Saturday, 18 August 2012

Outside the kitchen window

I looked up and there he was. Looking through the flower bed. A beautiful picture and another moment where gratitude for knowing this angel overwhelms me. And reminds me to keep coming back to this feeling. Particularly in those despairing moments when I forget. I don't know how anyone lives without animals and manages to find reason and sense in their existence. Thank you Gandalph and all the others.
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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Friends and family

I have the most amazing family.  Here is my dad, and my boys, Kai and Zac.  And of course, Gambit in the middle.  Moments of gratitude are one after the other.  When the going gets tough, it feels tough.  Then when the going is smooth again, the gratitude grows!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Whiskey and me

My first love. No. Not the boy. The dog. There are not many pics of me without him. Beautiful boy.

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Friday, 10 August 2012

Good company

Went to visit a friend. She was not there. Wintry sun in her garden and her cat, Trick kept me company in the warm sun while we waited for her. He is such a charmer.
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Like this message. Stolen from a friends status update. Tx Matty

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Draco and rules

Like the plumber who does great work on site but fails miserably to maintain his home's waterworks, I am often critisized for being the animal trainer at work who has badly behaved animals at home.   I have some justification here:-)
Draco is a very bright dog.  One of five dogs with whom we share our home.  He is enormously agile and jumps over gates and fences to get where he wants to go.  He also fits in very well to the social hierachy of people and dogs.  He is not the dominant dog, yet he has aligned himself perfectly with her, so does not end up at the mercy of any of the pack.  Draco taught me that it is much better when you are sharing a space with others to come to a working plan for everyone, rather than spend your life trying to control the situation.  That is work.  Rather have some ground rules that enable an effective living arrangement.  Forst question.  Why do we have dogs?  Because we love their company.  On this premose we build our relationship.

I considered training my dogs formally, and have taught them a few tricks.  With regard to their general management, however, we have reached some common ground which works for all of us.  I understand natural dog behavior which has enabled me to keep some semblance of order that works for me - and yes, this does not always work for my guests.  Will explain shortly.
The basic rules which we humans in our family apply are as follows
-don't ask the dogs to do something unless you are prepared to insist that they listen.  Empty asking creates bad manners. 
-we are the leaders in the home.  We always enter through doorways first.  When we ask you to move of a chair in which we wish to sit, you will listen.
-if the dogs create a barking fuss or rush out of the gate or get involved in an altercation, we will not raise our voices and charge around joining in the "frenzied party".  We will remain the leaders and calmly take charge of the situation.

These rules are in place to keep the dogs feeling secure in relationship with us.  So they know their "place". So they know they are looked after.  They are not their for domination purposes.

But yes, if you visit, you will experience them as unruly.  Because they are allowed on the couches.  They have free rein of the house.  They sleep on our beds cuddled up to us.  They are as much at home in our home as we are.  So if you are going to visit, come prepared.  don't wear white.  They will want to say hello and this will entail a muddy or dusty snout sniffing your legs.  When you are in our lounge, they will want to be a part of the conversation so will probably hop onto your lap at some point and ask for an ear rub.  And if you are staying overnight, be prepared for a cold snout to lift your duvet and snuggle up to you.

We don't really like the word 'pet'.  We prefer - 'family member' or at the very least, 'friend'.  And it is their home too that you will be visiting.  Also shared with some cats, horses, geese, ducks and a pig.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Horses chocolate snacks

Middle of winter. Dry. No green grass at home. So we take the horses for a walk down the road then lie around for an hour while they snack on the green grass on the verge. Must be a real treat for them. Usually late afternoon while the winter sun is just saying cheers. Lazy beautiful treat for us too. Times like this that life is truly good. Simple pleasures.
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