Saturday, February 28, 2009

Get a Life

A psychologist is urging people to get off Facebook and other social networking sites, and get a life instead.

Dr Aric Sigman says the amount of time we spend with each other has slumped dramatically and in turn is damaging our health.

He says our devotion to such sites could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, and the function of arteries, and influence mental performance.

Levels of hormones such as the "cuddle chemical" oxytocin, which promotes bonding, altered according to whether people were in close contact or not.

This could increase the risk of health problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart disease, and dementia.

Dr Sigman spells out his warning in the latest issue of Biologist, the journal of the Institute of Biology, and maintains that social networking sites have played a significant role in people becoming more isolated.

He said: "Social networking is the internet's biggest growth area, particular among young children.

"A quarter of British children have a laptop or computer in their room by the age of five and they have their own social networking sites, like the BBC's myCBBC. It's causing huge changes."

Dr Sigman said 209 "socially regulated" genes have been identified, including ones involved in the immune system, cell proliferation and responses to stress.

Electronic media is also undermining the ability of children and young people to learn vital social skills and read body language, he said.

Dr Sigman continued: "One of the most pronounced changes in the daily habits of British citizens is a reduction in the number of minutes per day that they interact with another human being.

"In less than two decades, the number of people saying there is no one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled.

"Parents spend less time with their children than they did only a decade ago. Britain has the lowest proportion of children in all of Europe who eat with their parents at the table. The proportion of people who work at home alone continues to rise.

"I am worried about where this is all leading. It's not that I'm old fashioned in terms of new technology, but the purpose of any new technology should be to provide a tool that enhances our lives.

"Social networking sites should allow us to embellish our social lives, but what we find is very different. The tail is wagging the dog. These are not tools that enhance, they are tools that displace."

Research suggests the number of hours people spend interacting face-to-face has fallen dramatically since 1987 as electronic media use increases.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Smiling dog owners

When I lived in London, everybody rushed everywhere.  People on the tube and streets avoided eye contact and scurried about; myself included.The pace of peoples lives is slower here in Margate but people have still avoided eye contact, until now.  These days there is a group of people who not only smile as they pass but also stop to chat. Who are these people?  Dog owners.  I feel I now belong to a club of sorts.  A happy club made up from a diverse section of Margate’s population.  I am quite an anti social person, as a rule but I find myself smiling back, giving and receiving doggie compliments and reassurances.  Mission accomplished…Wendell is making me human again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beach Bum

The day arrived and young master Wendell set foot, out into the wide yonder.  Terry and I took him for a walk to the beach and back.  What a bundle of pent up energy he was.  His tail did not stop wagging.  He met two bulldogs and a lovely Doberman puppy.  He picked up and tossed seaweed,  ran from the tide and sniffed the salty sea spray with great enthusiasm.  He also bounded up his first set of stairs, which connect the beach with the cliff top.  We carried him on the way down, for fear of him tripping.  He is back home, fast asleep in his basket now, after devouring a huge meal.We only took a few photos because the day was so dull.  See ya, Pen.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stuffed Hoof[vegetarians beware]

Terry and I were browsing in the pet shop yesterday [as you do] when we spotted these stuffed hooves.  Naturally we could not resist buying Wendell one.  Well, you cannot imagine the hysterical reception it got.  I thought it might last Wendell a few days at least but no, after two hours of gnawing, hiding and retrieving it and jealously guarding it from the cats, the thing was emptied of its now foul smelling stuffing.  I don’t know what they put in these things but the smell is awful, the puppy gets covered in sticky grease and the poo… best not to dwell on that. Wendell had his third bath today and he looks fluffy and gorgeous; in fine contrast to the little oil slick of last night.  Maybe I shall stick to leather chews in future.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Brave little soldier

Well my brave little soldier had 2 jabs and had a microchip inserted today.  I felt a stab through my heart when the vet dabbed a drop of blood from the little chaps neck but Wendell’s tail was still wagging in trust and excitement.  His weight has doubled in 2 weeks and he is a handful to hold now.  We have only 1 more week to go, before he can go walkies.  I think it will be a relief for both of us as well as a source of great fun.  His claws are like razors , at present and he will need some road work to get them smoother.  After all, life is not all running on the beach and sniffing trees.  Puppy party starts in 2 weeks, when he will be meeting people and other puppies and doing some basic training.  We both have much to look forward to, Pen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Next stage

Little Wendell is off to the vets in two days, for his next set of jabs.  One week after that, he will be allowed out in the wide world.  Already we are practicing lead work but I feel once Wendell gets a whiff of all those exciting smells and sights, I may find my training sabotaged.  We shall see what happens.  I hope the rain has cleared up by then.  He had a bit of a naughty day, yesterday, with much manic behaviour, nipping and jumping up.  It is difficult finding the correct level of censure.  I know he must be corrected, but he is a feisty little fellow and I don’t want to be telling him off all the time.  He is a lot calmer today, so maybe some lessons have been learned by both parties.  Once we are out, walking, he will get a chance to burn off his excess energy. At the moment, he does crazy circuits of the sitting room and kitchen, with no regard for his own safety.  I guess that is the terrier in him.  The cats just sit by with bemused expressions.  My biggest training success to date, has been teaching Wendell not to chase cats.  Porter helped by boxing Wendell’s ears a couple of times.  He is fast asleep as I type, bless.  See ya, Pen.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Best Behaviour

I had family round for Sunday lunch yesterday.  There were concerns that Wendell might blot his copy book by pooping on the kitchen floor whilst lunch was in full swing.  I need not have worried.  The little chap was on his best behaviour and, after an initial hysterical greeting, he settled down in his basket and slept through the proceedings.  After lunch, he slipped into the kitchen to do his business on his newspaper and then returned triumphantly, to entertain all with his high jinx.  Then he returned to his basket whilst we watched a movie.  When my brother and my future sister in law readied for departure, Wendell did the cute little puppy thing; tail wagging, dropping toys at their feet and much licking of hands with a few nibbles thrown in for good measure.  All in all he charmed our guests and earned hundreds of brownie points for good behaviour.  Not one bark!  Not bad for a little terrier, Pen.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Knuckle Bone

Whilst buying the pet food earlier, I spotted one of those roasted knuckle bones you can buy in pet shops.  I carried it home triumphantly and when Wendell went into his basket when asked, I gave it to him as a reward.  Well, he went nuts over it.  After half an hour of gnawing and growling, he ran into the kitchen, drank about a pint of water and returned to the fray.  I had forgotten what a greasy mess they make, before all the scrumps are chewed off.  His bedding was covered in greasy chewed off bits of fat and Wendell looked like he had gone ten rounds with a pound of lard.  The knuckle has been put aside for a while; the puppy is bathed and his bedding is in the washing machine.  Dried, primped and pretty, Wendell is now dozing contentedly, have done six circuits of the sitting room.  I shall let him have it back later.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009




If you have to go to the bathroom while playing in the front yard, always use the newspaper that's placed in the driveway every morning for that purpose.
Quickly determine which guest is afraid of dogs. Charge across the room, barking loudly and leap playfully on this person. If the human falls down on the floor and starts crying, lick its face and growl gently to show your concern.
Because you are a dog, you are expected to bark. So bark--- a lot. Your owners will be very happy to hear you protecting their house. Especially late at night while they are sleeping safely in their beds. There is no more secure feeling for a human than to keep waking up in the middle of the night and hearing your protective bark, bark, bark ...
Always take a BIG drink from your water dish immediately before licking your human. Humans prefer clean tongues. Be ready to fetch your human a towel.
Rather than digging a BIG hole in the middle of the yard and upsetting your human, dig a lot of smaller holes all over the yard so they won't notice. If you arrange a little pile of dirt on one side of each hole, maybe they'll think it's gophers. There are never enough holes in the ground. Strive daily to do your part to help correct this problem.
The area directly in front of a door is always reserved for the family dog to sleep.
Humans like to be sniffed. Everywhere. It is your duty, as the family dog, to accommodate them.
Always sit under the table at dinner, especially when there are guests, so you can clean up any food that falls on the floor. It's also a good time to practice your sniffing.
Housebreaking is very important to humans, so break as much of the house as possible.
Rules of the road: When out for a walk with your human, never go to the bathroom on your own lawn.
It is perfectly permissible to lie on the new couch after all your humans have gone to bed.
If you lose your footing while chasing a ball or stick, use the flower bed to absorb your fall so you don't injure yourself.
When chasing cats, make sure you never --- quite --- catch them. It spoils all the fun.
Make a contribution to the fashion industry. ...Eat a shoe

Sunday, February 1, 2009

R.I.P. fluffy elephant

After brutally torturing and dismembering his faithful stuffed Nelly, young master Wendell has finally succeeded in killing the poor thing.  All fluffy toys are now banned and Wendell must make do with his rubber chicken.  Not that this is a hardship for him, for he loves shaking that, as well as biting, throwing and trying to decapitate it.  Already he has a dual personality.  When he is playing, he is fearless and determined.  At all other times, he is a soppy, foolish little puppy.  I love both sides to him.  Not long now before I can socialise him; I can’t wait.  Pen.