Newspaper Articles

Life According to Gizmo (It’s a Dog’s Life):
A column written for Island Connections newspaper Tenerife.

 

 

Hi – I’m Gizmo: Island Connection’s intrepid News Hound, doggedly sniffing out the breaking news. For more about me, and to find a cute pooch to adopt: check out tenerifedogs.blogspot.com.

This week I’m going to tell you the story of how I was rescued from the mean streets of Granadillia, adopted by Nikki and Richard, and got my job with Tenerife dogs

About a year ago I was abandoned by my previous owners. Goodness knows why: maybe I grew too big, or perhaps my owners couldn’t afford to keep me anymore ? Maybe I was woofing too much, or chewed up one too many pairs of their slippers ? … who knows ?

It was very sad and lonely living on the streets, really difficult to find water or something to eat, and people kept shouting at me to go away !

Then one day I got lucky. The Proteccion Civil picked me up and took me to the dog refuge: Accion del Sol. The kind humans there gave me some water and something to eat. Their vet checked me to see if I had any injuries, and tested me for heart-worm which can be a very nasty illness for us pooches. I was de-flead (phew thank goodness, those pesky fleas were a real pain!), and I went to say hello to the other inmates in the cages there. One day I’ll tell you all about some of the wonderful woofers that I met there, but for now let’s get on with my story …

Because I didn’t have a micro-chip or a collar, Accion del Sol couldn’t find my owner, so I had to wait with the other dogs until someone wanted to give me a home. Then I had another bit of luck. After only three days, the nice lady director of Accion del Sol: Marion found me a potential home with a local couple who’s little Yorkie (Basil) had just died. When I first met my new family I was a liitle shy and timid, but then we went for a walk, and I got more confident and started to cheer up a bit. They decided that they’d try looking after me for a few days to see how I’d get on with them.

Before I could go to my new home though, I had to be castrated and micro-chipped. There are already far too many abandoned dogs without me adding to the problem with more puppies. Also it means that I’ll probably live a bit longer, and be a happier pooch – so it’s not as bad as it sounds ! Having a micro-chip means that if I get lost, the police or a rescue shelter can locate my owners.

The next day Nikki and Richard came to collect me, which was very exciting ! Marion gave me a farewell cuddle, and then I got in their car to go to my new home. When we go there, I started exploring straight away, and it wasn’t long before I’d sniffed out some interesting smells, discovered the dog biscuits, and I felt quite at home straight away. Within about half-an-hour my foster family realised how cute I was (lucky I was on my best behaviour), and decided that they were going to keep me permanently !

Now I get lots of lovely walks; I’ve got my own bed; plenty of fun toys; bones to chew; and loads of cuddles. So I definitely have landed on my paws all right ! :-)

It wasn’t long before I was assigned the important role of SpokesMutt for TenerifeDogs.com, following in the paw steps of the late, great Basil, who was the first ambassador for TenerifeDogs . Nikki set up this website to support all the kind humans who help poor abandoned pooches like myself find a new home, and being a rescue dog myself I know only too well about the plight of abandoned dogs in Tenerife. By the way, do check out the advice, information, and list of rescue shelters tenerifedogs if you’re thinking about adopting a pooch.

I was very lucky to find a home quickly and land on my paws, but there are plenty of my mates still waiting for someone to give them a home. So, if you’re  thinking of making a pooch part of your family, a rescue dog would love to meet you ! If you do give them a home, there’ll be one less pooch on the streets struggling to find food and shelter, and one less dog living in a cage in a rescue shelter.

Hasta luego mis amigos. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Wooftastic New Year, and remember the Dogs Trust slogan ‘A Dog is for Life –  Not Just for Christmas”

Next time I’ll be telling you about a rather embarrassing trip to the vet that I suffered recently.

 

An Out-of-Botty Experience

I had an embarrassing problem this week: however much I ate, and however hard I pushed, nothing was coming out of my backside ! (sorry if this is too much information). Fortunately Nikki, my owner, eventually got wind of my discomfort (ha ha), checked my rear end, and horror-of-horrors found something sticking out that wasn’t suppose too be there. So off to the vet we went.

When we arrived at the surgery and sat down in the waiting room there were a couple of worried-looking cat-dudes in cages (let me at ’em !) and a maniacally yapping poodle jumping up and down on her owner’s knee. I soon realised why they were so worked-up as I turned my head and made eye contact with a massive, slobbering Rottweiller (aka “Rambo”), who was sizing me up ready for his next meal !

His owner said that Rambo “was a pussycat really”. Yeah right, we all believe that … NOT !  The cats in the cages were praying to The Great-Moggie-in-the-Sky that they wouldn’t be Rambo’s next snack, and the poodle was now clinging for dear life to her owner’s neck. As If it wasn’t enough that Rambo was scaring the fur off us, he started shaking his head,  making his jowls wobble quite disgustingly, and we all had to duck to avoid his projectile slobber – hmmm, nice ! Luckily it was soon my turn too see Miquel (the vet) and escape from Rambo’s warm embraces and bad breath.

Miquel lifted me up onto the table and Nikki explained that I had problems doing my poo-poos. Miquel started by looking into my mouth and eyes, but Nikki said: “no no, it’s Gizmo’s rear end that’s the problem !”. Maybe he was just trying to delay the inevitable pleasure of inspecting my cute butt, and I suppose I couldn’t really blame him.

Anyhow, there was indeed something stuck up there causing a blockage. Quite a few things actually: bits of twig, string, slippers, gardening implements … you name it, it was all up there. God knows how – I don’t remember eating half of that stuff.

With a resigned look and practised dexterity, Miguel managed to clear the blockage. Wow, what a wooftastic relief ! but it was only short-lived: a thermometer was rapidly inserted back up where the sun don’t shine (as if I hadn’t suffered enough humiliation !). Miquel was concerned that I might have torn something inside and have an infection, so he needed to take my temperature. Happily it was normal, and I got a biscuit, a pat on the head, and that was that (at least until I find some more tasty looking sharp objects to chomp on).

So, my doggie amigos, the moral of this story is: don’t eat stuff you’re not suppose to – otherwise it might involve an uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing visit to the vet. As the saying goes: “sheet happens” … and if it doesn’t then something’s wrong, visit the vet and have an Out-of-Botty experience like mine.

On the subject of visiting the vet: some doggies find it quite stressful, what with all the strange sights, smells and sounds; all the unfamiliar humans and animals; not to mention oversized mean looking Rotweillers with macho studded collars and owners covered in tattoos. So here are a few tips to help keep your pooch calm:

• Make sure your pooch has had a chance to go for a pee / poo before you go the vet (that’s if they’re able to of course !)
• Take some of his favourite treats with you to reward him for good behaviour while in the surgery.
• Keep your dog calm and by your side, even if he wants to say “Hola” to the other patients in the waiting room.
• Give him lots of physical attention: ie cuddles, and talk to him softly as this will help keep him relaxed.

Hasta luego mis pero amigos. Have a wooftastic week.

Excercise and Lurve

It’s just as important for us woofers to get regular excercise as it is for you humans – but of course y’all knew that anyway, didn’t you ? As we all know (even if we don’t put it into practise): when people don’t do any physical exercise they get unhealthy and fat (you can use pc terms like “differently weighted” or “gravitationally challenged”, but I prefer to “call a spade a spade” – and as you’ll read below, I dig digging :-)

It’s the same for us dogs: no exercise equals one lazy fat woofer, plus of course we need our owners to take us  for regular walkies, otherwise we get bored and do nasty things to the house / apartment (you have been warned !). Running, sniffing, and meeting other furry amigos stimulates us mentally and physically (especially if they’re cute like my amiga Mercedes :-) It’s also a great time for a bonding session with our owners.

I get plenty of exercise so I’m definitely well fit (just ask any of my lady woofer amigas): two good walks a day, plus a quick late-night stroll round the block to make sure I do a pee-pee before bedtime. My morning walkies is a real work-out. Although my humans don’t really ‘do’ jogging, they still move at a good pace when I’m on the lead, until we get to somewhere I can run free. Then it’s yee-ha: time to chase the ball, jump for the frizbee, and get digging some serious holes. As I mentioned, I really dig digging. Leave me alone for long enough and I reckon I’d come out somewhere down-under. That would be fun – saying g’day to some new furry mates.

Two good walks a day is perfecto for us pooches. One in the morning, and one late in the day. If your humans are out at work all day, try and persuade them to come home at lunch-time to say hello and let you out for a pee-pee. Us pooches can get lonely and sad if we’re left too long on our own, and like I warned: that’s when we might do horrible things to the house, or really annoy the neighbours with some serious woofing.

Of course no two dogs are the same, and how much exercise they need depends on their age and size, so make sure that you don’t over-exercise and de-hydrate your pooch. Watch out for signs of exhaustion or de-hydration, such as heavy panting, wheezing, lameness etc and be careful your dog doesn’t over-heat. Avoid heavy exercise in the middle of the day when its too hot, and make sure your pooch has access to cool fresh water at all times.

Along with all my normal running, jumping and digging, I’ve also just joined a new agility class. It’s a bit like a doggy gym. Both Nikki and I get a good workout and it’s very sociable – she meets her human friends, and I get to hang out with my doggie mates and impress the lady woofers with my athletic prowess.

Last week this really cute spaniel, Mercedes was there (woof woof !). I’ve seen her before at doggy events, but she always ignored me. I think she was playing hard to get, but this time we got to the sniffing noses (and other orifices) stage, so maybe I’m in there with a chance. Of course as I told y’all before, I no longer have my crown jewels intact – shame really, we could have made some beautiful puppies, but at least we’re Face-Book amigos now, so keep your paws crossed and watch this space. Sorry to bore you with my lurve life, but Valentine’s day is coming up soon (that’s her in the pic by the way – ¿ que guapa ? ).

Anyway, I’m really enjoying my agility sessions and the humans that run the course (www.southtenerifeagilityring.com) are very professional and patient with us pooches.  In our first class, Clare our teacher showed us the various bits of equipment (see-saw, tunnel, jumps etc) and we all took turns using it. There were only five of us in the class – that’s the maximum number of woofers they can teach in one go, so all of us got a good work-out and Clare’s individual instruction. The lovely Mercedes (sigh) started first by jumping over a pole. She has such style, finesse, and wow what a wooftastic butt ! Then I had a go, no problemo of course, as I said: I’m well fit and agile ! then the other woofers – some more successful then others, and of course there had to be one hooligan who couldn’t help but pee on the equipment. Always has to be one doesn’t there ?

Hasta luego mis furry amigos. Have a wooftastic week and give your pooch an extra hug on Valentine’s day x

If you would like to keep in touch with me, check out my Facebook page Snr Giz and if there are any doggie issues you would like me to discuss in my column, please email gizmo@tenerifedogs.com

My Furry Amigos:

The other day I was thinking about the first night that I spent at the dog refuge, and wondering what’s happened to my furry amigos that shared the cage with me.

I must admit, that first night I didn’t get too much sleep. Well none of us did really. There was Gonzales – a manic Jack Russell (we called him “Speedy G”) and Luna (BETTER NAME FOR A SNORING DOG ?) the bulldog. Speedy G kept bouncing around all night like he thought he was some kind of manic rubber ball. He bounced off the walls, me, Luna, everything really ! and in between bounces, he insisted on telling me his life story – in great detail.

Then when Speedy G’s battery finally ran down and he decided to go to sleep, Luna started snoring for Tenerife. Crikey, what a racket ! The planes flying low over the refuge were nothing compared to Luna’s snoring. Maybe that’s why she found herself on the streets – perhaps she drove her owners completely mad with sleep deprivation.

The next morning the nice people at the refuge gave me some breakfast. Wooftastic ! What a treat after having to ferret around for food on the streets – it almost made up for the lack of sleep. Then one of the volunteers took me for a walk. Aha, now things were really looking up … that’s until I got back to the cage to find yet another woofer had appeared. So now there were four of us in there, and it was getting a little bit cramped. “Not much chance of moving pad and getting some kip now, they must be full” I thought. Oh well, sigh … not wanting to start off on the wrong paw with the new arrival, I greeted him with a welcoming sniff.

The new mutt was Elvis – some sort of a terrier / spaniel mix, and he seemed friendly enough, until he started making this weird noise – a bit like a pig trying to sing karaoke while being strangled. I thought: “hang on mate, I know it’s quite a privilege to meet a pooch of my caliber, but calm down please !” Unfortunately there was no stopping him – the pig karaoke squealing continued on and off for the rest of that day and night.

So there I was stuck in a cage with a woofer who thought he was a rubber ball, and bored the fur off me with his cat chasing stories; a mutt who snored louder than a Boeing 707; and now a pooch who thought he was auditioning for the doggie version of X Factor … Woof-Bloody-Tastic !

Anyhow, we had to get some sleep eventually, so we all curled up together and I discovered that despite Luna’s snoring and general ugly bulldog-ness, she was actually quite cute (wink wink). Us dogs are very sociable really, and most of the time we get on OK despite all our annoying little habits. Since then I’ve met a few of these mutts out-and-about and we’ve become furry amigos (more about them in another episode).

After I Ieft the refuge and became the spokesmutt for Nikki’s website: TenerifeDogs.com, I was asked to be the poster pooch for Accion-del-Sol’s educational program (after all, I am exceptionally cute as you can see). This involves visiting local schools and helping the children look after their pets properly. So let me share with you some of the main things that we tell the kids about being a responsible dog owner:

• Always make sure your pooch has access to fresh water and give him a balanced diet.

• Have your dog neutered and micro-chiped. Of course if he comes from a rescue centre this should already have been done.

• Don’t leave your pooch alone all day if you can avoid it – otherwise he’ll probably annoy the neighbours woofing and generally be naughty.

• Treat your dog kindly – no hitting !

• Take your woofer for at least two walks a day, and try and spend some time playing with him every day.

• Take your dog to the vet for his annual check-up and vaccinations. Heartworm is a very serious illness for dogs in Tenerife, so make sure you either get the yearly injections or monthly tablets to prevent it.

• Regularly wash and groom your pooch, and check his teeth, ears, and nails to spot any problems before they become serious.

• Keep your dog on a lead near traffic – you don’t want him to get run over or cause an accident. A dog off the lead near a road is an accident waiting to happen !

• Carry some plastic doggy bags so that you can clean up after he does his ‘business’.

• If you go away on holiday make sure you know someone reliable to take care of your pooch, or take him to a professional dog hotel.

Before I sign off, I should just tell y’all that the title of my last column should have read: ‘Exercise and Lurve’, NOT ‘An Out of Botty Experience’. I know that Ground Hog day and Valentine’s day are both in February, but I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear that you won’t be forever reading about an ongoing issue with my butt ! We’ve moved onwards and upwards, and now it’s my heart that might be working overtime, due to a lurvely spaniel called Mercedes :-)

So it’s hasta luego, y ‘chow-for-now’ mis furry amigos.

ps if you would like to keep in touch with me, check out my Facebook page Snr Giz and if there are any doggie issues you would like me to discuss in my column, please e-mail gizmo@tenerifedogs.com

I recently received this e-mail and I thought it would make a good subject for this week’s column:

Dear Snr Giz

I’m an older dog who loves reading your column, and as you are so worldly wise I wonder can you help me ?

I have recently started to feel a bit cranky and slow and don’t particularly want to run and jump and play as much with the small humans in my home, but how can I tell them and the older ones that I just want to be left alone a bit more. I don’t want to snarl or growl …. have you any advice?  I do love my humans very much and they have been good to me, so I don’t want them to think I am ungrateful, but a bit of peace and quiet would be nice too.

Best wishes, Oscar

Hola Oscar, muchas gracias for your e-mail. You’ve raised an important issue for older woofers and their humans. As us dogs get older, we do need more peace and quiet to rest our tired bones, and dream about our puppy adventures and all the cat / ball / stick-chasing and hole-digging days of our youth. Although I’m just a spring chicken (ha ha I mean a young mutt of course) and not yet experiencing these problems, I can still sympathise with you Oscar.

When you need some snooze time, try this: wander off into another room, find a quite space (behind the curtains, beside the sofa, under the bed – wherever) and just refuse to move ! Most humans, even small ones, get the hint eventually. As you say, you don’t want to snarl or growl, but your human family should start to wonder why you’re being a bit grumpy and take notice, especially if it’s not your normal behaviour.

If, as you say, your owners love you and treat you as one of the family, then I’m sure they’ll soon realise that you need more rest and give you more opportunities to sleep. Hopefully if they see you disappearing into another room often enough, they’ll eventually put another cushion or dog bed into your quiet corner (woof-woof: result !).

Make sure that when you’re not snoozing you’re still friendly to them, and they should also get the message that you don’t want to be ignored completely just because you can’t play quite as much as you used to. Older mutts still need plenty of cuddles, mental stimulation, and physical exercise – although of course they might have less energy than a younger pooch. This all helps keep an older pooch healthy and young at heart.

As Oscar gets older his eyesight might not be as good as it used to be, and he may have a few “toilet accidents”, but he shouldn’t worry as its all part of the ageing process. Hopefully his owners will realise this, and let him out more often for a pee. A late evening walkies around the block is good as it gives your pooch an opportunity to do their thing before bedtime,  so there’s less chance of an accident during the night.

Here are some more tips for caring for older woofers (info suppled by Caz Irving vet assistant):

• Try not to move the furniture around too much – older dogs can get more disorientated by changes in their environment.  You don’t want them to be hurting themselves all the time by bumping into furniture (ouch !).

• Avoiding stairs late at night will reduce the chance of a fall. This is especially true here in Tenerife as there’s usually no carpet, so your pooch could easily break a bone if they miss a step trying to get downstairs during the night.

•  Keep your dog looking good by daily grooming. This also gives you a chance to spot problems early on, for example: bad breath, brown teeth, bleeding gums etc. I know that us woofers aren’t exactly renown for our sweet smelling breath, but sometimes an especially bad pong could be a sign of some worse problem, so go to your vet for a dental check up.

•  Try changing your dog’s food to a special senior diet (ask your vet for a recommendation). My predecessor, the late Great Snr Basil, was put on a special diet because he had kidney problems when he was getting older, and it definitely helped him stay livelier for longer.

•  Shorter, more regular walks are preferable to very long walks. Older woofers are more prone to dehydration, so be especially careful to look out for the signs: eg excessive panting etc

•  Keep up with all the normal vaccinations: heartworm, flea and worm.

By the way Oscar, I hope I’m not depressing you too much with all this talk about the problems of getting older ? Look at it this way: your humans really love you, and they’ve stuck by you all these years. You’ll always be one of their family however old and cranky you get. That’s wooftastic ! Lots of pooches don’t get to grow old with caring owners.

Good luck with sorting the problem out.  I’m sure that all my furry amigos and their humans wish you many more happy years with your family !

ps if you would like to keep in touch with me, check out my Facebook page: Snr Giz and if there are any doggie issues that you’d like me to discuss in this column, please e-mail gizmo@tenerifedogs.com

Makes me Barking Mad …

People who don’t keep their pooch on a lead when they’re near a busy road.

You’ve got to understand that all those hours at obedience class can be forgotten in the flash of a cat’s tail when we see a pesky moggy on the other side of the road strutting their stuff and taunting us. Y’all seen Tom-&-Jerry, right ?

Then there’s the quick sprint across the road to say hola to a doggie amiga (especially if they’ve got a cute butt to sniff). And personally, I’ve also been known to indulge in a bit of tweetie-bird chasing, or even a mad dash after a plastic bottle that’s blowin in de wind (wooftastic fun !).

So my furry amigos, just imagine if you made a dash-for-it across a busy road and got hit by a car. Fur and flesh definitely come off second best in a collision with metal travelling at 60 k’s per hour. Not to mention what might happen to the person in the car if they swerve to miss you and hit a wall instead.

Nikki was driving home from shopping recently and this mutt dashed out in front of her to play with a woofer on the other side of the road. Fortunately she wasn’t going very fast and just managed to stop in time. So this lucky mutt kept his nuts (you know as in: “… is the mutt’s nuts”), but it was a close shave. She tried to explain to the owner that next time their pooch might not be so lucky, so perhaps it would be a good idea to put him on a lead. Unbelievably, the owner angrily told Nikki to mind her own business !

What can I say ? Some humans are just completely bonkers. As I say: us woofers can be easily distracted, so it’s really mucho important to keep your pooch on a lead near roads. Just remember: “why did the chicken cross the road ? … because it wasn’t on a fekin lead !”. You know it makes sense.

By the way, I’ve got my very own wooftastic seat belt in the back seat of the car, which plugs into the normal fitting and clips to my harness. So if Nikki has to stop suddenly to avoid the aforementioned mutt’s nutts, I won’t go flying through the air and end up with my furry face planted in the windscreen (ouch !).

Something else that makes me barking mad and my fur stand on end, is dressing up dogs in ridiculous looking outfits. I mean, what’s that all about eh ? OK, I do sometimes wear a very cool bandanna when I’m out and about town, and Nikki has been known to put a Christmas hat on me – but that’s only once a year, and it’s usually just to take photos. Of course I have no problem with giving a pooch some extra protection from the elements, but making them walk down the street dressed up in a frilly pink outfit, in full view of their furry amigos is frankly just not cool !

Having said that, I must admit it would make my day to see this great big mean Rotweiller I know done up in a pink frilly outfit. Yep, that would be a sight for sore eyes and I’d donate a week’s worth of dog biscuits to a refuge just to see it. Super wooftastic – I nearly wet myself just thinking about it !

What else makes me barking mad ? People who don’t think about their social and work commitments when they adopt a pooch.  For example: a couple decide to adopt a cute rescue dog, but since they’re both working full-time, the woofer is left alone all day every day. Then when they get home they’re too tired to take him for a walk or play with him, or they want to go out for the evening. Surprise surprise, the poor pooch woofs his little heart out all day, and annoys everyone on the complex. He isn’t really being a naughty dog, he’s just bored and lonely.

So the couple decide that perhaps they should get rid of the pooch, and fortunately a new home is found for him. Oh well, they’ve learnt a lesson and found out that a dog doesn’t fit with their life-style – or at least that’s what you’d have thought … but sadly, no mis amigos. The humans still don’t get it (sometimes our two-legged amigos can be dumber than a mutt chasing his own butt ! ) and they decide to adopt another woofer, thinking that a different breed won’t bark. Wrong ! Whatever breed you get, if you leave a pooch on his own all day he’s more than likely to woof, and probably eat his way through the house in boredom.

So, please, however much you’d like to give a dog a home, think about the amount of time you’ll be able to spend with him. A pooch needs company, or he’ll just be a very sad, lonely and bored woofer, and probably turn into a Kevin-style teenage hooligan mutt, muttering “wad-ever” at you whenever you try and tell him off.

Anyway, that’s enough ranting for now. Before I sign off, here’s a quick update on what’s been happening at my agility class. I graduated from the beginner class, and was given a certificate saying that I’m now a fully-fledged member of the Star Agility club (yee-ha, wooftastic eh !). All my furry amigos passed as well, and now the lovely Mercedes (sigh), Bertie and Sami and me are keeping going with some more classes.

By the way, I must admit I was a bit disappointed with Mercedes last week.  She seemed very interested in having a sniff with this pit-bull cross who was hanging around waiting for the next class. Maybe I shouldn’t be too worried. There’s probably nothing in it. He’s not really her type of pooch, unless she’s decided she wants a “bit of rough”.

So it’s hasta luego, y ‘chow-for-now’ mis furry amigos.

ps if you would like to keep in touch with me, check out my Facebook page Snr Giz and if there are any doggie issues you would like me to discuss in my column, please e-mail gizmo@tenerifedogs.com

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Hola mis amigos, and welcome to my column. This will probably be the last one for a while as I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment (and I don’t mean my dog bowl). As the spokes-mutt for Nikki’s website: Tenerifedogs.com, I certainly earn my dog biscuits !

The other reason for giving my column a bit of a rest is that I don’t want to bore y’all by repeating myself. I’ve written plenty about the things that matter to us woofers (dogs off leads, what you should think about before getting a dog, my “Out-of-Botty” experience at the vet,  problems for the older pooch etc), but if there are any more doggie issues you’d like me to discuss (or you just miss me :-) then send me an e-mail and persuade me to change my mind !

April 13th was a very important day for us pooches in the Canary Islands. It was the first time that a case of animal abuse was prosecuted in court (what took them so long eh ?). Hopefully this landmark case should set a precedent, and be the start of justice for animals who are victims of human cruelty here.

Addanca Candaleria, an animal welfare organisation brought the case to court, and are looking after the unfortunate dog: ‘Vela’ who had been beaten, nearly starved to death, and has scars from abrasive liquid poured over her. The alleged perpetrator of this abuse is an eighty-year-old man who denies the charges. Updates about this case can be found on Addanca Candaleria’s Facebook page.

On the subject of animal abuse, hoarding animals can also be a form of cruelty. A hoarder is someone who collects far too many domestic pets (usually cats and dogs) without the ability or resources to care for them properly. The hoarder may not actually be beating the animals, but not looking after their basic needs (feeding them, keeping them in hygienic conditions) is still, in the end, a form of abuse, as the animals are certainly suffering. Often the person has a mental health problem and doesn’t understand that what he or she is doing is wrong ! Whether or not the hoarder has psychological problems, or is just negligent, it doesn’t really make much difference to the poor innocent cats or dogs who often suffer terribly.

Anyway, moving on … I’d like to tell y’all about a rather strange e-mail that I recently received from an African chap called Nadu Totow Savimbi. It’s a very sad tale of how despite inheriting a lot of money, he’s been unable to access his bank account, due to the overthrow of the goverment in his country. Nadu explains that he has 20 wives, 78 children, and 10 grandmothers to support, and that he desperately needs my bank account details, passport etc so that he’ll then be able to transfer his late father’s 37 million dollar estate into my account. Of course he’ll bung me a few million just for letting him use my account and helping him with his extended family.

Woof-bloody-tastic, no ? Sorry, but does Nadu really think I was born yesterday ? and doesn’t he understand I’m a dog and unlikely to need a bank account ? Honestly, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – some humans must have fur for brains !

I mean, why don’t I ever get an e-mail from someone who says they’re going to transfer two tons of dog biscuits to my bowl, just so that their dog can access it, as his own has been frozen. Now that would be talking my language, but realistically I suppose it’s unlikely to happen … a dog can dream though !

So, there you go. As I mentioned, I’ll be taking some time off from writing my column before it all goes stale (which reminds me – must go and dig up that bone that I buried last month – should be nice and wiffy by now). But I won’t be stopping this writing malarky. Far from it, I’ve got a taste for it now and so I’ve decided to write a book.

It’s going to be a wooftastic ‘tail’ about a loveable ex-pat pooch living in Tenerife (funnily enough). He writes, from a dog’s point of view of course, about settling down in a new country, how he copes with the cultural differences and learning the language (although woof-speak is universal, mas o menos, there are still some differences which need to be understood, otherwise a dog can have muchos problemas with his furry Latin amigos).

So the book will be a kind of doggie version of ‘”Walking over Lemons” (“Bouncing over Bones” ?) or perhaps “More Saliva than Salsa” ? It will have some wonderful illustrations by my amiga Annie Chapman and is all set to be a wooftastic best seller (that’s if I can find time to finish it in between my naps … phew, it’s a dog’s life and all that).

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my columns (ps they can all be downloaded via the Island Connections website). Join me on Snr Giz Facebook page, keep checking  out Tenerifedogs.com. and send me an e-mail me on gizmo@tenerifedogs.com if there’s anything else that you’d like me to write about. Until then, it’s hasta luego y ‘chow-for-now’ mis furry amigos.

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