Posts Tagged ‘Play’

Never stop playing

Black and white photo of Mini Schnauzer with soft toy in his mouth

Playtime Bear

I had to eat my breakfast at double speed this morning because Little Bear was desperate to play. So desperate that he was actually whining at me. It’s the same story most days. He’ll eat his breakfast, head out to the garden for his ablutions and then charge in, full of the joys, looking for a teddy or a tennis ball.
He loves being chased and when that gets too much, he plays football, flicking a tennis ball with his paw while ‘savaging’ a teddy. He loves being told he’s clever, so another game usually involves me hiding a toy under a blanket or the cushion on his bed which he then snuffles out, tail wagging in anticipation of the praise.
He doesn’t play for long these days, ten minutes tops, but to see him, you’d never think he was fast approaching thirteen. The reality of their respective ages is never far from my mind, a shadow over the sun of our lovely days together. That’s why I’ll not deny him a single minute of playtime. It lifts me too, just to see him so happy, so caught up in just enjoying the fun of the moment.

There’s a quote that I love that says, ‘We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.’ Never stop playing Little Bear. x

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Annie the Labrador with two toys in her mouth

A bit blurred because she wouldn’t keep still long enough.

This will be Annie’s fourth Christmas with us. The drama that surrounded her arrival is still so vivid in my mind that it seems hard to believe it was more than three and a half years ago.

The shut down, terrified, flea ridden dog that wouldn’t come out from under the dining table for three days is thankfully, nowhere to be seen these days. To say that she’s blossomed is an understatement of grand proportions.

The real Annie was in evidence yesterday as my mother arrived for Christmas. The dogs excitement was so off the scale that I have thought about not giving them their Christmas treats this year but instead sticking a bow on ‘grandma’ as by all accounts she’s all the present they need.

To see Annie take her new soft toy then steal Little Bear’s too and refuse all of his attempts to take it back was such a joy.  That she was enjoying her new gift was obvious by the frantic wagging, but to us it was a sign of just how far this girl has come.  There was a time not so long ago when she’d only take a toy to please you, but obviously had no idea what to do with it.

As Dog Rescues all over the country brace themselves for the influx of the Christmas puppies that will, with depressing predictability, be dumped upon them in the weeks and months ahead, I hope anyone looking for a dog will first consider a rescue. A dog like our Annie who far from being broken, just needed a chance to be loved.

Annie the Labrador with her new toy.

And so to bed. Annie and her new toy.


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So here we are in this beautiful B&B, sitting by the log fire enjoying tea in nice china cups and eating fruit cake while chatting to the owner Ginny.  An idyllic scene – had is not been for the hyperactive Schnauzer having a mad attack of the scampers in front of us.

Racing up and down the length of the drawing-room at one point he grabbed the corner of the rug and tried to take it with him.  Thankfully one end was pinned under a large sofa or else it would have been flying out behind him like superman’s cape.

My colour rose. Other half tried and failed to catch him. I started totting up what he might break if one of the tables went flying and if we’d need to remortage… Ginny said calmly ‘just ignore him’.  And so we did until he ran out of the beans he was so full of and came to me, tail wagging, tongue lolling and looking decidedly pleased with himself.  Yes, this really was going to be a long three days.

LB’s girlfriend

Silver, a yellow Lab and Winne, a black Staffie are the resident dogs at Glebe house. LB and Winnie got off to a shaky start. They met head on and both unsure of the other, sniffed, growled half heartedly and retreated. 

On meeting Silver however, LB turned into the class clown. He was like Pepe Le Pew on a bad day.

After a polite enough hello, he proceeded to pull out all of the stops trying to persuade her to play with him.  He scampered, woofed, wagged, stuck his bum in the air, turned circles and licked her face. She’s a regal looking dog and surveyed this display of Tom-foolery with something akin to disdain. Finally tiring of spectacle, she gave him a sharp woof, which sent his whiskers flying, turned on her heel and stalked away.

Undeterred, LB continued in his quest to win Silver’s affections.  Separated by the glass doors of the dining room the next morning he continued his antics while Silver resolutely ignored him – turning her head away every time he approached and then glancing back when she thought he wasn’t looking.

His persistence paid off on the second night though when Silver, maybe worn down by the little upstart, decided that if the only way to shut him up was to play with him then so be it.  So as we chatted by the fire, the two dogs played happily. 

On our walk the next morning, LB made doe-eyes at his new girlfriend and followed her, shadow like, into ever corner of the field.   

For such an anxious little chap, seeing him play so happily is a revelation. He’s transformed. The tenseness around his shoulders evaporates, he becomes animated and full of life, fun becomes his sole objective. He’s like a different dog and it’s a joy to see.

On the whole LB was an angel during our stay at Glebe House.  Apart from forgetting his manners mid-scamper and jumping on the sofa for a split second, he didn’t once even attempt to jump on the bed and after the first faux pas left the sofas alone.  The beautiful linen remained mud free and there were no breakages to worry about.

Despite the incident of the mad scampers and the rug, Ginny declared him ‘the perfect B&B dog’ which really made my day. 

He was really well-behaved when we took him to pubs too.  Luckily, we found three pubs where dogs were welcome in the bar while we ate so we didn’t have to resort to fish & chips in the car as we’d feared. 

There was a minor barking incident on the last night.  After telling the landlords how well-behaved he’d been, he proceeded to woof loudly at all and sundry.  We took him out three times and on the third attempt he decided to settle down.  Luckily the landlords and most of the customers thought him so adorable that he was let off with a tickle. 

Holidaying with your dog can indeed be stressful, but looking back I’m really glad we took him.  Working on his anxiety means that he needs experiences that will build his confidence and teach him how to cope in a variety of situations – and that means stepping out of his comfort zone.  I think there’s a lesson in there for me too. 🙂

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