Monday, 8 May 2017

Disabledz are your customers too... even if you hadn't realised - a Crufts Special!

So I went to Crufts today, I go every year and I go by myself because its easier, I have a million and one people to catch up with and frankly... I like it.

I am also a manual wheelchair user.

Crufts isn't the easiest place to negotiate in a manual chair, there's carpet that sucks your energy and shreds your shoulders and elbows to push through.

There's ramps that burn your gloves out going down and good luck getting UP them without a push (and no, no I don't want to have to be pushed, it's embarrassing, its demeaning, its upsetting, I am a 37 year old woman, not a toddler in a pram!).

Today the main lifts to from the atrium to the upper 'deck' of the NEC were not working, leaving a long ramp marked 'not suitable for wheelchairs'... yeah. A ramp that isn't for wheelchairs (it's not, this massive set of ramps, there are two, are for passengers from the airport and railstation who may have trolleys and need to push them or drag wee little wheelied suitcases and trunki's and stairs make their life so awkward oh boohoo poor them...... so let's build a ramp suitable for them and *FUCK* the wheelie people again shall we but I digress, my wrath shall be pointed at the NEC at a later date)/

This ones all for stall holders, stand holders and shops who apparently do not want my money!

You know it spends the same as anyone elses, it is not tainted by some sort of lurgy, you cannot CATCH 'disabled' if you take my money.

Today I went to all the grooming companies stands.

Today I had a large sum of birthday money burning a hole in my pocket.

Today I was ignored, stepped around, talked OVER and treated as if I was invisible by the staff at THREE of those companies.

I am not going to name names because genuinely I don't think it will make a single jot of difference to those companies, but it might to everyone else reading.

Please do not assume that because I am a wheelchair user, that I cannot or will not require your  professional grooming equipment.

I may not be a professional groomer, I am a canine professional, the products I buy will not only be used on my own dogs, but will be used to teach client dogs too.

Even if I were simply buying pet grade products for my own dog as a non-industry related private person...

Ignoring me, speaking over me, stepping round me to deal with the person BEHIND me in the queue... that's not acceptable, no matter how little they may be about to spend.

Fuck you, snooty rude dog grooming companies. Fuck you indeed!

Now onto the positive stuff.

Three grooming companies were MARVELLOUS.

Christies Direct, who are a BIG company - Glenn took the time to talk me through the available clipper options, let me hold the clippers (it's important to me how much they weigh and how balanced they are in my hand). He then helped me select two pairs of scissors which I bought.

Mutneys, who are not a huge company but a UK based grooming products suppliers - Louise again, took the time to show me the products that would suit, explain the various pros and cons and from Louise I bought a pair of Andis clippers. (Sorry Glenn!)

Diamond Edge who again, are not a huge multinational brand, not only recognised me from last year out of the thousands of people they must see at trade shows each year, but offered me a fabulous discount and honoured that discount on some cosmetically damaged stock a few months later as I wasn't able to take them up on it at the time, because they still had that item available (clipper combs in a damaged box!).

All the representitives from these companys were looking out for people interested in their stands but less able to access them for whatever reason. All took the time to find out what I needed without leaping to any conclusions or judgements based on appearances.

All got my money.

I'd also like a special mention to the lady on the really lovely scissor stand whose name I have forgotten, who only sold scissors (so it's not included in my general 'grooming products companies' rant here)...

She let me handle and play with various pairs of VERY expensive scissors which helped me determine what I wanted and needed...

Turns out whilst I might WANT £174 scissors... what I actually needed was not quite that spendy so I didn't buy from her but she was lovely (even if she tried to tempt me with her scissory goodness!).

So big up for Mutneys, Diamond Edge and Christies Direct

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Product Reviews K9 Connectables and Love Takara Collars...

Wooo! It's been a while since I have found products nice enough or interesting enough to ask for samples to review - I only review stuff I genuinely think is innovative, high quality and interesting!

So K9 Connectables... what are they? Web Shop

(Not my dog, photo pinched from K9Connectables Facebook page due to my inability to take a nice product photo!)

K9 Connectables are a collection of chewable, stuffable, throw-able, float-able (that's not a word I know!) toys that can be push-fit together to make a variety of pull-apart shapes for your dog to enjoy.

I tested the set I was given which included three different shapes (the stick shape 'Techno bone' , the ball shape 'Original' and the dental cone shape 'Dentist') and a total of 7 pieces, which can all be linked in a variety of ways.

My testers are..

Womble - Lurcher, adores chewing things, really likes to bite down hard, known toy trasher.

Tatty - GBGV, loves food, solving puzzles and marmalizing things with her jaws.

Errol - Tibetan Terrier, loves pulling things apart, food and carrying small thing around.

Errol went first and he found the pieces just the right size for him, he could chew hard but not damage the pieces, pulling them apart took effort and kept him interested. The food was not too hard to get out but kept him exploring.

A top class toy for this boy and I would certainly buy him a set and would feel happy leaving him to get on with this unsupervised.

Tatty went next, she was more about the food and less about the chewing though the pulling apart element amused her a fair bit. She was less interested when all the food was gone, however as a scent hound, that isn't surprising and the pulling apart of the toys did give an extra dimension.
She then brought me the pieces to throw and then to put back together for her so she could go again though without the food, less enthusiastic on this.

I would happily leave her unsupervised with this toy and she would probably scatter the parts round the house and lob the bigger bits down the stairs to play fetch with herself!

Womble - Womble came last in this test run because he has form for trashing toys and I feared there would be nothing for the others to test.
I expected that the connecting 'male' ends of the toy would be his focus and he would chew down on them as hard as possible trying to chew a chunk off.

Once the food was gone that is exactly what he did  - he LOVED pulling the toy apart and working to get the food and he adored the texture of the material, very rewarding to bite down on and this boy LOVES biting.

However as predicted within a few minutes he had managed to damage the toys, and though safe whilst supervised I would expect him to have chewed the connecting ends off the pieces he had very quickly had he not been stopped - therefore I would not leave this toy with him unsupervised.

My personal opinion is for smaller dogs and dogs who do not chew to destroy but chew more gently then this toy is a winner, its heavy enough to throw or break down and throw the parts, the parts float so you can chuck them in water for water retrieves.

The shapes are very appealing to dogs, and the material encourages chewing and licking due to its texture and the fact it has no unpleasant taste or smell (yes, I chewed one first to find out, no nasty bitter rubbery taste here these things are fab!)

For dogs that are hard core chewers, liable to swallow pieces or just want to chew to destroy an item, these are probably not the toy for you unless closely supervised. Because of the male to female connection system your dog IS likely to chew the male connector ends off which then means your pieces will no longer connect.

Hopefully K9 Connectables will release a larger sized version which would reduce this risk, and ideally, a tougher material for power chewers as well.

All in all however, this is a quality product at a very reasonable price and certainly has advantages over similar products on the market, particularly that apart from the Techno Bone which is sold singly, the Original and Dentist shapes come in packs of two so you always have something to connect to something else.

Love Takara Bespoke Collars & Leads Love Takara

This week the postman was kind to me, I also recieved a fabulous fabric martingale collar for my Deerhound from Love Takara. My Deerhound does not 'do' modelling... she says she has retired and refuses to pose!

These are made to measure items from quality ribbon and webbing, and solid fittings (no rubbishy formed wire stuff here, all solid!).

The materials are excellent, the sewing and finish is extremely neat and tidy and the turnaround time was fantastic - I will be buying again!

Lottie at Love Takara is more than happy to source ribbons as well as offering a nice range of tasteful and beautiful designs. She can make hound width or narrower collars and leads, and also walking belts and probably more, there is no end to this ladys talent! Form an orderly queue please!

*I have not been paid to review these items and all opinions are my own or translated from my dogs' body language!*