New Vice Patron
We are exceptionally pleased to announce that Peter Purves has agreed to become Honorary Vice patron of The Bella Moss Foundation and has endorsed this statement on our behalf: “MRSA is going to become a serious problem for companion animals if we don’t take action now, and we need as much information about it as we can get. The Bella Moss Foundation is taking the lead in bringing support and awareness to pet owners and vets on this emerging problem and I am pleased to be associated with their work.”
He first sampled fame in 44 episodes of Doctor Who before his 10 years in the brilliant children's TV programme Blue Peter. Peter has since presented numerous TV series including Kickstart, Superdogs, Stopwatch, and Babble as well as remaining very active in the theatre and having many outside interests. Among dog lovers Peter is well known for his association with Crufts, which he has presented for the BBC for 28 years, and he will present some of the major dog events in the UK throughout 2006 including All About Dogs (Brentwood, May); The Royal Bath and West of England Show (Shepton Mallet, June); The Wag and Bone Show (Windsor, Sept); Discover Dogs (Earl's Court, Nov); and two events for Guide Dogs for the Blind (one in July at Warwick, and a Dogathon in Bristol at the end of May in conjunction with Blue Peter).
All of those involved in the work of The Bella Moss Foundation are extremely grateful for Peter’s support. Peter Purves
The Blue Cross
The Bella Moss Foundation is being joined by Anette Loeffler, a vet undertaking her PhD at the Royal veterinary College (and associate of professor David Lloyd), to deliver a series of teaching sessions to trainee staff at The Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity. Anette will concentrate on the clinical aspects of identifying MRSA infections and their treatment, and we will speak on the need for vets and pet owners to communicate effectively in order to get the best levels of care for animals.
The first of these takes place in London with more around the country to follow. we expect that The Blue Cross will only be the first of a number of organisations interested in hearing about the issue from Anette and ourselves, and we are grateful to Dick Voight at The Blue Cross for putting us in touch with the right people.
The Bella Moss Foundation Goes International
Over the last nine months or so we have had increasing contact from pet owners in the US worried about how MRSA can affect animals but unable to find helpful information. One of the people we have developed a close relationship with is KIM BLOOMER, and Kim has now been appointed our official US Representative.
Kim is a natural pet care educator, host of the online radio show Animal Talk Naturally, proficient blogger on natural pet health online, pet news editor for a print magazine in Montana and co-author of the book Whole Health for the Happy Dog (April 2006 release).
She has and continues to do extensive research into natural health care for dogs and cats and is currently enrolled in the Clayton College of Natural Health studying for a Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition/Doctor of Naturopathy. Kim will carry The Foundation’s message to vets and pet owners in the United States where, it seems, there is even less awareness than there is over here.
Kim Bloomer with one of her tail-waggin friends
It really didn’t seem a year since we were last at Crufts, but here it was again and there we were. Like last year we really didn’t see any dogs, but we saw plenty of reporters and company reps as well as many of the friends we had stayed in touch with since last year. Of these, Chris Laurence of The Dogs Trust was again a source of great support and advice, and he introduced us to the founder of The Dogs Trust, Clarissa Baldwin. Clarissa is a tremendous role model and we hope she will be made a proper Dame sooner rather than later!
Jill with Clarissa Baldwin (Founder and President) and Chris Laurence (Veterinary Director) Dogs Trust
We also met with Nick Mays, Chief Reporter, and Vince Hogan, Editor, of Our Dogs. Vince and Nick have both been extremely supportive of our work and included large items about The foundation in both the Crufts edition of the paper and the 2006 Annual; many thanks to everyone at Our Dogs. Our Dogs were also kind enough to allow us to use their stand to receive a donation from the Samoyed owners who had raised the money through a raffle on the first day of Crufts. The prize was a cuddly dog won by Samantha Critchley of Chester who immediately named it Bella, and Charlotte Craig presented the cheque, for £117 pounds.
Charlotte is another of people we met last year at Crufts and who has worked hard to raise money and awareness for The Foundation. This was the second donation Charlotte has organised and we can only give her and all the owners who put gave money a huge ‘Thank You’.
Jill and Mark receiving the cheques from Charlotte Craig. From L to R …owner of Our Dogs, Jill, Vince Hogan, Editor, Our Dogs, Charlotte and Mark
Of Course, we couldn’t have done anything at Crufts without the help of Phil Buckley External Affairs Manager of The Kennel Club who arranged all the access for us. Phil has been another great supporter of The Foundation, and has suggested that next year we get sponsorship for a stand. These cost around £1500 to charities so we need to start making arrangements right away. If anyone knows of a company or individual willing to sponsor a stand, do let us know and many thanks to Phil for his support and help.
This year at Crufts saw our first volunteer join us at an event. Cheryl Bursten, whose companion, Rupert, died from the effects of MRSA in 2004, joined us on the Saturday to take our message to the owners exhibiting their dogs. It was great to meet Cheryl for the first time although we have been in touch with her regularly since she first contacted us, and she did a great job speaking informally to the people showing their dogs. Thanks, Cheryl, we know exactly how you feel.
Jill and Cheryl
Lastly we want to say a big ‘Thank You’ to Quistel. and in particular Robert Klass, have been incredibly supportive, and covered the cost of printing 4000 brochures for Crufts that they distributed with their own literature. In the end they gave away around 3000 copies, and people who found out about us through their stand have already contacted us. Thanks to Robert and the rest of his great team. It was a good experience to be at Crufts again, and it was amusing how many people asked Jill if she was the ‘Bella Moss’ they had heard about
Your Dog Editor Sarah Wright with Jill Dr Harley Farmer of NewGenn with Jill Cheryl, Robert Killick (Our Dogs Columnist), Jill, Anne and Nick Mays (Our Dogs)
1st International Conference on MRSA in Animals
Since becoming the only lay member on Defra’a antimicrobial resistance Darc sub group Jill has made contacts and now we are busy making preparations for a conference in June at Liverpool University, which we are co-hosting with the University of Liverpool. It has been a hard task asking companies for money but sponsors have come forward for various aspects of the event and we hope that Dr Phil Hammond will be able to be our after-dinner speaker http://pcwww.liv.ac.uk/vetvirology/mrsaconference.htm
A flower in Bella’s memory
Last year we were looking to name a new flower after Bella, and we can now say that at Crowther’s Nursery in Romford a white clematis named Bella will soon be available to buy. We are very pleased that Bella has been immortalised in this way and we hope that many will buy the Bella clematis as gifts for family and friends. To buy this gift for your friends and family please contact Jill at [email protected] details will soon be available on the website.
More MRSA Deaths in dogs
Sadly this month we have heard of three more dogs that have died from the effects of MRSA. We are sorry for the loss of Max, aged 7 (Golden Retriever), Ben, 7 (Collie), and Foxy, 4 (Staffordshire Bull Terrier) whose lives were cut short by hospital acquired infections. We are gratified that the vets in these cases have acknowledged the likelihood of the infection being acquired in the practice rather than simply denying the possibility and blaming the owners.
We also discovered the case of a dog that seems to have contracted MRSA in the kennels where it was boarded and developed a skin infection apparently from scratching itself. We can’t be absolutely certain how the infection occurred, but it shows the importance of making sure that our companion pets are as healthy as possible if they have to go into unfamiliar surroundings.
Jazz now fully recovered from a staph A infection contracted whilst being boarded in kennels.
Finally: Watch out for new pages on www.thebellamossfoundation.com together with more press articles, press releases and testimonials from owners.