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Mud glorious mud!!!

4 Mar

This sunday turned into something of a group walk with some friends over Cleeve Hill. One of the gang, Jan, joins me every now and then and unfortunately for some inexplicable reason, our walks nearly always end with us hearing then seeing in the distance the Air Ambulance!! We have no idea how we seem to entice this sort of attention but it’s now a standing joke between us!! We can’t start the walk without the usual quips!

Anyway this time we managed the whole walk without hearing the distant drone so that’s a first!! It was a clear , bright day if not sunny but hey at least it wasn’t raining!! We all set off, me, my friend Sarah, Fi, Dave and their dog Digs and of course Jan and the conversation and laughs flowed really easily as we trekked up the track.

Happy days before the mud!!

Happy days before the mud!!

After a while the dogs found a discarded golf club cover . Rio had it in his mouth for a while running round then decided he was bored and dropped it. Digs ran across and grabbed it and as soon as he did, Rio decided he HAD to get it back!! There then followed a very comical chase scene with Digs trying to out run Rio who being a bit smaller can turn more sharply!!

So the game continued with us all in stitches and deciding Rio was like that annoying child at school that doesn’t want the toy ’til someone else goes for it!! They happily chased each other for about 5 minutes while we carried on walking.

We headed down to the sheep dip which involves a sharp and steep descent. ” Oh it’s fine” I said as we set off down the track. “We did it yesterday and it’s not too muddy”. Hmm  well that was true except somehow overnight it had got very mucky and slippery and our boots became so clagged up with mud we all ended up 3 inches taller!!

Having made our way down almost in one piece the reward awaited the dogs!! Digs especially loves swimming and we were soon joined by various other dog walkers and their canine counterparts . Rudy was more interested in doing his own thing as per usual and was last seen scaling a practically vertical ascent and then sprinting back down at the same speed!!!

Jan decided to throw a stick for the dogs to retrieve. Great idea. Except where she threw it was about 10 inches deep in thick, black, smelly, disgusting mud!!!! Cue one very dirty dog!!! Digs who is mostly white suddenly looked like he had had a mud wrap!! He was black/ grey nearly all over!! A happy filthy dog!! All us humans found it hysterical and I think Digs thought we were really pleased with him so he came and shook some of the prized mud over us!!!

Maybe Digs should have worn these!!

Maybe Digs should have worn these!!

Luckily he went back into the cleaner water and by the time we left he was white again…ish!!! Jan did offer to bath Digs if necessary but somehow I don’t think the offer was entirely heartfelt and genuine!!!

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Jack Frost…

16 Jan

The weather has been quite changeable over the last couple of weeks. After what feels like months of door to door rain we finally have colder frosty weather. I’m hopeful that means I won’t have 2 extremely wet and muddy dogs to contend with yet again!! I can’t count the amount of towels I have gone through in the past few months just to ensure my carpet remains cream and not paw printed in an interesting shade of brown!!!

I always think I have dried Rudy and Rio’s feet enough and if they walked through the house sedately it would probably be ok. But no, they charge through into the front room when I say they can as if they have been caged for a fortnight!! Everything it seems is SO exciting to them and the faster they can run the better!!!

So a deep breath is taken (me) and ever decreasing circles are run ( them) and I try to ignore the mud ’til later and it has dried and can be hoovered up. I figure there is no point raising my blood pressure to boiling point and really they can’t possibly know the trauma to my eyes!!

I walked with Sue and 2 of her dogs, Tallulah and Princess ( Yeah I know!!!) yesterday and we had had a sharp overnight frost that had yet to melt on the hill so it made for a very beautiful and picturesque walk. It was slippery in places but Sue and I managed to stay upright even with Tallulah trying her best to wrong foot Sue!!!

We came across patches of snow/ice which Rudy decided he wanted to slide along bodily!! He would scratch at the surface then launch himself down and skid like a child!! Princess ventured toward him wondering why this crazy dog would want to get any colder and decided against following his example!!

It was a lovely walk which we wanted to prolong but alas work commitments ruled that out so with regret we got back in our cars and left!!

Happy New Year!!!!

1 Jan

After an amazing night with my close friends seeing in the New Year eating, drinking and dancing, this morning

New Year's day

New Year’s day

surprisingly found me without a headache and even more surprisingly the sun was shining!!!  Yes you read that right. the sun was shining!!!!!!! Wow is this the weather we can expect from the new year?? No rain for a whole day???

My friend Paola wanted to walk too so we arranged to meet on the hill. Me with Rudy and Rio and Paola with Crash the beautiful Dalmation. As I drove up the lane toward the car park I was slightly concerned to see the amount of cars everywhere!!! Hmm these fair weather walkers!!! I didn’t think I was going to find anywhere to park, Rudy was jumping up with his paws on the back seat eager to be free and Rio was whining incessantly!!!

I finally found a space and we got out of the car and set off to meet Paola. The hill was swarming with hundreds of people, those in the distance looking like tiny ants against the vast backdrop of the hill. It was an absolutely stunning day, the sky was blue and the sun shining!! Joy!! After weeks of constant rain and gale force wind today reminded me how much I love being out in the fresh air walking the dogs. Simple things I guess!!

I lost count of the amount of dogs we saw and Crash, Rudy and Rio got on really well, running around together and meeting and greeting all their new friends. I’m used to my 2 running off miles away from me and I can be (fairly) sure they will always find me and come back…after all they know who feeds them !!! Crash it seems likes to cover the ground too and because he is so big he runs like a racehorse!!!

At one point on the walk we turned and saw Crash fairly close behind us playing with another dog so we carried on walking. Literally about 2 minutes later we looked and he was nowhere to be seen!!!! We were on the flat part of the hill on the top so we could see for miles but there was no sign of him at all!!! We waited a few minutes and decided that he would find his way back to us so we continued on our hike. It is a route Paola and Crash do very regularly so we weren’ t worried.

I think we walked for about another 10 or 15 minutes heading back towards the car and suddenly Paola shouted and there was Crash!!!! Running happily toward us, not concerned in the slightest, tail aloft looking happy as could be!!! Being of the same ilk Paola asked Crash where he had been and not getting a sensible answer we just let it go and all trundled on!!!

Sunny day at last and they bury their heads!!

Sunny day at last and they bury their heads!!

All in all it was a lovely walk and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadly it’s back to work tomorrow after a lovely long break and back to the frantic lunch time rush!!

Catch me if you can!!

10 Dec

A few times this week whilst walking Rudy and Rio I have noticed a change in Rio’s behaviour. He is 20 months old now and seems to be going through a period where he has to assert himself with other dogs that are younger and smaller than him

What me??

What me??

He is such a happy friendly dog and always rushes over to greet new dogs and people that at first I didn’t really notice. But it seems he feels the need to roll the other dog over whilst “playing”. It all starts well enough and all concerned are happy. Then when I call Rio to carry on the walk he sort of looks at me in a challenging way while still chasing his opponent!!

I call him..he wags his tail..runs in circles…ignores me..I call him again…he wags his tail…runs in circles..I’m sure you get the picture!! So now out with the big guns!!! I now call him in my best “Don’t mess with me” voice while giving him “the look”, head tilted peering at him over the glasses, teeth starting to clench!!!

He dances in front of me just out of my reach, tail wagging madly, “smiling”,happy as can be, knowing he is being naughty!!! It’s almost as if he wants me to chase him!! He knows I am cross so thinks if he can turn it into a game and make me smile all will be forgiven!!!

It’s very frustrating as he won’t come to me but also because I have to stop myself smiling because he does look comical!! Finally he came back and we had a chat. I told him firmly that if he carried on misbehaving he would have to go on his lead. My friend Sarah was walking with me and stood patiently listening and then asked me kindly, as you would a senile old woman, “Do you think he understood all that??!!”  “Of course ” I said completely missing the sarcasm to start with!!

Yes I'm listening to every word!!!

Yes I’m listening to every word!!!

A while later I decided to put him on the lead for a short time anyway and instead of the usual pulling he walked beautifully!! Almost as if he wanted me to do it. As is he knew he needed to calm down and couldn’t do it himself??

I hope this stage will soon be over for all our sakes and he will be back to his usual playful self and stop being a pain in the ….!!!!!

If you know of any clever tricks to prevent this challenge please let me know!!! And if you like the blog please share. Thanks

Stop thief!!!

6 Dec

Rudy and Rio have always displayed symptoms of kleptomania, socks that disappear, a shoe brought to you lovingly when you arrive home, washing that they can pilfer as you are folding it..you name it, anything is fair game it seems!!!

Kleptomaniac tag team!!

Kleptomaniac tag team!!

They both go crazy trying to out do each other with their “gifts” on your homecoming, tails wagging like mad almost propelling themselves round the room!! Whatever Rudy has in his mouth he has to be side swiped by Rio til he lets go and Rio can claim the gift victory!!

Chews, bones, socks, magazines, newspapers, toys, laundry all lovingly offered albeit rather the worse for wear, warm and by now slightly damp round the edges!!

Even if I have just popped upstairs and come back down they both dash about finding things. Is this a purely Spaniel trait or do other breeds do the same??

One lunchtime this week as I ran round madly trying to get changed into DWU  ( Dog Walker’s Uniform) to get Rudy and Rio out for their walk I searched high and low for a missing sock!! I knew it was in my bedroom as I had taken them off there so why couldn’t I find it?? Frustration grew as I muttered to myself about how ridiculous it was to be walking round in one sock etc etc, so finally I gave in and stomped downstairs to find a spare one only to find Rio, bless him, trotting round the front room happily with said sock draped decoratively from his mouth!!

How kind I thought as I grabbed it off him and started to put it on so he then took himself off into the hall and brought me a mud covered trainer!!   “No” I bellowed so he dropped it on the carpet whereupon all the dried mud cracked and scattered everywhere!!

Finally we made it to Cleeve Hill and dodged the flooded car park. We set off and I noticed a fair amount of Golfers enjoying the sunshine. Towards the end of the walk Rio found a tennis ball some poor dog had lost and claimed it as his own. I don’t take balls out with me when I walk so to see him trotting round with the ball in his mouth made him look slightly odd but he was happy so who am I to spoil his fun??!!

I threw the ball a couple of times and both dogs chased after it and brought it back then they soon got distracted by the gorse bushes and left the ball for someone else!

A moment later as I walked towards the Golf Club which heralds the end of the walk, I heard lots of shouting from behind me. I didn’t think anything of it , just thought it was a Golfer celebrating a good shot. Well… it was a Golfer only they weren’t celebrating so much as berating me and the dogs as Rio had taken it upon himself to “liberate” a golf ball one of them had fired down the hill!!

My face burned and I felt a giggle brewing but first had to get Rio to drop the ball!! Luckily he did so immediately and bounded back to me very pleased with himself!! I was walking with Fi and Dave and Dave being a Golfer declared that it can’t have been a very good shot anyway and that actually Rio had done the guy a favour by moving it closer to it’s target!!

Yeah I could go with that so turned and waved a cheery hand at them and we walked briskly on!!! I’m sure it can’t just be my dogs that commit theses public faux pas…can it??

Hole in one??

Hole in one??

Slip sliding away..

28 Nov

Slippery slope!!

We have had so much rain lately, both in Britain generally and closer to home that walking Rudy and Rio has become like a Boot Camp Survival challenge every day!!!  Everywhere you try to walk is so wet and slippery that I am often found poleaxed and prone on the ground after yet another Olympic standard fall / slip/trip/slide while Rudy and Rio are as athletic and graceful as ever, completely sure footed and steady.

The dogs are able to run at the same speed ( flat out ) whether they are going up hill, down hill or on the flat!! How do they manage that and still stay standing? Some of the hills they sprint down are so steep I expect them to end up rolling down instead but they never do.

On one walk on Cleeve Hill I remember a lady rushing up to me quite upset because she had seen 2 dogs racing to the edge of the hill and disappearing!!  I calmed her down as I explained that yes they had gone over the edge but that they did it regularly as part of their walk and that in a few minutes they would reappear tails wagging furiously happy as could be!!

Rudy

I must admit that when you see the inclines they tackle it does make me wonder why I have such trouble staying upright just crossing a flat wooden bridge? This triumph of human (in) stability happened not so long ago when I took Rudy and Rio to Cheltenham Racecourse fields for a walk. It is a very popular place for local dog walkers and you usually bump into someone you know to have a chat to.

Anyway the ground was quite wet as always and we approached the wide wooden bridge from an adjoining field. The dogs were happily off exploring and I walked down a slope to the bridge thinking to myself that it was probably quite slippery so I should be careful.

Hmm as I reached the edge of the bridge I decided I should jump onto the bridge to avoid a huge puddle. As soon as my first wellie clad foot touched the bridge it skidded straight back off and then I found myself literally flying through the air both legs higher than my head ( no mean feat ) before landing with a massive thud on my backside!!!

Of course my first thought was that I hoped the people I knew were walking behind me hadn’t seen as I tried to get up!! Rudy must have heard so he came rushing back to see what was going on, saw me laying on my back, figured I must be ok as I was gesticulating wildly and promptly ran back off to scour the hedgerow again!! Rio didn’t even bother pretending to be concerned!!

I struggled to my feet and soldiered on tears springing to my eyes and limping madly so we could continue the walk. I whistled the dogs as by now I had no idea where they were and they both came crashing out of the hedge greeted me gleefully and headed off again, apparently not noticing that I was now walking with a stoop and slightly off centre!!

The bruises from that walk lasted a few weeks but I must admit if I had seen someone else do it I would have found it hysterical!!

And the winner is…..

18 Nov

This weekend has been a mixed bag weather wise for walking on Cleeve Hill. Considering it is the highest point in the county of Gloucestershire ( 1083 feet ) with views on a good clear day reaching as far as Winsford Hill in Somerset some 90 miles away , Friday came as something of a surprise when I arrived with Rudy and Rio . The fog had descended and was so thick that you literally could only see about 20 feet in front of you and as you walked it enveloped you completely!! Slightly spooky!!

A few other hardy dog walkers were just leaving so I figured now we were there we may as well go for it!! Needless to say the fog didn’t bother the dogs in the slightest and they took off at the obligatory break neck speed..well don’t forget it was a whole 24 hours since their last marathon!!!

As we walked round towards the front of the hill overlooking Cheltenham I could hear the excited tones of the race commentators urging the Racehorses on and just hoped the fog was not as thick down there!! A vision of a Racehorse with a fog light fitted to it’s brow band sprang to mind!!

Saturday’s late afternoon walk was completely different and the sunset was amazing! So beautiful I have never seen the sky such a rich red!

Enjoying the Sheep Dip

Today I met my good friend Fi and her working cocker Digby ( known as Digs ). It’s been a few weeks since we met up to walk and it was good to see them both again. Digs was 1 in september and seems to have hit the ” Kevin the teenager ” stage!! Both Rudy and Rio have gone through it and still act up at random times especially Rio who is 19 months.

The ” Kevin” stage is particularly shall we say challenging!!!  You say ” don’t dig the garden” and the dog digs a crater you could land a UFO in! You say” don’t get in the golfers way ” and the dog helpfully fetches the golfball and takes it into the nearest gorse bush never to be seen again! You say ” come here while the horses pass” and the dog rounds them up like a professional!

You get the general impression!! While it sounds funny it can be very embarrassing and frustrating especially when they can be angelic at home!!!

Anyway Fi’s secret weapon are her salmon treats ( recipe below ). To be fair they absolutely stink and if you have to touch them your hands will need disinfecting for probably about a week!! That being said I have never seen dogs react to anything in such a huge and positive way!!! Even Rudy who is so self absorbed on a walk, will come sprinting back and skidding to a halt as soon as said treats are taken out of the pocket!!

Soon all 3 dogs were sitting to attention like perfect models of Canine obedience, tails wagging furiously, desperate to get those fishy treats!! Honestly it’s amazing!!

Fi is starting to whistle train Digs and every time he came back when requested he got a treat. However Rudy and Rio thought that as they had come back too they had earned treats!! As anyone with a dog with appealing eyes will tell you it’s very hard to say no when they fix you with a longing look!!!!

We walked a huge circuit round the top of the hill then descended to the Sheep Dip. This is a small pool that farmers used to use in days gone by and now is a meeting place for dogs and their owners and the dogs all enjoyed a swim. It gets like Doggy Day Care down there sometimes.

Comic sight of the day was a small dog..I think it was a Shih Tzu..dressed in a pink coat!! The dog was allowed a small drink from the spring that runs directly down the valley to the Sheep Dip but then she had to be picked up and carried so she didn’t get her paws wet!!!

We said good morning to the owners trying to stifle a grin and all the spaniels went to say hello too. It was all going so well until we wanted to walk on and Rudy was nowhere to be seen!! It would appear he quite fancied this Shih Tzu and had become deaf to my calls!! I had to walk back and literally drag him away by the collar, the Pink Princess’s owners looking at me pityingly!!

As Cath put it so succinctly when describing Fern  ” she developed Spanielitis”…you know…totally uncontrollable!!! Hmm yeah thanks Cath!!!

Salmon Treat Recipe;

1 Tin Salmon, Garlic paste, 1 egg, 1tablespoon plain flour.

Mix all ingredients and spread onto baking tray and cook for 10 minutes. When cold cut into tiny pieces. Can be frozen..if it lasts that long!!! Use sparingly and be prepared for miracles!!!

Jumping for those Salmon treats!!!

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