A new dog

I think I’ve mentioned that Whizz and I were considering the acquisition of a second mut.

On Saturday morning, the first day of the half term break, which is usually allotted as lie-in morning, we found ourselves, at 8.30, meeting a van from Ireland that barked.

We had been up since 6.30 and were in need of coffee but instead of that we were soon walking in a wood with a scrawny little cross bred labrador/terrier trying to get a positive reaction from her in regard to Milo. To be fair they didn’t tear each other’s throats out, in fact they hardly seemed to notice one another but, and possibly with hindsight this could be seen as naive, we went ahead and brought Nellie home. We now own Smelly Nellie and Smiley Miley

nellie on first day here

We all think she’s brilliant, apart from Milo. She loves us all, apart from Milo. Poor Miley is to be found cowering in corners while Nellie trots about, head held high and snarles at him if is even looks at her. In fact he doesn’t look at her, making eye contact is a very challenging act in the animal kingdom.

Whizz and I were mortified. Poor old Miley, what had we done?

On day one she was positively hostile. On day two she snapped a lot and then took herself to her bed to save us the trouble of sending her there. She’s a bright little thing. Today is day three and there has been a lot less snarling although Milo is still petrified if her.

In between snapping she has been adorable with us humans, sitting contentedly at our feet or having her tummy rubbed, while Milo slinks around in the background waiting for her to leave so he can have a fuss too. Of course we are very careful to make sure he gets his fuss and that she is chastised when she snaps at him. Milo has developed a very forlorn expression that breaks our hearts. We only wanted another dog to keep him company. He used to get very bored in the evening. Well, I can categorically state that he is no longer bored.

nellie and milo day 1

In this picture they are both focussed on treats so managed to sit (almost) side by side.

I have spoken to our dog obedience trainer and also to the lady at the rescue centre and they both say the same: she’s stressed, give her time, make her feel secure and she’ll soon calm down. So we are sticking it out and hoping that Milo won’t be overly harmed by his experience with her.

What a couple of nutters (I mean us, not the dogs)!

Three Husbands

Sadly, but also happily, Sloggo (see The Cast) died recently. He had been suffering from MS for many years and had gone from being a teddy bear to a bundle of twisted sticks.

His funeral was held in Cornwall and Whizz and I took a day off work and travelled the 275 miles to Bodmin for the 2.30 ceremony. It was to be a very interesting day.

The funeral was held at what must be one of the most beautifully located crematoria in the country. Here is the view from the window:

It wasn’t a religious ceremony; several of us stood up to share memories of Sloggo.

As the coffin was finally hidden from view, a buzzard flew across the sky beyond the window.

Everyone went back to the home of one of Sloggo’s oldest friends. She and her husband had lived close to him and so were able to help with his shopping and dealing with his finances.

The gathering was entirely made up of old friends as Sloggo had no remaining family. His uncle had been Sir Rodfrey Bagnew, a one time Privey Councillor to HRH, but the family had allegedly disowned Sloggo’s mother when she married inappropriately. Sloggo should have been quite well to do but fate dictated otherwise.

The old friends included both Sloggo’s ex-wives and a significant lover. Also present apart from myself were my two ex husbands and my current and final husband. There were others of course and I hadn’t seen most of them for about 20 years or more.

Being confronted with my first husband, whom I hadn’t seen for thirty six years was, to put it mildly, a stomach churning experience. I think we both pulled it off quite well but I doubt that we will repeat the experience.

In the evening we all sat around the dinner table eating very average food and reminiscing. We told the oldest of old jokes and laughed at them because we remembered the times we had told them before.

We were all grey, ageing, in many cases balding, but that night we were once again young and full of hope.

Sloggo would have loved it.

14th May, 2012: As an addendum, and to add a bit of levity, As we emerged from the crematorium into the light of day, I sniffed the air and asked, in my usual non-connective way “Can anyone smell smoke?”. Those around me who heard, stared at me in disbelief. Whizz still giggles about it over a year later.

Theme Tunes

Hum the theme tune to Star Wars.

Now… can you hum the theme tune to Indiana Jones?

It’s quite impossible to find one after humming the other!

Milo has fun

I have made a new circle of friends, the Dog Brigade. This is not to be confused with dogging which is, arguably, pretty sociable however not on my list of must do activities. The joy of walking Milo had, until quite recently,receded in direct proportion to the increased adversity of the weather. Now though, I walk Milo with the dog brigade. Our dogs are mainly of a compatible design i.e. quite young, similarly sized and amenable. In the same way their owners match me i.e. down to earth, happy to keep walking on and on and happy to keep talking….on and on. The company of these three to five women with their dogs has eased Milo and I over many miles of footpaths without even noticing the weather.

There is a field near to me, well there are several fields as we live in a rural area, but this particular field I call the dog walking field. I tend to do a number of laps round it depending upon who turns up. Milo and I are a bit like Pooh and Piglet circumnavigating the 100 Acre wood and being joined by any number of Woozles. Today there were eventually four of us with five dogs in tow. I have to say that two of the dogs were not quite the same size as Milo, Monty and Holly. It would be more accurate to say that if you put them together they would probably weigh half as much as Milo but what they lacked in stature they made up for in enthusiasm. All the dogs had a joyous time.

Suddenly Monty discovered a long sturdy stick. The first I knew of it was when he ran between me and his owner with it in his mouth and almost took us off our feet. He rushed ahead and was joined by Milo and Holly. Each gripped part of the stick and had a wonderful time lurching round the field like some possessed propeller.

The thing you need to understand about Labradors, even the diluted varieties, is that they are incredibly clumsy. Three enthusiastic young animals running together with nothing more in their heads than keeping together, can take half a village off its feet. A walk with such creatures is interspersed with OMG comments from the human participants as they leap sideways to avoid being mown down by their pets. I have returned from many a walk, quite black and blue about the knees.

Whizz and I have (almost) decided to get a companion for Milo. One of the doubts raised in my mind about this ‘plan’ is that we may be entirely overwhelmed by OMG moments. We must avoid sturdy sticks about the house at all costs. As a matter of fact we already avoid this having seen the results of Milo’s efforts to reduce a large stick to sawdust in Whizz’s office while he was concentrating on something technical and absorbing. The dog was being so quiet and good..

On Sunday we are heading to two local dog rescue establishments. We are not expecting to find our ideal pet straight away and I anticipate a certain amount of heart ache as we leave the unsuitable dogs behind. Dogs and children are guaranteed to tug at the heart strings (OMG moment: I used a terrible cliche there).

I have spent a fair amount of time lately searching the internet for, what might be described as, dog outlets. I recently came upon Appledown Rescue and Rehoming Kennels. They had created a Christmas gallery of their pooches http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=68892502164&v=info#!/group.php?gid=68892502164&v=photos

I’m sure they won’t mind me reproducing some here:

Hard to resist eh?

I’ll keep you posted.