Thursday, 30 October 2014


Goodness, how time consuming having a puppy can be! I've hardly done a thing!

We had a hysterical day on Tuesday when Folly came for a play date and Vespa spent most of the time chasing her tongue. Poor Folly (like Odi) spends a lot of time with her tongue hanging out and he just couldn't resist. They had a wonderful game of tug, which in spite of his small stature, Vespa won.

And then Folly took a liking to his bed, which is rather small for such a large dog.

And Vespa spent the rest of the day in recovery.

Today I took Vespa to Sainburys for a quick shop, which doesn't exist with a small pup - that's a quick shop, not Sainsburys obviously! He was absolutely wonderful. I carried him for most of it, but then when we got to the checkout he did a perfect sit and stay and then walked out beside the trolley quite the thing. It almost made me cry it was so perfect.

Then a quick stop off at the fishmonger's where I was told he could come back anytime as he sat and waited perfectly there too - please note although they've always welcomed Odi in the fishmonger's they've never said same about her!

The whole thing has exhausted him and we're now in for a quiet evening, I think, while he recovers.

What could be more perfect than that?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Plans still going awry

I had a weekend away on a Qiqong Instructor course in East Kilbride (of all places!) and left Mountain Man on pup duty.

The course went well but what was absolutely fab was getting back to a tiny black puppy jumping up and down when he saw me. There's something very special about being recognised by an animal and given that Vespa'd only been with us for less than a week, it was very special indeed.

He's still a little bit unsettled at night and as last night was my turn to be on duty and the drive back from East Kilbride had been hell in awful weather so I was tired to start with, I've ended up today beyond tired. Thank goodness MM is back on duty tonight.

Odi news is that she's not coming home tomorrow, but hopefully next week. The dog she's been sharing a kennel with developed a cough and, just in case she's infectious, she's not allowed to travel with puppies that are being delivered to their new homes, so she's staying in Leamington for another week . All my plans for what we were going to do this week are, consequently, out the window.

However, to make up for it, tomorrow the lovely Folly is coming for a visit. She's a German Shepherd/retriever cross and absolutely gorgeous. No worries, photos will be taken, so you'll be able see for yourselves.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Expect the unexpected...

... or at least that's going to be my motto for the future!

Just as I was heading out to the vet to get Vespa registered and weighed, I got a call from the Puppy Supervisor. Odi's coming home! Sadly she failed one of the Guide Dogs stringent tests (it's minor but rules her out as a brood bitch), so after all that, she's coming back and staying with us while she goes through her next season and then 4 weeks after that she potentially goes to Forfar to get speyed. Which means she could be with us for a very long time.

And this just as I was coming to terms with not having a crossover and having wee Vespa here with no big dog to learn from. Now all I have to hope is that Odi doesn't teach him all her bad habits, or be too rough with him. Some hope for either of those not happening!

We've now had Vespa for 24 hours. Yesterday, after picking him up in Edinburgh, he was full of life and not the calm, sleepy pup I was hoping for, but on the plus side he seems very settled today and has slept quite a bit.

Vespa's first photo

I had to go to work last night as I had a group to run, so 3 hours after Vespa arrived I was off back up to Edinburgh to do my bit and didn't get home til 10.30. Mountain Man had spent the evening having a jolly good cuddle-fest and was quite tired from all that sitting about with a puppy on his lap!

We'd decided that I'd do the first night and I settled Vespa in his bed just after 11. Five minutes later he was crying so I went down and let him out then settled him again and lo and behold, he went to sleep. 2.5 hours later he cried again, so I got up and let him out and settled him and lo and behold etc etc. This went on til 7 am when I got up and thought I'd wake him so at least we'd start the day on my terms. Oh yes, and when I took him out he never once had a pee, but every time I went back upstairs I did (I know, too much information, but there you go!).

Today has gone well. He's eaten and played and done his business. He didn't like travelling to the vet and I'm hoping that isn't a sign of things to come, but he's put on weight since his last weigh-in when he was 3.79 kg and is now 4.3 kg (with his collar and Guide Dog tag on) so that's all good.

'You mean to say I have to carry this for the rest of my life?'

Mountain Man is on puppy duty again this evening while I go out bowling and then I think (hope) he's doing the overnight shift as I'm pretty tired, but then I am away on a course this weekend so not sure quite how fair it is for him to do 2 nights on the trot if I don't too... but then of course when he's away working on the Children In Need event I'll be on my own with the 2 pups for 10 days, so I take it back... perfectly fair!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

While we wait

I thought I'd give you a coffee plant update while we wait for the phone call to tell us it's time to collect our new pup.

Growth continues

As you can see there's growth on all 4 of them with the usual bit of brown leaves as Winter approaches, but all in all they're doing well.. I still ponder sometimes on how come the biggest one is so much bigger than all the others considering they all started in the same place. Of course now it's firmly ensconced in its own space I wouldn't dare move it around at all to give the others a fair go of the light as they just don't like moving anywhere at all. And the other 3 seem totally happy where they are now.

I thought I'd finish today's post with a pic of Odi saying goodbye to the boys. I took her up to Edinburgh for a farewell hug, but boys being boys... well you can see for yourselves!

No comment!

Monday, 20 October 2014

The end of the journey

And so today, 348 days after she arrived, Odi left to start her new life. I can hardly believe it. She was such an enthusiastic presence in our lives and will be greatly missed.

My first ever photo of Odi

My last ever photo of Odi

I had to take her over to Lauder, where Alec and Jackie were with Nancy who was also going (though to Forfar and not on to Leamington), to wait for the Puppy Supervisor to collect them. The dogs, of course, thought it was playtime and enjoyed themselves thoroughly while Jackie fought back the tears and Quaver (who's 4 months old) tried to join in with the big girls.

I was ok. I'd shed a few tears on the way over there for our last car ride together, but felt quite positive once there.

The PS came and we did all the paperwork involved and then it was time for off. Odi jumped willingly into the PS's car, while Nancy had to be lifted. That didn't help Jackie at all and she burst into more tears. Then it was time for a quick wave and off they went, leaving us all standing on the pavement and a nonplussed Quaver not understanding what was going on at all.

Apparently it'll be a week or so before I hear what's going to happen with Odi. She has a couple of tests to do once she gets to the National Breeding Centre in Leamington Spa, and not only does she have to come out of those with 100%, all her sibs have to be tested for things too and if one of them fails anything then she'll be pulled out of the Brood Bitch Programme. As Odi was one of 10, it's going to be touch and go all the way.

If she does get to be a brood bitch then she goes to a family for life and they, apparently, have to live within a 30 mile radius of the Breed Centre. If she doesn't get to be a brood bitch she goes and trains to be a Guide Dog down South and then we still have to wait and see if she makes that.

Tomorrow we welcome our new pup, who we have to go and pick up just as Scotland gets hit by Hurricane Gonzalo... that should be fun.

But tonight I want to spend slob out time with some happy memories and some lovely photos. This one is a particular favourite, which I took on the 13th November when she was just coming up 9 weeks old.

What a cutie!

Friday, 17 October 2014

An energetic afternoon

Yesterday afternoon I took the puppies over to see Nancy and Quaver. Nancy is Odi's best friend and is a month older than she is and the two of them are off on the next stage of their Guide Dog journey together on Monday - at least for Monday day when they head for Forfar with the Puppy Supervisor and then Odi stays with the PS and heads off to Leamington while Nancy stays in Forfar for her training.

Alec, Nancy's puppy walker and I thought it would be lovely for the two of them to have a final run out together. It also so happens that Quaver and Cinders are both 4 months old, so we thought it might be fun for them too.

And being on my own with the 2 pups since Mountain Man left for recce duties in France on Wednesday afternoon, I felt doing something energetic with them would be a good thing.

Luckily the weather was on our side as the rain from the morning disappeared and the sun came out to accompany us on the madness of 4 puppies racing madly round a field. Well, when I say 4, it's really 3 as Cinders doesn't race, she gallumphs. I've nicknamed her The Lump. She's huge compared to all the others (when the big ones were her age), especially little Quaver who makes up for her lack of size with definite Napoleonic tendencies!

Cinders is just the most gorgeous pup ever. She's cute as anything and very cuddly and best of all she sleeps LOTS. I'm so hoping our next one is going to be like her, but knowing my luck I'll probably end up with another high energy soul like Odi. Ah well, I'll know soon enough on Tuesday when I go to pick him up.

Anyway, back to yesterday... the pups had a wonderful time. Nancy adored Cinders (Nancy is also a low energy dog and seemed to recognise a kindred spirit), Odi adored everyone (as she does) and Quaver went off investigating on her own quite a bit while Cinders tried her very best to keep up with Nancy and Odi with limited success. Jackie (Alec's wife) did her very best to get some nice pics for us.

At one point Nancy decided to show Odi her favourite place... the burn. I was not amused when 2 very wet dogs came surging towards me and decided to shake themselves an inch away from me and then raced back for another dip. I was so pleased Cinders was downright slow and didn't make it to the burn before being called back.

By the time we got home Odi was banned from anywhere but the kitchen til she'd dried off and Cinders went to sleep (surprise, surprise) - though I am detecting she's being led slightly astray by Odi and is tending to want to play a bit more and sleep a bit less in the evenings.

Happy times for happy dogs.

Cinders tries to keep up

Alec, Nancy and Quaver. Me, Cinders and Odi... I do wish that dog would put her tongue away!

At Alec and Jackie's banned to outside for being wet!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A weekend away

Ok, well not actually a weekend, but it felt like it.

I took a trip down to see Denise, who lives not far from Dumfries to have a couple of days of chatting, hot-tubbing and being loved by her gorgeous dogs.

Amber and Rolf

Denise and Chico

It was real r&r time for me, though not sure about for Denise!

As well as dogs, Denise has horses, who're stabled nearby and not at home, but she does have some adorable chickens out back. They are absolutely fascinating to watch and the 2 cockerels, which Denise bred from eggs with the help of the now deceased Evie, are amazing. Here's a couple of pics. Tweetie Pie is definitely the leader, and Gonk his second-in-command. They are gorgeous.

Tweetie Pie struts his stuff

Gonk in the middle of the girls

And now I'm home for my last few Odi days. She's with us til Monday, along with Cinders, who will also be leaving us on Monday and then our new pup (who'll be called Vasco, Vespa, Vernie or Van, not sure which as the Puppy Supervisor's phone died), will be with us sometime on Tuesday I think... but then, knowing Guide Dog stuff, it may well be Wednesday before the puppy actually arrives with us... all will unfold in time.
I will be very sad to see Odi go. She's so lovely and such a positive presence to have around. I just hope the next one has the same outlook on life, but with rather less energy! When I said to another puppy walker that I'd like one who slept like Cinders does (which is a lot) she said I'd probably be bored... but you know what? It might be nice to be a bored in that kind of way for a while!

Odi and Cinders doing a very good sit

Friday, 10 October 2014

It seems to be working

Apart from the first day of peppermint spraying the parts of the house that I thought giant spiders might be using as an entrance, when there was one small one and a largish one but both were far from the usual places, we haven't had a spider (that we've seen) since then.

I've been hypervigilant I can assure you, but still none have appeared.

I actually think the peppermint spray might well be working!

For the record, if any of you want to try it: I got a large spray bottle (one of the cheap ones from a garden centre) and filled it 3/4 full of water and then (contrary to the recipe on the internet, which seemed too weak and was, I thought, the non-deterrant of the first night) put in about 30 drops of peppermint oil (the pure oil kind not the kind in the baking section of a supermarket). I spray every night. The smell isn't too overwhelming and doesn't seem to affect the dogs at all.

Of course it might just be that your prayers were the thing that really warded them off, but I'm still sticking to my peppermint oil!

Thursday, 9 October 2014


A quiet moment!

Today the lovely Cinders came to stay. She's a 4 month old lab/retriever cross and is quite a chunky girl, who's more on the retriever side of things.

Odi's in seventh heaven. Her only disappointment is that Cinders seems to sleep a lot (far more, in fact, than Odi ever did at that age). I had to laugh a bit this morning when her Puppy Walker brought her over telling us that Cinders is quite rough and quite energetic... I think she needs Odi for a day to see what a rough, energetic dog is really like! Poor Cinders took herself off to her cage to get away from the hooligan on several occasions, but essentially they get on great and seem to have lots of fun together. Mountain Man and I even managed to take both dogs to Sainsbury's for a quick shop, where 20 minutes felt like a lifetime.

I think MM may well be regretting saying ok to my going to a workshop on Saturday and staying over in Edinburgh that night followed by a 2 day visit with Denise near Dumfries next week!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The 'grand plan' goes awry

When I started doing the Guide Dog puppy walking I heard great stories of how those that went on to train in Forfar (better known as Big School) had visits from their puppy walkers and the pw's were kept in touch with them and got letters about their pup's activities and pictures of them. So I thought we'd be no different.

I was also told that doing a 'cross-over' i.e. getting another puppy before the big one went off, would be a good thing to do so that the new puppy can learn from the older puppy and have another dog to play with/fight with/dig its sharp teeth into. I decided to absolutely go for this option.

Today I got a phone call from the Puppy Supervisor to tell me that Odi had passed all her x-rays and was now wanted at the Guide Dog Centre in Leamington Spa as soon as possible, bypassing Forfar altogether. And, even if she doesn't make it as a brood bitch during the next round of tests, she'll undoubtedly be doing her proper Guide Dog training down there and not at Forfar, so the likelihood of us ever seeing her again is nil.

Arrangements have been made and Odi is going off on October 20th. Our new puppy arrives on 21st. So much for cross-over. So much for visiting my lovely Odi in Forfar.

I feel quite tearful.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Almost perfection

Today Odi and I had to go and do our bit for Guide Dogs as the Scottish Law Society was holding it's annual conference in the very high class Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh and Guide Dogs is it's charity of the year.

It also coincided with the coldest, rainiest day we've had in quite a while, so with a heavy heart I decided on driving all the way there and parking in their extremely expensive car park (£6 for two hours) instead of parking at No. 2 Son's and getting the bus, as the the thought of wet dog smell amongst all those lawyers might well have been a turn-off rather than helping raise funds.

When we arrived Guide Dog Oona was in residence at the Guide Dog stand and Odi went a bit nuts to try and play. She ended up going on her back and trying to crawl underneath Oona! After a minute or two of frantic bad behaviour she then settled down and, from that moment on, was the most perfectly behaved dog I could've wished for.

Whilst I got my lunch (those lawyers certainly know how to treat their own!) Odi lay on the floor sleeping and then, when all the legal eagles came out for their's Odi lay there allowing loads of people to troop on by her oohing and aahing while she just batted her eyelids. The only time she got a little excited was when she saw herself in a mirror, but she calmed down pretty quickly when she realised she couldn't play with that darn illusive dog.

We talked to loads of people and Odi was great. Not getting too excited when petted and was a real hit with all and sundry.

It's going to be a real wrench when she goes as having a dog who's almost perfect is such a joy. Still at least she'll (hopefully) be perfect for the next people she's with.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Old Lady badminton strikes

I went back to Old Lady badminton yesterday in spite of still having the virus hanging around. You'll remember that Old Lady badminton is the one where we stop half way through for a coffee break and sometimes involves cake too. I decided I couldn't hold off any longer as the virus might well be with me for at least another couple of months (from what others who've had it have reported) and really I feel alright apart from still needing to cough quite a bit at times.

The cough wasn't the only thing activated by playing though. Also activated was my competitive spirit and muscles that haven't been used in simply ages.

I'm pleased to say that I won all my games and although tired by the end of 2 hours, came away feeling quite up and positive.

However, by this morning it was a different story. Talk about feeling tired and sore!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Puppy news

I had a phone call from the Puppy Supervisor yesterday to give me a choice of dates and puppies. We've gone for 21st October as I've got a few things on until then and I don't want to be away and leave Mountain Man with Odi and a teeny pup to deal with all on his own. And we've put ourselves down for a black male threequarters lab/quarter retriever cross who's name begins with V, but no inkling what ridiculous name it actually might have.

But anyway, none of this may come to pass as the PS also said that there are quite a few 10 - 12 week old pups without homes at present and who are stuck in Forfar or in temporary homes, so we might well get one of those instead. It depends on her boss.

Then we also got the news of when Odi might be going. The answer is no-one knows. If she passed her scan test from last week then she could go as quickly as next week or fairly soon after, but we won't know til next week. If she hasn't passed then she'll have to be spayed and will be leaving us in November.

The only thing that we do know for sure - apart from the actual date of a new puppy of some kind arriving - is that next week we are playing host to Cinders, a 4 month old black lab/retriever cross, who'll be with us til 20th October as her puppy walkers are on holiday.

Odi will be thrilled to have her own live playmate here for so long. Mountain Man and I aren't quite so sure!