Tuesday 31 May 2011

A victory lap!

Remember when I went outside at the start of this month and there was that string tied round chairs in my back garden?

It turns out the Man Of The House was trying to grow some new grass.

Look what I found! After some recent rain and sunshine there are some little blades of green poking through.

I am so excited for the MOTH that I am going to run a victory lap of honour! both directions.....

Saturday 28 May 2011

Why does it have to be so complicated?

One of our favourite walks is down a country lane near our house and then across some fields to the next village - Rolleston-on-Dove - and round in a big circle (that takes about an hour) and back home.

But the only drawback is these weird metal things. What's that about?

I don't understand them at all.

I find them very difficult.

I look puzzled - a lot. But I do my best.

The LOTH said that I remind her of my nearly namesake Winnie-the-Pooh who was "a bear of very little brain".

But I get there in the end.

Today we are again taking part in the Saturday Pet Blog Hop hosted by Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume.

If you'd like to join in and make new pet blogger friends, please follow your three hosts (see the links above), add your blog to the Linky and copy and paste this week's new Linky code into the html editor of your own blog. The list will automatically update on everyone's blogs as new sites add themselves over this weekend and we can all hop from blog to blog and find out everybody's news.

Thanks again to our three hosts for putting on the hop!

If you follow a new blog after finding them in the blog hop - please let them know that you found them on the Saturday Pet Blog Hop.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Introducing Dino the Adorable

Today I want to introduce you to my new friend Dino.

He's REALLY hoping to find a new forever home soon and I think he's really earned a second chance so I wanted to tell you his story.

Dino is a lurcher - which you might know is the name that is given to a dog that is one of the 'sighthound' breeds - like the greyhound, whippet, saluki or deerhound - crossed with another type of dog.

Lurchers were traditionally bred for hunting so down the years people have bred sighthounds with breeds like border collies and bearded colliesbedlington terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers ('Staffies') to get the right combination of qualities they wanted to hunt different sorts of animals.

There's been lots in the news about how Staffies are often misunderstood. Yet Staffies make great family pets. They form really strong bonds with their human families and are very tolerant and loving with children. Combine this with the gentle, laid-back nature of a sighthound and the result is a dog with a fantastic, family-friendly temperament.

Unfortunately many of the bull lurchers in rescue centres are overlooked simply because people are wary of the ‘bull’ label, even if they don’t really know why. Because pit bull terriers are banned over here, under our Dangerous Dogs Act (there's a whole other blog posting to be done some time on THAT!), some people shy away because they think all bull terriers are banned.

Anyway, back to Dino. As you might have guessed, he is a bull lurcher.

He's about five-years-old and has been with Greyhound Rescue West of England for 18 months now.

He came to them via another charity, and was initially VERY insecure around other dogs.

It took this poor lad many months to learn how to politely say hello to another dog, and then how to make friends, but he’s just about got socialising sussed now. Dino is doing very well in a foster home, and has earned himself the nickname "Dino the Adorable". Now he REALLY needs a home of his very own.

So in case there is ANYONE reading this who knows someone, who maybe knows someone, who might be the family Dino is looking for, I'll let Dino himself tell you a bit more. Over to you, Dino.

"Thanks Winnie. Well, I'm clean in the house, happy to chill out in my crate or on the sofa, especially if the sofa comes with a human cushion or two (I do the best snuggles in the world) and can comfortably be left for a few hours. I love all my toys and am perfect for playtime as I have a bit more stamina than the average greyhound so can give it my best shot before flopping out for a good snooze! I am actually not at all bad at a bit of football and even better, I have now learned to apply both braking and swerving techniques so smaller people can also enjoy my fun-time. I take treats really gently, will do kisses if I think I can sneak a couple in and work very hard to make myself into an adorable giant softie. I do also try to honour my greyhound roots by sitting regally on the sofa, but it’s quite hard work so usually ends up as a lollop!

"Out on the lead, I am now much more confident and generally walk quite nicely with other dogs, especially once I know them. I sometimes still get worried, usually by the other dog’s behaviour, but if the person with me is calm and knows what to do, it soon blows over (GRWE will help you, don't worry!). I have actually started to get myself out of tricky spots and go to dogs I know for reassurance which is a sign of my growing social skills.

"My most wonderful quality though is that I will be your bestest and most devoted friend and make you smile every day. I love to share my cuddles and cheeky moments and once you become one of my special humans, you will remain so forever. I have room for a few more special humans – do you have a space for me?"

If you can help Dino, or know someone who could, the GRWE would LOVE to hear from you. You can call them on 07000 785 092 or visit their website contact page. There is also an email address - - specifically for enquiries about Dino.

I'm rooting for you, Dino!!

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Peeping Tom

I trotted out into my private little oasis of calm - the back garden - and became aware that I was being watched.

I looked up.

I need to get a bit closer to the fence to be sure....

The cheek of it! He's watching me in the privacy of my own back garden.

I ran at the fence, barking my head off and he turned his head away to pretend he wasn't looking at all.

I wasn't fooled.

"Come in, Winnie," said the LOTH.

If this was a staring contest I was going to win. After all, there's always a 'win' in Winnie.

Friday 20 May 2011

Boosting pet funds online

The Internet is a bit good, isn't it, when you see how it can help change the lives of animals for the better with just a few quick clicks?

It becomes so easy to make a difference. Sometimes I can do it just by lying here and telling the Lady Of The House what keys to press on the keyboard.

Quite a few of my virtual friends 'across the pond' are busy voting for their favourite American animal shelters in this voting competition being run by Some of them are supporting the shelters that helped THEM personally, or their breed.

I would love to help too, but when I tried I couldn't vote from a UK postcode.

But it did make me think that perhaps I should mention a competition that the LOTH is currently running on her own Lost & Fond website. She's asking people to vote for which good cause becomes Lost & Fond's next charity of the year and benefits from charitable donations made by users of the site and charitable donations made from any revenue the site itself makes from advertising.

Anyone anywhere in the world can vote for their favourite out of seven pet charities that were shortlisted from nominations made by visitors to the website. All you have to do is register as a user of Lost & Fond and then email your vote in. It explains a bit more about it all on this page about the seven nominated charities.

Voting closes at midnight (UK time) on June 1, 2011.

The finalists are:

If you have time this weekend, maybe you could have a look and see if there's one you would like to help. The voting is currently VERY close between three of the seven - you can see here how voting stood last Wednesday - but with 11 days of voting still to go ANYONE could win if enough people get behind them.

Please spread the word if you can, because the LOTH is keen that as many people as possible know about the opportunity and have a chance to have their say.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Mickey time again

The Lady Of The House's parents are off to Scarborough for a week's holiday (lucky things), so the LOTH is looking after their cat, Mickey, who has now reached the grand old age of 20.

Sorry I didn't tell you about his birthday when he reached it....but he is a cat and although I love him virtually you should know by now that me and cats in the flesh don't mix.

In fact, on that subject, there was a bit of a cat-related incident yesterday afternoon on our second walk of the day. But it wasn't ALL my fault.

Me and the LOTH were nearly home when I saw a cat (she didn't) and I lunged on my lead in the feline's general direction. She said "no" (she always does but I usually ignore her) and held my lead tight and taut and the next thing we knew she had tumbled backwards off the pavement and into the road. I averted my eyes so she wasn't embarrassed. It is a very quiet road so there weren't any cars and she picked herself up and headed home. But when she took her coat off her elbow had taken a really bad knock and it swelled up into ever such a funny shape as the evening wore on.

She is fine though and padded it up (because she said it was very painful if anyone touched it) and even did two hours rattling a collecting tin for Marie Curie Cancer Care this afternoon before coming home to watch the FA Cup Final. She asked me to ask our UK followers is anyone else knows why Stacey Solomon sang the National Anthem in an American accent.

Tonight it's apparently something called the Eurovision Song Contest - which is also a cause for great excitement in our house despite the fact that NO-ONE in Europe ever votes for the UK entry. The Girl Of The House and her boyfriend are coming home for it and they are going to drink Sangria and cheer on Blue who are singing "I Can" for the UK. I hope they can too.

We are today taking part in the Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop brought to you by Two Little Cavaliers, Life with Dogs, and Confessions of the Plume!

Here's how you can join the Pet Bloggers Blog Hop celebration:
* Link up your blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below. You only need to add you link once to be seen on all the Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week.
** Grab the Pet Bloggers Blog Hop button that our friends over on Life with Dogs made for us and include it in your Saturday Pet Bloggers Hop post so that your readers will know what is going on.
*** Follow your co-hosts listed in the first 3 slots of the Linky Tool and comment on their blogs to say hello!
**** Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you'd like
***** Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you're from the Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop
****** Follow back when you get a new follower through the Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop

Tuesday 10 May 2011

It's not just doggy dancing

It's The Lady Of The House here. As Winnie told you yesterday she has graciously allowed me to use her blog to tell you about MY weekend at the Canine Freestyle GB event in Markfield, Leicestershire.

This involved two days of competitions - Heelwork To Music on the Saturday and Freestyle on the Sunday - featuring about 100 dogs in total. Some people travelled from as far away as Belgium and France to take part.

Now, before I start I have to agree with Winnie that I'm not the best photographer in the world. In the case of the Canine Freestyle event it was also made worse by the fact that these dogs don't half move fast!!

So I'll start off with one nice photo of a couple of lovely new dog friends who sat next to me in the auditorium on the Sunday. The black labrador had earlier done a lovely Freestyle routine to the song Beyond The Sea, and her whippet sister had come along to lend support. They were clearly deeply devoted to each other.

If you don't know much about Heelwork To Music and Freestyle there's some information here in a feature I did at my Lost & Fond website.

It's so much more than "doggy dancing" - the rather gimmicky nickname it is often given on TV talent shows and in British newspapers. It's just a joy and an inspiration to watch the bond between dogs of all shapes and sizes and their owners. The great thing about the weekend was that there were also dogs (and people) of all abilities too, from those with lots of experience to people just starting in the sport. Because it IS a sport - no doubt about it - which involves hours of training and practice.

Here's one young owner and her loveable crossbreed dog who won one of the Novice Freestyle classes. This enchanting pup also won his own trophy for being the crossbreed who got the highest score from the judges all weekend. His cute little face reminds me of a few of Winnie's blogger friends - any thoughts?

Ok, so now the pictures get a bit rough... but I'll add them anyway. Bear with me please.

Showing that size is no object to Freestyle, here's a Great Dane taking part.

This Chesapeake Bay Retriever did a routine to In The Army Now.

Here's a Standard Poodle taking part. There were also two adorable Toy Poodles who travelled from Belgium to take part - but the pictures of them were really too bad to post.

Border Collies always do incredibly well in Heelwork To Music and Freestyle. This routine below made me laugh as it made a feature of the more traditional job of Border Collies.

This American Cocker Spaniel did a great routine to Singing In the Rain.

This blur-like figure below is Glenalpine Katie - a very talented actress as well as a HTM/Freestyle star. On Saturday she was a close runner-up in a Heelwork To Music routine to My Guy. She's pictured putting in the winning performance in one of Sunday's Freestyle classes to Doris Day's Deadwood Stage.

Finally I was really thrilled to see Anne Shuker win a Novice Heelwork To Music class on the Saturday and do really well in Freestyle on Sunday. She taught the Boy Of The House at primary school and occasionally took her beautiful sheepdog Splash in with her. Splash was the first dog the BOTH didn't completely hate and was the turning point in him overcoming what was a paralysing fear of in a round-about way if it hadn't been for Splash we might never have been able to add Winnie to her family.

Here's Splash and Mrs Shuker performing a space-inspired Freestyle routine to Europe's Final Countdown Probably the worst picture of the lot - but you can see Splash jumping beautifully through a hoop.

There's no doubt that dogs and humans all had great fun.

Well, thanks for putting up with me for today. Normal service with Winnie will be resumed tomorrow.

Monday 9 May 2011

Coffee and a great young photographer

The Lady Of The House is a bit 'full of herself' today because she got to have her say on "Coffee With A Canine"

I don't know why they wanted to talk to her and not me!

But it's been a very useful experience - because I think we have found someone in this house who takes far better photos than the LOTH.

Hers are often all blurry and wuzzy fuzzy and she blames her phone camera that she uses. But look what happened when she handed it over to the Boy Of The House to take a picture of me and her?

I think that's very nice. Much better than most of hers.

Anyhow, unfortunately the oxygen of publicity has well and truly gone to the LOTH's head and now she wants to take over MY blog for tomorrow to tell you about the Canine Freestyle event she went to this weekend. Dogs who weren't dancing....competing, whatever... weren't allowed. I stayed home the with MOTH - which was nicer I think.

I SUPPOSE I'll let her - that's if she has time. She's rushing around like a mad thing at the moment. More of that another time too I guess.

Friday 6 May 2011

Just ducky

I've been enjoying some lovely walks down by the canal in recent days and I've started to make friends with the various duck families down there.

There is this family with really teeny, tiny ducklings.

Then there are these ducklings who are a bit older.

I'm a bit worried about these ducks as they seem to have forgotten where the water is...

But the very favourite duck family of me and the Lady Of The House is this little family of three. We think their mum must have adopted them because they don't look anything like each other, do they? But they are always together and seem very happy.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Learning a 'less lawn' lesson

So I trotted out into the garden this morning and found that something was VERY VERY wrong.

Had overnight winds scattered the garden chairs around?

Looking more closely I could also see string forming a circle behind the chairs - and there were little bits of silver foil tied to it.

It's sort of sealed-off the brown bit of the garden - you remember - where my rabbits had dug up the grass.

What do you think is going on here, folks?

I wondered if the family had tried to create a special private toilet area for me - bless them - so I did step gingerly over the barriers and obliged....but they just gave me a funny look. So I think I may have been wrong.

It certainly makes it tricky for me to gallop round and show them a bit of my old racing pace.

I don't think I like it much. But The Lady Of The House has been taking me out for some particularly great walks though - which is cheering me up. I have now got a new nickname of Cinderella. Because when we go through the park where all the non-greyhounds are off their leads and playing with their toys, the LOTH always tells me I can't go to the ball.