To many people, dogs quite simply mean the world…..

The Dog with the Gap-Toothed Smile

By Ilse Pedler

I paraded high stepping

around my territories,

pausing occasionally

to mark my superiority.

I shared my favours,

a lick of the hand, a wag,

a certain tilt of the head.

In time, they learnt which foods were acceptable

and quite of their own accord began buying steak.

I praised them for their initiative.

I can’t absolutely remember giving them permission

to lift me on the bed

but it happened, so I let it be.

What I did do

was show them how to stand in the wind to get the best scents,

how to watch the high curve of a ball and let their heart soar with it

and how the simple act of walking can bring the deepest joy,

and I certainly intended

almost anyone

to be charmed by my gap-toothed smile.

Ilse Pedler is a holistic vet, poet and editor of Giving Voice, a collection of poems celebrating the human-animal bond and the place holistic therapies have in the treatment of animals.

Broccoli – the dog with the gap-toothed smile

This blog was originally witten for National Dog Day, but it’s fair to say that every day is there to honour our enduring love of dogs. In celebration we look at the nature of the relationship we have with our canine friends, and meet some of the inspirational dogs and their owners that we’ve come across in CAM4animals.

From wolf days to dog days

Whether it was us who began to encourage the friendlier of the wolves to our firesides, or the cannier wolves who decided we were worth cultivating, dogs have long been part of our lives.

From fireside companions to sniffer dogs, assistance and therapy dogs, medical detection dogs, guide dogs, life savers, flock guardians, hunters, exercise gurus, chief squirrel chasers and sniffing accomplices, dogs seem capable of helping us on every level. They enhance our emotional, physical and mental health and we hope that all dog owners and dog lovers can do the same in return. These are just a few of the inspirational dogs CAM4animals has come across:

Inspiring dogs


Originally from Hillbrae Rescue Kennels, Kai is one of only 15 Firedogs in the UK. He is powered by Paleo Ridge raw dog food and has regular Galen Myotherapy to help keep him in top condition for his arduous work and the rigorous training regime he has to follow. Kai’s story is told in this blog. As well as his job as a firefighter, his owner Mat Dixon is also a dog trainer. He says of Kai:

What do I love about Kai??……man, there’s so much I could say…….the pride I take from the way he works so hard, for so little in return, the joy he brings to those he visits who are at their lowest ebb, the ‘non-questioning’ way he throws himself into the tasks I ask of him, the way he makes me look like a competent dog handler, the evidence he finds with ease that would go undetected without him, the innocence he possesses that means he works without question, judgement or bias, so, so many things I love about that dog, and the way he lives his life…….but the one thing, the littlest and most innocuous thing that has the biggest impact on me personally, the thing that makes me smile regardless of my mood, is the way, that even when he’s leading from the front whilst out on a walk, with every fork in the path we come across, the way he pauses, looks back at me over his shoulder, and awaits confirmation of the path we are taking!! He may be out front, but he’s not really, he’s right there beside me, a warm ear ready for a tickle with the drop of my arm.

Mat and Kai


Kratu was rescued from terrible conditions in Romania.  He’s an assistance dog to his autistic owner, Tess, who’s had him since he was four months old (she also rescued his Mum and siblings). He loves agility and is famous for going the wrong way and running off with a pole at Crufts! He’s also a regular visitor to primary schools and is an ambassador for the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG). Together, Tess and Kratu are also advocates and ambassadors for training/rehabilitation, autism, mental health and animal welfare.

Tess says:

Rescuing Kratu changed my life, he brought sunshine into a dark world ~ lightening it up with smiles, joy and happiness. He taught me about unconditional love which I didn’t know about. The biggest gift is Kratu has reached hearts all around the world. He has magic in his paws. A once in a lifetime dog that I have been blessed to walk alongside awhile and share with many others.”

Tess and Kratu

Andrew Hale (trustee of IntoDogs, a professional association for dog trainers, behaviourists and other dog professionals that promotes positive and kind methods in order to enhance the quality of life for owners and dogs) says of Tess and Kratu:

“I feel so privileged to have been witness to the wonderful story of Tess and Kratu. It is not just a story of rescue or of training or of success in the face of adversity (It is, of course, all those things!). For me, their story is one of friendship, the coming together of two special souls. Exploring together what is possible, despite life’s challenges. An equitable partnership built on understanding, empathy and love. Tess and Kratu remind us all that the values of a special relationship can transcend species and that magic really can happen when two kindred spirits meet.”


Monty the labradoodle is owned by Sue Maclennan, a Galen Myotherapist. He’s had some tough times in his life including having his leg amputated due to osteosarcoma. Our blog shows how he was saved by integrated vet care including surgery, homeopathy, Galen myotherapy and supplements. Despite what’s happened to him, Monty treats every day with a big smile and a waggy tail! As Sue says:

“Who couldn’t love Monty the Magnificent? He is the epitome of happiness and contentment, truly living life to the full and bringing hope and inspiration to others every single day.”

Dog owner cuddles dog
Sue and Monty

Prudence and Mr Binks

Prudence the Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr Binks, the rehomed English Toy Terrier belong to broadcaster, author, nutrition and behaviour expert Anna Webb who also does the podcast A Dog’s Life. Trained in integrated therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Studies, her dogs are treated holistically. Anna is a regular blogger for CAM4animals. She says:

“Prudence and Mr Binks give me purpose to make every day the best it can be. As you can’t lie to a dog, their love is truth, which is why I believe dogs complete us, and they might just save us from ourselves. When Molly my first Miniature Bull Terrier passed I was beyond devastated. In fact I de-railed. Molly was my co-pilot, in a Philip Pullman ‘daemon’ kind of way. I spent the best 13 years with her. But as my Dad always said, the hair of the dog cure has nothing to do with hangovers, and Prudence has been a bitter /sweet remedy, whilst Molly is in my heart forever. To me she is immortal. That’s why A DOG’S LIFE is dedicated to Molly’s memory.  All the fun things we did, the people we met, and not least my journey to holistic healthcare.”

Mr Binks and Prudence with Anna


Kerry Jordan of Fur and Fables photography specialises in taking stunning dog and countryside photographs. Scout the whippet’s portrait here and at the top of the blog were both taken by Kerry who says:

“My first hound, Scout, is my muse, my soul dog. Having five dogs has changed my life for the better, it’s challenged me and brought me immeasurable joy and laughter. Sometimes I feel my heart may burst for each one of them.”



The Big Yellow Dog – otherwise known as Mutley – was an Australian-born puppy farm survivor. He belonged to Dog Desk Radio presenter, Michelle Robertson who says:

“The Big Yellow Dog, Mutley, was the huge love of my life. His influence steered me back into the political arena, most recently returning to the Clean Air Act arena through his fear of fireworks and their random use. Through Mutley I met Lynette Smith director of The Ryder Safe Foundation and designed a dog safety collar that caught the attention of entrepreneur and star of Dragons Den, Theo Paphitis. Mutley taught me that it’s OK to be a dog and disabled, and that dogs can live long and happy lives with disabilities just like humans do. He made me more human. He passed away in June 2019.”

The Big Yellow Dog

Dog Desk Animal Action is a not-for-profit that supports rescues, organisations and individuals looking to improve the health and well-being of animals. An interview with Sara Kernohan, a co-founder of CAM4animals, was the first feature on Dog Desk Radio in 2020.


Tycho was found dragging himself through a ditch in Romania with open sores on the tops of his paws and unable to move his hind quarters in the summer of 2020. He was rescued by Elisa of Do Good Romania in partnership with Lucky’s Legacy Rescue and was fostered and treated in the UK by canine massage therapist Yasmin Porritt of Yorkshire Pooches Therapy.  Under veterinary supervision, Tycho’s treatment included massage, Photizo, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and a change to raw feeding. He absolutely thrived, learnt to walk again and was adopted later that year. She says:

Anyone who knows me knows there isn’t much I won’t do for any animal but especially dogs. I love them all but have a super sweet spot for Romanian rescue dogs. They come with their baggage, some more so than others, but there is no feeling quite like it when taking a scared dog and watching them slowly decompress in their new environment. That first night is precious, it’s the first night of their new life, a deep sleep after a long journey and leaving a life of hardship behind. Tycho is an incredibly resilient little dog and I know he has great things in store for him. I’m just a stepping stone in his journey, but this boy is going to help me teach the importance of emotional decompression and complementary therapies.”

CAM4animals followed Tycho’s progress here.


Ziggy is an assistance dog for his veteran owner, Richard, who suffers from PTSD.  Ziggy helps him manage his mental health and since having him by his side, Richard has gone from strength to strength – see All Around Ziggy. He has battled on with his PTSD and learnt how to use the resilience he gained in the military. Richard strongly advocates the partnership of assistance dogs for mental heath. He openly talks about his struggles and has recorded podcasts including Episode 14 of the Declassified Podcasts. As an advocate for mental health and discrimination, Richard challenges the stigma of mental health and talks openly on how resilience and a positive growth mindset changed his direction. Of Ziggy he says:

Ziggy came into my life as a puppy and through hard work and a positive approach to challenges, no matter how large or small, the secret of our success is the bond Ziggy and I have beyond what we achieve. Ziggy grounded me and allowed me not to self destruct as the only enemy I had was myself and the only way through things is to be my best self .”

Dogs on the Streets

Then there are the dogs belonging to homeless people – many of whom won’t give up their dog if it’s a choice between keeping what may be their best friend or having accommodation without them. There are charities who help such as Dogs on the Streets which provides 24/7 support for rough sleepers with dogs. This includes veterinary care, food and dietary advice as well as providing vital accessories like coats, bedding, collars and leads. DOTS also helps their owners. Run by volunteers, the DOTS team comprises vets, vet nurses, dog trainers, groomers and nutritionists and sometimes involves complementary therapies such as hydrotherapy and the use of Pet Remedy.

A particular line from the DOTS website says it all:

The bond between these owners and the dogs is inextricable- one is nothing without the other. Their dog is their lifeline.”

One of the many dogs and their owners helped by Dogs on the Streets

A beautiful video of an interview by actor and animal welfare advocate, Peter Egan, with Damo and his dog Gypsy can be viewed on the DOTS homepage. It sums up this all-encompassing love of dogs we have.

Rescue dogs


Kerry Derbishire

My mother swapped her grown children

for four dogs ~ all strays:

a golden labrador wandering winter streets,

a whippet tied up in a snow thick yard,

another we were never quite sure of, found

by the motorway up to her neck in mud,

and lastly, a-bag-of-bones collie starving

in a disused shed.

She couldn’t bear to imagine the low lives ~

those who left these voicleless dogs to die alone.

She nourished, revived their courage,

loved them back to trust.

They’d jump to the window at the sight

of her coming home, followed her round the garden,

ran to her side when she cried, gave back

a family she thought she’d lost.

Kerry Derbishire is a writer, songwriter and poet who finds inspiration from the landscape she lives in and the animals that inhabit it. Rescue is another poem in the Giving Voice anthology. You can purchase it here. Some of the proceeds go to help fund CAM4animals. Find out more about Kerry here.

National Dog Day, rescue dogs & dog welfare

National Dog Day was originally set up to raise awareness of and help rescue dogs. Some of the tales surrounding these dogs are heart-breaking. Sadly, the lockdowns of 2020/21 seem to be causing as many problems for dogs as it has opportunities to spend more time with our furry friends. There’s been a huge increase in the demand for puppies, giving more openings for scammers and unscrupulous breeders to take advantage.

You can help improve dog welfare by signing petitions for the promotion of:

And what happens when owners return to work? Our blogs here and here give some suggestions for avoiding issues like separation anxiety, but there may well be an increase in the number of dogs being given up (hats off to those who make good provision for their dog when faced with difficult circumstances) or worse still, abandoned.  Not only is this resulting in more work for rescues and shelters, but their charitable donations may well have gone down. Please consider helping your local and favourite shelters.

More inspiring dogs from CAM4animals supporters


Lynne Fourell de Frettes, a former top show jumper and CAM4animals supporter, shared her life with Spotty whose story can be found here. Lynne says:

“I adopted Spotty when he was 15 years old, he left me when he was nearly 18. Never has a dog left such a huge paw print on my heart.”



Lolie Borgars is a volunteer with CAM4animals and says of her dog:

Binky is my rock. Never felt love like it. Could not be owned by a better most beautiful, loyal, loving boy ever.”



Sarah is a supporter of CAM4animals and shares her life with Dougal:

“I would not smile or laugh half as much if it were not for my Dougal Dog. He is such a character, bringing great joy, not only to me, but to the residents living with dementia that he visits every day.💗”



Final word goes to Lee Hogg, owner of Daisy Doo (who has been supported through many difficult times with integrated veterinary care and appears in our blogs here and here) and Honey:

 “My girls mean the world to me, they have taught me patience, compassion and true love. Their needs are simple but they make my life full  ❤”

Daisy Doo


Isobel Hunt

Isobel is a Co-Founder and active CAM4animals supporter along with her Jack Russell who has integrated veterinary care. She has a background in wildlife conservation and writing, and is passionate about the importance of addressing animal welfare and environmental issues.

Disclaimer – Where blogs have been created by a guest author, CAM4Animals has reproduced this in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies of information in it or any use you make of this information

The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website

Disclaimer – Where blogs have been created by a guest author, CAM4Animals has reproduced this in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies of information in it or any use you make of this information

This blog may also contain an element of consumer opinionWhilst CAM4animals welcomes positive recommendations for holistic healthcare products, we don’t necessarily endorse the product or the author’s opinion. We acknowledge that each animal is an individual and may react differently to the highlighted product/s. There may also be other products available that produce similarly positive results.

The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website