Monday, December 10, 2007

Goodbye my friend

This is a picture of Tracy's parents black labrador, Zoe. She was a wonderful girl, full of love, who as a young dog was the terror of rabbits and squirrels.
More recently she was mostly just a sun worshipper and cuddle monster who, in true lab style, would run headlong at your knees before sliding down your legs and landing on your feet, legs in the air, all the while wagging and squealing fit to burst. When Zoe said hello, you knew about it.
Sadly, Tracy's parents today had to make the tough decision to let her go to a better place, where she has no arthritis, no fatty lumps, and all the rabbits she can chase. I'm sure she will have been greeted on the other side by her best friend Pippa, who died last year. Run free, old girl.

Shiatsu Puppies

While I remember, I thought I'd just share this with you.

Tracy and I have both commented previously on our blogs about how people confuse Shiatsu and Shih-Tzu - but we'd never actually seen it in writing until a few days ago, when our local paper actually carried a small advert for Shiatsu puppies.

Oh, how we laughed...

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

Sorry I haven't had time to post much recently! I'll write a nice long post very soon about what Mollie has been up to, in the meantime here's a couple of pictures from last weekend, in the woods near our home.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Outdoor Obedience - class one

Well, today was a big day for Mollie and me - we went to our first ever training class together. Her previous owner took her to puppy obedience once, but Mollie was booted out for being a typical JR and barking at everything.

Today's class was an outdoor class with Theresa Franklin, who is based in Hinckley. It took us around 35 minutes to get to the field, I had to go on the motorway to get there on time as we'd taken Mollie for a short walk to take the edge off. When we got there, we had to all line up and do a short walk to heel, then a sit, then a down so that Theresa could see what levels of ability there were, then she split us into four groups.

We were meant to be doing retrieve to start with, but Mollie was distracted by the other dogs, and I hadn't taken a squeaky ball, so although she fetched it she kind of dropped it and ran towards a black lab as he had a squeaky toy! Then we swapped instructors and did a recall - Mollie was perfect!! She even did a perfect stay with the instructor holding her!!

After the recall check, we moved into the agility area. I should probably mention that by this time, Mollie was very VERY excited and moaning lots, although the barking had mostly subsided. While waiting I had to give her lots of fuss and also we did loads of sits and downs for treats to try and keep her focussed.

Well. The agility. Initially, Mollie just ran off, but I got her back easily enough and into a sit. Then we did a weave through some ickle cones and straight through the tunnel, then there were some low jumps, so obviously she went under every other one! Next was a pole weave, which she did near perfect, then through the hoop at the second attempt, and then a jump with one pole about 5 inches off the ground and one about 2 inches off. We tried EVERYTHING - I jumped, I threw a treat (which is how I'd got her through the hoop), I tried to lead her - nothing worked, she just didn't want to do it. Finally though there was the platform, and she jumped up OK and went into a down stay beautifully. Whenever we've seen agility displays she's got really excited, and I think she enjoyed it as much as she thought she would .

Lastly there was a bit of walking to heel (appalling), about turns, sits etc, then home to a big bowl of chicken and tripe (for Mollie) and lasagne (for me). We both had a great time, and we are both utterly exhausted. Mollie's been asleep pretty much since we got back, and is still crashed out with heavy eyelids, and I'm just shattered, but so proud. Definitely going again next week, and if I can make the flyball classes when they start up I think I'll give that a go too. Fantastic stuff, and hopefully Mollie will soon learn to ignore what everyone else is doing and focus on me... i9.gif

Congrats to the other JR Mollie, who by strange coincidence had her first try at agility yesterday and also took to it like a duck to water!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Walk in the park

On Sunday morning, while Tracy was at work, I took Mollie to Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire. It's South East of Derby, just off the A6, and has beautiful gardens which are open to the public.

We went to meet a virtual friend, Bev, from the D For Dog forum, and her beautiful whippet Katie - we'd never met face-to-face but since we only live half an hour apart it seemed daft not to get together. Bev forgot her camera completely, and I forgot that I had mine with me so didn't take any pics until we got half way round!

Here are Katie Whippet and Mollie. They didn't really want to pose. Katie was busy watching everything and trying to remove her Halti, and Mollie was just busy, as terrierists always are.

The Border Collie below is Maggie. Maggie likes to sit and watch the ducks, and herd them back into the water if they come out, apparently. We called her to get her to look at us, but if you look closely you'll see that she stuck her tongue out!!

When we were nearly back at the car park, we met up with another of Katie's friends, Ryka. He's like a whippet sized version of a Pharaoh hound, with the most amazing ears, and he took to Mollie straight away. It was mutual, and they spent quite a while chasing each other round the field and playing with the tennis ball - stealing it off each other. A couple of times, Ryka tried to mount Mollie (although he apparently doesn't quite know why he's doing it yet!!), but she just gently told him off and moved away, then rugby tackled him for the ball!

The fantastic thing about all this is that, apart from a quick woof at Katie when they first met, Mollie was fine with all the dogs. And Katie doesn't normally like strange dogs either (I witnessed her threatening a GSD pup!) but was instantly friends with Mollie - which is great news, because we fully intend to meet up again, this time with more photos!

On the way home from the castle, I dragged an exhausted Mollie into a big pet shop (well known chain store but I'm not going to give them free advertising!) in Loughborough. I'd never taken her there before as I was worried that she'd bark at everything, but she was incredibly well behaved. She didn't steal anything, even though all the interesting toys were on the bottom shelf, and didn't bark once. As a reward, I let her sniff all the different dried meats to see which she wanted. She selected dried chicken fillets, and has now become addicted to them - as have the cats!

Oh, and while I'm praising Mollie, she went straight into a sit when told to, when bikes & horses came past, and even a down once! (ah, the power of the tennis ball!) And with the help of tiny bits of chicken jerky and doggie choccie chip cookies, she's been learning paw. If you hold something out in a closed fist, fingers upwards, she will paw to get it. Next step - associate the command with the action...

Oh, nearly forgot - Mollie gained a new nickname, from Bev - "Mollie chops". She seemed to quite like it!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What did you call me??

I've been tagged by Ralphie to divulge Mollie's nicknames... here goes then:

Mollie dog
Little dog
Rambo (seriously, Charlie next door calls her this)
Buggalugs (also next door, Marlene this time)
Dog features
Furface (but I call the cats this too, so it might not count)

Can't think of any more...

Haha!! My turn. I tag the mighty QB(if he's got time, he's such a busy Wolfie) and the gorgeous and glamorous Lola.

Rubber Chicken Update

When I got home yesterday, the rubber chicken was nowhere to be seen.

Apparently, Mollie had come home to fetch it (out through the door flap, over the fence). Instead of spending the day outside playing ball, Mollie and Marlene spent the day outside playing fetch with a rubber chicken.

You should try it. Especially if you have a big rubber chicken and a small dog - see previous post for correct chicken to dog proportions. It's utterly, utterly hilarious. I'll try and video it at some point...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Belvoir Castle Country and Game Show

That's where we took Mollie dog on Sunday afternoon. The weather was OK - not too hot, not too cold, no wind or rain. And best of all, Mollie was a VERY good girl. There were loads of people,dogs and kids around, and she only barked a couple of times when she got really excited/frustrated (we wouldn't let her play with the clay pigeons or go in the agility ring).

Here you can see Mollie straining to get at the clay pigeons (skeets) - I reckon she thought they were little orange frisbees!

There were lots of stalls with doggie things (obviously working dogs like to have fun, too), so we bought her a new Kong Flyer frisbee; a rubber chicken and a new, soft fleece-lined harness. The new harness is much more comfy than the EzyDog, which just didn't seem to be the right shape.

Mollie saw someone else with a rubber chicken and wanted one, so we went and got one. Then she amused the crowds by running round with it in her mouth!

Here you can see her in her new harness, with her rubber chicken.

All in all, we were very impressed with her. A few months ago she would've barked and barked at all those strange dogs, but yesterday she met large and small with equanimity and a friendly, waggy tail. She thoroughly enjoyed herself, as you can see!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Sophie Brador Interview

The lovely Sophie agreed to interview Mollie. Mollie was a bit blown away by the glamour of it all, so it took me a couple of days to get her to actually answer...

1. Do you get extra attention because of the lovely spot on your eye? How do you deal with it?
Everybody thinks I'm beautiful. In fact, sometimes people offer to take me home and my peoples have to say no. I don't think I want to change home again though, especially since I have two homes and all the tennis balls I can eat. I'm not really bothered by all the attention, I just want lots of cuddles, somewhere snuggly to sleep (preferably under my mums' duvet) and lots of squeaky tennis balls and my cats.

2. How do you survive life with cats, or rather, how does your pretty face survive? Mine ends up all scratched up whenever I meet a cat. While we are talking cats, do you get free and clear access to the kitty litter?
My cats and I have an understanding. They get to clean my food bowl, I get to keep my nose. Seriously, they used to have a big problem with foreign cats in the garden, big mean ones who stole their food, peed in their house and picked fights. But I bark and bark at them and chase them away because they're not MY cats, and so my cats love me even though I'm not a cat. Sometimes they sleep next to me, although I find this a bit scary and sometimes I run away or try and make myself so small that they can't see me. And I play with my Charley cat, we run around the garden together, and sometimes she lets me wash her face which is VERY exciting!! But one thing is that they don't throw my ball for me. I gave Seth my tennis ball yesterday but he just gave me a LOOK. Cats are very confusing because they wag their tails when they're angry but as long as you don't look them in the eye they're fine. And sometimes they don't like a nose up their bottoms. The litter trays are covered over and I can only get my head in, but I don't really see the attraction. I'd much rather jump on the table and steal their biscuits! Sometimes when I'm feeling sad or poorly my Charley cat purrs at me. Now that I've figured out that she's not growling I quite like it and it helps me go to sleep.

3. Are you for or against the monarchy? If that’s too controversial a question to answer and still be able to visit the dog park, then try this one: Are you for or against Marks & Spencer? If that’s still too controversial, are you for or against Madonna in the UK?
I don't understand the question? As long as I get fed, have a snuggly bed, get walks and play and an unlimited supply of squeaky tennis balls, I don't really worry about the rest. I'm not as in-ter-lek-tew-all as Wally or General Jackson. Mum says the monarchy are outdated but serve as am-bass-a-dors (is that like a corgador?) for the nation and provide a focus for the masses with their quaint traditions and rituals. I don't know what that means. And she says that Marks and Spencers make good sandwiches but she can't really say what she thinks of them other than that in a dog blog. We don't much mind where Madonna lives as long as it's not too near us.

4. If you were going to spend a weekend in London, what would you do?
I don't know what a London is, but I think I would probably find somewhere where I could play with my frisbee or tennis balls? Oh, mum tells me it's a city, like Leicester but lots lots bigger. I think I'd try to find somewhere green, are there big parks or woods in London?

5. If you could run around off-leash anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I like places where I can play ball or frisbee, play with other dogs, and where there are lots of small furries I can pretend to chase and trees and things for me to sniff. My mums took me to somewhere called Bradgate Park, and I liked that. It had all my favourite things and we went with my big Staffy friend Stewie. I would quite like to go to Cornwall and run round on the beach with the other Mollie. I quite like swimming, too.

6. As a nudist, I feel compelled to ask one extra question. Are you for or against outfits for dogs?
I get really cold in the Winter, my mums say I have something called 'SAD' which means I don't want to get out of bed when it's dark outside. And I hate cold rain, it gets through my fur and makes me shiver, even when I have my thick Winter fur. So I have a nice red fleece-lined waterproof coat (you can see it here) which my mums say looks like a cape, and I feel so happy and warm when I'm wearing it that they call me superdog. But I don't like it when people put clothes on their dogs just to make them look cute. Dogs are cute just as they are, we only need clothes sometimes when it's cold and wet, not just to make our humans happy.

And now, the small print:

1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying, 'interview me.' Include your e-mail if you want me to e-mail the questions.
2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Red card

Mollie dog is the family referee.

If the cats fight, she runs in and uffs at them, or sometimes even barks, usually doing the terrier bounce plus waggy tail thing.

If we have an argument, Mollie jumps up and barks at us, or sits and howls until we relent; we usually start laughing: she looks so funny and cute when she howls.

If it looks, or sounds, like we MIGHT be having an argument, but she's not 100% sure, she says 'uffuffuff?' (a kind of inhaled, slightly questioning greeting) and does the wet nose thing.

There are times when a wet nose, an inquisitive stare and 'uffuffuff?' can be quite off-putting; times when we're categorically NOT arguing, but it could potentially be misconstrued as such from the perspective of an overly maternal member of the canine diplomatic corps.

At such times, we find the only option is to laugh. And possibly, briefly, wish that the dog slept in the kitchen.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Welcome, Ralph

Everyone, meet Ralph. Ralph is new to the blogosphere. He was only adopted a very short time ago but Jack Russells are a tenacious breed so he's finding his feet fast. Isn't he a cutie? I get the impression he knows it, too. Anyway, as he's another JR I thought I'd be nice and introduce him to my friends.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tennis Buddy lives to fight another day - briefly

Mollie couldn't find her sheep yesterday. So when the time for her evening play session arrived (something she invented this week), Tennis Buddy Had To Die. Even though he was already missing one arm and one leg...


And again.

We found the sheep this evening and have played LOTS. But eventually I managed to persuade Mollie dog that her blog needed updating so people could see more pictures of how beautiful yet dangerous she is. If you're a cuddly toy, that is.

Monday, October 01, 2007

We made someone smile!!

Graham has very kindly given me an award! How nice is that? It's great, as the whole point of this blog was to pass on the smile that Mollie puts on my face, and Graham has arguably been in need of a smile more than some this year. I shall make sure to tell Mollie dog about her award, and I'm sure she'll wag lots and demand something a little more substantial, such as a nice rawhide chew or a tennis ball.

Apparently I have to pass this award on. With apologies to my English readers, my first candidate is Helena, who coined the word 'terrierists' and whose Airedales often have me in stitches. I'm sticking with dog blogs, so the other two would have to be Wally's blog and General Jackson's blog. When I first landed in the blogosphere I wanted to see how other people had done the whole 'writing from the dog's perspective thing' (before I finally decided not to) and I spent a couple of days reading them from the beginning. The LFBP's antics frequently had me in tears of laughter, and Wally's blog is just priceless.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

FOUND: Squeak

Well. This morning I emptied the washing machine, putting stuff on radiators as the forecast is a bit dodgy for today. I picked Sheep 1 out (he's looking much better and definitely smells nicer) and put him on the kitchen radiator, and as I did so, guess what I spotted? Yep, the squeak that I'd 'lost'. I remember now, it was soaked through but not dirty, so I put it across the fins on the radiator to dry out. Oh dear....time to do some brain training!

On the dog front - Mollie wasn't in a morning mood today. It took some persuading to get her out of bed, and even then she just curled up and went back to sleep on the settee. So when I took her next door, I took a pouch of food with me and asked them to feed her when she wakes up...

Has anyone else got a dog that hibernates/suffers from S.A.D.?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


When I disembowelled Sheep 1 yesterday and put him in the washing machine, I put his little squeaky pouch on the side above the machine. Last night, it was gone. Thinking it might have fallen, or been accidentally put, in the bin, I dutifully rummaged underneath the leftovers from our fish & chips dinner - but I couldn't see it.

Our current working theory is that the cats have made off with it, or knocked it down and Mollie's taken it somewhere.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The curious tale of the lion, the sheep and the tennis buddy

Once upon a time, there was a small cuddly Lion who lived next door, and was Mollie's daytime toy. Mollie loved her Lion, and regularly pulled all its stuffing out. Mollie's adopted grandma, Marlene, kept fixing the Lion and making it as good as new, but one day while Mollie was trying her best to pull his head off, she succeeded - and that was the end of the Lion.

Luckily, one of Mollie's mums (ME) had bought her a new toy that very day - a Dr Noy's squeaky sheep. Mollie took to it straight away and showed it all her favourite places in both her homes. Some days the sheep would snooze under the table on the patio while Mollie played ball, on colder days he might lie in front of the fire - and no matter how hard she tried, Mollie couldn't pull his stuffing out, as he didn't have any.

Meanwhile, at home, Mollie had a blue tennis buddy (a blue tennis playing dog - now discontinued I think). Sometimes, when she got excited, Mollie would try her best to pull its legs off. Then one day (yesterday), she was playing tug when a leg AND an arm came off! Luckily, one of her mums (ME!) had bought a new Dr Noy's sheep so that Mollie could have one in each house. What a spoiled girl.

Mollie was very tired after her day of killing the blue tennis buddy.

But once she'd rested she spent some time teaching her new sheep the ropes. It tried to escape into the kitchen to steal her biscuits, but she chased it and caught it. Later, she took it up to bed so that she could keep an eye on it. It is not as trustworthy as the other sheep.

Then, today, Mollie was so excited by the small piece of battered cod that she managed to scrounge, that she had to play with her new sheep again.

Did I mention that sheep number 1 seems to have suffered from a bout of depression following the acquisition of sheep 2? I found him on a garden chair on our patio this morning. In the rain. He has now been disembowelled and put in the washing machine..

Mollie versus football

When we first got Mollie, she had this mad obsession with footballs. If she saw one, she not only wanted to chase it, she wanted to kill it. Walking past kids playing with one was an utter nightmare - even on a canny collar she turned into a slavering beast with remarkable similarities to the cartoon character Taz. Our solution - we bought a nice sturdy football (she popped our plastic one!) and started playing with her in the back garden. We took care not to kick the ball directly at her, and if she caught it and bit it, we said 'leave' - and she did. Now, if we play footie in the back garden, she only barks if one of us lets a goal through, and she rarely tries to catch the ball - preferring instead to run around after it with a tennis ball in her mouth, squeaking frantically if it gets too exciting or the ball goes offside..

Yesterday, we took her to a local football field so we could use the ball chucker. We walked slowly round the perimeter, chucking the ball for her as we went. As we neared the entrance, some lads started coming on the field, with a football. Initially, she paid absolutely no attention. As the numbers grew and they inevitably started shouting and kicking the ball, she lost it a bit and ran over BUT she still had her ball in her mouth and wasn't barking, so that was a major relief. Unfortunately the stupid boys (teenagers) started pretending to throw the ball at her, and carried on playing even though Trace was on her way over to get Mollie back. All the teasing wound Mollie up a bit and she dropped her ball and tried to bite theirs, we got her back just in time. I wish people would just apply some common sense in situations like that - if they'd have picked the ball up and stood still she would probably have come back to us... Anyway, I'm still impressed that she wasn't barking or angry like she used to get, even when they wound her up she was still better than she used to be!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Country dog in the city

As far as I'm aware, Mollie had never been into a city before yesterday, and so I was a little nervous - my mum, sis and I had decided to go to Aylestone Meadows in Leicester which is an urban wilderness park type thing. We walked from my sister's house, across two busy main roads. At each one, Mollie sat when told to, and waited until released. The only bark, despite all the strange new smells and noises, was at an off lead GSD - Mollie was on lead at the time so decided to tell him that she was dangerous in case he came too close. He waited until he was at a safe distance before shouting back... rolleyes.gif

At one point, Mollie was mugged by the most gorgeous brindle and white Cardigan Corgi, whose owner also fell in love with Mollie - although when I said she was a Jack Russell, there was the almost inevitable discussion about Parson's versus Jack, KC breed standards versus JRGB etc etc. The corgi's owner also had a bulldog x mongrel bitch with her. She was white with a patch - in fact virtually the same colouring as Mollie - but looked just like a Staffy except for the jowls. She wasn't in the slightest interested in Mollie and just stood behind her owner looking bored and absent mindedly sniffing a bush. Mollie was completely enamoured with the corgi and even gave him her ball! He didn't want it, he just wanted to give her a good wash. It was very sweet!

We had a lovely walk all in all, although we inevitably lost the ball in some nettles, and on the way back to my sister's she was just as calm again, except for barking at an electricity box that jumped out at her.

A few months ago she would have been incredibly agitated the whole way there and back, and I would barely have trusted her off the lead. She's so much calmer, and I think the harness helps as well as she seems to feel safe with it on.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I know my dog.

My dog doesn't get up in the mornings unless you make her.

My dog refuses breakfast when she eventually does get up, and sometimes won't eat until lunchtime.

My dog gets out of our bed, comes downstairs and goes straight back to sleep.

Who is this strange dog I have today who woke me up with a cold nose and an 'uff' at 8 a.m.?

Who is this dog that demanded breakfast as soon as she got downstairs?

Oh no, hang on - after 20 mins of playing ball, she's curled up and gone to sleep. That's my dog!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where's Tracy?

Tracy has gone away for the residential part of her shiatsu course. I'm sure she'll blog about it when she gets back! In the meantime, it was kind of weird being alone last night.

I didn't get much extra space in bed either, as I let Mollie share it with me. She snores, which was actually quite comforting. Mollie quite enjoyed having half the bed. It could be interesting persuading her to go into her own bed on Sunday.

Mollie would like to tell QB that his pln for burying the TDF's car might not work. Yesterday Tracy left without taking her car. This meant that poor Mollie kept looking out of the window, seeing the car and thinking that Tracy was about to come through the front door - so she'd go and stare at the hall door for a few minutes, working herself up into a frenzy, pacing and muttering and occasionally barking at me. I couldn't help. After a while she settled down and accepted that she was stuck with just me.

We went to my sister's in the evening, after Mollie had spent most of the day playing ball. All she wanted to do when she got there was sleep, although she was very pleased to see my sis and my mum. My sister's cat, Icklepest, wasn't too sure, but she came into the living room a couple of times and all Mollie did was gaze adoringly at her so she eventually settled on my sister's lap, which was conveniently near the door. At around 9.30, Mollie just really really wanted to go home, so she jumped down from the armchair where she'd been sleeping and put her paws on my knee, gazing deep into my eyes and gently wagging. Then she said her goodbyes, giving both my sister and my mum lots of kisses (but not Icklepest!), and gave me a look. Given that I was back at work today I thought she probably had a point, so off we pootled...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Name Game

I've been tagged for the name game by flowerpot. Since this is Mollie's blog, I really should do it with Mollie's name, which is quite hard!

These are the “official” rules ( cut and pasted)
  • Players must list one fact, word, or tidbit that is somehow relevant to their life for each letter of your first or middle name.
  • When you are tagged you need to write your own post containing your first or middle name game facts, word, or tidbit.
  • At the end of your post choose one person for each letter of your name to tag.
  • Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them that they have been tagged, and to read your blog.
M is for Meaty Chunks. She's not meant to have these as they send her hyperactive, but we use them as occasional treats and rewards.

O is for Outdoors. Mollie loves nothing better than to be outdoors, either running after a tennis ball or frisbee, or just rummaging around in the undergrowth.

L is for Lie-in. If she could stay in (our) bed until lunchtime every day, I think she would. Mollie just isn't a morning dog!

L is for Little dog. Sometimes, we forget how small Mollie is, and then we see her next to one of the cats, or with a 'normal' sized dog and we suddenly realise how little she really is. I guess it's a bit of a giveaway that she'll fit easily on a my lap without squashing me...

I is for Itch. She always has an itchy spot somewhere... I gather some dogs just do.

E is for Enthusiasm, excitement and exuberance. Given sunshine, a big field and a tennis ball, she has all of these in bucket loads.

Crikey, that was hard work!!

And now for the even harder bit - finding 5 other bloggers to tag who haven't already been tagged!

Here goes:


Tony's Shiatsu Blog
Larry & Lady
Graham and Prince

Love's Leftovers

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Textbook Performance

When I got home from work, a few minutes ago, Mollie was in our back garden waiting for me. As always, she followed me through to the hallway as I made my way upstairs to get changed. On the way, she stopped to eat the post. We had a parcel, one of those bubble-wrap lined jiffy bags. They're good to chew, apparently.

Would you like to know what was in the jiffy bag? All right then. It was...









Victoria Stilwell's book, "It's me or the dog - how to have the perfect pet".

I don't think Mollie appreciated the irony as much as she appreciated the jiffy bag...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Spare a thought please

for my friend Helena, who sadly lost her mum on Friday.

They were very close and it must feel a little like the rug has been pulled out from under her feet. Hopefully Ben and Jenny, Helena's two beautiful Airedales, will take it in turns to be teddy bears and furry handkerchiefs.

Stop! Thief!

Since we got Mollie dog, I've moved the cat bowls onto the dining table so that Mollie can't get at them. The cats get fed a pouch between them twice a day, and have biscuits down the rest of the time, and Mollie LOVES the biscuits. The reason the cats only get a pouch between the three of them is that I feed them Nature's Menu, which is extremely good quality, but isn't exactly the cheapest food around. It's very tasty, apparently. I wouldn't feed them meat at all but they get very upset if we give Mollie meat and they don't get any - to the extent that they will actually steal it from under her nose. While she's eating.

You would think that a small terrier wouldn't be able to get onto a dining table with all the chairs pushed in and table cloth on. After all, even the cats find that the addition of a table cloth makes it a bit trickier.

But you'd be wrong.

Last night, with all the cats in the living room, I heard crunching from the kitchen. It sounded like the kind of crunching that comes from a small dog with a mouth crammed full of tiny cat biscuits, eating as fast as possible because they know it's only a matter of time before they get caught.

It was.

I snuck in (I'm good at sneaking), and tried to keep a straight face while shouting "Get DOWN!!". I only had to say it once. She dutifully jumped down, still crunching, and ran into the living room, tail between legs, straight to the hall door - which I opened, saying " GO TO BED" in my most authoritative voice. She ran upstairs and we heard our bed creak.

I closed the door and looked at Tracy, who had been watching from the armchair - at which point we could contain ourselves no longer, and burst out laughing. I can't explain quite what it was that was so funny - possibly it was the way that Mollie just decided that she should go to bed. Possibly it was the way she was still munching cat biscuits as she ran upstairs.

Any ideas how we can stop her getting at the biscuits? Putting them on the kitchen side isn't an option...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

For the love of puppies

I've just been informed of a new website, set up by a couple of D For Dog forum members to aid the campaign against puppy farming by providing information and posters.

So, what are puppy farms? Well, they are concerns run by unscrupulous 'breeders' who are just in it for the money, basically. Think battery hens, but bitches instead of chickens, and smaller sheds. Now take away the regular inspections by government vets, and imagine the bitches being mated repeatedly, as soon as one litter is almost weaned they are bred again. They have very little human contact and are not even fed and watered regularly. Eventually, if they're lucky, they'll end up in a rescue centre where they'll be rehabilitated and hopefully find a loving home to end their days in. But more likely they'll just be disposed of, or end up in a rescue centre and have to be put to sleep, while the puppies are advertised in papers or sold in pet shops. Here's what the website has to say:

Well lets see, first the farmer needs to be paid, he doesn't get much for pups so he keeps them on as little food as possible and doesn't waste his time cleaning them out .He also has to pack them into the smallest space he can so he can get as many as possible into his barn etc. He won't waste money on heat or light so dogs are mostly in the dark, he MAY visit once a day to feed but then again maybe not.

If a bitch is in pup she will be left to take care of herself, she will see no vet. If she has problems giving birth and things go wrong she and pups will be left to die. If all is well her pups will be taken away from her much earlier than they should be so they are not off to a good start. But the farmer is happy he has his cash. He will now get the bitch mated again as soon as possible so he can get more cash.

Here's where the pet shop owner comes in, he will pay to have them delivered to his pet shop near you as soon as he can, he needs to sell these pups before they grow too much. It matters not to him that so far in their young lives they haven't seen a vet to make sure they are fit. He will let you take on that problem when you have parted with your cash. Up to now these pups have had no socialisation, they are not used to everyday sounds and are probably scared stiff. Now the pet shop owner has to let everyone know he has pups for sale so he contacts newspapers and local radio to place advertisements. Now these people are happy they have their cash, it doesn't matter a jot to them where the pups came from or if they are sick or have defects, they will advertise anything for the right money

You can read more at the Puppy Love website: The site does have some disturbing images.

Please have a look. If all you do with the knowledge is tell your friends and family not to buy from pet shops and to ask the right questions when answering ads in a paper, that's a start - but please do spread the word however you feel you can and help these poor animals.

If you do want a new dog, please consider a rescue, or make sure you get to see both parents of any puppy. Dogs Today magazine has a dog-finding service, "Dial-a-dog" which can help you find the right dog for you, and they also offer advice on checking out breeders and what questions to ask.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The strange case of the disappearing balloon

In the drawer in the kitchen which is the miscellaneous drawer; the one with the roll of sellotape, the biros, the shed key, strange bits of leftover plumbing, the washing machine filter key - you get the picture - in this drawer, there is a packet of balloons. Until yesterday, this was Mollie's packet of balloons, for occasional treats. She is nuts about tennis balls, but when faced with a balloon, Mollie goes psycho. You can't even blow one up in peace (as Tracy found out yesterday!).

Yesterday afternoon, Tracy decided Mollie could have a balloon, as a treat. So she picked one out (it was bright pink) , and blew it up. While she was blowing it up, Mollie tried repeatedly to grab it, which somewhat hampered the operation, but eventually the deed was done, Tracy tied a knot in the top, and out into the garden they both trotted. A couple of seconds later, there was the usual bang. But then, Tracy called me outside, where Mollie was sniffing excitedly along the fence. There followed an exchange something like this:

"She ate it."
"What, all of it"
"All but this bit" (displays knot from top of balloon)

So, for the next few days, we'll be carefully inspecting anything that comes out of Mollie dog to see if it's pink and rubbery. Nice. And our neighbour will too. Lets hope it emerges soon. In the meantime, as you can see from the picture above, Mollie is utterly unaware that there might be a problem. In fact, there is absolutely no outward sign that she's eaten anything abnormal at all. Yet.

If it doesn't reappear soon, I guess there'll be a visit to the V.E.T. to see what happens next. I suppose there's no need to tell him how she got hold of the balloon... ?

Friday, August 31, 2007


Just wanted to note, with reference to a previous post, that I omitted to mention that we had a behaviourist in to help with Mollie - Bev (KizKiznobite). Bev helped us enormously by giving us an insight into possible reasons for Mollie's behavioural issues, and by getting Mollie interested in treats as a reward (we couldn't get her treat-motivated before). It took a good couple of hours for Bev to fully get Mollie's attention and focus, and at one point Bev looked down to see Charley cat sitting very attentively next to Mollie in case they were cat treats, but although it still takes some effort to get Mollie's attention sometimes she has never slipped all the way back to where she was.

Hopefully, a bit more training will get Mollie even further on the road to being a well-behaved little monster :D

Thursday, August 30, 2007

There are some things ...

... that you can only do with a small dog!!

"Where's mum?"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hurrah!! The last tablet!!

This morning I gave Mollie her last evil antibiotic tablet. She did not want to swallow it and growled at me as I stroked her throat. But then I got a Baker's meaty chunk out of my pocket and showed her it, and she went 'Gulp!'.

Mollie is still tired from the weekend. Yesterday she went straight to bed when I took her next door, and was most upset when Marlene got up - in fact she was so upset that she went into the spare bedroom and went to sleep on the spare bed. But then in the afternoon she wanted to play ball LOTS, and she was still playing when we got home from work.

Today, she is also very tired. She didn't want any biscuits but she had to have something in her stomach because of the tablet, so I fed her some treats - although she had to sit and lie down for them. Hopefully she'll go home and eat some biscuits during the day, although she'll probably also have a nice lunch next door - yesterday she had a bit of sausage and some chicken! And for tea she had some biscuits, a bit of rice (she would have eaten more but I took it off her), some raw cauliflower stalk (which she loves) and she also tried some curried spinach but wasn't sure about it. Oh and she had a couple of slices of the Quorn fake turkey with stuffing. Yum. And a bit of carrot. OK, maybe I need to stop off and get some dog food on the way home from work tonight...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

9 months ago, when we first brought Mollie dog home (above), she was a timid, clingy girl with absolutely no discipline, poor muscle tone and her only command was 'sit'. Now she does sit, stay, lie down, fetch, bring it (carry the ball while walking), wait and "get in YOUR bed". And when she's tired, she's happy to go upstairs on her own to sleep. Maybe soon we'll be able to leave her at home on her own...

A dog trainer not too far from us is thinking of starting flyball fun classes. I think Mollie might just be ready to give it a go - whaddya reckon?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Scorchio! Or - Mollie meets the sea.

This weekend we both took Friday off so that we could have a long weekend, bliss! But now it's Monday evening already and I still haven't ironed any clothes for next week. We had a cunning plan this weekend - get stuff done Friday and today, and have fun in between. It worked!

Saturday morning, once we'd got ourselves ready and packed the car, we headed up to Tracy's parents in North Nottinghamshire, where we were greeted by an absolutely ridiculous amount of squeaking and wriggling on the part of their ageing black Labrador, Zoe. She and Mollie were so happy to see each other that they couldn't even say hello to start with, they just ran round each other in circles! We had a lovely afternoon and Mollie made sure Zoe's face was very clean, and she also thoroughly tested Tracy's parents' ball throwing abilities. Before tea, we headed out for a walk, up the village, through the next village, and back home down the canal. I have to say, we were hugely impressed with the local council - dotted along the canal were not only poo bins, but also poo bag dispensers full of bags! Fantastic - not only that they have done that but also that no-one's nicked all the bags and set fire to the bin...

And then yesterday. Clutching a scribbled set of instructions from Tracy's Dad, we headed East towards the coast, on the assurance that we'd find a large stretch of dog-friendly beach at Huttoft, hidden cunningly behind the golf course. Guess what? We did!! There were few amenities - just some loos and an ice-cream van, but there was a massive long stretch of sandy beach with loads of dogs running around.

Mollie was impressed. She ran around lots. Inevitably, we came away with three basic kinds of photo:

1) Mollie with the ball

2) One of us with the ball

3) Mollie waiting for the ball

In addition, there were the usual shots of Mollie's bottom.

At one point, Mollie stole someone's black lab, and the lab's ball. Despite our best efforts to retrieve Mollie, and the lab's best efforts to give her back, it took a while to separate the two who had apparently become fast friends and were happily swapping tennis balls.

During the course of the afternoon, Mollie became best friends with a number of dogs for a short time, and memorably managed to steal a big Golden Retriever and what I seem to remember as a staffie cross. Tracy bent down to pick up the ball and by the time she was upright again, she'd got three dogs and the owner of the spare two was running towards us shouting "Sorry! Sorry!".

We didn't mind. They were friendly dogs and that's two more 'breeds' for Mollie to cross off her dangerous list. In fact, I think she's now pretty much only scared of male dogs that are on leads - if their owners don't trust them, neither does she - sensible girl.

On the way home, behind her new dog guard and snuggled down on a fleecy blanket, Mollie pretty much slept the whole journey. When we stopped at a pub for a quick drink, she was so sleepy she practically fell out of the boot of the car. And today, she's spent more time asleep than awake. We took her swimming at Sence Valley this morning to wash off the salt. I think that finished her of...

The EzyDog harness, for those (Graham) who wish to know, arrived in the nick of time on Saturday morning. Mollie wore it while we were out on Saturday afternoon and also yesterday afternoon when we ventured out of the beach in search of sustenance. Even though she was covered in sand it didn't seem to chafe particularly, and whenever she's had it on so far but been off lead, she's run about as if she's not wearing it. We've not tried the seat belt attachment yet as we mostly take her out in Tracy's car which has a dog guard, but it looks nice and sturdy. So it's a thumbs up from us!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Harness update

Looks like we're going to get one of these:

It's an Ezydog harness and comes with a detachable seat belt clip which means we can leave the clip in the car and the harness on the dog.

This will be Mollie's 3rd harness - first we tried the Ancol one, which is fantastic (brilliant) as a seatbelt harness, but as you can't detach the metal clip it's inadvisable to use it for walking too far - the clip bangs on the dog's spine. So that was passed on to someone else and we got an RAC harness - much much better for leaving on the dog, but not so great in the car as the belt clip can't swivel at all. Because of this, and because Mollie seems to be a bit of a Houdini, she can get out of it really quickly - so once the new one has arrived we'll give the RAC one to next door to use as it's great for walking.

I'll let you know how I get on with the EzyDog.

Edit: Just ordered it from D For Dog. Jenny kindly let me knew as soon as they were in the catalogue so I could bag one - they're very efficient so I hope to get it Saturday or failing that, Tuesday. You wouldn't think someone could get excited about a new dog harness, but I am :D

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Topsy Turvy

Does anyone else think there's something wrong with this picture?

Normal cat/dog house:

Owner calls dog, dog comes.
Owner calls cat, cat thinks about it, dog comes.

Our house:

I call the cats (separately or individually), the cats come.
I call the dog, the dog thinks about it, the cats come.

I think I've just highlighted a small gap in Mollie's past training. Not to mention what you can achieve with cats with the occasional, completely random, bribe of honey roast turkey off the bone...

Bad habits

Well, as I suspected would happen, Mollie's learned from Sunday's experience to slip her collar at will. She slipped it on Monday when out with the neighbour, who's going to keep her away from busy roads for the time being (luckily you can get to the woods without leaving our estate).

Mollie currently wears a soft collar from Rogz - it doesn't chafe, and if she catches it on a branch or whatever when rummaging in the undergrowth, it will stretch so she can get free rather than be stuck, if that makes sense - in fact that's how come she can slip it. I don't want to get her a leather collar, as they're not ideal for a dog that swims (in fact the last one she had stained her fur pink when it got wet!). So I guess that means getting her a harness of some sort for when she's next door - which would also help our lovely neighbour to control her when she's on the lead as she's a little monster and pulls really badly.

Anyone got any recommendations? Are terriers that rummage OK with a harness on, would it be likely to catch? Ideally she'd need a harness that can be left on while she's off lead...

Monday, August 20, 2007

That was the weekend that was

Well, Mollie and I really packed some excitement into the weekend this time. NOT. Saturday she was still a bit pustulant (sorry, but I really like that word) and scabby so we stuck to the garden and played ball, and then we snoozed, and wrestled a bit, and played again. Quite a boring day but for some reason I was really tired, and T was away at the Goddess Camp (more about that here) most of the day so I wasn't really motivated to do much.

Yesterday was slightly more exciting. The day started out sunny, so Mollie and I were wildly optimistic: she grabbed her ball (the last one out of the packet!) and I put some washing on. Predictably, by the time the washing had finished, it was raining! Eventually, at 5 o'clock, I managed to get Mollie out for a walk. We went up round the Forest Rock woods (you can read about them and our other local woods here - you'll need Internet Explorer). On the way back, as we approached the kissing gate, I called to Mollie to sit so I could hook her lead onto her collar - which she did, reluctantly. I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but Mollie really can't understand why she has to be dragged a certain way through the gate when she can perfectly well get under the bottom bar. Well, yesterday it was worse than usual. As I tried to get her back into the gate so she could come through it with me, she reversed and slipped her collar, and ran straight across the Leicester Road. At this point of the road, as you leave Whitwick, you are approaching a 60mph limit, and most drivers at this point are accelerating. Drivers coming the other way have just come round a bend and are usually braking, and luckily, as I ran after Mollie and she stopped and cowered in the middle of the road, it was this kind of driver that was heading towards us. They braked in time and I managed to grab Mollie by the scruff and yank her onto the pavement. I carried her home. On the way she tried to lick my face a few times. I had been so scared that she would get squashed! I think she's going to have to have her harness on all the time when she's out for a short walk from home like that, now that she knows how to slip her collar.
I did eventually forgive her. She spent ages when we got home trying to suck up to me, climbing on my lap and leaning on me, and after a while I was able to relax. She really scared me though!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Goodbye Watson

Another canine cancer sufferer has lost his battle - Watson has gone to join Prince in a world beyond physical pain. I can't imagine how it must feel to lose such a big part of your life, especially when you've been fighting so hard to keep it, and my heart goes out to Linda and her family.

It's easy giving tablets to dogs II

Skipped straight to step 4 last night, and gave Mollie a couple of treats after the tablet, and lots and lots of praise. Her jaws are really strong from playing tug lots, so as you slightly release the lower jaw to drop the tablet in she tries to close her mouth and it does take a bit of effort to not let her!

Mollie got so excited by all the praise that she had to go and fetch a rawhide chew (or rather one end of one she'd had stashed somewhere for a few days) and tease me with it. She spent nearly the whole evening chewing it, even carrying a bit up to the office, and by bedtime nothing was left but a sticky smudge on her blanket on the settee...

I moved her office bed back onto the floor last night, after she tried to jump up on it while I was elsewhere. The chair is a normal office chair, i.e. with wheels, and the desk is very slippy, so she basically failed in her attempt but did not the keyboard and mouse off the desk! Doubly unfortunate because Tracy's treatment room is directly below the office and she was treating someone at the time...oops...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's easy giving tablets to dogs

You know this business of it being easier to get a tablet down a dog than down a cat? It’s so not true!!

  1. Put tablet in Baker’s Meaty chunk. Hand chunk to dog. Dog eats chunk, spits out tablet.
  2. Cut slightly slimy tablet in two, drop into food, give food to dog. Dog eats food and one half of tablet
  3. grab tablet in one hand and dog in the other, drop tablet in dog’s mouth and hold closed. Dog swallows. Release dog. Dog spits tablet on floor.
  4. Repeat step 3 but this time holding dog’s mouth closed for longer. Finally, the tablet is gone!!

Might just skip straight to step 4 tonight… sigh… she’s been living with cats for too long!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's been a long day, apparently

Itchy Belly - Part II

As mentioned yesterday, Mollie has a rash on her belly. Well, we went to see our very nice vet, M. Drouin, who said that she has a very nice case of pustulating dermatitis (he was showing his work experience girl). It wasn't pustulating this morning, so it looks to me like she's fighting it off quite nicely and it's come to the surface, so it looks - and probably feels - incredibly like chicken pox. She had an antibiotic jab and has got some tablets to help the infection clear up. At the moment she's still quite a happy girl, especially since she now has an improved desktop perch with a pillow to lie on - but I know that will change as the antibiotics take hold.

It looks like that terrier thing of bouncing through grassy meadows isn't such a good idea in Mollie's case. Luckily most of our favourite walks have good paths though, so we'll just have to be a bit more careful about where we throw the ball...

Charley cat and the old gits

I may have mentioned at some point that we also have cats. We have three, and I thought I ought to introduce you to them, so here they are:

Firstly, Samson, aka Sammy Cat, aka the Hat (likes to sleep on your head if you're sitting on the sofa and leaning back), aka Diddle Monster, aka Fangs. Founder member of the Reservoir Cats.

: 13 years young
Breed: Persian x tabby
Distinguishing Features: ripped ears, incredibly fluffy back legs, slight kink in tail, scar at side of mouth.
Favourite saying: "eck"

Used to be known as "incredibly bored cat" in his youth and picked fights just for fun. Ex-champion bed mice player and duvet surfer. Recovering vole addict. Bath inspector. The boss.


Next, Sammy's twin brother Seth, aka Teddy Bear, aka Bear. Founder member of Reservoir Cats.

Age: 13 years young

Breed: Persian x tabby
Distinguishing Features: paunch, weedy little excuse for a tail, huge pointy teeth.
Favourite Saying: "bear"

Used to bring in leaves, sticks and huge hairy spiders. Once helped rear a litter of kittens, allowing the mother to take breaks while he cleaned and played with them. Learned to miaow aged 8, now he never stops. Spends much of his time asleep or demanding ham from the neighbours.


And finally, Charley, aka "Dat Charley Cat", aka Thug.

Age: about 4 and a half
Breed: moggie (tortoiseshell/calico and white)
Distinguishing features: piercing gaze, very short tail
Favourite saying: "meep!!"

Once caught a sparrow but fell asleep under a recliner with it between her paws. The sparrow fell asleep too and was later released, slightly damp but unharmed. Likes to stare through windows and play chase with Mollie dog. Also enjoys "bouncing" Sammy and big fat pigeons. Loves to kiss bare toes. Catnip addict.

Edit: Note to Wolfie owners - "bouncing" in this instance is similar to boofing, but smaller. ;-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Every desk should have one

Itchy belly

Poor little Mollie dog is feeling a bit sorry for herself at the moment. She has a nasty rash from her inner thighs all the way up her belly and chest. She's eating fine and still wants to play ball as much as possible, but she's chewing a bit when she stops and sits down, and it's starting to look sore. She's booked into the V.E.T. tomorrow, in the meantime she's going to have some cream slathered all over her belly and chest tonight and a spell with the lampshade on while it soaks in. Not sure what cream yet - suggestions so far include:

Aloe Vera

We currently suspect either a grass pollen or wool allergy (wool blanket in back of car) . I'll let you know what we end up using and what the V.E.T. says.

Edit: Just realised it's probably not wool as one of her favourite beds since we've had her has been a sheepskin rug. So there goes that theory! I should also mention, since Graham asked, that her diet hasn't changed for months (Nature's Menu or Nature Diet depending which pet shop I go to, and Trophy Hypoallergenic biscuits), although she does often have a little bit of whatever we eat; we've been using the same detergent for years, and the same softener for months, and she was Frontlined three weeks ago.

Whatever it is, I hope it responds quickly to whatever treatment she gets and doesn't require endless trips to the vets.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Watermead Park - piccies

Here are the pictures I promised from yesterday's excursion:

King Lear's Lake:

Traditional view of Jack Russell terrier when out and about:
PICT0375 (Small)

Swimming Dog strikes again:
PICT0372 (Small)

In my top at the pub afterwards (the Hope and Anchor, in case you're wondering). She was shivering in the cool breeze while I enjoyed my cold beer (which is just out of shot! and is a certain Northern bottled brand particularly enjoyed by bikers - or in this case - ex-biker.) so I wrapped her up. She dripped onto my lap so it looked a bit like I'd wet myself when i stood up...
PICT0384 (Small)

Houdini - or back seat nesting 3: the last stand

Yesterday, we went to Watermead Park again. We've stopped going to Sence Valley for the moment as Mollie has some nasty spots between her back legs, across her inner thighs, and we think they're insect bites or an allergy - the water at Sence Valley doesn't move much so there are quite a few flies & midges and lots of weeds in the water; it's possible that something there might have bitten, stung or otherwise irritated her - and skidding after the ball on a grit path will have sent stone chips flying up too. Watermead is an ex-industrial site like Sence Valley, but rather than coal it is sand and gravel that used to be extracted there. In fact, there is a working sand pit just next to it still, at Wanlip.

On the way there, Mollie sat in her quietly in her harness for most of the journey. At one point, I looked over my shoulder and she was just lying down, head on paws, and I think her eyes were even shut. Seconds later, I felt a wet nose on my elbow and when I looked round she was completely free! I'm still not entirely sure how she did it, but the harness just wasn't on her any more. On Friday night she'd managed to stand on the seatbelt release (they're flush with the seat in that car). And on the way home she set herself free again. Today, Tracy's going to put the dog guard in the back so we can just chuck her in the boot on a pile of towels...

Anyway, at Watermead the swimming was going well again when the ball was unfortunately thrown a bit too far and Mollie just couldn't face going to get it - she did try, but after a few yards she just turned round and gave up. it holds the current record for the ball with the shortest life span - I think it was out of the packet for around 4 hours before it was lost! Even without a ball as an excuse, however, Mollie wanted to go in the water, and was literally checking the bank every few yards to see if she could get in. She hasn't quite got to the stage of just throwing herself in regardless, she has to make sure she can get out again as she's only ickle, but she's definitely become a water addict. I think we need to get a paddling pool for her next Summer!

We met lots of dogs again too, and she was very friendly with all but a lab pup who was on a lead and so a bit insecure - but even then all she did was bark a bit.

I have some lovely photos - but they'll have to wait until tonight.

In the meantime, congratulations to Graham on bringing home the lovely Tilly! I'm sure you'll agree that she's adorable, and join with me in wishing them all the best.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Working from home - easier said than done when there are pets involved!

Yesterday, because Mollie's usual minders - our neighbours - had gone on a day trip, I worked from home. This was interpreted by Mollie as meaning that I was at home to PLAY with her. Or at least fuss her. All day. Every time I turned around, there was a tennis ball and a wet nose. She dropped it on my foot. She was behind me when I went to make a coffee. What's more, every time I sat down, Sammy cat jumped on my lap. At one point, they ganged up on me - I had Sammy on my lap, leaned forward to do some typing, and Mollie snuck in behind me on the settee!

Despite all the attempts at sabotage, I did actually manage to get some work done, eventually. But my 'lunch hour' was spent throwing a ball in the back garden... sigh...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A day in the life of a doggit (nearly)

Sleeping Dog...
Well, OK, after yesterdays embarrassing foray into the murky depths of my subconscious mind, let's get back to the star of the show - Mollie dog, aka Doggit. Starting with last night. When we came to go to bed, it was occupied. Sometimes, if she's really fast asleep, we pretend she isn't there and leave her be - but with the duvet being folded back and her on top of it, that would've been a little tricky. So we whispered in her ear, "Mollie, are you going to get in your bed?" and this was her rather elegant response:

I have obviously edited the first photo slightly to preserve her modesty... for what it's worth! As you can see, she was mightily peeved by the flash on the camera! (NOT)

I eventually had to pick her up and put her in her crate...ahhhh...

This morning she was very sleepy and just wanted to go next door and get back to bed, but after a good day's ball fetching she was raring to go again. After a quick go at her Kong (you can see the video here but it's quite big, sorry), she picked up her tennis ball, dropped it at my feet, then came and sat on me. I was in a very ladylike position with one knee up and one down, she leaned on my right leg and the warmth just gradually sent her to sleep - her legs buckled under and she collapsed:
As you can see, I was utterly devastated :D

...To Swimming Dog...
We took her to Sence Valley again this evening (she did wake up, and she ran round like a headless chicken, squeaking, after we said the 'W' word!) and she led us to the swimming spot and basically begged us to throw the ball in. A few good splashes later (did you know that the terrier bounce works in water too? Quite impressive) we bimbled back to the car, where she attempted the nesting routine in spite of the harness.

..And Back Again...
All in all a very tiring day, for a little doggit. Night night!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Mental Jukebox - incidental music or revenge of the Id?

This has almost nothing to do with Mollie dog, except inasmuch as she might occasionallyset it off, so to speak - but I felt the need to share.
I basically have music playing in my head most of the time. Usually it's something I've heard on the radio, or it's triggered by something I see, something that someone says, or it's just random. When I opened my A-level results, it played 'China in your hands' (T'Pau) - a particularly appropriate choice, I thought.
This morning, it was apparently randomly playing 'Valerie' by Stevie Winwood.

But by far the most bizarre subconscious choice, and one which recurs on a disturbingly regular basis, is this:

The 1973 Swedish Eurovision Entry

I saw a video of it once at a friend's house in Sweden, I think it was in 1985 or something and there was a retrospective of Swedish Eurovision entries on TV. I'm assuming that the only reason that this particular song stuck in my head is because of these rather charming lyrics:

I am blue and I long for your caress
your breasts are like swallows in nesting

I suppose I should be grateful this is pretty much the only 'schlager' it plays, with the exceptions of Abba's 'Waterloo', Katrina and the Waves 'Walking on Sunshine' and very, very occasionally, Carola Häggkvist's 'Främling' (1983).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bradgate Park

We took the doggit up to Bradgate Park today. She was panting in the car, although I think that was as much from excitement as anything - but she had some water after we'd parked up, just in case. We went in at the Woodhouse end, near the entrance for the Broombriggs Farm trail - it's not so busy as the other entrances, and there's loads of shade to park under. There's also no proper path. Anyway, we got there probably around 12.30 and it was scorching!! It's such a beautiful place, and Mollie loves it - acres of space to run and explore, usually loads of dogs to gossip with, streams and pools to jump in... what more could a hyperactive dog ask for on such a lovely day?

Of course, even though there were lots of pools, like this rather lovely one, she refused to jump in without the enticement of a thrown ball (which we left in the car - oops).

Do excuse the presence of my behind in this photo, but it shows how sceptical she was about the whole thing.. (you can lead a dog to water, etc)

Eventually, at a different pool, we came across these sweet, bouncy little spaniels - Cavaliers I think.
They wagged and squeaked at her until she ran round to say hello, then eventually she went in up to her knees. We stayed there for a good 10 minutes watching the three of them play, it was great to see, especially since Mollie has historically been fairly worried about strange dogs, even small ones. But today, she said hello to quite a few, although she did say hello to one that growled at her - she was quick to bark back though, and beat a hasty retreat.
All in all, a lovely, if very tiring walk, and Mollie of course collapsed in the shade as soon as we got home.

Did she 'eck as like!! How could we possibly expect her to waste such a glorious day?!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Jack Russell? Parson Russell? What's the difference?

My original cunning plan for today was to show you a picture of Mollie Dog refusing to get out of bed, and give it a witty caption. Unfortunately, I foolishly switched the camera on after pointing it at the head and legs poking out from under the duvet, and the sound of the lens extending woke her up - and she got out of bed! I suppose now I know how to wake her up in the mornings... and next time I'll switch the camera on before I go anywhere near Mollie!

So - my backup plan is to consolidate in one place all the links to sites where I've read about the history of the JR breed. If I had more time and energy I'd write an actual article, but I'll just give you the links and let you come to your own conclusions for the moment - do let me know what you think though, as I find it all somewhat confusing.
I do find it interesting that the Jack Russell Club of Great Britain say, on their
History page,

"The Jack Russell Terrier of today is still able to perform the functions it was originally bred to do. It has longer legs which enable it to run with the hounds."

If you read their breed standards, Mollie is way off - her nose is too long, her head too round, her tail probably too long plus it's not straight, her elbows stick out too far, she's far too timid. Mind you, her inherent Terrier bravery is coming out more and more - she was giving the monsters in the garden what for again last night (well, you never know - they might attack at any time!!).

Other sites with information about the breed are:

The AKC and UKC recognition of Jack Russell is in general staunchly opposed by working dog clubs such as the JRTCA and JRGB:

In my opinion, the move by the UK KC and AKC to give the two different sized variations different breed names and set a conformity driven by looks alone is proving horrendously confusing, especially since no-one quite seems to agree on the names.
Some rescue centres and breeders are now calling the long-legged variety such as Mollie a Parsons Russell, some just call her a JR, some a Russell..*shrug* Well, she's registered with her insurance and chip companies as a JR, but we just call her Mollie. I don't think she conforms to any breed standard, but she's a wonderful pet.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's a beautiful day

The sun is shining and there isn't a cloud in the sky. Finally, summer has arrived. So you'd think that Mollie would leap out of bed, grab a tennis ball and demand to play - but no, she refused to get out of bed. After being called a few times she reluctantly staggered downstairs and flumped onto the beanbag, from whence she gave me a hard stare before tucking her nose under a hind leg and muttering "hrrrrmmmmph" - remember the sound that hovercrafts make when they land and 'deflate'? It's extraordinarily similar. Obviously the cats were obliged to eat her breakfast rather than let it go to waste.

Mollie didn't shift again until it was time to go next door. When I opened our front door she had a brief moment of excitement as there was a strange dog wandering past so she obviously had to run out and chase it, which was rather worrying; luckily there was no traffic! On the way to the neighbour's she was still barking smugly to herself... but once there she went straight upstairs to bed.

Have I mentioned that Mollie doesn't do mornings?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Better to have loved and lost

On the D For Dog forum, in Prince's goodbye thread, Graham says:

It's so sad in many ways, that we all seem to have some experience of the gravity of such a loss - and many of us very recently.

It got me thinking.

Loss and grief are the price we pay for opening ourselves to love, but love is it's own reward. The trick is to not close your heart because of the pain of loss, but to hold on to the memory of love and so allow it into your heart again.

To quote Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem In Memoriam:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

So many people say silly things like "I'll never love again" or "there'll never be another ". They're right about the second one - there will never be another Prince, or Cleo, or Timmy, or Lady or (in my case) Duke, or
Nisse - but each dog, and therefore each love is different. Some people ridicule the love that can exist between owners and their pets and think that such owners are somehow warped, and that that love could be better 'spent'. Personally, I think that the more you open your heart, the more love you find that you have to give, and the more you receive in return. In fact, pets are so good at opening people's hearts and healing their minds that Animal Assisted Therapy is becoming more and more popular and achieving amazing results.

I would turn what Graham's said around - the fact that so many of us have experienced the gravity of such a loss, although painful, shows that we can love. It shows that our hearts haven't hardened, in spite of the terrible things that are on the TV and the internet daily. That gives me hope.

How scary is this???

A member of the D For Dog forum has posted this very scary link. It gives a list of 75 breeds of dog which are banned in some states of the US. It not only includes the usual suspects - Staffie, Mastiff, EBT (all of which are prone to whine and drop at your feet, paws in air, for a belly rub) - but also Fox Terrier, Airedale Terrier, Springer Spaniel, Newfoundland!!
Newfoundlands are bred to rescue humans, for goodness sake!! I've never heard of anyone being savaged by one - you're more likely to get accidentally sat on or drooled on... and as for the Fox and Airedale terriers - why them and not the JRT? Because they can be vicious too - I mean, yes at one end of the spectrum we have Mollie, who will just sit and look bemused as a small child attempts to pull her leg off, but at the other end there are JRTs who will bite you just because you looked at them funny. Or rather, because you looked at them at all. Or because you happened to walk somewhere within half a mile of them and your trouser leg looked tasty. And yes, I speak from personal experience here.
I'm sure my friend Helena will be mortified to learn that her dogs are banned in the parts of the US, possibly in the very states that she once lived in.
It's madness, utter madness - politicians scrambling to do something, anything to make it look like they've got control of the situation - a situation, incidentally which only exists in newspapers and on television. Wouldn't it be better to bring in compulsory dog licensing, chipping/tattooing and socialisation/obedience? Oh no, that would be a sensible thing to do, wouldn't it...