A staggering 3/4 of dog owners admit to celebrating their pooch’s birthday

– Study reveals dog owners are throwing fancy paw-ties for their pups and showering them with gifts
– Two thirds of Brits spend more than £10 treating their dog to an extra special day
– Over half treat their canine companion  to a special birthday feast

A new study by Lily’s Kitchen, Creators of proper food for pets/ or who make proper food for pets, found that over half of doting dog owners admits to throwing a birthday bash for their pup, and nearly 60% howl out the iconic ‘Happy Birthday’ musical number (58%) to their dogs on their special day. Pooch parents are happy to splash the cash when birthdays roll around, with almost two thirds (64%) of those surveyed spending more than £10 on gifts and decorations, making sure their hound has the celebration it deserves.

When it comes to the all-important birthday meal, more than half of owners (55%) prepare a special birthday feast for their canine companion, based on their own favourite meal. Meat loaf, fish cakes and chicken stew are just a few homemade doggy dinner favourites.

This increased humanisation of our four-legged friends has led to a growing demand for more occasion- based pet products, including celebratory dog meals and treats made with premium ingredients. Lily’s Kitchen has responded to pet parents wanting to celebrate their dog’s “adopted day” or birthday with the launch of ‘Birthday Surprise’; the first ever party-perfect meal for dogs made from three different fresh cuts of steak, potatoes, broccoli and herbs.

According to the study, spoiling our dogs on their birthday is all part of the deep “emotional connection ” we have with them; 41% of pet owners say they celebrate because “their dog is part of the family” and one in eight people feel that “their dog is like their child”.

Henrietta Morrison, Lily’s Kitchen Founder and CEO said: “Our dogs are family and they deserve to have the best day ever on their birthday. And steak dinners usually mark a special occasion for humans so what better way to celebrate than a nutritious doggy equivalent. The trend that sees us treat our dogs more like the rest of our family can sometimes end up in owners indulging their pets with harmful foods such as cake on their birthday, but we urge all owners to serve up proper food that’s safe and deliciously nourishing”.

Want to throw your pup a party? The new Birthday Surprise gift box RRP £9.95, is available to order from May 5th 2017 and will be sold on the Lily’s Kitchen website www.lilyskitchen.co.uk.




Tropical Wings Zoo animals kept amused by Meadows shoppers’ recycled Christmas Trees

Tropical Wings Zoo

Tropical Wings Zoo

Back in December, The Meadows shopping centre carried out a Christmas Survey; which found that if shoppers were offered a Christmas tree collection service, 63% of them would use it. This led to the Meadows Christmas Treecycling

Shoppers were invited to register on the Meadows shopping centre website to arrange collection of their Christmas tree between 7th-12th January, by our partners Walker Tree Care.

The donated trees were then either kept whole or shredded and delivered to Tropical Wings Zoo on 13th January, to use as bedding. While the whole trees and branches will be used as enrichment in the lemurs, parrots and meerkats enclosures. Shoppers who registered were also automatically entered into a prize draw to win one of 7 family tickets to the zoo as a thank you. Those winners have now been contacted and

Meerkats at Tropical  Wings Zoo

Meerkats at Tropical Wings Zoo

will be able to make use of their prize this year.

Sue Patel, Meadows Centre Manager says:

” We take our role of being an integral part of the local community seriously and wanted to assist our shoppers with the difficult task of what to do with their Christmas trees after the festive period. The opportunity to help the animals at Tropical Wings Zoo and our shoppers was too good to miss. We also want to thank all of our shoppers who registered to have their trees collected, it was so well supported that we weren’t able to collect them all. But we hope our shoppers will get in touch and let us know if they want us to run this again next year, as we hope to expand it further.”

Posted by Lauren Oliver


Help Your Child Discover British Animals

twitter-1WILDLIFE JACK is a plucky explorer of real British animals and the star of a magical new show for 0-6 year olds: “I meet scary things, fluffy things, monsters and giants!”

Jack (who is animated) uses his special ability to talk to animals (documentary) to understand more about nature. Wildlife Jack & His Animal Adventures is Dr Doolittle for the younger generation.

Nonchalant seals and savvy seahorses star in the pilot episode, available now on wildlifejack.com. Everything the animals say is based on their real lives, so other than their ability to talk, they remain as animals.

The creators are parents of two boys, TV producer Ed Kellie and journalist/trainee primary-school teacher Abi Kellie, “We want to make it possible for children, especially urban kids, to encounter real British animals and inspire them to go out and experience local wildlife forWildJackdeer-1 themselves.”

Research by Natural England has found that the likelihood of a child visiting any green space at all has halved in a generation. The Kellies hope Jack’s adventures will get kids outdoors and help to reverse this trend.

They now want to make the next 5 episodes to complete their first 6-episode DVD, for sale on their website and as downloads.

They have set up a Wildlife Jack Shop of children’s gifts and activities on their Kickstarter.com page to help raise £15,000; half of the production budget. The shop offers everything from the finished films, to real animal-tracking adventures, to hand-drawn portraits by the animator. Under Kickstarter crowdfunding rules, the Kellies must hit their target by 27th July or they receive nothing. If you’d like to support them go to: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1537431379/wildlife-jack-and-his-animal-adventures-for-0-6-ye 

WJMagnifyGlass-1All our footage was filmed by Martin Hayward Smith (David Attenborough’s Life of Birds, Ray Mears Wild Britain, The Natural World) in Norfolk. We already have enough for the next 5 episodes.

The Kellies have funded everything so far which has cost £6,000 and three months of their time.

The composer is Dru Masters, who’s made the music for some of the UK’s most successful TV shows, from BBC dramas Silk and Young James Herriot, Charlie Brooker’s A Touch Of Cloth, to the BAFTA-winning The Apprentice.

We share nature-related activities on:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/wildlifejacksadventures 

Twitter:  twitter.com/wildlifejack 

And blog:  wildlifejack.com/blog/ 

Children know very little about UK wildlife.

Half of 9-11 year olds cannot identify daddy long legs, a blue tit or an oak tree, but 95% of them can identify a Dalek.

(BBC Wildlife Magazine Poll, 2008)

Children are being kept in cities and inside.

91% of UK children live in cities and by the age of 9 the average child is free to wander just five metres from their front door.

(Children’s Society 2007)

Children will grow into adults who don’t care about the environment.

Sir David Attenborough warns, “The wild world is becoming so remote to children that they miss out and an interest in the natural world doesn’t grow as it should. Nobody is going protect the natural world unless they understand it.”

Contact with nature positively affects children by:

  • developing their innate curiosity and motivation to learn
  • encouraging creative, diverse and imaginative play
  • and encouraging pride in the local environment.

(The New Economics Foundation, 2005)


Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects. It is an opportunity for people who really love an idea to help the creators make it happen by pledging to buy merchandise / experiences.

Posted by Amy Moylan


Colchester Zoo competition

We are running a competition with Colchester Zoo to win a family ticket.  Maybe you could use it to experience Shriek Week?

Do you dare to join Colchester Zoo as their famous Halloween event ‘Shriek Week’ returns?!

27th October to 4th November. Why not join Colchester Zoo as they host their ever popular Halloween themed event and enjoy plenty of spook-tacular fun! Get stuck into a variety of creepy crafts and enjoy a number of spooky themed displays and activities.

For those that are brave enough to stay after dark, Colchester Zoo are hosting Shriek Week late night openings. These late nights are sure to give you a fright as the infamous spooky road train returns along with many more spine chilling events and a host of late night animal feeds! Colchester Zoo remains open until 9.30pm during the late scary nights of Shriek Week with last admissions at 8.00pm. The timetables for both Shriek Week and Shriek Week late nights can be found at www.colchesterzoo.org

The competition closes on the 24th October.  You will need to be available to answer your phone in the afternoon.  The winner will simply collect their tickets from the Ark shop on the day of their visit.

Visit our competitions page to enter

Posted by Clare Kersey