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

Extreme Knitting Basket is Finished! And Snow.

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I finally got this project finished! I’m very happy with it and so are my crew. Now I have a firm pattern in 3 different sizes. I’m also thinking of what else I can make with this fibre. I love its bold, sculptural quality which could lend itself to other projects.

We had a lot of snow yesterday and a ton more overnight. This was the view from our window this morning.

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There was no chance of getting the car out so I tackled Saturday shopping on foot with a rucksack. Fortunately I didn’t need anything ridiculously heavy, like cat litter. And there are lots of really good shops fairly nearby.

There was up to a foot of snow, and it was still coming down. There were no buses running and only a few cars sliding about on the main roads. I decided to take a small detour to Ken’s to see if he wanted me to take the dogs out. They were delighted and he got Harry and Dixie ready with their smart brown overcoats on.

We headed to the park down the road from Ken’s house, and my goodness, the snow was deep! It was heavy going for the two little dogs but they were up for it. They hadn’t been out for a walk since Tuesday.

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They had to leap over the snow in order to get across it. It was quite comical but then I realised the poor things were dragging great big snowballs around after them. So I gave them a couple of treats and pulled the worst of it out of their fur. We found the path and passed a family having a great time building an igloo. An igloo, in Sheffield, on 23rd of March. They were using their plastic recycling box as a mould for the ‘bricks’, and making a very good job of it.

I took the boys back home and walked home myself, laden with shopping. We thought it was time Larry went in the garden. He is a Maine Coon after all.

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He made it down to the gate and back. Meanwhile, Herbie and Monty discovered that the new cat basket is big enough to share.

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Till next time,

L x

Walking the Dogs

Sunday is my dog-walking day. I walk Harry and Dixie, a pair of West Highland terriers, for their owner Ken. I like to give them a good 2 hours off the lead, so we take a short drive to where we can have a good run away from any roads. Here we are on a jaunt around Endcliffe Park in Sheffield.

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Just for fun we like to have a game of chase where I run away from them, and they run after me, round in circles.  It’s good for me to have a run as well.  Simple pleasures!

Ken is a very experienced dog owner having had dogs all his life. He’s had Harry and Dixie from puppies and now they are 7 years old. They are extremely well-trained, well-socialised and great company. Ken relies totally on volunteer dog walkers, so sadly  this means that the lads don’t get out every day. They only get walked 3 or 4 times a week, sometimes less. Sometimes it’s only a quick stroll around the block. So on Sundays I give them as much time as possible. It’s wonderful to see them run free in open spaces.

Wyming Brook

Wyming Brook

There’s a nature reserve near us called Wyming Brook. The brook runs down a steep wooded hillside. There’s a wide, winding track which leads through the trees down to the reservoir.  Alternatively there’s a steep rocky footpath running alongside and criss-crossing the brook itself. Here you have to jump from rock to rock and cross rustic wooden bridges as you go, with the constant roar of the water around you, shaded by tall trees. You can go down the rocky footpath, and back up the track, or vice-versa, making a round walk. The footpath is exciting, but the track has its own charms. The trees and their alpine scent make you feel you are up a mountain, with the occasional glimpse of distant Sheffield.

Harry and Dixie are game little dogs who will tackle any terrain. I don’t have to worry about them: they always come back to me when called and they are relaxed around other dogs. However, I do have to watch out for horse or fox manure because Harry is a roller. Dog walkers, you know what I mean. When this happens we divert to the nearest stream or brook to wash the worst off. Harry doesn’t much like getting wet. His brother Dixie jumps straight in, even if he’s not dirty, but Harry needs persuading. Fortunately Ken isn’t in the least bothered if I come back with two filthy dogs. As far as he’s concerned, they should be out all afternoon getting mucky. He gives me a dog blanket for the car and baths them before teatime.

Harry asking ever so nicely for a crisp in the beer garden.

Harry asking ever so nicely for a crisp in the beer garden.

Ken is full of appreciation for his dog-walkers. It was the Cinnamon Trust who put us in touch. They are always looking for new volunteers, particularly for dog-walking and fostering cats. If you live in the UK and if you are a pet lover with a bit of spare time, do get in touch with them.

I am looking forward to this Sunday’s outing, especially now the weather is improving! We might have company, in the form of my friend, her daughter, and their little terrier Daisy. Woof!

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