A welcome to Bella, a new "little sister", for Dobby. And Daisy, the new little Norfolk terrier. I wonder if she will follow in Sam's ratting footsteps.
In July, we had a very sad time. Alan, our friend and very good neighbour, and who helped us occasionally with certain dogs (and turtles) passed away. We miss him every day as we look across to his house. I know those of you who knew him would want to join us in sending condolences to his family.
Also Sam, "The Ratter" - a year ago now but I didn't put anything on here. Sam came to us several times for his holidays, and we still think of him often, when I see the piano that our daughter now has - and which he made us take apart when he was convinced there were mice inside.#
RIP, Henry. One of David's first dogs to be walked. Sorry (that was Henry walking David, in case anyone might be mistaken!) He was a vegetarian beagle, after surviving cancer a few years ago. This was our last photo of him as David went up to say Goodbye - shortly before his last meal of chicken and icecream! Our thoughts are with Shaun and Vanessa x
Client "I see lots of vans with dog-walking livery"
David "Yes. We don't do that. We don't want to advertise that you might be out or on holiday."
Client "Ah - you just have the discerning customer."
I haven't written a blog for quite a while. Been using Facebook more. But thought I'd write a bit more of a diary now.
These are all dogs we know. They've been with us a few times now. Tess, Sweep and Wally come as a trio; and then Lucy, separate, a couple of days later. So 4's a crowd? Not any more. It's really interesting watching the psychie of it all. Yes, at first Lucy was on the outside. And for safety's sake, she is separated from them at night, and at feeding times. And for the first day, it was a bit like a child on its first day at a new school. They were wary of each other, and gave each other space. Then they would play together more, out on a walk. Well, Wally would bring the ball, drop it not quite close enough, Lucy would whip it, put it down where it would roll down the hill, and Wally would retrieve it again and try to bring it closer to be thrown again. I'm afraid Wally is definitely champion ball-fetcher. He just never takes his eye off the ball.
But today, Wally and Lucy have become buddies. Neither of them want the mud brushed out of their hair! Whereas Sweep is quite happy to roll over and be beautified; until the brush pulls a bit too much! And the old girl just lies, and knows you will fuss her when it's her turn.
In a morning, when I come down, the first thing I do is open the back door. Wally and Lucy can't get out quick enough and dash for the "lawn" (or quag-mire). Sedate Tess saunters out to do what she needs to do. Leaving Sweep. Sweep.... go into the dirty garden? I don't think so. That's not what a pretty girl does. She hides behind the kitchen door. That young lady has a very strong bladder.
I had to go out on Sunday to buy some new toys. They had totally destroyed the rope twist. And I worked out who it was who had nearly destroyed our Wainwright duck a couple of months ago. So that duck, and the duck Lucy brought with her, are out of bounds. I bought a strong rubber 2-handled puller, which they will all play with, but one at a time with one of us. I'm working on them playing with it by themselves. And a Kong wubba - which seemed to have a strong material covering with 4 ends to be pulled. It must have lasted 5 minutes before Wally started to chew through an end. So they can't be left with that either. Ah well. They're all flaked out again tonight. The hour and half walk this afternoon with David, was obviously mainly running again.
David's gone out tonight. I was on the floor with them all - and I really needed to be an octopus. I can only stroke 2 at once, so they just had to take it in turns. But they soon got used to it - especially when I got the brush!!
This morning, David was down the line with Cooper, the lovely black and white young spaniel, when he met one of the usual dog-walkers with her similar spaniel. She said "Oh, I saw a little dog, the other day, trying to drag its owner into your house. She told me that it was OK - that that was just the house where it goes for its holidays." Again, I think this is the best sort of compliment we can get. We suspect we know which dog it was.
Recently, we had a couple of dogs who came with an extra hand-written sheet to help us with commands they are used to. You'd be surprised what different words people can use eg to retrieve a ball from a dog, we tried everything we could think of - down, drop, give, leave, should I throw it?, The one word we didn't use was "Taa". I am copying this last sheet, changing the names to protect the innocent; it was REALLY useful, and gave us a little chuckle as well!
Fido (little one)
Spotty harness - pulled something in his leg, which makes him lift it sometimes when walking, but is OK. (* We'd have panicked at this!) Quite independent. Loves other dogs. Will leave dry food hoping for something better. Rarely eats it all. Stands silent at the door, staring, if wants to go out. Will stare at you by your side on a walk when he thinks it's time for a treat.
Scamp (Big one)
Striped harness - cautious with other dogs at first. Quite greedy. Will eat Fido's food. Doesn't like things stuck on fur - will over-react. Very vocal (*we found that-very talkative). Will find you for meals and moan or bark at you. Likes attention, stroking, and paws you if you stop (*we found that too!). When he's barking or moaning at you, if you say "show me" and stand up, he will lead you to what he wants (eg to go outside, or retrieve his toy) *Aww!! He loves his toys. Scared of loud noises/thunder
Dictionary - we loved how there was no definition for the obvious ones too.
off or down to get off furniture
bo bo's bed
ah ah said sharply to stop and get some attention (means it's serious)
wait to stop them on extendable lead, at kerbs etc
show me to lead you somewhere
quiet to stop barking
Both will chase cats
We've had a bit of a mixture, again, recently, gradually diminishing in size. Since WIllow and Ruby (lab/retriever types), we've gone gradually smaller, to the tiniest yorkie you ever did see. Buster came with a bit of an attitude, pulling on his lead, barking at big dogs (he terrified me sometimes, when I think what the big dogs can do), and just soooooooooooo excited when he saw a bitch. But, now, he hardly ever pulls on his lead, and walks to one side (After an incident last year when I fell and broke my tooth, whilst holding 2 dogs,I am very wary of falling again.) He even doesn't bark, generally - so long as I have told him "no" enough, in advance. And now Beau. For some reason, she is a very timid little thing, cowering at anything, even if you try to stroke her. But all that has changed now. It changed the first night, when we found out how much she REALLY wants to play. I get on the floor with her, and put my hands on her paws as she lies down. I've never seen a dog move like her before. She just springs sideways, keeping the exact same lying position. Or sometimes, she'll jerk her front paws apart, and then together again. She's had us all (our two daughters have been home) in fits, laughing. And doesn't like other dogs??? Not true. She can play with the rest of them. At first we kept her apart, but you could see she really wanted to play. Nikki went out with David, with 4 dogs - Henry (he just plods along and watches everything - so long as it's food), Buster (now not pulling and well behaved), Sadie (a rescue dog with a bit of a history), and Beau. Apparently they were all perfectly behaved and trotted along together, quite happily. So when they got back, we let Beau and Sadie go through to the garden first, and they both chased balls and things. And then Buster. They all got along great guns. Henry preferred to just lie on the step, or back in the kitchen. He's 12 and a half.
Lucy is a bit different. She's so tiny, and with a gammy leg. We tend to keep her separate, but sometimes Beau is in the same room as well. We know she won't hurt her - especially after she's heard Lucy hiss. She can be very scary. Obviously little-dog-attack-is-the-best-form-of-defence attitude. They just keep themselves, then wants to follow, wagging her tail!
Had a great week. Sometimes, we have dogs on half-day care. Instead of "just" taking them for an hour's walk, they might get a bit shorter walk, but they spend 3-4 hours with us one way or another. If we have well-matched dogs, we can sometimes just have a cuppa tea in the garden, and let them entertain us (OK, with a bit of input from us). This video clip shows Amber and Oscar having a whale of a time. No, they're not related, or even the same breed - one's a labradoodle, the other is a shihtzu/poodle (we don't abreviate it!), but as one owner put it, the little one is just a mini-me of the other.
I think we should have one of these clips attached to our strap-line, "Don't they make you smile." Enjoy.
This was the case with Ruby the fox-red? retriever and Holly, the little spaniel. They didn't just make us smile, they had us laughing all their holidays. After they left, both their owners (at least I hope it was really Holly's owner, otherwise she's even cleverer than I thought) sent us photos of them back at home. (See below.) So they were still making us smile even then.
Quote from OUR email: "Holly's still not stopped! I can't believe how much energy she has. We went to the top of the line, where she lives, but thankfully, she never even attempted to turn off to her house. Just intent on the ball." But she still looks ready to jump up on the photo.
Ruby, however... Rachel's email to us...."She's been comatosed now for 24 hours!" I don't think this was a derogatory comment - she really enjoyed her stay, and the companionship of Holly.