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Is this the Arctic Circle??!!

12 Mar

Yesterday was soooo cold and windy I was really not looking forward to walking Rudy and Rio after work! We had been having snow falls albeit minimal on and off all day. It hadn’t come to anything so there was no excuse not to get wrapped up and head out!! Well, apart from the fact it was quite hard to open the door against the wind which by then was almost gale force!!!

Little bit windy Rio??

Little bit windy Rio??

I got home and the dogs had been enjoying a snooze in the warm but soon the excitement hit fever pitch as usual when they realised we were off out!! So I started the daily chore of dressing in so many layers I look like a walking, talking Mummy!! It’s always hard to know exactly how cold it is so better to err on the side of caution! Trying to bend down to fasten my boots was interesting!! It reminded me of being pregnant but this time it was the clothes that were in the way!!

Anyway like intrepid Arctic explorers(!) we set off in the car. I decided to walk the other side of the hill as it’s more sheltered. I parked the car and struggled to open the door against afore mentioned wind and wrapped myself up as well as I could and we set off down the track. I can honestly say I have rarely been so cold or blown around!! The dogs set off like torpedos, ecstatic to be out running around and I trundled along hands stuffed deep into pockets, muttering to myself about the sense of this walk and how good I was to the dogs etc etc!!!

It turned out to be beautiful up there and by halfway round the walk my hands obliged and thawed out enough to get some feeling back into them!! The snow was still falling and in fact it looked more like tiny hail stones in the ground. The sun was shining and it really was lovely. It would have possibly been more lovely from inside sitting by a roaring fire but where’s the fun in that??!!

Hail stones

Hail stones

Towards the end of the walk we came across a field full of horses so giving them a wide berth we finished the walk by road. An old chap was putting his dogs back in his car and asked me what breed Rudy and Rio were. On telling him they were working cocker spaniels he said “No they aren’t!! My daughter has one and it’s half their size!!”. Hmm well that’s me told then!!!

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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!!!

Steady boys!!!

21 Feb

Well the last few days have been “interesting” to say the least!! On saturday we had an eventful walk with a bitch that was at the end of her season. To say the walk was a nightmare was an understatement!! Rudy and Rio were beside themselves the whole walk and indeed they stayed at that level all the rest of that day and all night to the point I had to keep telling them off and trying to calm them down!!

Spring moon

Spring moon

Then sunday whilst walking with another friend and her male dog we bumped into my Mum and her male dog and all 4 of them were very frisky shall we say??!! It would appear they think Spring has sprung and the sap is definitely rising!! I have given thought in the past to using Rio as a stud dog as I have been approached a few times. Now thou I am having second thoughts as if they reacted as they did to just the possibilty of some fun, what on earth would they be like to live with if they were allowed to “achieve their potential”???!!!

I honestly don’t think I could cope with all the frantic pacing around and constant desire to be busy, if you catch my drift!! Or am I panicking unneccessarily? Does anyone have experience and any advice they can share? It took so long to get back to normal living I was exhausted!!!

Something in the air??

Something in the air??

Creature comforts!!

11 Feb

As my friends and I battled against strong winds and incessant driving rain to walk our dogs at the weekend high up in the beautiful Cotswolds, I had to question my sanity!! I mean really!! We were all soaked to the skin as when we left home the drizzle that greeted us was insignificant but within minutes of arriving at the start point it was pouring, so we had foregone the sensible waterproofs!!!

Rainy days!!

Rainy days!!

Oh well nothing ventured and all, so off we set like some intrepid fools head first into said deluge and all for what? Well to exercise our Canine companions of course!! To see them having fun running all over the hill and thoroughly enjoying themselves!! To witness their complete joy at being free, untethered by leads, completely unencumbered by anything!! Their sole aim in life at that moment was to have fun and enjoy themselves!!
I wonder how many of us humans can say we do the same? How often do we feel confident enough to rush up to new people and introduce ourselves regardless of status, creed, colour and age? Dogs don’t care who you are or what you look like, they just generally want to meet and greet. It’s very unusual for me to walk my dogs on a daily basis and not bump into another dog owner and stop for a conversation.
I have friends I have met solely through dog walking. I would never have met them if I hadn’t been out and about with the dogs. There is something of a community feeling to dog ownership. We have a common love of our 4 legged friends and we are not afraid to tell people!!! We talk to each other, share our worries (not all dog related), congratulate others on triumphs and sympathise with them when times are hard. Surely that must benefit us?
In fact research has shown that dog ownership can help with so many day to day medical issues. Having Rover in your life lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol. Stress levels can be greatly reduced by having your faithful friend greet you when you get home. The ecstasy you see in them when you have been separated even just for a few hours is incredible!! Who else would throw themselves on you as if their life depended on it?? Dogs don’t have moods, they just love you with all their hearts and in return you love them.
Dogs have even been known to detect early signs of cancer, seizures and hypoglycaemia in their owners. I mean how amazing is that?? I don’t know how they do it, maybe it’s something different in how we smell but lives have certainly been saved and I think that is mind blowing!!

Happy days!!

Happy days!!

At the end of the day thou a dog brings so much joy to our lives, from their wagging tails to their soulful puppy dog eyes when trying to wheedle a treat out of us!! Who can say no to the paw on the knee and the head tilted on one side?? After a trying day at work or a row with your partner or a touch of road rage on the drive home, you open the door to your most faithful and loyal friend thrilled to see you and you know everything will be alright!! As soon as you sit down and stroke your dog and fight off the licks because yes you love them but their breath is not the best, you relax and start to unwind safe in the knowledge your dog will love you forever. Unconditionally. And that’s a great feeling!!

Who’s a dummy??!!

5 Feb

After lots of hill walks I decided Rudy and Rio would benefit from a slower paced walk, more controlled, more confined and to them, ultimately more boring!!!! Anyway, decision made we set off for some local fields with a training dummy. For those who don’t know, a dummy is a training aid used to encourage dogs to retrieve an object and bring back to the owner. Working dogs use these weighted dummies to prepare them for when they get out in the field and have to bring back pheasants.

Training dummy

Training dummy

After the dogs had had some fun running round and doing what needs to be done, we did some heel work and general whistle recall work so there was a fighting chance they would be interested in what I wanted them to do!! The field we were in has plenty of long grass and hedgerows which both dogs love to explore!!

I called them both to me and had them sit. Rio sat and gazed at me intently his whole back end swaying as he wagged his extra long tail!!! Rudy…hmm well as usual Rudy sat slightly apart and gazed intently…into the distance!!! Clearly not impressed that his fun had been curtailed and equally determined to blank me just so I knew what crime I had committed!!!

Keen as mustard!!

Keen as mustard!!

Ok so far so good..ish!!! I had the dogs smell the dummy and said “mark”. Again Rio studied it carefully while Rudy couldn’t have cared less!! I threw the dummy into a clearing not too far away and both dogs waited for the command to retrieve. After a few moments I told them to “go back” and Rio ran straight to the dummy, picked it up and proudly ran back to me, tail wagging frantically!! Rudy had sort of mooched toward it and got side tracked and had a pee instead !!

Ok second go. Again both dogs smelled the dummy and waited as I threw it, this time a few feet further and into some longer grass. At the command Rio sprinted to the area and again found the dummy straight away, retrieved it and brought back ,if not directly to me then in my general direction!! As Rio had set off I had see Rudy out of the corner of my eye take off in completely the opposite direction!! Clearly from the look on his face this was SO DULL he took it upon himself to do his own thing!!

Rio was loving it so much I decided to just do it with him instead and let Rudy get on with it!! After a few more throws Rudy came back and joined in. I swear dogs are like kids !! Once Rudy realised he was getting no attention he wanted to play again!! I almost felt sorry for him as although he can find the dummy most times, he is slower at it than Rio!!

After about 10 minutes Rio was so over excited I called a halt to it before he spontaneously combusted on the spot!!! He wouldn’t leave my side thou as the dummy was in my pocket so we went off up the track with me walking and him doing his best kangaroo impression and yes Rudy skulked along too!!!

It was really good to see Rio doing so well and I guess I just have to accept they are different dogs and Rudy just isn’t that interested!!

Wake up sleepy head!!

1 Feb

Even Rudy and Rio have their tired times..admittedly not many and the sound of their leads being taken off the rack can render them thoroughly over excited in a nano second..but they do settle down nicely in the evenings, usually both desperately trying to lie by me.

Tired!!!

Tired!!!

We usually play musical chairs most evenings!! I sit on one sofa ..there are 2.. and Rudy immediately jumps up twirls round a few times then lies down against me with a huge satisfied groan. Rio has to make do with sitting at my feet refusing to let me stop stroking him til I feel my arm will drop off!!

Rudy jumps down to get a drink and Rio leaps into the vacated space and curls up quickly to try and put Rudy off. Hmm that doesn’t usually work and Rudy will just leap up and sit looking at Rio willing him to get down. If that doesn’t work he harumphs, sighs, looks pained and then curls up alongside or partially on top of Rio!!!

Bendy Lulu!!

Bendy Lulu!!

My friend Sue has 3 dogs as you know and hers have been equally tired lately as you can see!! Lulu seems to have a spine made of jelly!! She has to be the most bendy dog ever!!! We both allow our dogs on the sofas with us but it does come to something when I can’t move because I am squashed by a dog!!

Does everyone indulge their pooches so much or is it just us???!!!

Crash, bang, wallop!!!

28 Jan

Well it’s been a very “doggy” weekend!! Friday night saw our girli supper group meet up at Paola’s house. You may remember she has Crash the beautiful if huge Dalmation!! Crash is very friendly and delighted us all by joining the group and happily enjoying the various invitations to join us on the sofa!!! He is very “human” in his ways and sat listening to the laughter with a knowing look on his face!! I wonder what goes through our Canine Companions minds?

Crash look a like

Crash look a like

Do you think they get pleasure from seeing their masters or mistresses having fun?? Do they like seeing us laugh and chat and gesticulate wildly whilst making our point?? Do they frown as the wine flows?? Do they hanker after the food whilst hoping against hope that the cheese board will be laid just at their nose level?? This certainly happened friday and poor Crash was repeatedly directed away from the cheese!! He could easily have snatched the brie or whipped the stilton away but instead he just sort of subtley sniffed in the general direction, turned away and sighed!! Bless him!!

Then yesterday I walked with Fi and Dave and Digs. Cleeve Hill was mostly clear of snow by now with occasional hidden pockets that the dogs dived in without realising just how deep the drifts were!! Cue much struggling and legs paddling frantically to release themselves!! Where the snow has melted there are now huge lakes of water, most of these scattered across the golf course that snakes round the hill.

Rio charged into one of these lakes and soon found out it was deep so skirted around the edge!! Digs however didn’t see this so threw himself in and was completely submerged!! Totally!! As he came up for air his face was a picture!! He was soaked from head to toe but totally unperturbed, he just shook himself and ploughed back in again!!!

Before the thaw!!

Before the thaw!!

Even thou it was really cold and the wind was viscious we all agreed that walking up there with the dogs and the amazing far reaching views is good for the soul…and the hangover…and it never fails to lift your mood!!

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