Welcome to Rick’s
Animal Corner. Hi I'm
“Richard” or if you prefer there are other associated names which you can call me. I'll answer as many questions
as I can by sharing my knowledge to help you gleam what I've learned about animal welfare. I’m sure you'll
find my stories/experiences interesting.
About me: Since my childhood I've had an interest in dogs, cats and rabbits.
Although this site is predominantly geared towards advice on caring for pets, I have an additional interest in the red fox,
badgers, deer and farm animals.
As a toddler I remember being scared of large dogs but to help me over come
my fear, my parents took me to see a gaurd dog (alsatian). The owner was very nice as he reassured me the dog
wouln't bite so I soon got used to this large dog. However, I've always liked dogs and I've always
been interested in dog behaviour. When I was 3 years old, I used to observe and wonder why dogs sniff the ground, why
dogs role on their backs? Even some of those questions I cant answer yet but I will in time. All though I like cross breed
dogs, I have a particular interest in pure breeds like the rottweiler, Doberman pincher, alsatian, bullmastiff, greyhound,
labrador, dalmatian, great dane and others. I'm fascinated how the Doberman pincher and rottweiler
have the same markings/colour. A Doberman can ether be mainly black with tan, liver/tan, blue/tan and the white Doberman.
Breeds like the Doberman, alsatians (German shepherd) and rottweilers are German breeds.
Cats: I've always liked cats, cat behaviour and I like the markings
of tabby cats. I have a fear for them bringing back unwanted presents, their destruction of birds and other small
animals but I understand this is natural behaviour.
Rabbits: I first took an interest in rabbits when I was 13 years old. At that time,
I was attending a wonderful boarding school in the English Lake District where we were given three rabbits,
Madam, Max & Snowy. None of the doe rabbits were spayed or neutered in the case of the buck. As the saying goes, BREED
LIKE RABBITS! Yes, this is exactly what happened which was more than we bargained for. When I was 14 years old in spring
1982 a staff member, another boy & I went to pick up rabbit cages from a pig farm. Needless to say, I fell in love with
a large New Zeeland pedigree white rabbit with pink eyes called “Harvey” whom the farmer was selling. Resulting
in my begging and pleading, the teacher agreed to take him. The smile on my face was really something to observe.
I must have twisted his arm to breaking point as they say. Harvey looked so distinctive as he had a blue clip in his ear as the farmer used him for
breeding. He had a doe the same breed but she was smaller. I remember we travelled a long way as we travelled on the motor
way & it took a whole afternoon to get there and back and it was a hot sunny afternoon. We
saw some newborn piglets there and it was a very enjoyable afternoon. Another boy brought to school a nice Dutch blue rabbit he bought from
a pet shop that we named “Bugsie”. This rabbit was also responsible for the large increase of the bunny
population as he was a keen active buck. However, we had him neutered. When ever we lost a rabbit I was always heart broken.
Foxes: I've always had a particular interest in the red fox. Part of my interest
dates back to those good old school days in the Lake District. In March 1982 when I'd just turned 14 years of age, I found a book in a classroom
called “Vulpina" The Story of a Fox” by David Macdonald. My immediate interest in this gave me inspiration
to read it, to learn about the behaviour and life of foxes. This book is about a red fox vixen cub called “Vulpina”,
her littermates and how they develop from birth to adults including how foxes learn to hunt. “Big Red”
a dog fox is the strongest of the litter. Towards the end of the story, Vulpina and her sister (littermate) have cubs
of their own in the same place they, Big Red and the rest of that litter were born two years earlier. Near the end of
the story, the mother vixen of "Vulpina" & her littermates becomes elderly, ill and she sadly died. For
years after, I often thought about this book and wished I could get my own copy. I have since managed to trace a
copy and I'll treasure it for ever. I also have another book about foxes that I've learned a lot from.
Deer: Another fond memory of those wonderful school days was in the hot
month of June 1982 a staff member found a young deer abandoned by his mother. However, the staff left the deer hoping the
mother would return but sadly she didn’t. The staff member went back to the woods to find the deer still struggling
on his own and she brought him back to the school, as he was too young to fend for himself. He would have starved
or fallen prey to a fox or a dog. I immediately took an interest in the well-being of the deer that I assisted in bottle-feeding
him so I took on the task of deer sitting. However, the deer survived and became partially tame. As far as I know,
he went back the wild later that year but, I understand it wasn’t easy.
Voluntary placements: In 1985, I landed up with a part-time placement in a dog and
cat home for about 6 months. There I had the pleasure of walking, feeding and sometimes assisting with bathing/grooming
dogs. I also worked with cats which was also very rewarding. This placement involved mucking out but we take the
rough with the smooth.
In the late 90s until 2003, I was involved in voluntary work on a city farm. There I assisted
in feeding, watering, cleaning out live-stock. I had the pleasure of bottle-feeding lambs from time to time. Other jobs included,
taking the cow, ponies and goats to and from their pens and bringing poultry in and out of their accommodation when required.
I became very much involved in the pet lodge. The jobs there were much the same as above. Other jobs included introducing
rabbits that were new to each other for them to socialise and become familiar to each other. I had responsibility to open
up and close the pet lodge when paid staffs were on holiday meaning I'd undertake jobs I'm confident in doing on my own.
I also took part in grooming ponies, goats and small animals, feeding and cleaning out fish and tortoises.
In autumn 2003, I went back to Birmingham to undertake an NVQ 2 college course in caring for small animals but I found this
course very rushed/stressful and I came up against a few difficulties. My understanding was that, this course was geared towards
assisting others and I to become confident and efficient with new tasks over a longer period of time. I also had work
placement with RSPCA and I worked with the workers there to undertake new jobs at a non-stressful pace. This proved a success
and I always accepted structural criticism from those with more experience. I also assisted in applying eye drops to a rabbit,
other medictaion to other pets and this proved successful when I was given the correct assistance. Giving medicated
baths to two puppies and “Fidget” the rottweiler with mange was very rewarding, exercising dogs in the paddock
and taking dogs walks round the near by woodland. At my placement at RSPCA, I became attached to “Fidget” the rottweiler, “Tommy” the greyhound,
“Fred” the bullmastiff, other dogs and animals. I would often go to the kennels and spend time with these dogs.
It always fascinated me how “Fidget” the Rottweiler would some times jump up at the door of her kennel, put her
front paws on the door of the kennel and show her distinctive bark. “Fidget” would often walk round her kennel
shaking her hindquarters hence the name “Fidget”. She was very affectionate, as she'd put her chin on my lap when
I entered the kennel or when I called her over when exercising her in the paddock. I’m sure “Fidget” knew
when some one liked her as all dogs and other animals can detect when some one cares about them. One of the staff at RSPCA
said that if I had the facilities to re-home “Fidget”, they would have considered me for adopting her. This would
have certainly made my day and she would be looked after very well. I also landed up with placement at an urban farm in Birmingham where I tried my hand at milking a heard of Jersey Cattle. This proved a success as I
worked with some one who was used to doing this. I admit that this could be difficult as trying to get the clusters on to
the four teats could be tricky. Even experienced workers found this awkward at times.
For the future, I hope to go into employment in animal husbandry. In the last couple
of years I've undertaken pet sitting at home. This means I've taken on a dog or cat for an owner who have
become homeless or another problem where they can't care for their pet for a set period of time. I've been affiliated
to an organisation that contact me to ask if I can undertake the task of fostering. This has been very rewarding. The owners
of the pets in need of fostering have been very good at providing the pets up keep.
My Hobbies & Interests: I have for many years been self taught at singing and playing keyboard.
I use my talent to perform for elderly and other groups where I sing and play the old time classics that always go down
well. I record bits of my own stuff, I record covers of Kratfwerk and other music a like.
All the best from Rich