Most dog owners would love the chance to work with dogs and other animals all day every day – and that is just what our latest sponsored pack member Kirsty is doing with her business – Pawsitive Touch. Here is her story…
“I’ve been animal daft for as long as I can remember so it was no real surprise to anyone when I went on to work with animals.
I studied Animal Biology at university then went on to work as a zookeeper which I loved but I was always keen to work with dogs as they’ve always been my true passion. Following this I went on to work in animal rescue, and gained quite a few animals in the process, then went onto work in the veterinary sector as an animal care assistant. I currently still work in the veterinary sector but only part time.
I had always dreamed of running my own business so when I got my part time job in May 2016 I thought that there was no time like the present! So that’s when Pawsitive Touch was launched! Pawsitive Touch offers professional pet care services, including dog walking, home visits and small animal boarding, in Central Scotland. We are still running on quite a small scale but I am loving every minute of it and looking forward to further evolving and offering more services to my clients in the future.
I currently own four dogs, one cat and several rats. My dogs are Skye, Jazz, Midge and Rookie who are three border collies and one American bulldog cross Staffordshire bull terrier type. My dogs range from 18 months old right up to 13 years old and all are fed Akela. Two of my dogs came from the rescue I worked in with their fair share of behavioural issues but have come on leaps and bounds. I have dabbled in obedience, agility and trick training with all my dogs and love keeping them both physically and mentally active so Akela fits in perfectly with our lifestyle. My cat, Echo, is also fed on Akela and in great condition because of that. Believe it or not, the rats also enjoy a few kibbles of Akela as a treat every now and then!
I was honoured when I was asked to join the Akela family as a sponsored pack member! I have fed Akela to my dogs and cat since early 2015 and they all love it. My animals are my world so it makes sense to feed them only the best quality food. I feel so passionately about Akela and their ethics, they are such a fantastic company and I am so excited to be joining the team. I look forward to growing with them!”
Kirsty came to our attention because she has been feeding Akela almost since the start and gets involved with us a lot on social media as well as regularly recommending Akela to clients. She works with positive training methods and is respected and trusted by her clients. If this sounds like you or someone you know then we would love to hear your story – just get in touch via email and mark for attention of Jackie.
Throughout July Akela are inviting you to send them videos of your dog (or cat!) enjoying their Akela food or treats. This is your chance to get your dog featured on our website and social media AND the best videos will get a freebie!
Categories are: Akela treats – send in a picture / video of your dog munching on his or her favourite Akela treat. There will be a winner for EVERY treat we offer.* Akela dry – send in a pic of your dog by their bag of Akela or enjoying eating it. There will be a winner for each kibble size, any flavour.** Akela wet – send in a pic of your dog enjoying their Akela wet food. One winner.*** Akela Cat – send in a pic of your cat enjoying any Akela product. One winner.****
* winners will receive a free fish or meat based treat with their next order
** winners will receive a 1.5kg bag of their choice with their next order or £6 off their next 10kg purchase
***winner will receive a free 6 pack of tins in their choice with their next order
****winner will receive 6 cat tins or a 1.5kg cat dry bag with their next order
Ts & Cs
Entries open 5th July 2016 – 3rd October 2016 (NEW EXTENDED CLOSING DATE)
Videos must be of your own dog(s)/cat(s) only
The product in the video must be an Akela product
Please only submit videos that you are happy for us to share and use on our website, social media channels and print material (from still shots) in relation to Akela promotions.
Videos should be posted on our Facebook wall AND on the relevant product page within the Akela website if we ask you to.
Entries limited to 5 per household
Winners will be selected by Suffolk Group staff on the 3rd October 2016 and posted on our facebook page
Remember videos with a cleaner background and less background noise are always more appealing
Free goods will be supplied with next order
Our sponsored handler Martin Reid has finally found a moment between his runs to tell us more about his dogs and his current successful streak;
“I started agility around 11 years ago with my first agility dog Moss, he wasn’t the easiest dog to train he was rescued from Ireland as a puppy. He took me from grades one to six, he is now retired but still likes doing bits of time to time!
I currently compete with my two dogs Flash and Spring, Flash is a 7 year old border collie and Spring is a 3.5 year old Border collie. Over the past couple of years since being on Akela Flash has won two championship tickets, competed at Crufts on three different occasions with his best result a 3rd place in the Singles Final, competed at Olympia twice in the senior finals and competed internationally in Belgium and Luxembourg picking up some podium positions.
Spring in his short time of competing has won up to grade 7 within a year, competed at Crufts in 2016, won the novice agility Olympia stakes final, won three championship tickets giving him the title of Agility Champion and has been selected to represent Great Britain at the European Opens 2016.
We have many more competitions coming up in the rest of 2016, these include Championship classes, more qualifiers for Crufts 2017 and the Olympia Stakes quarter finals. In July Spring and I are also off to France to compete at the European opens 2016 to represent GB.”
We wish Martin all the best for this year and the future!
Somewhere near the England-Wales border sits a very unique and special place; blending in so well with its surroundings you would have no idea it was there. Amongst the natural beauty and wildlife of the valley a few long lost apex predators have a place to call home.
Currently home to a handful of wolves, Wolf Watch UK is a small and friendly organisation run by just a few dedicated individuals with a passion for Wolves, conservation and education. In return for the safe haven provided by the centre the wolves act as ambassadors for the species, to help teach interested individuals not only about wolves and their plight but also to allow those interested in canine behaviour to observe it in its most authentic form.
These wolves have come from other parks where they did not fit into their previous pack, perhaps due to disagreements with other pack members or breeding leading to too many individuals for their enclosure. Despite this relocation these wolves certainly seem to have landed on their paws, now living in large enclosures with lots of natural cover and features making it a great home from home. For more on the history of the centre take a look at http://www.wwuk.org/history.htm.
I was lucky enough to meet these wonderful animals up close, an encounter that I will never forget. Visits are limited, which in my opinion makes this experience even more special. People who are interested in learning about the centre and interested in visiting for themselves should take a look at the membership option on their website: http://www.wwuk.org/adoptawolf.htm.
I would like to extend a personal thank you to Tony for his efforts with these animals and for allowing me to meet them.
Daisy~Mae is my 3 year old Japanese Chin. Ever since she was a puppy she has always thrived on learning, she picks things up and learns so quickly that she is such an easy little dog to train in that respect. I decided that when she was old enough I would start agility training with her, if anything for mental stimulation and of course it’s good exercise for her and myself 😉 Most people associate agility with larger dogs and most people associate Japanese Chins as purely just show dogs! I started out training her at home with some foam equipment, Daisy~Mae being my first dog this was just as new to me as it was to her. Once I had taught her some basics we then joined an agility club where we have been training now for about 2 years. I have a friend who also runs a Japanese Chin and as far as I know we are the only two people in the country to train and run with Japanese Chins currently. I generally do agility training for fun but we have entered a few competitions of which her first one she came in at an amazing second place and we have also run as a pairs with my friends Japanese Chin and hope to do more of this in the future.
I started Daisy~Mae on Akela Wholeprey about a year ago. It truly was the best thing I ever did. She can be quite a fussy eater and with this in mind I did a lot of research on different brands of dog food. With this knowledge and learning that what I was feeding her on was not as good nutrionally as I thought it was I decided to look for something that was much better for her. I ordered a free sample of Akela Wholeprey to try her with and she absolutely loved it!! She especially LOVES the newer flavour Suffolk Duck and I love the fact that all mouth sizes are catered for. Being a toy dog the ‘small paws’ kibble is just perfect for her and I know she is getting everything she needs nutrionally and it’s not costing half as much as her previous food. So that can only equal one happy dog and one very happy dog mum 🙂
Here is the first of our guest blogs written by mum Sue about her dog Pippin. See the end of the post for more details on our guest blogs.
“Every dog is a superstar to their owners, but Pippin, I think, fulfils every definition of the term and is a true ambassador for rescue dogs. My husband Stephen and I had always wanted a dog, and in 2007 found we were in a position to fulfil our dream. Stephen is in the Royal Navy and not home that often, so the only time we could adopt was at Christmas when we would be together for two weeks. We never considered getting anything other than a rescue; our only stipulation was nothing with collie in as that would have been too challenging for a first dog.
I studied the websites of local rescues eventually found one happy to let us adopt at Christmas. Hereford and Worcester Animal Rescue understood immediately and invited us over to the kennels where we fell in love with a little curly-coated collie cross (woops!); she sat on her backside and put her front legs over my arm, then cried when we left. How could anyone resist that? A week later Pippin was home.
Around five months old, she was terrified of the car, and it took eighteen months before she wouldn’t try to run if we opened a side door. We were told this is an indication of her having been thrown from a car, although as she was picked up as a stray in Herefordshire and taken to the pound so we have no history whatsoever.
It soon became apparent that she loved to learn; she revelled in puppy classes and then won Best Trick at her very first dog show when we had only had her four months, jumping through a paper-covered hoop. She has been to plenty of shows since and may have won rosette or two.
Stephen went to Afghanistan that summer, and Pip was the only thing that kept me going. Every week I made a DVD of her antics to send to him, including a parody of Indiana Jones – Pennsylvania Pip, obviously! A Pip fan club formed to watch her videos; there were many in Kandahar who missed their dogs!
With no vacancy at training until autumn, I taught Pip tricks that summer to keep her mind occupied, and I am still teaching her them even now, eight years later, as she cries to be trained. Given the choice between her dinner and training she will always choose the latter! Come autumn we joined Malvern & District Dog Training Club and worked our way through the Good Citizen Awards, gaining Gold in the summer of 2010. We have now been in the advanced class for five years or so, and she still loves it.
Pip obviously adored running and jumping, so as soon as she reached 18 months we joined an agility club, having our first class in January 2009 just days after Stephen returned home, and Pip just loved it! She is one of the fastest, most excited, most manic dog in the club, which is challenging for me as a novice handler, but in spite of me she now has some points under her belt as she is extremely fast and always placed when clear; she just doesn’t go clear very often!
Due to her striking appearance and friendly nature lots of people ask what breed she is. Although very worky from her collie side, we think Pip is half lurcher, and that has made her very calm when not excited. She used to love seeing my mother, and Mum had an awful lot of pleasure from Pip, so when she died in the summer of 2010 I wanted to share the joy Pip had brought to her, and applied to join Pets as Therapy. Pip passed with flying colours and for the last five years we have been visiting a care home and a dementia home each week which Pip enjoys and I find very rewarding.
In 2010 Pip was asked to join the Paws for Thought Dog Display Team. Largely rescue dogs, they travel the country during the summer and Pip took part in agility, obedience, flyball, trick and fire-jumping displays. She has performed at the Three Counties Show and at Paws in the Park in Kent as well as smaller local events, and just adores the atmosphere, convinced every round of applause is for her! We had to leave the team after four years due to time constraints, but Pip still helps them out when short-handed, and also does the odd solo trick display at dog shows etc. Through Paws For Thought she was on Who Let the Dogs Out and About on CBBC, and has since also appeared on Sport Relief’s Top Dog on BBC2 in 2014.
Pip has always been a fussy eater when it comes to dog food, and we have tried a number of high quality brands, but she tends to only eat them for a few weeks. We are quite picky with what we feed her; not only must it be very good quality food, but, as we are obviously animal lovers, it also needs to be ethical from non-intensively reared meat. We discovered Akela last summer, and, as it fulfilled all our requirements we thought we would try Pip on it. She absolutely loved it, and is still eating it enthusiastically nine months later. Although she is now rising nine, she shows no signs of slowing down – quite the opposite in fact, and has a lovely coat to boot.
We used to worry that we ask Pip to do too much, but she really is happiest when working and loves everything we do; whatever we throw at her she just revels in it and asks for more – she has even tried both Heelwork to Music and Working Trials with great success. We knew having a dog would change our lives, but never imagined it would be to quite this extent – she has even led me to a new career as a dog photographer! The mongrel somebody discarded has become the centre of our world and has brought joy to many lives through her P.A.T. and display work. She really is a very special girl.”
Thanks to Sue of Malvern Phodography for this wonderful write up about Pippin.
We value our pack very much and love to show how wonderful you all are. If you have a special story to tell please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to have a chance to be featured.
Akela’s first visit to Crufts went fantastically well. As Crufts celebrated its 125th year we had our first stand at the show and although it was not the first time our staff have walked through those doors it never fails impress with the sheer number of dog enthusiasts it attracts. Sure, the dog showing world and The Kennel Club usually has some negative press around the event but we like to focus on all the good points from the four day event. Below are our highlights, through the eyes of our Product Manager, Jackie.
Our goody bags went down very well, giving new and existing customers a chance to try out some of our treats and our new wet food, whilst grabbing themselves a cool canvas bag and even one of our funky new car stickers. It was great to see people coming back the next day or a few days later to pick one up for their friend who had been jealous, or even come back to buy more of the tins or the dry kibble. Apparently we were not making up how tasty our products are to dogs (we told you so!).
New Products Sold Out
By far the best sellers were the kangaroo dog food tins, goats’ ears dog chews and beef tails dog chews. We even had to get extra stock shipped in on the Saturday but we still sold out of most lines by the close on Sunday, great news for our staff as that meant there was less to pack up. Whilst we know that the ‘roo tins were mainly chosen for the novelty factor, this flavour was introduced with a serious agenda. With more and more dogs suffering from allergies to the more usual meats, the kangaroo provides a novel and extremely healthy protein option. For similar reasons the goats’ ears, which sit in size between lambs’ ears and cows’ ears, are a fantastic novel product. The long lasting beef tails went down well with owners of Staffies, Labradors and other strong chewers.
New Friends & Doggy Banter
On and off the stand it is amazing who you bump into at Crufts. Of course you can catch a glance of the likes of Clare Balding and Noel Fitzpatrick, but perhaps lesser known are the hundreds of charity workers and founders as well as their dogs and their stories all waiting to be discovered. We were visited by Allen Parton of Hounds for Heroes and met the famous EJ (Endal Junior, for those of you who have read the Endal book) and Rookie.
A personal highlight for me was getting to see Winnie, the Dogue De Bordeaux puppy being taken care of by Cinque Ports Rescue. This beautiful girl stole my heart at Discover Dogs in 2015 and it was lovely to see her still up and about on her three legs, even wearing her Akela harness for a bit of support in and out of her trolley.
Also very emotional was walking around the stands and spotting Nym, a dog helped by the Blind Dog Rescue UK. Having recently had to have my own dog’s eyes removed due to Glaucoma this was the first time I had seen a dog without eyes since and she almost left me in tears. Although you can see how settled, happy and well looked after she is now, her history tells of a much deeper and darker past in a different country. Many people would not get the chance to interact with dogs like Nym if it was not for the wonder that is Crufts, just one of its many gifts.
If you watched some of the Agility in the main ring you may well have spotted one of our Akela shirts on Martin Reid; our first sponsored owner. We will be telling everyone about Martin and his wonderful dogs Spring and Flash in a blog post real soon, but he made time in between his runs to pop and say hi so we could meet the extremely cute Spring.
You may also have picked up one of our leaflets introducing the Akela Rescue Dog Agility League. We met the organiser of the league (previously called DARL: Dog Agility Rescue League) and one of the young promising handlers who is competing. We will be sharing lots more information about the league but for now if you have a rescue dog and would like to know more you can see their page here.
Meeting Up With The Pack
It is always a pleasure to meet up with pack members new and old, with many owners being able to spot their dog or dogs on our pack wall. With so many visitors to the stand it was quite crammed on occasions but it was lovely to see Extra, Daisy-Mae, Buddy and everyone else who came onto our stand. Right at the end we were also paid a visit by three beautiful little Italian Greyhounds and their lovely owner who was sharing with us how amazing the breed is. With three ladies on the stand and three beautiful pooches in front of us it was very tempting to take one each and run!
See You Soon!
Following on from the success we are planning to do as many shows as possible out and about across the country and of course we are intending to be back at Crufts next year, even bigger and even better.
If you saw us at crufts and have any questions please get in touch via email, facebook or livechat.
Crufts celebrates its 125th year this year – that’s 875 in dog years!
We are pleased to say we are going to have our first ever stand at the event and we have lots of planning still to do. We know we have new products – more than you can count on two paws – and new merchandise to show you but we are still working hard on our plans for a goody bag and other show offers.
We hope to meet lots of our pack there in between their agility and obedience work and also find some new members. With so many wonderful stands to visit we know people can be pushed for time, but we are making plans to ensure a stop to see us will be well worth it – so we will expect to see you there.
There is a problem occurring in kitchens around the country. It is more common than we first realised and has stopped our tails wagging. It seems our feline friends have acquired a taste for Akela and are literally stealing it from under the dogs noses as they eat from their bowls!
Those not quite cheeky enough to steal from the bowls have been helping themselves to any bags left on counter surfaces not sealed up correctly, much to the disappointment of the floor-bound dog the food was meant for, often being left watching in a pile of their own drool.
But, not to worry as a solution is being crafted as we speak. We will soon be launching a wet food for cats, shortly followed by a 90:10 dry kibble cat recipe. So keep the crafty cats out of the dogs food for just a little longer, they will get there turn soon.
On a more serious note, owners have been asking us if the Akela dog recipies are dangerous for cats. The answer is no in small amounts. They can eat the food without issues, but it does not contain added taurine that cats need so it is not advised as being suitable as a complete diet for cats. Don’t worry though, we are sure they will love the new cat recipe as much as the dog one.