Tag Archives: puppies

It’s spooky time…

Don’t you just love Halloween? No? Me either, well at least I didn’t used to, but lately I’ve gotten more and more into the spirit (pardon the pun) of it. I think it started a few years ago when I dressed Vivvy for her puppy Halloween party at doggie training. It was lovely taking her for walkies dressed in her little witchy hat and cape, and getting the reaction of the kiddies who were doing their trick or treat fun. One little lad caught up with me in the local field yesterday and asked if Vivvy would be dressing up again this year, so it looks like I’ll be heading out to the shop to get her a new costume 🙂 We have a Spooky Evening Walk here in the village on Monday night where lots of houses are decorated. It’s fun, and Vivvy loves it, mostly because she gets loads of attention, and treats!

What I really love about Halloween though, aside from eating all the leftover chocolate/sweeties after trick or treat, is watching the scary movies on TV. This year so far I’ve watched Interview with the Vampire (can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this in the past), Dracula, The Midnight Club, What Lies Beneath, and 28 Days Haunted. The shows I love most though are the ones that are those ‘reality’ types they do just for Halloween, where celebs get to stay at a ‘haunted’ house/mansion/castle for a few nights. I especially like the ones where there is audience participation and you can comment via email/YouTube about anything paranormal you think you’ve witnessed on screen. Yes, I know they’re mostly a set up and purely for entertainment purposes, but it’s just fun getting scared in a safe environment, LOL.

How about you? Are you a Halloween fan? Like scary movies?

A Time for…Projects!

Okay, these are strange times, aren’t they? I hope everyone is keeping safe and well.

Here in the UK, the weather this week has been a great help – sunny, sometimes warm, and it feels very springlike. So we’ve been making the most of it with coffee-breaks in the garden, followed by a bit of weeding and pottering, and even sitting and catching up with some reading.

20200324_120656Of course, Vivvy loves having us around all the time, and she’s enjoying walks with both of us rather than just mostly AJ. Like her mum, she’s a summer baby and is never happier than lounging in the sun. She loves the water, too, and can find a stream or muddy puddle at a thousand paces. Strangely, she won’t go near the little paddling pool we bought for her and eyes it like it’s going to pounce and attack her. It’s so funny watching her circumnavigate the offending pool with a beady eye and at a very safe distance.

IMG-20200324-WA0000I thought this cartoon was so appropriate for these times, especially since AJ is incredibly gregarious and when he says he’s taking Vivvy for a walk and will only be an hour or so, I know to basically double it because he’ll find someone to talk to along the way.

Like most people, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I’d like to accomplish during quarantine and here’s a list of some of the projects I have in mind:

  1. Redesign and re-plant one area of the garden
  2. Clear out wardrobes and cupboards
  3. Declutter the garage
  4. Take an online writing course I’ve been wanting to do for ages
  5. Finish writing a new romance series that has been on the backburner for way too long

I’m sure they’ll be a few more things to add, but that’s basically what I’d like to accomplish.

So, over to you. What are you planning to do during this period? What projects are you going to undertake/finish?

Maybe, when this is over, we can all share how much we’ve achieved 🙂

Stay safe everyone. Sending huge cyber hugs…


Puppy Update…with a difference!

First off, a thousand apologies for my late post. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever forgotten to put up my blog on my assigned final Friday of the month. Anyway, here we go… Being boarders for guide dog … Continue reading

Puppy Update

It’s been a while since I did an update on life here at Puppy Central and the comings and goings of our guide dog puppies. Last year we seemed to have wall-to-wall puppies for boarding, with only a few breaks between to grab some time away. Not that we’re complaining, as we adore every moment – well almost. So I thought you might like to know what’s been happening to our little charges:

WoodyRemember Woody? Well, he went into training and took to it like the proverbial duck to water. At first the trainers had problems with his recall. He was never one to come back when there was a better offer around, like another dog to play with. But they managed to train that out of him and he is now a qualified guide dog. His new owner adores him and they have made a lovely team. Well done, Woody!

UshiThen there is our lovely Ushi. She was a sensitive little girl when she was small, but matured into a confident little lady. Like Woody, she qualified fast. Now she is working with a lady who recently lost her husband and older guide dog. She says that Ushi is her precious companion and it seems the two are inseparable. Ushi still has her lovely smile to greet people, and is much loved.

Whispa 7 months Sept 14What can I say about our lovely Whispa? Other than AJ spoils her when I’m not looking? Well, she is very spoil-able, and such a sweetie. Whispa is due to go into advanced training in June. Like Woody, she also has problems with recall but I’ve every confidence they’ll be able to train that out of her. She was recently spayed and didn’t have too good a time of it. We couldn’t free run her until she was healed, of course, and she struggled to cope with the lack of exuberant exercise. She is a high energy girl and loves to run and play. Having got the all clear from the vet, she is now happily off on her adventures in the fields and woods again. We’re hoping for another visit (or several) before she goes off to training.

photo0809Then there’s our little princess, Vivvy. Our cheeky girl! Nine months old now and too adorable for words. She’s always up for a cuddle and a play, but can be a stubborn little madam. I love her with a passion.  She’s just come through her first season, so is due to be assessed for advanced training in a couple of weeks. The only problem will be her sensitivity to noise. She gets worried about unusual or unexpected noises and backs away. The problem is that she doesn’t react to any noises in particular, so it will be difficult to pin down. She also shies away from going into the pet store, and makes a dreadful fuss about it. We’ve got our fingers crossed that she might grow out of it.

Sandy, Beauty, and Emily are all in training and appear to be doing well. So no doubt we’ll have good news about them soon.

We’re so proud of all our little charges. They do such an amazing job.

Summer Puppy Fun

I thought it was about time for a puppy update. It’s been like a conveyor belt of guide dog puppies here in the Jones’ household this summer, and as one has left another bundle of fun has arrived, sometimes within a matter of hours.

Whispa playing with toys at four months

Whispa at 4 months playing with her favourite duck toy

First came four month old Whispa, a Golden Retriever. What a little whirlwind! She came with the remnants of an ear infection, but would she let me put her drops in? Not on your life. It took two of us to coax her to sit long enough and that was only with AJ holding tight to a biscuit so she could nibble it and get her mind off what was happening.

Beauty and Zoe

Beauty and Zoe waiting for dinner

Then came sisters Beauty, a 10 month old Lab/Retriever, and Zoe, a 10 week old black Lab. They were probably the most laid back puppies we’ve ever had. We hardly knew we had Beauty and little Zoe wasn’t fazed by anything. They gave us a lot of laughs though, especially when Zoe tried to steal Beauty’s food.


Whispa 5 months old

Whispa returned for a weekend. She was okay at first but then we noticed she kept going outside every few minutes to try and relieve herself. After she was very sick in the garden we shot off to the vet. They wanted to keep her in overnight for a scan and x-ray. We drove home through probably the worst thunderstorm for years and spent a relatively sleepless night worrying about our little charge. We were able to collect her the next day having been told she had a nasty bout of cystitis. Poor little mite. But in the way of puppies, after a few shots of antibiotics she was racing around as if all was well in her world again. Phew.

Emily with stick aug 14

Emily with stick Aug 14

Then along came Emily. Eleven months old and the sweetest little girl. As you can see, her favourite thing is collecting sticks – the bigger the better! She bonded with AJ almost instantly and followed him around all week. Every time he left the room she would look at me as if I were personally responsible for his absence. Then came the crying, pitiful weeping that might have had the neighbours wondering if we were beating her or something. As soon as her hero returned, she would be all sweetness and light again.

Whispa came back again, this time with conjunctivitis! Remembering the trouble we had with her ear drops, we braced ourselves for eye drop time. She sat there as good as gold and let me do the necessary without any fuss whatsoever. Go figure!

Tia Aug 14

Tina in full ‘lady’ pose

As I type we’re looking after our friend’s golden Labrador. Tia is such a gorgeous girl…I’ve just realised, all our canine lodgers this summer have been girls! Tia is now five years old and quite a lady. We’ve had her several times before and when we’ve had puppies at the same time, she helps with any discipline required. She tells the pups in no uncertain terms when they’re overstepping the mark and really puts them in their place. She really is a golden girl!

We have a break now for a few weeks, that is unless the phone rings and our supervisor dangles another little cutie in our path. AJ is hoping for a boy next time 🙂 Although secretly I think he loves his adoring little girls following him around. Big softie that he is!

Puppies, Parks and Princess Victoria

After such a wet and soggy winter, here in the UK we’ve been enjoying some lovely bright days. It’s been getting the Joneses into a holiday mood and sent us scurrying for the brochures and checking out online deals. While it’s exciting planning trips to pastures new, recently I was reminded how easy it is to overlook the treasures to be found on our own doorstep.

Ushi lying March 2014Between our holiday planning we’ve had our favourite little lodger back to stay. Guide dog puppy Ushi, is a gorgeous flat coat retriever and is now just one year old. We’ve been boarding her on and off since she was six months old, which has been plenty of time to fall head over heels for she of the bewitching eyes and mischievous ways.

On Ushi’s last visit she’d just been spayed, which meant no free runs and only short lead walks. But after a few days she was raring to go, so on a particularly gorgeous day we took her out in the car to give her a change of scene. A short drive away from us is the Georgian City of Bath and its Royal Victoria Park. RVP 1The Park has been around since the early nineteenth century when, in 1830, it was officially opened by the young Princess Victoria. Apparently, Bath’s Royal Victoria Park was the very first to carry her name. (As a side note, the future Queen of England wasn’t a particular admirer of Bath and used to have the curtains of her train carriage closed when passing through the city. It is said she came to dislike the city after a Bath writer insulted her.)

The Park has beautiful botanical gardens which, shame on us, we rarely visit. They were formed in 1887 and are said to contain one of the finest collections of plants on limestone in the West of England. We thought it would be a nice place for Ushi as she’d enjoy all the different scents and smells. Once inside the gate, the scenery took my breath away. Cherry blossom all over the place. RVP March 2014I love trees and find something really fascinating in their shape and texture. Every tree in the gardens was as if someone had shaped them carefully to enhance their surroundings.


Near one of the entrances is a replica of a Roman Temple, the Temple of Minerva was constructed at Wembley in 1924 for the British Empire Exhibition, and rebuilt in the Botanic Gardens in 1926.

RVP WI 2The local Women’s Institute have a community garden within the Park which is made entirely of edible plants and flowers, the idea being to inspire people to plant edibles that are not only useful but also beautiful. The lady in the bath is a pretty fun exhibit and is based on the Bath WI logo.

RVP AJ and UshiHappily, all three of us enjoyed our outing and shortly after this photo was taken (and a cream tea for us and chewy bone for Ushi, plus a lot of attention from fellow cafe patrons), we headed back home with a very contented and, sleepy, pup. Happy Days!

Puppy Days

A few weeks ago we were invited to the National Guide Dog Breeding Centre at Leamington Spa here in the UK. It was an appreciation day for puppy walkers to look around the centre, meet fellow volunteers and staff, and see the training the puppies undertake when they leave us after a year.

It was an amazing day. First we had the tour and saw lots of new born puppies. There was much oo-ing and ahh-ing, even from seasoned volunteeers, some of whom have been puppy walking for thirty eight years! We were told how the puppies are gently weaned away from mum, who for the first few days remains in the next pen so her puppies can still see her. Of course, all the pups seem to do at that age is sleep so we were creeping around and whispering for much of the time.Photo0352
But suddenly food arrived on the scene and they went from nought to sixty in two seconds. Their tiny paws hardly hit the ground as they pounced on the dishes. You can see the photo is a little blurred as I tried to take this action shot!Puppies 1

After lunch we were able to see some of the dogs in training, which was fascinating. Some of the things these animals learn to do is incredible: assessing the height of an overhanging branch on a pavement to make sure their owner can pass safely underneath; alerting their owners to approaching cars; working out how to navigate unexpected obstacles and difficulties…stupendous stuff.

UshiWe are currently boarding a seven month old flat coat retriever. Ushi is adorable, just wants to be close to us and absolutely loves her cuddles. This morning we took her in the car to a really great pet shop which is several miles away. She is not the best traveller and would rather be just about anywhere than in the car, but she has to get used to it so off we went. All was well on the journey out, but on the way home AJ had to stop very suddenly and her plastic bed slid and she was tipped out. The bed sort of settled on top of her and all we could see was a pair of very surprised dark brown eyes looking out at us.Ushi 1 We tried to settle her back, but she was not happy. Determined to see it through we tried to reassure her, but then ignored her (which neither of us find particularly easy to do, softies that we are). But top marks for ingenuity for our little lodger. Halfway through the journey home, she managed to get through the bottom of the grill and plomped on my lap before I even knew what was happening. There she sat for the rest of the trip, very happy and pleased with herself. Ah well, when the going gets tough, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do, hasn’t she? Happy Days!


Little Lodgers

As some of you know, our second guide dog puppy, Vinnie, went into early training in February because he was a particularly challenging little boy who was actually diagnosed by a vet as being hyperactive (well, we could have told … Continue reading