A love story

I wasn’t going to do another blog this week. However in light of my poem yesterday, I got a tweet from a friend of mine on Twitter. She’s a lady by the name of Kristin Boes, also known as @catladyfurever. This lady rescued a 10 year old beagle originally called Edna and quickly re-named Daisy. Her story was published in a local magazine and can be found here –

https://petceteracolumbus.com/domesticated .

I read the story and admit that it really got to me, as a rescue dog myself. Daisy wasn’t looked after well, it seems, in her life prior to arriving at the rescue centre and to meeting Kristin and her husband. Once Daisy had adopted them, her life was full of happiness, compassion and understanding. And hugs. Plenty of hugs and kisses. Daisy went to the Rainbow Bridge on 27th February 2019. However she went with the knowledge that the last years of her life showed her what it is like to be loved and cared for in an environment where accidents aren’t punished and love is given freely. The following poem written by Kristin, deserves a read, I think.

I spent the first ten years of life

Trapped inside a cage

Then wound up at a shelter

Unwanted for my age

I spent my days in loneliness

Confusion and in doubt

Wondering if there’d ever be

Someone to let me out

But then one day a lady came

And saw beyond the grey

And ever since that moment

Every day’s been my best day

I don’t know how to be a dog

I couldn’t if I tried

I don’t know how to play with toys

I sometimes pee inside.

No one taught me any tricks

I’m not so great with leashes

But there’s one thing I’m amazing at

I love my mom to pieces.

When mommy comes home every day

From where she went without me

It’s better than a million treats!

I love her so devoutly.

She could have picked a little pup

A cuter one, or bolder

But mommy tells me all the time

She loves that I am older.

My usual state is sleepy

I like to take long naps

My favourite place in all the world

Is on or near a lap.

I don’t claw up the furniture

Or chew on peoples clothes

And everyday I’m thankful

That I’m the one she chose.

I may not be the perfect dog

Though I try and do my best

My first ten years were terrible

But she saved all the rest.

Some lines in the poem resonate with me. I want to pick out a couple.

She could have picked a little pup“. How many people look through rescue websites and scan over the older dogs but are immediately attracted to a puppy or juvenile which is probably going to be as much of a handful as an older fur.

I don’t know how to be a dog“. For someone to look at a sentient creature and wonder that they don’t know how to be a dog, must have been so utterly challenging and demoralising for both Kristin and Daisy. How can a dog not know “how” to be a dog, how to play with toys, how to interact? What life did poor Daisy have before she adopted her humans. That last part is the bit I don’t want to know.

This is Daisy. I think you need only look at her face to see what she thought of her, sadly too few, years in a loving home.

As for the line in the poem, “I may not be the perfect dog“. I shall leave that to your own thoughts. Daisy looks happy to have had a chance to live out her last years in comfort with love and affection. Daisy was perfect in Kristin’s eyes, I am sure.

Just one last thing to say. Daisy waited for Kristin to come home from work before going on her longest journey. Sometimes love is so all encompassing, that it’s scary.

Sometimes

Sometimes I sit and wonder

Sometimes I sit and think

Sometimes I sit in wonder

Sometimes I hardly blink

Sometimes I sit and worry

Sometimes I sit and smile

Sometimes I want to hurry

Sometimes I wait awhile

Sometimes I watch the weather

Sometimes I watch the skies

Sometimes I am very sleepy

Sometimes I close my eyes

Sometimes I wonder what to do

Sometimes I let it ride

Sometimes I have sad ears

Sometimes I have ears of pride

Sometimes I travel to some place

Sometimes I stay at home

Sometimes I want to see all there is

Sometimes I chew my bone

Sometimes I sleep upon my bed

Sometimes I run around

Sometimes I want to lie and think

Sometimes I bark out loud

Sometimes I think my life is good

Sometimes I think its fun

Sometimes I think of other furs

Who haven’t got someone

Stay safe everyone

Catch me if you can

Recently there was a dog that was lost quite close to my house and I managed to drag my human dad around the local countryside to see if we could help find the lost dog. Fortunately the dog returned after some days exploring and has been reunited with his owners. Dad & I had some nice walks, whilst hopefully trying to help find a fellow dog in distress. However it got me thinking of one of my earliest escapades when I arrived here. This was a fun April day in 2014.

One day soon after I arrived, it was lovely and sunny. The humans decided that we would try to do some different things and I was promised a walk in the park with my dad. This was great. When we got to the park there were so many people, numerous other dogs, and trees as far as my eyes could see. I didn’t know which way to look first. I was really excited to see and smell everything I could. I wanted to go and run about and play with the other dogs. Sadly dad decided that I was to stay on the lead and harness. This was extremely boring and I kept on pulling to try and find a way of doing my own dexplorations. Someone stopped dad to ask about me and I thought it would be fun to wrap the lead around his legs. I was really bored. When dad had finished speaking to the person he tried to untangle me from his legs and pulled on the lead. At this point I decided to back out of the loose harness. I could not believe that I was free. Dad looked at me and looked really scared but I just ran away as fast as I could towards the woods.

There were too many smells and sights that I needed to see. They were much more interesting than being restrained with a harness and lead. Dad initially chased after me but I was far too quick for him. After a short while he realised that chasing me was a game and that I would always win if it came to running around. Then he cheated. I heard him asking other people if they had seen me, and if not, could they look out for me. I still couldn’t believe I was free to roam around and explore places that I could only dream about. I kept on seeing dad so I knew people were looking for me. I managed to duck in and out of the woods to keep them all on their toes. Then I got the fright of my life when I saw mum advancing across the park towards me. This wasn’t fair as I knew that now they meant business and I would be surprised if I was recaptured before too long.I knew I had limited time to explore so off I went. The undergrowth held many smells and intrigue for me. I managed to chase a couple of Muntjack Deer which unfortunately gave away my location. I could feel the net closing around me. However there was still fun to be had. My senses were full, there were so many rabbits, squirrels, deer and birds in the woods. I was so focused on chasing them that I completely missed seeing the barbed wire fence until I had run through it. I yelped as it really hurt me. Unfortunately this gave away my position once more. It was only then that I realised I had blood on my face, ear and foot. Fortunately the blood on my face and foot was from my ear, due to my excellent ability to flap my ears. The blood was also dripping from my ear onto my paw. Whoops.

The adventure ended when I was nosing about in a copse and a very nice lady managed to grab my collar when I wasn’t concentrating. I paid her back by dripping blood all over her coat cuff. Whoops again. Mum and dad looked really relieved to see me again and I went straight back onto the collar and lead. However there were still squirrels to pester and I tried to bolt again. Dad wasn’t very happy when I started baying, pulling wildly and trying to chase the squirrel. By the time we got home I had managed to shake blood over both my parents and we looked like extras from a zombie film. However my escapade didn’t end there sadly. Mum and dad decided that I needed to go to the vet which didn’t sound very good. They were worried that I might have an infection from the barbed wire cut and said something about tetanus. Apparently if I had this tetanus, I may not be very well. When the vet lady checked me over, she found the cuts and said I should be ok, but for safety I would need an injection. Now, I’m not very good with  needles so I squealed and wriggled far too much for them to stab me with the needle. The vet lady decided that it would be easier for me to have painkiller pills. I have no ill effects, thankfully. In fact I think I may have got some extra food in my bowl the next day, just to make sure I was ok.

I was away for three hours whilst numerous people were searching for me. Apparently mum and dad were really upset and worried about where I was and that I wasn’t safe whilst I was cavorting around the countryside. I was having a great time whilst off lead but I realise now that I probably did scare them by running away. I do not want to think of how much worry the owners of the recently lost & found dog felt. He was gone for 9 days. His owners must have been unable to sleep at night.

Stay safe everyone.

Over The Rainbow Bridge

Sometimes we have to approach a sad and serious subject. I am on Twitter as some people may know. I have a large number of friends on Twitter and despite not meeting 99% of them in the fur, we woof and discuss what has happened during the day which is usually fun stuff. There are some occasions when the talk turns to more sobering matters such as the illness and injuries that afflict us all at some point in our lives. I have gone through my phase of being pawly and injured. I am hopeful that I have finished with that particular chapter. There are friends who suffer injury now and then. We all try to rally round to help to support them when we can.

Then there is the subject that we all know will arise but none of us want to contemplate, the subject of us making the longest journey. It is known as Over The Rainbow Bridge, as this has a softer tone and feel to the inevitable end. This is the most difficult time for any dog owner, and we always try to treat it with respect and thoughtfulness.

There seem to have been too many friends who have gone bravely to take the longest journey recently and this is always a strange and difficult time. We all know that, usually, we furs don’t last as long as humans. This doesn’t, and shouldn’t, diminish our ability to wheedle our way into your hearts and then take a small piece of it with us when we make our final journey. We may not be here for your whole life but you are invariably here for our whole life. Furs inevitably rely on their humans for pretty much everything from beds to food to tickles and walks. We don’t ask for much when we are here with you and it might be this level of love and loyalty that allows us to take this piece of your heart with us when we go. It’s a strange feeling when you find out that a friend who you have woofed with is suddenly not there. The emptiness in your tummy is palpable and it doesn’t decrease for a considerable time.

I have heard it said that we know when it is “time” and I think this is a true story. A while ago one of my friends was at the vets for various ailments and a picture was posted of him. I looked at his eyes, he seemed sad and resigned to his body giving him notice that this was the time to be brave and make the final and longest journey of all. This is now being replicated by a friend who knows he will go to the Rainbow Bridge soon. However he will do it on his terms and when he, and his parents, want him to go. The bond of love between them remains unbroken and there will be an acknowledgement when the time is right for the lead and collar to be hung up for good.

That the humans we leave behind are sad and feel lonely is, I think, an indication of the esteem and love they hold for us beyond our years of living and companionship. Equally it is an indication of the love and loyalty we have given back. The overriding factor seems to me to be that we have, in the main, enjoyed our time here. This gives our humans that sense of comfort when we have gone. They have looked after us and allowed us to enjoy life, see new things, smell new scents and have fun. Maybe our departure for the Rainbow Bridge shows the humans what they will miss most about us. The sense of fun, loyalty and the bond between us. What I think, and hope, we leave behind is a sense of celebration of our lives and the fun that we had when we were here.

Its not my time yet and I hope that I will continue to be here for quite a while yet. However when I go to the Rainbow Bridge, for I shall go one day, I hope that I leave pals and peeps with a sense of contentment that they made my life worth living and that I was happy. For now though, there is still much life in me. 

Snow Day Shenanigans

Wake up, wake up. It’s snowed and I want to explore. Come on, hurry up, get out of bed. Arooo, arooo, arooo.

Straight away to the fields and dexploration is on the cards. Dragging a human around always slows me down however, I am not allowed off lead outside of my garden. It is a problem that I must bear furever it seems.

Hurry up! No time for pictures

The snow is up near my knees and sometimes deeper so the belly plate on my harness scoops up the top layer. I am cold, then soaked as the snow is melting against my fur but it doesn’t matter as I am outside and getting so many scents in my nose. I don’t actually care one jot.

Charge!!!

Up this field, turn right, down the steep bank, along the treeline and sense a deer or three in the woods. Sadly my human braking system decides we are not going into the woods just yet and we detour around the next field and into the biggest field on the walk. The wind is somewhat bracing and the snow is swirling around us. The scents seem to be sitting on top of the snow and my nose is like a beagle snowplough. What’s wrong with having a small pile of snow on the end of your nose?

Look, that’s where all the critters live.

Out of the field at somewhat of a gallop and towards the woods, all glistening with their white snowy coating. I know there are deer and squirrels in there but will I chose the woods or the meadow of wonderful aromas. Turn left, into the meadow and see a pal ahead. Arooo arooo arooo. I think I will stay in the meadow and leave the woods for another day. Unfortunately the untouched snow is deep and the harness belly plate is scooping up rather a large quantity of snow now. Lets just say its a tad damp on my undercarriage. Through the meadow, turn left down through the woods. Deer!! Deer!! Arooo arooo. Ugh good grief I am shackled and cannot get it. Appearing out of the woods I am panting heavily but smiling from ear to ear.

By the time I get home my other human wants to know “where the devil have you been” as well as “How have you got the harness so wet?”.

Sssshh dad, our little secret.

And relax!

Where I live

As some of you may be aware I live in a place called Chesham in Buckinghamshire, UK. I arrived here just before Christmas 2013 so I am almost part of the furniture I suppose. Given I have explored the town and a considerable proportion of the surrounding area, I would like to regale you with a quick tour of the town that I call home.

Chesham appears in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Cestreham and seems to have been split between 4 Lords or Overlords who all had their own share of the land, people and the agriculture. The total population was 59 households and 15 Geld units. Through the ages the town has grown somewhat and now stands with a population of some 22,000 people. It was known in the more recent past for the 4 B’s – Brushes, Boots, Baptists and Beer. The trade of brush making was rife in the town from around 1829 until it fell away due to cheaper markets overseas. Bootmakers abounded too in the early to mid 1800’s with the tanned leather being moved up from London to be worked on in small workshops. Again the boot makers trade fell away due to cheaper manufacturing methods. The Baptist movement arose around 1640 and a number of places of worship remain to this day. We have even had a person burned at the stake for being a heretic (Thomas Harding in 1532). Moving on to the Beer, I have seen that in 1937 there were 53 pubs, beer houses and off-licences serving a population of 14,000 (A pub for every 264 people). Now there are 8 pubs in Chesham itself (A pub for every 2,750 people). I am basing my research on book called The Pubs & Inns of Chesham & villages (see below) which didn’t include the Black Cat or the Hen & Chickens, both of them being located close by and which are also still open.

Chesham is now a town mainly of small independent businesses some of which have survived through many generations. Our local bakery is run by the Darvell family, who also ran a brewery in the 1800’s. The bakery was opened in 1838 so some 180 years ago and it is still going strong. The hardware store of Pearces was started in 1937 and still thrives to this day. The town is full of smaller shops, mixed in with a few of the High Street names people know better such as W.H. Smith, Cafe Nero, Costa, Waterstones and the supermarkets of Sainsbury’s & Waitrose.

Chesham from Lowndes Park

Surrounding the town is a belt of green and pleasant lands. The majority of the town lies in a valley leading out on all sides by hills all accessible by lanes and roads. The nearby areas of Chartridge, The Vale, Ashleigh Hill, White Hill, Waterside and Chesham Bois are all well served. I have been lucky enough to stroll around the entire town in my time here and it is wonderful that there is access to much of the fields, moor, farmland, lanes and byways. The many paths and bridleways allow walkers, riders and cyclists to be out in the countryside, yet be within minutes of the town centre. We live in the lee of the Chiltern Hills so we have access to them, along with The Ridgeway, fairly close by.

If you want a good walk, in the countryside and in easy reach of London, come and see what it’s like around here. I think you will enjoy it.

Penn Grove
Waterside is just over there
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955470745 – Pubs & Inns of Chesham & villages

Winston the Brave

I have long been an admirer of furs who have special talents or abilities. I thought it might be a good idea to woof with one such illustrious dog who has overcome some difficulties and now is an example of courage, strength, fortitude and overall doggedness. I don’t think Winston will mind if I woof that I suspect these attributes also apply to Winston’s mum (Mumz) who had the never say no attitude to try and give Winston the best life possible.

This is Winston’s story.

Winston, hi. Can you tell us how did it all begin? Have you been with your mum since you were a small puppy? When did you find out that something wasn’t quite right with your legs?

Ok well Mumz didn’t meet me until I was 6 and Bruv was 9, at least we think he was 9. I was ok at that point regarding my walking. I’d had my cyst removed 3 years before that, so I was young when I got it, however it was removed successfully. But then I started scuffing my toes on my back legs, so she took me back to specialist centre who did lots of tests and found scar tissue at operation site. The scar tissue was attached to my spinal cord. There was no choice but to attempt to remove the scar tissue but it was risky. The day before I went in Mumz made sure I had THE best day at the seaside. The operation released scar tissue but damage had been done. Mumz was told I’d be completely paralysed within the year and would be “easier” to put me to sleep. She was so shocked because she didn’t expect that response or recommendation. Through her tears she asked if I’d be viable for a set of wheels or hot rod to support my back legs and thus allow me to get around much easier. They reluctantly confirmed it was possible and Mumz was still really upset when she took me away.

However she then got cross and I mean really cross. She started doing research and hopefully try to get a second opinion. This proved to be quite hard as people in the profession don’t like to step on each other’s toes. Eventually she found somewhere in Birmingham who would see me. It’s a 3 hour drive but we did it. They were brilliant. They explained exactly what was happening inside me, and they even drew Mumz an “idiot proof” picture to demonstrate what was going on. They explained the spinal cord has no pain receptors so I wouldn’t be in pain. The only pain I would get would be muscular as my front end would be working so hard. They even recommended the best hot rod wheels for me. She was elated as they also recommended I find a physio and hydrotherapist. We took action straight away. As a result I stayed upright for 5 years. I didn’t walk normally but I walked. I needed my hot rod wheels after a year or so when we went out but I could still get round the house and garden. Of course I had my man mobile or chariot. It’s been hard work, I have physio once a week and hydro every couple of weeks and a lot of work at home as directed by physio but it is worth it. She has to massage my front end every day as I get muscle fatigue through pulling myself along on the wheels. As a result, my front muscles are larger than they ordinarily would be. She also researched mobility aids, my special “help em up” harness (I think that’s what it’s called) and then also an off roader hot rod wheels. She’s made good contacts with people in the know – in fact the hot rod people are the ones who got me the Alan Titchmarsh show a while ago on the television.

I took to everything without complaint. It took a couple of goes before I realised my hot rod was a good thing but once I realised it meant I could run in it, I was fine! I’ve done all my physio without any complaint, however I think this was probably because food was involved. I’ve adjusted with each step of this journey. It’s Mumz who found it all upsetting and has cried buckets over the years but I’ve not dwelled on how I used to be. As long as I can get where I wanna go, I don’t care how I get there. I don’t mind saying I have been an inspiration to Mumz and everyone in the family. I’ve not changed one bit from the waist up. My zest for life has always been strong and I’m always wanting to be up and at them. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not cheap to look after but I’m worth every single penny and I’ve got a really close bond with Mumz because I rely on her so much. I’m quite fond of her despite her being a bit needy. I can’t walk at all now but we knew this would happen and it’s now 8 years since they told Mumz to put me to sleep and I’ve had a great time! I have had lots of fun, holibobs, trips to seaside and so on. I’m 14 and a half now so I’ve done brilliantly. Me being disabled hasn’t made me any the less of a great pet and friend – if anything the opposite because I so enjoy life it makes it all worth while. Every owner has a special bond with their pet but I think the bond you develop with a disabled pet is a very special one, and who wouldn’t want that.

Patrolling the zombie lake

Thanks Mr Winston sir for the clear and extensive answer. May I ask where you were before you picked Mum to look after you?

We came from a somewhat broken home. Bruv and I had been living together so Mumz got to adopt us both. Bruv and I were the best of buddies, we always knocked along together and were a strong unit.

Did the hot wheels make you and Mum feel that, actually, dogs with disabilities can be super powered and inspiring to others?

Mumz was shocked almost beyond words at how easily I was dismissed as a lost cause by the people who did me op. In the very same meeting when she was told that it would “easier” if I was put to sleep, the specialist asked if we were doing anything nice for fireworks night! I mean, talk about priorities. She now understands better how other places didn’t want to step on their toes but she wasn’t looking for that. She just wanted to see if anyone had any other ideas except euthanasia, but they wouldn’t listen. She couldn’t quite believe how some people who make a living out of caring for animals could be so uncaring. She also changed vets cos my vet wasn’t great in time of crisis too. I think that’s a very important point. If you’re not happy with what you’re being told, try your hardest to get more info and a second opinion. The internet has taught Mumz so much in respect of stuff like this. For instance, like how to help with me toilets as sadly the nerves dealing with that area were affected but it’s all very manageable when you know how. My vet didn’t know how and wasn’t interested. It’s very important to get the right team around you when you have a dog like me with very different needs. They are out there, the experts, you just need to find them.

Enabled, not disabled

So, Zombiesquad was a direct result of your combined thought that pets with disabilities can be super powered and inspirational?

Yes, exactly. This is why I’ve taken on hunting zombies cos I knew I was the best candidate. The whole point of starting zombiesquad was exactly that, to inspire others and to let them see my journey, and how brave I was (I can hunt zombies after all) and the fun people can still have with a disabled pet. We wanted to make my twitter page fun. She wanted everyone to see how happy I am. Obviously she had no idea it would grow so big but she’s thrilled she’s got such a large audience who can see how good my life is. People have approached her for advice with a newly disabled pet or on behalf of friends with a newly disabled pet which has made her very happy because without Twitter / ZS they wouldn’t have known me. She was able to reassure and offer advice and point people in the right direction at a very scary and daunting time.

Thanks. I think everyone agrees that the twitter page is indeed fun and inspirational. May I turn to something a little sadder. When Bruv went to the Rainbow Bridge, this was clearly a very large loss. Did you and Mum have an idea to get you another friend or apprentice soon after.

She didn’t want another dog after Bruv. We loved him so much, still do, the thought of someone else and going through that again was not something she was prepared to do. It felt very disloyal to him. But then I got depressed. Very depressed. Mumz did her best to cheer me up and even spoke to an animal behaviouralist but I missed him so badly nothing helped. So her solution was to allow the Kid to move in. We’re not best pals like I was with Bruv but he’s a companion and someone to do things with. He cheered me up.

Mr Winston, thank you for allowing me to interview you. I think everyone can see that being a pet with disabilities isn’t something to hold you back. The zest for life, for fun and for chasing zombies clearly allows you to live as full a life as possible. Thank you also to Mumz for pursuing the alternative option, for not taking the first advice as final and wanting the best in life for you.

Rushing to another zombie alert