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.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Meet the girls..............

It wasn't us - honest!!

Loved this photo of them taken earlier today.

Keira, is a stunning Hovawart, a breed originally from Germany and reared as estate guard dogs; they are still relatively uncommon in the UK.  Poppy  is a sweet Border Collie, who up until coming to live with her present owners, had a very sad & neglectful life.  She is still nervous of people but gains a lot of confidence from her larger friend and to be honest who wouldn't!

I've been walking them around a large field, and since I've been letting them off lead they have taken to exploring everything within reach.  A rotten tree is the latest on their lists of 'things to see' - it has presumably come down in the heavy winds we've had over the last week as it was in situ this time last week.
Today however it has fallen and lies broken and a very obvious playground for two inquisitive dogs!
Poppy in particular took great delight in clambering over and through it, all the while watching to see if Keira was impressed enough to do the same - which she wasn't!
She pretended an interest for half a nano second before trundling off to find something more interesting to take her fancy.

Monday, 13 May 2013

All in a day's work......................

Harvey & I have been walking past a small herd of young bulls for about a month or so now.  
This produces much curiosity on their behalf and absolutely none on Harveys!

Each time we pass they come across the field and stand as near to the fence as they can inviting him to partake in a 'getting to know you session', their broad noses huffing lightly in his direction, but he, in true Labrador style seems to have nothing but contempt for them, his only real concern, where his yellow tennis ball might be.

I truthfully acknowledge that throwing tennis balls is not a skill I've acquired over the years and would even go so far as to say my interest is negligible.
Harvey on the other hand is a dab hand at chasing and catching..............well until today that is!
The throw started well enough and I still maintain that had it not been for a sudden gust of wind carrying it off course, it would have been one of my better throws. But that aside, it took off pretty smartly and after flying through the air for a second or two, took a side curve and landed about 6 feet away.
Yes you've got the field with the bullocks.

Harvey looked from me to the ball and back again in complete disbelief and then just stood there glaring (if a dog can).  The occupants of the field looked almost as dumbstruck as I felt, and Harvey, patience not being one of his strong suits, decided that since I was clearly addled and not doing anything, he had better attempt a rescue of his own.  Striding purposefully to the gate he squeezed his head through only to be brought up short by the confines of the five bars he then found himself in.  As if losing the ball wasn't bad enough, I now had a labrador stuck fast in the gate!

This time luck was on my side and after a bit of cursing from both us I managed to gently wriggle his head back under the bar and it came free with a resounding pop.  Of course the young bulls thought it highly entertaining but Harvey was still minus his ball.

A long piece of wood was the next obvious choice but of course trying to wrangle it between the bullocks was a bit off-putting and logic told me it wasn't going to reach anyway so I abandoned that as a bad idea and decided to take Harvey back to the van for another ball and come back once I had his attention again.
To say he sulked on the way back would be an understatement!

Anyway back at the field my luck was finally in, the farmer was delivering a bale of hay on the opposite side  and whilst the cattle's attention was diverted, I nipped over the gate myself and retrieved said ball.

Harvey's joy was unsurpassed, not only was his best ball back in his possession, he now also had a spare!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Home for the summer.............

Yesterday was very windy, with white powder puff clouds scudding across an increasingly gloomy sky and Harvey and I set out determined that we would complete our walk before the heavens opened & drenched us for the umpteenth time this year.

We were walking briskly round one of our usual routes when a patch of cornflower blue sky appeared above us, ever so slowing edging out the grey and moments later the sun made a welcome appearance, shining brightly down, bringing with it a warmth that surprised me if not him, as he had sidled off very carefully into the shade of a tree and was laying there panting, his tennis ball clamped firmly in his jaws.

Not being too proud to take my cue from him, I joined him and and stood watching as the grey was encompassed almost entirely with blue and with it the sight of four small black dots wheeling this way and that above us.

The Swallows are back....................& hopefully with them, summer is on it's way!

As we continued our walk, the small number were joined by others, darting this way and that feasting on what I can only say has been a swarm of mosquitoes that have haunted Hanningfield in the past couple of weeks.  They have been everywhere, in the grass, trees and more strangely on the outside walls of buildings in their hundreds.

What a meal to come home to!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Isn't the rain wonderful...........

I had to laugh this morning.  It's been the first rainy day for a while (& I never thought I'd say that after the winter we've had) and my attention was drawn to two wood pigeons on top of the shed.
They were large and very handsome, obviously well fed and although I know some people don't like them, I've always enjoyed their antics and gentle cooing.  It makes me realise summer is truly on it's way!

The rain shower was light and both birds were perched on the apex of the shed, turning this way and that, stretching out one wing and then the other, obviously enjoying their first shower for a while.  They're either  mated or the intention is there as they were quite intent on watching each other, so much so that one almost fell as he did an extravagant pirouette in an effort to impress his intended!  She on the other hand looked almost bored and turned her back on him as if to say 'Is that the best you can do'?
We women are so hard to please sometimes.........

Monday, 22 April 2013

Wonderful news..................

The owners of the tabby cat have been found - no further update but good enough for a short post!!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

................the following day

Just a quick update - I received a text today to say that 'Claude', as they've named him at the vets, is doing well, he's eating and doing everything else he should which is wonderful news.  He's a happy boy, purring and loving all the attention.

So - one tabby cat, aged approx 4-5yrs searching for his owner - any takers?

Found on the Main Rd just outside Rettendon going towards Chelmsford on Friday 19th April, at approx.12.30.

One very lucky cat..............

Friday was one of those days that I could cheerfully have stayed in bed;  it hasn't been a great week and to be honest I was just happy that it was finally coming to an end.

I had taken Harvey back home after his morning walk with Jada.  As always the inseparable pair had enjoyed their time together, in fact I had taken them for getting on for two hours because I had planned on a quiet Friday afternoon.  Of course, the best laid plans etc.,

For some reason I decided to take the main road route home, not something I often do these days but lunch was calling and there was a Cornish Pasty with my name on it.....and although dribbling at the thought isn't a particularly pretty picture, it fitted the bill nicely!

I was about halfway down the road when I saw the cat sitting on the grass verge, it was one of those things that you catch out of the corner of your eye and query whether or not you've truly seen it.  My one and only thought at the time was that it was a peculiar place for it to be and even though it had been a quick glance it appeared to be hunched rather than crouching as it would if it were mousing.

Concerned rather than actually worried I reached a spot to turn round and went back, driving more slowly past it this time to get a better look.  It hadn't moved and I parked a short distance off so as not to alarm it more than necessary.  By the time I reached it I fully expected it to move but it still hadn't which confirmed my growing suspicion that it had been hit by a car.  With the traffic still thundering past I knew I would only get one chance to catch it and heart in mouth bent down and grabbed it firmly by the scruff, lifting it gently so as not to hurt it further.

Back at the van I loaded him into the back and covered him with a blanket; it was pretty obvious his jaw was broken, his face was bloody and he was clearly in shock, the right side of him was clearly injured and I'm guessing he had taken a hard knock whilst trying to get across the road.  Maybe someone had stopped and couldn't find him, maybe they hadn't - it's something we'll never know.

Given the proximity of a couple of houses I quickly knocked to see if they or someone they knew owned the cat but neither did - in fact both said that they had seen him there earlier in the day.
Words always fail me at times like that - both appeared concerned but had nothing about it???????  Even if people can't actually deal with it themselves, there are enough welfare organisations that would, surely a phone call?

Anyway the cat was my priority then and I drove carefully to my own vet, knowing that he would get attention there and then and would have a good chance of finding a new home if and when he recovered, if no one claimed him.

The vet saw him immediately and my fears of a broken pelvis to go with the jaw were swiftly put to rest; he was one lucky cat.  Other than his jaw, his right paw and side were obviously hurting him but he had no other obvious injuries.  Of course as with anything like this sometimes other things become apparent as time goes on, but for now he was safe.  Pain meds were quickly administered and he was taken to a cage to be put on a drip.  Unfortunately he wasn't microchipped although he had been neutered and was in very good condition, my thought is someone must own him.

I received a text later that eve to say he was doing well and had even managed to slurp a little food!

Aren't animals just amazing - can you imagine us doing that?????

Saturday, 30 March 2013

All in a day's work...............

I've been working today - I went to collect two beautiful chocolate Labradors from the venue where they
were Ring-bearers at their human's wedding.  They had just finished having their photos taken and were eager to be off.......given the still snowy weather this March,  I think they may well have been the only two who didn't feel the cold!  
Of course Chocolates have to be one of the most photogenic of dogs and these two looked stunning.  Their coats had been brushed until they shone and they were wearing purple bow ties to match the bridesmaids dresses.

You could tell they were excited and happy that they had been part of something wonderful, even if they are maybe still wondering just what it was.  Once home the youngest one ran circuits of the garden before coming back inside with a silly grin on his face and demolishing a bowlful of water!
The other is more laid back and was really only interested in his stuffed penguin.
I wonder what they really think?

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Happy New Year - (if belated)

Apologies for not having updated for two months; I really have no idea where time goes and I have no excuse.

All of Lola's pups were homed, the last going just before Christmas.

This is Lola and Dolly (her pup) - she's growing so quickly, just look at those feet!!