Spring is here and the extended dry spell has been excellent for dog walking - and
for feet cleaning afterwards. We were extremely sad to lose Alfie the Giant African
Land Snail. He had been with us for over seven years and was quite a personality
and could put on a show when people were around. It certainly brought him out of
his shell! For five weeks before our holiday at the beginning of April ( we took
our dogs to an excellent cottage in Cornwall for a week) we had Bluey, an Amazon
Blue parrot, to stay. He was an excellent guest and provided us with plenty of entertainment.
The only downside was he stayed in our lounge which meant that we had to keep our
cat and a naughty terrier away from him! Over the Easter break we started some landscaping
to improve the dog section of our garden and are very pleased with the results. At
the moment we are also fostering Barney the King Charles spaniel - another one for
Torla to mother! We see a lot of returning faces but on Sunday night we had Bonny
the Labradoodle to stay. She was a beautiful sandy coloured, four month old puppy.
What a lovely dog with a fantastic temperament.
13th February 2011
And so life moves on. Peppa is coming to the end of her stay. We will miss her
when she has gone. What a lovely dog to walk. Monty has been a regular for day
care for a while now but he has just had his first sleepover. Very well behaved
he was too. After yesterday’s sunshine the return of the rain is most unwelcome.
Mel had Jasper (cocker spaniel) in for a cut yesterday and the rabbit cages had
a spring clean yesterday afternoon. The last week has been very busy with day care.
It’s really strange how some weeks are so much busier than others. The first few
shoots of spring bring their own problems for dog walking of course. The farmers
have been out much spreading - nice for the dogs less so for us! And the foxes seem
to be venturing out more. David said that he hadn’t seen one for months and then
on Tuesday he saw three. He was excited also to see two great spotted woodpeckers
the same day.
Cats, cats and more cats. We couldn’t believe how busy we were with cat visits over
Christmas, but we got up early and saw everybody before we came back for our Christmas
dinner. We enjoyed the company of two cocker spaniels, Holly and Daisy over Christmas,
with Peppa and Elvis returning over the new year. Before Christmas we enjoyed some
excellent walks in the fresh snow. My abiding memory is of Fudge with the biggest
snowballs I have ever seen attached to his ankles.
September saw the return of Elvis. Always welcome and always a little bit bad, it
wouldn’t be Elvis without a bit of bad. As a treat and to celebrate our van returning
from the garage after an extended stay, we piled all our dogs in and went over to
Micheldever Woods. This is a great place to take your dogs. Tiggy travelled up
font with us and when we pulled into the car park she was apoplectic! She’d never
been before but to see this you would think she was returning to her favourite place.
Tiggy despite her years loves to travel and experience new places. Elvis scurried
off into the woods and we were soon witnessing his hop. As with many Jack Russell
terriers he often canters along on one back leg! During August we also visited Elvis
the cat - a very gentle soul and quite the opposite in temperament.
So we took a big business decision and purchased a second hand van to move dogs around
in. The van had been used for valetting and was ideally boarded out for Mel’s requirements.
We had it for a week but it had to go back, it was so underpowered. We got it back
after a fortnight and it was no different, so back it went and there it stayed. In
fact we didn’t get it back to September.
Mushu, the bearded dragon provided us with entertainment during the summer holidays.
David enjoyed feeding him his diet of worms and locusts, but found the salad rather
bland! Mouse the Senegal parrot also came to stay in our lounge and the summer saw
our lounge usually adorned with an exotic creature of one sort or another.
David was most exciting to see, when out with the dogs, his first smooth snake in
a field behind the tennis court at South Wonston park. The fact that at the time
it was devouring a slowworm made it doubly so!
25th March 2010
So Charlie and Hudson went on their travels yesterday. Our alarm went off at 4.45.
Charlie and Huddy were woken from their slumbers and given a quick whizz around
the block. We had loaded the crates into the car on Tuesday evening and during the
day, David had made final checks with the shipping company and the vets. Just after
5.30am David, the dogs and the crates set off for the Cargo reception at Heathrow
airport. On arrival David found a green area for the dogs to walk around and have
a final “empty”. At the Cargo terminal (after a wait for the shift change), Reception
found the guy who dealt with pets (Kazim) and Charlie and Huddy were tied to a post
while the crates were unloaded and stacked on a pallet. Final checks on the paperwork
and the boys were put in their crates. No problem with this as we had acclimatised
them to the crates over the previous couple of weeks and they had even slept in them
(doors open mind!). This part of the process really paid off. So in a matter of
minutes they were ready to fly, although they still had three and a half hours to
wait for take off. David said thanks to Kazim and set off home. He called Mel to
say they were on their way and Mel let Roshi know. Then it was left for us to wait
to hear of their safe arrival, although during the day we were chatting about where
they would be - “half an hour till take off” - “they're off now” - “they're somewhere
over the Atlantic” - “They should be landed now”. So this morning at just after
six we rushed for the computer and yes an email to confirm their safe arrival – the
good boys had even managed to keep their crates clean. And so we have a couple of
days without boarders before it starts again tomorrow. Having had them to stay for
seven weeks, we have to say their departure has left a big hole in our family. When
we rustle the dog leads we expect Charlie to bark, we no longer have to secure the
kitchen bin to prevent Hudson from foraging, but we have to say we really miss them
but to think they are back with their family five and a half thousand miles away
is both rewarding and quite fantastic.
Winter has been cold, we have been busy and as a result there have been a lot of
dirty paws to clean. Charlie and Hudson are coming to the end of their extended
stay before emigrating to LA. Elvis has already moved to London and we miss him
and his character. We have seen a lot of puppies through this period, both as boarders
and day care dogs. We’ve had a labrador, a boxer, a border terrier, a parsons terrier
and a golden retriever. Playtime has been fun over the last few dry days, but now
we are back to rain again. We also had a pair of big dogs - Merlot and Chablis the
Bernese Mountain Dogs who were wonderful guests - two gentle giants. This week we
have seen a major development to our Bunny Hotel area (website coming soon). We
have fenced off (with green link wire) the top end of the garden which houses all
our rabbit suites, with a gated entrance. We have also added a new hutch and they
are all now sited on concrete paving.
So we went from Christmas 2008 with almost no rabbits or guineas to Christmas 2009
when we have been full. Our garden chorus was enhanced by a group of 6 guineas who
squeaked away whenever the french doors to the garden were opened - in anticipation
of feeding time. Our house was substantially improved by our resident chocolate
lab puppy Peppa, who stayed with us while her folks were on honeymoon. She has been
an absolute joy. On Christmas Day we did our cat feeding jaunt stopping off in Winchester
and Micheldever and a couple of places in-between.
August has been a very busy month. Elvis is back and is asleep on Mel’s lap - a
result of a day’s walk and play with some of our other visitors.We have seen a lot
of old friends during the summer, but our largest guest was not able to return. Our
Irish Wolfhound had to cancel at the last minute due to illness in the family. We
have been busy with rabbits and guinea pigs as well and most of the school holidays
have seen visitors in all our suites. Including our own we did manage 13 rabbits
at the peak and as I write we have three guinea pigs and nine rabbits as well as
three visiting hamsters and a corn snake, who gets fed every four days. Defrosting
and warming up the little mice and then twiddling them in his eye line do produce
some swift devouring.
So Nutkin is back again. She is a lovely elderly black Labrador with a delightful
temperament. When she’s happy she brings her cuddly toys for you. She likes to bark
at Humphrey, our cat, but Humphrey isn’t bothered. He won’t back off. At the other
end of the spectrum we have Tyler the baby Staffy who had his first sleepover last
weekend. He is a charming and cheeky chappy. He is such a good boy on his walks.
Our long term cat visit is due to end this week and as usually happens we will miss
them when it stops.
Charlie and Hudson are back after a long break - they are living away now but we
were delighted to see them back again. Charlie still barks and the citronella collar
just about keeps it under control; But he is such a bundle of fun. He bounds when
he runs and he puts a smile on our faces. He settles straight away, but Hudson takes
a little longer. A week in and he’s much more at home. Today he has managed to
ferret through the bin and joined us on the bench in the garden for coffee. He has
a very regal presence about him.
Another visit from Shane in the snow. We walked him with Max, a beagle. The snow
meant that the local deer could not hide so well as normal. And the dogs could se
the deer very well. Off they went across the field in search of the deer. A white
knuckle moment when 300 yards away the deer jumped over the fence, but the dogs did
the right thing and came running dutifully back.
This made a different Christmas for us. As well as our own dog Torla (who loves
shredding wrapping paper) we had a number of cats to visit throughout the town and
two rather large dogs to stay here. Our first experience of an Irish Wolfhound was
quite something. Chaos was very gentle - she just took up a lot of room - but if
she stood in front of you it was very difficult to change the channel with the TV
remote. She also took some washing when she rolled in fox poo.
16 November 2008
So this evening we are without a boarder. Today we have waved goodbye to a greyhound
and a rabbit as well as two cockatiels and a king snake. We enjoyed flying the cockatiels
who learned how to express their displeasure if we didn’t let them out by 6.30. At
first it was a bit strange, but we soon got used to our heads being used as a nest.
The king snake went a fortnight before taking his mouse for supper. Actually he
only passed on one feeding event but made up for it second time round. The greyhound
is one of our easiest walks. She stays on her lead, she doesn’t pull and she doesn’t
hang back either. This week we are looking forward to some walks, our weekly visit
from Molly and a visit from Max next weekend. We are also feeding some cats at their
home during the week.
30 September 2008
What a busy summer we have had, we have meet so many lovely people and pets. We have
cared for many different animals from Corn snake to Conure and Chinchilla to Hamsters.
Dogs have ranged from King Charles spaniels right up to a Weimaraner who was eight
months old, a very big puppy. We are bursting with pride with our lovely dog who
from being unsure around other dogs takes all the visitors in her stride. Humphrey
(the cat) is not always so sure, we often find him safely curled up on our bed out
of visitor’s way.
6 September 2008
So Humphrey came back from the cattery and has quickly re-established his place in
the house. - curled up in the armchair closest to the fish tank. He has also spent
a considerable amount of time on the car roofs outside. I think he has forgiven
us. It’s not the time at the cattery that’s the problem, it’s the box he has to
go there and come back in the box, and he hates that box. We have to keep it hidden
because he gets so distressed by seeing it.