance you shut behind the kitchen door? Will their mistakes make you angry or do you have the patience to deal with their learning and growing much like a child? Also make sure your aware of the little jobs that can take up time every now and then. Grooming and cleaning eyes and ears are not a job loved by most. But gotta be done. 


Do you share with animal lovers? Is the garden secure for them to roam without hurting themselves or escaping? Does your front door open straight onto the mainstreet? Or can cats run around freely without meeting one? Are your neighbours the kind who love complete silence 😉 or a fluffy visitor? Are you too house proud? Remember things get accidentally damaged or chewed and clawed. There may be a faint smell you just can't quite get rid of. Haha! Will this be bearable for you? We love getting all wrapped up and in our wellies to get just as dirty as the dogs. But we are prepared to bath them before we shower when we get home. Are you ? 

Ok next bombard of cray cray q's!! SORRY 

WHAT BREED IS RIGHT FOR YOU?? Are you hypoallergenic? Are your house mates or immediate sitters?

Do you fancy long energetic walks or haven't you got the time? Will you want to play play play or would you want a lazy cat that just wants a cuddle? Are you a people person? Is your future pet? Make sure your buddy has a similar energy level to you. Do you like early morning licks on the face so they can go out or eat their grub? (We're lucky because our boys are just as lazy as us in the morning but love a long walk like we do) 


Will they get on? Do they have enough room for their own space when they want a time out? I mean cos come on we all do from time to time. Does your older pet want a friend?

Where will you get it from? Are they responsibly breeders or does the shelter have all the info and necessary papers? Do they have a bounce back system if he or she doesn't work out for you? Or just tell you to deal with it?? Then where do you go? 


Sorry this is quite personal. But never mind food, chipping, vaccinations and worming tablets, neutering (a whole other topic), leads, collars, dog chews, toys, bedding, wee pads and quite possibly the occasional dog walker or sitter and training classes. Have you got enough to insure your pets welfare? Our beautiful, and mad pup is currently still undergoing treatment for meningitis (I didn't know dogs could get that either) the last 3 months have cost us £5000 which we are lucky enough to have paid regardless but we are so grateful to our pet insurance. Hate to think of those who get a pet, love it, then have to walk away with it in pain because they can't pay to heal it.

Ok so I could go on ( I kinda have) but you decide that all the above is actually quite alright and your desire for a fury friend is still strong. Thats wonderful!

As I wrote above, it is vital (and soon a legal must) to have your pet chipped. Are you wanting to breed correctly? If not please neuter your pet to help the rescuers and shelters around you. Also it is essential to train your pet, putting in as much time and energy as you possibly can, so that you and your pet can be at your happiest together.

Think of when children come to visit or live with you.... When a fussy friend whose not quite animal friendly pops round for a glass of wine or a beer! Will they be met by a calm pet that will convince them HOW AMAZING THEY ARE! When you wanna go for a lovely long walk but don't want the fear of losing them or the arm ache from the excited puller at the end of the lead. Or when the postman leaves the gate open, will your pet be trained enough to stay? All the above can be controlled and enjoyed if you train your animal companion early and consistently through its years. 

Right so you have considered all the above you have put as many hours in as possible to your new friend. It still isn't working. You have tried the training and it just isn't helping either of you. As much as I insist if you plan it right and start the behaviour classes early and consistently it 'shouldn't' be a problem. This can happen. You may feel that your life together is hurting either one of you or another family member or even your pet and it's actually beneficial to separate.

What can you do? 

The cats protection 

Dogs Trust

Blue cross

Are some of my favourite animal sanctuaries. The Dogs trust never put a healthy dog down. Be careful that some shelters will if their numbers get too high. They do try their best, but when people start with good intentions and can't commit, they sadly become over run. (Hence my passionate piece here today) 

Yes people turn to websites like Gumtree but please I urge you not to. You never really know who you are selling them to. There's too many a case where a lovely woman has popped round, knowing exactly what to say just to hand the babe over to a dog fighting ring leader for bate or for battle. DO NOT BE FOOLED! Some people buy just to sell on. Thank god most don't eat them over here. Nasty, but a fair warning, you never know.

Ok so I've probably scared you half to death about buying or adopting your faithful companion. Once again I'm sorry for the excess of information asked of you. It's only because I want to try anything and everything to stop so many of these gorgeous creatures being in peril. Which I'm sure you do too, so please feel free to share my blog.

I truly believe animals give more than they receive to your life. They are therapeutic and great teachers to the young. They love you unconditionally. They show us we can love back. There is nothing an animal can't give to you. They really do benefit my life. Always have always will do. Silent best friends. Absolute joy to watch, snuggle and care for....and to be cared for. 


Tuesday 16 June 2015

The truth about your fur!

Sorry it's taken me a while lovely people. I have been quite busy with 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' on tour.

We have been to three venues's going so fast. Whilst in Birmingham and Manchester I managed to find the time to 'Take a Stand' for Animal Rights and joined forces with the wonderful PETA. 'People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals'. Together we took a powerful image, right outside 'Harvey Nichols' stores, to protest their recent decision to sell fur again after 10 years without. And no the fox wasn't real.

Harvey Nichols were pressured to ban the selling of Fur in 2004, when 95% of the general public said they would never wear real fur, and designers such as Stella McCartney and Calvin Klein said they would never use the inhumane product. People were impressed by their compassionate decision and the store gained global respect. Myself and PETA feel that Harvey Nichols is such a successful, powerful store with the opportunity to influence many others along with the general consumer. So why turn their back on their promise and go against their consumer demands? Harvey Nichols' timid response was that they are sourcing their fur from the company 'Origin Assured'. They 'assure' us that they only use fur from Countries with "high-welfare" standards and that the animals are treated humanely. Their is NO WAY you can electricute and rip the flesh of an animal to wear on your own skin 'humanely'. 
"It is estimated 85% of the worlds fur comes from farms where animals spend their entire lives confined to small, filthy wire cages". Only last year PETA exposed 'Origin Assured' farms for being just that, with video evidence of the highest form of cruelty!

Please be warned it's not a nice watch....

The Fur Industry are desperate. Hiding behind labels such as 'Origin Assured' and even bribing up and coming fashion designers, by giving students free fur material. Why and how can people want this industry to continue?

Now if you've read my previous blog on the abuse of animals for our benefit. You will know more about the conditions these animals live in and all for what? Our vanity? I am increasingly becoming more aware of what goes into the products and materials I buy. Yes I have been blissfully unaware in the past and I'm sure like many, have made mistakes. But my blogs and messages are purely to raise awareness, and if I get someone to think before they buy that lipstick or that coat from now on, I'll be happy I tried and grateful to you!

 Here's us in action in Manchester
And Birmingham....

So now that you know the truth and a few facts. Please help PETA in the fight to keep Fur off our shop floors and on the innocent rabbits, foxes and raccoons backs! Sign here

Thank you from me and them x 

Monday 11 May 2015

AFRICA Naankuse!

April 2014 my boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to fly to Namibia South West Africa. Neither of us had ever been there before. But we were both very passionate about animals and their welfare, that this seemed like a beautiful and beneficial place to help. We wanted to volunteer and make a difference to vulnerable animals. We did not want to pay to have a photograph taken with a drugged or caged cheetah, so we had to be very thorough and commit to our research as we soon learned that not all places are like Na'ankuse. So I do warn others like ourselves to be vigilant. 

Na'ankuse meaning 'God will protect us' 'God watches over us' is an animal sanctuary who's purpose is to rescue orphaned animals, and care for them till they are fit enough to survive back in the wild! As you can imagine the latter is very important to us. They do not breed in captivity. 
These beautiful creatures have been orphaned in many ways-the parents may have died not long after their birth and they have been abandoned with no life skills or they were snatched from their parents to become pets!! I can not stress enough that a tiger should never be a pet!! 

For the rescued wildlife at Na'ankuse that have been humanised therefore are unable to completely adapt to living in the wild. Na'ankuse have built acres and acres of land for the individuals to experience the next best thing to their natural environment. 

Here's where we come in as volunteers.

Our helpful jobs begin at 8.00. Do not be fooled they are not created for our entertainment. We are genuinely involved and needed in these activities. Without the schedule and explanation in great detail of our chores the animals would be hungry, dirty and unmonitored. 

Whilst we were camping at Na'ankuse we got to clean out the enclosures and feed 
Cheetahs, an Aardvark, horses, pole cats, baboons, vervets, lions, wild dogs, caracals, ostriches, jackals and many many more. We helped to build new enclosures, prepare their morning and nightly feeds. We scaled Naankuse's borders for signs of fence damage and cheeky little tunnels under the fences where warthogs burrow through, which in turn leaves enough space for wild leopards to follow. Who could threaten the tamer creatures protected inside. In Fact whilst we were there, one of our jobs was to trek out in search for footprints of animals in places they shouldn't be-watch back video tapes of hidden cameras and check the traps set up to catch hyenas. This was all to protect the vulnerable and if caught released a long long way away back into the wild ;)

spot the Giraffe!!

We even went out in search of a snake !! Needle in a haystack comes to mind. But with a very clever tracker we managed to find it day 2. Where was it?! In our showers! Yes it kept coming back. Which is why our Na'ankuse co ordinator was tracking it in the first place. 

Our favourite job whilst we were at Na'ankuse (you couldn't call
It a job) was to spend time with the humanised animals. We would go for walks with the cheetah, sit and play with the mongooses and have sleep overs with baby baboons. These young animals without parents become scared and cold at night. Our duty was to be their surrogate mother till they were old enough to no longer be afraid of the dark. Ever tried to put a nappy one? Try one on a bouncy baboon at 3amin pitch black IN A TENT! Haha
Beautiful Alex

We really enjoyed our two week adventure at Na'ankuse we wished we could have stayed for longer and plan to go back. There was nothing too challenging for us out there as even the hardest or most physical of jobs were all for a great cause. 

We booked our time there because we had two weeks for us. Although we thought about sitting on a beach and relaxing. We knew we would get bored and learn little whilst we did. So we pack our insect spray and 'got involved' with those who needed us. It was the most amazing experience. Our holiday blues have never been so strong. I urge and encourage anyone to give it a go. You don't have to travel to AFRICA to find animals that need you. Which is why I am also extremely passionate about Cats Protection. No matter how big, small or where in the world they are..if an animal needs us. It's our duty to respond. With what you get back from them-you are the lucky one! 

Thursday 23 April 2015

How you can help the BUAV.

Today, 24th April is World Day for Animals in Laboratories. So I am marking this day by visiting the BUAV and meeting Oliver, a happy, beautifully-natured dog saved by the BUAV during one if its undercover investigations. I also met his new mum, who was part of the BUAV team that rescued him as a pup and two other mothering dogs. It's so lovely to see that they clearly adore each other.  It's hard to think looking at him and seeing him so happy, wanting to play and sit by your side. 

 That this gorgeous, proud boy was put in so much pain for no good reason!! (I am not using my blog to upset people, but purely to raise awareness, which is why I won't go into detail regarding the torture these gorgeous creatures are put through. But believe me the evidence and information is there if you wish to look for it). Simply, our products DO NOT need to be tested on these 4 MILLION ANIMALS A YEAR for our benefit. There are many companies out there that agree and have successfully produced products and food without touching an innocent soul. If you would like 'their' information and to know what companies to avoid, please follow this link. If in doubt, safe products display the leaping bunny symbol.

So who are the BUAV? 

British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection is a British animal protection and advocacy group that campaigns for the abolition of all animal experiments.

For over 100 years the BUAV has been campaigning to create a world where nobody wants or believes we need to experiment on animals. The BUAV is respected as an authority on animal testing issues and is frequently called upon by governments, media, corporations and official bodies for its advice or expert opinion.


And here's how you can help the BUAV.

Why not check in on  and a separate organisation  and join the campaign? Often all it takes is a quick signature.

Voters can support the BUAV by visiting and vote cruelty free on 7th May. Even try asking your prospective MPs’ views on animal testing via email or Twitter. The campaign has received cross party support and to date over 200 candidates have signed up.

The Vote Cruelty Free campaign has asked candidates to support six pledges that would make a difference for animals in laboratories. The pledges include a ban on experiments on cats and dogs; to stop importing monkeys for use in laboratories and an end to the secrecy surrounding animal experiments. 

As if you'd disagree with Ricky Gervais!

With help from PETA,  I also wanted to list 5 very important reasons why animal testing should be abolished to help show how there really is no need for it! 

  1. It’s unethical to sentence 100 million thinking, feeling animals to life in a laboratory cage and intentionally cause them pain, loneliness, and fear.
  2. It’s bad science. The Food and Drug Administration reports that 92 out of every 100 drugs that pass animal tests fail in humans.
  3. It’s wasteful. Animal experiments prolong the suffering of people waiting for effective cures by misleading experimenters and squandering precious money, time, and resources that could have been spent on human-relevant research.
  4. It’s archaic. Forward-thinking scientists have developed humane, modern, and effective non-animal research methods, including human-based microdosing, in vitro technology, human-patient simulators, and sophisticated computer modeling, that are cheaper, faster, and more accurate than animal tests.
  5.  Finally, and more fitting to today's message from BUAV, is to remind as many people as possible what these cats and dogs are being tested on for....Make up, face wash, shampoo, eyeliner, hand soapfood ingredient, drug for erectile dysfunction, or pesticide. Do we need these or more of them so badly that it should come at the expense of animals’ lives? Are we so consumed with vanity and desperate for choice that we are prepared to lose our humanity?
This may be overwhelming. But let's stop the lies and cover up for these guys eh?....

Please spread the word

Monday 20 April 2015

Dogs Trust Basildon

Hi I'm Carley and welcome to my first Animal Blog. I'm hoping to visit and write about as many Animal Rescue Centres as possible in the Uk whilst on Tour with the wonderful Musical 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'.

My goal is to make as many people as possible aware of these places. Of dogs needing homes or rescue from laboratories and to ask the questions the general public wants to know to encourage more of them to adopt a rescue dog. I want to dispel the thought that rescue dogs are dangerous dogs. Of course I also want to get lots of furry cuddles. 

On my visit to Dog Trust Basildon on 17th April. I bombarded them with many questions, they were only too willing to answer. You could see how happy their staff were, and just how much they loved their current 124 lodgers.

Dogs trust are the largest dog welfare charity. Caring for 16,000 stray or abandoned dogs a year in their 20 centres nationwide. They are one of the very few non destruction dog charities. They never put a healthy dog down. All they ask is for a small donation when you find your perfect pooch. This will guarantee you find the right dog for you, that has been neutered, micro-chipped and had their thorough health check. With non government funding and relying on donations, they really do need your support. When alone neutering can be more expensive than what they ask for.

When a dog walks through the doors at Dogs Trust. It must be separated from the rest to have health and behavioural checks to ensure no viruses or distress is spread. The newly built Centre is a delight to walk around. Fresh and clean with donated toys and treats splashed about the kennels. After their checks the dogs can relax in their own area or share with a companion. With their own couches, big beds or bunk beds, with separate play area attached and lots of blankets and toys.
Each dog gets to have 2/3 walks a day around Dogs Trust's private gardens. What I loved and thought showed how the charity really cared, was that there were many little play areas made with different ground surfaces ie sand, concrete or grass with agility courses and toys to excite and give each dog variety. You can even sponsor a dog here, you should see their VIP's bigger than my home! 

I was so impressed with the amount of care and attention each individual dog got. Depending on what their needs where, they were met with a vet and surgery on site along with a behaviourist team and hydro pool. I was very lucky to get to spend time with Coco the puppy. As the staff made sure she wasn't left alone for long whilst she was still young.

I wanted to know how they encouraged adoption in their long standing residents. Such a simple yet effective way is to transfer the dogs to another centre, if they are comfortable to, where their new owners maybe searching. This action has been very successful I'm happy to say!!
I'm so grateful to the Dogs Trust for their attitude and passion for these dogs. They NEVER give up on them. I asked what they did if a dogs behaviour was taking a little while to settle. Their response was to just keep trying and maybe change the dogs surroundings and guardian. This has proven to work! 
Dogs Trust match an owner with their perfect dog after an in depth questionnaire, home check and after watching perspective owner and dog walk together. 

Yes, this rehoming centre is dedicated and welcoming, but it is not where the staff or myself want the dogs to call home forever. With more dogs coming in than out. Space is in demand for our four legged friends across the country. With approximately 110.000 stray dogs reported in the Uk every year, we can't let any slip through our fingers. Please micro-chip your dog. It really does make a difference!
If your thinking of getting a dog, please avoid the internet. Please rescue your forever friend from a local and cheaper shelter. I've never known love stronger than from a soul who knows what it's like not to have it.

If you want to help the dogs at 'Dogs Trust' in any way at all, please take a look at their lovely website
Here you can volunteer, donate, sponsor and of course adopt. As well as check out their 'Dogs Trust Shops'
They have wonderful tips and tricks for you and your pet. With of course health and behaviour advise. There are many events at Dogs Trust's all over the UK all mentioned on the website if your not local to Basildon.
If you are in the Basildon area please attend their FUN DAY 21st June. I may see you there!

Bye for now 
Hugs and woofs