Saturday, 14 July 2018

Ted Tails!

We’ve had an amazing spell of good weather and Teds and I have been taking full advantage. ‘Them Indoors’ have had a big wooden gazebo installed in the garden, pleasingly close to the boundary with Ben, the Leonburger next door, and ‘Him Indoors’ has spent many happy hours painting and varnishing. We’ve finally been allowed in it and Teds just likes lying down in the shade, unless Ben is out, when he tries to get to the fence to bark. ‘Her Indoors’ has been very stern about that and Teds just hasn’t got the metal to be truly naughty, he’s too much of a people pleasing fur, what can I tell you. I can’t get into the gazebo as ‘Him Indoors’ hasn’t built the step yet and it’s too high to jump with my arthritis. If I sit outside and deploy my appealing eyes, ‘Her Indoors’ lifts me in, but then I quickly get restless and jump out again. I can manage that all by myself. After half a dozen or so repeats, ‘Her Indoors’ loses patience which is very unreasonable, and I’m stuck outside. I’ve tried squeezing through the gaps in the side panels but although I’m a slim fur, I haven’t been able to find a way through yet. I’m working on it though...
          Teds has also had to learn about supporting the English football team. I’ve sat through many a painful match in my time and it’s our duty, as dogs, to sleep through the dull bits, bark when the shouting at the TV gets too loud, exploit good cheer when we win and offer dog’s breath lickings when we lose. When ‘Junior Him’ was a boy, he used to cry when the latter happened, now he just sends heart-felt expletives and advice to the team, the coach, the referee and the opposition, via the family ‘What’s Ap’ group. How times have changed! Anyway, Gareth Southgate gets a hearty seal of approval from our family which I’m sure will compensate him for not quite reaching the final. All he needs to do now is to get himself his very own Border Terrier and he’d be pretty much perfect. Perhaps he’d like a copy of my training manual ‘Sit, Stay, Roll Over.’ A celebratory endorsement from a fellow trainer of youngsters would be great. How are you fixed Gareth? My World Cup isn’t quite over yet, as I got France in the BTposse sweepstake. I shall be waving my French stick and exposing my garlic bulbs, like a true football fan on Sunday.
           Teds training is still a work in progress.   I think it would be fair to say that he hasn’t quite got the hang of the TV in spite of my best efforts. He gets traumatised by Supervet, and if there’s a dog chasing a ball and exiting stage right, Teds runs to the right hand side of the TV to look for it. He even goes behind the TV to check it’s not hiding which amuses ‘Them Indoors’ no end! I’ve tried explaining it to him but, to be frank, he’s not as smart as me, although he does his best, bless him.
          He’s also a very reluctant fur first thing in the morning. It takes him about half an hour to make it down stairs and he often stops for a little snooze half way down the stairs. When he can finally be coaxed out for a walk, I’m the one leading the charge, so much so that the other day, someone mixed us up and thought Teds was me! A compliment for a senior fur but not so good for a dog almost ten years my junior.
          One of Teds strengths however, lies in the emissions department. It’s not a natural forte for me, but Teds can do both ‘forte’ and ‘silent but deadly’ with equal skill. He slips a quiet one in when ‘Them Indoors’ are watching the TV, and then joins in with the expressions of disdain and disgust. But the other night he surpassed himself. He tooted so loudly that he woke both himself and ‘Them Indoors’. They soon got an answer to their ‘What on earth was that?’ and ‘Him Indoors’ had to turn the fan on to disperse a miasma of epic proportions. It’s just as well it was a hot night and the windows were open. Anyway, as ‘Junior Her’ was back for the weekend, he sneaked into her room for some fussing, then dropped one in there too, scooting back to ‘Them Indoors’ bedroom quickly, before she realised what was going on, so escaping the verbal fall-out. You’ve got to admit that’s quite skill if you view it in the right light. I’m just glad he doesn’t sleep in the same room as me. My other senses may be suffering from some senior diminishing, but there’s still a fully functioning olfactory department. It’s good to know Teds has a complimentary skills set; always useful in an apprentice, and we will continue to work on his areas for development. After all, he’s only been with us for four and a half months, and as I’m sure Gareth knows, training these youngsters takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day...!

Teds looking all innocent, sleeping.....

The gazebo with missing step but offering potential side entry!

Me, leading the charge!

Teds flaking out, half way down 🙄


Sunday, 20 May 2018

Post-operative high jinx

It's been quite a week in our household. As suspected, Teddy's tackle, or some of it at least, was endangered by his continued strutting, digging and variable relationships with other male dogs and he was packed off to the Vet for a pre-op check up. I didn't go along, which was a tactical error, as Teds was a 'good boy', lying down and waiting patiently, failing to thoroughly investigate the basket cases and getting on agreeably with all the animals in the waiting room. He even sat down on the scales when asked to, and, to cap it all, left without demanding a king's ransom in biscuits. All in all a rather disappointing performance which left 'Her Indoors' triumphant rather than needing a stiff drink and a lie down in a darkened room like she does when she's taken me.

Her pleasure proved to be rather premature however. When she collected Teddy from the Vets the following day, after his little operation to remove two small but precious anatomical features, she decided that a surgical onesie, rather than a cone, might be easier to manage in keeping him off his stitches. This would probably have worked okay if it wasn't for the fact that the op upset Teddy's tum and, to draw a veil over the sordid details, meant that the onesie spent most of the first day in the wash. This posed a subsequent threat to Teddy's stitches, in spite of 'Her Indoors' eagle-eyed vigilance. However, his coup de grace was in the evening. He had a rather explosive accident on the lounge carpet, and, horrified at his mishap, fled into the kitchen where the same thing happened on the kitchen floor just to complete the set. Teds and I were evicted, unceremoniously, into the garden, whilst clearing up took place. Teddy, seizing the moment in a way that was, quite frankly, admirable, ran down to the bottom of the garden to continue his argument with Ben the Leonburger next door, so 'Her Indoors' had to abandon her carpet rescue attempts and flee after Teddy, worrying about him bursting his stitches. She then tethered him temporarily by the back door and resumed her efforts with the carpet cleaner and copious quantities of kitchen roll, only to find that Teddy was having a good licking of his surgery site whilst he had the opportunity. His onsie still hadn't dried so Teddy ended up wearing 'Her Indoors' swimming costume. I'm not often lost for words but you really had to be there.....

Anyway, as Teddy sleeps in their bedroom, 'Them Indoors' were faced with a dilemma. If they tried to get Teds to sleep in the kitchen no-one would get any sleep, but if they had him in their bedroom they risked a repeat of the carpet incident. In the end they got an off-cut of old carpet and fenced Teddy's bed in so he couldn't wander. Teddy rewarded these efforts by sleeping soundly throughout the night. I have to say 'Her Indoors' did a decent job with the lounge carpet - you'd never know, and they needed a new steam cleaner anyway...

I've just been watching and helping where I can, throughout. Teds has discovered that his onesie has rather baggy legs and he can sneak his snout in for a quick go at his stitches when 'Her Indoors' isn't paying attention. I aid this process by lying close to Teddy and noisily licking my paws so that 'Her Indoors' spins round to castigate Teds only to find he's just lying there innocently. It really is great fun. Honestly, if I'd realised how much mileage you can get out of a second fur, I would have acquired an apprentice years ago. I was initially worried that Teddy was a bit of a 'yes' fur, but clearly getting him to read my training manual, 'Sit, Stay, Roll Over' and implement my advice, was a good move, he's shaping up nicely!
Teddy in his onesie

Saturday, 21 April 2018

My Apprentice

Well, we've had a busy and poignant few weeks with Teddy, our foster Border Terrier. Unfortunately the health of Teddy's owner continued to deteriorate and we got a phone call to say she was very poorly and asking for Teddy, so after phoning the hospital to check it was okay, 'Her Indoors' took Teds over there to see her. Even though she was very ill, her face lit up when Teddy licked her and lay on her bed. She checked that 'Her Indoors' had everything she needed for Teddy and thanked her for looking after him. She departed over the rainbow bridge the following morning. We'd like to share a big, generous barking with Maidstone Hospital for having the compassion to allow Teds and his owner this final goodbye. It was a special, if very sad, moment and one 'Her Indoors' says she'll never forget.

Teddy, having been a star at the hospital, is now staying with us for good as his permanent foster carers for the Cinnamon Trust. 'Her Indoors' celebrated this by making him a bandana with his name on it which he is very pleased with. He wants to watch out that she doesn't get the knitting needles out though, Dog knows where that could end! I've been stepping up his training however, and now that Teddy is relaxing into his new home, we're getting a clearer picture of his personality.

On the plus side, he's upped his game on the low level disobedience, which is encouraging. When we had some workmen in to replace the fence around the veg garden, they made the mistake of leaving their lorry cab door open as it was a hot day. Teds waited his moment and was in there like a shot, rooting around for the packed lunch on the passenger side. The first 'Her Indoors' knew of this was the workman shouting and running up the garden. She was then in the familiar position of dragging a reluctant  Border Terrier out of someone else's vehicle and apologising. This was a display of excellent initiative from Teddy and something I would have done myself, in my younger pre-arthiritis days.

He's also trained 'Her Indoors' into making some purchasing decisions, by putting his rather big and fluffy paw down. She took him for a walk on the Ashdown Forest, and thinking he'd be thirsty, visited the dog drinking bowl at the Visitors' Centre. Teddy was frankly horrified at the whole idea of drinking from a communal cup and refused point blank even though he was clearly thirsty and drank lots when he got home. 'Her Indoors' has therefore bought him a travel drinking bowl and a little water flask so he can have his own refreshments. He will of course be sharing with me, but then I'm not just any old fur.

He's additionally shown some skill in the gardening department. As well as upping the anti in the on-going feud with Ben next door, he's started digging. 'Her Indoors', rather than seeing this in the correct light of Teddy taking the initiative and providing assistance, has taken a dim view. This is all excellent stuff but he wants to be careful. He's an entire male and 'Her Indoors' is starting to mutter about a little visit to the Vet's. Still, they tried this with me and I didn't even break my stride, so much so that 'Him Indoors' did wonder if they should consider removing a few other superfluous body parts to see if that helped. It's just as well I've got a sense of humour.

On the negative side, Teddy took advantage of my good nature and, when 'Junior Her’ was visiting for the weekend, broke the bedroom protocols and went for a little upstairs wander into her bedroom and stole illicit tummy tickles. He is firmly behind me in the queue for that kind of thing and needs to remember who's boss. Still, I got my own back when 'Her Indoors' allowed us both in her office, to take advantage of her fan, on a hot day. I pinched Teddy's crate and drank his water, so he had to lay on the hard floor. That'll teach him!

Still, I have to say I'm pleased with the way things are going. Teddy is a fine fur and it's nice to have some canine company. I was a bit worried about his initial good behaviour, but although I suspect he'll never reach my high standards, he has shown himself to have some potential for mischief. What can I tell you, I know how to pick a good apprentice!

Proud owner of his first bandana

Thirsty Teds on the Ashdown Forest

Showing Teds how to pose for a photo

Teds when he's not barking at Ben or digging in the borders!

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Training the Apprentice

Rather unbelievably, Teddy has been with us now for almost a month, and his owner is still in hospital. They keep talking about moving her to somewhere closer and then we could go for a visit, but so far, they can’t find a bed for her. I could always lend her one of mine; I’ve got a spare. Anyway, when she does move, she’s keen to meet me as well as see Teddy. ‘Her Indoors’ is busy trying to find excuses to leave me at home and just take Teds; she’s got no spirit of adventure, what can I tell you. I’ve never actually been to a hospital, nursing home or hospice, but I’m guessing it would offer plenty of opportunities to a dog of an inquisitive disposition. I could be in with a chance as how could ‘Her Indoors’ refuse the reasonable request of a poorly lady?
      Whilst Teddy has been with us, I’ve been trying to get him up to speed on the basics, and there have been some successes. After a collection of disturbed nights ‘Her Indoors’ finally accepted that if she was going to get an unbroken night’s sleep, she’d have to have Teddy in the bedroom. To begin with, she slept in ‘Junior Hers’ bedroom as she knew, in her absence,  she wouldn’t object to a dog being in there. When ‘Her Indoors’ realised that Teddy doesn’t stir, he just sleeps happy in the knowledge that he’s not alone, she persuaded ‘Him Indoors’ to allow Teds to sleep in his bed, on the floor, next to her side of the big bed. This is working fine and I get the kitchen all to myself so I can get a good sleep too. I need it at my age. When the Juniors found out that not only had ‘Him Indoors’ got a second dog in the house, but he was allowing it to sleep in his bedroom, they expressed concerns about his mental state, but it is of course, all down to me and my careful training. If you haven’t read my training manual, ‘Sit, Stay, Roll Over’ then you really aught to. I’m a master at the top of his game if I say so myself.
      Another success has been teaching Teddy to bark back at the Leonburger, Ben, next door, who seems to think he can boss us small furs around from his side of the fence. ‘Her Indoors’ doesn’t like it, as all the barking is quite noisy, but with two of us on the case, she finds it difficult to round us up and move us on. 
      I’ve had less success so far with what I would term low level disobedience. In fairness, Teddy has tried. When ‘Her Indoors’ calls us in from the garden and I ignore her, Teddy tries hard to do the same, but when she crouches down, opens her arms and calls him in her cutesy voice, he can’t resist. He’s also tried refusing to move out of a room but he’s on a hiding to nothing with that one as he suffers from separation anxiety. If he doesn’t come when called, ‘Her Indoors’ just walks out and leaves him on his own. After a couple of minutes, he can’t hold out any more and trots off to find her. I personally think this is a low tactic, taking advantage of a fur’s inherent weakness, but ‘Her Indoors’ has had years of dealing with me so has learnt to be a bit cunning.
      On balance though, Teddy is doing okay, and he’s shown great promise in the squirrel and rabbit chasing department. I’m looking forward to some team work as the weather improves. We’re sending daily updates to his owner, with photos and video clips to show he’s doing fine, so we’ll just have to see how things go. One thing is for sure, Teddy is welcome here for as long as needs be. I can always find work for young paws.
Just a word in my ear....!
Teddy bristling in his defence of our boundaries
Team Rolo!
Teddy offering passive resistance to the crate
Teddy giving up and complying *sigh*


Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Beast from the East!

Well, it's been quite a week. In addition to a spell of unusually severe weather, nicknamed by the media 'The Beast from the East', we've had another unexpected beast, from just east of Heathfield. 'Her Indoors' has being donating a bit of her spare dog walking capacity, now that I'm a senior and don't need much exercise, to a charity called the Cinnamon Trust that provides dog walkers for owners who are elderly or ill. Teddy is a Border Terrier, so although she was already walking two Shelties in Crowborough for the Trust, she naturally couldn't resist and walks Teddy once a week too. Unfortunately, Teddy's owner, Sandra, is very poorly, and he came to stay once before, briefly, just before Christmas, when she was taken into hospital. This time, she was taken in the middle of the night, and due to the snow, a neighbour with a four-wheel drive, brought Teddy over a few days ago and he's been with us ever since.
      Now lots of people on social media have been very kind, and praised 'Her Indoors' for taking Teddy in, but of course, it's really all down to me. 'Her Indoors' made it clear that Teddy could only come and stay if I gave him the paws up. Now, as regular readers of my blog will know, whilst I'm generally good with other dogs, there's the odd one or two, like Gyp the farm dog and that Red Setter from up the road, that I really don't like. I like to keep my criteria for these likes and dislikes a closely guarded secret as it keeps 'Them Indoors' on their toes; they never quite know how I'm going to react. Anyway, Teddy and I instantly hit it off; what can I tell you we're both amiable furs. We did polite tail wagging and sniffing, and I made it clear who was boss, and whose kitchen it was. After this initiation, I've made him welcome by bossing him around, pinching his treats and drinking his water. He might be about a third of my age, and half as big again; he's a chunky fur, what can I tell you, but I call the shots around here and harmony is based on that understanding. Fortunately Teddy is fine with that. When he came back from lying in front of the wood burner and found me stretched out in his rather large bed, he just sniffed, wagged his tail, and pragmatically squeezed himself into my much smaller one. And then, when I changed my mind and wanted my own bed back, he shifted without complaint. The only time I've had to give him a verbal caution was when I thought he was being a bit over-familiar with 'Her Indoors'. I'm definitely first in the queue for tummy rubs if there are any going.
      Still, he does have his draw backs. His circumstances have led to him suffering from bad separation anxiety which means that every time 'Her Indoors' leaves the room, he whines, which is a bit trying. Fortunately, my senior deafness means I can sleep through a lot of this, and 'Them Indoor' are making sure I get some solo napping time so I don't get too tired. However at night, he wakes up and cries, so we've had three broken nights. Last night he just wouldn't settle, and 'Her Indoors' was a bit tired, so in the end they compromised and she slept on the sofa whilst Teddy slept in his bed next to her. I got the kitchen to myself and we all got some sleep. 'Her Indoors' is trying to walk the paws off him in the hope that might help, but at the moment she's the one who's most tired.
     Teddy also has his own view on things which is entirely proper in a Border Terrier. He's not a big eater which quite frankly amazes me. 'Her Indoors' has spoilt the potential of this by feeding us separately so Teddy gets a change to eat his before I help him out. She doesn't want him starving and me increasing in girth, and, of course, she's also a natural spoilsport. Still, when she made some beef stew the other night, and saved me some as is usual in our house, she also saved some for Teddy, which was unduly hospitable in my view. Fortunately, he reacted to it like she was trying to poison him, so I was allowed to finish it up, which was a bit of a result.
      However we do agree on some things. Neither of us like the vacuum cleaner and Teddy sneezed very pointedly when 'Her Indoors' cleaned the kitchen floor. What can I tell you, she has worrying tendencies in the household cleanliness department. He also has similar priorities in pee-mail reading which is good to see. Most promising of all, we understand he's a good rabbiter but unfortunately the weather hasn't been good enough to test this out. With my cunning and his youthful speed, we could be a winning team. I've started him on my training manual to bring him up to speed, and I'm trying to teach him that he's perfectly within his rights to ignore commands from 'Them Indoors' if he sees fit. Naturally, he's trying to be polite at the moment, but hopefully that'll wear off quickly. We don't know how long he'll be with us, but I'm beginning to see the advantage of having a younger set of paws around the place. I wonder if he writes at all.......
Me in Teddy's Bed...
And Teddy squashed up in mine...

A bit of training in true Border Terrier ways

Giving instructions

Saturday, 10 February 2018

A senior Senior!

One of the slightly disconcerting things about life stages is you just get used to being in one and then you find yourself in another. Take for example my senior status. I had just adapted to being, well, senior, and now I find I've crept into the 'very senior' category without ever really giving my permission.
      Still, as I'm an optimistic kind of dog, I like to turn every situation to my advantage.  As one of the oldest members of the Twitter group, the BT Posse, I have formed a sub-group, for those Border Terriers who've reached double figures, called the SODs; Senior Obstreperous Delinquents, a worthy group, living up to their name at every opportunity. I am also making the most of my senior statesman role to ensure the youngest members are getting the correct advice on true BT ways. I don't want the next generation turning into a bunch of 'yes furs'. One of the youngest Posse recruits, a pupster called Pudding, is shaping up very nicely, and I take comfort from reading about his misdemeanours on Twitter.  I also like to lead by example, and although the opportunities for misbehaviour do diminish, along with speed and energy over time, I still think that I maximise every chance that comes my way and actively create a few of my own.
      Take exercise, I've gradually become more and more selective as to when I consider a morning pootle to be appropriate for a dog of my age. If it's raining or blowing, and especially if it's both, I refuse to go. I allow 'Her Indoors' to get us both all togged up, and then I grind to a halt on the drive so we have to go back again. I've also found that it's quite fun, on mornings that 'Her Indoors' isn't in any particular rush and quite fancies a walk, to refuse to oblige, but then on the mornings when she has a busy start and needs to get going, I decide that a nice slow walk, sniffing at length at all the interesting smells over the field, and ideally meeting a few of my senior friends as well, is just the ticket. If she tries to hurry me, I give her my best baleful stare so that she feels guilty. Sorted!
      Another area that I've experimented with is food. I've come to the conclusion that I've been far too obliging in this department so now that I'm not burning quite so much energy, I've become a bit more discerning. 'Her Indoors' has tried experimenting with a variety of different dog food types, but I've decided I prefer the food she eats to all that processed stuff made out of the obscure bits of animals that even they didn't know they had. It's taken a bit of effort but I've perfected the art of getting what I want. Around tea time, I start whining and looking hungry, building up to climax as my food bowl hits the floor. I then look at the contents with disbelief and disappointment, but continue to whine and look hungry. Eventually, she'll give in and get some tuna or chicken that I then eat like a dog who hasn't seen a square meal for days. It's working well and some days we skip the boring kibble stage and go straight to the good stuff.
      There's also the area of ailments and general wellness. The trick is to keep the anxiety levels at a suitably high level - above normal but just short of going to the Vet - by occasional vomiting, having little indiscretions on the kitchen floor or in my bed, looking vacant and drinking more than normal. Just when they're really getting anxious and are talking about making a Vet's appointment, you then perk up and start gambolling round the garden like a spring lamb. It ensures that 'Them Indoors' are constantly reminded of your seniority and the increasing proximity of the rainbow bridge, and treat you with the corresponding reverence.
      They, of course, are worrying about this multi-coloured overpass regularly on my behalf, whilst I don't worry about it at all. After all, a lot of my Pals have been over the bridge and I haven't heard any complaints. Also, the founder of the BT Posse, Marley, does duty at it's toll-gate, so I can't see there's any cause for concern. Providing he's got a few beers in and he's locked up the bunnies, I don't anticipate it'll be a problem when it comes to it. Not that I'm planning anything in the immediate future you understand, I owe it to 'Him Indoors' to live as long as possible, it's the least I can do. Anyway, I'm having far too much fun exploiting this latest life stage to be moving onto the next one too soon.  Now pass a beef steak 'Her Indoors', I'm feeling peckish...
Why would I want dog food...?

Don't mind if I do.....

I'm only walking if I want to!


Saturday, 6 January 2018


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...?