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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Footnote by 'Her Indoors'

This is the first and last time I shall appear, in person, on Rolo’s blog and I hope he will forgive the intrusion.
            Since his passing, I have been considering what to do with it. It doesn’t feel right for Teddy to blog in Rolo’s name, after all, he’s his own dog, but we don’t want to lose it, as it details the ups and downs of Rolo’s life over many years, and formed the basis of his first book, ‘The Last Rolo’. So, I’ve decided to leave it, with this footnote, and Teddy has started his very own, squeaky clean, new blog at His voice is different to Rolo’s but, in its own way I hope, is just as entertaining, so please follow his exploits as he works to fill the very big paw-prints left in Rolo’s wake.
            If you are visiting this blog for the first time, perhaps after reading Rolo’s books, you will be disappointed and perhaps a little sad to find that Rolo is no longer with us. Please don’t be. He was a whirlwind of a dog, naughty, opinionated, noisy but huge fun and he lived, for all of his sixteen years and three months, to the absolute maximum. His life was a triumph of non-conformity, creativity in its broadest sense, and pursuit of whatever made him happy, regardless. Scroll back through his years of blog entries and enjoy!
            If you come to this blog as a regular reader, despair not, Teddy’s blog will continue the journey.
            Being owned by Rolo has been quite an experience. From the first time we saw him when he made his unerring way towards his ‘Juniors’ and climbed on board, choosing us, he has been a large presence in our lives. Whatever his concerns, I’m not going to turn him into Saint Rolo; he could be, and often was, a little bu**er! I have despaired, I have cried, I have raged, but most of all, I have laughed. Particular low points must be him escaping, in the run-up to Christmas, into next-doors chickens, the incident with the grass snake feigning death to escape him, the escapade into the other next-door garden when he ate a dead bunny and then regurgitated it in instalments through the following day and night, and the time he ate his way through half a bag of pelleted chicken manure, sicked it up during our barbeque, and then, when we scattered and buried the rest around our plants, digging that up and eating it too! Oh and the ASBO from the Royal Mail…… the shame!
            It’s not that he wasn’t trained; he knew right from wrong, he just always put his own interests first, and when weighing up what was the better option, he didn’t allow our displeasure to colour his judgement. You couldn’t leave him on his own in a room, like a small child he had to be supervised. He was into everything.
            On the plus side, Rolo was bought as a family pet and he always loved children. After all, they liked the same things he did. As far as any dog is ever 100% trustworthy with youngsters, Rolo was, and I never once saw him grumpy. If it all got a bit much, he just removed himself, out of reach. He was completely obsessed with playing ball and followed us around the garden dropping it on our feet, in the watering can, on plants, anywhere in fact where he might get it noticed enough for it to be thrown. He had a similar frisbee obsession and used to thrust it into the back of our legs given half a change. He was indefatigable, stoical, and bold to the point of recklessness.
            He was also food obsessed. This was a drawback in that he ate everything, edible or not, but it was also a plus; he could be bribed. He had surprisingly good recall as he knew he’d get a biscuit if he came back promptly, and few things in life could compete with a biscuit.
            Like all good, long relationships, the more you invest and love, the more it hurts when it is torn asunder. But Rolo’s death was in the natural order of things and his passing was very gentle, in my arms, surrounded by love. He gave us his all, and in return, we gave  him everything it was possible to give, in order for a small, naughty dog to live his life to the full, and that, he certainly did. I’m proud he was part of our lives.
I was never keen on his licking; I knew where he'd been.....

We had so much fun with his books

Rolo had the casting vote with Teddy, but, amazingly, they got on well

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Last Post

One of the good things about knowing that you are going over the rainbow bridge is that you get the chance to make your final preparations. I've had a last blog on standby for a while. The average life span of a Border Terrier is 13-15 years and I was 16 last November so I've been on borrowed time for a bit. Anyway, I wanted the last word of course, and I certainly don't want 'Her Indoors' turning me into Saint Rolo, that would never do.
          As it happens, the finale has come slightly swifter than planned, but I couldn't really see the point in hanging around once the loose ends were tidied up. I'd like to have said a final goodbye to 'Junior Her' who was due back at the weekend, but, as it is, I think it's probably better for her to remember me as I was, when we last met at Christmas.
          So I'd like to send a few heart-felt thank yous. I'd like to thank all my friends for their company on the interesting journey that is a dog's life. I've enjoyed Tweet-ups and Border walks, radio broadcasts and book signings, I have done pretty much everything a small dog can do, and I've done it in great company, thank you.
          I'd like to thank every person who's ever read my tweets, my blog, my magazine column or my books - ideally all of them. Your support for a little brown dog with a lot to say for himself has been pawsome, thank you, and if you haven't bought my books, you know what to do....I'm just saying!
          I'd like to thank my wider staff: Shirley and Paul, my lovely holiday carers, Danielle, as a fellow partner in mischief, Fairfield House Vets in Uckfield, particularly Kirsty, George and the ladies on reception, and finally, Jeff at Peaceways Pet Crematorium, a fellow Border Terrier owner, for looking after 'Them Indoors' at their moment of need.

          And I'd like to thank my family, 'Them Indoors'. 'Junior Him' and 'Junior Her' ganged up on their parents to plot my acquisition in the first place, and I've enjoyed lively games and manly chats with 'Junior Him' and a fierce, unswerving loyalty from 'Junior Her' - what can I tell you, she has my heart. I'd like to thank 'Him Indoors' for caving in and allowing me into the family. He isn't a natural dog-lover and I like to think I've been one of the naughtiest dogs ever, so it's been an interesting relationship, but he's stuck with me through thick and thin and been there with me to the end, so thank you. I'd also like to thank 'Her Indoors' for loving me, come what may, and for doing all those unpopular bits of dog ownership that someone has to do: picking up poop, walking in the rain, cleaning floors and bedding, apologising to people and taking me to the Vets. She's worked as hard as she possibly can to give me the best quality of life right up to the end, so thank you, from the heart of my bottom!
          I leave my magazine column, my blog and my half finished next book, 'A Dog with Two Tails' to my apprentice, Teddy. It's been great to have some company in my final year and he's taken instruction very well. I feel I've left my family in safe paws. I also leave him my fluorescent coat and hand-knitted jumpers which I'm sure he will be thrilled about...oh and he can have my toys too!
          So, this takes me to the difficult bit, my final goodbye, when I turn to the bridge and leave you all behind me, in the land of the living. My final message is this: be kind to each other, love each other, be naughty given half a chance and for Dog's sake, live life to the absolute maximum for however long you are given.

Until we meet again.

Rolo the Border Terrier,
23rd November 2002 - 13th of February 2019
Me and the apprentice
Rolo the author!
Rolo the broadcaster to the nation...well some of it!

On a Tweet-up
Chasing bunnies, my life's work....
Dabbling in local politics
Ahhhhh, soooo cuuute!
My first meeting with 'Junior Her'

Who? Us? As if...!

I just found this box, lying around!
Young, gorgeous and brim-full of mischief!


Monday, 11 February 2019

Get the beers in!

As some of you know, my health isn't what it it was and, in the last couple of weeks I've been losing weight at a rather alarming rate. I was 7.5 kg originally, but I quickly slipped to 6.9 about ten days ago and was only 6.2kg today. I was thinking of taking up a career as a model but I'm not sure I'd do 'Her Indoors' home knits justice! Still, I made sure I didn't sit still on the scales, as usual, to try and bury the bad news, but eventually, they managed to get an accurate reading.
          What followed was a thorough examination - nice, but she could have warmed her stethoscope up a bit, we seniors feel the cold, and a serious chat. Whilst they were talking, and because the treats were, quite frankly, a bit slow in appearing, I began to chew my way through the plastic jar lid in order to help myself, which caused some amusement. Apparently, I've not got one catastrophic thing wrong with me, but my senior systems are beginning to fail me, and my major functions are not doing what they should. If nature was left to take its course, I'd continue to diminish until complete organ failure, which doesn't sound like a good option to me. The other is that they gently help me over the rainbow bridge, at a time and date of my choosing, which, considering the dearth of better alternatives, is the one we've gone for. I'm not in any particular pain or distress, so I've been given a final week and a chance to put my affairs in order and say my goodbyes, but I'm definitely on my way.
          Now, my Pals, there are lots of tragedies in this world, but I'm not one of them. I'm a very senior small dog who has led the best life with great people. I've done all sorts of things that most furs don't get to do, and it's fair to say that I've lived life full-on and disgracefully. 'Her Indoors' has often commented that it's a miracle I've lasted as long as I have. And I'm going to exit on my own terms with my loved ones around me - what more could any dog want? My final week is going to be full of loving, ear rubs, choice noms and even a beer or two. I'll have long walks in my buggy and snooze in the sun if there is any. So please, don't be sad for me, be happy for a life well-lived.
          'Them Indoors' will naturally be devastated, but I've spent my final year training up Teds and he's developed some pleasing traits of his own so I know they'll be well cared for. I've always been a bit of a trial blazer so I'm blazing one now for a happy death. So put the beers in the fridge Marley, and lock up the bunnies. Apparently, when you go over the bridge you revert to your prime, so believe me when I say this, you really don't know what is coming your way!!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Medical Mayhem

Now I might be a bit unusual, but I quite enjoy visiting the Vet's. Any slight indignities on the consulting table are more than made up for by the possibilities that a waiting room full of assorted furries, and not so furries, can offer to a mischievous, small dog. In my youth, I used to favour a more active engagement, checking out the pet carriers, socialising with other dogs, and occasionally taking exception to the odd canine, or not so odd for that matter. These days however, I take a more measured approach and like to see myself as an agent provocateur rather than an overt participant.
          Take yesterday for example. 'Her Indoors' booked an appointment as she wanted to get me some more arthritis meds and some little yellow tablets that stop the odd mistake over where it's appropriate to wee.There were the usual cats in carriers and I like to go up to those and sniff loudly to see if I can elicit a response. Sniffing, I've found, is better than barking because you can't be told off; after all, you were just saying a polite hello. However, on this occasion I made a tactical error. I only checked the carriers nearest me. I realised my mistake when a Fox Terrier came in. She was there to have her stitches removed, but she probably burst them as she took grave exception to a particular pet carrier which I'd assumed held a feline. However, when the she started barking, I realised it was actually housing a very small dog, who took exception to being terrierised, and flung itself with admirable energy against the sides, making a noise out of all proportion to its size and stimulating further rage from the Fox Terrier. It was all kicking off nicely until the Vet called the basket case in for their consultation, leaving the Fox Terrier muttering into her beard.
          Then there was a very elegant Whippet. Now I don't really know why, but I've always thought of Whippets as 'yes' furs, probably because they look so refined and delicate, but this, it transpired, was a dog after my own heart. She'd helped herself to 50g of high cocoa chocolate and her owner was not happy. It was probably his chocolate that was about to be wasted by induced regurgitation, but I suspect he was more concerned about the pain in his wallet. Anyway, he regaled 'Her Indoors' with an impressive back catalogue of misdemeanours that shed a whole new light on the breed, or at least on that individual. Most illuminating.
          My innocent spectating in the waiting room was interrupted by my consultation, and I'm pleased to inform you that I'm in the happy position of having lost weight without trying to. You'd think the Vet and 'Her Indoors' would be happy, after all they moan enough when I put it on, but they're never satisfied so there was extra prodding and poking until they concluded it was just old age. Charming! Anyway, I tried to immediately remedy the situation by deploying my appealing eyes for biscuits but after about three, the Vet said I'd had enough.... Mixed messages I call it.
          We emerged back into the waiting room to find a lot of the space had been taken up by an enormous, even by breed standards, Great Dane. He was wearing an equally enormous cone of shame which he was wielding like a mace just by innocently turning his head. He'd got an injury to his back paw which I was keen to investigate but 'Her Indoors' wouldn't let me in case I provoked animosity that she'd have to intervene in. A worrying lack of dedication to the cause in my view.
          Still, all-in-all, it was a very enjoyable visit although there was one matter left unresolved. There was a van in the car park from the local zoo. I wonder what they'd brought with them and whether they'd mind the investigations of a small, senior Border Terrier.....


Monday, 24 December 2018

My Christmas Message to the Nation

Well, it's that time of year again. The presents have been wrapped, my buggy has been tastefully decorated in tinsel and fairy lights, and I'm wearing my Santa coat when out so that I look like Father Christmas in a modern no-snow version of a sleigh! The local school children love me and I've been getting more than my fair share of fussing and treats. One young admirer introduced me to the delights of bread sticks which was fine by me!

It's been a year notable for two major acquisitions: my buggy and my apprentice, both of which have changed my life in different ways. My buggy means that I can enjoy the delights of long country walks without troubling myself with the walking bit. Perfect! I'm also closer to people's pockets for accessing treats which is very useful for a dog with my skills in the deploying of appealing eyes. My buggy has also got a rain hood so I'm sheltered from the worst of the elements whilst supervising my apprentice who acts as an outrider.

Now, it's got to be said, having an apprentice has worked out very well. I can get him to do all the stuff that I can't do so easily any more, like barking at delivery people, cats, pigeons, rabbits and the Leonburger next door, Ben. Teddy takes direction well, is respectful, and he's also large and muscular by Border Terrier standards so it's like having my very own bodyguard. I've been training him as a literary fur and he's come on so well, I'm allowing him to say a few words on my blog. So here you go Teddy boy, get your paws on the keypad and address the wider world....

Teddy - Erm...hello...*peers into the blogsphere* My paws are a bit big so I'll try and avoid typos, but I just wanted to say a big thank you to all my friends for their support. It was around this time of year that I had my first visit to 'Them Indoors' and the crucial meeting with the Boss, who had the casting vote on my future. Fortunately he gave his approval and allowed me to join his family and I shall be forever grateful. It's been a tough year of adjusting to a new home, but I have, and I love 'Them Indoors' and the Boss with all I've got. I'm looking forward to my first Christmas with them and I've got a whole stack of presents, possibly more than 'Her Indoors', but I'm prepared to share. I'm sure a festive chew will be good for her teeth! Anyway, if your Christmas is difficult this year, as mine was last year, take heart, things will get better. And for everyfur, hold those that you love close, accept the festive season as it is, enjoy some down time and, when no-one is looking, take a chance with the Christmas decorations - the Boss has taught me well!

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from all of us.

Think my halo might have slipped a bit....!

A no-snow sleigh!

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

A Christmas Tale

Well Pals, another BTPosse Christmas concert is upon us and I'd just like to paws for a moment of reflection in the midst of all the mischief and mayhem.
          Last Christmas, my apprentice, Teddy, was living with his poorly humum. Her friends, rightly, wanted her to have the best Christmas she could possibly have, so they invited her out for Christmas lunch. Teds was left on his own, at home, and because he has separation anxiety, and without the influence of a senior fur to show him what's what, he had a few little accidents, so when his humum came home, she had some cleaning up to do and Teds was in the dog house with wilting ears, something I'm used to but Teddy finds hard.
          The months that followed were increasingly difficult for young Teds and, as you know, when his humum had her final admission to hospital, I took him on as my apprentice. Whilst there were some worrying moments initially, when Teds was a bit too prone to doing as he was told, he's made good progress and has developed his own idiosyncracies as well, of course, as learning some very useful skills from me. So we've made a little movie to celebrate not only Teddy's journey, but the journey of many similar furs who find themselves in difficult circumstances through no fault of their own.
          We want to give a big woof of thanks to all those hupeeps who work to help those like Teddy, in and for charities large and small, across the country, and indeed the world. Also, we want to shine a light for all those hupeeps and furs whose year has been difficult. Maybe they too have lost someone special and are facing a Christmas that is far from ideal; hang on in there Pals, it will get better. So snuggle up, with dog's breath lickings and gentle nose bumps for those you love and who love you. Stay close, stay safe and never pass up an opportunity to indulge in a bit of mischief, it livens life up a bit! Happy Christmas.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Birthday Boy!

Well I've made it to another birthday, which at my age is no mean feat! Sweet sixteen and infrequently kissed. 'Junior Her' regularly risks it when she's around, but 'Her Indoors' always mutters darkly that she knows where I've been, and if 'Him Indoors' was to kiss me, I think we'd book him into a home for the bewildered!
          Still, it's been quite a year. Who would have guessed that I'd acquire my very own apprentice? I have to say that if I'd known how useful he would be I might well have done it years ago. I've got someone to take 'Her Indoors' out for walks twice a day, assist me in guarding duties by hearing the door bell when I can't, another pair of appealing eyes to deploy tactically if there's any food around, and a chunky bodyguard if there's ever a spot of bother with the neighbourhood furs. Now Teds isn't a naturally naughty dog; he's a people pleaser at heart, what can I tell you. He's also not as bright as me. 'Her Indoors' has been trying to train him to shake a paw in return for a treat. I was taught this by 'Junior Her' years ago, and once I'd understood that I'd get a treat very quickly if I obliged, I was shaking paws before I'd even been asked to. Teds on the other paw, is still trying to work it out. 'Her Indoors' gives the command 'Paw' and gently taps his leg, and Teds, to give him credit, watches carefully with his head tilted in a winsome way, eager to please. But he just can't put two and two together yet. Still, I've got enough brains for the both of us, and he's a very loyal fur, so I'm not complaining.
          The other significant event of the last year has been the acquisition of my buggy. A bit like my apprentice, if I'd known how useful it was going to be I'd have got one years ago. When my arthritis is playing up and walking is a bit painful, I can sit in my buggy and watch the world go by with Teds as my outrider. It also has the considerable advantage of elevating me to pocket level, so I can do direct treat accessing. I've become quite the village celebrity and the local children love me which is always pleasing. I have a soft spot for juniors as my job description has always been 'family pet'.
         As the average life expectancy for Border Terriers is 13-15 years, I appreciate I'm in the danger zone and I'd like to pay tribute to all those who have been less fortunate, through illness or accident. I'd like to make a special mention of my sisfur Millie who I discovered last birthday but, unfortunately, never got to meet. I'll see you on the other side.
         In the meantime, I'll continue to live life to the full. If anyone makes the mistake of thinking I'm some doddery old fur who doesn't know his nose from his waggy end, I'll set them right. I might be senior, but I'm still the lovable rogue I've always been and I know how to make my own fun. I've also got  dog beer for my birthday so, in the immortal words of 'Him Indoors', cheers!

My new birthday Equafleece

Birthday beer

My birthday bimble with outrider!