Keeping your pets on best behaviour

Author Annaliese Morgan (left) and illustrator Kate Crowther with their book Desperate Housepets.
Author Annaliese Morgan (left) and illustrator Kate Crowther with their book Desperate Housepets.
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IT must have been fate when artist Kate Crowther walked into the pet spa owned by Annaliese Morgan.

The two became instant friends and the friendship led to a collaboration which has now resulted in a fascinating new book.

illustration from Desperate Housepets book by Kate crowther - book is written by Annaliese Morgan

illustration from Desperate Housepets book by Kate crowther - book is written by Annaliese Morgan

Desperate Housepets is exactly what every pet owner needs - a practical yet entertaining book, full of effective tips and solutions to problems, covering all aspects of daily care ranging from grooming, behaviour, exercise, nutrition, house-training, dental health, illness, first aid and so on.

It has been put together as the ultimate user-friendly guide, thanks to the vast experience of Annaliese who has spent years in the veterinary profession.

But the book is brought to life as a result of the beautiful - and often quirky - enchanting illustrations at the hand of Kate, a very talented artist.

“I’d been doing some portraits of people’s animals and just popped into Annaliese’s pet spa,” explains Kate, referring to Fuchsia, the popular business in Bradford Road, Brighouse.

illustration from Desperate Housepets book by Kate crowther - book is written by Annaliese Morgan

illustration from Desperate Housepets book by Kate crowther - book is written by Annaliese Morgan

“I hoped she would display some of the portraits for me and we just struck up an immediate rapport.”

In fact Kate ended up painting a portrait of Annaliese’s beloved beagle, Michael.

“I thought the work was wonderful and before long the idea of collaborating on a book came to mind,” says Annaliese.

Kate grew up in Halifax and showed a flair for art at a very early age. After university on Nottingham she went to London to study graphic design before ending up working as a buyer for Marks & Spencer.

illustration from Desperate Housepets book by Kate crowther - book is written by Annaliese Morgan

illustration from Desperate Housepets book by Kate crowther - book is written by Annaliese Morgan

“I soon realised it wasn’t for me and so I decided to come back to Yorkshire and set up my own graphics business in Brighouse,” she says. Now she is based at Dean Clough and admits she loves being in such an artistic setting.

“There’s such a creative feel to this place, the atmosphere is great,” she adds.

Annaliese, originally from Huddersfield, began carving out her career in veterinary nursing in 1993, qualifying four years later. She went on to gain assessor qualifications in 200 enabling her to train other veterinary nurses, and then in 2002 she obtained the Advanced Veterinary Nursing Surgical Diploma - currently there are only around 250 nurses in the UK to hold this qualification.

She went on to spend 15 “adorable” years in small animals and mixed veterinary practice, including Hird and Partners of Halifax.

illustration from Desperate Housepets book by Kate crowther - book is written by Annaliese Morgan

illustration from Desperate Housepets book by Kate crowther - book is written by Annaliese Morgan

Once she had passed a further exam enabling her to prescribe and dispense certain pet medications in her own right, she decided to open the pet spa.

But Annaliese has also always had a love of writing and her first book was published in 2004.

“The idea of a pet care book came about because people are always asking me questions and although there are pet care books already published, often they can be technical and off-putting for people.

“I wanted to write something that was a quick reference guide and that could be read by people of all ages. The idea is to be preventative, good advice can keep pets healthy and by looking after your pets you can sometimes avoid a visit to the vet,” she says.

There are chapters on ears, feeding, healthy games and exercise, bugs and creepy crawlies, sparkling teeth and even temper tantrums and strops.

“As Annaliese completed each of the chapters, she passed them to me and I came up with the drawings,” explains Kate.

Readers will fall in love with the snoozing Shar Pei enjoying a few minutes beauty sleep to minimise his wrinkles, or the cat with the Hollywood smile.

The front cover is also illustrated with Kate’s talented handiwork -showing Annaliese with her bag of tricks and stethoscope and of course, Michael the beagle.

“If people have a pet then I’d hope they’d buy the book and read up on the advice. Hopefully then they could keep their pets happy, healthy and beautiful,” says Annaliese who has also included a list of useful contacts including Cats Protection and the RSPCA.

The book is now on sale at Fuchsia in Brighouse, Fred Wade, Halifax and Asda.