Doggy Saturdays

Every Saturday at 11.00, I fetch Meggie and Badger and take them for a lovely walk.  It is one of the highlights of my week after spending hours sitting in front of a computer.  They don’t care where we go or how long we are out.  They don’t even care about the weather.  They just want a bit of time to run around and express their personalities.

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There’s a fabulous walk we often do, from their house to the park, and then on to the river valley where they can jump in and out of the water to keep cool, and we can all enjoy the shade of the trees.

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Come on!

Dogwalkers are very sociable people and we’ve met lots of regular walkers and made lots of doggy friends over the summer.  Bonbon the chocolate labrador and Stanley the spaniel have a really cool blue toy which they are happy to share.

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Meggie leaping for the blue toy

Sometimes I fancy going somewhere different, just for a bit of variety.  But I’ve avoided taking the dogs further afield because they don’t like the car very much.  Badger won’t settle; he jumps from the back seat to the front and then onto my lap.  Basically he wants to drive the car.  And Meggie, typical neurotic collie, is stressed by Badger not sitting still, and freezes on the back seat.   I have recently solved this by installing a new seat cover on the back seat.  It attaches to the headrests front and back to create a sort of hammock.  There’s now enough of a barrier between front and back to stop Badger jumping forwards, and they can’t fall off the back seat into the footwells.  So they feel much more secure travelling in the car and we’ve had a couple of lovely walks checking out new footpaths on the edge of town.

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Badger in his element up on the moors

On the way back, they are tired and happy and relaxed and they lie down on the back seat for a snooze till we get home.

At home the routine is, treats, fill up water bowls, and chat about our adventures whilst I give them both a lovely brush.  My goodness they are much easier to brush than cats!  They both love it.  Meggie sits still like a princess having her hair done.  She even gives me her paw if she thinks I’m stopping.  Badger rolls over on his back and offers me each side to make sure I don’t miss a bit.

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Meggie in her element on an open field

Then I say goodbye and I miss them like mad until the next Saturday.

Volunteer dogwalking and pet care is arranged for free by The Cinnamon Trust.

 

 

 

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No knitting?

No knitting?

No knitting for ages, and a neglected knitting blog as other activities have taken over.  My art print business, Go To Design, has kept me busy with a load of trade orders.  Great news for the art biz, but curtains for the knitting, for the time being.  I have a full-time day job too, which quite often takes me away from home.

The joy of the last few months, however, has been my new dog-walking gig with the Cinnamon Trust.  Every Saturday I walk Meggie, a classic black and white collie, and Badger, a black field spaniel.

They are adorable and so different.  Meggie is very engaging and just wants to play ball.  She doesn’t care where we are, as long as I am throwing a ball or a stick for her.  In fact she is so ball-obsessed that I have to watch out for kids in the park playing football, because she will invade the pitch.  She looks at me all the time and I talk to her constantly. She is wonderful and I am a little bit in love with her.

Badger is not interested in balls, sticks, or me.  He just wants to scurry about following  scents in the bushes.  His recall isn’t great.  He has been known to chase squirrels or rabbits and he once stole a chicken from someone’s back garden (not on my watch – and the chicken was OK).  So we have made a deal.  He is off-lead in the park where we begin and end our walks every week.  Then for pastures new he is on a long lead and I do my best to keep up with him.  When we sit down for a rest he leaps into my lap and snuffles for a treat.

I have to plan the walks to cater for their different interests. Meg needs a big space to run in, and Badger prefers footpaths in fields or woodlands. He also loves water, especially in the hot weather.  He can’t wait to find a river and jump in it.

I’ve found the ideal walk for us – at Rivelin Valley in Sheffield. The river goes along the valley floor through stunning woodlands, with rocky paths and little bridges. There are lots of shallow places where they can go for a paddle and a sit down.  Today they spent most of the walk trotting through the river.

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Till next time,

L x

The Cinnamon Trust

I have never owned a dog. But I love their company so I am an occasional dog-sitter for friends. I am also a volunteer dog-walker for The Cinnamon Trust. This is a UK charity which helps the elderly or terminally ill to look after their pets. Their many wonderful services are detailed here.

Imagine that you have become ill and you can’t walk your dog any more. Or take him to the vet. You can’t drive a car any more and your mobility is restricted. What is the effect on your pet? Their quality of life suffers yet you can’t bear to part with them. It may even be your pet who is keeping you going every day. The stress and anxiety this causes could make you even more ill.  Not everyone has friends and family nearby to support them.

A call to the Cinnamon Trust will get you a friendly volunteer in no time. They will walk your dog, take your pet to the vet, give your pet its medication, and provide temporary foster care for your cat or your dog if you have to go into hospital. You can leave your pet to the Cinnamon Trust in your will, giving you peace of mind that when you are gone, your pet will be well looked-after, either at one of their pet homes or with a long-term foster family.

The Cinnamon Trust understands the bond that exists between people and their pets. They know how traumatic it is, for the person and the pet, when they are forced to separate due to old age or long term illness. They have spearheaded a campaign for more care homes to accept residents with their pets. They have compiled a list of pet-friendly residential care homes, which is growing each year, so that people in that situation may not have to part with their best friend.

When my Grandmother-in-law broke her hip and went into residential care, she had to leave behind her beloved cat Susie. To us, Susie was a cantankerous old moggie who used to give you a nip without warning. But to Nana B, she was wonderful. Every time we visited Nana B in the home, she would say how much she missed Susie. She could still remember how soft Susie’s fur was, and what it felt like to have Susie on her lap. Nana B was 92 and we all knew it was Susie who had kept her going for so long. Susie was an old lady too and she had gone to live with our friends nearby, where she had a fine time terrorising the neighbourhood in her twilight years. But that was no good to Nana B, who just wanted to spend her last days with her companion. She was too frail to be moved and animals were not allowed in the home. It broke her heart, and mine too. I hope I am never in a similar situation. If I end up in a care home, it would mean the world to me to have my cat with me.

I am walking two West Highland terriers once a week for Ken. I really look forward to our walks.  The dogs are as keen as mustard to go to the park. They are very nicely-behaved towards other dogs and people. Having said that, I haven’t let them off the lead yet because I’m terrified they won’t come back to me. But Ken says I shouldn’t worry. As long as I’ve got their doggy treats, they’ll come back all right. He wants them to have a good run about off the lead. Maybe next week I’ll give it a try.

Here they are:

They had just been bathed and groomed and they looked gorgeous! It was a beautiful warm evening and I took them up to the local park on the hills where there is a fabulous view. It’s a great place to watch the sunset.

Till next time,

Lx