Older or wiser

I’m sitting here and the rain is drizzling down the window. It’s February, its windy, we’ve had two winter storms in quick succession and they are digging up the road outside my house. Do they not know I am trying to sleep. Even more surprising but equally as joyous, Lenny isn’t trying to bite me. Now if you have read some of my recent blogs, you will know I have been somewhat contemplative. If you are hoping for shenanigans in this article, then I fear you will again be somewhat disappointed. Earlier today I was wondering to myself about becoming older and, apparently, wiser.

Being older is a bit obvious really. I have more grey hair, I eat my dinner more slowly and I dont need to walk as far as I used to. I’ve even missed scenting rabbits and squirrels according to assorted parents I have been attached to when these alleged missed sightings have taken place. I can still play bitey face with Lenny, and give him what for, but I tend to duck out of said prolonged snout jousting after a short time. Being beagles we are docile chaps and even when we are in full cry with sofa covers flying around, furniture being rearranged and rugs being ruffled, we manage to stop for a breather on fairly regular occasions. Sometimes it takes a parent stepping in between us to remind the warring parties that its time for a break but, on the whole, we tend to cease and desist quite readily. I am then happy to retire to one of my six or so beds to snooze. However Lenny seems to have a little extra bounce in his paws although I think that is because he is around eighteen months old and I am, allegedly, going to be ten next birthday. No one truly knows how old I am due to me being a rescue but the wise money is on nearly ten now. I am happy for him to run around a little longer, chew what remains of one of my toys and then fall asleep on the sofa. Usually this is interspersed with trying to bite me but again, being docile, I try and fend him off without sending clear signals that I just want to rest.

Older?

As for being wiser, I don’t really know what that entails. If it means that I have seen things, been places and done stuff, then yes I am wiser. If it means that having done said activities, I have learned from the experiences, then not necessarily. For example I have been on the tube and train to London quite a few times, however I still want to investigate what those wonderful smells are down on the track. Thank goodness for a lead and attached human apparently. Another example, is that I have lived here for seven Christmases and, despite the jolly red faced man delivering me many wonderful things but nothing closely resembling a pizza tasting gift, it is wrapping paper I am still fascinated by. I can’t eat it, I know I can’t, but does it stop me from trying? Of course not. Many winters have I seen here, many dirty puddles have I walked through in a Moses style and many times have I been told “Dex, no, ugh good grief you look like the Creature from the Black Lagoon”. Does it stop me stomping through puddles in the most triumphal fashion? No, of course not. I have stopped chasing pigeons in the garden and that’s not because I am banned from the garden. Far from it, for I merely allow my protege to chase them for me. Young whipper-snapper legs are faster than these old bones of mine. I have stopped chewing my toys to a misshapen soggy jumble of fabric, with an accompanying scene of death and destruction wrought across the rugs. Again I leave the dental lobotomisation of toys to Lenny, as he seems to have picked up the baton fairly quickly and extremely proficiently.

Wiser?

If growing older and wiser means seeing things, going places, enjoying the view, smelling more flowers and generally knowing that I should take my time to appreciate and immerse myself in all the things I rushed to see previously, then I am older and wiser. I still have adventures, I still walk and pull on the lead, stick my head down rabbit holes and try to climb the banks along the lanes and byways I explore. I still look in awe at the beauty of the countryside I visit, gaze at the buildings and people in the city. But I let it sink in now, I actually look at what is in front of me and then usually fall asleep soon after, twitching and dreaming. I am trying to pass on my perceived wisdom to Lenny. He is often too busy bouncing around, trying to sniff everything, meet every fur and being a very lovable pest in as quick a time as possible. I see much in Lenny that I had in my youth and this gives me a warm feeling. I hope I can help him to understand that, at some point, he will sit and watch the world go by, with a peace and calmness that I seem to be achieving more often.

Who knows, maybe that is the secret to being older and wiser.

The adventure ride of life

It’s a lovely sunny day here today just over a week since my very good friend Raffa made her final, and longest, journey to the Rainbow Bridge. I seem to be contemplating many aspects of my life quite often recently. Maybe it’s because I am becoming older and apparently more knowledgeable. I don’t know, but if I may indulge you. This may ramble a little, but stick with it!!

There is so much war and destruction, death, famine and argument happening in the world at the moment that I am pleased I don’t seem to be directly affected by most of it. Maybe I live in my own little bubble, protected by those who love me the most, and thus unaware of much of the rigours of daily life for so many. I hear the humans in my house when they see or hear the news. Most of the time they are despondent at the state of much of the world, seeing the greed and avarice of an awful lot of people. Then they look at Lenny & I, and you can see their whole demeanour changes and often times a small smile will emerge.

I walk in the morning and get to see the lovely places in close proximity to my home. The leaves are yet to show on the trees, the stalks of the bluebells are just emerging through the ground in the hedgerows and the Snowdrops give colour to the brown and grey landscape of the fields and hedges in late winter. Everything seems to be without colour and form, but there is something of a stark beauty in it all. Even watching the plough carving patterns through the field, tilling the soil in readiness for sowing the crops for autumnal harvest, the gulls swoop and settle in the furrows to feed upon the worms and bugs that have been exposed to the air and sunlight. There is something about it which seems strangely hypnotic. The landscape changes from one field to the next or from one turn in the country lane to another. The countryside is being shaped by man and beast, and has been for centuries. We are strolling through on our journey. We know where we want to go, and hope to know how we are going to get there, but we don’t know what we will encounter along the way. It’s an old cliche but it’s like my life really.

I smell the deer, but cannot see it.

This morning my younger brother (ok he’s not actually my biological brother but I allow him to live here with me, and he’s a Beagle) was walking with my dad. In the corner of one of the fields there was a tree snapped in half in the recent wind and it was now laying across the normal path. They knew they could get past it, so just strolled around it and continued with their journey. No harm, no problem and on they go. Around the next corner, another tree was broken due to the winter storm and this time it lay across the path and into a particularly muddy puddle. They just got their feet and wellies wet, dad looked down at Lenny, smiled, gave Lenny’s ears a tickle and on they went. They returned to the top of the hill which overlooks the town and the trees and hills form a lovely natural framing of the town. Lenny and dad stopped and just looked, not for long but for long enough. Then they looked at one another and thought “I reckon Raff would have loved this view”. Dad smiled knowingly at Lenny, who wanted to get on and sniff and snooter.

I have lost some wonderful friends to the Rainbow Bridge and with each one that makes the longest journey maybe I become more reflective. To meet many of these friends and just to know others, for sometimes, a few years, makes me feel happy. I am happy that I have had the chance to share some of my life with them, and equally I have shared some of their life too. We’ve walked, we’ve woofed and we’ve had fun. Few cares in the world have been able to dampen our spirits. Even when the humans meet up, they talk, drink too much coffee, eat cake and generally have a good time. Their worldly worries seem a little decreased.

Losing Raffa hit me hard, I will make no bones about it. She was a very good pal and we shared many adventures with her when we met up. Maybe it was her approach to life that resonates with me now more than it has done over time. Life is there to be lived, have adventures every day, have fun and see things. #LiveLikeRaffa was our hashtag last week. I am going to follow it and see wherever life takes me.

We are all on life’s adventure ride and I want to make the most of it before it is my turn to get off. I hope that didn’t ramble too much.

A light that will never dim

Sometimes you become friends with someone who you instantly know is honest, fun and has a heart filled with goodness. This is the story of one such friend who I was lucky enough to meet on quite a few occasions, and who I will never ever forget. If I may indulge you in some reminiscences, I would be grateful for a small amount of your time.

Raffa was the friend I started woofing with soon after I joined Twitter in 2013. After we had been talking on Twitter for some time and finally decided that, as my parents were taking me for a holiday to Patterdale in the Lake District, Raffa and her mum would join us to have some walks and chat in person. We were all really excited as we got the impression from our Twitter talks that Raffa was happy and fun and always exploring. We met in the White Lion in Patterdale on 30th August 2016 and our friendship was sealed in the first few moments when Raffa walked into the pub and nose bumped me whilst I was asleep. I had been walking for miles and was very tired.

Hello, I’m Raffa

The very next day we all walked out on a long trail that was stony in many places. Raffa had her chariot as she wasn’t able to walk as far as she would want to. However she seemed to stride out and I looked on in awe at her. We managed to arooo very loudly at some sheep and generally had a lovely time.

Grisedale walk

On our return to the holiday house, I escorted her along the road in her chariot as she was a little tired after the days exertions. The next day she went home, however the friendship was set.

In December 2016 we arrived unannounced at a meet up near Sheffield in Yorkshire. We had been plotting with Charley Beagles mum to surprise everyone, and it worked. We walked along a lovely path around a reservoir with many pals. Raffa had her mum push her in the chariot as, again, the terrain was rocky and she couldn’t walk too far. But she still managed to trot happily along for a fair distance which made everyone happy.

We met up with Raffa and her mum again in April 2017 for another expedition to the Western Lake District. This time we explored Eskdale, Wasdale and Ravenglass. We greeted each other with our usual cheeriness and proceeded to explore for the next three days, always with smiles on our faces.

We then had a couple of days with Raffa and her mum, again in Eskdale, in early September 2017. We walked, woofed and had a wonderful time.

Next we all met up at the Beagle World Record in Macclesfield in April 2018. I was fortunate to meet up with Raffa, Bryher, Tean, Charley and 1,024 other beagles who all became record breakers that day. We all finished the course, creating history with every step. As followers will know Charley Beagle went to the Rainbow Bridge in September 2018.

I will finish the course, I will be a World Record Holder

We met at Dunstable Downs in October 2018 and then a hush hush visit to Charley’s mum & dad in November 2018 followed.

It’s good to see you again Raffa, my friend.
The gate keeper of Charley Beagles kitchen

When we took Lenny to the World Record Beagle Walk celebration in September 2019 Raffa was still running around when she could, and retiring to her chariot when she was tired.

I will look after you Raffa. We are buddies after all.

We topped the year off by having the honour and privilege of showing Raffa and her mum around a few parts of London. I covered this in a previous blog but make no apologies for mentioning it again. We had a wonderful day, we saw so many things, there was laughter and happiness through the entire time and much sadness when we departed.

Sadly, Raffa took the longest journey on 4th February 2020. She was 13 years old. She lived a life full of fun, adventure and exploration. She was loved, she gave love and she smiled and enjoyed her life. She was, and is, a beacon of what I would hope to be. Happy, fulfilled, loved and wholly content with her life. She may be gone from our sights however she will remain in our hearts forever. Run free sweet Raffa it is a privilege and honour to know you, to meet you and to be your friend. We had many adventures which I will never forget. May the everlasting sun shine upon your fur and keep you warm. Until we meet again, for we surely shall, I say farewell but never goodbye.

21st July 2006 – 4th February 2020. Thirteen and a half years of a life fully lived. I have sad ears because this is the most difficult blog I have ever had to write.

We miss you Raffa. Run free sweetie.

20-20 vision

I have been a little quiet over the festive period and into the New Year. It was Lenny’s first Christmas and New Year (or is it lower case – new year?). Dad had a stinker of a cold so we were somewhat restricted as to our ability to travel. We have also been taking some time to reflect upon the last year and to wonder what is ahead now. Not in a resolution style as I take each day as it confronts me, but more like trying to get some clarity over the things we can control.

Looking out for Lenny

We tried to make it as normal as possible over Christmas with walks in the fields and lanes, along with seeing people we should see more often. For various reasons the festive period is tinged with sadness and reflection for dad especially. Readers may recall that my grandpa Chas went to the Rainbow Bridge on 28th December 2017, and that the uncle who I never met, Uncle David, had already passed away many years ago on 8th December 1974. It is a time for families and friends to try and get together and enjoy their company if they can. Lenny and I went to visit our grandparents in Sussex for a day between Christmas and New Year and he seemed to enjoy himself. In fact he settled faster than me soon after we had arrived which was a bonus as we were a little worried he may be agitated with the new surroundings. We needn’t have held any such fears. We were going to see our other nanny, however with Dads cold, we thought it better to shelve the trip until he was better. As it was, he was able to visit her in her new home on New Years Eve and checked that we would be able to go and see her soon, so that is a bonus and something to look forward to.

Snuggle up, we’re brothers after all

There are many things going on in my house at the moment that it is good to have the stability and routine of waking up, first breakfast, walk, second breakfast, snooze, treat training, snooze, run around the garden, play bitey face with Lenny, snooze, dinner, snooze, get tickles and sleep. I do seem to snooze quite a bit. Lenny has settled into the routine well, although his routine also includes performing dental lobotomies on one of my old stuffed toys. When I look at Lenny tearing into the fluffy and now deceased gingerbread toy, it does make me wonder how different and, yet how similar, Lenny and I are. Same basic breed albeit he is giraffe legged and I am a hooligan apparently. Both rescues and both full of energy. However we differ in that my energy is relentless when it comes to hunting a creature in the fields or lanes, whereas Lenny will scent it and then if he cannot get to it, he will move on. We are dissimilar in that I will walk straight through the muddiest, filthy puddle on a walk and Lenny will carefully try to avoid it. When I sleep it’s almost as if I have one eye open permanently, whereas Lenny will go out like the proverbial light. Often it is apparently like “waking the dead” when trying to rouse him from his slumber. I took some 18 months to settle when I first arrived here and Lenny seems to have taken around 6 months.

Happy New Year everyone

I cannot foretell the future, however I can say with some certainty that Lenny and I will continue to enjoy living and having fun together. We will continue to run around the garden, chase squirrels and dig holes where we aren’t supposed to. We will continue to get tickles and enjoy snoozing in our 6 beds. For my part, I will continue to try and be a good big brother and guardian for Lenny so he can feel loved and safe.

Merry Christmas one and all

To conclude our celebration of Christmas in all its guises around the world, I asked Eddy in Yorkshire, Tyrrell in Australia, Marigold in the USA & Curfew in Thailand how they enjoyed themselves at this most wonderful time of the year. Thank you for reading this little series of blogs. It has been interesting to see the differences as well as the similarities.

If you had one chance to see one place in the world at Christmas where would it be?

Eddy: Lapland

Curfew: I would like to visit one place and it is Anfield, Liverpool.

Tyrrell: Mum says somewhere with snow where she can see the Northern Lights and we get to see snow.

Marigold: A place where all our pals could gather

You can meet one person at Christmas, who?

Eddy: Santa

Curfew: I want to meet all my Twitter pals.

Tyrrell: We’d like a party with all our Twitter pals together.

Marigold: Mum says she wants me back, I was a furry little person.

Best thing about Christmas?

Eddy: Everyone is happy

Curfew: The best thing about Christmas is everyone has a lot of fun and smile.

Tyrrell: Mum has a week at home with us, extra belly rubs and treats. Mums says her kindle and hammock.

Marigold: Food

Worst thing about it?

Eddy: Knowing there are lonely out there

Curfew: Fireworks

Marigold: Food.

Sprouts or no sprouts?

Eddy: Half and half in our house

Curfew: I’m not sure if it is different from here. But I like to eat all veggies. Don’t worry I’m not a Vegan. Chicken & bacon always better.

Tyrrell: Christmas dinner is not right without sprouts although the fall out can be tough.

Marigold: We don’t eat a lot of sprouts, so probably that would be a no.

One gift you could give to one friend?

Eddy: Better health

Curfew: I want to give many kinds of Thai food for them to taste how amazing is it.

Tyrrell: I’d share my Roo treats. Mum says friendship.

Marigold: A sympathetic ear

Something you would like to receive?

Eddy: Good news for me after my little op.

Curfew: Want a blessing from heaven to bring back my pals who running over the Rainbow Bridge.

Tyrrell: Anything edible.

Marigold: Mum says she wants me back.

Best Christmas song?

Eddy: Driving home for Christmas

Curfew: All I want for Christmas is you – Michael Buble

Tyrrell: Mum says White Christmas by some dude called Bing. I say Raffa’s 2016 version of 12 days of Christmas

Marigold: Any Christmas song sung by Tony Bennett.

Do you think Christmas has lost its meaning?

Eddy: Yes

Curfew: Everything in this world is dominated by business. All commercial

Tyrrell: Isn’t it just about extra treats? Mum says yes it is too commercial but the twittpack gives her hope

Marigold: Somewhat, but not everywhere for everyone.

Has it been watered down into a purely commercial thing?

Eddy: I think so

Curfew: See above.

Tyrrell: See above. No, mum just gifts me more treats

Marigold: Yes sadly.

Do you wear reindeer ears at Christmas, or should they stay on the reindeer?

Eddy: I like an antler

Curfew: I have a lot of Christmas costumes. So, yes reindeer ears. Do I want to wear? Sadly I have no choice.

Tyrrell: Mum made me wear them one year, then I ate them. She wears an elf hat with elf ears

Marigold: Only on reindeer around here. Not that there are any, reindeer, I mean

New Years Resolution or are they a total waste of time?

Eddy: Yes

Curfew: Not a waste of time. No, the happy moments are never enough.

Tyrrell: What are they for? Can we order more treats? Mum says waste of time you should always do what you resolve to do at New Year

Marigold: Its worth a shot, you never know.

Bring back one thing about Christmas past?

Eddy: To have all people and four legged pals back

Tyrrell: My pals over the rainbow just for the day. Mum says her mum, she is over the rainbow too, probably with all our pals she loved dogs.

Marigold: Kids shopping for one or two presents in a printed catalog. It’s out of control.

Home Alone or A Christmas Carol?

Eddy: A Christmas Carol

Curfew: I’ve never been home alone.

Tyrrell: Christmas Carol every time.

Marigold: Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart

Would you rather have Christmas with friends or with your parents?

Eddy: Parents

Tyrrell: I would rather with our mums as they have my treats. Mum says with friends as no parents left.

Marigold: Mum says she would love to have Christmas with her parents.

Do you get turkey shares?

Eddy: Yes

Curfew: No turkey here, but every time there’s a New Year celebration in my home there’s usually many different types of food on the table. You have no idea how much.

Tyrrell: No turkey as we have Prawns, crayfish or crab. I get a tiny bit.

Marigold: Pups always got turkey shares—not a lot but yes. I wish Marigold could be here and have whatever she wanted

Do you think you will have snow at Christmas? Do you like snow at Christmas?

Eddy: No, I pray for snow at Christmas that’s why we got married in December but it didn’t snow

Tyrrell: If we do the world is in serious global warming trouble! We are expecting 36°-39°. Mum says she would like to be somewhere with snow.

Marigold: Maybe a tiny bit way early in the morning… forecast doesn’t look promising.

Cluedo or Scrabble? Who wins?

Eddy: Scrabble. Not mum

Curfew: No games played at all, only whiskeys, wines and beer.

Tyrrell: Cluedo and mum wins

Marigold: Never heard of Cluedo. Scrabble… sometimes I win.

Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly? Who wins?

Eddy: Trivial Pursuit and again, not mum.

Tyrrell: Both.

Marigold: Monopoly. It usually doesn’t ever end, so nobody wins.

Fairy or a star on top of the Christmas Tree?

Eddy: We’ve got eyeore cos we’ve a Disney tree

Tyrrell: Neither we has a Scotsman playing the bagpipes.

Tis the season to be jolly

I have many friends around the world and I asked some of them what they thought of Christmas and, if they celebrated, who they did so. This is the third instalment so I thought I would ask some more overseas pals.

Lucy lives in Arizona. Dixie lives in New Jersey. Gracie lives in Massachusetts. Pruny’s mum, Carolina, lives in Argentina.

If you had one chance to see one place in the world at Christmas where would it be?

Lucy: Wherever I am at!

Dixie: Anywhere in the Caribbean, we spent Christmas on Bonaire one year and it was fantastic!

Gracie: Not sure — maybe Finland or the UK.

Carolina: Any place cold with snow and not hot.

You can meet one person at Christmas, who?

Lucy: My mum again.

Dixie: It would have to be my Mom who never stopped believing in Santa for her whole 82 years

Gracie: My mom. She died unexpectedly in 2003, and we weren’t able to be together the Christmas before she passed.

Carolina: Oh my favorite singer or any Twitter pal.

Best thing about Christmas?

Lucy: The decorations.

Dixie: Making people smile simply by wishing them Happy holidays

Gracie: The lights and the feeling of peace. And watching Roscoe and Gracie open presents. Roscoe loves it.

Carolina: Lights, decorations and movies.

Worst thing about it?

Lucy: Grumpy shoppers and drivers.

Dixie: Road rage and parking lot crazies.

Gracie: People. They get so angry so quickly over things that don’t matter.

Carolina: People arguing where to spend the night, what to eat and fireworks.

Sprouts or no sprouts?

Lucy: We don’t do spouts much in the US but fried with bacon they are amazing!

Dixie: I don’t eat them but they were always on the table when I was young.

Gracie: No sprouts however Gracie says yes to sprouts. Roscoe likes to shred sprouts and make a mess then walk away.

Carolina: No sprouts for Christmas here.

One gift you could give to one friend?

Lucy: I wish I could give a friend of mine the gift of forgiveness about her marriage failing, it has been 13 years and she has not moved on.

Dixie: I like to make people laugh (or at least try to) so they can forget their worries if only for an evening.

Gracie: Something handmade.

Carolina: Something special for him/her that surprises him/her but not necessarily expensive.

Something you would like to receive?

Lucy: Magic weight loss

Dixie: Hmmm, that’s really hard, more kindness in the world.

Gracie: I don’t know. I think this year I have everything I need.

Carolina: A ticket for my and my pups to travel.

Best Christmas song?

Lucy: O Holy Night sung by Nat King Cole

Dixie: Mum says Silver Bells (showing my age there)

Gracie: White Christmas

Carolina: All I want for Christmas is you.

Do you think Christmas has lost its meaning?

Lucy: I don’t think Christmas is much about religion anymore. However, I have seen it bring out generosity that lacks during the rest of the year.

Dixie: It hasn’t lost it’s meaning for me so I can’t really say how others feel about it.

Gracie: Not to me it hasn’t. But to the world in general… maybe.

Carolina: Yes, definitely.

Has it been watered down into a purely commercial thing?

Lucy: In general, yes.

Dixie: Yeah for some it is

Gracie: It has definitely gotten more commercial.

Carolina: Sure! Kids only want presents, they don’t know Christmas meaning.

Do you wear reindeer ears at Christmas, or should they stay on the reindeer?

Lucy: I have been known to wear a Santa hat

Dixie: No, but a Santa hat and lots of red, yes.

Gracie: Reindeer need their antlers.

Carolina: Nope, only for pups. (Dexter says bad luck pups.)

New Years Resolution or are they a total waste of time?

Lucy: My resolutions are to recognize when someone needs help and provide it. When we travel and I see people taking pictures of each other individually I step up to take a picture of them. It’s a tiny thing that makes people happy.

Dixie: New Year resolutions are ridiculous unless they lead to a good habit that will make the person happier.

Gracie: Reflections are useful, but resolutions. I’m so horrible at them that for me they are a waste of time.

Carolina: Not waste of time for people who want to make them possible. Personally don’t think about them.

Bring back one thing about Christmas past?

Lucy: They have been all over the place, in the military, as a police officer, with friends and family! Someone has always been kind enough to share.

Dixie: Not sure about bringing back one thing from the past, not really my thing.

Gracie: Family who have all passed away.

Carolina: A happy Christmas, when I had a bigger family and was fun.

Home Alone or A Christmas Carol?

Lucy: What a Wonderful Life

Dixie: Sorry but it has to be White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

Gracie: Christmas Carol

Carolina: Christmas Carol

Would you rather have Christmas with friends or with your parents?

Lucy: My parents are passed but Lucy says with everyone, no other dogs, so she gets all the pets and tickles.

Dixie: The more the merrier, friends and family works

Gracie: I wish I could have Christmas with my family.

Carolina: Friends. Too many not very happy Christmas with family.

Do you get turkey shares?

Lucy: Always.

Dixie: Dixie here: No because they have ham at Christmas

Gracie: White meat turkey shares for Roscoe and Gracie! Arrroooo!

Carolina: Not turkey here. Each family eats different things but for sure vitello tonnato and English sandwiches.

Do you think you will have snow at Christmas? Do you like snow at Christmas?

Lucy: No, it will be 60 F. We’ve never had it.

Dixie: We don’t usually have snow for Christmas here, I always had snow when I was young. When I was young I liked it but now that I’m the one driving, I’m just as happy without it

Gracie: I hope so! It doesn’t really feel like Christmas to me if there’s no snow on the ground.

Carolina: We expect 36 °C for that day. I would love snow.

Cluedo or Scrabble? Who wins?

Lucy: We don’t usually play games.

Dixie: We don’t play board games at Christmas. There might be a card game or two going on depending on the crowd, but it all fun so who cares who wins.

Gracie: Scrabble. Don’t know what Cluedo is. I would probably win at Scrabble.

Carolina: Scrabble, my mum wins.

Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly? Who wins?

Lucy: We don’t usually play games.

Dixie: See above.

Gracie: Trivial Pursuit. Mark might win, but I would put up a good fight.

Carolina: Monopoly, I win.

Fairy or a star on top of the Christmas Tree?

Lucy: Neither

Dixie: Always a Star

Gracie: We have a star on currently, but I would like to find a nice angel.

Carolina: Always a star here.


A Christmas for Border Terriers

The next instalment of my investigation into Christmas as enjoyed around the world. As I have a large number of pals who are Border Terriers I thought I would make this blog purely on their views. In fact I am an honorary member of the BT Posse, a fine and venerable group alongside the BeagleBug Club.

For reference Moss lives in New Zealand. Topa lives in California. Hamish lives in Scotland.

If you had one chance to see one place in the world at Christmas where would it be?

Moss: I would like to meet my grandad. M would like to meet David Bowie

Hamish: My sofa with friends and family.

You can meet one person at Christmas, who?

Moss: I would like to meet my grandad. Mum would like to meet David Bowie.

Topa: My Mums parents. I’ve heard they love dogs but they live 3000 miles across the country and I’m too big to fly.

Hamish: You Dexter!

Best thing about Christmas?

Moss: Lots of fuss from the family and helping them unwrap their pressies. I’m a big help and Christmas ham is always tasty. Mum says it’s being able to legitimately ignore work emails

Hamish: BTPosse Secret Santa…..all these furs and people who haven’t met do something kind and fun for someone else. It’s lovely and it’s all thanks to Hamish HRH who is a logistical genius!

Worst thing about it?

Moss: Me – what’s not to love about fussing and Christmas ham? Mum says she doesn’t like the commercialisation of it and pressure on families to have Instagram perfect Christmases

Topa: This year my Mums are going away without me.

Hamish: Thinking about the furs and little humans not as fortunate as us.

Sprouts or no sprouts?

Moss: Sprouts! With almonds and pancetta

Topa: Hmm. Sprouts aren’t really a Christmas thing here in the US, but I always love a good raw, smelly brassica to crunch on!

Hamish: M used to hate them when she little, now she loves them! Her taste bugs getting old I think

One gift you could give to one friend?

Moss: I would like Frank the BT living with Mr Mike to get better and for my other pals who are sick to get better. Mum has a colleague who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He has a young family. She would like him to have more time. (Sorry to be heavy hedgehog as Hamish would say)

Topa: I would give my pal Gracie Rae Good Girl, my Border Terrier friend here in my town, no more operations or health issues for the rest of her life.

Hamish: We wish we could give a thank you to all the folk who have to work on Christmas Day.

Something you would like to receive?

Moss: squeaky pigs please Mum wants an email wizard who would clear up her inbox and file everything correctly

Hamish: This is a tough one but I’m 11 soon and I feel time be flying in. So the gift of time please.

Best Christmas song?

Moss: Fairytale of NY – no contest!

Topa: Anything that my Scottish pal Roky Boyd (@RokAndWag) has written.

Hamish: The Coventry Carol.

Do you think Christmas has lost its meaning?

Moss: We’re not a religious household at all so it couldn’t lose that meaning but it’s definitely more commercial. For us it’s about time out with family and friends.

Topa: I don’t know. I’m only three.

Hamish: Yes and no! I guess it’s up to each and everyone of us to keep what it means in our hearts and try to live up to that all year round.

Has it been watered down into a purely commercial thing?

Moss: See above.

Topa: See above.

Hamish: Again it is but only if we let it!

Do you wear reindeer ears at Christmas, or should they stay on the reindeer?

Moss: I don’t wear reindeer ears. Mum does. I have also been known to nom them if she leaves them lying about.

Topa: Definitely for reindeer only. I hate things on my head.

Hamish: They can keep their antlers !

New Years Resolution or are they a total waste of time?

Moss: You can make resolutions at any time of the year but there is something appealing about re-setting the clock.

Hamish: Just to keep trying to have fun and be the best terrier I can be!

Bring back one thing about Christmas past?

Moss: Gooseberry creme from the Quality Street tins!

Hamish: Remember the satsumas wrapped in the wax paper: bring them back!

Home Alone or A Christmas Carol?

Moss: Neither – Die Hard! Ok – Home Alone.

Hamish: Christmas Carol (the muppets version)

Would you rather have Christmas with friends or with your parents?

Moss: We are lucky and do both. It would be nice to have Christmas with the UK family.

Topa: Definitely with my Mums because I love them best. But I love Gracie and her Mums, too, so perfect Christmas would be all 6 of us.

Hamish: We now do Christmas with family and Boxing Day with friends! It works well!

Do you get turkey shares?

Moss: We don’t have a turkey but I get Christmas ham!

Topa: Not so far. I’ve only had two Christmases with my Mums and they haven’t had turkey at either one.

Hamish: I get a little bit.

Do you think you will have snow at Christmas? Do you like snow at Christmas?

Moss: We will never have snow in a million years. Beach baby! I think I’d like to try it. Mum doesn’t like it. It’s a pain to drive in.

Topa: Not where I live in Southern California! But we do get snow in the mountains near here. I think it would be fun to play in, but I don’t really know first hand.

Hamish: It seems really mild so probably no snow.

Cluedo or Scrabble? Who wins?

Moss: Can we have both Cluedo and Scrabble please? Mum and Dad fiercely contest Scrabble but Dad is tricksy and usually wins. Mum wins Cluedo

Hamish: My mum can’t spell so scrabble a disaster for her.

Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly? Who wins?

Moss: Trivial Pursuit. Can’t stand Monopoly as it goes on too long.

Hamish: We likes trivial pursuits

Fairy or a star on top of the Christmas Tree?

Moss: Star. MERI KIRIHIMETE!

Topa: We have a wooden yellow bird with a scarf around its neck on the top of our tree.


All I want for Christmas is?

As the Christmas holiday period looms over the horizon, I sat wondering recently what some of my friends and their parents thought of the Christmas period. I wondered if and how they enjoyed themselves, so I asked a few of them. These are the first set of replies I have got. There are others I will put on here in forthcoming blogs.

He looks a bit too big to fit down my chimney!

If you had one chance to see one place in the world at Christmas where would it be?

Griff: Heaven, just for a day, so I could meet Charley and say thank you for helping your M&D find me.

Fergus: M spent last Christmas in Australia with lifelong friends, and she loved it. She’d love to spend it with me in a log cabin in Scotland.

Raffa: Santa Paws workshop, North Pole

Oscar: I would like to be in Santa’s Sleigh. That way I could zoom around the world delivering presents to all my pals and their humans and give them all a Christmas snuggle.

Beadnell: Bethlehem.

You can meet one person at Christmas, who?

Griff: Charley Beagle.

Fergus: Mum says Joe Lycett as she reckons he’d be a cracking dinner guest but I say Santa Paws

Raffa: Santa Paws

Oscar: This is tough. I would like to meet Santa Paws but Og met him last year and Og said that he smelt funny and had run out of presents. So I would really like to meet 3 special souls; Goon, Bean and Momma Boo

Beadnell: Santa Paws

Best thing about Christmas?

Griff: Turkey dinner.

Fergus: Mum loves the cold weather at this time of year, I’m not so sure. I love that many humans are happy

Raffa: Being with family

Oscar: Nut would say “Wrapping paper” but I would say extra noms

Beadnell: Noms

Worst thing about it?

Griff: We love Christmas Day so our answer is nothing.

Fergus: Mum & I will not be spending Christmas together this year, again: she is going to a friend’s and they have elderly cats. So it will be sad to not be together but I am going to my amazing holibobs home and Mum says we’ll have our Christmas the weekend after. It’s also very sad to think about all the humans and furs that are alone, lonely or without homes.

Raffa: Washing up.

Oscar: Knowing that there are dogs and humans that are alone and sad

Beadnell: Disruption

Sprouts or no sprouts?

Griff: Sprouts – with turkey gravy

Fergus: Mum says YES! I say no thanks love.

Raffa: Sprouts for Mum, none for me

Oscar: We love sprouts especially when they’re mixed with bacon.

Beadnell: Sprouts but not for me for fear of farting

One gift you could give to one friend?

Griff: I would turn back the clock and give a fit and healthy Pruny back to auntie Carolina.

Fergus: A brand new ball to play with and have lots of fun all year round! Or, until you dead it

Raffa: Life

Oscar: I would like to give a Skype call to the Rainbow Bridge to anyone that wants one.

Beadnell:Time

Something you would like to receive?

Griff: I have everything I need, so I would like to hear that all animal testing has been stopped at Midnight on Christmas Day.

Fergus: Mum would like new running trainers; I would like lots of fishy treats

Raffa: Good health

Oscar: A Skype call from the Rainbow Bridge

Beadnell: Understanding

Best Christmas song?

Griff: Fairytale of New York

Fergus: Mum can’t decide between “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues or that Slade song. I like the ones that make M happy and dance like a loon as I then join in with her and we have a lot of fun

Raffa: Driving home for Christmas

Oscar: Fairytale of New York

Beadnell: Anything choral or happy.

Do you think Christmas has lost its meaning?

Griff: Yes

Fergus: Mum says she thinks it has. It’s so commercial for so many. She is looking forward to spending time with friends, being with them and not thinking about other worldly worries.

Raffa: Yes

Oscar: Maybe just a little bit, which makes my Mum sad

Beadnell: Only if you let it.

Has it been watered down into a purely commercial thing?

Griff: To a large degree yes, but not entirely.

Fergus: Mum says not purely but definitely very commercial.

Raffa: Yes

Oscar: We don’t think so but that is dependant on the humans who try to make it that way

Beadnell: Only if you let it.

Do you wear reindeer ears at Christmas, or should they stay on the reindeer?

Griff: Mum has reindeer ears for Boot and myself. We do our best to shake them off and avoid wearing them.

Fergus: I think they should stay on the reindeer, pal. It’s bad enough Mum gives me a Christmas jumper!

Raffa: I wear various headwear at Christmas.

Oscar: I sure wish they would stay on the Reindeer

Beadnell: Antlers are for Reindeer

New Years Resolution or are they a total waste of time?

Griff: Waste of time

Fergus: Not if they’re the thing that gives you a focus. Mum says she “resolves to be the same fabulous, foul-mouthed person she always is” and it works out just fine.

Raffa: Resolution but it needs to be achievable not silly.

Oscar: Nothing is ever a waste of time but we dont make resolutions cos we can’t keep them

Beadnell: The middle of winter is not the best time to deprive yourself and do tough things: only humans would do that.

Bring back one thing about Christmas past?

Griff: Snow. A white Christmas should be compulsory

Fergus: Snow

Raffa: Great Grandma

Oscar: Mum says Naivety – when Christmas was super exciting and magical like when she was a little girl

Beadnell: Everyone Over The Rainbow Bridge for Christmas Day

Home Alone or A Christmas Carol?

Griff: A Christmas Carol

Fergus: Neither. Mum says Elf

Raffa: Home Alone

Oscar: Home Alone

Beadnell: A Christmas Carol

Would you rather have Christmas with friends or with your parents?

Griff: Parents, but all our friends would be invited.

Fergus: Mum spends Christmas with friends. She says next year she will make sure it’s not with cat friends.

Raffa: Friends

Oscar: Everyone, friends and family. That would be a pawsome pawty

Beadnell: Friends

Do you get turkey shares?

Griff: Silly question. Of course.

Fergus: Mum is a vegetarian so never turkey.

Raffa: No, but maybe this year

Oscar: Don’t you?

Beadnell: Of course

Do you think you will have snow at Christmas? Do you like snow at Christmas?

Griff: Probably not, but we love snow at Christmas

Fergus: Maybe, there is already snow here where I live. We love it, however mum isn’t so keen on driving through it though.

Raffa: No, but I like it

Oscar: Probably not, probably rain, but we would like a white Christmas. We love snow, any time. We like to pee in it and make it yellow.

Beadnell: Not in Northumberland. And I am not that keen on anything that wets my paws

Cluedo or Scrabble? Who wins?

Griff: Scrabble. Griff = 2+1+1+4+4 = 12 points, Boot = 3+1+1+1 = 6 points, so Griff wins.

Fergus: Mum loves both. She gets competitive with both too! This is the first time she’s spending Christmas with these friends so she’s not sure who will win, but she’ll be trying her best!

Raffa: Cluedo

Oscar: Cluedo, Mum wins. She always wins.

Beadnell: Neither.

Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly? Who wins?

Griff: Trivial Pursuit and mum would win

Fergus: Monopoly to be played properly, but the Trivial Pursuit questions are fun to answer anyway. Mum always picks the Scottie piece in Monopoly, naturally.

Raffa: Trivial Pursuit

Oscar: Monopoly. Dad wins. Sometimes.

Beadnell: Monopoly

Fairy or a star on top of the Christmas Tree?

Griff: Star

Fergus: Star

Raffa: Star

Oscar: We have 2 trees, one with a star and the other with a fairy.

Beadnell: Polar Bear

I am home

If I may, I would like to indulge my fair readers for a short time.

In the world of rescues there are a number of days, dates and occasions which mean an awful lot to many. The saddest of these occasions is our time to pass over the Rainbow Bridge. With our job on earth being completed, we take the longest journey to the everlasting meadow. I’ve no intention of making any such journey any time soon.

Another is our birthday and this is a day of joy and happiness for all involved. Sadly my birthday isnt until May so I have too long to wait.

The third, and the one which affects me today, is called a Gotcha Day. It is the day we officially allow our humans to adopt us, look after us, look out for us and generally become minions for our every need and whim. I came to my forever home on 19th December 2013.

First day

I strolled into the house sometime late in the morning, through the cold sleet. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived but all I knew was that it was very different from a kennel and that these people, who’s house I now owned, had been to see me three times in the rescue centre and had said good things about me. The log fire was burning, there were strange decorations on a green tree in the corner of the room and there was a crate in the dining room. And it had a bed in the crate along with a bed in the living room and another in the study. Within days I was celebrating Christmas and getting two or three walks a day to explore the local area.

Once I had realised that I had stability and routine after some eighteen months, I began to settle in and saw my pawrents as forever. We had worked with each other to overcome my anxiety and confusion at the lack of stability. We were going to reap the rewards by taking long walks through muddy fields, large muddy puddles, across farms, through more muddy fields and even flooded local lanes. I enjoyed it anyway.

I have explored Surrey, Sussex, Dorset, the Lake District, Yorkshire, the Chilterns and even been to Essex for the day. I’ve had dozens of trip on the London Underground and even been to London itself on numerous occasions. I would never have done any of this if I had not chosen my pawrents that fateful day. This year I have allowed my little brother Lenny to join the family and I think I am supposed to have grown wiser. I’m not so sure.

How can you tell I enjoy my life?

Therefore a Gotcha Day is an important date in most rescued animals lives. It’s the day we hopefully get the stability and routine we need. It’s the day we see the love, friendship and lifelong companionship with our pawrents start and then blossom. I have so many friends that my life is happy and fulfilled.

May all rescues be as lucky as me.

It’s the day we get to say “I have a home and it’s forever”. It’s the best day.

Adoption is better

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again. Almost. People will be looking for the best gift for a loved one and dogs will undoubtedly be somewhere near the top of an awful lot of wish lists. However please take a moment to think before you do anything. Please!

Happy I was adopted.

There are rescue centres, adoption centres, re-homing and shelters all over the world, some bursting at the seams, with dogs of all shapes, sizes, colours and varieties all waiting for a comfy sofa to enjoy. The residents are puppies through to older dogs, all hoping for a chance to repay someone with love and loyalty for the remainder of their lives. For one reason or another every one of the dogs in “rescue” have not been able to find a home, or stay in homes, with people that could and often have loved them for a long time.

That feeling of the wind in your ears

The bright lights, glitz and glamour of Christmas bring an alluring glow to the prospect of welcoming a furry bundle of joy and fun into your house, to please the children and make the adults smile and coo over the sheer cuteness. Think for a moment though about where the little bundle of fur has come from? Has he or she been bred through a reputable breeder or just mass produced by some puppy mill, who’s sole purpose is to make money likely for more criminal activities. Every time a puppy is purchased through a puppy mill, the money goes to unknown and very likely said nefarious activities continuing to cause misery to dogs. Many of the dogs provided through these mills are sick and will have a multitude of problems from the very first breath they take.

What happens also once the initial glitzy allure has worn off. That time you look outside and it’s raining, pouring even, and we need to go out for a walk and do what nature intended us to do. When the little bundle of joy wakes you up at 4 am needing to go out or having been ill and needs some love and attention. The time when you are working hard and we pine for some attention, some interaction through play or training. We can’t justifiably be pushed to one side as an after thought.

Rescue or shelter dogs are historically considered as having problems. This is fairly unlikely. The vast majority of rescue or shelter dogs are unwanted or abandoned for so many different reasons and very few of those reasons are our behavioural difficulties. Rescue and shelter organisations are adept at ensuring that those of us with behavioural difficulties are either homed with an appropriate family or we are assisted in steadying our fears and any reactions we may have.

Lenny and I are rescues, both from different organisations and different parts of the world. Both of us it seems were unfortunate enough to be unwanted and found wandering the streets. We weren’t a passing thought, a swift consideration or an off the cuff purchase. We were and remain a commitment. We are for life, not just for Christmas and a few months after. So many other dogs end up in rescue because little or no homework has been done on us prior to purchase.

If you want to think about getting a dog this Christmas, please consider rescue. You would be saving two lives as you would empty a rescue kennel space for another dog to move into. The love and loyalty you will receive in return for your decision will make you smile and feel happy day after day.

Brotherly love.

We are worth it. We remain a commitment, however you will have such a feeling of satisfaction from helping us into a loving home will warm you for ages. I promise you, from the bottom of my happy and thankful heart.