Category Archives: Pets

Smarty Pants

20180619_090513Smarty Pants … the new nickname AJ awarded Ms. Vivvy after she passed her Kennel Club Good Citizen’s Gold Award last week. She is incredibly pleased with herself, and I swear she knows that she’s done something of note, LOL.

It was quite a gruelling assessment (if not for the dogs, it was for the owners – phew!). We started at 10am and completed at around 11.45am. The tasks included: walking to heel along a busy road and not getting distracted by cars, people, noise and other dogs; A free run on the field where they had to come to an emergency stop when told (Vivvy was brilliant, and stopped immediately even when a swift decided to swoop down across her eye line at precisely the moment I shouted ‘stop’); and to retrieve a toy and bring it back to the owner. It also included being handled by someone unknown to the dog, leaving a bowl of food until given permission (which she’s been trained to do since puppyhood), and weaving in an out of bollards while staying close to heel.

There was also a two minute stay, thirty seconds of which required the owners to go out of sight of their dogs – something we’ve been working on for a while with little success, because usually as soon as I go out of sight she comes to find me, LOL. But bless her, she didn’t move an inch on the day.

Bronze Assessment Nov 15So, our golden girl now has the hat-trick: Bronze, Silver and Gold. We’re very proud of her.20160726_175911

Where to now? Well, we’ve been thinking about applying for her to become a P.A.T dog (Pets as Therapy). When my late aunt was in a care home, we took Vivvy and she was absolutely amazing. Lots of the residents wanted to make a fuss of her and she absolutely loved it. She was very calm and it was lovely watching her bring a smile to people’s faces. There is also the opportunity to work with children who have problems reading. It’s been discovered that when children read to dogs their confidence and reading ability greatly improves. So there’s much to think about and many options open to explore.

Whatever she does next, we know she’ll be a little star. We couldn’t be more proud of our Golden Girl.

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Taking a well earned rest!

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Of April Rain, Cold, Audits and Lemons

Jillian here. April thus far has been interesting here in the panhandle of Florida. It’s been abnormally cold. We always get a lot of rain in the merry month of April (yeah, I know the poem says May) but this year, it’s different as it’s not a warm rain. The days are not sunny and lovely (not many anyway); rather, they are cold and overcast. It’s been in the 40s Fahrenheit at night and we even had a fire in the fireplace yesterday as it never got much over 45 all day with the overcast skies. My son was shocked when he saw I’d made a fire. He said, “It’s April, Mom.” My response, “And I’m cold.”

We had torrential rain already on several days and Saturday, the 7th was especially heinous. Hobbes wouldn’t even get out of the bed. Poor thing.

I have a position I have to be audited in every four years. It’s never a bad thing but it is stressful to have someone going through your records and giving you a grade on how you’re doing. That was last week, so I am in the clear for four more years. I collapsed when it was over on Friday and didn’t do much all weekend. I watched my beloved Liverpool play on Saturday (Had to get up at 6:30 am for that) and read a book by Christopher Fowler. He’s such a great story teller. This was a book from the year 2000 called Calabash.

Today, I went to lunch at Sonny’s BBQ and ordered iced tea. The waitress asked if I wanted lemons. I said no.  She not only ignored that, she brought not one, but two glasses of tea with three lemon slices each. When I was ready to leave, she brought me another in a takeaway cup with three more slices of lemon.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t want all that so I left them in the drink. I think that qualifies for my good deed of the day, doesn’t it?

Stay warm, my friends! IMG_4356 (2)

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My Feline Life

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At our office, we have a number of stray cats who come to hang out with us. We feed them and have fun petting them for stress relief. When it’s cold out, we let them stay inside. They all also … Continue reading

No More Bad Hair Days

I’ve been searching for months now to get the perfect hairdryer. Every model I’ve tried is just not right for some reason. Too blowy, too noisy, too hot, too whatever. But before you start thinking this woman is too picky for her own good, I should mention that the hairdryer is not for me, it’s for a certain little lady who is indeed too picky for her own good.

Vivvy has a morbid fear of hairdryers. She runs a mile as soon as she sees me enter the room advancing on her with the object of doom. But with the weather here in the UK this January consisting of rain, rain and yet more rain, the search for the perfect hairdryer has become vital if my home isn’t to smell consistently of sopping wet Golden Retriever.

When a friend suggested a heated hair brush might be the answer I jumped on the idea. And what do you know? It worked. 20180127_112536While there was some initial resistance, and I have to use it on the lowest, slowest setting, I now have a happy girl who doesn’t run away when it’s fur-drying time. In fact, she positively loves it, and actually falls asleep after a few strokes of the brush. She’ll even let me brush gently close to her ears, which is a real breakthrough. 20180127_112339

So, we now have a happy dry girl and a less smelly home. Result. All we need now is for it to stop raining…

 

 

September…Arachnophobics Beware!

Ah, September … leading us gently into the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. But, of course, it’s also spider month, that time of year when the males begin to search for a mate and the little critters head indoors to find a place to spend the winter.

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Essential household equipment

I’m no fan of spiders and would never hurt them, but I don’t especially want to share the house with them either. Usually, the old upturned glass and cardboard removal does the trick, but so far this month these invaders have been pretty large and so I’ve been on the hunt for deterrents.

To date, I’ve tried herbs – lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint – and scattering horse chestnuts around the room, but they don’t seem to work too well, especially the chestnuts because I found a spider virtually sitting on top of one!  And they were also too attrac tiveto a certain Ms. Vivvy who thought they looked like a fun new thing to play with. But then she also finds the spiders themselves pretty interesting and pounces on them as if they are new playmates.

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Bad mummy.

She’s very disgruntled when we bring out the glass and cardboard and they’re removed from her vicinity.

Things I still plan to try out are citronella spray and lemon surface cleaners and polish, both of which have been recommended.

One of the things that really surprised me while researching the internet for natural deterrents was how many sites have photos of huge, and I mean huge, spiders on their web pages. Surely many people looking for deterrents are going to be mildly arachnophobic. The last thing they’d want is a massive spider looking out at them. Much the same as when I purchased a commercial spray to try. I bought a couple for my mum as well and had to cover the depiction of a spider on the bottle with a stick-on smiley face before I gave them to her.

Speaking of arachnophobia, be warned that the following video is probably not for you. Someone let loose a tarantula on a London tube train. They were lucky someone didn’t have a heart attack!

What’s that Smell?

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Yay! Fox Poo!

That’s a question we’ve been asking a lot lately. The sad truth is that it’s emanating from a certain Ms. Jones. And that would be Vivvy, not me! You see folks, lately we have a home that seems to smell permanently of fox poo. Too much information? Sorry, but there’s no beating around the bush on this one. Vivvy simply adores rolling in the Chanel No.5 of the doggie world, but for us humans…it’s gross.

We’ve tried everything to destroy the lingering scent of eau de fox poo, including: tomato ketchup (which leaves Vivvy looking like something out of a Hammer Horror film), soda water (which leaves us fancying a gin and tonic), and a specific spray from the pet store which turns the smell into something else entirely. Yuk.

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Enjoying a mud bath

To make matters worse Vivvy hates the hosepipe and runs to the bottom of the garden to hide under the hedge. Anyone would think I’m trying to kill her. Not that she dislikes water, far from it, and she’ll throw herself headlong into the tiniest puddle, the muddier the better, and seems to have built-in radar for the nearest stream. We’ve come to the conclusion that despite her penchant for top class canine perfume, she’s a tomboy at heart.

Yesterday, I took advantage of the good weather and had a spring clean. Flung open every window in the house, shampooed the carpet, washed everything that could be washed (including a very reluctant dog), and gave Vivvy’s toys a whirl in the washing machine. As you can see, she wasn’t too happy about that, turning her back on me to make sure I was aware of her displeasure at seeing her beloved ‘babies’ hanging unceremoniously on the washing line. But needs must.

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Look what they did to my babies!

So this morning the house (and dog) is spruced up and smelling fragrant. But since we’re just off for a walk in the local woods, I’m banking things won’t stay that way for long. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. Clean or dirty, we love our girl to bits. I just wish she’d change her perfume preferences!

Birthday Girl

15 weeks old

Vivvy at 15 weeks!

It’s hard to believe but Ms. Vivvy will be three years old next week! Wowee, where has the time gone? We adopted her just under two years’ ago and she’s been an absolute joy…and in unexpected ways. She’s not only gorgeous, well-behaved (mostly) and adaptable, but she’s so friendly and cheeky that she’s got quite the reputation here in the village where we live. We’ve lived here over twenty years now and until we started puppy-walking for guide dogs we only really knew a handful of people. That wasn’t helped by the fact we were both working during the day, too. Walking Vivvy has changed all that and now we have made so many lovely new friends and we really enjoy exploring the gorgeous countryside surrounding us.

Almost 3!

Vivvy – almost 3!

Because Vivvy has loads of doggy friends in the village I wanted to throw a ‘four-paws-party’ next weekend to celebrate her birthday and invite her chums along for fun and games in the garden. AJ thinks I’ve taken leave of my senses 🙂 While considering logistics I think he might be right. One of Vivvy’s BFFs is a sensitive little girl who gets stressed about the vagaries of the outside world, and her mum is currently trying to get her to come into our garden so that the girls can play while we enjoy a coffee, but until that happens I can’t consider a party without Vivvy’s special pal in attendance. Then there are a couple of dogs who don’t like each other, one who is very possessive over balls, another who barks incessantly when he gets excited…all in all, maybe a party is a trifle ambitious.

So, I’ll be making a special liver cake (yuk!) for our birthday girl (with candles of course) and she’ll have a special outing to the seaside  (her most favourite place on earth) and extra special hugs from us.

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Proud Daddy!

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