Archive for the ‘Dog ponderings’ Category

Where's Bear?

Where’s Bear?

With the warm weather persisting, walking the dogs has become an exercise in trying to dodge the heat. We were lucky today because the morning stayed cool right up until lunchtime but even so, Little Bear still needed to take some time out to have a rest.

His favourite medium of choice is clover, which of course prompts a swift chorus of ‘Roll me over in the clover’ from yours truly, but failing that, he’s quite partial to some long grass.  He disappeared so completely into it this morning that it took a while to find him. If he keeps this up I’ll have to start a Schnauzer version of Where’s Wally.

The clover shot is for pure cuteness.

Clover Bear

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Little Bear the dog in front of the Christmas tree

Little Bear and the Christmas tree

With the Christmas holidays around the corner, I’m counting down the days to a week off.

In my head, I’m imagining something straight out of a John Lewis ad.  All Country Living magazine festive with everyone laughing around an elegantly dressed table laden with fantastic food, fine china and posh crackers.

I’m enough of a realist to accept that it will be more like something out of Fawlty Towers, but I’m a relentless optimist too. Somehow, my deep desire for the fantasy Christmas has blocked out the fact that it will most likely be a few stressful days of last minute shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, bed making and entertaining various house guests sandwiched between two 300 mile round trips to pick up and drop off family members.


Sad though it is to admit, Christmas is stressful and if we’re stressed, you can bet our dogs will be too. Especially fearful dogs like Annie who take comfort in the certainty wrought through routine and anxious dogs like Little Bear who can quickly get hyper.

Having lots of visitors can be exciting, but it can also be over-stimulating for some dogs and ours are no exception.  In our eagerness to make sure everyone has a full glass and a plate of something tasty, we can too easily overlook the subtle signs of stress from our dogs.


We’re taking radical action this year. We’re sacrificing the comfort of guests for the comfort of our dogs. We’re donating one of our sofas to a charity so that the dogs can have their beloved crates back.

Having a safe space to retreat to is really important for dogs all year round, but especially at Christmas. I’ll also be stocking up on Adaptil refills for the diffuser and there will be some stuffed Kongs and deer antlers on the treat menu to give them something to focus on while we’re playing hosts.  It’s no magic bullet, but knowing that the dogs are happy will at least be one less thing for me to stress about.

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Love is…?

I just made Little Bear a mug of tea. I didn’t intend to, but having offered him the dregs of my cold cuppa, I then went onto autopilot and tipped it down the sink without realising. I turned around to see him sitting patiently by his bowl waiting for his treat.

If a dog can look incredulous, he did. He starred at me and then at the upturned mug, then back at me. That beard hides a multitude of sins and I think today it consealed a muttered curse along the lines of ‘Muppet!’ although it might have been worse as he’s no doubt has a fine vocabulary of swear words after listening to Other Half shout at his computer for years.

And so to asuage my guilt, I made up a small, weak mug of tea with the spent t-bag from my fresh cup. He had to drink it out of the mug of course, just to add to the treat value of it for him and the cuteness factor for me.

So, am I indulgent? Delusional? Eccentric? Or do I just love my dog?

It got me thinking, what are we actually saying when we say that? ‘I love my dog.’

I’ve heard people say it about their handbag dogs dolled up in diamanté collars with painted nails who never put paw to pavement. I’ve heard it from people walking dogs so fat they can barely move let alone run or play and from others who despite having no time for their dog refuse to find it a better home because they ‘love him.’

The point is, love isn’t always enough. It’s a fiercely good start but only if that love propels you on to better understand your dog. Love as they say, is blind and in my humble opinion it can be deaf, dumb and downright bloody stupid too.

To be really loving to our dogs, or each other for that matter, we first need to take the time to understand them better. To figure out what they really need as opposed to what we think they need or worse, what makes us feel good through the giving. But even love and understanding are impotent without action. We need to apply that knowledge if it’s to make a genuine difference.

Ponder over, I’m off to google the effects of tea on canines.

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