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Pet prices soar in isolation need for companionship



We are a nation of pet lovers and dogs and cats are by far the most popular of pets. During the Covid pandemic people who were having to think twice about the responsibility of a puppy or kitten have decided to take the plunge as they are working from home and feel they have the time to dedicate to a new family member. During this isolating time, people are turning to pets to help relieve stress and anxiety, as well as a way to stay active, a walk is so much more pleasurable with a dog than alone and if you are motivated to run or jog there are many breeds of dog that will happily join you.

People now feel they have the time and effort  to put into training a dog, However this sudden need for companionship in a mad lone;y world has meant that the price of puppies has more than doubled during lockdown with dogs costing almost £1,900 on average.Prices for puppies have skyrocketed during lockdown, with some now more than four times higher than usual. Popular breeds have seen even sharper price increases, and puppies are often selling for £3,000 or more, according to a leading online marketplace.

Certain breeds have become hugely popular and demand has outstripped supply leading to its own set of concerns for animal charities. 

These welfare charities such as the dogs trust  RSPCA  and Blue Cross  have warned high prices could encourage “puppy farming”, smuggling or dog theft.

Unscrupulous  unlicensed breeders have seen an opportunity for  cashing in on the surging demand for popular puppies at this time, without any concern for health or welfare.

While there are many responsible breeders who care hugely for their animals, unfortunately with this huge demand now taking place there are plenty who are just looking to tug on the heartstrings and exploit the situation, it’s creating a lucrative market for cruel puppy smugglers.high prices will encourage the illegal importation of puppies or heavily pregnant dogs from smuggling hotspots in eastern or central Europe.

These poor animals are smuggled into the country in the most horrendous conditions and arrive weak, terribly ill and have suffered significant trauma in the process creating  more problems for a potential owner with a mentally scarred puppy. Unfortunately this trade is a booming concern at the moment and the deterrents need to be reviewed with tougher penalties for smuggling pups to deter  this dreadful practise. Only a handful of cases have ever been prosecuted and you can get a longer sentence for smuggling cigarettes than you can for smuggling puppies.

There are genuine fears that we are heading for an animal welfare crisis as people return to work away from the home in the future.. With the  RSPCA issuing a warning that they fear huge abandonments when people get back to work or realise they can no longer afford to keep or make time for their new pet.It may be that the economic situation   means that some people may find they can’t afford to look after a dog any more when the future so uncertain.

Behaviours of the dogs may mean they are no longer a pleasure to have in the home as these puppies will have grown up with people at home all the time when  that comes to an end and dogs become bored or anxious because they’re used to people being there and disruptive and bad behaviour will likely begin.

The Dogs Trust is concerned there will be up to 40,000 dogs abandoned in the coming months as a result of people buying puppies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The costa involved in a pet have risen dramatically too with insurance going up significantly and even more than doubling in many cases due to the basic cost of buying and vets having to hike their prices to meet government demands and regulations


Owning a pet is a huge responsibility and a long term commitment. Whether prices will fall again as the country begins to return to ‘ normal’ remains to be seen.

I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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It snowed even in Malibu, California



It’s fairly rare to get snow in London but it’s even rarer to get it in Malibu.  The Southern California city is more well known for his beaches and surfing than its ski pistes but we are living in strange times. It’s near Los Angeles after all. 

The snow came with a storm on Saturday, it probably looks more like hail than proper snow but it’s still a rare sight. There are two more storms forecasted for the next few days. The mountain community just outside Malibu is expected to get up to a foot of snow in the next few days. 

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A bookshop that sells books for the visually impaired opens in Paris



Two French publishing houses have opened a specialized bookshop in Paris, in the Pantheon area, called the “Librairie des grands caractères”, a way to grant even the visually impaired the luxury of a walk among books.  And  the sensual pleasure of touching and breathing paper.

Customers are those who suffer from vision-related problems, due to disease or age and we are talking of over a million people in a country like France.

And these books are specialò the paper is made so as not to dazzle, the line spacing is studied, the contrast is never excessive, even and the character is not that of traditional books but an ad hoc one, called Luciole.

One more reason not to abandon reading on paper is, in the case of some totally or partially reversible eye diseases, its important rehabilitative power for sight.

Unfortunately the catalogue of books for visually impaired people is still very limited, it has only about 600 titles. 

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Edinburgh the happiest city in the UK



A Smart Survey survey revealed that the happiest city in the UK is Edinburgh. The reasons are the quality of life, the high salaries, the average working hours per week and the beauty of the city.

Two seaside towns follow in second and third place: Bournemouth and Brighton.

In fourth place we find Southend and in fifth Bristol. Followed by Colchester and then Glasgow in eighth place.

In ninth place we have both Liverpool and Manchester and in tenth Milton Keynes.

London is in thirteenth place, takes points for the average high salaries but loses some for the many hours of average work per week.

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