Not going out (much)

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I’ve been away on my hols, staying with Uncle Steve and Auntie Donna who do home-from-home dog care at their house when my humans go somewhere they can’t take me. They’ve been to visit the family and grandchildren who live in Texas and I’ve stayed put in the UK, being well looked after.

I thought I’d be there for a while, like I usually am if they go to the US, but no, they’ve come back a lot sooner and I’ve sort of got an idea of why. This nasty virus that’s taken over normal, everyday life all over the world meant my humans had to come home early so they didn’t get marooned in the US with no way to get back home. You can read more about it here as they’ve written about it on their own blogs.

So here I am, back home, and yes it’s great to be back even though I had a good – short – holiday. I’ve already had another go at getting through that tiny space they blocked up in the corner of the garden. Hmmm….still can’t get through it to see next door’s cat who sits every day on the upstairs windowsill looking out at me.

And things have changed a bit. Our daily routine is different. We used to go out a few times a day for a short walk in the morning and evening and a long walk in the afternoon. But the humans have been told to stay at home and not go out much so that the virus doesn’t spread.

Now I’m happy to do my bit and not have so many walks – and that’s fine because I count myself as very lucky to have a nice garden to sit in, walk and run in, sniff in, dig in (a bit!) and watch the birds. They play with me and I get one big walk a day at the moment with my humans. They take me out late at night when it’s quiet – very quiet too, with no-one about and the streets are empty – so if feels as if we have the whole town to ourselves. A bit spooky and eerie really, but kind of different too.

In these weird, strange times, it’s what we all have to do. So:

  • we’re not going out (much) – once a day is what we’re allowed for exercise
  • if we see anyone when we’re out, we’re keeping at least 2 metres away from them – further if we can – as we may be shedding the virus ourselves without knowing it (dogs don’t do this and are not carriers)
  • we’re staying indoors/in the garden to support the efforts to get this virus under control

Winter camping

I went away recently with my two humans, for a few days in my motorhome. Camping at this time of year – February, wet, stormy, windy – is perhaps not the best but it’s sometimes good to get away and see new places. Or in my case, smell new smells. And the van is one of my most favourite places to be.

We stayed in a place called Rutland, on a campsite which had plenty of space to walk around and it had a dog walk too, in a wood. But it was muddy, very muddy, and every time we went out I had to go through that rubbing and cleaning of my paws when we came back in.

We went to a place they called Rutland Water to look at birds. Boy was it muddy there! I couldn’t go into part of it as it wasn’t dog-friendly, but there is another place in the bird reseve that is OK for dogs. We didn’t go there because my humans had enough of the mud they had to walk through to get to the bird hides. I stayed in my van, in the warm, and they walked me around the parking area and along the road nearby. Needless to say, it was wet and muddy. I think I came off best when I saw what was on their walking boots!

We went to a town called Oakham, which was very dog-friendly. I was welcomed into the Castle area and the old building which was a sort of museum with masses of horseshoes all over the walls.

The best bit of the winter camping trip was a visit to a huge country park with a massive posh house. It was called Burleigh House but it was closed (there were signs saying No Dogs so I couldn’t go in anyway) and we walked in the grounds. It was very windy and cold and I wore my fleece onesie, which keeps me dry and warm and clean.

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That ditch ha-ha thing & me in my onesie

We walked past the big house which had a ditch thing all around it. My humans said it was a ha-ha. I thought they were laughing or something.

We also went to the nearby big town called Stamford, which my humans seemed to like quite a lot. I suppose it was quite a nice place as I was allowed to go in everywhere. There are several churches there which I could go in as they were dog-friendly too.

What a difference it makes to find so many dog-friendly places to go to when we visit somewhere new in my van.

Sunny, frosty Southport

We went to Southport me aP1080297nd my humans, in my campervan, and stayed overnight on a campsite we’ve been to before. It was sunny and cold, with this chilly white stuff they call frost covering the grass in the morning. The puddles were all hard with ice but it didn’t stop me from enjoying walks and exploring a very nice park with a big lake.

There were ducks and pigeons, and as I’ve recently got ino bird watching I sat still and watched a crowd of these feeding on food put down for them by someone. I’d have loved to have got closer to them, especially the pigeons as I see these in my garden, but I was held quite firmly on my lead and couldn’t budge.

The park (it was the Botanic Gardens – Ed) was dog-friendly and there were notices showing where dogs had to be on leads. In some parts – the wilder rougher parts, which I liked – dogs were allowed off leads.

The humans seemed to like this place quite a lot so here are a couple of photos of it in the sunshine. But blimey, it was a bit chilly though.

I was only being a puppy!

20180721_185452It’s come to my notice that my human who writes a blog, wrote something about me chewing up things and digging holes in the garden when I was a puppy. Now I’m two and have grown up a bit,  I think it’s time I put a bit of perspective on this story. I do have my reputation to consider after all, so here’s my version of things that were written about me when I was 21 months old:

I started living with my humans when I was 4 months old. I’d kind of got over the real baby stage of peeing whenever and wherever I needed to but was still in need of some guidance on getting into the garden for these tasks. I was shooed outside and told to “be busy”. No idea what that meant at all, but they always did this after I’d had a toilet trip indoors. It was a hot summer so the doors were open and the penny soon dropped. I was meant to do it outside.

I must confess that I loved my new home and my humans. We got on very well, they were always kind to me (still are) and I heard them describe me as “a delightful and interactive dog” Yeah!

IMG-20191225-WA0006I know I’m good with children. I’m always very friendly to them as they’re somehow a bit like puppies and closer to my size. I adore the human’s grandchildren and allow them to play with me, cuddle me, carry me about and at Christmas they put funny sparkly things on my head. I didn’t like it much but put up with it as it made them happy.

I often make noises and speak in “dog”, which the humans don’t understand, but they like it because it’s as though I’m saying “hello” and “chatting”. I sometimes make little howls of excitement too. But as I was still a puppy, with new teeth, I had to chew things, I just had to – all puppies do so it was perfectly normal as far as I’m concerned. Here’s what I chewed: Continue reading

The joys of the grooming table

She went and bought a grooming table didn’t she, the human who feeds me. That’s what this post is all about, the grooming sessions.

When I first came to live with my two humans, I’d been groomed and given the once-over by my breeder, who said she’d “tidied me up” before I set off for my new home. I don’t really remember this, but it didn’t seem that long before I was being brushed and tidied up again, once I’d settled in.

We Norfolks have lustrous long hair, all lovely and golden ( well, some of my cousins have black backs, not golden ones, but they’re more unusual). Our colour is supposed to be “red” – a sort of russety, coppery bracken-like colour – and for it to stay that colour, and not get pale, our coats have to be hand stripped so they grow back properly. Ouch. That sounds like it could be a bit painful, having hairs pulled out, but it’s not really. If we get our coats clippered, they lose their rough thickness and go soft and possibly curlyish.

My human did a lot of learning about hand stripping – there’s a video she got, and she bought lots of  brushes and combs and stripping knives and thinning scissors. She made notes about what to do and how to tweak out bits of my coat. At first she tried to do it sitting on the floor with me, but it was hard (I wriggled a lot and ran away) so she bought the grooming table which has made things easier. I still wriggle but I’m getting better at standing still…for a short time only you realise. She still calls me an eel. What’s an eel?

The nice bit is that I have my teeth cleaned with the most delicious tasting toothpaste – liver. Mmmm. Can’t get enough of that so I behave very well, and as it’s ususally the last thing she does with me on the grooming table. I know I’ll be able to get down after that.

Grooming notes are here on the Norfolk Terrier Club’s website

 

Bird dog

I have a new hobby. I watch birds.

I sit on the patio, in pretty much the same place as I was in this photo, taken last year when I was a bit younger. Right now it’s winter but at last it’s not raining, so I like to go out, sniff around and check that there are still no places I can dig. The humans seem to have successfully blocked off all the interesting digging routes, but I’ve found something else very interesting to sit and watch. Those birds. I’d never noticed them before, when I was younger, but now I’m two and supposedly grown up, I’ve suddenly become very interested in them. I can even ID some of them.

I like to watch the pigeons (big fat grey things) sit on the fence or wooden archway before flying down into the garden to take some of the food that’s been left out. Then I take off and chase them, but they always get away up into the air, where I can’t follow.

It’s not just pigeons. There are black things that go “chack-chack”. I think they’re jackdaws. They come to get some food from the feeders, like the black and white things with long tails called magpies. I don’t try to chase these, I just sit and watch. But if they go to the feeders, I always root around underneath in case they’ve dropped anything I can eat. The humans do feed me, but you know how it is if you’re a dog, you just have to eat food when it’s there.

This  morning, sitting outside watching, I saw a very small bird on one of the trees in the garden. It was easy to see as the branches are bare. I was looking at it very carefully and I heard one of my humans say “He’s looking at a Great Tit”.

Watching birds is an interesting thing to do in my garden, especially as I’d not noticed them before. In fact, it’s only this week that I’ve really got into it. I even like going out in the dark, sitting still, and looking at one of the bird feeders. I spend quite a lot of time doing this in the dark, but I don’t see anything. Still, it’s good to be out in the fresh air, although you wouldn’t catch me doing this if it was raining.

The RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch 2020 is on 25-27 January. Anyone can take part. More details here.

Growing up

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I shall soon be 2 years old, growing up a bit and certainly more of a handsome young hunk nowadays than I was when I was 4 months old, when this photo was taken. Of course, I was very cute then ( still am if truth be told) but my coat was shorter then, when I was a puppy. Now it’s thicker and longer, and the human who feeds me calls me a hairy monster. Not sure if I like that, although she sounds very affectionate when she says it.

So, as I shall be celebrating 2 years of canine life pretty soon, I thought I’d share what my female human wrote about me a while ago. She told some stories of all the things I chewed, or wrecked or ruined when I was a young puppy, and wrote about them on her own blog.

Of course, I can’t remember doing anything naughty at all, but you can read what she said about me here, where she goes on about lots of unexpected little extras.

Don’t know what she means really. Have a read and see what you think. Was I that bad?

When Kitty came to stay

I did mention a while back that I’d say something about cats. Cats! Funny word that, but one I somehow knew even before I’d seen one, because it’s kind of embedded in my genes. Well, in the genes of all dogs really I suppose.

The human who feeds me started telling me things I didn’t really understand, like “Kitty is coming to stay. Kitty’s a beautiful cat. She’s your cat and you have to be nice to her.”

What I heard was: “BurblebabbleCATburblebabbleburbleKITTYburblybabblyCAT” all said in a very noice tone of voice mind, but the important words really stood out and got me all excited. When the cat arrived with their daughter (who they try to kid me is my Big Sister, but she’s not) they made a big fuss of them both. They wouldn’t let me near Kitty, even though I kept yelping with excitement. They shut me in while they unloaded all the cat stuff and put this interesting creature in an upstairs room where it was quiet, so she could settle down. Never mind me, I was so excited I thought I’d go pop.

The smell of Kitty was new and intriguing. Even though I’d had this cat smell offered to me on a hanky or something before she arrived, to get used to the smell, it was NOTHING like the real thing! And the energy and vibe of having a real live cat in the house drove me crazy with excitement. I like to think I’ve calmed down a bit now I’m nearly 2 years old, but I was very young, it was all new stuff and boy did I go for it.

I just had to find that cat. Where was the dratted Kitty? I set off in search of her, galloping up the stairs, nose to the ground, and found her scent was strongest in the spare room. I sniffed and looked. I couldn’t see her anywhere, but I knew she was there.

One of my humans came to find me and took me back downstairs, but they sounded concerned because there was no sign of Kitty. I found out later that she’d been on the windowsill, hiding behind the curtain. When things had calmed down, I slipped upstairs again to look for her. I just KNEW she was in that room, but I couldn’t see her anywhere. One of the humans came in and sort of tried not to laugh. Apparently Kitty was sitting on a chair watching me inspecting the floor area with my nose to find her. I was looking down, not up. I swear that cat was laughing too.

We did meet face to face and although I was friendly, barking and wagging, Kitty spat at me, which wasn’t very nice at all. After Kitty had gone back to her home with their daughter, I sneaked upstairs whenever I could to check that she really had gone; the smell was still there, I wasn’t sure that she’d really left,  and the thought of seeing more of her was enticing. I searched all the bedrooms, pulling the duvets off the beds and I dragged the spare mattress out from under a bed to make sure she wasn’t there.

I don’t know why they weren’t very pleased with me for doing this, and they kept all the doors closed where Kitty might have been hiding. Maybe they were cross because I chewed some of the duvet covers and sheets.

Here is the owner’s view of the chewed sheets and other misdemeanors!

Are these dogs?

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Earlier this year, my humans took me on holiday in my campervan and we went to somewhere called North Devon. I loved all the walks they took me on. We went along lots of paths by the side of the sea. That wet blue stuff looked very inviting but it was a long way down below, and we were very high up walking on things called cliffs and headlands.

The smells there were very interesting. The water smelled nice, so did the grass and the heather, but the little brown lumps of stuff lying around on the ground smelled quite delicious. I wanted to taste them, but my humans kept saying “Drop!” if I got any in my mouth, just when it was starting to get interesting. They called it sheep poo and clearly didn’t like me trying to taste it. Didn’t they realise that was because I wanted to understand what it was and where it came from? And what are “sheep” anyway? I had no idea. And still being quite young, I had to taste and test everything new so I’d know about it.

We climbed up a very big hill which they called  Mortehoe Point. It was covered in pointy rocks  and when we got to the top, the sea P1070416was all around us. It was windy too, but I was rather pleased as I’d never climbed such a big hill before. I scrambled up to the top with my humans, then had a rest while they did something called “drinking in the view”. I couldn’t see any drink, but they’d brought my water with them and gave me some, so perhaps that’s what they meant.

Then we climbed all the way down again and started to return to my campervan by walking back along the path by the sea. It was then that I noticed some other animals.

I thought they must be white dogs, but they weren’t really quite like dogs. And there was that delicious smell again – the same smell as the lumps of brown stuff they’d told me to drop. I was very curious and had a good look at these creatures. I came to the conclusion they must be called sheep as the humans were saying things like, “Bosworth, they’re sheep….leave them….” .

So sheep they had to be. I didn’t want to chase them, nor did I try to; I just wanted to watch them. They were young and curious too, and they had a good look at me as well.

Does my bum look big in this?

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We went on holiday in my campervan earlier this year to somewhere called North Devon. My humans did all the arranging and driving and packed my food, treats, toys and bed, so all  I had to do was behave myself and settle down between the two front seats of the ‘van for the journey (hitched up to my restraint of course).

We stopped off at a couple of places on the way before we actually reached North Devon, and I’d heard them say something like, “We could go there on the way and have him measured for it, it’s somewhere near the campsite” (that’s a magical word for me – I know it means we’re going somewhere new and interesting).

Their satnav thingy didn’t work properly and they kept saying things like, “It’s right out in the sticks here.” I like sticks. You can chase them and chew them and sometimes, if I find one I like, I carry it back home. So I thought we were going to a place that had lots of sticks for me to play with. But no. We ended up in a sort of farmyard with a big shed building where there were people making things with funny-looking machines.

They all made a fuss of me then I was taken into a big room with lots of shelves and one of the nice people got something from a shelf, took it out of the bag it was in and put it on my body! I was a bit startled. It was like having human clothes on and I wasn’t sure what to make of it, although it felt kind of cosy and safe once it was on. I even saw that dog I sometimes see who looks a bit like me. He was  wearing it too when I looked at the thing they call mirror. I must say, the colour looked quite fetching against his coat.

After that, we got in the ‘van and went to the campsite, where it was wonderful. Woods! Mown pathways through them! Lots of long grass! Smells! Places to explore and a big lake, where they had to keep me on my lead as there are things called beavers who live there. Seemed to me that the beavers chopped down bits of trees as there were plenty of sticks lying around on the ground. Maybe this was the place they meant that was in the sticks?

Great as it was there, it did rain a lot one day. P1070365That was the day they got my my new outfit out of the bag and put it on me. It was to stop me getting soaked, muddy and dirty in the rain, and it worked. When we came inside the van, it was the outfit that was wet and muddy, not me. So it’s not too bad at all really.

I do wonder what I really look like in it though, and if my bum perhaps looks a bit big in it?

Editorial note for dog owners: Bosworth’s suit came from the home of Equafleece in Devon. He’s wearing the lightweight summer one; the heavier fleece winter one we also bought awaits the first cold snap in our part of the UK.