Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Ho Ho Ho!!!

Merry Christmas to you all - and thank you for your kind comments following my previous post, and for all your support over the past few months.

Regardless of your opinions on the rights and wrongs of foxhunting, I think the pictures above sum up an English country Christmas quite well. The turnout at the Boxing day meet in Tarporley earlier today was phenomenal, and spirits were high despite raging hangovers, stray tinsel and reindeer horns.

The past few days have been hectic. Tilly has fully embraced the festive spirit and has coped really well with the inevitable change in routines and chaos that this time of year brings. I went to my brother and his partners house for Christmas dinner with the rest of the family. Tilly came too, and despite my concerns was impeccably well behaved. She was delighted with the gift that our hosts had left under the tree for her, and slept peacefully whilst we ate dinner. Her only misdemeanour was the theft of a piece of stollen from the coffee table, and I really have to take responsibility for this as I'd seen her eyeing it up earlier in the day, and failed to move it....

Christmas dinner was wonderful, but I had to leave a little earlier than I might have liked to undertake 'chicken duties'. A few days ago I agreed to keep an eye on a neighbours farm whilst they were away over Christmas, and this involved protecting the chickens from the local fox population, as well as ensuring that the cattle didn't escape and run riot in local gardens. All was well when I arrived to shut them in last night - it was rather festive to stumble through the fields by torchlight, and to find the chickens safely in their sheds clucking contentedly as I approached.

Letting them out again this morning was less festive, as I was suffering from a dreadful hangover after some rather late and excessive Christmas drinks with my neighbours last night.

I hope you've all had a happy Christmas.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Happy Christmas Bunty


I wandered down to Princes bridge earlier today to put up a wreath that I bought a few weeks ago and to have a chat to the little stinker. I wouldn't like him to think that I'd forgotten him at Christmas. In reality, I can't think of anything else.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Country Life....

It's been an eventful week at Trotters' residence. She's been in fine fettle, whilst I've been battling with that high profile medical phenomenon - man-flu. Of course, I'm suffering far more than most....

Now, I'll be the first to highlight the benefits of living in a rural area, but it's not always all it's cracked up to be. Taking aside the sub-zero cottage, poorly maintained roads and limited services, there's also the wildlife to deal with.

I was sitting in the kitchen yesterday morning, bemoaning my poor health and tucking into a medicinal bacon sandwich, when a strange sight caught my eye. My car had been enveloped by an enormous throng of rather feisty looking sheep. As I stood up, I witnessed the spectacle of hundreds of sheep streaming down the drive towards the road. They were very purposeful, and clearly intent on making it to the pub for opening time. As I continued to watch, they got to the end of the drive and promptly turned left - complete with a game auld ewe hobbling along ten minutes after them on three legs, as there always is.

Many frantic phone calls later, I was to be found with four of my close neighbours and the scarlet-faced farmer, standing in the road trying to convince a hundred over-excited sheep that they would really like to retrace their steps and bugger off back into the field they came from. With some rather impressive handling of a quad bike, much swearing, and a lot of arm waving, we succeeded. It was a healthy way to spend a Sunday morning.

I also have livestock problems in the house. And no, I don't mean Tilly. Since my neighbours have acquired two cats, the mice have all decamped to my house. They're quite considerate and only frequent the airing cupboard and loft as far as I can tell, but I can't say they're welcome. For the past few weeks I've been reducing the population with mousetraps and I've been quite pleased with the results. However, mere minutes before 'sheep-gate' yesterday I'd checked the traps with great anticipation. What do I find? A shrew..... Since when did shrews come into houses? Is this unique? Will I find an antelope tomorrow? Bloody hell....

Monday, 10 December 2007

It's hard......

......to get a clear action shot of Tilly with a rubbish camera, and an unskilled operative......

Nope, try again.....

and again......

and again......

ZOOM, you fool, ZOOM!!

Bugger it, you're too late - I'm having a break.....


Sunday, 9 December 2007

Festive Trotter

Hmmm, Tilly has yet to get the idea that you open ONE window a day..........

Meanwhile, she tries to look veeerrrry innocent.

Prince had, of course, mastered the terriers art of always looking innocent......


On another festive note, I urge you to have a look at this post. Perhaps I just have a twisted sense of humour, but I found such random inclusions as a nun with a parrot, a pirate snowman, and a cache of weapons quite funny.......

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Dishevelled.....


I'm feeling somewhat jaded today, having spent last night at that most dreaded occasion - the office Christmas 'do'. Quite why, as a city-based company, our Christmas events are always held in the over-hyped West-end, I do not know. Doing battle with the crowds of tourists, pick-pockets and general detritus of the capital city never seems the greatest idea to me, when there are far better parts of London to go out in. Anyway, the evening consisted of a meal in Chinatown, followed by several Soho bars, and then ending up at the Camouflage Club. All in all, it was tolerable - I conformed by getting reasonably drunk, jigging about on the dancefloor, and pretending I was interested in my colleagues inane ramblings.

Whilst all this was going on, Tilly was in the capable hands of her grandparents. Her leg seems fine now, and she's back to her usual level of exercise, so they've had the unenviable task of walking her in Britains revoltingly wet climate. I'm going to collect her shortly, but by all accounts she's been fine - if slightly mischievous. I'm told that she's been in a certain amount of trouble, firstly for pinching a chicken bone from the kitchen (although no-one can quite work out how she reached it), and secondly for chewing one of the burglar alarm sensors. Thankfully, I have no doubt that by now she will have 'the aulds' comfortably wrapped around her paw once again......

Monday, 3 December 2007

Tagged by the Waggle.....

Patience and the whippet waggle have tagged me to give five random facts about myself, so here we go....

Rules:Link to the tagger and post these rules on your blog. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1) I'm so sad that I cook, and vacuum pack, individual portions of carrots and meat for Tillys meals, and used to do the same for Prince.

2) In a similar vein (and partially in answer to one of Fionas previous comments), I must be one of very few single men in their early thirties that prefers a well cut tweed jacket to the latest 'cool' design....

3) I come from a family full of solicitors, yet never considered following the family tradition and considering law as a career. Much to my parents horror, I left school to muck-out horses. I did ultimately return to university a couple of years later, and ride horses purely for recreation now!

4) I have bizarre musical tastes - ranging from Motley Crue to Jamiroquai, and taking in hard house, Mozart and jazz along the way....

5) I'm obsessed with the colour and consistency of dog poop. Of course, all dog owners are though.....

I'm going to tag The Lurchers, and Joker, Herbie, Yogi and Googles parents to do the same....

Sunday, 2 December 2007

A Model Hostess....

Tilly thoroughly enjoyed entertaining her visitors last night, and was the perfect hostess. She would have made Prince very proud - she's picked up where he left off in terms of making people feel welcome and ensuring they have a smile on their face throughout the evening.

Of course, excitement levels were at +10, and any hope of limiting mobility for the sake of her leg was ditched early on. Thankfully, her leg seems to be getting much better - we're up to two short walks a day now, with her being free to run around like a lunatic on one of them. Thus far she doesn't seem to be suffering any ill-effects. She's still a little frustrated, as this clearly isn't enough exercise for her needs, but hopefully we'll be back to normal in a few days and doing a couple of hours a day.


All in all it was a very pleasant evening. As far as I'm aware, I didn't poison anyone with my food. Nobody came to blows. Tilly didn't steal anything from the table, or wee in the dining room. It was necessary to have a medicinal cognac after they'd all left though......

I'm exhausted today, and Tilly's sulking with me at the moment as I'm having a break from playing ball. I would consider having another game, but if the goddamn-freaking-piece-of-sh*t tennis ball goes under the sofa once more, and requires retrieval, I'll be forced to kill myself.

I've escaped to the computer for some respite. For a little while I've been meaning to link to a couple of blogs I've been enjoying of late. The first, Bona Vacantia, is centred around Joker the lurcher and his family. There's some brilliant photography (what is it that makes lurcher owners so good with a camera?) and they seem a lovely family. The second is about a Westie called Google, hence the blog name - My Life with Google. In typical terrier form, tales of misdemeanor come thick and fast!

Friday, 30 November 2007

TFI Friday.....

....for those non-UK based readers, that's 'Thank F**k It's Friday' - although for all I know it may be an internationally known abbreviation.

It's been one heck of a week. Tilly has been grounded, and resting her leg. I must thank everyone for their very useful comments on my previous post as to how to keep her occupied. We've done bits and pieces of training (bits being the operative word), lots of kong stuffing, much waving around of stuffed toys, and a lot of ambling around the house. By the end of the day on Tuesday, I was suffering from serious cabin fever and losing the will to live. Tilly, on the other hand, has coped really well considering her hyperactive nature and hasn't lost her lust for life at all.

I've been giving her Metacam, which could be masking things, but she seems quite sound on the leg now. We've had one or two very short lead walks that she's coped with well, and I'm planning on stopping the Metacam now to see how she gets on. The sooner we can build back up to normal walking, the better!

She spent Wednesday night at her Grandparents house, as I had to attend another awards ceremony. She had a lovely evening, being entertained and spoiled, whilst I had to endure more PR shenanigans. The only two ''famous' faces in attendance were Craig from the original 'Big Brother' series (beyond Z-list by now I would have thought) and Gary Neville (who plays football I understand....) who I'm sure was only there because he lives in a penthouse at the top of the hotel. Beautiful girls were abundant, but unfortunately few had more than three brain cells between them, and none were wearing tweed - which rules them out as future wives........

The 'aulds' and my brother and his partner are coming for dinner tomorrow night. Tilly has been preparing by loosening some hairs to deposit in the main course, and herding all her toys into one place for ease of access.

Prince had a very wiry coat, and his hairs were rarely an issue. Tilly has very silky, fine hair that seems to end up everywhere. Quite how it ends up in the butter dish, all over the sink in the bathroom, and stuck to my monitor screen I do not know......

Monday, 26 November 2007

Vitnery Visits...

I took Three-Legged-Trotter (TTT) to the vets this morning. It was absolute chaos - I've never seen so many dogs in a confined space. I think my local surgery is almost too good, in that they will always try and fit you in, and will rarely say that you can't have an appointment the same day. This results in a long wait, and a very busy waiting room, albeit with quite a jolly atmosphere of comradeship.

Unlike Prince, Tilly doesn't mind going to the vets at all. I'd almost go as far as saying she quite enjoys it. I think it was probably a blessed relief from the tedium this morning as well. She greeted all the dogs and their owners in the waiting room, the whole time on three legs. I can see how canine amputees adapt so well to having a limb removed - Tilly's already scooting around nearly as quickly as usual without putting any weight on her back leg.

We saw Ed, who's the chap who diagnosed and looked after Prince before he was referred to the University hospital. He didn't seem overly worried and thinks that she's pulled either the ligament or tendon that runs down the side of her hock. He gave her an anti-inflammatory injection, and me the now familiar bottle of Metacam to administer over the next few days. She needs to rest the leg for the rest of the week, and then start building up her exercise again when she starts putting weight on the leg again. If she's still lame later in the week he'll need to take some x-rays. Of course, the drugs will take a lot of the pain away, so I'm dreading trying to convince her to rest over the next few days.

TTT wasn't at all concerned about the injection, tried to give Ed a thorough gum-washing, and then shot out to the waiting room to greet any new arrivals. She's somewhat deflated now that she's back home with no prospect of walking or proper games.

Does anyone have any ideas as to how to keep her mind occupied with minimal physical movement?

Grounded......

I have a strong suspicion that Tilly is going to be an accident prone dog. She's been feeling very sorry for herself today after having hurt her leg quite badly whilst out walking this morning. In typical Tilly style, she came flying down a long steep bank at a ridiculous speed and by the time she got to the bottom her rear end had practically overtaken her front end. She hobbled for a couple of steps and then seemed OK. Unfortunately, after a couple of hours sleep when she got home, her hind leg has swelled up and she's putting very little weight on it.

Of course, this means that she hasn't been out for her afternoon walk, her tennis balls have been confiscated to try and discourage her from running around, and she's been bored rigid all day. I feel so sorry for her, and would love to just pick her up and give her a damned good cuddle, but as I've described before, she's not really keen on overt displays of affection. Unless it involves her putting her tongue in your mouth of course.

I'm going to take her to the vets in the morning to try and establish whether it's muscle, tendon, ligament or bone related. I'm pretty sure it's not muscle, as the swelling is on the lower part of the leg, and think it might be a tendon strain. I did speak to the vet earlier and there is a small possibility of a minor fracture, but I think this is very unlikely. She's far less inclined to put weight on it after it's been rested, so my money's on the tendon. In horses, this is bad news, but I'm not sure of the implications for a dog. I really hope it's not something that's going to take a long time to heal - I'm not sure that Tilly or I can cope with a lengthy period of 'house-rest'. We may both go mad.....

My poor girl - it's the same leg that was mangled when she was a stray, and the reason she was picked up by the RSPCA. She's been through quite enough with that leg as far as I'm concerned. Tilly's so chirpy about life that even though she's clearly fed up and bored senseless, she still wags appealingly and tries to gambol around on three legs whenever you speak to her! She really does have a lovely nature.

Incidentally, the ball on Friday night was good fun. It was held at Chester Racecourse, and was a riot of scarlet tail-coats, drunken revellers, and poorly co-ordinated dancing. I'd been up in London all day before travelling back for the evening, and was tired, so I blame this entirely for my slightly 'squiffy' appearance. Of course, Saturday was lost to a dreadful hangover, and only today did I feel vaguely normal again.....

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Trotters Travels

Tilly has been a true ray of light over the past few months. Carrying on the tradition laid down by Prince, she makes me proud every day. She's had so many new experiences since August, and almost without exception, she takes them in her stride.

As I mentioned in my previous post, she came across some potentially very frightening sights and sounds in Chester last week, but simply continued to wag furiously at any passer-by whose eye she managed to catch. She's getting much better with cows and horses, although we still have some way to go. Her recall is excellent now that I've realised that unlike Prince, who was rarely more than twenty feet away, she regularly explores a good two hundred feet away. As long as it's safe for her to do so, I can let her get on with it and be happy in the knowledge that she'll come flying back as soon as I blow the whistle. She hasn't left any puddles in the house for about a month now. She's a little angel.

One thing that she still enjoys, given half a chance, is a good old smooch with a stranger. Woe betide any person who leans down to say hello on first meeting. A very pleasant lady with two dogs did this only a few days ago, and was handsomely rewarded with a thorough gum-washing, courtesy of Miss Tilly. Unlike her earlier victim, who I posted about here, this recipient seemed to quite enjoy the experience and wasn't at all repulsed. This seemed to make the achievement slightly less satisfying for Tilly, but did save me some embarrassment......

Blurred, but still makes me smile regardless.....!

Flashbacks....

Thoughts of Prince are high in my mind every day, but even more so recently. As the Autumn morphs into Winter, and Christmas approaches, virtually everything brings bitter-sweet memories.

I wish I wasn't so bloody fragile. I didn't realise it when I set off into Chester with Tilly last week, but they were switching the town Christmas lights on that night. As Christmas carols drifted through the air I just wanted to die. I was so proud of Tilly though - she trotted happily through crowds, stilt-walkers, merry-go-rounds, and various other alien experiences without any apparent fear.

Reading Fionas post about her experiences with Yogi brought flashbacks of the car-park and waiting room at the hospital where Prince had his chemotherapy. There's a part of me that looks back wistfully at those times - we were together, we were trying to do something, and we were virtually a single entity we were so close. But on the other hand it was the most awful time - filled with fear, despair, and inevitability.

Patience wrote about a dream that she'd had where she was with her first Whippet, who sadly died in 2004. Again, in many respects, I'd love to have a similar dream, but on the other hand I'd have to wake up at some point. I'm not sure I'd ever want to wake up again.

It's Princes birthday on Friday. Well, his 'official' birthday anyway. I've never known when his 'real' birthday is, so I've always celebrated the anniversary of the day I got him as his birthday.
True to his regal roots, he had two birthdays - even if I didn't know when one of them was.

Prince would have been 10 on Friday. Young for a terrier. Virtually middle-aged. He should be here - unwrapping his own presents as usual, and looking forward to more at Christmas.

I'm going to a ball on Friday night and I'm going to try and celebrate his life by being jolly, happy, and the life and soul of the party. It never fails to shock me how lonely you can feel amongst crowds of friends.


Princes Birthday Cake - 2003

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Peace & Quiet

It's rather peaceful this week, after the frivolity of the awards ceremonies last week. Fortunately, I managed to get through them all without getting too drunk and falling off the stage, abusing any existing clients, or trying to sleep with any prospective clients. There is another one coming up in a couple of weeks time though, so that could all change..... Cue blatantly opportunistic picture of attractive revellers for my under-represented male readers..........


It's great to be back home with Tilly, who's been doing her utmost to keep me entertained since I got back. Wubba, dumbell, Rufus, weasel and a selection of tennis balls have been offered at every opportunity, and I've been bitten and licked to death. It's good to be home.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Group Hug....

Whilst I've been moping and feeling sorry for myself over the past few months, there are others who've been going through their own version of hell. I find this sometimes comes as a surprise when you've been busy cocooning yourself in your own woes.

Yogi and Herbie are both suffering from different types of Lymphoma, and their wonderful 'parents' have been riding the rollercoaster of emotion and worry that I became only too familiar with when Prince was diagnosed.

Both Yogi and Herbie sound fantastic, and thankfully both seem to be doing quite well at the moment. I sincerely hope that they both continue doing so well - it's such a devastating thing to go through for all involved. Huge amounts of love and support are flowing in their direction......

I'm hiding in my hotel room at the moment, preparing for another round of PR awards this evening. Thankfully, I've managed to avoid getting too drunk and falling off the stage whilst handing out awards at the events over the past couple of days.

Tilly's been having a wonderful time with my parents while I've been away. I received video evidence yesterday of her running rings around my father in a game of 'ball-on-rope tag'. I'm not sure who'll be more tired when I get home tomorrow - Tilly, or her Grandparents!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Blog Fatigue

Sorry I've been so elusive recently.

I'm very tired, annoyingly busy, a bit dejected, lacking inspiration and suffering blog fatigue. I'm also about to go away for a few days to do the 'sponsor' thing at some revoltingly pretentious PR awards. I can't wait. Yeah.....

On a brighter note, the hyperactive eel-hybrid is in fine form. She's being a little angel as ever....

Back soon - refreshed and invigorated!

and out of the mist came.........
aaaarrrrggghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

A Quarter of a Year....


It's been three months to the day that I last picked my little boy up and kissed his wiry little face. People tell you that it gets easier with time. It does, for a day or two at a time, until you see something, smell something, or think of something that transports you back to a time when such pain seemed inconceivable.

Before Tilly had her second snout incident earlier, we had walked down a set of wooden steps set in a gentle slope towards a stream. It was a place I'd walked with Prince many, many, times. Without exception he would set off down these steps at full pelt, eager with the anticipation of splashing in the stream below. I've seen him paddle in this stream so many times, and I've hurried down after him every time to check that all's well at the bottom - yet today the water remained still when I got there. It doesn't get easier with time. Time might dull the pain every now and again, but it certainly doesn't make it easier or better.

The rather fuzzy picture above was taken days after Princes 'human-mother' and I collected him. We went through a short period of taking polaroid pictures of him with random notes that he 'had written'. As you can see from his face, although he was not a great fan of this game, he played along nonetheless.

He was much darker when he was very young, although the quality of the picture does make him look even more so. He had a particularly dark patch on his side that I spent at least an hour trying to scrub off in the bath when we first got him - before realising it was his natural colouring.....

Dangerous Creatures


Tillys snout has once again been subject to attack by an unidentified third party. This time, the I suspect the offender to have been a squirrel or badger. I'm erring on the side of a squirrel at the moment, as it probably would have been a lot worse had it been a badger.

Out on our walk this afternoon she'd been racing around with a new group of dogs and was having a fantastic time. Such a good time that it had become quite dark before we began to head back, with one of her new-found friends, and I'd put her flashing collar on so that I could keep an eye on her whilst she continued to play. The next minute she shot off into the undergrowth, very close to a barbed wire fence, and then I heard her cry out. I called her and she came flying back. In the semi-darkness I couldn't see any obvious injuries, and was enormously relieved that her eyes looked fine.

When I got back to better light she had a big blob of blood on the bridge of her nose, almost exactly where the previous injury was just beginning to disappear. Running from it, almost down to her mouth, was a deep scratch. At this stage I thought she must have run into the barbed wire, in pursuit of something small and furry, but on later inspection I could see another scratch very close to it that would suggest that her quarry had been cornered and fought back. Perhaps suprisingly, I think squirrels can be quite feisty when cornered. Thank goodness it didn't get her eye - one of my biggest fears. Of course, she is totally unfazed by this and has been buzzing around ever since. She's quite looking forward to showing Angus her scars and showing off about how tough she is.....

The picture above may look quite sweet, but the reality was that we'd been play-fighting and she was biting me at the time! Tilly is so active that I have to take advantage and 'get hold of her' for a kiss when she's otherwise engaged. This was taken a few hours before the second 'snout issue' of recent times.....

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Tilly's just been watching 'The Nature of Britain', and she was particularly enthralled by the rutting stags at Richmond Park, and the parakeets that have taken up residence in a number of other London parks.

She's generally quite impressed with wildlife at the moment, particularly the local squirrel population. My garden (yes Em, it is my garden in the photographs below - you can tell by the weeds!), backs onto a small wood that's absolutely teeming with squirrels at the moment. At any opportunity Tilly is flying up the garden in hot pursuit. There's no great danger in her doing this - there are no roads in that direction, but I do get nervous whenever she's out of sight. She's so damned quick that you only need blink and she's disappeared......

She's been very good this week though. I've been quite busy, and had to go out quite a lot, and she's dealt with it well. I think she was concerned that I'd become a rampant cocaine addict when I arrived back in yesterday, with my face covered in white powder, but I'd been to the dentist to have my teeth 'sandblasted' with bicarbonate of soda. I got a few funny looks in the shop I called into on the way home too.

I'm exhausted today. We were up before the sun this morning - which isn't early for many, but certainly is for me. I had a couple of early meetings and taking Tilly for a quick dash around the block before work simply isn't an option, so we had to get up in time to go for a good hour-long hike as usual. Scenting conditions were very good due to the frost and early hour - so she dashed around following trails happily. I blearily stumbled after her, intermittently swearing, falling over logs, and straining to see her in the distance.

The house was in one piece when I got back from the utterly tedious and unproductive meetings, so she remains in good books. Another two walks, and a lot of ball-playing later, I haven't got a shred of energy left. And guess what? She's asleep.......

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Peas in a Pod...


Funny Face


I'll be in dreadful trouble with Tilly for posting this rather unflattering picture, but I thought it was quite comical. She was mid-sneeze when it was taken...!

You'll note that she's also been chewing a stick in the photograph. To me, this is fairly typical of dogs in general - you provide an unlimited range of rawhide treats, and the pooch chooses a stick from the garden to chew instead.....

With the exception of rawhide, which was always gratefully accepted, Prince was the same. Over the years, hundreds of expensive dog toys were purchased and offered with a flourish. Hundreds of dogs toys were then destroyed in a matter of seconds before being discarded for good. The best toys were always, in order of preference - me ('Daddy-Kong'), and an old sock tied up with a ball at the end. I'd give anything to see him now, sitting in the middle of piles of toy-stuffing, usually with a bit sticking out of his mouth, wondering what Daddy was going to do to entertain him next.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Little & Large

All is quiet in the house as I write. 'Trotter' is upside down, asleep, with her head under the cushion. She's been in bad books today after leaving yet another puddle in the dining room last night. The dining room is quickly becoming her own personal latrine - free from the autumnal draughts of the garden, and conveniently close to the kitchen and its culinary delights. I'll boot her all around the bloody garden if I catch her relieving herself a foot from my dining table again.....

I took her to Tatton Park today, to meet up with 'Grandma' for a walk. She was very well behaved, and had a jolly good run around with a fellow pooch of dubious parentage. Mother barely got a look-in with Tilly who was in 'canine athlete' mode, and interested only in rushing around like her life depended on it. Regardless of how much she does during her afternoon walk, she's never tired when she gets home. After her morning walk she always passes out for an hour or two, but there's no such respite later in the afternoon. She continues to buzz around like a fly in a jar until about nine o'clock, when she admits defeat and falls asleep.

The 'Little and Large' title refers to my neighbours comical duo of dogs - a flat coat retriever and a miniature schnauzer. The retriever is a youthful lunatic - boisterous, yet very amiable. The schnauzer is much older, wiser and incredulous at the antics of his older brother. I had the unenviable task of letting them both out yesterday afternoon, as my neighbours were due to be out until early evening. I had great concerns about the retriever heading for the hills, but thankfully I managed to fulfil my duty without major incident. I took a quick photograph of each of them....
Tosca - complete with almost permanently 'inside-out' ears....

Tudwall - decidedly unimpressed with his brothers antics.....

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Four Legged Fiends

Tilly was faced not only by horses, but also by cows on this mornings walk. Neither are her favourite things, and both species tend to trigger a round of growling and barking. She sees lots of them most days - but doesn't seem to be improving. This is a little frustrating, as I ride horses and we live in an area with an enormous number of cows. Oh well, I guess perseverence is the key...
We're waiting for the horses to move, the horses are waiting for the cows to move, and god only knows what the bloody cows were waiting for!

She also met her enormous pack this morning, but we moved on fairly quickly as a couple of new-comers had thrown the pecking order out slightly and a few squabbles were breaking out amongst the others. We decided to cut and run before a monumental fight broke out.......

Monday, 15 October 2007

Weekend Round-up

One of the problems I have as a result of living where I do is that in the Winter you can't really walk after dark. It's not that there are yobs on every corner - it's because there are no pavements and no streetlights. Country lanes in the dark aren't much fun - especially when an idiot in a BMW comes flying around a blind bend on his shortcut home from work.

To get around this problem I have a few 'urban' walks that I used to do with Prince that I'll soon have to employ with Tilly on dark nights. One of my favourites is a walk that takes in the ancient Roman walls of Chester, and the racecourse there - which is open to all outside of race days. Tilly is much happier with traffic now, but I still thought it would be better to try the walk in daylight first, so I took her there on Friday. Of course, it brought back lots of memories of walking there with Prince, and eating ice-creams by the river, which was hard, but Tilly made me really proud. She was fine with the traffic, grinned and wagged appealingly at every passer-by just like Prince used to do, and did her best to emulate a racehorse approaching the finishing post at the racecourse..... On Saturday I made a pilgrimage to Princes Bridge to spend some time with him alone and consider what to have put on the plaque I'm planning to put there. I'm still not sure, but I'm sure it'll come to me in time. I'll bet no more than five people cross the bridge each day, but the last couple of times I've been, someone has always wandered across as I'm sitting there with a face like a sodden tomato. It's deeply embarrassing - I may have to fabricate a fake sign saying 'footpath closed' for future use!

I took Tilly to my parents house on Saturday evening whilst I went for dinner to celebrate my brothers birthday. She continued her charm assault, didn't pee in the house, and cemented her position as new 'grand-daughter'.

I'm going out to a meeting at one of my favourite places tonight (The Swan Hotel in Tarporley), so she'll be on her own for a few hours. I'm sure she'll be fine, but one thing I have been worrying about recently is whether I'm making a rod for my own back by letting her into the garden to go to the toilet too regularly. She normally goes out every couple of hours or so, and I'm wondering whether I should try and increase the time between visits. Of course, I don't want her to be uncomfortable or hold onto it for an unhealthy amount of time, but I wonder whether I'm 'training' her to need to go out too often. From a practical perspective, two hours isn't long and there'll be many times when I won't be around to let her out at such a short interval, and she gets through an eight hour stint overnight without a problem, so should I increase the frequency during the day? She's only just over twelve months old of course, but your advice would be appreciated.....

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Writers Block

I'm lacking blogging inspiration at the moment, hence the sparsity of my posts over the past week or so. Thanks for the comments in response to my previous post though - it seems that we're all screwed-up, although I suspect that the degree varies wildly....

Little of note has happened of late a la maison du Tilly. Alas, she has failed to achieve full tongue-on-tooth action with any strangers over the past few days, but has consoled herself by taking me by surprise on a few occasions. Snout is returning to normal, but will undoubtedly be stung or bitten again soon if she continues to ram it into crevices in the garden with impunity.

A recent post of Ems made me laugh, as I'd always thought I had the most idiotic and embarrassing range of nicknames for Prince, and now Tilly. It appears I may have competition.
Here's a small selection of Princes nicknames:-

  • Leetle (His main nickname, morphed from being called 'Little Dog' in his younger days.)
  • Bunty
  • Runty
  • Orange Dog
  • Baby Cherub
  • Stinker
  • Tinky
  • Little Sausage
  • Mr Doo-Dandy (God only knows where that one came from!)
  • Windy Miller
  • Doglet & Buggalugs (Both shared with Mollie I see!)
  • Sweetpie (Criiiiiiinge!)
  • Creature (In the nicest way!)
And Tilly has already inspired a range of strange nicknames:-

  • Trotter (Currently number one nickname....)
  • Tilly Tops
  • Tilly Billy
  • Baby Eel
  • Baby Bird
  • Birdy Face
  • Horror-Bag (only used affectionately!)
I'm sure there are more, but they've slipped my mind. Which probably isn't a bad thing.....

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Dull, Dull, Dull...

There's not a lot to report from the Tilly-household I'm afraid. Tillys snout is recovering but still very obviously swollen. She met Angus this morning, who thankfully seemed unconcerned that his girlfriend appears to be growing an additional nose, and clambered all over her joyously.

I was far less than joyous to discover that she'd had a wee in the dining room this afternoon. Especially as she'd had one in the garden only an hour before, and I was in the next room at the time. The little bugger made no attempt to alert me to the fact that she needed to go out. I don't know why she has these occasional lapses. Anyway, I didn't catch her 'in the act' so there was nothing I could do but mop it up and carry on as normal.

I'm not sure what 'normal' is anymore though. I've come to the conclusion that I'm totally screwed-up. I've never been a particularly straightforward person (although I'm a good actor), but I've reached new levels of screwed-up-ness over the past couple of months. I wish I was artistic, then I could opt out of reality and be enormously successfully screwed up. Why is it only artists who can capitalise on going mad?

Friday, 5 October 2007

Nosey...

Alas, the snout is no better. I'm pretty sure it's been stung or bitten by something and it remains rather swollen and grim-looking. To make matters worse, it would seem that when Tilly bites down on a tennis ball, the pressure forces some of the fluid out so she ends up with little beads of it all over the lump. She met Angus (one of her boyfriends) this morning and was not at all pleased that he saw her looking less than her best. He was unconcerned though, as he had a stick, which was infinitely more interesting than Tilly. Rejected and suffering from a swollen nose - Tilly's not having a good day!


It's not getting any bigger, isn't affecting her breathing, and doesn't seem to be bothering her unduly, so I'm going to give it a little time. I don't see any need to start rushing her down to the vets so I think we'll just see how she gets on.....

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Out and A-Snout

Poor little Tilly has a very mangled nose today. I think she's been bitten or stung by something, but I'm really not sure. I didn't notice it when I first let her out this morning, which doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't there as she's a bit of a blur first thing, but it was very obvious after she'd had her breakfast. It's really quite odd - I wasn't sure whether she'd bashed it overnight at first, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case now as it's not sore or grazed. She's got a big, obvious lump made up a few other little lumps, right on the 'bridge' of her nose. It seems to be a little itchy and over the past couple of hours some of the smaller lumps have started to ooze a clear / red fluid. I now strongly suspect that she shoved her nose into a shrub before breakfast and something (plant or insect) took exception to this. It looks decidedly grizzly now and she won't let me post a close up photograph as it ruins her usual good-looks. If it's not gone down by tomorrow I'll have to take her to the vets in case she needs some antihistamines or other treatment for it, but I think it just needs a little time.

She also frightened me to death this morning whilst we were out walking by disappearing for no apparent reason. It's the most awful realisation that you've no idea where your dog is, and that they're not responding to your calls. Thankfully she reappeared a few minutes later, but I was starting to worry. This leads me to ask the question - if your dog disappears whist you're on a walk - is it best to stay where you last saw them, or start scouring the surrounding area?

This afternoon she's taken to replicating another of Princes behaviours - lolling around on her (his?) bed on the bench. I understand that she's discussed this with him and he has no objections.....
He said I could - honestly!

Anyway, for the second day on the run I've achieved very little work-wise, so must tie a few things up before the end of the day.....

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Home Sweet Home

It's so good to be back at home with Tilly. She's had a wonderful time at my parents house by all accounts - with lots of cuddles, lovely walks and games. I thought her tummy looked a little pronounced as she trotted back into the house this evening, but I'm sure that must have been a trick of the light. I did note, however, that one of the first things she did upon arrival was trot back into the kitchen from the sitting room, and sniff pointedly at her food cupboard. Hmmm, has Grandpa been overdoing things on the food front I wonder?

Another reason I had to smile when she arrived home was that Prince appears to have taught her another of his favourites - the ritual chewing of a bone as soon as he arrived back from his Grandparents house. Regardless of how late it was, how tired he might be, or anything else, Prince always wanted to chew a bone before he settled down for the night. Tilly's never been a huge rawhide fan, although she does enjoy one every now and again - usually tucked away in the corner, out of sight. This evening, she showed great interest as I unpacked a bone from her 'overnight bag', so I offered it to her. She took it straight to the middle of the rug and proceeded to enthusiastically chew it to completion. She'll be cocking her leg next if Prince has his way!

I can't say I enjoyed my trip up to London, but it was tolerable. The pressure's already on, and the drinking culture unchanged, but I managed to escape unscathed. I sloped off early from the pub last night, so at least I managed to avoid a terrible hangover today.

After the flights both in and out were delayed I've vowed never to fly to London again. There's another reason why I'd rather not fly at the moment, and that's the strange effect it seems to have on my emotions. I've been fairly composed over the past couple of weeks about Prince, but from the moment the plane took off yesterday morning I was really struggling to hold back the tears. I don't know whether it's the enforced time to think, fatigue, or the poignancy of the planes progress through the clouds - but I had to really fight not to make a fool of myself in public. I'm not ashamed to show emotion, but a be-suited man weeping openly on a plane is a step too far.... I was exactly the same flying back this evening. Of course, I was in a terrible state flying to France and back soon after he was put down, but I was far more raw at that time so it was a little more understandable. It's odd how certain situations can trigger such a strong response. Although I can assure you that I'm not in any way suicidal, I also found it quite un-nerving that I was sitting there thinking about, and almost hoping for, the plane to plummet to the ground. Deeply worrying - I think I shall avoid aviation for some time!

On a much brighter note, I'm posting a couple of photographs below - one showing the scene from my hotel window last night, and by way of contrast, one showing how Tilly spent the day today. There's really no competition is there?!

Looking down Moorgate.....

C'mon Grandpa - throw the ball!!!


Monday, 1 October 2007

Tilly-less Again....

Tilly's at my parents house again, as I have to go to London first thing in the morning until Tuesday evening. I believe she settled down well, but of course I'm still worrying about her.

Oh, the joys of being back at work. I'll have to get up at 'stupid-o-clock' in the morning to catch my flight to City airport and spend the day bored rigid in the office, with people who I get on with fine, but have virtually nothing but an employer in common with. I will then be obliged to accompany said colleagues to a trendy bar for the evening and pretend to be having a great night. Tuesday will be a repeat of Monday, but with the added delight of a hangover. I suspect the highlight of the trip will be checking in for the return flight.....

I'll post a Tilly report at some point tomorrow if I can.....

Now, where's Daddy gone?

Oh, and just because I feel like it - a picture of my little boy.....


Friday, 28 September 2007

Catching up.....


I'm sorry if I've been a little elusive over the past few days - it's been a busy time. And I've just read that Flowerpot has very kindly awarded me a 'You Make Me Smile' award!! Thank-you so much! Every time I've made people smile in the past it's turned out to be a little trapped wind, so if this case is different, and doesn't require a dose of Gaviscon, I'm delighted....

I think I should now pass the award onto three others, and they are, in no particular order - Mollies Blog and Blogs from the Dogs. My final choice is Oscars Blog, which, rather like this one, has been very sad, but hearing of an imminent new arrival made me smile - and Oscar too no doubt.....

Tilly thoroughly enjoyed her stay at my parents house earlier in the week, and seems to have allayed any fears about her behaviour and energy levels. She behaved impeccably throughout, with the exception of the minor 'pee' incident. Mother didn't seem to appreciate it when I suggested that Tilly clearly thinks that her house smells of wee, hence her contribution.

Yesterday morning I took Tilly out on our usual walk, and she was overjoyed to find the whole 'pack' out and about. At one stage there were fourteen dogs of various breeds and sizes marauding about. Tilly had an absolute whale of a time, and I thoroughly enjoyed it too. There's something so uplifting about seeing such a large group of dogs doing just what dogs enjoy doing, and getting on so well in the process. Clearly the pecking order is fully established. I'm not sure the couple of joggers we encountered on the way around felt the same way - they looked somewhat intimidated to see a great swathe of dogs approaching at speed!

Today was officially my first day back at work, although I spent all of it working from home trying to familiarise myself with all the developments and changes since I left. Tilly was very well behaved and seemed resigned to the fact that I'd eventually have to rouse myself and earn some tennis balls. Tennis balls are her currency, in the same way that bones were Princes currency.

After much consideration, and assistance from Tilly on the map-reading front, we decided to walk at a friends farm this afternoon. One of the downsides of living in Cheshire is that as a dairy county, you can rarely escape the cows - and with Tilly this isn't ideal. Thankfully, my friends farm is one of the rare arable holdings in the area, so with the exception of a lot of horses, livestock wasn't an issue. She had a great time, and we're now both falling asleep on the sofa....

The Amazing Map-Reading Dog.....

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Tilly-less

Tilly is staying at my parents house tonight, as a 'practise-run' for when I have to go up to London for a couple of days next week to ease myself back into the world of work.

Excitement levels were off the scale as usual when she arrived, and she spent much of the evening harrassing my father in the kitchen. He's like the bloody 'pied piper' of the dog world - although he substitutes the tin whistle for the contents of the fridge.

I spoke to 'Grandma' after I got home, and believe she's settled down well, so that's a good sign. Especially considering that she'd had a pee on the carpet in the dining room before I left. This was very strange, considering that she'd had one in the garden only an hour before, and has been to my parents house a good few times before. Oh well, perhaps we were giving off 'vibes' that something slightly different was going to happen later in the evening - like me disappearing without her. She hasn't spent more than a few hours away from me since I got her, so it is quite a big step.

I'm sure she'll be fine though, and hopefully it will put my mothers mind at rest. I think she's petrified at the thought of dealing with Tillys high energy levels and youthful exhuberance. Whilst these things are very real, they're also a joy, and she counters them with a very good understanding of 'down time' and general good behaviour. I think they'll all get on famously.

Tomorrow will be spent cleaning the house from top to bottom, doing a few things that are slightly 'Tilly incompatible', and a paying a visit to the bridge to spend some quality time with Prince.

All being well, and subject to me not having received an exasperated telephone call from my parents at 4am, I'll collect Tilly tomorrow evening......

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Ramblings...

It's one of those days when I don't really have a specific topic to post about, but feel like posting anyway - so I'll apologise in advance. Sorry.

I may not be the only one with nothing of great note to blog about - the blogosphere seems generally quiet at the moment. Many of my favourite bloggers haven't posted for a while, and I do hope they find inspiration again soon.

Tilly is continuing to do really well. Her recall is improving every day, and we haven't had any serious issues since this post. She's really enjoying catching up with her 'pals' every morning. This morning there was a new member of the pack - a tiny twelve week old puppy. He was a Pomeranian crossed with a poodle, and outrageously cute. Tilly dutifully clambered all over him, batted him around and ensured his socialisation got off to a good start!

Prince continues to be with us in spirit, and I'm sure he really helps Tilly. It makes me laugh sometimes - I can almost see him scuttling alongside her on our old familiar walks. Tilly always seems to know the route to take, even if she hasn't been somewhere before - and it's almost invariably the route I used to take with Prince. It's so hard retracing our steps sometimes, but after a few initial tears I usually remind myself that it would be highly inappropriate to be miserable on a walk that he used to enjoy so much.

I'm going back to work at the end of next week, and utterly dreading it. There are a number of reasons why I feel sick at the very thought of it.

Firstly, I'm worried how I'll cope with work and making sure that Tilly is adequately exercised and stimulated. Even though I work from home most of the time, it's inevitable that she won't get quite the same amount of attention that she's been used to.

There's also the fact that I despise the job I'm going back to. My employers have been very understanding in letting me return after having taken so much time off to look after Prince, and the people I work with are a generally decent bunch, but it doesn't change the fact that I hate the job I do with a passion. It's a high level sales role, and as such comes with enormous pressure. The sort of pressure that leaves you spending the last week of every month thinking that you're going to be sacked. The pressure is only likely to be greater when I go back, as I now 'owe them' even more, due to the time I've taken off. The only reason I'm going back is because it pays very well, and I need a hefty salary to cover the enormous debts I've built up over the years. Cause and effect eh!

Probably my biggest worry is the least tangible, and will probably sound the most odd. I really don't know how I'll cope with the pressure and problems of day to day life without Prince being physically with me. When he was, I always felt invincible. Anything was possible, as long as 'us boys' were together. We had plenty of rough times over the years, and I always used to say to him, "we'll manage - we always do" - and invariably we did. I don't quite know how I'll cope now. I suppose I'll have to cope for Tillys sake, but I've never felt less invincible than I do nowadays.....

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Mr & Mrs...

I find it quite fascinating just how different Prince and Tilly are. There are a few similarities (four legs, hairy face etc...), but other than that they're pretty different. I'm noting these things in a positive way - when I decided to get another dog I was adamant that I wouldn't try and 'replace' Prince, because he's irreplaceable and it would place deeply unfair expectations on the other dog.

And I succeeded - in many ways they're like chalk and cheese.

Prince adored cuddles and being picked up and carried around. Tilly has her 'soft' moments, but they're far fewer. To Tilly, being picked up is just an opportunity to stick her tongue in your ear and wriggle free.

Prince would politely chase something you threw for him, but certainly wouldn't consider bringing it back. Tilly on the other hand will chase and retrieve all day given the chance.

Tilly will actually play with toys. Princes prime objective when given a toy was to 'kill it'. That'll be the terrier then.....

Given the choice between a new tennis ball and a treat, Tilly would choose the ball. Prince would take the treat, half your hand, and the ball for good measure.

As far as Prince was concerned, mornings were for sleeping, cuddling and eating. Tilly thinks mornings are for running, playing and chasing balls.

Prince was of course, a boy. Consequently, if it stood still long enough he would wee on it. Tilly is of course, a girl. She wees when she needs to.

Prince would spend hours chewing and relishing rawhide bones. Tilly would rather spend hours chasing a ball, or chewing daddy.

It's good that they both have distinct personalities, quirks and characters. I miss Prince terribly, but Tilly and the new qualities she brings do help to make it bearable.

Bones for Prince.....

Balls for Tilly.....

Monday, 17 September 2007

Selective Deafness...

What was it that inspired red steaming rage in me today? Global warming? World poverty? The decline of global finance markets?

No, the refusal of a small black dog to return to me on request. What is it about blatant disobedience and selective deafness in dogs that causes us humans such annoyance? I suspect an evolution obsessed with power, dominance and expectation.

It's quite rare that Tilly utterly ignores me now, but there was one incidence of this on this afternoons walk. It always follows the same formula:-

1) Tilly bounds off in search of squirrels, playmates, rotting delicacies or a lost chicken.

2) I cheerily blow on the whistle and call a melodic, "Tilly, come!".

3) A scrawny black tail continues to disappear into the distance.

4) I blow the whistle with a little more urgency and inject a touch more authority into the command.

5) The scrawny black tail is now out of sight.

6) The whistle is blown like that of the 10:14 to Bangor. The bellowing of non-official commands begins, such as, "get here!", "come here!", "Tilly, cooooommmmmeeee!"

7) The area is declared as dog-free.

8) A small man is witnessed jumping up and down with rage, screaming a range of obscenities that would shame a sailors convention.

9) Tilly returns nochalently, wondering what all the noise is about.

10) I take deep breaths, try to sound pleased to see her, and praise her liberally through gritted teeth. I try to hide the fact that my gut instinct would be to pick her up by the tail and swing her around my head a few times, before letting go.

11) Treats are dispensed.

12) Tillys lead is applied firmly, and I vow never to remove it again.

13) I feel guilty for restricting her, and remove the lead.

14) The process begins again.

Is it just me?

Friday, 14 September 2007

Tilly Kisses

Tilly has a rather embarrassing tendency to offer 'special kisses' to anyone prepared to accept them. Unfortunately, she doesn't always wait to see if the target is prepared to accept such intimacy at their first meeting.

Take the unsuspecting middle-aged lady she met this morning as an example. The lady in question was lovely, walking two English setters, and certainly not prudish. However, she made the mistake of leaning over Tilly to say hello - an action that in Tillys mind is a green-light for a full-on snog. So, before the poor lady could do anything about it, Tilly had leapt up and joyously forced her tongue into the somewhat stunned ladies mouth.

After much spitting, rubbing of her mouth with a sleeve, and apologies from me, the recipient of Tillys greeting moved on with considerable poise, but a certain urgency.

I keep trying to explain that this is not a socially acceptable way of conducting oneself, but Tilly doesn't seem to understand. She achieved her number one objective this morning, but nearly as satisfying is achieving full tongue on ear or nostril contact. This is quite sweet, but I fear may not be appreciated by all recipients.

Tilly spent the rest of the morning considering my pearls of wisdom......

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Tagged....

I've been tagged by Em & Mollie to play the 'word game'. I believe the rules are as follows:-

  • Players must list one fact, word, or tidbit that is somehow relevant to their life for each letter of your first or middle name.
  • When you are tagged you need to write your own post containing your first or middle name game facts, word, or tidbit.
  • At the end of your post choose one person for each letter of your name to tag.
  • Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them that they have been tagged, and to read your blog.
Now, I'm not sure whether I should be using my name, or Princes, or Tillys. Being the idle b*gger I am, my first instinct was to use Tilly as her name is shortest. However, perhaps predictably, I'm going to use Prince.

So here we go....

P - Is for 'po-face', which he could generate at will to demonstrate his displeasure should things not be going his way. Within seconds of said displeasure being resolved, his adorable face would return!

R - Is for 'rudy-roo', which is an odd, made-up name that developed over the years for his bottom. It was employed in many ways, for example - 'roo-pops' (flatulence) and 'rudy-issues' (either gland problems, or an errant clingon).

I - Is for 'indeterminate breeding'. Over his entire life everyone who met Prince had a different view as to what breeds he was made up of. I think patterdale cross border, but frankly don't care. He was the best canine creation possible as far as I'm concerned.

N - Is for napping. A pastime Prince enjoyed increasingly over the years. Usually employed flat-out and with great pleasure, but could be employed when po-faced (see above) in a fully curled up position - usually if daddy had failed to meet his expectations!

C - Is for companionship - one of many things that Prince excelled at. He invariably liked to 'help' with whatever activity was taking place, whether it be digging in the garden, cooking in the kitchen, or exploring a new town. He was constantly at my feet, through great times, terrible times, and everything in-between. He was, and is, the best friend I could wish for.

E - Is for eating. Another one of Princes favourite pastimes. His favourites included sausages, warm chicken from the oven, ice-cream by the river, and anything cooked by my father. Despite his love of food he had very good table manners. You could leave anything on the table, and regardless of whether he could reach it, he'd never pinch it without permission. He also had a rather embarrassing (but good) habit of refusing anything offered to him by someone he didn't know.....

Okey-doke. I believe I need to tag five other bloggers to do the same so I'll nominate our pals over at Blogs from the Dogs, Linda, Watson and Waldo, Bailey (if his Mum has time to help!),
Balboa, and our friendly Lurchers.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Brotherly Love....

I took Tilly to Tatton Park yesterday, one of Princes favourite places and where the picture to the right was taken during one of his best days whilst he was undergoing treatment.

The first five minutes were spent trying to see the path through the floods of tears. I cheered up when I realised that Prince was very much with us, and already leading Tilly towards the best rabbiting spots. The photograph below shows an apprentice Tilly trying to emulate her brother.

She had a great time, and we managed not to chase any deer - so it was a highly successful walk. She was somewhat tired afterwards.....


I've been tagged by Emma & Mollie! Don't worry, I'll be playing the 'name game' in my next post.....

Memory Lane (11)

Looking at my last post, it reminded me that as much as I miss Prince, he wasn't an angel all the time. Being a typical terrier, he had a rather willful streak and could be a real b*gger at times! He was prone to obsessions - whether this be a particular bush that he'd found a rabbit in once, or a particular type of rawhide bone that he'd taken a liking to. Once an obsession was established, it could take weeks before he'd move on to the next one.

Rather like Tilly, he didn't always welcome his 'guinea sisters' particularly warmly. On the odd occasion when he escaped into the garden when they were in their run, he would chase around the outside at break-neck speed - causing them to whizz around the inside, doing a very good impression of the 'wall of death' stunt.... Ultimately, he didn't have a huge amount of respect for the piglets when he was staying at his Grandparents house....

He was never a fan of 'small furries' and would do his utmost to get to a cat, or a guinea pig, or a rabbit. We had a few 'issues' with cats. Very soon after I got him he managed to scale the garden fence and chase my neighbours cat around the garden. The cat, quite sensibly, headed for the cat flap in the back door, but didn't bargain on Prince trying to follow it in at high speed and getting his head stuck in it.... There was also the time when I opened my back door to find the aforementioned cat having a sh*t in my border. Prince did a double-take and lunged at it - removing a chunk of orange hair from its rear end, but thankfully doing no further harm. I don't think the cat availed itself upon our facilities again.

There were also his more endearing foibles, like his love of warm human beds, and long lie-ins. My mother caught the picture below soon after she'd got out of bed when he was staying with 'the aulds'. Clearly he didn't feel it was time to rise and shine....


There's no point me pretending that he didn't drive me crazy at times. He was remarkably well behaved for a terrier though, and I think I sometimes took this forgranted. Hindsight can be a great thing or a terrible thing, and I know now that I'd give anything for him to be next to me, doing the naughtiest thing he could think of. It would be a small price to pay.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Sisterly Love

Tilly and I have guests at the moment - in the rather small and squeaky form of my parents guinea pigs. We're looking after them whilst they're away.

It took Tilly a while to realise they were here, and when she did - she welcomed them by barking at them loudly. I'm glad they're out of reach - otherwise it might be carnage.....

Wait! - What's that?!!

Your days are numbered, piglets....!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy.....

Lap(top) Dog

I've been very lax on the blogging front over the past few days, and have no excuse other than the fact that I've been busy and consequently knackered. Not an excuse that would wash with a mother trying to juggle two toddlers, four dogs and a part-time job, I accept - but true nontheless!

On Friday I combined Tilly's two hours of exercise, numerous ball games and collie-fun with riding three horses one after another. A friend of mine has recently become a staff-member short and asked for some help exercising the horses, hence my burst of activity. I haven't ridden so many horses in quick succession for a long time, and in conjunction with running around after Tilly, it left me flattened that evening.

I spent most of yesterday talking to Blackberry technical support, trying to sort out the 'Crackberry' problems I've been having over the past week, whilst simultaneously thowing balls for the Fruitbat.

Today has been slightly more relaxed, and Tilly has continued to be an angel. Her recall's slowly improving, which gives me a bit of a break and her far more fun when she's off the lead. She's also now part of a big group of doggy friends - we meet most mornings as we all walk at a similar time. It's a real motley crew, incorporating several terriers, a couple of labradors, two collie-crosses and a range of crossbreeds. She gets on with them all really well, and it's great for her to be running with 'the pack' most days.

The latest issue of 'Dogs Today' came out yesterday, and includes my final piece about Prince. It was heartbreaking to read it again, but it was so well presented and sensitively edited as usual that it made it a lot easier. The editorial team at Dogs Today are a really lovely and very talented team. I also received a cheque, which I've decided to use to pay for a plaque for Princes Bridge. Any excess will be donated to Milton Keynes Pet Rescue, where I got Prince from all those years ago.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Memory Lane (10)


The plaque I had ordered for Princes bench in the garden arrived today. It's small and understated, and says all I needed it to say.

Prince and I spent many happy hours lounging around on the bench in the garden. He'd wait for me to go and get his bed from the back of the car, and as soon as I'd carefully placed it on the bench (on his side of course), he'd hop straight up and settle down. He was a real 'outdoorsy' dog, and even if he wasn't doing anything in particular, he always preferred to be in the garden.

As long as it wasn't actually raining, and occassionally even if it was, we would spend time surveying the scene from the bench. I would read, stroke Prince with my free hand, and drink countless cups of tea. Prince would doze, chase the daring rabbits if they tried to break cover, and intermittently blow down the mouse holes to see if anything popped out of the other end.

I chose not to plant a tree in his memory, or anything plant related, as I have such an ability for flattening the most hardy specimens. I simply couldn't bear it if something I planted for him started to go downhill. I may plant some daffodil bulbs around the bench this year, but purely based on the expectation that the squirrels will probably have removed them by Spring. Prince thought daffodils were excellent to wee on, and had a slight obsession with sticking his face in them - before he urinated on them thankfully.

I'm considering putting another plaque on the bridge that I visit to talk to him, but I need to establish who it belongs to first, and ask their permission. I would hate to blunder up there one day, tears streaming down my face as ever, to find it had been removed.


Ah, my baby. My little cherub.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

One step forwards.....

.......and two steps backwards.

At least, that's what it feels like sometimes. I thought I was coming to terms with not having Prince physically with me, but the last couple of days have been really hard. I don't really know why I seem to have taken a backward step, but I suppose that grief is an unpredictable bitch. I miss everything about him, and the future still looks very, very, bleak without him. I'm dreading going back to work without him to give me the strength to cope with the (many) bad days, I'm dreading the onset of a beautiful Autumn, and I'm really dreading Christmas.

The only glimmer of light is Tilly, who's such a lovely little girl. In many ways it's deeply unfair to burden her with my 'baggage', so I'm trying not to let my more despondent moments affect her. She's so full of fun and joy that it's hard to be down when she's around, thankfully. I'm trying to concentrate on making sure that she's happy, settled and knows how much she's loved already. She's repaying me ten-fold by helping me retain a degree of sanity. And of course, physical exhaustion helps too. So she tells me.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Fruit Bat

I'm beginning to wonder if Tilly might be related to a fruit bat. There are some physical similarities, like the well-developed ears, and black coat, but I think it may go further than that.

We've been in the garden for the past couple of hours, intermittently playing ball, dozing, reading (me) and enjoying the sunshine. During that time, Tilly has hoovered up several windfall damsons (complete with stones), two windfall apples (complete with cores, stalks and probably maggots) and a selection of twigs, leaves and other vegetation. I do feed her, honestly. She also has a penchant for strawberries, nectarines, and sleeping upside down.

Should I contact the Natural History Museum?

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Unsociable Ladies

No, I haven't been chasing scantily-clad ladies around, and been rebuffed. Chance would be a fine thing...

I'm referring to Tilly, who over the past couple of days has taken to retiring to her bed in the kitchen whenever we're not actively involved in a game, or a walk, for example. Now, in many ways, this is very good - she obviously feels safe and warm in her bed, and doesn't feel the need to have me in her sight all the time. All good, healthy things. However, on the flip-side this tells me that she doesn't feel safe and warm sitting on the sofa next to me, and can't stand the bloody sight of me when I'm not entertaining her.

Am I being over-sensitive? She's really not into cuddles and snuggling up on the sofa - but I hope this may come in time. Perhaps she just needs more space and time to herself than Prince did, or is still a little unsure of her new surroundings.

I suppose I'll have to retire to the sofa alone and consider this.... any ideas anyone?

Oh, and about those scantily-clad ladies.......

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Experimentation....

This isn't terribly exciting I'm afraid, but having decided to upload a video as an experiment I might as well leave it up now. After all, it took half an hour to upload and I haven't got the heart to delete it now.... The joy of a knackered tennis ball!


video