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.