Please don’t feed my dog

This week Lemmy, the littlest four legged member of the family, turned 3 months old. The week before marked another important milestone in his doggy life- he had his second vaccination. Fully protected against some of the nastier doggy diseases, it was time to venture out into the big wide world.

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He loved it! He is such a confident little puppy, and incredibly active. For his first official walk I decided on a short lap of Broadhaven boardwalk, which takes about 20 minutes.

As we set off from the car park, Lemmy caught the eye of a bunch of walkers, heading in the opposite direction to us. One of the group was particularly enamoured with Lem, and stopped to say hello. Not a problem. Lem is very friendly, and I am keen to safely socialise him as much as possible. However, this gentleman took a step too far. He bent down to Lemmy and asked’Want one of these, little fella?’, offering some sort of food item that he had produced from his pocket. Lemmy is a ganet, and the proffered treat was snaffled up immediately.

‘No, sorry, he doesn’t want that, thanks very much’. I managed to hook the treat out – a rather large adult dog treat- before he had the chance to chomp it down

Now why did I do that? Surely the man was only being kind? Prehaps he was. But there are several reasons why you shouldn’t feed other peoples animals.

  • Diet matters- Lemmy has never had treats. He has been on the same dry food diet since he was weaned from his mother. How boring?! Not at all. Dogs don’t see food in the same way we do- they don’t become bored of eating the same thing everyday. In fact, it is important not to chop and change food. Sudden changes in diet can lead to an upset tummy, with diarrhoea and even vomiting. But this wasn’t a change in his diet, it was a single treat- why does that matter? A single treat can be all it takes to trigger a runny tummy. And that is something I really would rather avoid!
  • Size matters- Lemmy is a puppy, and still only small. He still has all his baby teeth. He can’t cope with large biscuits or treats, and there is the potential that these could become lodged in his mouth or throat. Not good!
  • Calorie counting- Lemmy is given the exact amount of food he requires everyday. His dry food is measured, to the weight advised by the manufacturers for his age and size, and split into three meals. He doesn’t need extra food. Extra food (and yes, a single treat counts as extra) can lead to weight gain. Carrying extra weight is no fun for people or animals. It can lead to arthritis and joint problems, as well as putting strain on the heart and lungs. Again, something I’d rather avoid.

There are other reasons why you shouldn’t offer food to other peoples pets, without the permission of the owner first.

  • Some animals have specific dietary requirements. A dog or cat may be diabetic, suffering from kidney disease or Inflammatory Bowel Disease. They may even have food allergies or intolerances. These pets need to be on special diets, with their owners often having to be extremely careful when it comes to what their animals eat. A small piece of the wrong food could lead to a lot of problems for an animal with one of these conditions.
  • Pancreatitis is another illness that can be triggered by food. The pancreas is an organ that helps with digestion of food. In cases of pancreatitis, the pancreas becomes irritated and inflamed, resulting in over production of digestive enzymes. This can be incredibly painful for cats and dogs, and can lead to them requiring a trip to the vets. In some cases it may need surgery, and can even be fatal. All this from eating or being fed something they shouldn’t have.

So, although the gentleman we met on our walk probably thought he was being kind to Lemmy, he wasn’t doing him any favours. Next time I hope he thinks twice , or at the very least asks, before feeding someone else’s pet.

#naturenurturegrow round up

The first week of January has passed by already, with the first 7 days with of photos for #naturenurturegrow. Thank you to all who got involved with this weeks challenge. I’ve enjoyed seeing all the different interpretations of all the prompts. Its been wonderful getting a glimpse of other peoples lifestyles too!

Here are some of my favourites from this week:

‘You’

The most inventive composition to kick off the challenge.

‘New’

Ok, so I shouldn’t have my own as favourites really. But still, I love this shot!

‘Breath’

A gorgeous husky and the prompt of the day. What more could you want?

‘Cold’

Frozen windscreen, inside AND out. Now that is cold!

‘Landscape’

By Lisa Grover. Reminds me what Winter should look like!

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Can’t wait to see what people come up with for the next set of prompts! If you want to join in , check out the prompt for the date (see list above, or here).Take a photo with the prompt of the day as inspiration. Upload your picture to your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account. Add the hashtag #NatureNurtureGrow, and I’ll try and include as many as possible in next weeks roundup. Enjoy!

New Years wild life challenges

January has arrived, time to wipe the slate clean and adopt a ‘start as I mean to go on’ attitude.

This year I haven’t made resolutions. Every year I try, listing the usual ; lose weight, eat healthily, be a better me….those sort of really bland promises that get broken within a week. This year I’ve decided to change my thinking. I’m the kind of person who likes challenges. In fact, I seem to really quite enjoy making my life difficult and doing things the hard way. I’ll moan about it at the time, but eventually when I can reflect I can see how I survived and thrived!

So I’ve set myself 12 challenges, one for every month. Yes, I know. Setting ‘challenges’ sounds an awful lot like making ‘resolutions’. But not quite the same. I’m hoping the change in wording will tap in to my competitive streak, meaning I’m less likely to give up on them! Here they are;

A reading challenge –

My ‘to read’ pile stands as tall as I do…and then some. A lot of that pile is nature related. For the past 2  years I’ve taken part in the Mumsnet 50 book challenge, and I’ve never reached the full 50 in a year. Pre children this would have been an exceptionally achievable goal, but nowadays when I get the chance to read I end up falling asleep shortly after!. This year I’ll take on another book challenge, but time I’m aiming for a more realistic 2 books a month.

A writing challenge-

‘Other new features include Down on the Farm, which highlights the vibrancy and diversity of UK farming’ – Mark Whittley, editor, The Countryman.

Reconnecting with writing has helped soothe my mind. I need to do more of it-especially as I now have deadlines to stick to for actual publications! I can’t wait to see my writing in print in the Countryman magazine, look out for it in the April edition!

A Walking challenge-

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I love  walking. People always seem surprised when I saw I’m an outdoor type of person, mainly because I’m fat!! For some reason,for certain individuals anyway, fat people can’t possibly enjoy the great outdoors. I seriously beg to differ. I love being outdoors, it keeps me sane. It helps fight off the black dog days, days which trigger my retreat into my comfort zone (food & books) whilst simultaneously slipping into a sloth like state of torpor. This coming year I am going to challenge myself to walk myself back to health, both mental and physical.

Photography challenge-

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Life behind a lens is fun. My challenge to myself is to improve my photography and learn new techniques. I’ve set up the #naturenuturegrow photo challenge on Instagram and facebook. The instructions are simple. I hope it will leave me with a photographic record of my year, with at least one photo for every day!

Explore the county-

Pembrokeshire is a big county with a wealth of outdoor environments. I have certain spots I love going to, but I think I need to challenge myself to find more of the ‘hidden gems’ across Pembrokeshire. Time to get off the beaten track and explore!

Grow –

This past year has surprised me. I have learned a lot of things about myself that I didn’t know. I’ve found out that things I thought I couldn’t do (thanks to my anxiety disorder) I’m actually quite ok at. And I’ve learned that being ‘ok’ at things is just fine! Gardening is one of these things. I’ve grown from seed and rescued bedraggled plants from the sale rack at Homebase. This is a challenge I’m going to take forward into the new year. First challenge- grow a wildflower meadow this spring and summer!

A volunteer challenge- 

Anxiety is a bitch. Excuse my language, but it really is. That gnawing self doubt, that lurks all day  from the minute you open your eyes to the second you fall asleep. I’m stating to realise how much it has prevented me from doing.  The idea of doing a group based activity where I had to actually interact with strangers would have made me physically sick up. In the past few months  life is starting to get back on a more even keel. Now I’m quite looking forward to becoming part of something else, something bigger and something useful.

Challenge myself to connect more-

Over the past year I have come into contact with a lot of interesting people due to blogging. People, such as Dara , who writes a blog called Young Fermanagh Naturalist. He is really passionate about all aspects of nature, and writes eloquently and evocatively. Other  inspiring nature bloggers include LJ, Nicola, Tony, Chris and Nicky and Joshua. I’ve also enjoyed linking up with a few bloggers, including the lovely Rosie over at A green and Rosie life , Tamsin and Nature mum. I have also met a few farming mummies too, like Emma , whose blogs are an excellent reminder that its not just me battling against a tide of children’s toys, muddy boots and straw. I’m really looking forward to connecting with more like minded individuals in the new year

Become ‘greener’-

Since having children I’ve found myself caring more about the impact I make on their future environment. So far I’ve made several small changes- cloth nappies, not using a microwave, using eco friendly cleaning products, avoiding micro beads. I’m not saying I’m going to become a hemp wearing willow weaving yurt dwelling nomad (unfortunately, although I do like a bit of willow weaving) but I hope we can continue to challenge ourselves to be a bit more eco friendly in the next few months. If you fancy joining me, check out the Going Green Linky for lots of inspiration on how you can live a cleaner, greener, more ethical life!

Self sufficiency-

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This challenge goes hand in hand with the previous. April will hopefully see the beginning of the dairy goat herd, meaning I no longer have to buy goats milk for the mini farmers. I’m also challenging myself to use more of our own fruit and veg, and adding value to our produce through preserving, baking and cheese

A Switch off and Connect challenge-

2016 saw me join the ‘dark side’. I became an iPhone addict, purchasing that little block of precious metals that now forms an extension of me. I find myself loving and loathing it in equal measure. This year I challenge myself to cut the umbilical cord between me and my phone, and be more present, especially when with the mini farmers.

A business challenge-

The arrival of the goats marked the beginning of a long path towards running our own farm shop, stocking our own cheeses and goat’s milk as well as other produce from local Pembrokeshire farmers.I think it’ll take longer than 12 months to get up and running but the challenge is there!

Hopefully 2017 will be a good year, full of lots of fun, good health and happiness. If I get to fulfil a few of these challenges, then even better.

If you are taking part in any challenges this year, let me know, I’d love to here about them.