Tag Archives: Australia

Dogs in the workplace – a health benefit

Think dog-friendly workplaces are only found the in the USA?  Take heart, New Zealanders, they’re moving closer to home…to our rival Australia.

This is good news – because like it or not, New Zealand tends to look to Australia when it comes to things like health and safety initiatives.

Every Friday, for example, workers at VicHealth enjoy Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Suki at the feet of her owner Jane Shill. Photo: Simon Schluter, The Age

Suki at the feet of her owner Jane Shill. Photo: Simon Schluter, The Age

Clothing retailer Cotton On is also allowing office staff to bring their dogs to work.

It’s a boost to morale and encourages workers to go out for walks at lunch breaks.  And, when owners are allowed to bring their dogs with them, absentee rates decrease.

Allowing dogs in the workplace is a ‘perk’ to attract and retain talented workers.

Sounds like you, doesn’t it?

Source:  The Age

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

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Safe Steps for Australian pets

The Victorian Government has announced a new program to help victims of domestic violence.

“Pets are an integral part of families and we know that women and children are making decisions not to flee violence because they are concerned about the future and welfare of their pet,” said Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos, at the launch.

It is difficult for [family violence] refuges to accept pets.”

Support group Safe Steps said threats against pets were often used as weapons by perpetrators of family violence

Support group Safe Steps said threats against pets were often used as weapons by perpetrators of family violence

“We want to be able to provide them with the support to be able to place the pet with an animal welfare shelter.”

The Government said it would provide $100,000 over the next four years and Safe Steps would work with animal welfare agencies like the RSPCA to implement the program.

The additional funding will lift capacity to house pets at risk while their family members go to shelters to escape abuse.  Until now, there has been a smaller volunteer network to take in pets in foster homes.

The connection between family violence and violence against animals is well documented.  Pets in abusive homes are often targeted and threatened and so women living in abusive situations often do not escape for fear that their animals will be harmed.

Source:  ABC News

Related post:  Sheltering people and pets from domestic violence

Dogs, biosecurity and Johnny Depp

The recent story about Johnny Depp’s Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo, and their deportation from Australia has some lessons in it that I think have been overlooked.

That’s not totally surprising when you have an Australian Minister like Barnaby Joyce fronting to the media with comments like  “It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”

Inflammatory, yes.  Headline grabbing – yes.   But lacking in good information for people to understand the Australian position on the dogs and what the public needs to know when arriving in the country.

Happy Dogz salon's Lianne and Ellie Kent with Pistol and Boo; it was the dogs' visit to the groomers and the subsequent Facebook photos that caught the attention of the Australian authorities

Happy Dogz salon’s Lianne and Ellie Kent with Pistol and Boo; it was the dogs’ visit to the groomers and the subsequent Facebook photos that caught the attention of the Australian authorities

Australia and New Zealand have some very unique flora and fauna – thanks to their geographic isolation from other continents.  The countries are also free of diseases like rabies which are a worry in other western countries like the United States and the UK and mean that animals there must be vaccinated (whereas here, they are not).

Animals can be imported to both Australia and New Zealand, but they are subject to quarantine to ensure that they are not carrying any diseases that could run rampant in these sensitive environments.   There are also requirements when importing semen, for example, for dog breeding.

So, Pistol and Boo were a legitimate biosecurity risk and their presence in the Depp party was apparently not declared.  And I hear that the Australian authorities are now investigating this to find out if Depp, or another member of his party, knowingly broke the law.

At this point, I’m prepared to give Depp the benefit of the doubt.  He and his wife love their dogs and are in the fortunate position to be able to fly them in comfort around the world in a private plane (whereas most of us can’t afford to travel long distances with our dogs, let alone worrying about them as they are treated as luggage in the holds of commercial aircraft).

They also have an ‘entourage’ that attends to their personal needs, and so I do wonder just how switched on Depp was in terms of filling out declaration forms on his arrival in Australia.  I suspect someone in his employment took care of these minor details for him – just as someone in his employment took the dogs to the groomers which started this whole saga to begin with.

So the lessons from all of this?

  • Love your dog, travel with them if you can, but understand your destination requirements in terms of quarantine and also your dog’s health
  • Understand biosecurity risks and obey the requirements of the country you are visiting
  • Treat breaches of laws seriously, but with respect for all parties.  Innocent until proven guilty, etc.
  • And use ‘headline grabbing’ stories for educational opportunities -an opportunity that Australia seems to have missed thanks to a headline-grabbing Minister

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Best Mate – book review

Best Mate

Best Mate is a book for young readers, approximately 10 years of age.   I picked up my copy at an outdoor market for just $3 (the book was originally published in 2007).  Since I am now the proud owner of a re-homed racing greyhound, it was the greyhound on the cover that caught my eye.

It was, of course, an easy read.  But I can highly recommend this book which tells the story of a greyhound pup rescued by a small boy, Patrick, on his way to school.  Named ‘Best Mate’, the pup was discarded in a river canal in a sack with his litter mates.

And so begins a story of a dog and a child’s insight into animal cruelty.  Best Mate loves Patrick and Patrick loves him.  The two are separated when Best Mate is stolen for  racing.  There he meets a young girl named Becky who names him Brighteyes and he makes a friend with another racing greyhound.

But that is not the end of his story, or the cruelty that the book portrays.  Be prepared to support the young reader in your home:  Best Mate’s friend is killed when he can no longer win races.

Best Mate will ultimately be re-homed yet again before the end of the book, and this time he ends up with the name Paddywack.

There are a few chapters in this book written from Best Mate’s perspective.  The only thing that would strengthen the book is to hear more from Best Mate himself.

This book should be on your child’s reading list.  It is a good introduction into animal welfare issues and a good first insight into the greyhound racing industry.

My reading of this book is all the more timely since news has hit the media this week about ‘live baiting’ in Australian greyhound racing…the book doesn’t portray live baiting, but I felt a connection to the story nonetheless because of the headlines.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Rescue a human…the Human Walking Project

When this came across my desk, I had to share it.

The Lost Dogs Home in Melbourne (Australia) came up with an adoption drive with a ‘twist’ this year.  They started the Human Walking Project in downtown Melbourne.

Dogs needing adoption were brought into the central city to encourage office workers to escape their offices and walk with the dogs during their lunch breaks.  And enough of them fell in love to adopt their new canine friends!

I particularly like the ad for the Project:

What initiatives for dog adoption do you think are innovative and fun?  And wouldn’t you like to escape your office at lunch with a friend who shows unconditional love?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Wordless Wednesday, part 19

Photo by Sonya Bowditch

Photo by Sonya Bowditch

Lions Hearing Dogs of Australia

Coming up next month in my column in NZ Dog World and on this blog will be information on Hearing Dogs in New Zealand.  However, I was in Australia last week on business and picked up some useful information about Lions Hearing Dogs in that country.

98% of the hearing dogs in Australia are ex-shelter dogs.  As their name suggests, these dogs alert a hearing impaired owner to important sounds like the fire alarm.  It takes approximately $30,000 to train a single hearing dog.

Access to public places for these assistance dogs is guaranteed by law with penalties of up to $50,000 can be applied if someone refuses access to a hearing dog and its owner.

The organisation has trained over 500 dogs since 1982 and has a very useful website.