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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 Studies have shown that it is no longer acceptable or necessary to use such outdated and …

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Niamh McMahon’s Weightwatcher diary

Below is a complete food diary from Niamh, showing how with careful diet and exercise, weight loss can be achieved: Tuesday February 17 Breakfast – 7:15 – Poached egg, slice of porridge bread with a weight watchers’ yoghurt and a green tea. Mid Morning – 10:30 – A pear and a mandarin orange. Lunch – 13:00 – Two crumpets with a teaspoon of sweet freedom honey and a cup of green tea. Dinner – 17:00 – A breast of chicken roasted in the oven with carrots, peas, corn and a scoop of mash with a glass of water. Snack – 19:30 – Three tablespoons of sugar free jelly with two tablespoons of stewed apple. Wednesday February 18 Breakfast – 7:15 – Two crumpets with banana and a green tea. Mid morning – 11:00 – Two slices of porridge bread and a cup of coffee. Lunch – 14:00 – Had a bowl of carrot and coriander soup with a slice of …

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Compulsory microchipping of dogs

The compulsory microchipping of dogs will be rolled out on a phased basis, beginning with pups in September and expanded to all dogs in March 2016. The announcement by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has been welcomed by the ISPCA as an indication of the Government’s clear commitment to animal welfare. ISPCA CEO, Dr Andrew Kelly said, “The introduction of compulsory microchipping is a major step forward for dog welfare in Ireland and is a key component of responsible dog ownership. The permanent identification of a dog will increase the likelihood of it being returned to its owner if it is lost or stolen. Compulsory microchipping will also reduce the burden on animal welfare organisations and dog rescue organisations caused by stray dogs and should result in fewer dogs entering the local authority dog shelters around the country. “Don’t wait until 2016, get your dog microchipped now”.

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Applications sought under Structures at Risk Fund

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has reintroduced the Structures at Risk Fund (SRF), which in the past has financed conservation works on a number of protected buildings in private and civic ownership in County Clare. The Department, which is administering the €624,000 fund, says it will consider no more than two applications from any local authority. The SRF, which applies to structures in immediate danger of significant deterioration, has previously approved funds for works undertaken on Byrne’s Shop in Ennistymon and Oatfield Church in Sixmilebridge. Clare County Council is inviting applications from around County Clare in relation to the fund, the closing date for which is 4pm on Thursday, March 12. “The purpose of the SRF is to assist with works to safeguard structures protected under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), including works to proposed protected structures, and in certain cases, works to safeguard structures within Architectural Conservation Areas, where, in the opinion of …

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Feakle pupils write to Ireland’s oldest person

FEAKLE woman and Ireland’s oldest person in history, Kathleen Snavely celebrated her 113th birthday in Syracuse, New York State, on Monday but earlier this year she took time out to correspond with pupils at Feakle National School. Mrs Snavely was chosen by Róisín Quilligan and Siobhán Tuohy as part of their Flat Stanley project in school. This project is based on the Flat Stanley books, written by Jeff Brown Stanley, which sees the Flat Stanley character travel the world in envelopes. It began in 1994 in Ontario, Canada, when Dale Hubert had the idea of having children create their own Flat Stanley paper cut-outs and mailing them to friends and family around the globe, in order to foster authentic literacy activities for kids and get them excited to write about Stanley’s adventures. In Feakle, pupils have written to and received responses from a number of famous people, including President Michael D Higgins, Channing Tatum, Ryan Tubridy, Henry Shefflin, Brian Gavin, …

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Fr Des brushes off bishop talk

NEWLY appointed Killaloe Diocesan Administrator, Fr Des Hillery, has dismissed suggestions that he may have an interest in succeeding Bishop Kieran O’Reilly, who is now Archbishop of Cashel and Emly. A native of Miltown Malbay, Fr Hillery has been parish priest of Nenagh for two and a half years, prior to which he served as a Columban missionary in Lima, Peru for seven years. “We’re not going there. I’m coming back to Nenagh. We’re not going down that road,” Fr Hillery quipped when asked if he is interested in the vacancy. “My focus is certainly here in Nenagh. It’s a very fine parish; the people are extremely good to me. I certainly enjoy where I am and I intend staying here,” he added. The most controversial aspect of Bishop O’Reilly’s tenure was the issue over the proposed exclusion of women from the diaconate. Last September, following a number of public meetings, the then Bishop of Killaloe said he was delaying …

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Reprieve for small primary schools

SMALL primary schools facing the threat of losing a teacher due to falling numbers have been given some breathing space this week, as a result of a decision by Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan. Affecting schools mainly in rural parishes, new retention regulations will give a slightly improved pupil/teacher ratio in two to four-teacher school scenarios. Nationally, close on 60% of primary schools have four teachers or less. Minister O’Sullivan revealed that the new retention schedule for the 2015/16 school year will be 19 pupils, rather than 20, to retain a second teacher; 53 pupils, rather than 56, to retain a third teacher and 83 pupils, rather than 86, to retain a fourth teacher. While generally supportive of the decision to reduce the number of pupils required to retain teachers in small schools, Labasheeda National School principal, Liam Woulfe, said the change “will not greatly aid two-teacher schools”. Following two appeals, Labasheeda was able to show that it had the required …

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Kathleen going strong at 113

FEAKLE native Kathleen Snavely (nee Hayes) became the State’s oldest ever living person when she turned 111 and 327 days last year but, having reached her 113th birthday this week, she looks set to become the island’s oldest living person. Annie Scott was the oldest living person from the island of Ireland. She was born in Northern Ireland on March 15, 1883, living to be 113 and 37 days, having died in 1996 in Scotland where she settled. Kathleen was born in Garraun, Feakle on February 16, 1902. Indications are that she is in good health, so she looks set to make history once again on March 24 of this year, which would make her the oldest person born on the island of Ireland. However, she has a long way to go to outlive the longest living person in recorded history, who was French woman Jeanne Calment, who died aged 122 years and 164 days in 1997. The current oldest …

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