Wednesday, 14 September 2022

The Further Adventures of Betty

 You would think that a small black collie who likes to stay at home would have a quiet and peaceful life, but Betty seems to manage to be involved in all sorts of scrapes.

    For example: last Friday Graham and I were getting ready to go shopping, when suddenly I heard Betty's distinctive distress call in the garden. Not a playful 'Yip!', but a loud and high pitched scream!

    I shouted Graham, who was in the living room, and he galloped out into the back garden to find out what was happening. I was imagining all sorts, from the noise going on - largely involving vast amounts of bloody and possibly limbs hanging off, and definitely an emergency trip to the vet!

    Suddenly, Graham reappeared with both dogs, thrust Betty into my arms and vanished back outside. I examined Betty carefully, she was now quiet and seemed to be in no distress at all. There were no wounds I could see, and definitely no blood.

    I put her down and she trotted happily around the kitchen, no limping and no signs of any injury at all.

    Tallulah was equally unscathed and seemingly unconcerned.

    All rather puzzling.

    Then Graham was back and told me that apparently the dogs had had a close encounter of the rattish kind.

    We are not sure who did what, but by the time Graham reached the dogs, Tallulah was standing between Betty and a large, but very stunned looking rat - possibly with a broken neck (the rat, not Tallulah).

    Graham got the dogs inside, then went back with a shovel to make sure that the rat was definitely deceased and dispose of the body.

    We do live in the countryside with water and dykes around, so even though we very rarely see any rats (twice in the 40 years we've lived here), there is always the possibility one may stray into the garden.

    Anyway, everyone seemed ok, so that was that.

    Now, I've mentioned before that Betty refuses to walk on a lead - despite many attempts. So in the end, Graham gave up and a week or so ago began taking Betty with Tallulah on their morning walks. Betty is quite content to walk without a lead and follow her mother or Graham. She does prefer them both to be together, and does try to herd them if they are not - such as when Tallulah hares off after a squirrel (the squirrels just run up the nearest tree and are in no danger of being caught!).

    The morning walks have been going fine, with no problems, except that Betty would like to chase any bicycles she sees.

    Until yesterday morning.

    When Graham takes the dogs for their walk, I have a bath. It is a nice peaceful time when I can read a book, or sometimes write articles for the Newsletter. Graham sets off around 6.45 and is back around 7.30ish.

    But at 7.05 yesterday morning, suddenly I heard what sounded like Betty's distress screaming outside the front door. I thought I must be mistaken, but just in case, I hurridly got out of the bath and threw on a kaftan. I opened the front door. No dog.

    I tentatively called softly 'Betty?' and round the hedge and into the garden from the public path came a small black collie, who bounded into the house with obvious pleasure.

    I told her she was a clever dog and a good girl for getting home, and could imagine that Graham was going frantic in the woods, trying to find Betty! And dreading coming home to tell me he had lost her.

    If he had a mobile phone I could have let him know that all was well, but instead I had to wait until I saw him and Tallulah heading home.

    We think that Tallulah had chased a squirrel and Betty had chased after her, but somehow had lost sight of her mum. Then she didn't know where Graham was or her mum, so came home.

    We were both rather impressed that she knew the way - and thankful that she was safe!

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Why, Betty, Why?!

 Every dog we have ever had, has each had their unique personality. And Betty is proving to be one of the unique est!

    For a start: every other dog or puppy we have had, has loved to find holes and spaces in the fences and hedges around our garden, so they can go and explore further afield.

    Not Betty! Betty likes being at home. She does not want to go outside of our garden at all!

    We have been trying to walk her on a lead, so she can join Graham and Tallulah on their morning walks. But Betty: a) does not want to be on a lead and

b) does not want to walk in any direction which is 'away' from the garden.

    She just stands stubbornly, or sits down.

We have tried taking Tallulah out in the hope that Betty would follow her mum, as anywhere in the house or garden, Tallulah has a little black Betty shadow. But take Betty out onto the footpath and 'NO, NOT GOING ANYWHERE!' seems to be the message, loud and clear.

    We have tried carrying her away from the house, then walking back towards the garden
    We go two steps, then Betty sat down and refused to go any further.
    Sigh, we will persevere with this.

    Anyway, Betty's biggest 'thing' at the moment seems to be taking ANY opportunity to get wet.
    If there is a water bowl to stand in or fall into, Betty will do so.
    She comes for a fuss and the usual cry is "Betty! Why are you wet?!"
    When Graham is watering the garden, she will play with, or stand under the jet coming out of the watering can. So she gets watered.
    If there is the slightest hint of rain, Betty will have been stood out in it.
    If there is any wet undergrowth, Betty will have rolled in it.
    Her favourite place for sleeping is in the living room hearth. It is tiled so probably feels nice and cool in this weather, so fair enough.
    But there is also a ceramic dog water bowl at one end of the hearth, and inevitably Betty will end up sleeping with her head on the edge of the water bowl.
    And equally inevitably, her head will end up in the water .....

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

A Week in the Life of a Betty

 A week is a long time in the life of a little dog.

    Last week, Betty was introduced to a small part of the Great Outdoors, which proved to be a huge success. The main success, as far as we were concerned was that she quickly picked up that outside is a lovely place to do your toilet stuff, not always, we must admit, and especially not at night (she hasn't yet managed the dog flap), but by far most of the time.

    Now we must also admit that not all of the chicken wire fencing was as taut as it could have been. Particularly the bit into the left hand side of the garden. So it soon became obvious that some of us had learnt to pull the fence down and scramble over it. Still no harm done, Betty and Tallulah were having a great time playing together, and that seems a secure part of the garden.

    Of course we have had to try and keep the fencing at a level which Betty couldn't get over (....) but Tallulah could. That didn't work out very well. Because when Tallulah goes Boing! over the chicken wire fence, she is followed by a small dog who can also go Boing! over the chicken wire fence. 

    We found this out when Graham was collecting dog droppings and found some Betty sized ones near Holda's Hut.

    Then when he went to put some rubbish in the bin in the side garden, he realised that something was chewing his sock - hello Betty. So she could leap all the bits of fencing designed to keep her contained.

    So that was a waste of time.

    Of course the thing is, Betty is growing at a fantastic rate. You can almost see her doing it!

    Each day she seems to be able to scrabble higher up.

    At lunch time (midday meal, dinner time as I know it), Graham brings stuff through from the kitchen into the living room where our table is, loaded on a tray.

    Yesterday he put the tray down on the kitchen chair, while he turned the kettle off. By the time he turned back, a small dog had her head in the cheese and was giving it a good and very enthusiastic nagging. 

    This time last week she couldn't have reached!

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

And Then There Was One

 Well we knew it was going to happen.

Angela had a hospital appointment in the area last week, so called in to pick up the three sable babies and take them off for new adventures.

    So now we are left with Tallulah and our little Black Betty, or Betty Boo. She is a little sweetie (although not as cuddly as Singer, he will be a lovely and loving companion for some lucky person).

    Angela said all the puppies were pretty, but as soon as she saw Betty, said 'That one is Show quality.' which made me feel a bit guilty for picking her as the one we would keep.

    We took Betty to be microchipped on Monday. Graham carried her into the vets expecting this to be a quick, in-and-out visit, but it was a bit longer than expected, as all the staff had to come and say 'Aaawwww!' to Betty. 

    She was duly microchipped, had a vaccination and was examined by the vet who pronounced her fine.

    To be honest, Angela had seen her and she would have spotted if anything was amiss. In terms of collies I reckon Angela (from Wicani Collies) is the fount of all wisdom, and probably knows more about the breed than a vet would.

    Anyway, now we are down to Betty and Tallulah, things are a bit more settled, and rather a lot less frantic. There is also a heck of a lot less crap and wee everywhere.

    We have rigged up a fenced off area outside the back door, so that Betty can now get outside whenever she fancies (although 'outside' is HUGE to a small puppy, so that is taking a bit of getting used to). We also hope to encourage her to understand that crapping is an outdoor activity - rather than going upstairs to do it under my chair in the office!

    Tallulah is also encouraging Betty to play with her. Tallulah dangles a toy in front of Betty, until Betty gets hold of it, then gently drags Betty round the room, allowing Betty to have a chance at pulling back too.

    Tallulah has been a fab mum, and still is showing to be so.

                    Ooooo is that 'outdoors'?


                    It seems a big place



                    Can I get over this HUGE step?


Thursday, 21 July 2022

This is not an excuse

 Hi folks this is an apology if you have been waiting longer than usual for your order.

    But sometimes stuff happens, and sometimes it happens all at once so here goes:

    When we put a Mail Shot out, everyone gets it at the same time, and because they know that a lot of the stuff we sell is of limited quantities, EVERYBODY orders at the same time, so instead of our normal work load, we may literally have ten times the number of orders.

    This is lovely, and I would not want to put anyone off ordering, but it does mean that we can't get through them all as quickly as we would like to, and therefore some people will end up having to wait longer than usual.

    Now, this last Mail Shot was an update of our own publications, which should have made this very quick to deal with orders. But unfortunately just as we got the Mail Shot in the post, that very week our suppliers decided to deliver our brand new photocopier. Yay!

    Well not quite as Yay! as we were hoping because they brought the new copier, plugged it in and took our old one away. They did not install it on my work pc - which is not attached to the internet for security reasons - nor did they show me how to use it.

    After several phone calls to our supplier and being put through to the IT department several times, where I explained (several times) they could not do anything remotely to the photocopier as it and my pc ARE NOT attached to the Internet. They finally decided that an engineer should be sent out to do the installation and give us a tutorial. That would be 'in the week'.

    Needless to say, no engineer turned up that week, so I rang them again on Monday morning. So it was the Wednesday of the following week when a nice young man arrived and attempted to install the photocopier.

    Eventually he got it going and explained the basics of using it to me. It was working lovely so I was ready to start printing books, fact sheets etc on Thursday. On Thursday, the photocopier refused to speak to my pc, nor did it want to photocopy double sided nor collate (put the pages in order).

    After another phone call the nice young chap turned up again and after consultation with another engineer decided I needed new drivers, which sorted that problem out. But it was now nearly two weeks without a usable printer! And I had a printing list as long as my arm.

    Anyhoo I got most of the printing done over the weekend so I only had to put them together on Monday.

    On Monday the big Heatwave started, and upstairs where my pc and photocopier are, was not somewhere you wanted to be!

    I could only stand it so long, then I had to go downstairs and get in a cool bath. The heat was making me feel quite strange - so I'm afraid that made getting the books together a much longer job than anticipated.

    So if you are still waiting for your order, I do apologise, but we will get it out to you just as quickly as we (me and Graham) are physically able.

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Introducing the Babies

 Tallulah's babies are three weeks old today, and are already developing their own personalities.

    First here we have Sun Dancer, known as Dancer. He has very distinctive facial markings and is a little explorer. He is also the puppy who actually sits and howls when he wants his mum, wants to go out of the cage, wants to go into the cage or is just generally bored. Dancer may well become an escape artist.

    Next we have Dawn Singer (Singer) he is the most placid of the pups (at the moment) and seems very good natured and easy going. He has got himself settled and gone to sleep on Graham a couple of times already.

Here we have Morning Glory (Glory) who is the biggest of the puppies and manages to have a feed whenever possible. She seems happy and friendly, but always first to the milk bar! She also seems happy to have a stroke and a cuddle (as long as mum is nowhere about).

Finally we have Black Betty (Betty) who is the only tri-colour of the bunch, the others are all sable (the boys will possibly be shaded sable - having a slightly darker colouring). Betty may well be the weirdo of the bunch also, and probably because we picked her as the one to keep.

    She has learnt to make a very odd, deep rumbly noise, not exactly a growl. The first time she did it, she was mooching about in the back of the cage on her own, and everyone stopped and looked at her in amazement.

As you can see Tallulah got in on this photo and you can see just how much the puppies have grown in only three weeks.

Sunday, 26 June 2022

The Joy of Puppies

 Ok puppies are gorgeous, they are sweet. They don't so a lot (at two weeks old) except eat, sleep and crap and pee, which in general their mother deals with.

    Except on a Sunday morning when we are eating our breakfast and I notice one of the puppies (without eyes open yet) standing near one of its siblings with a sort of look of concentration on its face. A look which every parent of a new baby recognises - with a baby human it is the look they get when you have just put a new nappy on them, and they are concentrating on filling the new one.

    Yes the puppy was having a crap.

    On one of the other puppies!

    I alerted Graham, who scooped up the asleep, but crapped upon puppy (Glory) and hurried off to the bathroom with her to clean her up.

    Of course Glory had no idea what was going on and awoke to find herself, being washed with water, not something she had experienced before, and began screaming as if she was being murdered. Tallulah shot out of the living room after Graham, who was obviously murdering her puppy and also began yapping and screaming in the bathroom. 

    Glory was being extremely loud - I could clearly hear her at the other side of the house, so it must have been bedlam near to. So Graham cleaned her up as best he could then hot footed it back to the living room, where I was handed Glory wrapped in a towel and still screaming. I showed her to Tallulah, who could then see that Glory was alive and began to calm down, as did Glory who could then smell her mum, while I gave her a quick dry and then popped her back in with the others again.

I have no doubt that this scenario will be played out in various ways over the next few weeks and months.

We love puppies.

Some of the time....