Saturday, 6 January 2018

Resolutions

Well, the festive season has come and gone in the normal way and 'Them Indoors' have emerged, blinking, in the cold light of January, slightly dazed and wondering what it was all about.

Just before Christmas we had an unexpected canine visitor when, Teddy, the Border Terrier 'Her Indoors' walks for the Cinnamon Trust, came to stay with us for two nights whilst his owner had an unscheduled trip into hospital. 'Them Indoors' didn't want to disturb my senior routine, as Teddy was only having a short stay, so they made his bedroom up in the conservatory, which is the opposite end of the house to the kitchen, where I sleep. Imagine my surprise when I went outside ready for my senior pootle, only to discover that another Border Terrier was there. I had to do a double take just to make sure I wasn't confused by my own reflection which is an easy mistake to make. Anyway, once I'd recovered from the shock we were formally introduced and it was all gentlemanly tail wagging and sniffing. Teddy was very considerate and walked slowly so I could keep up, and in return I introduced him to the best sniffing and pee-mail spots. It was rather companionable, and, if he plays his cards right, I might allow him to accompany me on the occasional walk in the future. Anyway, since Teddy went home, I've been regularly checking the conservatory in case 'Them Indoors' have got any other dogs secreted away that I don't know about. You really can't trust them out of your sight, honestly....

Anyway, in true post-Christmas tradition the weather is rubbish and the annual tax return deadline is looming. I don't worry about the latter; what can I tell you, I have staff, but the former is rather trying to a dog of a senior disposition. Even with a coat on, there is a limit to my tolerance. 'Them Indoors' have been taking the mickey out of my somnolence and reluctance to vacate my very comfy bed. I've got a good thick mattress and my soft toys arranged to block out any drafts and as pillows, why would I want to leave that for a soggy, windy and cold outdoors? There's also been some talk amongst 'Him' and "Her Indoors' about New Year's resolutions. I can't understand why they set such boring ones. Mine are simple. I resolve to take less exercise and eat and drink more whenever I possibly can. I'm also going to do what I want, when I want to, and I'm going to extract every ounce of fun and mischief out of a given situation. Sorted - Happy New Year!
An extra Border, in more ways than one!

Polite introductions

A few toys tastefully arranged.....

Why would I possibly want to go outdoors...?

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Seasonal Reflections

Now I consider myself a dog with a wealth of experience regarding the festive season, after all, it's my fifteenth Christmas, so there's a few tips I can pass on to the less experienced furs amongst you.

It's normal, at this time of year, for your family to become a bit preoccupied. 'Her Indoors' has been wandering round, clutching lists and muttering under her breath for weeks now. It's also normal for  the appearance of trees and other stuff that you normally associate with outdoors such as holly and ivy, in the house. Weeing on it is a definite no-no but if you get a chance to have a go at the baubles or tinsel, go for it, as for presents, get stuck into that wrapping paper at the first opportunity. As we get nearer the big day, maximise any opportunities in the food department, particularly dropped noms and unattended items. The only caveat is to avoid anything that's poisonous to us dogs as you don't want any unscheduled trips to the Vet.

If your standards of care start to slip a bit in the all card signing, wrapping, shopping and general seasonal bustle, make sure you draw that fact to your family's attention. I favour a little tactical naughtiness. So far, I've refused to come in from the garden when called and led 'Her Indoors' on a merry dance. Just as she got within grabbing distance I'd trot off again. The only disadvantage with this is when she did catch me I got such a scolding my ears wilted.

Next I found that someone had forgotten to fill my water bowl up, and when I woke at 5.30am for a little drink, I was thwarted. Not for long! I chased my empty metal bowl around the kitchen and made such a noise that 'Her Indoors' got up to see who was breaking in. She guiltily refilled my bowl but I decided it was play time. She wasn't very obliging. I then felt that I needed to go outside so she had to stand out in the garden, waiting, in her dressing gown, amongst the frost-fringed bushes, while I, after a token wee to deflect her wrath, sourced a quick snack under the birds' peanut dispenser. She gave me lots of advice about hurrying up, none of which I heeded.

Later on, when she actually wanted me to go outside for my walk, I stopped mid-way to the playing field and refused to budge. What can I tell you, it was cold. She had to pick me up and carry me home although once I got back I remembered it was breakfast time and started frolicking around like a spring lamb. What kind of name is 'little bugger' to call your senior Border Terrier?

Anyway, the big day is not far off now and I'm eagerly awaiting the return of my Juniors for a festive season of attention and tummy rubs. However, a few events have given me paws for thought. 'Her Indoors' runs a writing for well-being group at a local hospice and also dog walks for the Cinnamon Trust, so she knows a few people who are facing Christmas with serious and/or life-threatening illnesses. There are also those who've been bereaved in the last year, both of human and canine companions, for whom Christmas is an especially difficult time.

In addition, we saw a post on Twitter about senior dogs being dumped in rescue at around this time of year so that people can get a festive puppy instead. I guess there will also be the knock-on effect in a few weeks or months time, when people realise that puppies need a lot of caring for and also grow up, amazingly, into dogs, with all the demands on their attention and finances which that rightly entails. Such reminders, of some of the harsh realities of Christmas, don't do much for seasonal good cheer that's for sure.

So I'd like to spare a few moments to consider both furs and hupeeps for whom Christmas is a difficult, lonely and emotionally charged time and offer them my senior dog's breath licking and nose bumps which I know will be some considerable consolation. And if it's your Christmas that doesn't look as you'd wish it to look this year, consider it like an unattended kitchen table, and take from it what you can, enjoying what can be enjoyed, in the moment.

So, it just remains for me to send all of my Pals, real and virtual, my kindest thoughts and very best wishes for the festive season. I'll see you on the other side of the celebrations, in January. Happy Christmas to you all!

Waiting for Santa Paws....

'Her Indoors' gets revenge with a pom-pom on my bum!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

A Christmas Medley!

Do they Know it's Christmas

*in a serious voice*

It's Christmas time
and there's a need for a warm glow.
At Christmas time, we let in noms
and we banish 'no',
and in our tweets a plenty,
we can spread a smile of joy,
throw a ball across the park
at Christmas time.

Stop the Cavalry

*with a jaunty rhythm*

Bang! that's another bomb
on another town
while Kim Jong-un and Trump disagree
If we get way with it
live to wag our tails,
I'll run for the presidency.
If I get elected, I'll swap
The Senate for the BT Posse

White Christmas

*crooning gently*


I'm dreaming of a tight Christmas
With all the beers I've got to know
Where the treat tin glistens
And small furs listen
to hear the postman in the snow.

I'm dreaming of biting a biscuit
with every parcel that alights
May your dreams be rabbits aflight
and may all your Christmases be white


Whilst Shepherds

*sings with solemnity*


Whilst gardeners watched their crops by night
All growing in the ground
The bunnies came and nommed them up
And fury flew around.

Fear lots said they
for mighty dread was sneaking up behind
bad tidings of destroy he brings
to you and all bunny kind.

For few in Rolo's grounds this day
will escape Rolo's ire
so savour freedom whilst you can
from consequences dire!

All glory be to all BTs
and in bunny burrows be peace
Ne'er move henceforth from earth to garden
and chasing you will cease.

Merry Christmas Everyone

Special dog mince pie Pals...
*barks joyfully*

Snow is falling all around us
furs are pootling, having fun,
it's the season of noms that we're demanding
Merry Christmas, everyone.

Time for parties and celebrations,
BTs barking all night long,
time for ear-plugs and posse advices
so we're never in the wrong!

We're gonna have a party tonight
we're gonna raid that fridge,
underneath the hupeeps nose,
nom cheese by candle light!

With popcorn waiting, balls for playing
and the old furs, drinking beer
Oh I wish that every day was Christmas
what a nice way, to spend the year.

Merry Christmas everyone, Merrrrryyyy Chrrriistmaass everryyone! *trills to an emotional climax*


To all Pals, not just the ones we have photos of.....!


Sunday, 26 November 2017

Birthdays and long lost family

Well it's been quite a week! Firstly, 'Her Indoors', who's been gadding off abroad making friends with new furies, deigned to come back and attend to her pressing caring duties - namely me. 'Him Indoors' did his best, and he was particularly generous in the food department whilst 'Her Indoors' wasn't there to cast a beady eye, but 'Her Indoors' is my primary carer and I miss her when she's not around. A senior fur can't plump up his own mattress!

 
Flirting with another fury- at least I don't have to wear a spit-guard!

     On her return, she found that her birthday present from 'A Unicorn Moon' jewellery had arrived. As I had played a key role I was keen to see what it looked like and I have to say Sue did us proud. It's a pendent with tiny replicas of my actual paw prints and my name. In order to get clear prints, I had to have my in between pad hair trimmed. This involved me lying on my back with my paws in the air in my basket, 'Him Indoors' being deployed to tickle my tummy as a distraction, and 'Her Indoors' wielding the scissors. I was actually quite obliging which is more than can be said for 'Him Indoors' who wouldn't allow his hair-cutting scissors to be used on hygiene grounds! 'Her Indoors' had to use her embroidery scissors instead. Anyway, they then wiped my front paws with a special wipe and got me to stand on a piece of card. It took a couple of goes before I was satisfied with the quality - if I'm having my paw-prints immortalised they've got to be good ones, what can I tell you - then 'Him Indoors' scanned them in and sent them off. I have to say that the final result is really good and I like the idea of 'Her Indoors' carrying me with her wherever she goes - only right and proper of course.
What nicer present could there possibly be...

     And then, to add to the excitement, it was my fifteenth birthday. As the average life expectancy of Border Terriers is thirteen to fifteen years, this is quite a milestone, and now that I'm safely into my sixteenth year, I have the distinction of officially not being average. My aim is to beat the world record, after all, it's the least I can do for 'Him Indoors'. Anyway, I got the usual fussing, gifts and cards, and 'Her Indoors' took a few photos and posted them on social media in time honoured fashion. However, this time there was an extra surprise. My pal Roky on Twitter, noticed that there was another BT called Milly on Instagram who was celebrating her fifteenth birthday on the same day as me and who bore an uncanny resemblance. It only turned out that she is my long lost sisfur from the same litter! She was the last one born and I was the last one chosen - what can I tell you, I was saving myself! It turns our she lives nearby in Kent, so we're going to arrange to meet up. What are the chances of that happening?
     So, it's been a bit of an exciting time and I've had to have a little lie down on my new mattress to recover. I need to keep my strength up as I've got an emotional reunion to attend and then I need to get ready for Christmas.....
twenty-first wrapping paper - is she having a laugh?

A pleasing array of goodies

Okay, so it's a mince pie (special dog one from pet shop), but I'm not complaining!

Me and my long-lost sisfur Milly




Saturday, 21 October 2017

Finding my voice

Now it probably won't surprise you to learn that I've always been a dog with a lot to say for myself; what can I tell you I'm a vocal fur! There's always so much to comment on: people coming to the house or even just walking past (how dare they!), horses, other dogs (it'd be rude not to), birds flying over, squirrels, rabbits and then, occasionally, just barking for the sheer joy of sharing my voice with the world. It's something 'Them Indoors' can take exception to as my bark belies my size and can be surprisingly sharp when they're not expecting it. I don't know what they grumble about, they've both got robust hearts, as far as we know anyway....

And it's not like 'Them Indoors' are the strong, silent types themselves. 'Him Indoors' would deny it, but he likes a bit of a chat. Get him on the phone and he's there for the duration. He also talks to me although it has to be said that not all of that content is sharable and there's a fair amount of practising of alternative names. 'Her Indoors' chats to her family, her friends, visitors to the house, and of course, to me. She keeps up a little running commentary when we're doing things together, including when we're out for our walks, which has led to her getting funny looks from ignorant pedestrians. 'Her Indoors' takes comfort from her well-worn mantra that talking to your dog is not a sign of madness unless they start talking back. I can't think what she means....

Last week, me and 'Her Indoors' had a joint talking appointment at our local radio station, Uckfield FM, discussing my latest book, 'Sit, Stay, Roll Over'. I allowed 'Her Indoors' to do a bit of chatting to Tony the presenter, after all, what do you have staff for, and I did the backing soundtrack with some panting and moving about. If you haven't already heard it, you're missing a treat, take a listen.....

My radio interview

'Her Indoors' paid a price for such loquaciousness, she lost her voice later in the week and could only croak. This had it's advantages as she couldn't tell me off. She tried shouting in a whisper, but as I've got a bit of senior deafness I couldn't possibly hear her. Still, it didn't last for long and after a couple of days, it's come back and we're back to regular. I can't say I'm sorry. I missed our little chats and the occasional endearment that she sends my way when I'm looking all cute and innocent, curled up in my basket. Us dog's may not talk in the conventional fashion, but we're certainly big on communication in our own, inimitable way...

Professional communicators!

Just contributing a suitable backing soundtrack


 



Monday, 11 September 2017

Bordercamp, book launch and bunking off!

Well it's been quite a weekend! I've been at Bordercamp South, Mersea Island, Essex, launching my new book, 'Sit, Stay, Roll Over'. We arrived on Thursday with our caravan, only for 'Them Indoors' to discover that they'd forgotten to pack my dog-tether stake - their memories are not what they were, at their age, bless them. Anyway, they seemed to think that if they hooked my extendable lead over an awning peg that would suffice. Honestly, you'd think they'd know better. I'd escaped twice whilst they put the awning up! Anyway, 'Her Indoors' reckoned that if she pegged down the awning really well and blocked any obvious gaps, I would have a secure area of my own. That lasted for all of twenty four hours before I squeezed through a gap in the corner, whilst 'Her Indoors' was doing the washing up and had taken her eyes off me for two minutes. When she came into the awning I was gone. She went outside to look for me but could see no sign and started to panic. After all, I'm a senior fur with dodgy hearing a long way from home. Just as she was beginning to imagine the Facebook postings and tearful 'phone calls, I was brought back by a nice lady on a borrowed lead. I'd got bored so had gone to investigate another caravan to see if it was any better than my own. 'Her Indoors' was not happy and her mood was not improved by the fact that as soon as I was put back in the awning I promptly went to escape again and had to be hauled back. My ears were wilting and my lead was firmly pegged down again. This, however, gave me the added fun of tangling it repeatedly around the awning contents and then sitting looking forlorn until 'Her Indoors' came to rescue me. It's just as well I've got a zip up soft crate so at least we could both get some uninterrupted rest.

The following day I was in the marque, selling my book, but I found I could apply the same principle as the awning escapes and I squeezed through the corner twice, dragging my extendable lead behind me, until they tied me down with such a complex arrangement of knots and winding that even I was flummoxed. I don't know why 'Her Indoors' was so upset. 'Him Indoors' escaped for a whole day on Friday to a history event and I notice he didn't get into trouble and tied to an awning peg.

Anyway, the day was a great success. Not only did I sell some books but 'Her Indoors' entered me in the 'Best Veteran' class. As there was a lot of competition and I was the oldest dog there, we didn't really think I had much of a chance but it's all good fun. I greeted my adoring public through the holes in the orange plastic fence around the ring, tried to snaffle treats off all and sundry, and 'Her Indoors' had a nice chat with the other owners whilst we were waiting for my individual scrutiny. Then the judge had a good look, up close and personal, which I enjoyed. I like any attention, it's all grist to the mill as far as I'm concerned. Then we did our trotting. 'Her Indoors' was a bit stiff after all that chasing around after me the day before, but I made up for it by moving well and playing up to the crowd; I love an audience. When we were lined up and the judge was taking a final look, I gave her my most appealing eyes and it worked; I won. I got a rosette and a trophy, plus more importantly, a big bag of treats. I also got an award for 'oldest dog in the show' with a repeat haul of goodies, and another rosette and goodie bag for best veteran in the 'Best in Show' class at the end; clear the shelves and make way for my silverware! I only wish I had been young enough for Terrier racing too...In addition, I was made a fuss of by lots of people, including some juniors who yelled support for me, and given so many treats that 'Her Indoors' didn't give me my tea until eight o'clock that night as she didn't want me being ill - as if!

So I'd like to bark a big thank you to John Lawrence and the team from Essex Borders for a great event and providing a fitting place to launch my new book. I'd also like to thank everyone who bought a copy and if you haven't got one yet, what are you waiting for? There's signed and paw-printed copies on 'Her Indoors' website, just click on the picture of my book to the right of my blog, or there are regular copies for sale on Amazon. I'd also like to thank the judge for making a senior fur happy, and for buying my books afterwards too. She is clearly a lady of discernment and good taste. And if any fur wants some advice on escaping, just get in touch, I'm a bit of an expert, what can I tell you!
My new book!

I've told 'Her Indoors' about fraternising with strange men....

Enjoying a nice squeeze - what male wouldn't!

A distinguished line up

To the victor the spoils....

Just a few of my adoring public!

'Her Indoors' keeping a firm grip!

 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Senior Snootering

It has come to my attention that some of my pals on Twitter, whilst not as senior as myself, are definitely heading in that direction, so I thought it might be helpful to share the art of having a senior snooter or pootle, rather than a walk.
     For a start, unlike a walk, a senior snooter is definitely optional. If the weather is poor or you just don't feel like it, refuse point blank to go. There's not really much they can do about this. They could carry you, but as exercise is one of the reasons for going, it seems a bit counter-productive although it might save them a trip to the gym. Equally, it's up to you to determine the direction, pace and duration of the walk. I wear a harness for attaching my lead so I can throw my whole weight into influencing these things. I also suggest you master the brace position if they try to make you go faster or further than you want to, combined with a balefull stare, that should sort it.
     Once you are out on your senior pootle, you need to stop and sniff every scent in great detail. Don't be hurried by an impatient walker and whatever you do, don't miss one. Amble along, lingering at particularly interesting scents and retracting your steps if you want another go. 
     If you meet another dog, your greeting will depend on their disposition and age. If they are fellow seniors like my pals Chubby, Trigger and Milo, stop and exchange senior stiff-legged sniffing. If they are a youngster, make it clear that you don't want to play rowdy games of rough and tumble and chasing around. I do a good line in dodging young dogs, but if they persisit, give them a verbal rebuke. You need to put the young upstarts in their place.
    If anything new has appeared overnight, investigate it thoroughly and make sure you wee on it. And talking of wees, for us dogs, cocking your leg is all well and good, but if it's windy or your arthiritis is playing up, feel free to keep all four paws safely on the ground. You don't want to risk the indignity of falling over. 
     There are some places that are particularly good for sniffing and weeing; the corner of the village hall is one of them. All of the local dogs leave a message there and I need to find out what the gossip is. Us village dogs are partiuclarly blessed in having twenty four little posts that seperate the car park from the playing field, to stop youngsters who, for some strange reason, think it's good fun to drive on the playing field and churn it up. Anyway, they make ideal sniffing and weeing posts, although 'Her Indoors' patience doesn't stretch to all twenty-four and I have to limit myself to a chosen few each time. I also like to see if I can get my retractable lead wrapped around a post or railing. I'm the only dog 'Her Indoors' has met who can unwind himself, but I sometimes just stand their looking miserable, waiting for 'Her Indoors' to do the job for me. It is important, as your owner ages, to keep them mentally stimulated so don't be too keen to rush and help them out every time.
     And finally, you need to make sure that when you pooh, you do it at the furthest most point from the pooh bin and that you ideally do it in installments. Pooh, wait for them to pick it up and knot the bag, then walk a few steps and pooh again. It gives them plenty of practise in the clearing up department.
      As some of you will know, I've been working on my new book, 'Sit, Stay, Roll Over' which is out on 9th September. It's a training manual for dogs to help them train their humans, so if you want some more help of this nature, pre-order it now, from 'Her Indoors', website www.helenstockton.co.uk/store, and we'll sign and paw-print it for you. A life time of experience for only £7.99. What can I tell you I'm a generour fur!

Don't miss a sniff, whatever you do!

Try and get yourself wrapped around a post

If something appears overnight, give it a good sniff then wee on it!

The only correct way to deal with a post!


Lots more good advice in my new book