Working with animals

As Winter turns into Spring, our thoughts turn again to recruitment.  I thought that rather than write a post on my blog, I would use a video explaining a little about our service and what makes a good Pet Sitter.

I had made a few notes such as the benefits of joining our team and working with animals, but when the camera rolled it was our cat Hari who really stole the show.

Working with animals

Working with animals

I had planned to have her sitting nicely on my knee, perhaps nuzzling my hand as she posed and purred for the camera – how wrong was I! Instead she wriggled, pouted and generally caused mayhem as I endeavoured to deliver a serious company broadcast.  That said however, I decided that the footage was just too funny to pass and so I have posted the full version, giggling and all!

I hope you enjoy and of course, join our busy team of live in Pet Sitters.

Interactive toys

At Nina’s Nannies for Pets we are always on the look out for interactive toys to recommend to our clients.  Like humans, pets need regular interaction and stimulation in order to be happy. They might not get bored in the same way that we can, but without toys or humans to play with, they can soon get grouchy and destructive.

Kong Toys are a must for any healthy and hungry dog, and when it comes to boredom busters, these bad boys are up there with the best of them. We have a large one for our German Shepherd Luika, which he adores when stuffed with his favourite food.  Do remember however, when using treats/food in Kongs, to adjust their diet accordingly, so as not to over feed!

Boredom toys are great for maintaining healthy teeth and gums and will have your dog catching, jumping, and chewing  their little hearts out. Many products from the Kong range also allow you to place treats inside, keeping your eager pet busy for hours until they satisfy their canine cravings.

We are also a huge fan of Nina Ottosson Dog Games.  These toys prove that board  games are not just for people!  The Dog Magic game allows you to keep your dog at their sharpest while they use their sense of smell to track down treats hidden under a choice of hiding places. While the Plastic Training Brick is ideal for helping to develop your dog’s intelligence and reasoning skills, it will also keep them amused for hours on end. You might want to go easy on the treats though or else you might need to up their exercise regime even more.

Both the Kongs and Nina Ottosson Dog Games can be purchased from : They are a great company to deal with and are very reasonably priced.  For this reason we are happy to recommend them to our clients.


Bravo Working Dog Rescue

The Daily Mail has recently highlighted the growing numbers of retiring Police and Military dogs put to sleep at the end of their working lives.

Bravo Working Dog Rescue, run the only specialist working dog rehabilitation and retraining rescue in the UK.  They have had many successful cases over many years but the increasing numbers of failed and retiring working dogs that are not staying with handlers needed its own rescue. Bravo was created to offer this on a bigger scale.

They are currently fundraising to find enough money to set up one main base with kennels.  Their motto is “sometimes, even a hero needs help”. These dogs find our lost children, catch our burglars and keep our workplaces safe and protect us from drugs and explosives. They really deserve help.

Bravo Working Dog Rescue is the only rescue offering rehabilitation and retraining to failed and retiring working dogs. Whilst some dogs do get to retire with their handlers, everyone will have seen recent news reports about the amount of dogs put to sleep at the end of their career or sold on badly.  We  fight many in the industry to take dogs, often helped secretly by handlers who want to save their dog.

Sadly Bravo Rescue are now turning dogs away as their original kennels are being turned into something else.  Therefore they desperately need to raise £5,000 to enable them to move and set up a kennel base in the Midlands.

Anything you can do to help is much appreciated, for without this wonderful organisation, many of these dogs could be dead or worse.

Please help by sharing this link and donating if you can.

Animal Cruelty

I honestly believe that introducing ‘animal welfare’ into the school curricula will undoubtedly see a decrease in animal cruelty. I would therefore please ask all visitors and clients to sign and share our petition to ‘Introduce Animal Welfare into the School Curriculum’.

Animals have encouraged the moral and personal development of children, bringing social benefits to their communities. Scientific research has also proved the health benefits as well as promoting a general feeling of wellbeing.

Animals also bring out the nurturing instinct of a child and help them to understand the responsibility of owning a pet.

Therapeutic and educational benefits have been identified, especially benefitting those children with special needs. Their calming affect can also help to reduce stress, improve concentration and help to boost self esteem.

There may not be a ‘quick fix’ for animal abuse, but educating our children how to better care for our animals is a start. I would therefore ask EVERY person who reads this article, to PLEASE sign our petition. We can force change and we CAN make a difference. It is easy to tut tut at the horrific images of animal abuse, or feel sickened by the puppy who has just been put to sleep having been thrown from a motorway bridge!

I am therefore asking people to put their pen where their mouth is and to force our government to make animal welfare education part of the school curricula. Together, we can and will make a difference.

Bravo Announcement

 Bravo to the UK’s First Working Dog Rescue Centre

Recent media stories have highlighted the sad end of many working dogs who have given their lives to protecting humans and our country, only to be let down for their loyalty.  The shocking release of MOD figures, showing that over 800 dogs have been put to sleep in the last decade, has again made animal lovers question whether it is ethical to have dogs working for humans.


There is no specialised working dog rescue in the UK, so retiring dogs from the Police and security industries, or those not quite making the grade during training, have nowhere to go and therefore are often put to sleep.  Whilst some are sold on independently, this bears no resemblance to the careful home checking, contracts and lifetime back up that a good rescue centre can give a dog.


In a career spanning 30 years, leading UK animal behaviourist Debbie Connolly, has retrained and rescued many working dogs on a small scale basis. Debbie currently uses boarding kennels or foster homes to assist her in getting these working dogs the help that they need.  This severely limits the numbers that she can help as kennels are expensive.  Debbie is now expanding her operation through Bravo Working Dog Rescue and is raising funds to move to new premises with its own kennels to secure a future for many more dogs.


Debbie said: “There are many dogs out there that don’t quite make the grade for working, who are rejected during training or retire with nowhere to go.  Whilst many dogs stay with their handler in retirement, some don’t and need retraining to make them safe to live as a pet. I am being asked to help more and more of these dogs so I need to set up a bigger centre”


“As well as the pets I have helped, I also work alongside many Police and security dog handlers and I am continuously in awe of the courage and ability that these dogs show us by protecting us on a daily basis.  The industries that use these animals should start to give something back to the dogs and they can do that by supporting their rehoming through Bravo Working Dog Rescue.


“Many dogs go on to retire with their handlers, but a few can’t and this can leave a dog that is not ready to be a pet dog with no options.”


The Bravo Working Dog Rescue Centre will help failed and unwanted dogs from the working world.  Those without a retirement home can get the help they deserve and be given a chance to go on to become happy, loved pets.  We are appealing to the world of working dogs to support and sponsor this initiative.


The horse racing industry and the Greyhound racing industry already put money into the rehabilitation of their animals, but nothing currently exists for working dogs.  Anyone interested in sponsoring Bravo Working Dog Rescue can contact them on 0208 144 5799, visit or email for more information.


At Nina’s Nannies for Pets we are always keen to highlight companies who we feel, may be of interest to our clients and pet owners. Hanne Grice is the owner of a company called ‘Walk the Dog’, which is based in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. She is certified in canine psychology, canine behaviour and development at advanced level and a certified NLP practitioner.

Hanne is also certified in canine psychology, canine behaviour, care and development at advanced level and a certified NLP practitioner who helps dog owners with problems from the minor to the extreme (e.g.) pulling on the lead, excessive barking, separation anxiety, phobias and obsessions, aggression towards dogs, and towards humans. She also visits your home and consults on a 1-1 basis. Owners receive back up support for life. She is also a member of the APDT, ABS, ASAB, ABMA, UFAW, PAACT, JFIDL and certified in cat behaviour and Canine Touch at foundation level.

For further information you can visit Hanne’s website




I cannot believe just how the time flies and how I have neglected my blog of  late!

Harriet (our little kitten from Cats Protection), is growing into a  beautiful cat and was nutered last week.  Always a worrying time, but she has recovered well and thankfully won’t be adding further strain to rescue centres, by producing her own kittens.

We have continued to expand our pet sitting service and despite the recession have had our busiest year yet.  In fact we are still recruiting for live in pet sitters/couples in the London, Wiltshire and Devon areas, so if you are interested,  please do get in touch.

We have been extremely active on Twitter and you can follow us here or join our new Facebook page,  where you can join in some extremely interesting debates and meet like minded people.

New members to our pet sitting team are Adrienne Hasler from Woodford Green in Essex.  I hope that Adrienne will very much enjoy her time with us and is due to start in the New Year.

Did I Say Harry!

The office has been extremely busy since our little kitten arrived, so I have had little time to further add to my blog.  However, we have had some interesting developments!

Harry had been playing with his new toys, when he appeared to have a problem with his back left leg.  As a precaution we took him along to our vets for a quick check up.  It was then that we discovered that he was in fact, a she, so Harry is now Harriet!

She is a little darling and already we cannot imagine life without her.  On first introduction, Luika was terrified and fell over himself trying to make a quick getaway. He could not understand why this little ball of fluff was making such a fuss!  After all, he was only trying to be friendly!  Ed, our other cat, was a little alarmed at our new addition and seemed more than a little annoyed when she discovered that Harri was still there the next day!

All in all, things have settled nicely.  Harriet is now very accepting of Luika and Ed is tolerating her presence.  We certainly have come a long way in two weeks and tomorrow she has her bloods checked and is being microchiped.

Introducing Harry

Losing our beloved Melody had a drastic impact on our lives and has been as painful as losing a human family member. Melody was unique. She was stubborn and naughty, with selective hearing, and just a tiny bit dim! Well, at least that was what she wanted us to believe! When we adopted her, along with her sister Edna (Ed for short), we had no idea of the impact she would have on our lives.

Within days of her arrival, she had fallen into our kitchen bin three times, within weeks made a hole in our brand new bed but within minutes she had quite literally stolen our hearts. So the shock of losing her to kidney failure was immeasurable. She died in Doug’s arms and in buried in our garden, where we have placed a Dahlia in her name.

Harry our new kitten

Both Ed and Luika our German Shepherd Dog, with whom she tormented mercilessly, missed her terribly and despite taking comfort from each other, Luika is still a little boisterous to share the games Ed and melody enjoyed and a few weeks ago, we began our search for another cat.

Melody will always be irreplaceable, but Doug in particular was desperate for another little long haired female, but having Luika and Melody we felt that a kitten would fit into our family just right and so our search began.

We visited numerous rescue shelters, yet the kittens we saw were either the wrong sex, reserved, or short haired. Just when we thought to give up, I took a call from a local veterinary surgery to say that a gentleman had just left the details of a litter of kittens, one of whom was long haired, black and white, male who looked adorable. Of course I made contact straight away and a visit was arranged for that very evening.

It was love at first sight. As you can see he is absolutely adorable, but at six weeks, is too young to leave his mother and siblings. Since the mother cat was adopted from the Cat’s Protection, we have to undergo a home check which is taking place next Monday. It is all a little daunting when undergoing a suitability test, but we passed our RSPCA check with flying colours, so are hoping to do the same with the Cat’s Protection.

I’m happy to say that despite Luika being very noisy at the arrival of Healther, from the Cat’s Protection, we did indeed pass our home check and are collecting little Harry on Friday morning.  Pictures and updates to follow.

Dogged determination helps MS sufferer

When my husband was diagnosed with MS some 13 years ago, it was a shock, from which in some ways, we are still to recover.  The problems that sprang immediately to mind were how his mobility would be affected, could we cope financially and would it affect our animals.

Having owned German Shepherd Dogs for the majority of our married life, we were used to the strenuous exercise and mental stimulation that this particular breed required.  Zak (our GSD at that time), was a mere youngster and was already enjoying the prolonged walks and regular training that Doug provided. We were sailing into the unknown and as anyone who suffers from MS will testify, it is a relapsing remitting condition. This makes the symptoms variable and unpredictable, and you are forced to face the uncertainty of when new relapses will occur.

In the years that followed I noticed a big difference in my husband.  In some respects his life with Zak became almost regimented.  A strong bond between dog and owner had already been forged, but Doug had become to rely on the regularity of their walks and even lengthened their duration!  Zak’s devotion was uncompromising and it was almost as though Zak’s presence increased Doug’s determination to remain well and throughout their years together our dog remained a real focus for him to retain his mobility.  Despite setbacks, Zak’s walks took priority and remained so until we eventually lost him some 15 months ago to cancer.

Our grieving for Zak had pushed us both to our emotional edge, but I will always be mindful of the wonderful gift that our dog had given Doug and the determination to continue as normal a life as MS would allow.

We now have our fourth German Shepherd whom we have named Luika.  Ironically he also has health problems, being diagnosed with cow hocks at an early age.  This condition actually limits the amount of exercise that he can enjoy, which in some sense is a little comfort.  I have now taken over the training, but Doug continues his walking duties, with all the enthusiasm and gusto he shared with Zak.  Luika is but a year old, yet already I am beginning to see those early signs of blind devotion.