Monday, December 22, 2008

New food

A couple of weeks ago, I changed Mollie's food. The stuff she was on before is wholesome enough, but didn't agree with her a huge amount. And she was never very enthusiastic about it. But as you can see from the piccy above, she absolutely loves her new food and actually demands to be fed now.

She will still sometimes share with the cats as well, although she has taken to protecting her food occasionally - which normally results in it being removed sharpish by me, and only given back if she does some tricks (just giving paw etc). Charley cat (above) is Mollie's best friend and also "The Boss" so will generally box Mollie's ears if she uses bad language. I had honestly never seen it done before, but Charley sits up and literally throws punches at the sides of Mollie's head... Charley is one heck of a cat -I think she thinks she's OUR boss too!

PS The food that the wee beasties are now eating is a natural wet food - I don't want to advertise them particularly, but if you're interested in feeding any of your pets a more natural diet, join the campaign for better pet foods at

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Mollie has been behaving a little strangely, on and off, for the last few days... and we're wondering if she could either be broody or going through some kind of temporary hormone imbalance. We had her spayed in January 2007, a couple of months after getting her, and I believe she had not long finished her season when we adopted her in November 2006 (yup, we've had her two years!!), so the timing would potentially fit..

She's not been doing anything which gives cause for concern, particularly, but just a few little weird things she doesn't normally do... like leg-humping. Well, actually, she doesn't get to the humping bit because she stands up, grabs your leg really tight and then looks a bit confused, as if she can't think what to do next. She has been showing some tendencies to dominant behaviour - barking when she wants something; staring etc, nothing really bad - , so it could be linked to that I suppose!

She's also been piling up her toys. Obviously she has to catch them first, as the pesky things run away ("baby sheep" nearly jumped in the fire last night) . One by one, she catches them, shakes them a bit, then gathers them together in one spot on the floor.

And she's getting quite determined in her washing of the cats, too - Charley had to box her ears last night to make her stop. Seth doesn't seem to mind too much, mostly. I suppose at least Mollie's not a slobbery dog, so when she washes the cats they don't end up soaked to the skin..

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Designing a dog-walking route using Google Maps

For a while now, I've been wanting to be able to design routes online, and google maps allows me to do that now that you can drag the route with the mouse. The main reason I wanted to be able to do it is so that I can see how far various routes are, and work out good evening bimbles for the Winter as we're pretty much restricted to on-lead road walking during the week (because it's dark).

I thought some of you might find it useful too, so here's a step by step - I'm obviously not using my house as a starting point because I'm not about to publish my full address on the internet, so I've just picked one at random from somewhere I know quite well.

1) First, go to (or if you're not UK based ) and find the link towards the top left of the page that says "get directions" - click on it.

2) Enter your chosen starting point (e.g. your own address) in the A box and where it says "by car" in the drop-down underneath the boxes, click on the arrow and choose "walking". Now click on the button that says "Get Directions" and you should see a map with a green A pointing at your start point. You can drag the arrow if it's not quite in the right place.

3) In the B box, add the destination that is the apex of your walk. So, for this example, I'm using Barkby Road, Syston. Click on Get Directions again, and you should now have a blue route which takes you from point A to point B, like the example below. You can drag point B using the mouse if you want to.
4) Now click on the link where it says "Add Destination" and another box will appear. Type in the same location as your starting point, and click on "Get Directions". You will now have point C on your map, in the same place as point A. Depending on where you put point B, you may find that B to C is the same as A to B. If so, click on the blue line and drag it to where you want it, it will move under the mouse pointer and will "snap" to the nearest road (or in some places, pedestrian footpath).

Ta-Da!! You should now have your route mapped out, and on the left hand side you should see that it gives you an overall distance.

If, like me, you didn't get the starting point quite right, you can move it, and if you want the route to deviate slightly from the one Google suggests, you can just keep dragging the blue line around until you're happy - took me a while to get the hang of it but in terms of either designing a walk for the future or more usually figuring out how far we've just bimbled, I haven't found anything better yet.

Hopefully at some point they'll add in bridleways etc

Hope you find it as useful as I have!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Doris Banham Sanctuary in trouble

The Doris Banham dog charity is in serious trouble at the moment, and in need of all the financial help it can get. In the last few years they have saved the lives and alleviated the suffering of over 8000 dogs in pounds across the country, but with more people than ever abandoning their dogs there just aren't enough funds.

Please spread the word, or help if you can. Thank-you.

Doris Banham website

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We're back!!

Erm.. hello :)

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, it all got a bit hectic what with work, two "weddings" and a honeymoon....

While the handfasting took place, Mollie dog went to stay with a dog-sitter for a couple of days and had a whale of a time. She was so tired when we picked her up that she slept all the way home, all that night and most of the following day!! She had quite a bad belly rash again, but this time we got to it before it got infected and it's not been too bad - baby wipes are perfect for removing pollen after walks in long grass (even if we're careful the ball tends to go in the grass)! Also, we've had a really nasty flea infestation - we've sprayed the house twice, Mollie's been treated, but she just keeps picking them up from the grass and from other dogs. It's a nightmare... poor girl is so irritated!

Anyway, apart from all that, Mollie is in fine fettle, so without further ado I'll leave you with some images of her and her new friend Trixie (Tracy's parents' new pup, a JR x Yorkie) when they met for the first time at the weekend.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Harness!! (again)

Ok, so this is Mollie's fifth harness so far. To be honest, we would have stuck with the fleece one if it hadn't stretched, and if Mollie hadn't figured out how to reverse out of it - as it is, she can keep the fleece one for short walks that don't involve water. But for longer adventures, pub outings and places where she might be tempted to swim, she now has this:

The belly strap means she can't escape, and those of you with similarly adventurous terrierists will understand what an advantage that lift handle on the back is going to be: Mollie has a nasty tendency to jump over 2ft high walls and then discover they're that bit higher on the other side. Most of the time, she can jump back, as she's quite agile and bouncy - but every now and then she gets stuck.

The harness is also breathable, lightweight and can go in water without soaking a load up, so we don't have to take it off and carry it round just cos she's jumped in a lake... which is good.

She hasn't worn it out and about yet, as it only arrived yesterday, but as you can see she seems quite happy with it - we were out playing ball with her wearing it and she was happily leaping about, over the fence, over the hedge, doing her usual spectacular mid-air catches.

I'll report back on how the harness fares when we're out and about, but since it was designed with search and rescue dogs in mind I'm guessing it'll last us for a few years.

It's a Ruffwear Web Master. I got this one cheap as an end of range, but the new one has a broad chest pad, is generally a bit sturdier, and has reflective stripes and longer sleeves on the straps.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How do you dry a Mollie dog?

On Monday, it was almost unbearably hot (remember, I'm a fair skinned red-head), and Mollie dog was struggling a bit in the heat. She badly wanted to play, but if I took her out in the garden and threw the ball in my coffee break (I was working from home), she watched it fly, then just looked at me and went in.

Since she was a bit itchy anyway, I gave her a bath with her lovely soothing tea tree shampoo, and after a quick rub with a towel we went out into the garden to dry off and play. Obviously I couldn't resist taking some photos of the now blindingly white dog!!

PLEASE put that camera away and throw the ball, mum!!

Tight corner - cropped from a bigger image, hence blurred; she's at the bottom of our garden!
Got it!!

Practising her cat smiles

Pointing at the ball (carefully placed by my foot)

And finally... I couldn't resist blowing up the one of her smiling, hopefully it'll make you smile too!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Adventure Dog

We went to the Peak District again on Saturday.

It was lovely.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Agile dog, shame about the owner

Had agility class today, it was gloriously sunny if a little muggy, and it went fairly well. Mollie was a little unfocussed compared to usual and refused a few jumps etc, but does the tunnel and A frame really well now, and I think she just disliked the jumps and weave today because she was a bit tired.

Tracy came along and wielded a camera from a safe distance, so we have a few pics - hurrah!!

For starters, here's one of Mollie dog doing the "dog walk", off lead. She actually jumped off abit further on, but jumped back on when I patted the walk. As we're a beginner class, the dogs spend a lot of time on lead for the moment, once we've got their focus towards the end of the lesson we generally start going off lead - today we only had one dog run off round the field, which was good. You can understand them - with all those other dogs around, and the wide open space, they just want to run around and play - but they're all starting to get the idea that they're there for a reason now, and they all seem to really enjoy themselves.

Our trainer, Jill, from Harlequin Fun Agility Club, is great, very encouraging, always cheerful, and the dogs seem without exception to love her. She makes sure we all get a couple of goes at each piece that we're practising, and if a dog runs off, gets a bit barky or over-excited, it's not a huge problem. In fact if, like Mollie, they miss a jump or something, it's fine to just try again until you get it right - there's no huffing and puffing.

Eventually, you get it right. Which is a great feeling. I would definitely recommend agility. Even in just a few lessons, Mollie has become a little more attentive, and we're learning more about each other. We're not doing it with competition in mind, just in lieu of formal obedience training, and as a focussing and confidence boosting exercise - for both of us. Hopefully, Mollie will come out of it a calmer, more attentive dog, and I'll come out of it a calmer, more attentive handler and owner!!

Friday, April 25, 2008


(I know it's a bit late, but) on Sunday it was grey and drizzly, so rather than sit at home and mope, we took off up to the Peak District and went for a walk round Dovedale. It gets a bit crowded in the Summer, or on sunny days, but on Sunday it wasn't too bad.

Mollie thoroughly enjoyed it - chased her ball along the riverbank, played with a few other dogs, grinned at everyone she met and got run over by a lovely pack of whippets. We enjoyed ourselves too, it's a lovely place to walk a dog and although our knees hated it, it's such a nice place that the drizzle and rain just didn't matter.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Beautiful Winter's Day?!

yep, Winter has finally arrived in these beautiful Leicestershire hills - only 6 months too late!! Agility was cancelled today as the indoor hall was in use and the equipment would've been too slippy, so instead Tracy and I took Mollie dog for a walk in our local woods, and managed to find some small pockets of snow. As you can see from the above, Mollie also managed to find quite a bit of mud!! Oh, the joy of having a white dog...

I think you'll agree, although my photos really don't do it justice, that our local woods are quite lovely. And thanks to a dedicated group of locals called Friends Of Holly Hayes Woods, they should hopefully be cleaned up in the coming months. This wonderful group of people have managed to raise and secure enough funding to buy the woods and adjoining fields off the local quarry company so that it can be cleaned up (it's currently full of rubbish - you can see pics on their website) and returned to it's former glory. Hopefully I'll manage to get to the next cleanup session and help out, but even after just what they've done in the last couple of weeks, you can notice the difference. Brambles have been cut back, trees trimmed, paths cleared, rubbish removed - and it already has a different feel to it. Call me a sentimental old bat, but the woods are starting to feel loved. I really hope that other communities can find inspiration in what ours has achieved, and save their own little pockets of paradise from becoming off-road bike tracks and rubbish tips.

Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm back!!

Sorry I've not been around, I'm not very good in the Winter and this last one has been quite busy as well. Also, when you've got a solar-powered dog there's just not a huge amount to write about over the dark months - she's mostly been asleep!!

We started dog agility yesterday with the Harlequins. It was fantastic fun! The instructors were lovely - a couple of dogs were so excited that they just ran off around the field and the instructors just weren't bothered by it; I didn't get looked down on because Mollie's not clicker trained (she ignores treats too, so I had to use a squeaky ball) or because she's never been to obedience class. In fact I was quite proud of her as her recall wasn't too bad, considering how excited she was, and she did everything really well for a beginner, except maybe the weave but that's probably more down to me as a handler than her! The other dogs and owners were all lovely too, it was great to not have to worry that Mollie wanted to say hello to everyone before she started, there just weren't any big egos there at all.

Mollie's main problem is focus, it's just something she's never really had - I'm going to try and spend more time teaching her basic tricks for treats, and maybe even try that clicker again. The agility should help, too, although next week I need to get up early, feed her and take her for a reasonable walk before we go so she's not quite so excitable and so that she's eaten - she doesn't normally eat before going in the car as she gets sick, but it's not fair to expect her to do agility on an empty stomach.

Anyway, more soon - I promise!