Category Archives: animals

Barking mad

Taking Mrs Woofy for a walk in the rain and the wind yesterday, we arrived at a grim and miserable looking playing field, the rain was sweeping across the ground and it was deserted apart form a couple of other hard core dog walkers, like me dressed from head to foot in waterproof clothing and the obligatory  large furry hat with ear flaps that makes me look extraordinarily like Deputy Dawg. Strangely enough, everyone else looks ok in theirs, it’s just me who looks like a dweeb.

Taking my place in the dog walking circuit, I  trudged round for forty minutes while the dog sniffed, ran, investigated and made a couple of new friends. Before we headed back we  did a little bit of obedience training in readiness for our first class of the year on Thursday.  Even though the rain lashed into my eyes and the wind stuck his cold fingers on my neck, trying to to find a way in past my many layers it was worth it because  the dog performed perfectly. Responding to my every command quickly and smoothly. Genius dog. It was worth braving the weather for. How I wished we were in a competition at that moment, she’d have won it, hands (paws) down!

When I got home I was recounting the story to Big N about how brilliant the dog had been,  particularly  at her recall command. “I don’t need to shout, we do it by signals. I lift both arms in the air like so” , I said as I lifted both arms up, “Then I drop one arm  like so and move it to the side so she knows to come to heel and not in front of me. Brilliant, eh?”

Big N looked at me thoughtfully. “Right. So what you’re saying is that when you’re in a public place and the dog is miles away you basically stand alone in the middle of a field and do the YMCA dance? Bet that attracts attention.”

Mmm, never though about that. Maybe a voice command  might be better after all. Thanks, Big N.

All this praise and rapture about how fantastic the dog is in direct contrast to Monday night at agility training where she was a royal pain in the arse. Dashing  away mid circuit  to snack on the delicious and nutritious goodness that is the pile of horse poo in the corner of the training ring. Many and varied were my futile attempts to get her to come back, calling her name and following her round as she skipped just out of reach every time I got near enough to grab her were just two of my dog retrieval techniques. GGrrrfeckingggggrrrr!!

Dagnabbit dog! Why can’t you disobey me in private and obey me in public?

Twice on Monday she was thrown out of the ring for running round like something demented, drooling and smiling her stupid big doggy smile  instead of completing the set tasks.

Once she was finally caught, I silently clipped up back and led out of the ring she realised she was in serious trouble and gave me the old sad eye. ‘I’m sorry,’ her big brown eyes said, imploring me to give her a cuddle. ‘I won’t do it again.’ And I fell for it! What a fool!

Back into the ring we went and we repeated the whole palarver again. I could have brained her but instead I clipped her back up and led her away silently. This time she knew I was really not amused at her shenanigans. Head bowed, tail between her legs and eyes begging me to forgive her, we did the long walk of shame back to the waiting area. The frustration must have been coming off me in waves and Mrs Woofy well and truly picked up on my mood. She didn’t even try to coerce Miss Yappy to play with her, she just came and sat as close to me as she could get, looking up at me with those liquid brown eyes. Those eyes act on me like Kryptonite does on Superman. As soon as I see them looking at me, I lose all my power and start to melt.

“Right, one more go then.”

As if to atone for her previous behaviour, and to prove that she really knew all along what to do, she completed the course perfectly and in record time. When she finished she came running up to me, tail wagging, leaping all over me in delight, “See, told you I could do it,” she seemed to be saying.

The dog knew she’d done good and  claimed her reward, a nice big cuddle and a delicious scooby snack.

I bet I could get her to jump through hoops of fire if they just made dog treats out of horse poo.

Boudoir shoot

Occasionally I get people phoning up for boudoir shoots.  I don’t really encourage it as the studio isn’t ideal for that type of work, too bloody cold and draughty, it might be a different story if it was warm and cosy.

Yesterday was an exception, a dark eyed,  beautiful black girl came to see me for a burlesque shoot, bringing a few props with her including this hat:


Ok, not really,  I picked up the hat in a shop a few weeks ago and thought it would be fun to use it on the dog for a pet portrait with a difference and since Mrs Woofy is so cute I thought it would suit her.  What a pularver!

She didn’t like that hat at all.

She jumped around, scraped her head along the floor, ran round in circles and generally went nuts. Most of the time when the hat wasn’t flying through the air it was hanging down forlornly under her chin, feathers dangling and being shaken around, looking a bit like a hen in the process of being murdered.

Eventually, after a lot of laughing, cajoling, wrestling with and bribing with treats, me, Rev and Gembolina  had all failed to get the dog to stay still. Gembolina suggested that we shoot the dog ( not actually shoot the dog although so very tempting at that point)  and shoot the hat separately.

Damn fine idea!

What she wasn’t expecting though was that she was going to have to be the model because she has black hair so it would be an easier edit.  She played her role well, I was impressed. No need for treats or ordering her to ‘SIT!’ either.

begging for treats

The plan worked perfectly. The dog sat perfectly well  and posed beautifully without the hat and I got a dozen prim and pretty pictures of her.  I notice that she’s smiling on them, probably having a good laugh at having run us all a merry dance.

Last night I sat down to edit the photos and  half an hour later. Voila! The picture I wanted. Doggy burlesque!

Nearly due a telegram from the queen

After a quick tot up yesterday, we realised that our old cat is very near due a telegram from the queen. If she can only last a few more months….

Our people/child/dog/attention/vet  intolerant delicate little ingenue witch cat has reached the grand old age of  19 which is 92 in human years.   As you can expect at that kind of age, she is a bit rickety. The eyes have clouded over and she limps occasionally, ‘specially when the weather is cold, not that she goes out much these days.  She just holds court on the landing where the warm pipes are, and sleeps her days away.

Yesterday, during  a rare moment of playfulness with Boofuls, he noticed that her claws have grown so long they are stating to curl under. Ow! Ow! Ow!  I’ve felt those claws and they’re bloody sharp.  That means yet another trip to the vet then. That’ll be fun. NOT!

There is a grave danger that one or both  of us, or the vet or all of us will lose our faces tomorrow courtesy of those claws. She doesn’t take kindly to being messed around with, this cat. That’s always supposing we can get her to the vet’s  in the first place.

She seems to have a bit of a sixth sense when it come the the arrival of a cat basket and she can’t half shift a bit smartish on those feline tootsies when it suits her. I can see a bit of a pantomime ahead.  When she doesn’t want to go out she runs downstairs and hides under the table, when I shoo her out she runs back upstairs so we can repeat the whole performance two or three times. I swear I can hear her laughing at me puffing and panting as I teararse round the house.

Here she is in her usual spot looking all sweet, innocent and harmless. Don’t be fooled, she is a finely honed killing machine. Many a small furry or winged creature has lost it’s life because of her. Doesn’t she look gentle? Don’t get too close to your monitor or she’ll have you too:

Black cat

The other cat, you’ll be glad to know has made a full recovery. he still looks like he’s been pulled through a hedge backwards. Mostly because  every time I’d administered the greasy ‘orrible ear drops that the vet gave us he’d give his head an almighty shake and most of the thick and unctuous liquid went all over his fur. It might take a while before he regains his usual regal features:

Sulking Ragdoll cat

That floppy ear and the bedraggled coat make him look a bit of a bruiser, don’t they? He’s not at all. This cat is the most gentle creature ever.  Oh how deceptive appearances can be.

Mrs Woofy and me had a lovely walk on the moors today. It wasn’t in the least bit cold, instead it was foggy and gloomy, I suppose you can’t have everything.  Here are a few foggy photos taken on my phone. Yes, I know I’m overusing the lomo app, I just love it.

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Doncha just love that heart shaped puddle?

What’s good for the goose

Tuesday evening was a nice affair. The family came up for a few drinkies, both my sisters came to visit but the brothers cried off – well, one cried off, one wasn’t invited but that’s a whole different story.

The track down to our house had got the better of the family’s various cars. It had started to rain and the ice was had become as slippery as as a bobsleigh run. That of course meant that  people had to be ferried in the 4 x 4 up and down the track to the road which ended up looking a bit like a car park as we were clearly not the only people needing to park on the road in order to make any kind of getaway.

Slipping ( no pun intended) on Boofuls’ big coat and not bothering to change my footwear I made my first trip. I had to stop at the top of our track because just round the bend was a car coming up the slope.

As is customary where we live, I reversed out the way so they’d have a clear run at it. The car tried and failed to get up the slope, it slid backwards, moved forwards, slid backwards a bit more that sat at the bottom of the slope, totally blocking my exit. Isn’t it funny how a tiny slope which you hardly even notice normally becomes like mount Everest when it’s got ice on it? The driver was clearly perplexed.

I sat for a minute or two, painfully aware that The Rev and the kids were waiting for me in their car on the road.

Still the car sat.

I’ll encourage them out of the way, I thought. They can’t get up so they’ll have to go back, they can’t just sit there, they can see I’m waiting.

Inching my way down the hill eventually I was in front of the other car which still showed no signs of wanting to move in any direction. Irritated now, I chatted for a minute with a couple of the local residents who had come out to watch the show, enjoying every moment of it.  Mocking non residents who struggle with the terrain is considered sport round these parts.That was the most entertainment they’d had all Christmas, given another couple of minutes they’d have been bringing out chairs and selling tickets, we don’t get out much up here, see.

Sighing, I got out of the car and trudged through the slushy ice to the other car, already having a pretty good idea about who it was that was causing uproar in our normally tranquil neighbourhood.  I was right.

“Hhhmmmmph, thought it was you.” I announced grumpily to my sister. ” as the snow seeped through my slippers.

” I can’t get it up!”

Keeping a straight face, I let that one pass without comment. No mean feat, I can tell you.

“Well stop trying and park out the way or follow me back out and I’ll bring you in.”

The end result was that I crammed people  into my car like sardines. The Rev, Gembolina and the clingons as well as Little Sis and her partner.  people were having to sit on the knees of people they hadn’t even been introduced to. There’s nothing else for it – they’ll have to get married now.

With the car all crammed with people as it was it’s a good job we were on private land, If the police had seen a car loaded up like that we’d have ended up on a ‘Stop! Police! programme, shamed forever!

Now, you’ve heard of the Ghost Whisperer, right?  It’s that programme with Jennifer Love Hewitt, or as Big N prefers to call her, Jennifer Love Hugetits.

Well now she has a rival, it’s me: The Goose Whisperer.

Once we had everyone safely back at our house, drinks in hand and all comfortable and warm I was busying myself in the kitchen preparing mountains of food when I heard a shout:

“There’s a goose at the window!”

‘There’s a goose at the window? They must be playing charades or  Name That Tune’ though I must confess it isn’t a song title I know. You hum it and I’ll join in.

No!  Really!  There IS a goose at the window. And bugger me, there was!

Lost Goose

Terrible photo, I know. It was foggy and the flash bounced off the fog and the goose tried to run away, the sod just wouldn’t pose!

The poor creature was in a terrible state, clearly close to death, slipping and sliding everywhere, falling over, cold, wet and very unhappy. Big N went to turn the oven on (ever the chef!)  I went out to catch it while Boofuls phoned the neighbours to ask who’d lost a goose. Not the kind of question you ever think you’ll find yourself asking but it just goes to show – you never know.

No! Course I didn’t go out to catch it so we could stuff it in the oven, it’s somebody’s pet!  Puh-lease!!!

It didn’t put up much of a fight. I thought it would be flapping and biting so I took a bath towel out with me to throw over it but to be honest the poor thing was so weak that all I had to do was bend down and pick it up as it fell over when I approached it. One of the neighbours came trudging down the hill to reclaim his goose. They’d been out looking for it all evening. He practically kissed it when he took it from me. They really do love their animals round here (there are all sorts of jokes that could spring from that last comment but I’m going to be a grown up and resist them all).

So, all’s well that ends well in the goose department, the latest info is that goosie is recovering nicely.