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 🙂

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow www.theglowstudio.com.


  • Andrea Carlisle

    Flossie, I’m whispering this because certain parties might overhear: That pond over yonder started with a hole. And then someone filled it with water. With persistence, a hole big enough for a lot of nice, refreshing water could be dug in your very own yard. Might take some time, but these summer days are long.

    • Debbie

      The Boss says there used to be a well in our garden and if I start digging, she’ll drop me in it Andrea. Apparently, it’s a natural pond and if I were to dig, I would eventually find water…food for thought! 🙂

  • patricia60

    Zip enjoyed the beach last week was a bit concerned about swimming in such a big body of Water – Puget Sound is just a small part of it Old Boy! Then we had Lorax the Border Terrier puppy visit us for a week, that was great fun, but we could not walk together and cooperate and our leashes got all twisted and turned. Lorax was sad and by the door for several days, then he joined in the fun of barking at the deer in the yard.

    The deer with the big antlers is in rut, and is damaging the yard and eating everything including the bark off the trees – There are no zinnea, tomato, geranium blooms left at our house and the city person called said they would come out and try to stun the big guy as he is too dangerous in the city….I feel very powerful that I can bark him into a crazy dance, which is even more dangerous than we can imagine. The barking is making my people very exhausted on these very hot days…

    I don’t often come either when called.

    Patricia here:
    Loved the Flossie story….and thank you for writing on my recent book review – I just mellowed into that fine book of stories and I thought of you

  • Debbie

    Deer are beautiful but they once ate all the Boss’s Geraniums so we know what you face Patricia. I hardly ever bark – well only at Poppy, the German Shepherd, next door – does that count? 🙂

  • Hilary

    Hi Debbie – wonderful story telling and I can quite imagine all the smells, scents, and rushing around by Flossie – desperate to get out to “her woods and streams” …

    Then her comment re her red-faced over-heated boss! It really has been somewhat ‘warm’ to put it mildly …

    Gorgeous to read .. now I don’t need to get out! Had my walk … enjoy the grand-children … happy days … and I love the foxglove book-blog marks!

    Cheers Hilary

    • Debbie

      Thanks Hilary, have just been round the lanes and fields with Flossie and temperatures are climbing again. I wont wish it cooler though – just makes one appreciate winter all the more when it does come! I couldn’t resist taking a quick shot of the foxglove when I was on a walk in the woods a few weeks ago. Gorgeous colour isn’t it? 🙂

  • Teresa

    Aw Flossie, you were a pretty pup and now you’re a beautiful grown up. I could really do with a Kevin to teach Dusty not to pull on the lead. I can teach him all sorts of tricks, but not that one!
    You look as if you’re enjoying your wallow with Doris 🙂 x

    • Debbie

      Hi Teresa, Dusty is young yet. I think patience is the only way – lots of it! Flossie and I went through hours of walking up the road, one step, two step, Flossie’d pull, I’d stop and wait until she calmed down then off we’d go again, one step, two step, maybe three before she began to tug. I used a clicker with her which worked quite well. I mean the kind one holds in one’s hand, not anything attached to her! I’d click it when I gave her a treat, giving her the treat when she walked well for a few steps or did as she was told (a rarity in those days). Flossie is 4.5 years old now so has learnt a lot (as have I!) 🙂

  • deb

    Dearest Flossie,

    First of all, what a darling puppy you were. It’s clear that spirit of adventure has always been with you from that picture. So glad to hear you finally found water. I know how deprived you must feel, especially being a dog bred to the water. I hadn’t heard the story about your trainer before. Good one! It sounds like you still have your work cut out, training the Boss. Sorry about the fence, too.

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