Friday, 29 March 2013

I never did win a pony

As a pony mad youngster who longed for a pony of my own, I used to look out of the window at school pretending my pony was waiting for me outside and in my mind I would jump on its back and gallop away from my physics lesson away from the teacher who's moles seemed to have a not so secret plan to take over the world.

I had progressed from the comics and moved onto read Horse and Pony Magazine every page would be read and reread, adverts ringed and numbered in order of preference but the most important time was when one of the horse magazines held a yearly competition.  The excitement and anticipation was intense as the prize was a horse or pony!  My brother and I would read the instructions, read the terms and conditions then we would desperately try and write that magical sentence in so many words as to why we should win a horse.

We worryworted over it, we faffed and we made sure our hand writing was the best it could be then off to the post office and then the dreadful wait would commence.  When would we hear?  Oooh what it would be like to actually have my own horse, what colour would it be only then could I decide what colour brushes and headcollar it would wear.  Paul and I would occasionally look at each other in anticipation when the post arrived, as it did then first thing in the morning....would this be the morning?  What if he won it and not me would he share and if I won would I have to share?!

Well I have had the same anticipation and the same feeling when I am the one not to receive an email, to hear the delighted messages of people succeeding where I have failed.

Only this time I had always avoided competitions, to enter a competition is to lay yourself  bare and your craft.  I have, until now, entered two competitions, one I was shortlisted one not.  Busying myself with getting down to the business in hand I shied away from public judging.  You can't lose if you don't race now can you?

What changed?  I have grown up and realised I can't grow without pushing myself, scaring myself witless is often the only way.

A plan formed, everything put in place then bit by bit my entry took form.  Soon it was time to enter and the forms were filled and that was it.  A long wait was next and I settled myself safe in the knowledge I knew little of what they looked for, knew nothing of the current trends and desires.  Yet it was there a tiny little glimmer of hope.

Normal life resumed and then I saw it.  A post that made my heart thump, my head spin and my face burn.  All her entries had been shortlisted.

So I checked my email.  Ten times.

I checked it again and then rechecked my spam box.

Then I realised how much I had wanted it.

I have lost nothing. But......

And I never did win that pony.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Why ouch?

I have just weighed my guys today.

Now I am delighted my two put some weight on with
Tips weighing in at 22.70kg
Flute 27.8kg which is great.
Phoebe are all in lovely condition
Harry is a little light again at 29.80kg
However not so excited at the rest.
Leyla a whopping and very worrying 7.4kg Small framed Pug
Mila is just as bad at 74.4kg St Bernard
Belle eeek 76.8kg St Bernard
Esther 20.5kg Springador
Lola 14.45kg  Puggle
Charlie 32.10kg Labrador
Louie 38.4kg Labrador
Bobby 39.7kg Flabrador
Truff 20.85kg Staffie cross
Megan 10.9kg Cookie monster I mean Cockerpoo!
Jasper 20.9kg beagle Detox, Fat camp and bootcamp needed
Sirus 33.05g dalmation a few more laps round the horse paddock
Harvey 23.80kg cocker( sprocker type) Fat camp needed
Hugo 9.10kg large Pug start on the salads hehe
Breeze 14.25kg working small cocker Ouch eek yikes Maybe more work less treats?
Montanna 33.80kg steady on lass think of your hips!
Nanny Caro 66.7kg whoa there heifer get jogging up them hills and lay off the biscuits, crisps, chocolates.....

Oh lordy Petnanny is going to be know as Fatnanny at this rate.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Lets go for a walk

Shall we go for a walk?


This give you an idea of how we go for a walk hope you enjoy a virtual guide to our walking.  We pull up in the van and wait.  Wait for quiet.  Quiet often means calm.  Now time can make this an added pressure yet we know it is vital for a safe happy walk.

Out I get and open the doors, I love getting out into the brisk weather and feeling the warmth seeping out of the van.....yet again we need calm.  Get our leaders and choose who we walk.

Our walk already chosen, our dogs chosen and our walking companions ready to go, I open the cage door and choose the lucky dog, no pushing, no jumping out and most definitely no bitching about who is going and who isn't.  Leader on dog asked to come out and cage shut.  Depending on how the ground is we ask the dogs coming out to sit.  This continues until all dogs coming are out but those guys have to be calm no spinning, no playfighting and no lurching to say hi to the nannies/ walking companions.

Next we walk....walking to us means loose leader, stay where we put you ( no changing sides no lunging for a wee or playing) and settle into a spot you prefer to walk in without bothering your happy neighbour.

Soon to be let off we not only need calm and a sit if asked( sometimes calm nice walking earns freedom) but is the coast clear, is there anything out of place and important for the poor recallers do we have their attention are they with us so to speak.

Those that can are let off and asked to go wee wees easier to get most of the bags out and filled as soon as poss makes for more pleasant walking.  Whilst you are focussing on the ones you are letting off we watch the ones that are free and watch for toiletting to sort out.  So many times this is when someone turns up!  Sigh back we call them some mid poop haha bless them but still we ask and because we expect and know they can do it we don't hesitate or faff just ask and expect.  Once the person passes with our guys by us off they can go again but no hammering off at high speed unless we can get them to stop handbreak turn style if we need them back.

Once walking we constantly watch our guys but rarely call unless we are calling them.  We watch for people and dogs, wildlife and horses always ready to call the guys and gals in when needed.

Puddles are always around and they know no heading for a stream/ pond deep puddle without asking first always aware one day that stream will be a torrent or unsafe for the pups or indeed across a field with horses in.  If always allowed how can they know that that one time it isn't allowed?  What if that one time meant they were no longer with you?

Brambles and Nettles mean a few things...low slung dogs and pugs etc need a lift up no one likes to be stung or scratched, for hunting dogs they often mean fair game!  So a warning watch your manners for hunting dogs and a loving hand for the little people.

Corners never used to mean anything to me many moons ago, now they mean so much.  What is around the corner?  So call the guys in and ask for a nice walk around the corner if all clear off they can go.  Same with narrow tracks, we ask for calm as non of us like to be pushed and shoved, for delicates or dogs with chronic conditions it can mean pain and insecurity.  So get in line guys and enjoy the view!

They stop heads in the air and you just know something, don't know what is firing their senses up, making their instincts and muscles twitch.

Why is it you always meet someone at the most inopportune moment?  Maybe just as you have gotten them all excited or on a narrow track heading for a corner!  This is when we have to use our training or even fun distraction....asking them 'are you ready?'  expectant faces turn around waiting to see what mad nanny is going to do rather than the new dog and person advancing on them.

Sometimes a stop for someone morphs into a sit wait or just a wait, sometimes it is the sign of an exciting moment soon to be had, with a go go go and off they shoot giddy with their friends.

As we turn for home, wind on our backs we watch for the wayward wanderers, there are a few types.  The back of the walk wanderers, the lets get back to the warm van little wanderers and the oh no end of walk imminent wanderers!

Shivvying up the back of walk guys, making the oh no end of walk guys play and grabbing bums and chasing them usually makes them forget their woes and the lets get warm puplets usually have nanny speeding up and giving them snuggles, cuddles or if a speeding up of nanny coincides with the speeding up of the dog the a spell on the leader cools their progress!

A head shoots up, a bum tucks under and we know it means a fast moving bike bumping along the track so in they all come again and a wait just because we can.  A good wait means another fun run, a poor wait means a great time for leads to go on before heading back the warm van( or in hot weather cool van) even more welcome now.

So how does you walk compare?

Even with a single dog you have to watch for hotspots( corners, bushed and trees, open areas where they can see far into the distance and rivers, ponds and stock in fields), meet people, avoid dangers and set up a happy long term walking relationship.

With my guys I know when Flute is going feral on me, know what makes Tips slip Ghost like into the trees or run for fear if trapped with a strangers dog crowding him.  I know when it is important to get Little Foxy lady Isabelle or Hugo tucked into my legs when an over boisterous dogs comes bounding over.

Then we have windy days!  That is a whole other blog.....