Monday, 6 August 2012

A new start for training?

In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human.  The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog~Edward Hoagland

Now I have no idea who this writer chap was but I like his attitude. I have been musing for some time as to the best approach to the dog-human training relationship and for me, this little phrase is a great starting point.

Before kitting yourself with a massive array of training equipment perhaps it would be wise to spend at least a few moments (or maybe even a little longer) learning what us dogs are actually about?

The human-dog partnership is a wonderful thing. Until, that is, you decide to rub our noses in our own mess, attach shock collars to our necks and squirt high pressure air in our faces if we bark. And we will bark, you know, we are DOGS.

So I make you a promise. I will study human behaviour and try to be more understanding as to why exactly it is you don't always feed me on time or let me sleep in the centre of the bed all night long, if you will study dog behaviour. We bark, we dig, we chase, we roll and you need to know why. 

It will be our little educational adventure. With quite a lot of rolling. In smelly stuff.

Seriously, you should try it, it's very liberating.  

Thursday, 19 July 2012

When art goes bad...

I had a bit of a trying morning today. The collie did a lot of barking in my face on our walk and then Mum gave me pilchards to eat when we got home. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE pilchards. It was even the ones in tomato sauce which are the best. But after a walk - and this is clearly stated in our food provision contract - I get BONES to eat. Not pilchards, bones. Normally chicken, but anything is fine so long as it is raw, crunchable and in sufficient quantity. Without bones I am hungry and grumpy. 

Inevitably, I spent the rest of the morning hungry and grumpy so after a couple of hours I decided to do something about it. No, I didn't raid the kitchen and find my own bones. What do you think I am? Instead I decided on a soothing, even therapeutic activity.

I decided to do a self-portrait. Now, I read that you do a drawing of yourself without a mirror and it can reveal lots about how you see yourself. Since I love myself thoroughly, I thought this would be a great way to cheer myself up.

How wrong was I? Check this out...

What do you reckon? I think I need therapy more now than I did before I started.

I would like to make it clear that I do not look like this. Absolutely not. Yes, perhaps I managed to get an indication of my sumptuous chest hair, and yes, perhaps my paws are rather fluffy. But the vacant expression? Nothing like me.

Since I am not a quitter, I had another go, thinking perhaps a profile portrait would go better. Unfortunately it makes me look like an overweight poodle sheep cross.

I am disappointed, who wouldn't be? But it is obviously the system that is at fault. Next time, I will try an abstract approach.

I will capture my spaniel essence and pin it down on paper!

Friday, 13 July 2012


Nom nom...excuse me...nom nom...hang on...

oooh...crunchy bits!...nom nom nom.

Sorry was I supposed to be saying something profound?

I have the hump...

This is one of those mixed blessing things. Or silver lined clouds. Or maybe it's just plain WRONG.

As you may have noticed I have been campaigning hard for some time for more (or any) treats. I even found recipes and ingredients. My desires, needs even, have simply gone unnoticed.

Until today. Two unusual things have happened today.

1. A small black ridiculously fluffy thing *claiming* to be a cocker spaniel seedling has invaded our home. As a consequence of our apparently being "scared" of her (ha! as if...) she is in the nice room in front of the fire with mum while I am shut upstairs with the stupid collie whippet.

2. An aroma from the kitchen is stirring deeply buried memories from my brain. If I didn't know better I would say mum is cooking peanut butter biscuits!!!

Is it coincidence or is this treachery of the worst kind?

Will we (that is the dogs-who-are-actually-members-of-this-family) actually get any of the biscuits or are they just for visitors?

Have I got it completely wrong and they are just having satay sauce for lunch?

Hark! The oven beeper sounds!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Sitting on the dock of the bay...

Had a rifle through some old photos today and came up with this:

Now, for those of you who don't recognise this particular instrument of torture, it is a 'Pet Lifesaving Device'. Otherwise known as a handle you strap to your dog to fish them out of a particularly choice bit of water they have just gone to the trouble of jumping into.

My so-called 'family' bought this for me when I was a wee pupster and they took me on a canal boat holiday. Happily, the disgraceful item was the wrong size and they didn't have time to change it before we sailed off with a tally-ho or whatever it is boaty people say when...well, sailing off.

As I am here with you today, you can see that I survived the experience. Indeed I can report there was no fishing out of canals needed, with or without handles, and there was even time for a spot of sightseeing.

Here's me appreciating the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Now, do I look like I'm about to hurl myself into a watery life threatening situation?

Oh, damn. Sorry, how did that get there? Bit of a groin shot. Sorry. plums. I miss you boys, I really do.

Anyway. This got me thinking, and it turns out there is a world of oddity out there. Not only can you get these float thingys (what must they do to a dog's sense of balance in the water?) but you can get custom built top of the range techno fabric dog wetsuits!

Yes! It seems I may have underestimated the number of psychotic dangerous water sport obsessed dogs there are in the world. I'm an outdoorsy kind of guy, and I like a nice stretch of water, and I don't feel the cold, I really don't. But when I see a sentence beginning "Hunting dogs may break through thin ice" I start to fantasise about roaring fires, crumpets and a toasting fork. And a smoking jacket. I'd look ok in one of those.

So to all you dock diving, ice breaking, wave surfing (ok, you guys might be kind of cool), macho water obsessed dogs living life at the edge...

...I salute you! You put the 'O my god will you look at that!' in dOg. 

What the...?

Good God!

I've just found a Dog Treats Recipe Book saved on the hard drive of the laptop!

What the....?

I can't....

I'll be back...

Oh no, wait. That's old. Nothing new. Just getting my hopes up for nothing.

Still, have left the file open, just in case it catches some attention.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A license for Wild Swimming? Seriously?

Okay I am mystified. I didn't even know that swimming could be any other way? Well, yes alright I know you people have these weird things called 'swimming pools' that we're banned from. Quite frankly, I don't know why you would want to use them anyway when we are surrounded by glorious water! And I'm not making a sarcastic comment about the rain.

Now I look into it I find that there is an abundance of Wild or Outdoor Swimming organisations. What is wrong with you people? It's simple. So here is my guide to wild swimming.

See some water. Don't waste time with special kit or safety briefings, just head on in. As you see here, if you're lucky enough to have larger ears you can use them to propel you forward a bit faster.

Now swim! Just do it, that's what the wet stuff's for. Just a note, if you are advanced enough to do carry a ball, don't drop it. Seriously. You'll be gutted if it sinks and believe me, all balls are not equal when it comes to floating or sinking. It's the big con of the dog toy world.

At some point, you're going to have to get out. Sorry, but you'll start to rot eventually and that would be gross. Remember that ball!

If you're indulging in coastal wild swimming, I can highly recommend some post-swim seaweed love. Chew but don't swallow. Not unless you like throwing up in the car on the way home, in which case, fill your boots!

And if, like me, you are rather practised in the art of 'wild' swimming, why not take it further? Here's me walking water. A great option for enjoying the blue stuff without actually bothering with full body immersion.

No membership needed. What more is there to it...?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

It's all about the tongue!

Well, it is today anyway. Tongues are great. They help you get food in your mouth, they cool you down. They can make you look pensive, inquisitive, or just plain happy. To be honest, they can also make you look ridiculous, but we're dogs and we Don't Care!!

So, here's a few of my favourite tongue shots. Just for you.

First off, my 'I may be hot and tired but this tongue says I'm still ready for more! Throw the darn ball again!" Damn I look good. Don't I look good?

This next one brings back memories. This is the "my tongue is gonna get me home" look that strikes at the heart of every knackered but happy pooch. By the way, don't ever call me pooch. It's demeaning unless you're a dog. Just wanted to let you know that. No-one mention the Dennis Healey eyebrows please.

And finally (I may be showing off a tad here but every dog should be able to celebrate his finer side) a classic pose. It's the 'could have been done in a studio it's so great but actually it was serendipity that I look this poised, this handsome and Gadzooks! Will you look at that amazing tongue!!' shot.

Hello to dog tongues everywhere.

Thank you and goodnight.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Move over Andy Warhol!

This is SO cool!

Pop art effect thanks to

Friday, 29 June 2012

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Cooking with Clive!

Whilst doing a little browsing online I noticed there were lots of lots of suggestions for homemade dog treats. Imagine my surprise! So many people out there cooking their dogs lovely lovely treats!

So, I was thinking. I happened to overhear Dad saying that the no-salt peanut butter you'd mistakenly bought him recently was bogging. Bogging. And you'd mistakenly bought two jars. Sooooooo....

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

2 cups plain flour (whatever colour you fancy)
1 cup peanut butter (bogging stuff is fine, absolutely fine)
I cup milk (or even water - really just want to make it as simple as possible)
1 cup oil (whatever's lying around)

Oven onto 190 C / 375 F.

Mix  peanut butter, milk/water and 1/2 of the oil. Stir that gloop hard! Add flour and stiiiiiiir some more. Put some elbow grease into it! Add rest of oil. Probably can't stir anymore, too thick. Maybe do some mixing instead?

When it all sticks together, dump it onto a floured surface and get rolling. 1/4 inch thick is what we're after. Feel free to use cutsey wutsey biscuit shape cutters, but remember I don't care what shape they are, just don't stop until they're done!

20-30 mins in the  hot thing until cooked through and golden brown.

Please cook these. Please. We have the ingredients but I can't use the oven. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Not the response I'd hoped for

Her: Thank you for your letter, Clive
Me: Pleasure, Mum, pleasure.
Her: It's nice to see you empathising, Clive.
Me: Are you suggesting I haven't before?
Her: No, of course not. I just meant, publicly, as it were.
Me: Oh, right. So what do you think to a truce?
Her: Well, I was quite taken with the notion. Especially since you didn't ask for food. That must have taken a lot of control.
Me: I can have control over my stomach, when it's appropriate. It just isn't very often.
Her: Was it appropriate tonight to to take up your begging position at the kitchen door approximately 15 seconds after you'd finished your dinner?
Me: Er...
Her: After a special dinner of one of your favourite treats?
Me: Um...
Her: You stink after eating pilchards in tomato sauce, you know that right? Yet I give them to you anyway because you love them. And it was a whole can. A Whole Can.
Me: Ah...
Her:  You know I gave that to you because I was so pleased with your olive branch. So how do you think I felt to find you back begging again straight afterwards?
Me: .....
Her: Quite. Nothing to say to that. Why should I give you treats when they obviously don't satisfy you? It's just frustrating for both of us.
Me: Wait a minute...
Her: I think we should both take some time to think about this.
Me: Hang on...


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Dear Mother

Where did we go? My baby. Where did we go?

Wise words, Mother, I think you will agree. Following the recent wet troubles that Wales has experienced, and the tales of near misses heard over the bar last night, I find myself in a reflective mood this morning. Our petty squabbles seem insignificant (though I must clarify that food itself is not insignificant, and never will be - this is me after all).

But I find myself wondering if a truce might not be possible?

I ask for little, only a reignition of our formerly loving relationship. A belly scratch here for me, a wiggly tail there for you. A few moments now and again to just be together.

Yes, we will tussle. Yes, you will never give me as much food as I desire. Yes, you will come at me with scissors on a depressingly regular basis. And yes, from time to time I will, inevitably, roll in something stinky. But we can overcome these difficulties. Perhaps with the Power of Love?

I wear my heart on my sleeve in the hope that we can walk a smoother path together.

Your furry first born,


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Bring back the Treats Campaign Report #3

1. Being nice did not work. It was also a depressing endeavour when there was so little reciprocation.

2. Standing on the dining room table, digging up the flower beds and being sick on the carpet four times at mum's parents house was not particularly successful either. Haven't quite figured out why yet as these seemed to be excellent attention grabbing exercises.

3. I suspect Dylan has gone behind my back, broken the treat campaign picket lines and discovered a method of extracting treats which he has not shared. Twice this week he has smelt distinctly of salt and vinegar which means only one thing. Crisps! While it is possible these came from customers, Mum has them so well trained these days they don't dare feed us. So, I have only one conclusion. Mum has fed that Whippet without me. My heart hardens.

4. Future plans are still hazy. My genius plan of taking food off the baby has had to be cancelled as this seems a very unpopular approach. I can't even suck my cheeks in and look too thin as I have a shaggy coat right now and that hides my diminutive figure.

Ideas on a postcard?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Bring Back the Treats Campaign Report #2

We have been dumped by Dad at Grandma's with Mum and The Thing. Normally I would joyous to be here but this is a definite dumping. We are having no attention, rubbish walks, and food at irregular intervals. I can hardly be bothered being nice to mum in an attempt to encourage a better quality of treat.

I must say, though, you get an excellent view of the street here from the dining room table.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Bring Back the Treats Campaign Report #1

1. Being nice does not get you far.

2. Being nice leads to suspicious comments on the parts of others.

3. Others, who shall remain nameless, are ungracious and rude.

4. Being nice is much harder than I thought.

5. I'm hungry.

6. I got my own back by being sick on carpet four times in an hour.


Saturday, 19 May 2012

An offensive with a difference

Yes, I have devised my strategy, planned it out and am ready to put it into action!

I, Clive, am going to reinstate our daily treat regime with a Charm Offensive!

Mum will have no idea what has hit her. I am loaded up with love bombs and am preparing to charge. This will be Spaniel love like she has never seen it before.


Friday, 18 May 2012

And our new treats are...

Nothing. Nadda. Zip. Diddly squat. The cupboard is bare, the online shopping basket is unused.

Not even a whiff of a carrot stick to brighten our evenings.

I remember days of plenty with tuna bread (homemade!) or bright red pilchard bread (so incredibly smelly!), peanut butter biscuits and delicious crunchy fish skin rolls (bought by the massive box full!).

The comforting ritual of the nightly retreat up to the flat after a busy rewarding day and a hard working session meeting and greeting in the pub. The rustling of the fish treat bag, or the ripely overflowing bowl of tuna bread, lovingly torn into chunks for our eager consumption.

The drawn out distribution, each piece savoured and remembered. The hankering looks for 'just one more piece'. The dopey smile on mum's face as she dips her hand back into the treat bowl...sigh. Finally, full tummies (well, obviously I could always fit in more, but I don't want to appear grasping), much licking of under carriages, and curling up on a stinky piece of laundry until bedtime.

What finer times could a spaniel live through? Incomparable to the cold comfort farm of our current existence.

So it is with both regret and steely determination that I announce my new campaign.

What do we want?
When do we want them?

**Especially before bedtime, but also:

  •  in the morning if we are having a late walk and will therefore not be fed any time soon (another sore point), 
  • whenever we go to the pub (a different pub, not our pub, I'm not stupid enough to think that will work!), 
  • whenever we are out on expeditionary walks, 
  • at every rest point during our triathlon training events, 
  • whenever we feel weak from lack of food and need a pick-me-up (to be determined by us not parents),
  • other times according to individual circumstances.
Waddya reckon?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A sorry turn of events

Dear Parents ( I mean the 'dear' politely, not from much affection at this point in time).

I feel driven to write this letter and submit it as part of our formal complaints procedure. I have indeed been putting it off for quite some time, but I feel I can stay silent no longer. What has sparked this off? Betrayal by The Thing (is my rump there to be slapped? Is it? Is it?) and persistent annoying denial of basic rights (you do remember what a dog treat is, don't you? hmm?).

Since The Thing came to live with us last year, we (I and Dylan - I use his name as a mark of our solidarity on this issue) have been through a lot. We have put up with a lot. We have survived A Lot. We have been ignored, forgotten, set aside, given paltry walks, fed indifferently, never played with, told off for the silliest things and generally been made to feel like we were Unimportant.

I readily admit that in the early days after Thing's arrival there was some weakness in me and I *may* have slightly used the situation to my advantage to access food that was *perhaps* not intended for me. I still maintain that an open kitchen door is a direct invitation to a spaniel, but I take your point about the kitchen being off limits open or not blah blah blah. And it was Mother's word against mine that I removed half of Grannie's sandwich off the coffee table that time. I protested my innocence then and I protest it now.

As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, both Dylan and I both felt things were getting out of hand. Just as we were beginning to despair a glimmer of hope arrived in the form of improved exercise with Dad. His pathetic health kick is very useful to us in that we now get, most days, quite excellent walks and also substantial runs on a regular basis. This has helped my own god-like physique and I am grateful.

Please don't think, however, that I am satisfied. A nostalgic look back through my early blogging days has made me wonder whether I haven't lost a little of my fire, my youthful vigour. My righteous campaigning for better conditions. I have, dare I say it, gotten a little...middle aged.

Well it ends now. No longer will we be content to subsist on the crumbs of your life. We will regain our rightful place at the bosom of the family. Well, I will anyway. If it pleases you to leave Dylan out in the cold then that's your right to chose and I will support you all the way.

You have been warned Parents, so take heed. I love you, but sometimes tough love is what is required.

I have dusted off my campaign helmet and tested my mettle for a fight.

Clive incoming!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Is it me or is it you?

I am often labelled as 'shy' by pub customers. Blamed for not appreciating their caresses.

But what these people don't seem to realise is that what they see as caresses, I see as clumsy, oafish and even at times aggressive attacks on my person.

Yes, yes, I know that dogs are supposed to be 'bomb-proof', taking every little slight you people throw at us but, other dogs aside, I am not a machine.

So, for those of you not in the know, and don't have the excuse as Thing, sorry, Felix, does of natural ignorance, we will start here.

1. If you wish to be introduced to me, maybe because you like the look of me, or you are missing your own dogs, please ask my owner who is almost certainly nearby. If they are not, wait until they are. I don't know you. You could be after my soft silky coat or my cute spaniel ears to make into a handbag. The point is I don't know.

2. Once you have permission, please be polite. Hold out your hand (no contact!) so that I can choose whether to get to know you or not. Please do not be offended if I decide not. I might be tired, or poorly, or just plain not in the mood. I am not a toy to be played with whenever you want.

3. If I sniff your hand and don't retract, you may try a nice gentle rub under the chin, or on my chest if I am sat up. I may then decide that's enough, or ask for more. This can include rolling over, in which case scratching my tummy would be a delightful way of celebrating our new relationship.

4. If I come up to you and sniff your legs, please let me get on with it. I don't need help doing this, I am an expert. I will not pee on you. Probably.

5. Wagging tails are not a reliable sign that I am pleased to see you. I might be wary of something or signalling to my owner. If you get big tail wags with a massively wiggling body, however, you can be fairly sure I am targeting you for some special spaniel love.

6. Do not touch my head or ears or paws (unless we are getting on famously and I give you a paw to feel). Just don't. It's rude unless I know and trust you very well. Also please don't loom over me suddenly, or touch me when I'm asleep, or give me a swipe, sorry, a 'pat' as you're passing my chair. I won't be expecting it and you may as well hold up a sign saying 'Oy! Spaniel! Lets take it outside!'.

I would like to reiterate I am not shy, or unfriendly. I am just a regular (well, quite special) guy who likes things to be done right. I will reward you with much love and attention if you get it right and I like you (I might just not, you never know, do you like everyone you meet?).

Now, how do I go about teaching this to the Thing?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Thing, thy name is...

...Felix. If I am going to carry out my new plan, I have decided I must practice as I preach, and this includes politeness at all times. So from this day onwards, I will refer to the Thing as Felix. Apparently this is the name the parents chose, it wasn't forced on them, which just goes to show how surprising the world can be. Anyway, I digress.

 I have spent today observing Felix's moves to learn more about my new ally. He seems to be a perplexing mixture of incompetence and determination. Incompetence in that he can't walk properly, gets stuck in awkward corners easily, dribbles a lot, requires constant attention in case he sticks his finger in a plug socket, appears to have no understanding of basic commands and cannot always just go to sleep when he is tired. His determination though is quite outstanding, I must applaud him in that. How many times is it necessary to crawl behind the bar to access the intriguing delights therein, despite being picked up and removed each and every time? Well, I have lost count, I really have. This boy just does not give up.

He is also a bit of a kindred spirit in that he interprets the word 'no' as one that is not always to be obeyed immediately, but at a pace that suits him. Attaboy.

However, the downside to all this determination, made worse by the incompetence (particularly physical incompetence - does everyone start out so wobbly?), is his attitude to us hounds. To be generous, he seems very keen on us. He's always pottering up, waving some beloved toy, wanting to pat our lovely furry backsides. But the patting is more of a battering, and is also often accompanied by poking, pulling and shouting. It is entirely Not Etiquette.

I have concluded that this is not a character flaw, it is a species flaw. Humans start out life incapable in so many ways (indeed some remain so all their lives) and must be Educated. Innate understanding of dog needs is missing. This can be rectified, as I intend to show, with patient training, a great deal of repetition, some carefully targeted rewards and most importantly time. In the meantime, I will protect my rump from assault by removing it from reach.

Now where did I leave that clicker...

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A new start?

Recently I been reflecting on the twists and turns life takes. One day you live amongst the canals and cornfields of Wiltshire, the next you are half way up a hill in Wales with meet and greet duties every evening. Just as you have finally gotten used to the fact of living with a stupid collie whippet, a new Thing moves in and turns everything upside down.

What can a Spaniel do? For some time now I have been pondering on my Role. In the family, the business, the world. I am in my prime, I have so much to give and despite the surface impression, there is more to me than food and sofas. Though they are very important, of course.

What got me thinking was the offering of an unexpected new alliance. It made me realise there is potential in the darkest corners.

The Thing dropped food. Now I have commented on this before, so it is nothing new. But let me clarify. The Thing leant over his chair, looked into my big brown eyes and then dropped food. At first I thought it must be a coincidence. Mere serendipity. But then it happened again. And again. I could quickly tell the difference between accidentally dropped food (though still happily received) and deliberately dropped food.

We have connected! The Thing and I! A mysterious link has been forged between us. I do not say I am not still annoyed by his grabby ways and unending babble, but I see hope on the horizon.

I suppose now I must start calling The Thing by his given name, though I am as yet unsure exactly what his is.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Now that's more like it!

What a fabulous day! I hope this is a sign of things to come.

Dad seems to have come to his senses and left that dreadful collie whippet behind on our run this morning. Not only is he dreadful in general, but when we go out with the bike he turns into the most annoying version of his already annoying self..

Now me, I follow the bikes. If I get ahead (and being the athlete I am I occasionally do) I go to one side and politely wait for them to pass. If I get too far behind (you know, when a sniff just can't be ignored or nature calls) they politely wait for me. It is a mutually beneficial way of behaving and is just the way I like things.

That collie simply cannot contain himself, he has no self control whatsoever. He runs along just in front of the bike, literally tail touching the wheel if he can. He also barks continuously and at deafening volume, and most stupidly of all runs looking over his shoulder back at the bike. Sadly no cavernous hole has opened up just in front of him to fall into yet, but I live in hope. It makes for a very noisy run.

Today was like a dream come true. There was the quiet whirr of the bikes, the call of the buzzards overhead, the gentle chat of biking comrades. And nothing else. Glorious glorious peace.

May you raise a toast to absent collie whippets.

Absent, mind you.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tripping the tripe fantastic!

I am assured that the vegan cook books are for human use only. Not yet completely reassured, though I was delighted to find that I had tripe for lunch today. Apparently, now I am a super fit slim diggity hound (you would expect nothing less from a triathlete of course) I am allowed this divine treat.

It has, in fact, made me a little thoughtful. You may have noticed I am dedicated to my food. And your food. And anyones really to be honest. I just love it with all of my soul. But I have to admit to feeling really rather sparky these days. I had no winter fat this year, no jiggle on my Richard Gere arse (oh yes, believe me, it's the spit) and I have a higher top speed than ever before which comes in mightily handy when chasing recalcitrant collie whippets who sadly have a smug turn of speed.

Now I haven't in any way lost my adoration of a giant pile of food. I could no more do that than turn into a monkey. But...perhaps I have lost a little of my desperation?

You don't think I'm becoming middle aged do you?


Sunday, 1 April 2012

A Terrifying Discovery

There are vegan cook books in the house. I am literally shaking in my fur. Not just one, nor even two but three.

Three! It can't be a mistake. It must be a mistake. A moment of madness? Holding them for someone else? Withholding them from someone else? Presumably for their own good. Yes, that must be it. Nothing to do with our family diet. No. That is ludicrous.

What was I thinking to panic.

Don't panic.



Sunday, 25 March 2012

Buffet days

So. Buffets. Absolutely smashing opportunities for the acquisition of free food, but also presenting certain challenges.

If you have four paws rather than two feet, the 'help yourself' buffet rule is somewhat different. Don't bother with a plate, it will just get it the way and is anyway difficult to handle without thumbs. Equally, there is no point in queuing in line with everyone else since they are under the impression that the buffet is not for you.

Please don't be put off by this species-ist attitude. You have just as much right to a buffet as people. They just get mixed up sometimes.

The prime times for accessing the buffet are either early, just after the cellophane covers have been removed (actually, if you're not picky about what you eat, just dive in cellophane and all) or late, after the initial rush has calmed down and people have drunk enough alcohol to no longer care what you are doing.

If you have long legs, just jump up and work your way round the dishes on the edge. You should manage to get a taste of everything. If you are not so lanky, like myself, you will have to get imaginative. My favourite access method is an opportunistic one. Look carefully for chairs parked close enough to the table to provide a potential bridgehead. Perfect for getting complete four paw access. Otherwise, pogo sticking up and down in front of the table and using ones nose to dislodge dishes can work really well, because you then get food scattered across the floor and no person is going to bother to stop you then.

A final word of warning. Be stealthy, or be quick. You can survive being found face down in the butter dish, I am living proof of that, but there will be consequences and your buffet time will come to a sad and immediate end.20p

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Why I love pub life

1. A shocking number of people don't realise you shouldn't feed other peoples dogs. Excellent.

2. Evening work by parents means they spend at least 8 hours each day in daylight walking us, feeding us and playing with us. Or at least they could and should. Aspirational.

3. Evening work by parents means the sofa is vacant and available all evening long for undisturbed spaniel snoozing. Spot on.

4. Lots of people in and out means attention needy collie whippets are distracted and less likely to be darn annoying. Bonus.

5. Large number of discerning customers think I am wonderful, as indeed I am. Carry on.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The vagaries of women

Here is the scenario.

You are taken to the forest, in fact frog marched to the forest, encouraged to run around, cooed over when you wriggle gloriously on your back in a pile of pine needles, and then rewarded on your return home by a wonderful bowl of food.

Why on earth would you then be reprimanded for decorating the homestead with memorabilia of the wonderful experience you as a family have just shared? I speak of course of the flora and fauna of the forest which, by no deliberate act of myself, becomes attached to my flowing locks and hitchhikes home.

I just don't understand the contradiction.

I certainly don't think it is reasonable behaviour to drag me up onto a table and, whilst muttering in a most negative way, hack off said flowing locks that "harbour dirt and detritus".

Dirt and detritus? These are not words that need to come into contact with my ears.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I am a fitness goD!

Honestly, it's true. I am six and a half years young and have never been fitter. I am lithe, supple and have great stamina. Speed is merely a glossy facade behind which pretend athletes hide (like certain collie whippets, for instance).

In fact, I am now fully signed up to a Triathletes training program! Or at least the canine equivalent, which probably involves more running after than bike than biking itself (I am not stupid enough to run just in front of the bike like He does, barking his head off annoyingly) and perhaps less swimming. Don't get me wrong, I am fond of a bit of a swim, but I'm more of a lazy Sunday afternoon in the sun swim in the river guy than lap after lap type pool swimming. Plus I'm not allowed in many swimming pools. Apparently, they don't like the hair in the filters.

Haven't they ever heard of doggy paddle?

So you can expect training reports on a regular basis and I fully expect that my food intake will be increased according to the extreme level of exercise I am now undertaking.

What's to go wrong eh?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Turns out there are worse things than collie whippets

I honestly would not have thought it possible, but it seems to be true. Don't get me wrong, I still have no time for That Whippet, but I find myself on occasion siding with him against IT.

IT is new. IT is everywhere. IT seems to have an obsession with my ears (well that one I can understand, they are after all fantastic ears). Just as I have settled down for a comfortable snooze on the sofa IT arrives, dribbling, burbling nonsense (all the time, really, it just spouts gibberish), staggering like a drunkard and reaching out with its wet little hands to paw me (paw me...get it? ha!).

Now I have always had an affinity with the small people. I know where I am with them. I sit, I give paw, I am adorably gentle. That is innate in my small people friendly soul. I am reliably informed that IT will one day become a small person. Personally, I just can't see it. IT's not cute, doesn't tickle me nicely under the chin or throw my ball.

On the other hand, IT takes up space on the bed where I used to be, gets fed before me (possibly the worse crime of all) and has significantly decreased the amount of me-time I get with the parents.

Oh and this one is almost unutterable, but I will be brave. IT has meant that not only am I attacked by the dreaded clippers, but I was abandoned with a complete stranger who locked me in a cage and then attacked me with the dreaded clippers.

I believe the parents went to a nearby pub while this heinous crime was taking place. There is no justice in the world that can right this wrong.