Tag Archives: dogs

We saw a dog…

We saw a dog…

Not a major event in most people’s lives but in Charlie’s? Well, put it this way, for the past few months, Charlie Brown has been undergoing intensive training to rid him of the panic he gets into when another dog approaches him while he is out on the lead.

He has been getting progressively more anxious ever since he was set upon by three dogs, in the woods, when he was a pup. Well, could that be the reason? Maybe.

Anyway, on a walk back in the Spring, we chanced to come face to face with two large dogs. Charlie immediately went into defence mode although neither dog was remotely interested in him, as far as I could see.  Hackles were up, a low growl emanating from his throat that fast became a yelp, culminating in a frantic yapping and snarling. He sprang into action.

Having Flossie to one side of me, I pulled hard on his lead whereupon he turned, presumably to bite at the lead but caught Flossie’s chest instead, knocking her off balance.

As Flossie slid down the embankment into the ditch in surprise, I naturally reached out to haul her back up. In the meantime, this action pulled Charlie towards me and as he spun round in a frenzy,  his teeth caught my calf. Thankfully, no blood was drawn. (It was painful though).

As the two dogs walked by, Charlie calmed down and we walked home, me muttering that his number was up. I was at the point of declaring defeat and handing him over to someone who could cope since this was the second time he had caught me with his teeth on a walk.

However, good sense prevailed and we engaged  a wonderful dog trainer, K9Whisperer, Paul, who witnessed Charlie’s escalating panic for himself.

Convinced we can reverse his behaviour, we have been given strict instructions on how to walk with Charlie who is under the impression he must be the leader on our walks and therefore defend when he is nothing of the kind.  I must teach him that I am the leader.

Right. Simple.

Having been given the techniques needed to help Charlie, I have been taking Floss and him out separately. Charlie goes out wearing a slip-lead which gives me control of his head (we hope). It has been my mission to convince him that I am the leader, so gentle tugs on the slip-lead to bring him back to my side if he strays, have resulted in me being able to walk along with him on a very loose lead at my side. I was advised to take him out at a time when  I was less likely to see other dogs, until this behaviour was embedded.

This initial improvement was accomplished quite quickly. Now it was time to meet other dogs.

All through the summer months, I have been taking Charlie out first and then coming back for Flossie or the other way round. On Charlie’s walk we have not come face to face with any dogs. When I take Flossie out however, we normally meet at least one if not more. It is extraordinary. I have varied the times, I swapped which dog I take first…either the dogs hear Charlie coming and decide to stay away or they just like Flossie better.

Determined to continue with the intensive training, I slipped Charlie’s lead on him yesterday and headed down the road. As we walked I saw a man coming over the brow of the hill. Wait, was that a dog he had with him? Surely not! 

To say I was not a little apprehensive would be wrong. I tried not to let this show of course. First rule: keep calm.

Charlie spotted the little white terrier and his ears pricked up.

I jerked the lead and tapped his rear end to distract him.

Charlie let out a low whine. He attempted rearing up on his hind legs to bark but he nearly strangled himself so thought better of it and obeyed the pull of the lead. I continued to walk, small sounds emanating from Charlie but no yapping, no snarling. The little dog walked by on the other side of the lane, not six feet from us and although I know, it was not perfect, Charlie still has issues, I was so relieved to be able to say,

“We-saw-a-dog and we-are-in-one-piece!”

Better the dog you know…Charlie happily plays with house-guest, Tommy

Flossie in close up
Flossie – everybody’s friend

Flossie and Charlie
Butter wouldn’t melt…


Filed under Living Between the Lines

Mothers, Dogs and Teeth…

The hospital car park is full. It is not just full, cars are double parked at every turn. We crawl round the multi-storey, us and others with the same hope of finding a vacant spot.
As one, we form a shiny metal snake, slithering round the levels. Occasionally, one lucky person spots a vacant space and slides into it as another slides out. This happens perhaps three times in half an hour. The rest of us continue our slow descent to the exit.
There are no spaces in the local roads, just double yellow lines and tantalizing permit bays. Steven and I explore the surrounding area to no avail. Other cars have resorted to piling onto concrete banks, ignoring the double yellows and sitting there, defiant. For forty minutes we trawl the neighbourhood. We try the multi storey one more time and then we spot a space on one of the concrete banks outside the building. If it is good enough for others, it is good enough for us. We slide up the bank and breathe a sigh of relief as we sit there at a 45 degree angle to the road.
We have driven a 130, torturous miles, to visit my mother. Torturous, because the route must include the M25. I need say no more.

Phone calls at 3am seldom bring good news. Maybe they herald a birth, maybe. More usually, we all know the dread that fills our hearts when the shrill ring sounds at that hour. Thus, on that particular Sunday morning, when the phone rang at just such a time, I felt the clammy hand of fear on my heart as I answered.
My mother had had a fall it seemed but had managed to phone my sister who in turn, was phoning for an ambulance. (The pendant mum need only press for assistance, was apparently not used). The paramedics diagnosed imminent Sepsis as her temperature was so high and she was extremely confused and had fallen at the foot of the stairs. I should mention that she has had a very bad cold and cough (The Queen’s cough perhaps?) and at 91, was not very well at all.
Once at the hospital, her temperature was brought down a little and the crisis passed. An IV for fluids (my mother is bad at drinking) and anti-biotics (her own Doctor had only prescribed steroids) and she was on the mend.
Our visit is the following day. Steven has driven me (I will not drive on the M25) and although we are forty minutes later than planned due to difficulty parking, we are in good time for visiting. There sits my mother, frail and sleepy, propped up in a chair. My sister occupies the only other chair in the room. At this point, (Emergency short stay) Mum has her own room with an en-suite.
A nurse is taking her temperature.
“I will get you a couple of chairs,” he promises. The chairs do not materialise. Another nurse laughs when my mother mentions them.
“I’m afraid there are no spare chairs, it is very busy,” she tells us. We stand, lean against the window sill and generally act like hospital visitors the land over, reluctant to leave yet unable to find any comfort standing here while mum nods off to sleep. My son sits on the floor, his tall frame scrunched up against the wall. I lean against the bed, mustn’t sit on it for fear of a rebuke from the nurse but I manage to half sit, ever ready to slide off should a face pop itself round the door. My sister proffers her chair for a short time but she cannot stand for long periods and seeing her bend double over the bed, I vacate it again.
We stay for perhaps two and a half hours before we take our guilty leave.
Mum is discharged a few days later. The over stretched NHS needs her bed.
This week has been dedicated to organising support and care for her at home while she recovers.
(Away, you feelings of guilt, as you see her sitting there, in her dressing gown, eagerly accepting cups of tea and sandwiches which you make because she can’t be bothered, and perhaps hoping, deep down, that you might take her home with you.)
Home again now, she has had to manage this week without official support. My sister, herself not well and at risk of a heart attack following several mini strokes, has taken the brunt of the load this week. I have been in the background, organising ongoing support which will relieve my sister of the need to drive the 15 miles to mum’s each morning, and rush to get back before dark (she hates driving in the dark.)
My visit to Mum this week, courtesy again of my youngest son who took time to drive me there, found her much improved though still lonely and unable to manage some of the simplest of tasks like getting dressed or making a sandwich, (too tired and weak). Again, I am overcome with the need to take her back with me and look after her. Surely, she will recover more quickly in our house.
We meet with the senior team leader who will be caring for her in the coming weeks. A private arrangement, as Social Services are not yet on board. I can go home in the knowledge that mum will see someone, not family, granted, but someone, for a chat and a cup of tea and any help she needs, three times a day. They will heat up her dinner for her – something she is not bothered to do at the moment. They will ensure she is not worried and frightened at night. It is good, it is a start. We can relax for a brief time.
Now we are thinking of the next stage. What will we/she do if she gets worse? What about the promises I made to bring her to live with us, years ago? Clearly, I am older now and her needs may outweigh my skills but they will never outweigh the guilt or my need to look after her. It may yet happen.
Still, we have set the stage, she can carry on living where she is for the moment, with support, and next month, we will bring her down to stay for a few weeks, knowing that when she returns, she will go back to the safety net we are building around her.
I imagine that within a week or two, my mother will be charging up the street again to remonstrate with whoever has dared to park in her parking space…I sincerely hope so.

Meanwhile, Flossie has been in the wars. A lump in her tail that has caused her to sport a rather fetching bandage, is being removed as I write. The biopsy showed it to be benign, whew! I dropped her back at the vets, where we have been regular visitors for the past two weeks, this morning. I am sure her account of events would be different to mine. If you have ever tried dressing a dog’s tail, a dog skittish about personal space at the best of times, you will have some sympathy for me. We have managed, just.

Flossie's tail

Flossie’s Tail

On top of recent events, I have had toothache. A trip to the dentist this week, revealed that another root canal treatment is needed. David Attenborough and I may meet again. Oh to be an Amoeba… not forgetting: David Attenborough – Round Two I think I will request something less traumatic on the overhead screen, this time.
The temporary filling was inserted as I watched “Heir Hunters”. I became so involved with the company’s attempt to find relatives of a lady from Essex (could it be me?) that I completely missed half what the dentist was saying and had to drag myself back into the present.

Until next time…


Filed under Mum is the word

Flossie’s Cunning Plan

Dog tired

Dog tired

I have a secret.
You didn’t think dogs had secrets? Well, think again!

There is a hole in the fence. I can squeeze through that hole. Exciting eh? I’d tell you exactly where it is but it’s my secret you see. I use it when I feel like going a bit further afield than the back garden.
This morning, Charlie and I were let out to carry out our ablutions. Between you and me, I have decided that Charlie is a bit of a goody-two-shoes.
“Come here Charlie,” and he’s there.
“Leave, Charlie,” he leaves whatever it is he isn’t supposed to have.
I should stress that this has not stopped him from shredding the fabric on the Boss’s stool, chewing up a pair of old shoes left outside the back door, using a child’s plastic plate as a frisby, and committing other minor infringements. However, all things considered, he is pretty good.
Actually, goody two shoes stuff, does pose a bit of a problem for me and my secret. You see, every time I slip through the fence, Charlie goes whining to the Boss and reports me missing. Luckily, even Charlie doesn’t know exactly where I can fit through the fence. It is buried deep in the shrubbery. The Boss has yet to figure it out too.
Take this morning for instance. I swear I saw a deer. Naturally, I raced down the garden but when I got near, that deer had vanished. Standing there, surveying the landscape, I caught the trail of something else. Following it, I discovered that it led straight to my secret gap in the fence. So, I just had to go through it didn’t I?
I knew I’d not be very long. Five minutes at most. The Boss wouldn’t even miss me in that time. I slipped through the gap into the next garden and from there it was easy to slip into the next. Finding my way round to the front of the house, I was soon heading back up the road and arrived at my own front door just in time for someone to let me in.

It’s always best to look nonchalant and wag your tail on these occasions so I did just that and although their mouths hung open, no one said a word as I walked in. I think I got away with it. Charlie was beside himself of course. He had been trying to tell them I’d gone but they were all so busy getting ready for work or whatever it is these people do, he was ignored. Never mind Charlie.

I have learnt that one of the best ways to keep a secret, is to throw everyone off the scent.

After our morning walk in the woods – which included a few wallows in the stream and lots of racing through the bluebells which the Boss keeps photographing



(not sure why), we returned home. Goody-two-shoes, Charlie, was allowed to go straight into the garden without his lead. The Boss decided the twigs in my tail and the mud clinging to my underside, needed to be removed before she let me go.
Charlie waited patiently, as he does, while I was showered.
Finally, we were both allowed to head off into the garden. At this point, the Boss normally gives us a treat. Today she didn’t. Today, she decided to go and hunt for the secret gap in the fence instead.
“Where’s the hole Floss?” she asked as she scoured the perimeter. Did she really expect me to tell her? A secret is a secret after all.
Charlie darted in and out of the shrubbery like a lunatic as though he might find the hole for her. (I told you, a bit of a goody-goody). The Boss took this as a sign that the hole was somewhere in the vicinity and kept climbing through the bushes and exclaiming,
“No, surely you can’t get through this Floss?” as she pulled a piece of wire up or pushed a piece of wood into place. Of course I couldn’t get through that but like I said, throw them off the scent…
My cunning plan took route.
I casually wandered around the perimeter, Charlie at my heels. I’d nose my way a bit further into the shrubbery and scrabble at the ground a bit. The Boss would be behind me, shooing me away. Crawling into the smallest of spaces, she ignored the scratches and the things in her hair and tested the fence. I sensed she was frustrated.
I moved on to another section. She followed. She shooed me away. Charlie bounced around, a little perplexed.
“Can you jump over this?” she asked, eyeing a particularly dangerous looking collection of wood, fence and tree. I would have sniggered but I don’t think we dogs can snigger — not so you’d notice anyway. I moved on, she followed.
We did this several times until we reached a particularly bramble filled patch. I had to crawl into the gap, never mind the Boss. Once she was in there, I wriggled away (I am not telling you where, it’s a secret)
Charlie noticed and tried to warn the Boss but she was so caught up in the brambles, she couldn’t extract herself with speed. Charlie shivered and shook with frustration. Finally, the Boss emerged. I only heard about this afterwards of course because by this time I was exploring the neighbourhood gardens.
I could hear the Boss calling me and I could hear Charlie barking but neither had any idea how I had got through the fence. Mission accomplished!
I hadn’t intended going for long of course but there was a lot to to see and sniff so I might have been longer than five minutes.
Charlie and the Boss decided to wander up the road and were most surprised when I came tearing up behind them, grinning with excitement.
“Where have you been?” the Boss asked.
I’d tell her if I could but she wouldn’t understand. I let her clip a lead to my collar and we trotted home.
She thinks she heard a door open and shut just before I came racing up the road. She thinks I may have gone into someone’s house but I am not telling her. I mean, who’d want a strange, soaking wet, hairy dog running through their living room?

I am resting in the house now, looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth. I am also pretty tired after all that adventuring but at least my secret is safe.
No, no photos, please!

No Photos please

No Photos please


Filed under Puptales

Garden capers, dried sausage and deer

While I was pottering in the garden this morning, a family of Deer ran across the lawn in the garden that backs onto our own. Flossie went mad of course, barking and jumping at the railings. I didn’t take much notice apart from making a weak attempt at telling her to be quiet. I was far too busy picking up chewed up flowerpots and the mangled remains of footballs not to mention the stuffing from Charlie’s favourite stuffed toy that was strewn from one end of the garden to the other.
I didn’t become concerned until Charlie came running back up the garden, alone.
I scanned the horizon and was just in time to see Flossie, racing across our neighbour’s grass in hot pursuit of the deer, heedless of my frantic pleas to come back.
I could only be thankful that she had by-passed the pond on this occasion.
It was 9am. I had just returned from giving a friend a lift to the garage and had planned to take the dogs to woods. Well, they’d had that now, I grumbled.
Charlie whined and yelped at the fence. He didn’t follow her.

I decided not to panic (I had been here so many times before) but having shut Charlie in the house, I fetched lead, dried sausage treat and my coat (it was a tad cold out there) and walked up and down the road looking for Flossie who I had decided would probably go through someone else’s garden and end up in the road. I asked a couple of people along the way, if they’d seen her but no one had. Their little dogs became very interested in the sausage treat though.
It was time for Plan B.
Still clutching the dried sausage treat and feeling more than a little cold, I got in my car and drove round the block – there was a slim chance she’d have got through to the front of our neighbour’s garden and ended up on the main road.
There was no sign of her of course. Eventually, I admitted defeat and went home.

As I drove into the drive I thought I heard Poppy, the German Shepherd, from the garden adjacent to ours, barking, so I assumed Flossie might even be next door. I decided to go back into the garden to call her one more time. As I walked into the kitchen, who was standing at the back door, barking to be let in? Yes, Flossie of course.

She was so pleased to see me and so pleased with herself for having chased those deer away, what could I do but give her the dried sausage? Just to be fair, Charlie, now nicknamed, “The Grass,” got one as well.

At least she didn’t go swimming.


Filed under Puptales

Where did November go?

Well, really, where did November go?
One minute I am watching my niece get married, on my birthday (the 1st of the month) and the next I am staring Christmas in the face.
The last few weeks have been a blur and it gets no better as December moves in.
The annual NaNoWriMo was barely attainable this year. Though I did manage to reach the target of 50,000 words – I do not feel a worthy winner since the first ten thousand had already been written. Still, as a personal goal, it was good. Next year I promise to give it my all.
Could this little chap have had anything to do with my erratic work schedule and relaxation? You bet!

Charlie Brown

Butter wouldn’t melt…

Flossie and Charlie Brown are not often separated now. However, it has to be said, Flossie probably craves the odd peaceful moment. She has been off her food over the weekend so I think a trip to the Vet might be on the cards – see how forlorn she looks in this photo?

Flossie all forlorn

On a brighter note, we took both dogs to Fowey with us recently. It was the first time we had taken the dogs to our Cornish home and we were prepared for it to be a little – hectic.
We set out on a Thursday.
We got as far as Ringwood, a mere forty minutes down the road, when Dave’s car got a puncture.
As luck would have it, when we bumped down the slip road and into town, not knowing the area very well, we found we had pulled into an industrial estate where there was a Tyre fitting company. What were the chances?
The company was only too happy to help but could not get the correct tyres until the following morning.
Now, 40 minutes from home with two dogs and assorted luggage, what would you do? A hotel just did not seem to be an option with the dogs in tow. We unloaded the car and took a taxi home.
The photo says it all. (I had a bout of Shingles at the time so was not my normal, cheery self it has to be said).
Friday saw us taking a taxi back to the Tyre place to pick the car up. Loading it up again, we set off for the second time. The dogs behaved well in the car for the most part, though Flossie, resplendent in her new car harness, found it hard to really settle on the narrow (to her) seats. Charlie, on the other hand, snuggled down and took it all in his stride.
Four hours later, we were in Fowey.
We anticipated some problems since the house has no rear garden. (We do own a garden at the top of the cliff, but one takes one’s life in one’s hands to reach it and then it is only a postage stamp of overgrown, shrub land.) Charlie was happy to wander round the back yard (AKA path) but Flossie could barely turn round in it. She was finally allowed onto the front terrace where she could watch the passers by from on high as she squatted by the railings. It was certainly not ideal but it was a solution.
We thought we had got it sorted until we realised that in an earlier panic, Flossie had searched the house, vertically, for a place to relieve herself and had found our bedroom on the second floor.
At midnight, we were scrubbing the carpet. Alas, the stain, several hours old by now, has not completely come out, despite our best efforts, using all tips and tricks known to man. The next day, we purchased a fluffy rug. No one will ever know…
It was worth the inconvenience of traipsing to a carpet shop, just to find the salesman who was a dead ringer for Paul O’Grady, dry wit and all. Maybe it was him? Perhaps you should look out for me in a sketch in his next show…
The trip was a success all in all. We all enjoyed our walks on the beach and Charlie had his first swim. This was unintentional. The sand was there when he started running and gone when he tried to come back. Thankfully, he doggy paddled to safety. Flossie on the other hand, always the first to jump into pond or stream or muddy puddle, was strangely reticent when she saw the waves. She found a rock pool in which she splashed about, happiness written all over her face.

The beach

On the beach

We plan a family holiday in the Cotswolds next year with all the children, grandchildren and three dogs. This was a test to see if our two could cope with the travelling and a new environment. I think they passed with flying colours.
Charlie Brown, though pretty good on the whole and, fingers crossed, house trained, has been delightful but exhausting in his first few weeks. He seems eager to learn and eager to please so we forgive him the odd spate of naughtiness of course.
The two dogs are great friends now – Flossie mothers Charlie and he plagues the life out of her in return. No sooner have they been in the garden than they come back in and romp around the living room. Puppies need frequent wee stops when they are playing like that so I am backwards and forwards to the kitchen door to let him in and out. I cannot grumble as my floors have been pretty safe for a couple of weeks now and a lot of the time the dogs are like this…
Charlie and Flossie

Firm friends

Oh and the doll’s house? Look at it now…(you must give artistic licence it’s due).

Doll's House


…and the real house…


The real house: Treleigh, Fowey, Cornwall www.holidayinfowey.co.uk

Not bad, though I say it myself…
Happy Christmas!


Filed under Living Between the Lines

If you go down to the woods today…

If you go down to the woods today,
You are sure of a big surprise,
Flossie and Doris have gone for a swim,
You wont believe your eyes!

Flossie here after quite a gap in posts I must say. The Boss tends to keep me away from the computer when she is writing a lot and she has been writing a lot it seems. You’d think there’d be another book or two completed by now but judging by the groans coming from her, she still has a way to go. As far as I can see she is spending a lot of time reading too. A while ago two big boxes of books arrived and she has been drooling over them ever since.

Well, that’s enough about the Boss – I have far more important things to tell you. For one thing, Doris has been staying with us for the week. It seems her people were away on holiday – something the Boss is far too fond of doing too I might add.

With Doris here things should have been fun but the searing heat has prevented me from being quite as lively as I might have been. “Searing?” you ask, “Really?” Yes, my thick coat insulates me from some of it but after a while, I just long for a dip in cool waters. A dip in the sea would be nice but the Boss’s daughter hasn’t taken me there since I was a pup – here is a picture of my last remembered trip – cute wasn’t I?

Flossie - Sitting on a sand dune

The windswept look is so very ‘now’ – Photo courtesy of Rhys McCarthy

I keep eyeing our neighbours’ pond with longing. Time was when I could pop through the chestnut fencing and take a swim but not now. The Boss had her son make some railings. She said it was to keep the grandchildren safe but I think it was to keep me out. Mind you, she did get rather embarrassed every time her neighbour led me home, dripping wet.
Looking at the pond with longing...

Looking at the pond with longing…

There was also the time I upset my trainer…
Do you know the tale? Oh dear me, it was a while ago, I was a mere pup and the Boss decided I was in need of some one on one training. She hired a nice young man called Kevin.
What the Boss hoped to achieve, I am not sure but Kevin had all sorts of good ideas. He stopped me jumping at everyone I saw it is true. He made sure I could walk on a lead without too much pulling. Then the Boss asked if he could teach me to come when called. Now, I already came when called if I wanted to. The Boss wanted me to come to her even when I had heard her call but didn’t want to and asked her to wait a minute while I raced one more time round the common or investigated that smelly stone…I think the training was more for the Boss than me to be honest. Having raised one obedient and saintly dog called Keano, she was at a loss to know what to do with me at times.
So, Kevin instructed her to throw a ball half way down the garden and then call me.
She threw, I caught, she called, I came running. This was easy.
“Now throw it a bit further,” he urged.
The Boss hurled the ball towards the slope that leads down to the end of the garden. I caught it, she called and I returned. Simple!
“Now throw it right down to the bottom of the garden,” Kevin told her.
The Boss protested a little, she was not sure about this one I could tell but she did it. She threw the ball. It rolled down the slope to the very edge of the garden. I put my nose down, I sniffed – I was hot now, I’d been running up and down that slope hadn’t I? I deserved to get cool. I could smell water. I nosed my way round the garden, oblivious to the Boss’s calls now. Water is all I thought about. I found a gap in the hedge and wriggled through.
“Oh no!” The Boss groaned.
“Where’s she gone?” that was Kevin.
“She’ll be heading for the pond,” the Boss sighed.
“Really? I’ll get her, I feel responsible,” Kevin said.
With that (so I heard the Boss tell the Dave man later) Kevin squeezed through a gap in the hedge and began crossing the other two gardens to get to the one with the pond. Meanwhile, I was having a wonderful time swimming up and down the pond, frightening the ducks no doubt but so cool, so delightfully cool!
“Flossie, come here,” it was Kevin.
Really? Are you serious? Can’t you see I am having a good time? There was something about him that made me swim slowly towards him. It might have been the smell of chicken he was waving in the air. When I reached him, he grabbed my collar. I munched on the chicken, well I swallowed it in one actually and was about to return to the pond when I realised he did not intend to let go.
“Could you get a lead?” Kevin called.
The Boss disappeared from view, up the slope, up the garden and into the house, returning a short time later with my lead which she handed to Kevin across the fence.
“I’ll walk her back,” Kevin said.
The trouble was, Kevin didn’t know which gaps he had come through and going back was much tougher. He finally staggered back, torn and scarred by brambles, to emerge somewhere along the hedgerow. I had managed to jump the brambles and emerged unscathed, save for a few thorns in my coat. I was so pleased to see the Boss, I shook myself until you’d have thought it was raining. The Boss and Kevin stood there, one now soaking wet, the other bruised and bleeding.
“I think we’ll finish there for today.” Kevin decided, adding as he left, “We’ll have next week’s lesson on the common.”
The railing went up soon afterwards come to think of it.

With the pond no longer attainable, you can imagine my delight when the Boss announced she was taking both of us to the woods. I instructed Doris to be on her best behaviour beforehand – no use getting the Boss irate and causing her to cancel the trip.
Doris was just Doris of course, patient and obedient. How does she do it? I tried, I really did.
I lay at the foot of the stairs trying to look invisible. I saw the Boss come downstairs wearing her ‘going to the woods’ clothes. These are her ordinary clothes (she doesn’t try to camouflage herself) but her shoes are closed in and lace up at the front and she tends not to wear white trousers (don’t ask me why unless it is because little dogs tend to jump at her (they all like the Boss) and leave their little paw prints behind. The clothes she wears for the woods, have a distinct smell that only I can detect. I caught the scent as she stepped over my considerable frame. I felt my tail begin to thump on the wooden floor.
“Wait,” said the Boss. What did she think I was doing? Doris was snuffling and grunting in the living room.
I followed the Boss to the kitchen, keeping a respectful distance but somehow, I kept bumping into her legs and treading on her toes. I don’t know how this happened. I really was trying to keep my distance.
I heard the rattle of the lead as she lifted it from its hook. I almost swallowed my tail at that. Oh yes, I didn’t mention it was now in my mouth did I?
Doris had wandered in and was waiting with annoying patience. I tried harder. I let my tail go but an enormous whine came out of my mouth – oops! I sat down. I stood up. I spun round. The Boss was clipping Doris’s lead to her collar. She was turning to me. I summoned every last drop of willpower and sat in front of her trying not to move as she felt for my collar and clipped the lead in place. I had to lick her hand though as it hovered by my head didn’t I?
There, we were ready.

Fast forward to the woods:

The thing about the woods is that at almost every turn there is something new to explore. Doris tries to keep up with me but normally has to give up. I was not so interested in exploring today though, I was looking forward to a cool swim in the stream. Doris was happy to amble along beside me, sniffing and snuffling her way round. The Boss reckons that anyone hearing Doris could be forgiven for thinking there was a wild Boar on the loose. Failing that, they may have thought the Boss had a bit of a problem.

The first stream was completely dried up, the second, damp with mud. (The Boss didn’t like me walking through that glutinous sludge and was even less impressed when Doris followed suit.)
The third stream actually held water. In fact, it had enough water to allow me a really good wallow. Even Doris, gasping by now, joined me. Here we are, enjoying the cool, clear water — I think even the Boss was a little jealous, judging by the redness of her face as she trudged on.

Flossie keeping cool

Wallowing in the water

Doris in the water

Keeping cool


Back home, it became apparent that the water had not been quite as clear as it appeared but we both stood patiently while the Boss hosed us down and applied the baby shampoo she keeps on the windowsill. I haven’t seen her showering any babies out here but it works for us.

We had another trip to the woods in the week but then the Boss decided Doris couldn’t cope with such a long walk in the heat. As temperatures soared, Doris snorted and wheezed more and we relaxed beneath the shade of the pear tree. This has an advantage. I can sneak the odd fallen pear (a little crunchy I admit) as I lie there, without the Boss noticing. The tummy ache afterwards is worth it.
Doris has gone home now and the weather is a little cooler.
I am waiting for the Boss to suggest another trip to the woods but she seems to be otherwise engaged with one of the smaller humans who comes to stay from time to time. He doesn’t need a lead and he can’t run down the garden with me like Doris. He is good fun though and with him come plenty of scraps if I am observant. Talking of which, I must go now because it is time to take up my place by the feeding chair and accept whatever the little chap cares to throw at me – well, a dog has to help out doesn’t she?

That’s all for now,

Flossie 🙂


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