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Top tips for keeping pets happy this firework season

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Image for Bonfire Night ReleaseBONFIRENIGHT is here, and many pet owners worry that the firework season will mean increased stress for their pets. Lots of animals are afraid of the loud sounds and flashing lights that accompany fireworks, but there are lots of ways to make sure that your pet feels as comfortable and safe as possible on the night.

 

Speaking ahead of bonfire night, Andrew Bucher, Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal, said:

“What is undoubtedly an exciting and fun time of the year, particularly for children, is one of the most stressful for animals. Many pet owners are not aware of the extent to which their animals can be affected. Dogs can hear around twice amount of sound frequencies to humans, and cats over three times, so they are extra sensitive to loud noises like fireworks. However, there are things owners can do to make pets as calm as possible. It is important to remember that it is not just bonfire night itself, but the weeks before as the fireworks start to go up, and we all need to do more to ensure our pets are safe and calm through this period.”

 

 

Top tips: dogs and cats

 

1) Always keep your cats and dogs inside on bonfire night. It’s important that they feel free to hide in a place they’re familiar with if they want to, so if they want to run off and hide behind the sofa or under the bed – do let them.

2) Walk your dog early in the night, before it gets dark if possible. Keep them on the lead so they don’t run off if they get scared.

3) Create a den for your cat or dog using a cardboard box or puppy cage covered in some of their favourite blankets, which will block out the noise and flashing lights. If you do this, get them used to sleeping in the den in the period coming up to bonfire night so that they find it a relaxing and safe space. Don’t lock them in the cage though – they should be able to escape if they want to.

4) Although it might be tempting to cuddle and fuss over your pet, this can reinforce their feelings of stress and fear. Remain calm and try and distract your pet by playing a game or with treats.

5) Dogs and cats are more likely to drink more when they’re stressed so make sure their water bowl is accessible and full at all times.

6) There are several products on the market which can really help cats and dogs stay calm in times of stress. Look out for Feliway for cats, a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, which comes as a spray or diffuser and which helps create a soothing atmosphere for your cat. You could try Calmex for your dog, which is a combination of amino acids, plant extract, and B-vitamins. There are lots of products on the market, so always speak to your vet first to find out which is best for your pet.

 

Top tips: horses and ponies

 

1) Try to keep your horse’s routine as normal as possible on bonfire night. In most cases it’s best to keep your horse stabled at night and give it lots of hay to distract it, even if they usually live out.

2) If possible, close the barn doors and play the radio or music to help cover up the sounds. Sometimes it’s also recommended to put cotton wool in your horse’s ears to muffle the sound further. Get your horse used to this as much as possible before the event and obviously use common sense – don’t do it if it will be another cause of stress.

3) Make sure your horse’s stable is secure and that they can’t escape. There should be nothing in the stable that can injure them if they start pacing or getting stressed, so make sure there are no low-hanging hay nets that they can get their hooves caught in, protruding nails, or any other dangerous hazards.

4) If you think your horse will get so stressed it will injure itself you should speak to your vet about sedation and whether this could be a good option for you and your horse.

5) Put your own safety first – horses are flight animals and if they get scared very little will stand in the way of their escape. If you’re worried, keep your riding helmet on when you’re around your horse on bonfire night and don’t stay in enclosed spaces with your horse if it is getting stressed.

 

Top tips: small animals

 

1) If your small pet usually lives outside, try to move their cage indoors or into a shed or garage.

2) Cover their cage with blankets to help block out the light and some of the sound.

3) Give your rabbit, hamster, or guinea pig extra bedding so that they can burrow down and make a den.

4) Try to distract your pet by hiding treats in their bedding to keep them occupied.

5) Never have your own firework display or bonfire near your pet – if you really want to do it make sure that their hutch or cage is far enough away.

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Ultra-runner demonstrates to never give up on your dreams

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Rhys O’Mara (Left), Sanna (Centre) and Hollie Thomas (Right)

INSPIRATIONAL speaker Sanna Duthie recently inspired Military and Protective Services learners at the College with her story of running the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in a record breaking 51.5 hours without any sleep, to help raise money for the Welsh Air Ambulance.

Former College learner Sanna Duthie, an office manager by day and active runner by night, shared her experience of running the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in record breaking time. Sanna had participated in a few marathons over the years such as Tenby Long Course Weekend, the Gower 50 and the London Marathon.

However, the real adrenaline rush to complete the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path was when Sanna competed in a 100 mile race of the coastal path in 2017.

“I realised I wasn’t too bad at that distance and then that’s when I got it in my head about doing the whole thing.”

Running a coastal path isn’t the easiest challenge and Sanna had to be prepared with an extensive training programme running over 300 miles a month equivalent to 10 miles a day. Sanna also had strength and conditioning training at a local gym to ensure her successful recovery.

“Coast running is hard on your muscles and joints and you need to strengthen those in order to not get injured,” said Sanna.

Originally Sanna started to run the entire coastal path in August 2020 but after 63 miles had to abandon the race due to dangerous weather conditions. This only made Sanna more determined and she completed her ultra-run on 8 th May 2021.

Sanna explained the highs and lows of the run, “There were times when I just wanted to quit, and I even started to hallucinate but I used a tactic where rather than focus on the whole run I broke it down into sections – this made things less overwhelming. Close friends and family would join alongside me on different stages of my run, and this motivated me to get to the finish line.”

Protective services learner Rhys O’Mara was thoroughly inspired by Sanna’s story, “I feel like, from the talk, I’m more inspired to go out and push myself to take on bigger and better physical challenges, the talk really showed that you can achieve anything when you dedicate yourself to a task. After College I’m looking to join the RAF as a drone pilot and have a full career in the forces.”

Sanna was the first female to run the entire coastal path and breaking the previous record of 64 hours and 32 minutes and raised an impressive £5,768.14 for charity.

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Secondary school staff and pupils must wear face coverings from December 1

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FOLLOWING the written statement from the Minister for Education yesterday (Monday) evening, all secondary school learners and staff will be required to wear face coverings indoors where physical distancing is not possible. 

Due to the uncertainty of the Omicron variant and the need to keep learning going, Pembrokeshire County Council has taken the decision to implement this Welsh Government Ministerial Decision with effect from tomorrow, Wednesday 1st of December. 

Cllr Guy Woodham, the Cabinet Member for Education & Lifelong Learning said: “Continuing to support learners and staff safety is our top priority. 

“Given that there is still much to be learnt about the Omicron variant it is important that do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus and the use of masks in classrooms and communal areas in secondary schools, where physical distancing is not possible, will allow us to support learners continuing in school settings until the end of term.” 

Using the local decision making framework for schools locally, the agreed risk level remains high with the following additional mitigating measures remaining in place:

·        Floor signage

·        Seating plans for lessons, and forward facing desks wherever possible 

·        Twice weekly Lateral Flow Device testing for all staff and learners in secondary schools

·        Masks must be worn in communal areas in secondary schools, by staff in primary schools, and must be worn by visitors

·        deep cleaning where needed in schools

·        Face coverings required on school transport

·        CO2 Monitors rolled out and used by all schools

Cllr Woodham added: “We thank everyone for playing their part and for your ongoing support during these challenging times.”

In response, Debbie Thomas, Head of Policy at the National Deaf Children’s Society Cymru, said: “Public health should be a priority, but it’s vital to remember that face coverings make life extremely difficult for deaf students. Lip reading becomes impossible and facial expressions are much harder to see, so they could be left struggling to understand their teachers, lecturers and classmates.

“Secondary schools, colleges and universities must act fast and speak to their deaf students immediately, putting reasonable adjustments in place to make sure none of them miss out on their education. If they fall behind in their studies, the consequences could last for years.”

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‘Unpleasant’ trader must pay over £19,000 for shoddy shed work

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A MAN who carried out substandard work on a shed in north Pembrokeshire and became unpleasant when challenged has been ordered to pay over £19,000.

Benjamin Michael Davies, trading as BMD Agricultural Sheds, appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Monday 22nd November, for a case brought by Pembrokeshire Trading Standards.

Davies, aged 31, was charged with and admitted five offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Davies pleaded guilty to:

  • one count of engaging in a commercial practice which was a misleading action;
  • one count of engaging in a commercial practice which contravened the requirements of professional diligence;
  • three counts of engaging in a commercial practice which was aggressive. 

All five offences relate to substandard repairs that were made to a shed roof in in 2020. 

The victim arranged with Davies to carry out repairs to the roof of an outbuilding. 

The work carried out was not of acceptable standard nor in accordance with what was originally agreed.

When challenged on the standard of the work, Davies became unpleasant. 

An expert report later confirmed the work was not satisfactory and lacked competence, including several areas where water ingress continues.

The court heard the victim was vulnerable due to personal circumstances and the incident impacted their mental health.

The victim had been left with no finances to rectify the work carried out.

Davies, of Tanbank, Prendergast, was fined £6000 plus ordered to pay £2487 costs and a £190 victim surcharge.

A compensation order for £10,500 to include £500 for emotional distress was also awarded to the victim.

Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Cllr Cris Tomos, said: “This was a very upsetting situation and I am grateful to our Trading Standards team for bringing this case and securing the convictions and the award of a substantial compensation award for the victim.

“When members of the public engage a professional they are entitled to receive a professional service.

“The fact that in this case Davies became unpleasant when challenged on the standard of his work added another level of distress to the vulnerable victim.

“I hope this case and the outcome acts as a reminder that Pembrokeshire Trading Standards will investigate complaints and take the case forward at every possible opportunity.”

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