Specialist dogs in Cork have found a missing psychiatric patient after a long over night search. Irish Search Dogs (ISD) have said that this case highlights the importance that specialist dogs such as the ones used during this search can have to the Irish emergency services.
The alarm was raised at 2am yesterday when the staff at the Stephen’s Hospital in Glanmire noticed that a female patient who had been admitted earlier that day was now missing. The hospital staff phoned their colleague, Suzanne Flynn, who is also a member of ISD, at around 4am.
Suzanne Flynn and her colleague Mick McCarthy responded immediately Suzanne with her collie, Kram, and Mr McCarthy with his bloodhound, Max.
The ISD team arrived at around 5am and conducted an initial search of the campus as gardaí travelled to the patient’s home to retrieve a scent item.
The gardaí returned to St Stephen’s with a shoe owned by the patient. The searchers then went to the place where the patient was last seen, the woman’s shoe was presented to Max, who immediately picked up a scent and set off on her trail. He led his handler directly to the patient within 15 minutes.
The patient was found in a distressed and confused state about 1/2 a kilometre from where she was last seen.
She fled the scene and managed to leave the hospital grounds but was eventually found in Glanmire and was persuaded to return to the hospital for treatment.
“She was physically fine but she had been out in the elements for almost four hours,” Ms Flynn said.
“But this great ending shows the power of the dogs, and the importance of getting the early callout.”
In the last few years a number of hydrotherapy clinics have been set up around the country. The dogs swim in special pools or exercise on hydro treadmills to lose weight.
These centres were originally set up for rehabilitation for injured dogs. Joe Keane of Sunbeam Veterinary in Cork has said that hydrotherapy is now used for for overweight dogs.
“Four years ago we invested in an underwater treadmill as we were looking to the future and hydrotherapy is a good non-invasive therapy post-surgery. Three years ago we started to use the walker as a weight-loss treatment for animals that find it difficult to exercise because they are too large. Hydro therapy takes the pressure off all the joints. Like ourselves, it’s difficult to lose weight just by dieting — it’s better if there is a multi-approach to weight loss,” says Keane.
Overweight dogs can develop many health problems such as diabetes, joint, respiratory and heart problems. Injured animals who are unable to exercise are also prone to weight gain and this is where the hydrotherapy can help them.
Keane also urges owners to be careful with their dogs’ diets, and warns of canine obesity. “It’s a growing epidemic — it’s now considered a disease in pets. We need to make owners aware of this growing problem. People don’t realise that a slice of buttered toast is the equivalent of a burger to a dog or one biscuit is like a packet.”
Whether or not an overweight do loses weight is down to the owner and the owner needs to make the changes in their dog’s diet and their exercise regime.
In Kildare, at the Canine Hydrotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre, dogs are learning to swim in an 11x5m heated pool, as well as using a hydro treadmill. “Dogs are becoming couch potatoes like the rest of us,” says owner Mick Murphy whose business has the biggest canine hydro pool in the country. “I’ve seen dogs nearly double the weight they should be — they cannot move. We have reversed obesity in dogs, but it takes discipline, they say a minute of swimming is the same as a mile of walking.”
New or nervous swimmers first take to the water in a lifejacket but its not long until the pets will run happily into the water on their own. Some owners even book their dogs into the pool for ‘social sessions’ where owners can get into the pool and play too. Murphy believes the Irish, “are slowly beginning to cop on” about pet exercise and nutrition but he says owners must resist the urge to overfeed animals when they put on the “sad face”.
At the Veterinary Hospital, UCD, the Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) spokesperson Lynn Cogan says rehabilitation in general is a fairly new concept in veterinary medicine in Ireland but the benefits are now widely recognised.
“Hydrotherapy is gentle on joints but is a tough workout and will burn calories,’ she says.
It is very important to feed your dog the correct amount of food and also to understand what ingredients are in their food. Raw is by far the best way to feed your dog and a lot of Pet Shops now offers frozen raw food such as Nature’s Menu. The next best way to feed them is grain free. Grains such as maize are of no nutritional value to dogs, they are simply used as a filler. Grain free dog foods such as Canagan and Orijen can be bought in Pet Shops or online at www.petdepotdirect.ie. It is always good to be informed about your dogs food. If you have any questions about what you are feeding your dog, what is the best dog food for your budget or what you should be feeding them do not hesitate to contact the Pet Depot Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0404 32498.
Hundreds of people and their dogs congregated in Belfast city yesterday to protest against animal cruelty.
New animal welfare support group Northern Ireland Says No To Animal Cruelty is demanding a dedicated PPNI unit to tackle crimes against animals.
Recently an East Belfast family walked free after a major animal cruelty case and the peop
le of Belfast as absolutely horrified that crimes such as these were not punished. Jeremiah Kirkwood (43) and sons Chris (23) and Wayne (20), of Island Street, admitted keeping animals for fighting, while Jamie Morrow (19) admitted similar charges in what a judge termed “one of the vilest examples of premeditated abuse”. They were banned from keeping, dealing in or transporting animals for 10 years. However, as the Belfast Telegraph revealed earlier this month, there is no central list of those banned from keeping animals for welfare officers to refer to.
The people of Northern Ireland gathered to show their support for tougher sentencing for people convicted of animal cruelty.
According to Dogs Trust Ireland up to 10 dogs are being put down every day in Irish pounds and the cause for this is the growing trend of buying puppies online. People are buying their new puppy online and then abandoning them, leaving them to be picked up by the country’s pounds.
Figures from the department of the Environment show that Wexford had the highest number of dogs killed last year, a huge 441 dogs. Cork came next with 391 and the lowest was Carlow with 3 dogs being killed there.
Dogs Trust spokesperson Kathrina Bentley said Wexford was “very much an area of high puppy farming” where proximity to a port made it easy to ship dogs to Britain.
People are breeding dogs non stop and selling them online. People buy these dogs without realizing the commitment involved and then abandon them. Dog’s Trust are inundated with emails every day with people saying they don’t want their dogs, especially after Christmas when children get fed up of new puppies. A huge amount of Husky’s are being abandoned at the moment. These are very popular dog but people buy them without thinking about how much a commitment it is to have such a huge and energetic dog.
Dogs Trust actively works with Ireland’s pounds to try and re-home dogs and at the moment they have 160 dogs, including Buddy, a male border terrier rescued from a Cork pound at the age of 12 months and now nearing his fourth birthday.
Buddy had tummy and skin problems and Ms Bentley reckons the cost of treating his ailments could have led to his abandonment. He is now Dogs Trust “office dog.”
The Trust welcomed the 11.5% fall in the number of dogs entering the pounds system in 2013 compared to 2012 and the 21% reduction in the number of dogs being destroyed in pounds over the same period, down from c 4,500 to c 3,500.
However, Ms Bentley said they were still struggling to get across the message of “responsible ownership.”
The latest figures show 15,481 dogs entered Irish pounds last year. The number of greyhounds destroyed remains high at 427 in 2013 compared to 404 in 2012.
Dogs Trust has rehomed 4,000 dogs since it opened in 2009 and is currently full to capacity.
It is very important to make sure that your dog is micro chipped so that if he is picked up by the pound that all it takes is a quick phone call for you to be reunited with your dog.
The Kildare Animal Foundation today has taken to Facebook saying that they need to raise at least €8000 to just catch up.
Spokesperson for the foundation Geraldine O’Hanlon has described the situation as “very serious”.
“We need help,” she stated.
“Those who supply us with food and provide veterinary care have been more than patient. It is now almost seven weeks since we have been able to make any payments. Our electricity supply is tenuous on a very severe and unsustainable payment demand.
“Every coin jar has been emptied, every pocket searched and we have nowhere else to turn.
“The cause is simple – there are more animals than ever coming to us for care and fewer people in a position to donate. We have not been extravagant or wasteful, there is more going out than coming in.”
“We do not engage in random and regular appeals. We ask now only when we have nowhere else to turn.
“Please if you can, help us to turn this situation around so we can go back to what we do best.”
Anyone who wishes to donate to the foundation please donate through their website Kildare Animal Foundation’s website.