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Here are some of the previous articles in the Dog Blog. 

Sunday 25th February 07 - DIY Indoor stuff for rainy days

Yet another wet and windy week has gone past and our training field is so wet we can't go and play.  Apparently the dogs were let loose in it the other day and it was just like sending a lot of horses into to the field to churn it up to mud.  Yes, I know Jamie would like to go and get all muddy and we'd love to resume our agility training, but the forecast is for yet more wet and windy weather. 

Our own land is no better.  You walk across it a few times and it goes all wet and gloopy.  Lovely!  Jamie rolls in it and comes home looking like a prop forward on a wet weekend in Wales.  To cope with it all we have come up with some new indoor equipment. 

First of all there's the cushion jump.  I can't find it in the Kennel Club rules but it consists of cushions standing up to make a hurdle.  You can also lay them out to make a long jump.  Jamie approves of this.  It's a nice soft landing if he falls over and it's much more fun than the wooden things outside.

Next we  have the stairs A frame.  It's easier to get up and down than the outdoor version and it's covered in carpet and Jamie can stop on it at the bottom.  It's a bit different to the usual A frame in that the up ramp serves as the down ramp and vice versa.  I guess builders don't know about these things when they're putting up houses so I shall have to write and tell them that they're doing it wrong.

Finally we have the towelling tunnel.  This is somewhat shorter than the flexible tunnel or the pipe tunnel but according to Jamie it's much more fun.  After a while a dog can get the knack of carrying off the towels and running away with them for a game.  Oh for heavens sake.  Roll on summer.

Thursday 8th February - Hello Vienna - The tale of the hairy scarf

The other day I managed to do something that I've never done before.  I bought an item of clothing that is currently in fashion!   It would probably never have happened but a colleague very kindly offered to knit me a hairy scarf and it seemed like a good thing to wear in the winter.  I suppose it was neither here nor there that every other lady in the office was sporting a hairy scarf, I just thought it would be nice and warm.
Thus, in just a few days, the hairy scarf was delivered to my desk and I changed the habit of a lifetime.  The scarf was just as I thought, beautifully warm and very purple and it looked as if it would like to be taken for a walk. 
I wondered whether to give it a name and a saucer of milk but they think I'm odd enough at work already and I don't want to encourage them. 
The fun started when I took the scarf home and put it down on a chair.
  "It that for me?"
Jamie rushed up and stuck his nose into the hairy scarf.
  "No, it's mine.  Gerroff.  It's my new scarf."
  "Can I have one too?"
  "No, you're a boy and boys don't wear hairy scarves."
  "Oh go on.  I only want to play with it."
  "No.  You've got a whole pile of toys over there.  This is my toy."
At this point Bernie intervened. 
  "I don't know what you wanted that for, it looks like the thing in 'Rising Damp.' "
  "What thing?"
  "Miss Jones's aunt's fox fur stole.  The one that Rigsby incinerated when he thought he'd run over Vienna." 
Ah, yes.  Vienna the cat.  It was perfect.  The next day I wore the hairy scarf to work and all the ladies duly admired it.
  "It's a lovely colour," said Jenny.
  "It's called Vienna," I said.
  "What, the colour?"
  "No the scarf.  The scarf is called Vienna."
They stared at me as if I had gone raving mad but to their credit no-one telephoned for the men in white coats.  It was then that I realised I had a problem.  I had just confirmed that I really am a bit eccentric, so how on earth can I ask Brenda to knit me scarf for my dog?  Oh Jamie, you do get me into some situations sometimes. 

Thursday25th January - Mindless thugs have smashed up our equipment - Helen Davies comments

Last night some mindless thugs thought it was fun to wreck our equipment.  They overturned our shed and pushed it over a bank.  It's quite badly damaged.  They also found it fun to wreck all the agility equipment that I've built over the years.  Jamie's dogwalk is smashed to pieces and so is the tyre jump and the other jumps.  The weave has been bent and stamped on. 
We're talking here about violence and vandalism in a small Cornish village of around 50 houses.  It's not exactly downtown in an inner city and it's not a deprived area.  The police have been and taken fingerprints but in the cold weather there were few prints around. 
Needless to say we are devastated and we feel as if we don't want to live here any more.  The thugs may think they've got away scot free but they haven't.
Anyone who is contemplating a violent action should understand that everything that you do in life comes back to you tenfold.  If you cause harm to someone and damage their property then that harm will be paid back to you.  You can't escape it.  It's something that just happens.  
Thanks to the contractor who came out so quickly and put the shed to rights.  He did it all on his own with only a crowbar.  He sent us home while he did the work and in less than an hour the shed was back and all repaired.  He was from O and M Landscaping Services, Bugle, Cornwall and comes highly recommended. 

Helen Davies from Trowbridge writes: What a terrible shame. That is awful about your agility equipment being vandalised..I feel so sorry for you. Mindless and cowardly. Words fail me to describe people who do that.

Update from Pat:
Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts.  It really helps at a time like this.  We've put most of the equipment back together again and we just praying that these vandals won't come back.

Sunday 14th January - What goes in must come out

Please don't read this if you're at all squeamish or about to have a meal.  It was inspired by a conversation with one of my colleagues about the strange things we find in dogs' whoopsies.   Let me tell you how this came about. 
Jamie was sick the other day, which is nothing unusual as we had seen him eat something and we were too late to stop him.  This time though, the little darling was not only sick, he was sick on our bed!   It went right through the bedding and down to the mattress and the sick contained a sizeable stone.   I actually found this more upsetting than the soiled bedding but it's not the first time it's happened.  It's also not the only strange thing that's been sicked up or has passed out of the other end.   Thankfully none of this has ever been on our bed until now.
There was the time when Jamie was sick in the woods.  We rushed over to see what could have caused it and there was a whole slug!  Yuk!  Amongst the things that have passed out of the other end we've seen cake papers (spaniel) and a whole butter wrapper (spaniel), but it was the conversation with my colleague that surpassed everything. 
Apparently some friends had noticed their dog having a bit of trouble doing his whoopsie.  After few minutes they became concerned, so they went over to have a look and sure enough there was something odd trying to make its re-appearance in the world.  They discussed what they should do and then very bravely one of them took a tentative hold of the offending article and gave a little pull.  Whatever it was kept coming.....and coming......and coming.... and after what seemed ages they found themselves looking at a whole pair of tights!  Before you ask I didn't have the stomach to find out if they were laddered.   They could have gone in the wash with our bedding but I think not.  Bon apetit!

Monday 8th January 07 - Creatures of Habit

The other day Bernie said something that made me go into hysterics.  My friend,  was on the phone at the time and she was dying to know what I was laughing at.  When I told her she laughed too.

Bernie had said that he couldn't drop everything and go for a walk because it was morning and he hadn't had his lunch and we always go for a walk after lunch.  It reminded me so much of the days when I used to take obedience classes.  I hadn't been doing it long but every week the beginner dogs had to do a bit of heelwork, then a recall, then some stays and finally a retrieve.  

After a couple of weeks I thought that perhaps we could do things in a different order for a change.  We could maybe start with the recall and then do the heelwork.  We could leave the stays till last when they were all a bit tired. 

It was chaos.  Not one of the dogs would do as they were told.  Several of them sat down and refused to co-operate and one made a bolt for the door.  They all looked at me as if I'd gone mad.   The handlers were clearly put out as well.

  "He did that perfectly last week.  What's gone wrong now?"

The problem was that dogs are  creatures of habit and they had all been used to the previous trainer getting things in the right order every week.  They came in expecting to do their heelwork first and heelwork was what they were going to do.  They were not going to put up with this two bit charlatan from down the road mucking things up.  There was nothing for it.  We had to revert to the "proper" training pattern and only gradually could I introduce changes.  So it is with husbands.  If you want to make changes you have to be a bit subtle.  You may never make it to the stage where to get to go out before lunch but you can do a little crafty training that they'll never notice.  It really does work.

We just about survived Christmas and the New Year.  Jamie loves his new bed and his new toy.  Actually the toy's a bit like Jamie.  It grunts at both ends! 

We all ate too much and suffered the consequences. We're having a rest from jumping for a week or two and this is mainly because the ground's too slippery.  Oh alright, I'll admit it.   I'm not sure I can go faster than a waddle until I've worked off all the chocolate.   Happy New Year

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