Archive for May, 2010

Sam the spaniel is back home again!

May 30th, 2010

After vanishing from his home on a farm in the English county of Devon over two and a half years ago, Sam the crossbred spaniel has finally been reunited with his owners, Christine and Ray Robinson. They had been devastated when their beloved pet suddenly disappeared.

Sam the cross-bred spaniel.

Sam the cross-bred spaniel.

Following many months of searching, posting hundreds of “missing” posters through the area and even visiting a psychic, Christine almost gave up hope of ever seeing Sam again, but her husband Ray was confident that they would be reunited as Sam was microchipped. Using a process similar to giving an injection, the tiny microchip – about the size of a grain of rice – is inserted under the skin in the neck. It contains a unique code, which can be read by a special reader.

Sam’s details had been logged with the UK’s largest pet reunification service, known as PetLog, which is run by the Kennel Club. Their database presently contains the details of over 4.2 million pets and their owners, with this figure growing by 40,000 each month. Welfare organisations, dog wardens, veterinary practices and similar groups can trace owners of stray dogs through this scheme, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Sam was finally discovered wandering along the side of a road several miles from where he had last been seen. He was taken to the local pub, in the hope that the landlord might recognise him. When he didn’t, the local dog warden was called and Sam was scanned to see if he had been microchipped.

Christine was amazed and delighted to be reunited with Sam. “It is really fantastic to have him back, and to think that if we hadn’t had him microchipped and his details stored with Petlog, we would never have seen him again. Everyone should have their dog microchipped – it’s such a wonderful service.

“Sam was jumping all over us when we came to pick him up and, as we were approaching the farm, he went wild, tail wagging and running around. He knew exactly where he was! The people who had taken him in had obviously cared for him and treated him well as a family pet. When he left us, he was a healthy gundog, but he has come back slightly overweight. He still enjoys going out with us, although he seems to have forgotten his gundog training.”

*For more information about Petlog, visit

Discover your dog’s ancestry!

May 9th, 2010

Do you have a cross-bred or mongrel but aren’t sure of its origins? It’s always fascinating attempting to work out which particular breeds may originally have contributed to your pet’s make-up. Several years ago, I tried to come up with a formula to identify different characteristics for this purpose. It formed the basis of The Mutt Book : Decoding Your Mutt’s Heritage, which was published in association with the Dogs Trust.

This wasn’t scientific of course, but now, for the first time, you can take the guesswork out of the equation, as a DNA test has just been launched which should reveal your dog’s true origins. All you need to do is to take a swab from your dog’s cheek, which is completely painless and easy to do, and then send it direct to the laboratory.

Within three weeks, you’ll receive your pet’s official ancestry report back. This will be based on a comparison with the DNA of over 170 breeds – the largest database of its type on the market.

Neale Fretwell, director of research and development at Mars Veterinary which has pioneered the test, points out that knowing your dog’s background is important, because there are significant breed differences, not just in terms of appearance but behaviour as well.

“It’s not just about curiosity,” he says. “The smarter you are about your dog’s past, the smarter you can be about his future”. Neale explains that by knowing the breeds which contributed to your pet’s ancestry, so you will be able to meet its feeding, training and exercise requirements more effectively.

The test itself costs £61.29 and is available through Pet-Supermarket. Just click here, visit the site and type ‘DNA Test’ in the search box.