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Animal crackers: The rise of pet memoirs

Why have pet memoirs replaced misery-lit on bestseller lists? Tim Walker sniffs out the story

Ruff trade: A crisis for Crufts

Crufts returns next week – but there will be no TV coverage, no big-money sponsorship, and no support from the RSPCA. After six months of scandal that has left pedigree breeds branded genetic freaks, John Walsh asks if we can save our love affair with man's best friend

Your Questions: Is the information given on dog-training programmes correct?

Q. I love watching the various dog-training programmes on television, but I’m a bit concerned about some of the methods they use. Is the information they give correct and is it a good idea for people to try the training themselves? Caroline, via e-mail

Your Questions: 'My cat has turned into a crazy feline and attacks my ankles every time I walk past'

Q. I have a six-month-old, female, British short-haired cat. We had been getting along just fine, but recently she's turned into a crazy feline. Nearly every time I walk past her she attacks my ankles. I don't know what do to. Any suggestions? Steven, via e-mail

Your Questions: How do I start a new exercise regime for my Labrador?

Q. I have a three-year-old male chocolate Labrador. Over Christmas I over-indulged myself and him. I would like to start a new exercise regime to include him and I thought about running. Can I just start straight away or – as with humans – do I need to break him in gradually? Mark, via e-mail

Your Questions: How can we stop our rabbit chewing the sofa?

Q. I have an 18-month-old neutered dutch house rabbit called Ben. I rescued him about a year ago and he is a delight, but we have a very big problem. He chews the sofa and we can't seem to stop him. We tried bitter apple spray but it hasn't worked. Any ideas would be really helpful. Henry, Wimbledon, London SW18

Pet of the week: The Labradoodle

And who's this? A labradoodle, quite possibly the soppiest dog on the planet. Although still a relative newcomer to theses shores, the labradoodle is well-established in his native Australia.

Your Questions: Help! I don't know how to look after my tortoise

I have recently taken on a four-year-old tortoise from a friend who didn't want it any more. I'm getting to grips with him but am confused about when or whether he needs to go into hibernation. Help!

Tobi Leopold, Hayling Island

Pet of the week: The Norwegian Forest cat

Jamie Buckley

Your Questions: Why has our Labrador started howling?

Q. Our six-year-old Labrador (placid and lovable) has been howling nightly, often more than once, for the past four weeks for no apparent reason. The howling will last for about half a minute usually during the early hours of the morning. He will also do it occasionally during the day even when we are indoors. He is kept in the utility room during the day and gets regular exercise. In the evening he is allowed to stay with us until we go to bed. Patricia Liddle, Lincoln

Pet of the week: The stick insect

What on earth is it? It's a phasmid, which you'll agree sounds like quite a cool gang to belong to. There are some 3,000 species of stick insect, 300 of which can be bred in captivity, so you'll be spoilt for choice. But take advice before you rush out and get one – some can grow up to half a metre long. More like a log insect.

Pet of the week: The angelfish

What is it? Pterophyllum – the noble angelfish – is one of the most popular fish ever to inhabit an aquarium.

Your Questions: 'Why does my cat like to climb on me?'

Q. Why does my cat like to climb on me and lay stretched out on top of my torso when I'm in bed. Obviously, there's a duvet between me and her, so I'm not sure if she's doing it to get the warmth from my body. Or is it a dominance thing? Jacqueline Davis, via e-mail

Pet of the week: The Poitou donkey

What is it? It's a donkey of the species Equus asinus. The Poitou is a very rare breed with a long shaggy coat, and the most prized are the ones with the nattiest dreadlocks.

Your Questions: What can I do about my nervous border collie?

Q. My male border collie is so nervous that while on a lead, any strange and slightly loud noise turns him into a quivering wreck. When he's scared he barks continuously and tries to hide behind me. I now walk him twice-weekly for one and a half hours along busy streets to try and get him used to the general carry-on of daily life but I don't think he's improving. What can I do? C Phelps, via e-mail

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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?