Tag Archives: black labrador

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.


Three Christmas dogs

I just thought I’d share with you the results of this afternoon’s photoshoot in the studio. It was mayhem but somehow with a lot of cajoling, stern commands and a handful of dog treats – we got the photo.

All the doggie folks I know will go gaga for this so I’ve made it into a Christmas card.

Now I  need a gin and a lie down.


three christmas dogs

Happy Anniversary to us

One year ago tomorrow was the day me and Boofuls were supposed to have reaffirmed our wedding vows in St Lucia, just a few days before our 25th wedding anniversary which is on 9th November.

I’m not going to bore regular readers (me) with the whole story, suffice to say that the ship we ( we being the whole family – all ten of us )  were on was diverted away from St Lucia the night before we were due to land there because of sodding hurricane Tomas.

There I was having my pre wedding de -hagifying facial, cucumber on my eyelids, sipping my  complimentary champagne when it was announced over the ship’s tannoy that we wouldn’t be landing in St Lucia as planned. WHAAAATTT??!! Eighteen months of planning and saving up the swanee?  I very nearly spilt my drink.

Boofuls  was in the next room and on the receiving end of a massage from a very young and pretty Swedish girl. He hadn’t even registered that there had been an announcement till my therapist went in to inform him that I was a little upset. “Wha…?  Why? ” Was apparently his response until his perfumed oil dulled brain put two and two together and managed to come up with the right answer. Bless him. He’d been enjoying that massage.

I think it’s fair to say that as favourite  episodes in the story of  ones life, that particular twenty four hours won’t be in my top ten.

Ok. Maudlin moment over.

Moving on:

I know there are a few people in Blogdom who have been having a few weather problems of their own.

Those people should  just look away now because I’m going to talk about how lovely and balmy the weather is in good old Blighty at the moment. Warm enough in fact to venture up on the moors on a blustery day with only a light coat. Well, you know, not just a light coat, that kind of thing scares the horses and gets you arrested round here.

What was that? Warm weather? In November? In Lancashire?

No, nay, never!

Actually. Yes. Incredible.

Taking a different route up to the moor today with my walking buddy, Mrs Woofy I stumbled upon, not literally, the most amazing walk. It was fabulous.  Of course I didn’t have a ‘proper’ camera with me, only my phone but it’ll give you the idea. My friend Maddi, also a photographer, tells me that she hates herself for taking photos on her phone but  can’t help herself.  Iphone whores, that’s what we are.

I love the camera on my phone! I wonder if I’d get away with using it at a wedding?

Animal Magic

Cor! That’s a blast from the past. Anyone remember Animal Magic?

Here’s a link to  clip from Animal Magic. I Used to love this programme when I was a kid. Of course we had to watch it in black and white because we weren’t posh enough for a colour telly.

It’s been a funny old week with animals this week. Our old cat,  Pebbles, yup, the very Pebbles in the title of this blog, the very one I do regularly trip over in the dark as she’s jet black and sleeps in the oddest places, will be 20 in couple of months.  Now with only a few teeth left in hear head, severely rickety, totally deaf and almost blind she spends most of her time asleep on the landing. Every now and then when she’s sleeping really soundly I prod her as I go past to make sure she’s still alive.

She still seems to think she’s a dog and follows Boofuls round the house , keeping to heel far better than Mrs Woofy ever does. Boofuls told me last night that he now communicates with her via sign language since she’s as deaf as a post. She responds as well. Clever cat.

Mrs Woofy stayed for her usual Thursday night sleepover after doggie boot camp.  This week we were practising emergency stops. The scenario being that your dog was across a road and a bus was coming so you had to get it to lie down on command. That’d be the dog, not the bus, just so we’re all clear.  Why the hell would your dog be on the opposite side of the road to you anyway? if you’re on a road surely it should be on a lead, or is that just me? Anyway. I digress.  The dogs were made to sit at the far end of the room.  The handlers (that’d be me, I never in my life imagined the title ‘dog handler’ would ever be attached to me. I hate dogs) had to call their dogs to them and as they reached the halfway point we had to holler “STAY!!!”  The plan being that the dog did indeed stay. Guess what? She did!  She’ll be taking an apple for the teacher next week, class swot as she is.

For once I had some proper dog chow for her breakfast. I’d stolen a bag of her normal food from Gem and The Rev’s. Normally the poor dog has to eat cat food when she stays with me. Not only cat food but the cheapest, wateriest cat food we can find, stuff that has hardly any lumps of meat in it because Pebbles can’t eat lumps any more, she only has the gravy. Feeling very pleased with myself  for finally having some proper dog food in I poured the dried  food into the bowl and put it down for her. She looked at it, sniffed it, looked at me in disgust as if to say, ‘What’s this crap? ‘ and then sat by my side gazing up at me with her limpid brown eyes.   The message was obvious:’ Can I have some of that nice meaty, covered in delicious gravy cat food?’  She  obviously thinks that it’s her Friday morning treat. Oh well. I aim to please. Cat food it was. Gem and The Rev can have their purloined bag of dried dog food back.

Still on the subject of animals. Boofuls was giving it plenty in the snoring department the other night. I gave him the customary shove in the ribs with a delicately delivered, “SHUDDUP! You sound like a moose.” Rather than turn over as normal he responded sleepily with, “Yes, yes, it does sound like a moose, doesn’t it? A bit bigger though, I think.”

It’s hard to sleep with tears of laughter pouring down your face.

Never work with children or animals

Friday was quite a busy old day one way and another.

It started off with me being just a bit too efficient for my own good and having to hang about on the dooorstep of my favourite budget supermarket waiting for it to open.  That’s not good. Shopping in there when you can run from the car to the shop with a coat over your head so none of your M & S shopping friends will see you is one thing but having to wait on the doorstep to get in just makes you look kind of desperate. They’d have been watching to see if I came out clutching a bottle of cheap hooch ( Oh – I did. Pretend Pimms, very nice).

Shopping all done and out of the way I decide to take poochie for a walk. Not so much a walk as a plod. It was hotter than hell here on Friday and we all know that I don’t retain these youthful good looks by sitting in the sun soaking up rays and accelerating the prune-ification process, that’ll happen quite quickly enough on it’s own, thank you.  The words ‘sun’ and ‘worshipper’ can’t really be attributed to me. Shade worshipper is more like it.

As much as I love the warmth and the sunshine I really am much more comfortable with a slight dusting of cloud cover and moderate temperatures. That’s why I keep dragging poor old B back to Scandinavian countries, I feel right at home there. I think I must have been  a Viking in a previous life. My latest scheme er ..*cough* plan for a wonderful holiday for the pair of us is to go to Finland in winter when the sea has frozen. It’d be ACE!!!  Brilliant photography.

Anyway, back to the plot: On went the factor 50, the log sleeved top, trousers and hat and we trudged over the moors at the back of the house for an hour. It would have been much more sensible head for the the woods and therefore a bit of shade  but time scales didn’t allow it. There wasn’t a trace of shade anywhere, even the sheep were looking at us as if to say, ‘look at those two, they must be barking.’ Well, one us us was.

back to the studio for a baby shoot. I really must find a new way to describe a baby portrait session, ‘baby shoot’ sounds like a type of country pursuit involving men in plus fours carrying shotguns.  The baby was the same on who came last week, you know, the one who’s mother insisted on bringing him even though he was ill. Tsk. The poor kid really wasn’t up to it so I put a stop to it after a few minutes and told her to come back when he was better.  He was loads better this week and we got some great shots – obviously I can’t show you on here, you’ll just ahve to take my word for it.

Since poochie was still with me I thought it might be nice to get some studio portraits of her.  Roping son P in to help we had a hysterical 15 minutes, it did reslt in me getting bitten but hey ho. It wasn’t the dog’s fault, she just got over excited.  She is a ridiculously nervous dog so I was a bit worried about how she’d react to the flash but after a minute or two she was fine. Son P, who has been learning how to use a dslr looked as though he fancied a go at taking the photos so I did the dog handling while he took the pics. I think he did really well, what do you think?

And if you’re wondering how you get a dog to dance well, here’s how:

Scooby snacks.

A handful of dog treats in my hand, she’d jump through hoops of fire for a scooby snack!  Actually, she probably will be jumping through hoops of fire in a few months- we are starting agility classes next week.   At the country show last week they had dogs jumping through hoops of fire. I personally probably wouldn’t have sent a very hairy dog through the hoops, that just seemed like an accident waiting to happen. had to admire the dogs for their bravery  though- or their stupidity depending on how you look at it.  I’m bloody greedy but I’m not so greedy that I’d jump through fire to get to a scooby snack…….maybe.

Did I mention that I don’t actually like dogs?  Nasty, smelly, time consuming, demanding, begging  brutes. I’ve held on to that line for donkey’s years. My sister always maintained that I’d be really good with dogs and I’d always refer her back to the ; nasty, smelly  etc, etc……..line.   What the hell happened to me then?

Poochie did.

What a brilliant dog – I love her to bits and she’s not even mine.