Sunday, May 2, 2021

Teddy Bear - a new legend dawns!

 It has been quite a week in our household. Last Saturday saw the much anticipated arrival of my apprentice, Bear, who is, for the sake of clarity, a girl! Now nobody asked me if I wanted an apprentice, and I wasn't involved in the choosing process, which quite frankly was a bit rude, so I reserved my judgement until after I met her.

'Them Indoors' had given some careful thought as to how to manage the introduction, and decided to take me with them when they went to collect Bear. I travel strapped into a car seat, and Bear has her own, so we came home in the back of the car, with 'Her Indoors' in between us, giving us equal fussing. When we got home, we did a nice wander around the garden and then we went inside; me first, obviously, as it is my house.

'Her Indoors' was very careful about food, fussing and toys, as these were obvious potential bones of contention, if you'll excuse the pun, but things have gone very smoothly. Bear loves me - obviously - and it took only three days of her best puppy charm before I was playing with her, zooming up and down the hall, dropping toys for her and returning her play bows. 'Her Indoors' is very firm about crate time for both of us, so we get plenty of rest, which is absolutely fine by me - I love a nice beddie as you know.

Whilst Bear has her disadvantages: she pinches toys, jumps up at my ears and tail and is fascinated by my bed, she also has some advantages. New toys have appeared like magic, there have been joint training sessions - easy peasey stuff like 'sit' and 'bed', with accompanying treats, and lots of praise for being tolerant. 'Her Indoors' was a bit horrified when I yawned one time, and Bear decided to put her head in my mouth, like a lion tamer, to look for any left over noms. I stood there patiently with my mouth open until she had finished. I have tried to sneak some of her dinner but 'Her Indoors' has learnt to be more careful as puppy food is a bit rich and it unsettled my tum slightly. 

Bear has been very quick to catch on in the weeing and pooing outside department, probably helped by the lavish praise that is heaped upon her every bladder and bowl movement. Anyone would think she was excreting pure gold! The flip side of this is that 'Her Indoors' has found herself accidentally praising me for the same thing, as if I haven't been doing it for years without a mention! The only time Bear seems to have lots of accidents, is when 'Him Indoors' is left in sole supervision. 'Her Indoors' has been muttering darkly about him 'not reading the signs', but I've not see Bear holding up any signs so I think she's being a bit unfair. It took Bear a short while to realise that night times are for sleeping, but she is now going through the night which is a relief to us all.

Useful pieces of equipment in the puppy containment department are her crate, a puppy play pen and a stairgate across the kitchen door. Deployed tactically, these can give us brief respite on needing eyes in the back of our heads and high speed reflexes. She also has a backpack so she can accompany us on walks and start to get used to the sights and sounds of the big wide world. She sits in it, watching me closely.

She has had her second vaccination, so next weekend she can go on her first walk, and next week we shall be meeting a few of our important people, including Ann and Peter who sometimes look after me for the day if 'Them Indoors' have to go off somewhere. Their garden is ace and they are excellent at spoiling a fur so Bear needs to make a good impression. Then she's got a play date with two very well-behaved and sociable labradors and, in a few week's time, her first trip in the motorhome.

I shall be with her all the way, showing her the ropes, as the Boss did for me. After all, a Teddy and a Bear were clearly intended to be quite a team! 

                                                She's mastered the stairs and the tilty head!

                                                She even sleeps occasionally...

                                            That's one of my toys, bloomin' cheek!

                            Showing the pupster how to deploy the appealing eyes for treats.

                                                        Bear in her beddie!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Time goes by...

Today is the second anniversary of the passing of my predecessor, the late, great Rolo. Our lives overlapped for about a year and I am forever in his debt for accepting me, when he was a very senior dog, as part of his household, and for sharing with me just a few of his many skills and experiences. He was quite a fur!

When dogs go over the rainbow bridge, there is an understandable out-pouring of heartfelt anguish from their family. Those who have lost a pet, know how it feels, and there is much love and support for those who are going through such a bereavement, at least in the lovely world of dog twitter, if not always in the wider world. But although it doesn't feel like it will ever happen at the time, feelings do change and for us, the pain of loss has been replaced by a fond remembrance and a gratitude for the time we had together. Rolo might not be here in the fur, but his presence is carried with us and anyone who knew him, through our lives. His mark, like paw prints in setting concrete (it will be no surprise to learn that Rolos' are forever embedded in the foundations to 'Her Indoors' office!), is indelible.

When Rolo died, he was sixteen years and three months old. He suffered from the range of aging infirmities including bad arthritis which plagued his later years. When he passed, the memories were of an elderly dog, in decline. Two years on, 'Them Indoors' can remember him as a younger fur, playing with the juniors, obsessed with tennis balls, racing around, forever up to no-good. They remember his whole life not just the end part.

We are particularly blessed with the Boss. He left his two books: 'The Last Rolo' - a year in his life, and 'Sit, Stay, Roll Over' - a training manual for dogs on how to get the best out of their humans. His voice is forever with us and anyone else who cares to read them. Add to that, the videos, photos and memory box 'Them Indoors' compiled after he passed, and we have a wealth of happy reminders of a fine dog who led life to the full, at top speed!

Death is a part of life, and knowing it is there for all of us, gives tremendous value to the time we have together. And a death, although terribly sad, is not necessarily a tragedy, it is the end of a chapter. When my previous owner, Sandra, died, it felt like my world was collapsing, but I have gone on to find great happiness in my new home, and have done many things I had never done before with a whole new family. Whilst I didn't replace the Boss; he was and is irreplaceable, what can I tell you, I did help 'Them Indoors' to move forward and I've taught 'Him Indoors' that there are many different kinds of dog, and Rolo was his own indimitable version.

So, on this special anniversary, we won't feel sad, we'll feel happy for the great times we had, and the fun times we are having and will have, of which, Rolo is still a part. And if you have recently lost a pet yourself, take heart, it does get easier and one day, you too will look back and smile.

                                                                    What a cutie!

                                                As a youngster - he was a fine looking fur!

                                                                 Rolo the author

                                                             The Boss in MY bed!

                                             The Boss teaching me how to be a literary fur!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Lockdown Number Three....

 Well here we are in our third lockdown and I have to say we've got quite proficient in dealing with them. 'Them Indoors' stay at home and follow the rules, with 'Him Indoors' occasionally going to work, which is empty, to check the premises and do a few jobs he can't do from home. He also does the food shopping for us and his Mum as we are her support bubble. 'Her Indoors' works from home using collaborative media, tries to support the seniors and the juniors as much as possible from a distance, and avoids watching the ten o'clock news as it stops her from sleeping. This time she is also checking her GP's website to watch the rolling out of the vaccine programme and to remind herself that this IS going to end....

My role is to stay close to 'Them Indoors', ideally lying on their feet in case they get any strange notions about going anywhere, and take them out for long walks to keep them fit, well and distracted. 'Her Indoors' is only allowed out to buy my biscuits from 'Pets Corner'. If their spirits are flagging I do some toy spinning, and I play an important role helping with 'Her Indoors' on-line teaching. I like to contribute randomly to the sessions. 'Her Indoors' has got a bit more agile with the mute button over time but I've found that if I bark when she is speaking there is not much she can do about it. You've got to get your pleasures where you can.

'Them Indoors' are both busy with various crafting projects. 'Him Indoors' got a Lego Saturn Five rocket kit for Christmas, which he has built, and he's now making a special frame so he can display it on his study wall safely out of reach of inquisitive terriers. 2000 pieces would take quite a long time to rebuild in the event of a mishap. 'Her Indoors' has had her knitting needles on the go which is, quite frankly, a worry. However, this time she has come up trumps and knitted me a new dog mattress cover for my campervan bed. She designed little Border Terriers as part of the pattern so she's quite pleased with herself. I'm not particularly interested in the aesthetics but it is good and comfy so gets my vote, with all four paws, in a horizontal position of course.

Also, 'Her Indoors' has had an idea about using some of our time to raise money for charity. One of her favourite charities for people is St Peter and St James' Hospice where she does her Writing for Wellbeing sessions. These have been on-line during the whole pandemic, and the lovely folk there have done their very best to support everyone: staff, patients and volunteers throughout these difficult times. Like most charities, funds are tight, so when 'Her Indoors' saw their 'Pedal in Paradise' challenge she was intrigued. The idea is that you collect sponsors to cycle or walk around Mauritius and they chart your progress around the island with photos etc. However, in reality, we have to walk around our village in February, which is somewhat different, lovely though it is..... 'Her Indoors' has unilaterally decided that I am doing it too, so please, if you can spare a few pounds, do sponsor us  and make my suffering worthwhile!  

donate here!

                                                If only this was where we are really walking...
                                                            My new beddie - very comfy!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

My Christmas Message

In the fine tradition, begun my predecessor and mentor, the Boss, it's the time of year for my Christmas blog, and what a year it has been. In our wildest imaginings we couldn't have foreseen this time least year, what was coming our way. Whilst it has been a very difficult time for everyone, we are aware that for 67,075, people to date, it has been a total disaster, and for each of those, there are a whole network of bereaved family, friends and dogs. Our heart goes out to everyone directly affected.

Whilst we have escaped relatively lightly so far, we have had the inevitable cancelled holidays and family events, long spells not working (thank Dog for furlough and self-employed income support for keeping me in dog biscuits) and the frustration of being confined to quarters for long spells at a time. We have missed seeing loved ones and are particularly sad that our Juniors, who are both in tier 4 in London, cannot come home for Christmas. It will be the first time without them both. 'Junior Him' was caught out by COVID without somewhere of his own to live, but has now bought a flat, and 'Junior Her' is presently without a job, but there is still a lot to be grateful for, and I have been counting my blessings as follows:

  1. Firstly, all of my hupeeps, 'Them Indoors' and our wider family, especially the Seniors: 'Him Indoors' mum, who is almost ninety, and 'Her Indoors' parents, who are comparative youngsters at almost eighty, are all well, to date. We think 'Junior Her' probably had the horrid COVID, which really needs a huge bitey on the bum, back in March, and 'Her Indoors' had a few sleepless nights, but with the resilience of the young, she shrugged it off with only mild symptoms. Thank Dog!
  2. Secondly, COVID has meant that 'Him' and 'Her Indoors' have spent much more time at home than normal. As I suffer from separation anxiety, this has been a real bonus. 'Her Indoors' might be slowly climbing the walls, and reckons she knows every leaf, twig and stone in our village, but she has been forced to stay with ME, and that's what matters.
  3. For different reasons, both Juniors have spent long spells at home. Now unlike the Boss, who grew up with them, I don't have that shared history, and, I'm slightly ashamed to admit it, but I was a bit scared of 'Junior Him' initially, as he is a tall man and I wasn't much used to that in my previous home. However, we have bonded, and I developed a man crush, learning how to watch football, snoozing by his feet. When he finally moved into his own flat, I searched the house for him, but he has given me visiting rights so I've already crashed at my London pad. 'Junior Her' was an easy win. She loves all dogs and BTs in particular, and I found happy sanctuary in her bedroom. I still miss her but I know I will see her as soon as she is able to visit.
  4. In spite of the various problems, we still managed to get away in our motorhome, and I got to meet a few of my Twitter Pals in the process. I sneaked across the border to meet Hamish in Strathclyde Country Park. Our humums chatted for England and Scotland whilst me and Hamish exchanged views on who to bark at and how to deal with swans. I also met up with Bonnie and Molly at Clumber Park. We hadn't met before but a finer couple of furs you couldn't hope to meet. 
  5. There has been a lot of gardening. Actually, there is always a lot of gardening, but this year, 'Them Indoors' have surpassed themselves. I've barked, at every given opportunity, and a few that weren't given but I seized them anyway, at ol' fluffy woofy next door. His name has actually developed into ol' cheesy fluffly woofy after one of 'Her Indoors' friends, on a socially distanced garden visit, accidentally referred to him as a Leerdammer instead of a Leoburger. Serves him right!
  6. Clap for the carers was also a high point. It brought the community together and focused attention on those who work so hard to keep others safe and well. We would like to give a huge bark of thanks to our Pals in the NHS, the scientists who have put their lives on hold to work on the vaccine and folk in a whole range of other occupations, seen and unseen, that have contributed to the greater good during this difficult time. 
  7. And finally, I'd like to give a paw clap to technology, to the Zoom and the Teams and the Skype that have kept us all connected. The oft maligned social media, particularly the special, unique madness that is the Twitter group, the BT Posse, has kept us sane with their humour, kindness and the antics of us little brown dogs.

So my Christmas message to all of you, is stay safe, hang onto your mental health and get your hupeeps queuing up for that vaccine the moment it becomes available. And if any youngsters are worried about an overweight man in an at-risk group, visiting every home in the world, and his potential to be a superspreader, I believe he has already had the vaccine as a key worker, but just to be on the safe side, I'm leaving a mask and some hand sanitiser next to the mince pie, sherry and carrot for Rudolph this year. Just for the record, I've been a very good dog. 

                                                                Meeting up with Pals!

                                                        Happy Christmas everyone!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Motorhoming Meltdown

We've just had five nights away in the motorhome and it has got to be the warmest UK stay ever, with the temperature exceeding 30 every day. I was certainly one hot dog. However, I owe much to the Boss's training manual, 'Sit, Stay, Roll Over', which emphasises the importance of getting your folks to put their dogs first in any given situation. When the motorhome was in transit, the air conditioning was switched on with one jet of icy air aimed at 'Them Indoors' and the other firmly pointed at yours truly. It was so effective that 'Her Indoors' started complaining about having cold feet, but I was too busy making sure I was perfectly aligned with the outlet to take any notice. Hasn't she heard of socks?

When on site, the heating system can be adapted to blow cold air rather than hot, and it comes out of vents just at the right height for small dogs. 'Him Indoors' had also made a rather timely investment in a camping fan so that was directed at me too. 'Them Indoors' rightly identified that I was the one stuck with a permanent fur coat, although there's a lot less of it since the unlocking of Nicky, the grooming lady. Still, I got preferential treatment which is, of course, only right and proper. 

'Them Indoors' had also sorted the water bowl dilemma. They appreciate the importance of me having access to fresh, clean water at all times, but find that a water bowl in a small space often gets knocked or trodden in which they find tiresome. I do too for that matter. I don't want feet in my beverage; I'm a fur with standards. Anyway, social media, in the form of the Facebook group 'Border Terriers that Camp' came up with a good recommendation: a Prestige non-spill water bowl with a sort of floating lid and a rim that is frankly human-proof -  no mean feat, or foot for that matter.

Motorhoming offered the usual pleasantries to a seasoned traveler. There was the divine right to the last sausage on the BBQ, as decreed by my worthy predecessor, which I benefited from every night. They even cooked me my own special sausage when they weren't eating them, which I think evidences a very high level of training on my behalf, further refining that instigated many years ago by the Boss. Then there was the opportunity to meet and greet other furs. As I can be a bit reactive, this can be a dubious pleasure, but I was the model of good behaviour on this occasion. 'Her Indoors' thought it might be pushing our luck when a couple turned up on the next pitch with three dogs: a Leonberger like we have next door (roughly the size of a small donkey if you haven't met one, but much more hairy), a British Bulldog and, just to prove their European credentials, a French Bulldog. I was swiftly moved inside just in case and, unfortunately, we moved on the next day so I was never able to see if I got on as well with this Leonberger as with the one at home, ol' fluffy wuffy. He's now actually called ol' cheesy fluffy wuffy after one of 'Her Indoors' friends accidentally referred to his breed as a Leerdammer!

In spite of the heat, I managed to get out in my Teddy trailer, towed behind 'Her Indoors' bike. There are several advantages to this. Firstly, it is nice and cool with the wind flapping through your ears and secondly, all the women love me because they think I am especially cute! We did see another dog owner with exactly the same trailer, but he was off to the supermarket and was using it for the shopping. I might be casting aspersions on his character, but I suspect the intended purchases might have been heavy and clanking a bit, not something that is true of the intended occupant.

The move to a new site was via 'Her Indoors' parents for a socially distanced BBQ in their garden. We haven't seen the seniors since February, due to lockdown, so it was particularly nice to visit them. They are fine, fur loving people, so I always enjoy my visits as I get plenty of fussing. Our arrival coincided with fish feeding time in the garden pond and I wasn't sure about that to be honest. There were all those scaly critters just below the surface, so I did what any self-respecting terrier would do, stood well back and barked. The fish didn't take any notice however, which further enhanced my suspicions.

Anyway, at the site I met a nice fur called Alfie, of a Labrador dispositions. Him and his hupeeps had come all the way from Strathclyde and his humum walked her dog in pink fluffy bedroom mules, which quietly amused 'Them Indoors'. Alfie made a bid for freedom but made the mistake of coming within sight of our motorhome, so 'Her Indoors' went and grassed him up to his folks who chased after him, his humum still in her footwear of choice, yelling across the field in broad Glaswegian accents. It was all very dramatic, and I watched interestedly until Alfie was caught and taken on the walk of shame, with a scolding ringing in his ears, back to his own caravan. Apparently, he had run away whilst they were busy making his tea which seems like a tactical error to me. Perhaps he didn't like what was on the menu, but I find that difficult to believe; he's a Labrador!

Still, we're back home now. Our return coincided with a burst water main and no water, but fortunately 'Her Indoors' had read about it on the village Facebook group so they were able to bring water home in the campervan tanks. I pity the poor guys digging up the road to mend it in all the heat, but they managed to get the water back on by bedtime which allowed 'Them Indoors' the luxury of a shower.

Things are now back to what passes for normal in our house, but we are away again, for a longer trip, later in the year, so I shall start looking forward to that. I do enjoy a motorhome adventure. 

                                                                      Taking the air!

                                                        Cooling off in the shade

                                 One of those sausages is mine so I'm just keeping an eye on it

                                                    Looking cute in my Teddy Trailer

                                                    Very suspicious!




Saturday, May 16, 2020

Ballad of the Border Terrier

In celebration of 100 years of the Border Terrier, and in keeping with my role of literary fur, here's my attempt to capture us in poetry.....

Ballad of the Border Terrier by Teddy

This weekend’s a big celebration
For the whole of the Border Terrier Nation,
Unless someone has blundered,
BTs are a hundred,
So breakout the cheese and the bacon!

Don't mind if I do!

Ready to party!

Border Terriers have a proud history,
Bedlington, Dandie, mixture a mystery,
We’re game and we’re feisty,
For a treat we’ll sit nicely,
In a battle of wills, ours is victory!

Are we related?
We may have been bred for some working,
But we’re equally good at task shirking,
If it suits us, we’ll do it,
No treats and you blew it,
In a sun puddle is where we’ll be lurking!

Keep tickling those ears 'Him Indoors'

Us Borders enjoy games with our toys,
Ideally that make lots of noise,
We’ll dead them and chew them,
Destuff and cause bedlam,
Destruction with professional poise!

How did that happen? Incy Wincy......?

Our pupsters are cute beyond measure,
Causing humums to swoon with the pleasure,
Our demeanour is pleasing,
But behind it we’re scheming,
Re-order, pack-order, at leisure!

We don't have any pictures of me as a puppy, atlhough Ladies, I was cute beyond measure, so here's the Boss!
Us Borders might appear tough
But when it comes to our hupeeps we’re mush,
For an appropriate fee, we’ll sit on your knee,
Of affection and food, not enough!

Just holding paws...

We have a rough coat for outdoors,
And shed terrier glitter on floors,
Our fur needs hand stripping,
But don’t mention on Twitter,
Or a half-clad young lady is yours!

She went for the picture of me being groomed....thank Dog!

Border Terrier are known to be mad
But we’re idiosyncratic not bad.
We like a few rules
To break and abuse,
On the sofa or on the big bed!

I did it!

But today is the time for a party,
So let’s rip and be a bit barky.
A scolding, we’ll risk it,
For doggy beer and a biscuit,
We’re rocking this centenary malarkey! 

Ready to party!
Just a quick reminder Pals, we've got a special lockdown offer on both of our books, and for this weekend only, all the profits from book sales go to Border Terrier Welfare with thanks for the great work they do. If you haven't got these BT set texts, click here!
Get buying Pals!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Philosophy of Research

'Her Indoors' has been busy working on an assignment for her PhD and there has been much huffing and puffing over the last couple of weeks. I am, quite frankly, glad it's all over, as she's been spending far too much time staring at a screen and getting irritable with any barking or whining. Apparently it breaks her train of thought. It's obviously a very fragile thing thing that's all I'm saying. Anyway, she's clearly been making heavy weather of it, so I thought I'd show her the way.
          One of the first things is to be clear about is terminology and concepts, so to banish any doubt, I'll start by defining a few:
Paradigm - Easy, that's a model, probably one of those slim, spruced furs that appear at Crufts.
Epistemology -The art of leaving and reading pee-mails.
Ontology - The study of your Mum's sister, in my case, a worthy relative called 'Always Dotty'.
Methodology - Like a method, only much more important as it's got an 'ology' attached.
          Then it's a case of establishing the relationship between them and that's easy too; they're all pups from the same litter so they hang around together, occasionally playing with the same tuggy toy or pinching food, and at other times, only loosely associated. Sorted!
          There's also the matter of some fundamental views on reality and knowledge. Something was mentioned about knowing what a table is and whether or not it still exists when you can't see it. Well, I don't know about you Pals, but these PhD students clearly aren't the full ticket. A table is a wooden thing with legs that has noms on top. If you shut your eyes and open them again the table is still a table but the noms are often gone. I've also noticed that 'Them Indoors' have the wrong idea about reality when watching the TV. They don't seem to get sufficiently agitated when dogs appear and then run off screen. I always check round the back. I don't want some strange fur turning up in my living room thank you very much.
          Then there's the different theoretical and philosophical approaches:
Constructivism - Building something up, like Lego.
Post-structuralism - I'm not sure about the second part, but the first is something you bark at, and, if you've got our postman delivering it, you get a nice biscuit.
Critical realism - This is a training term. It means you've not done very well but that's probably as good as it's going to get.
Feminism - be respectful to the lady furs or else!
          So that's all there is to it. I really can't see what the problem is. Now come on, University of Lancaster, that's my second assignment completed so what more do you want as evidence of my genius; where's my dogtorate?
Get off that computer and play with me.      

Paradigms, clearly, with all that fluffy fur...
Checking for any furs coming into the living room

And when I open my eyes, it'll still be there.....

Teddy Bear - a new legend dawns!

 It has been quite a week in our household. Last Saturday saw the much anticipated arrival of my apprentice, Bear, who is, for the sake of c...