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Tag Archives: bev truss

Keeping all her eggs in one basket

This quacked feathered friend has cried fowl of the usual nesting spots, to make a hanging basket dangling over the River Fergus her home. And it appears that the duck is quackers about its new residence on the Mill Road Bridge in Ennis. The hanging basket had been due to be moved by Clare County Council’s gardening section, who were surprised to see that it had a new resident nestled among the flowers. The basket will now remain in place until the female duck decides it is time to leave, the local authority has confirmed. Brendan Keogh, a gardener with the council’s gardening section, explained, “The duck had nested in one of the hanging baskets close to the mill on the Mill Road Bridge. Clare County Council’s gardening section was relocating the baskets for the summer season when the nesting bird was spotted. The bird and the basket in question will be left in situ.” While the bird has been …

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Emotions, not just for humans

  SCIENTISTS studying animal behaviour have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans. Until recently, humans were thought to be the only species to experience complex emotions and have a sense of morality. Professor Marc Bekoff, an ecologist at University of Colorado, Boulder, believes that morals are “hard-wired” into the brains of all mammals and provide the “social glue” that allow often aggressive and competitive animals to live together in groups. Wolves live in tight-knit social groups that are regulated by strict social rules. Wolves also demonstrate fairness. During play, mature wolves will “handicap” themselves by engaging in roll reversal with younger wolves, showing submission and allowing them to bite, provided it is not too hard. Prof Bekoff argues that without a moral code governing their actions, this kind of behaviour would not be possible. If an animal bites too hard, it will initiate a …

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Twelve is a good number for dogs

Its been a while since I took over Bev’s column to tell you of my latest travels. I’m only thrilled this time as I’m going back to one of my favourite hotels, The Twelve, in Barna. Last Christmas, my humans took a photo of me wearing my Santa hat while posing on a copy of The Clare Champion and entered it in The Twelve’s Christmas competition. Despite the stiff opposition, I won! The prize was a night at the hotel with dinner in The West restaurant. It’s a terrible state of affairs though that I’m not allowed in the restaurant, even though I’m a Westie. Maybe I’ll get a little doggie bag. They really welcome dogs at The Twelve but I’ve heard they’ve upped their game with a new Dog Concierge service. It sounds wonderful and I had to try it out. As an added bonus, would you believe that RTÉ are sending a film crew along to record my …

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A busy month at Hogsprickle

August has been a really busy month at The Hogsprickle. A young hoglet about three-months-old was found near St Flannan’s with a nasty strimmer injury, which had caused a gaping wound along his back and the poor little guy had to have an emergency operation. Unfortunately, due to the extent of his wounds, he lost his fight. Two other hedgehogs came in with hind leg and foot injuries and again emergency operations were needed. These guys are doing well and will be ready for release in a few weeks. We also had a call about a female hedgehog who had fallen into a cattle grid. She had been there for perhaps a week or so and was very dehydrated and thin, she wasn’t expected to live the night. She had emergency fluids and treatment and after a day or so, she was eating and drinking well. She has put on weight and has had an injury on her hind leg …

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When the Wolf gave up the sofa

THERE are lots of theories on how wolves decided to interact with humans. Did we ‘adopt’ the cutest or the abandoned wolf cubs? Highly unlikely, as we now know, with scientific research, living with a sociable wolf as a family pet is next to impossible. Domestic dogs evolved from a group of wolves that came into contact with European hunter-gatherers between 18,800 and 32,100 years ago; this wolf has since died out. Can you imagine 32,100 years ago trying to hunt to feed your family, let alone a large wolf, who could kill you over a meal. The hunting hypothesis, that humans used wolves to hunt, doesn’t hold up. Humans were already successful hunters without wolves, more successful than every other large carnivore. People have a long history of eradicating wolves, rather than trying to adopt them. Over the last few centuries, almost every culture has hunted wolves to extinction. The most likely explanation is that they probably domesticated themselves. …

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Sad news from the hedge

THE news from the hedge this week is not happy. This week, we have had a few hedgehogs arrive that haven’t survived their encounters with humans. One little female came in as she had been found by her rescuer after someone had let their dogs “play with her”. The poor wee thing was traumatised and had multiple wounds and died before I could get her to a vet to help; she was also pregnant. Another hedgehog, this time a male, had been seen by his rescuer out in the day on the lawn. He had been there three days before the man who owned the house phoned me for advice. He came to The Hogsprickle very cold, dehydrated and thin; he didn’t survive the night. Sadly, one of my colleagues at the hedgehog rescue in Dublin phoned me for advice about a spikey butt they had that was having seizures due to slug-pellet poisoning. This poor animal died a slow …

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No more crying wolf

IN recent times, the dog-owning public have been bombarded with dog training entertainment programmes. Some, worryingly, have a “do not try this at home” warning. Pet dogs are being subject to all sorts of training and behaviour modification techniques borne out of wolf pack, dominance theory and now DIY TV programmes. Our domestic dog, canine lupis familiaris, is the most diverse species on earth and not a small wolf in the house. We have manipulated dogs both physically and behaviourally according to our needs, therefore up-to-date methods of training and problem solving looks to the breed’s need for reinforcing rewards. Many traditional trainers use dominance, rank reduction and pack theory techniques, based on flawed observations of captive wolves, canine lupis, in the 1940s. Typically, punitive/traditional trainers use confrontational techniques and equipment, delivering an unpleasant or painful consequence to a disagreeable behaviour, called positive punishment. Studies have shown that it is no longer acceptable or necessary to use such outdated and …

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Poisonous plants for pets

While there are thousands of species of plants and flowers, only a small percentage of plants are truly dangerous and poisonous to your pet. Make sure you know which plants are most deadly to avoid your dog or cat from getting ill. Autumn Crocus: There are two crocus plants, one that blooms in the spring (crocus species) and the other in the autumn (colchicum autumnale). The spring plants are more common and are part of the Iridaceae family. These ingestions can cause general gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhoea. They should not be mistaken for autumn crocus, part of the Liliaceae family, which contain colchicine. The autumn crocus is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage and respiratory failure. If you are not sure what plant it is, bring your pet to their vet immediately for care. Signs may be seen immediately but can be delayed for days. Azalea: In the same family as …

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