Campervan dreaming

P1034487I’ve already written something about how different everything is at home right now – ever since my humans came back early from visiting the family in Houston – and although they’ve been back nearly three weeks, I’ve noticed that:

1) we don’t go out in the car (not my favourite mode of transport I have to say) but there it sits on the drive.

2) we don’t go out in the ‘van, which they think is theirs, but it’s actually mine, and it’s by far my preferred mode of transport, because it takes me on holiday to lots of new and interesting places. Yet there it sits on the drive as well.

So I’m going to indulge in a spot of campervan dreaming and reminiscing while I sniff around the garden, sit in the sunshine, and have the odd snooze before my one big walk of the day.

We went to a place called Aachen during our big holiday last year. It’s in Germany and there was a distinct smell of delicious sausages in the air. Nice. We left my van on the campsite and got the bus into the town, but that wasn’t nice at all. I’ve been on a few buses before but this one was hot and crowded and I had to sit on the lap of the human who feeds me. The other human had to stand as there were no spare seats.

When we got off we started to walk towards the cathedral (my humans like visiting these wherever we go). As we walked towards it there was the most almighty revolting STINK of bad eggs. I sneezed and twitched and tried to get away from it; it was driving me crazy it was so nasty. I didn’t know that Aachen had natural springs with healing waters. Healing? Puke-making more like for dogs!

We reached the cathedral but it was a “no dogs” place so my humans took it in turns to go in and stay with me. That wasn’t too bad though because I met another Norfolk terrier – a German-speaking one – but we managed to communicate using our noses. Then we walked around the town looking at some of the many fountains and statues there. Thankfully the water in the fountains didn’t stink and I was quite interested in one of these in particular.

And we walked back to my van at the campsite rather than get on the bus again. I was rather pleased about that because there were lots of new smells along the way so all in all it was a good day out, and something cheerful to remember.

Things are a bit odd right now…

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Since my humans came back from staying with the family and the grandchildren in Texas (they left me with Uncle Steve and Auntie Donna and I had a good time), I must say that things have been just a bit odd. You know, not quite like they were before they went away.

There’s nothing wrong with the house and garden and the humans are as doting and loving and as slavishly attentive as they ever were, but the daily routine seems to have changed a bit. I put a few thoughts about this on my blog last week – take a look here –  but this new sort of routine seems to be everywhere.

Yes, it’s quiet and the streets and green spaces we walk on in the dark of night are all empty. They’re doing something they call isolation for 14 days as they flew back home in a plane, so we’re not seeing anyone. They might chat on the phone, or talk across the garden fence or open a window to say hello to the neighbours. The best bit is when they do the Skype thing with the family and I go crazy because I recognise all their voices and their faces and I want to get a look in on the screen too.

The other good bit about this slightly odd pattern of the days is all the singing and music which the human who feeds me does. On screen, there are people going “la la la” and singing funny warm up songs like “My dog he can do the can-can” (as if!) and some stretching and body wiggling before they sing a song. This happens every single day!  I quite like that because I’m allowed to sit at the laptop and watch.

Then there’s the crazy 15 minutes of jumping and stretching and hopping and push ups they both do every morning with the on-line PE coach. I just sit there and watch while they laugh and leap about and then have a cup of coffee when it’s finished.

This morning they got out the fluffy duster on a stick and let me chase it around in circles for my workout and that was good. I wonder how long this will go on for though….

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

A dog’s eyeview

P1034807Ok, so this isn’t the best of pics and I’m not even sure if this is my best side, but it gives a good idea of what I see when I’m happily travelling in my campervan with my humans. It’s a bit messy really with newspaper on the floor and boots, but it was muddy where we were and I was told quite firmly to stay until my paws had dried off a bit.

You see, we had a short holiday in the really wet and horrible weather, but there were mostly dry days with lots of rain overnight. That meant I got wet every time I went out even if it wasn’t raining, because the ground was soggy, I’ve got rather short legs, and my underbelly gets muddy too. But the humans have a thing they call a doggybag and they zip me into it when I’m wet and I come out mostly dry. All the grit and dirt and muck fall off into the doggybag and once I got used to it, I really didn’t mind having to sit still in it, or lie down it, because I was clean and nearly dry when I got out.

When we’re in my campervan this all works quite well, especially as I get a few treats while I’m drying.

What’s interesting here though is what I can see in the van. That one down at the end, with her back turned, is getting food ready. That’s where the cooking goes on, but it might be food for me too, and my food is kept in one of those cupboards. So I’m staying put as told, and drying off. And hoping for food……

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.

The Joy of Sticks

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There’s nothing quite like finding a good stick and carrying it around for a bit, or even bringing it home.

This is one I found on a beach in a place called Rhyl last year. I’d not been on many beaches then, and I sniffed about a lot, finding all manner of interesting scents and things to pick up. But this stick was the best.

To be honest, I’m not too keen on running after sticks and chasing them, I just like to carry them around. I prefer chasing after a ball to bring back, but if I find a stick I hang on to it. It’s mine!

Today there was an almighty windy storm, with buckets of rain coming down, so when the weather cleared up a bit, we all went out for a walk and there were sticks everywhere, all over the ground. I think they’d fallen off the trees. Well, I didn’t know which way to turn, there was so much choice, but I found a nice chunky one to carry home.

When we got to the house I was rather proud of myself as I showed good manners and training and dropped it in the front garden. I’ve been told off for bringing sticks into the house and chewing them, but this time I remembered what to do. And I was praised for it too.

It’s best to supervise dogs with sticks as they can be dangerous, splintering in the mouth as they’re chewed, and they’re also a choking hazard.

Dog friendly?

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAOk, so this isn’t me (Bosworth, Norfolk terrier) in the picture. It’s another dog who was my predecessor: Calan, a Scottish terrier. I know my humans must have loved him as much as they love me as there’s a couple of photos knocking around and they sometimes speak of him. But that’s not the point as this is about dog friendly places and it looks as if this place – the Hartland Quay Hotel in Devon – was not especially dog friendly.

From the photo, it appears that quite a lot of dogs have expressed their feelings about the sign as it’s gone very rusty round about the place where dogs, such as myself, would cock our legs and pee. Only to mark it, mind, as that’s what we do.

Seriously though, dog-friendliness has got a lot better over the past few years (I overheard my humans talking about this), so now when we all go out, I can mostly go into the places that they do. Some shops welcome dogs and have a funny sign saying things like “Dogs welcome, well behaved humans tolerated”.

Some shops have a simple sign on the door which says it straight: “Dogs Welcome” and that’s what we like to see. Same applies with cafes and restaurants – a sign in the window, a blackboard outside welcoming us pooches is good to see. At the weekend I went, with my humans and their friends who’d come to visit, to a local brasserie-style restaurant. They’ve started to welcome dogs and let this be known on a blackboard outside the door.

It was especially nice because the waiter brought me a bowl of water, placed on a serviette, on the floor. Once I’d had the few treats my humans had brought for me, I settled down under the table while they ate and talked, and then had some of that beautifully served water when I was thirsty. I behaved perfectly too, just like I’ve been encouraged to when we’re out.

One or two very good dog friendly cafes I’ve been to either have home made dog treats for sale along with the cake things the humans eat, or they bring treats to the table, for free. Free treats! Doggy heaven – well, possibly owner heaven too if they’re free. There’s a great cafe in Conwy where this happens.

Some pubs and cafes and restaurants are still not welcoming dogs, so we don’t go to those. These can be a bit annoying. We found a place in Combe Martin in Devon which didn’t have a “No Dogs” sign anywhere in sight, but when we went to go inside, they told us no, we couldn’t.

Aren’t some people funny? My humans were shouted at for taking me into a local charity shop when they were donating goods. There was a washed out “Assistant dogs only” sign on the door which  they couldn’t see because the door was wide open, supposedly inviting people in. But when we stayed in York, and they went looking around the shops, several shop owners smiled and invited us all in, saying they liked dogs.

A couple of useful websites with info on dog-friendly places, covering UK locations:

Dog-friendly pubs 

Dog-friendly beaches

And here’s my human’s viewpoint on dog-friendliness

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

 

Going birdwatching

In my last post I talked about watching birds in the garden, quite an absorbing activity in itself. I have to sit very still, then if one of them flies over me, or lands on the ground, I rush after it. They always get away.

But we went proper birdwatching yesterday, me and my humans. We went to a place called Parkgate, on the Dee estuary and close to somewhere called Wales. You could see big hills in the distance. It was called a raptor watch, which I suppose means you watch out for raptors. I didn’t have a clue what raptors were, but I heard people talking about an owl, which was flying about. Everyone got those funny binocular things up to their faces to watch it, and lots of people were smiling.

They all got excited again when somneone said there was a hen harrier flying along in the distance, I couldn’t see a thing, but it seems they saw a male and a female hen harrier. The human who feeds me was quite excited when she had a good view of the female, and she spotted the male before some of the other people did, and told them where to look.

It was all a bit over my head (like the birds…) so I hung about watching the bird watchers and eyeing another terrier there who was also on a lead. We had a bit of a brief bark off then pretended not to notice each other. It was cold as the sun went down so we had a brisk walk back to my motorvan, which we’d travelled there in. I had a drink and some treats then we all came home.

RSPB Burton Mere organise a monthly raptor watch at the Old Baths area at Parkgate, near Neston on the Wirral.