||Dougal's Pet Corner
The place for your pet stories and pictures, let me have them
|WELCOME TO OUR
NEW PETS COLUMN
Over the next few months we hope to bring you articles on the various pets you would find
in the average home, as well as some of the more unusual animals. If you would like to
know about any specific animal, please write in and request some details. We will try to
answer any queries you may have about different animals, e.g., housing, feeding or
welfare. Any questions on health should, of course, be referred to your local vet.
First, a few words about the RSPCA. Founded in 1824, five years before the police, it was
the first animal welfare organisation in the world. Given the Royal prefix in 1840 by
Queen Victoria, the society grew from 5 inspectors to the present 330.
Of the 189 Branches in England and Wales, each one a separate charity responsible for its
own funding, the Norwich and mid-Norfolk Branch is one of the oldest and largest. One of
13 Branches in Region 4, Norwich leads the way in animal rehoming, neutering and welfare.
Branch Headquarters are in Barrack Street, Norwich, where the cattery holds 38 cats
waiting for new homes. There is a twice-weekly clinic there for animals whose owners are
The aim of the RSPCA is to prevent suffering and promote kindness to animals, though in
hard-line cases prosecutions do take place and are usually successful. The national
telephone number for complaints or advice is 0870 55 55 999, open 24 hours a day.
Next issue we will feature rabbits as, of all domestic pets, this is probably the least
understood and most poorly-kept animal.
Please let us know what you would like to hear about. We will do our best to help you.
|An applicant was filling out a job application. When he came to the question,
"Have you ever been arrested?" he wrote, "No". The next question,
intended for people who had answered yes to the previous question, was "Why?"
The applicant answered: "Never got caught."
|So far this year, spring has been a relatively slow affair
as far as bird migration is concerned. Many species such as swallows, martins and yellow
wagtails had hardly put in an appearance by mid-April. Fortunately, one species has been
rather more abundant than usual along the coast and that is the Ring Ouzel.
At first glance it could be mistaken for a blackbird with a patch of albinism across its
chest, and indeed it is much the same size and shape as the familiar garden bird.
Unfortunately Ring Ouzels are wary birds and easily put to flight, so I was delighted last
week to pull up the blind in the kitchen to observe a handsome male on the lawn. It was so
close that my trusty old binoculars, with an admittedly poor close-focus, would only just
focus on it. Even so I was able to note its sooty black plumage with paler feather edgings
on the flanks, the straw-coloured bill, tipped dark, and of course the brilliant white
crescent on the breast.
Having just written the word, 'binoculars' reminds me that I recently came to realise why
we, incorrectly, refer to a 'pair of binoculars' rather than simply 'a binocular'. The
explanation appears to be that in the 19th Century simple Galilean monoculars were called
a 'field glass'. When the familiar two-eyepiece opera glass appeared in 1823, its outdoor
counterpart was correctly called 'a pair of field glasses'. In the latter part of the 19th
Century, when 'binocular' came to be used as a noun, it was an understandable, if
incorrect, evolution to keep using the familiar word 'pair' in front of the new term. We
should, of course, all be using a pair of monoculars! Cley-Spy
PICTURE PERFECT FOR FATHER'S DAY.
This year Father's Day falls on Sunday 15th June and local youngsters are being given the
chance to win a perfect present for their dad- thanks to a 'snappy ' idea from Norwich and
Peterborough Building Society. Staff at N & P's Sheringham branch is inviting local
youngsters up to the age of 12 to draw a portrait of their dad. They could win a fantastic
present to give him for Father's Day this year, as well as a prize for themselves. All
they need to do is take it into the branch at 29 High Street by Wedensday 4th June, when
the winner will be chosen. The child who draws the winning entry will receive a photo
album and disposable camera, as well as an APS camera to give to their dad for Father's
Day. Perfect prizes for a snap happy Father's Day all round. Father's Day is celebrated on
the third Sunday in June and dates back to 1910. The idea came from a woman who had been
at a Mother's Day sermon. Her father had raised her after her mother died in childbirth,
and wanted him to know how special he was to her. His birthday was in June. In 1924 the
idea that the third Sunday in June should become Father's Day received presidential
support in the USA.