Friday, 17 January 2014


I couldn't resist sharing a couple of photos of Dexter with you..........he's so beautiful, just like a massive powder-puff and although one of the photos is in the snow, I don't think it matters - you can see how sturdy he is and what makes his breed such a good sledge dog!

I've been walking Dexter occasionally for a couple of years now and he has the nicest nature of any dog I know - he's curious, determined and naturally gorgeous - what more do I need to say!

Sparkling Water.................

Queen of the Castle

So much has happened since the summer and work has been very busy, even now the expected lull hasn't occurred (for which my bank account is thankful) but it does mean that many of the snippets I would normally have shared, just haven't happened.

In the middle of October a very small hurricane entered our lives at home, she's called Ngaire (Maori for 'sparkling water' or silver) and she certainly lives up to her name.  She is a beautiful tabby and white kitten, with a huge personality.  She endured a long car journey from Alysbury with Paul and was greeted with less than enthusiasm by our two boys, Jax and Jet.  Was she fazed?????? Not in the slightest, in fact her back went up and she hissed right back, two tiny eyes blazing with fury.  Just who did they think they were!!

Butter wouldn't melt...
This of course pretty much set the following days & weeks and we had our work cut out keeping them apart when they weren't supervised.  The two older cats were completely disgusted that their quiet, unassuming life had been turned upside down and made it known at every given opportunity.  Strangely I had always assumed Jet would be the one who took longer to come around to her presence but in fact it's been Jax.

But, here we are, three months on and things are improving.  Jet plays with her now and they can be found rushing around the house at a rate of knots, usually with him in hot pursuit but oft times now I find the position reversed and he seems happy to let her chase, if not completely catch him.
Paul bought a massive adventure post for them and it now has pride of place in the kitchen, all 7' of it and they have all claimed various spots on it as their own.

It's a while since a kitten has been in the house, and it's turned our lives upside down again, but in a good way.

Ok, I got up here, now how do I get down???
Ahh, now I know...

As a last to this post, a small plea to anyone considering taking on another animal to share their lives with - make sure you do your research, be very sure you are prepared to spend the rest of your lives together and don't home one on the spur of the moment.

Is it worth it????   Absolutely, but don't expect miracles overnight, no animal is perfect and reality often doesn't conform to the romantic view some people have.
They need time, patience and an awful lot of love - if you don't have those, then please don't home one.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Having a heat-wave...............

It's all or nothing here isn't it, one minute it's raining and cold and the next the hottest temperatures for years!
But what would we have to talk about if not the weather.............

Oft times I have been known to buck the trend and I leave it to you to decide whether this is one of them.

The sun may be great for us humans and mostly we have the option if we want to be out in it or not, but for dogs it's a different matter.  I've lost count of the number of people I've seen walking their dogs at mid-day, usually the owners are wearing skimpy shorts and T-shirt complete with baseball cap and the requisite bottle of water - their canine companions however don't seem to fair quite so well.  I'm also sure that the owners don't do these things intentionally but I wish they would consider how they would feel if they had to walk around in a fur coat in the mid-day sun!  I don't imagine many of them would volunteer!!

Here are my thoughts for those days when it's too hot to think......

Don't walk the dog from 10am-4pm or if you have no choice at least ensure it's somewhere shady & cool
Don't think that not taking the dog for a walk is cruel - given the choice I'm pretty sure they would opt to stay at home
Take water with you, not just for you, for the dog too - there are any number of handy water carriers made especially for dogs.  I have a bottle that screws into a lid inside a small rectangular bowl which clips easily onto my trouser/shorts tab.  It's not a huge amount but it's enough to give on a short walk and is usually gratefully received.
Shorten the walk 
Go home if the dog becomes distressed - they can't tell you, be aware of how they're doing
Don't play games with them, it's no fun for them chasing a ball in 90 degrees while you sit in the shade - and as we know, not many dogs are sensible enough to ignore a game.
and NEVER leave a dog in a vehicle, even if it is in the shade with the windows open.  Temperatures can rise extremely quickly causing the dog a great deal of distress and in the worst case scenario, death.

but to end on a happy note (& I so wish I had a picture of this but sadly I don't, so will just have to post a pic or Roco with Lola).

Their owner contacted me one day during the hot weather to discuss walking the little guys earlier as they don't do well in the heat  and ended by saying it had been so hot the day before that she'd had to soak Roco's ears in a saucepan of cold water!!

What I would have given to see that - Roco is the cutest Daschund and I can just imagine his ears floating!!

Anyway enjoy the sun, but please remember our four legged friends..............

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Meet Harley.............

It's a while since I've had a GSD pup myself but I had a great time last weekend looking after Harley, he's under a year but growing into his feet and ears!

This time around I started to notice a lot of GSD traits coming to the fore, he leans, talks and flings his paws around at a rate of knots.  He's also very strong and going to be big I think, already he's as tall as many fully grown Shepherds, made me very nostalgic and we had a lot of fun.

He loves his tennis balls and managed to hide them frequently,  much to my consternation and his amusement.  He obviously thought I was the weekend's entertainment, after all who else but someone he's looking after would routinely get down on all fours to peer under the latest surface he'd hidden them under and then go to great lengths to retrieve them!

He also managed to steal my shoe when I wasn't looking and walked very proudly into the garden with it before hiding it in the corner and then sitting down as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.

As you can see from the first picture, he's a bit of a clown and very entertaining, he really only has to hop over the child gate to get into the living room but to his credit, didn't try it once.

'Shoe what shoe'???

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Kera's find.............

On Friday Kera, Poppy and I were walking in a large field where a flock of crows appear to have taken up residence, nothing too unusual in that I'll admit, especially at this time of year when the young birds are active and still on occasion, being fed by their parents.

What made that day unusual was that Kera, who was ambling ahead of me by only a few paces, suddenly stopped in her tracks, sniffing at the ground.  Being a bit behind her I couldn't see what she obviously could so I hurried to catch her up.  Sitting in the tall grass at the edge of the track was an adult crow.  It didn't move as I approached, just watched with unblinking eyes as two strange beings (much larger than it was) peered at it.  Just by looking I could see it was in trouble, the top part of it's beak (mandible) had broken and since this is the hinged part, it could presumably no longer eat. I picked it up very gently and it didn't even struggle, another sign that things had deteriorated beyond much hope.  I could feel it's breast bone, quite literally the poor bird was starving to death.

Of course walking around a field with two dogs off lead is quite different to going home part way with two dogs on lead in one hand a crow in the other!

Maybe it was luck, but both Kera and Poppy were as good as gold; they always walk well together and today was no exception.  It's almost as though they knew - fanciful? maybe, I can't imagine many of my other clients behaving quite so gently or quietly but they truly surpassed themselves.

Once back at the house I wrapped the crow in an old dog towel and took it to the vet.
It had to be put to sleep, and sad though that is, in this instance it was also necessary. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A beautiful day and a tiny cub.................

I have to apologise in advance for not being able to get a photo of today but hope the ones seconded from past endeavours will help the impression along........

Jada and I were walking along the river bank at lunchtime; the river was beautiful, the tide was coming in and the sky was cornflower blue, the swans were bobbing along in a little convoy and all was right with our world.   In fact it was such a nice day that I couldn't help walking on a little further than normal and there were no complaints from Jada as we ambled along.

As we rounded a corner, in front of us on the right, was a fox - it was just sitting there, not moving and for an awful moment I thought it was injured and all the possible causes - and solutions - jumbled around for juxtaposition in my over active brain.  I stopped, and Jada, not watching where she was going, bumped straight into me, looking up questioningly at the seemingly abrupt end to her walk. I put her lead on and she just sat down looking past me to where the fox was still sitting.

In fact it hadn't moved a muscle that I could see and I was just trying to decide what to do when out of the corner of my eye I saw the smallest cub.

It can't have been more than about 6 weeks old and was running as quickly as it's little legs would carry it into the undergrowth and safety.  Seconds later the fox moved, a brief flash of red as she followed it and was gone.

I can't imagine a time when I won't still be wowed by the river and its wildlife, every day is different and it's not something I ever take for granted, but today's sight was something I've never seen before, not at such close quarters - what a privilege.

And what a brave mum, ready to take on the world for her cub..........

Friday, 17 May 2013

Do you ever wonder just who's watching who.................

It's strange that a significant number of my posts lately have involved Harvey and today is no exception.

We were in the playing field at Hanningfield this morning, Harvey with his prized tennis ball and me lobbing it around whenever he brought it back to me.  After a short time I became aware of being watched, you know that strange sensation when the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and you shiver for no apparent reason?  Anyway turning round I met the eyes of more than a dozen sheep, sitting for all the world like they were watching a game of tennis.  To understand how funny this looked you have to imagine a steep slope on the outside of the reservoir which the sheep walk up and down with apparently effortless grace.  Further imagine then them sitting, almost dog like, with feet lower than their heads, their heads turning this way and that as Harvey chased after his ball.  We were quite obviously their entertainment for the morning!

After a time they broke up, presumably bored with our antics and began feeding again but not before they'd made me laugh!

It wasn't long before I heard a plaintive baa coming from one of the smaller lambs, it had clearly lost it's mother and although not in full panic mode, it's tremulous voice rose several octaves as I stood watching it.

Thankfully in the distance I heard a resounding reply and the lamb started to trot towards it, all the time calling and waiting for a response.  It was about 10 feet away from a ewe and clearly mistook her for Mum, barreling into her side in search of food but receiving a tidy smack from the irritated sheep as opposed the tasty lunchtime treat she had been expecting.

However, that notwithstanding, the lamb continued on it's way, it's mother's tone becoming more strident the longer it took and it was with some relief that they were finally reunited, the lamb's tiny tail wagging happily for all it was worth at finally finding the milky bar she had been searching for.