Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Lots of interesting adventures since leaving the Bermuda SPCA, one of which was volunteering at a cat sanctuary on an island off the coast of Belize.
Six weeks living in a hut on the beach trying to avoid (unsuccessfully) getting eaten alive by sand flies. Compensated by the fabulous views and a dock surrounded by tropical fish and stingrays.
Fabulous snorkeling when the weather wasn't tipping down with rain (which is did constantly at least 50% of the time)

Treated myself to a guided snorkel tour on the reef 2 miles offshore with a dodgy tour guide who just moored the sail boat and took us swimming up to half a mile away from the boat actually over the top of the reef and into the rough water on the other side. The swell was bouncing us all over the place and one minute we were 5 feet above the coral and the next we were dropped down on top of it.

I was bleeding so much that I had my own personal shoal of fish hovering around and even got nipped once or twice as I was waiting my turn to climb back on the boat. Good job I brought a decent first aid kit. So the moral of the story is only go out with reputable guides.

Although I helped out with the cats most of my time was spent helping another volunteer Gavin with some much needed structural improvements. The shelter has rental cabins for the backpackers which help fund the food for the cats and we started improving the shower and toilet facilities. Unfortunately the water table was so high that the hardest part was digging the footings for the shower-block walls which filled with water within 4-5 minutes.

Certainly a worthwhile experience.

Lots of new plans for 2014. I've got a commission for a series of articles in a pet magazine as well as a new job in a new location so watch this space.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Inspector Deb Large . An Inspiration and sadly missed.

It was with great sadness that I found out  that an amazing friend and colleague Deb Large from Hereford passed away on 2nd October following a long illness.

Deb was an inspiration to myself and colleagues when we were first posted to Wales as Probationary RSPCA Inspectors way back in 1994. An equine expert, Scuba Diver and a dead shot with a shotgun Deb was always up to something.

We worked together on a number of large and complex equine investigations and prosecutions and she was the go-to person for local knowledge after working in Hereford and surrounding counties for most of her career.

She was a good friend and whilst working all around the world has it's advantages one of the biggest sadness's that I experience is not being able to keep in touch as much as I'd like with friends like Deb.

 I last spoke to Deb a few weeks before and I knew she was having problems and I was hoping to see her when I got back to the UK in December sadly this was not to be.

The animal welfare community has lost another dedicated guardian. I will miss you Deb.

If any readers to this blog want a fallen SPCA Inspector mentioned please get in touch and I will be honoured to include their information.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Book review : Trident K9 Warriors

I'm a great fan of military autobiographies so when I was leaving Bermuda and found a book token I had been given I was straight down the bookshop to find a book to read on my travels. This title immediately caught my eye and as it was the only copy and was for the exact amount (almost) of the book token I thought it was an omen.

On the face of it the mix of a military autobiography and a book about K9 service dogs would seem an ideal and interesting combination but if you were expecting lots of action and adventure along the lines of the popular works such as 'Bravo Two Zero', 'Sniper One' or even 'Apache', you will be sadly disappointed.

The plus points of the book are that Mike Ritland comes across as a very caring handler and is quite outspoken about negative reinforcement training techniques. For dog trainers it might prove to be an interesting insight into the training of military working dogs. It also gives a general historical perspective of the adaption of the dog from a means of static guarding to an offensive and tactical weapon .

The problem that I had with the book is that it wasn't very well written and jumped around all over the place. There was no logical progression . Some authors have a skeleton of a narrative and do dip into the past when events prompt a flashback type chapter. Mike however swings back and forth from operations to Seal training to dog and puppy training with no apparent structure.

Even the actual war zone encounters don't really get you interested. The whole book is written like your confused and slightly absent minded uncle would talk about his wartime experiences.

Clearly too many people are jumping on the bandwagon  with their Seal Autobiographies in much the same way as the SAS guys did after Andy McNab published his first book.

This book retails at $25.99 in the US and Bermuda and is certainly not worth the money. I'd wait for it to hit the discount and remainder book sellers if you felt you really had to add it to your library. 

Monday, 26 August 2013

I'll shortly be leaving Bermuda after 2 years as the Bermuda SPCA Inspector and taking a much needed break to catch up with friends.

I'm also working on a YouTube channel as well as updating my website and will post the  links here when they go live.

If anyone has any projects or suggestions or knows of any vacancies don't hesitate to get in touch and there is no need to worry as the beard was a very short lived experiment and is long gone.

Best wishes

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

I had the privilege of knowing Sabrina who was the SPCA Selangor Inspector before I arrived in 2008. So many devoted rescuers sacrifice all to care for the animals that society neglects. A lot has happened in the last 12 months but you have not been forgotten.

From SPCA Inspectors and animal rescuers worldwide - you will be sadly missed.

Thursday, 11 July 2013