No one gets hurt if they don’t act funny – aggressive dogs,chatty women,cold callers, joggers – and cats!

Ey Up (that’s Northern speak for Hola)

Week two in my new home and I’m slowly getting my humans sorted out.

I confess – we have all rather fallen for each other – my Mum because she gets up first and plays silly games with me in the garden and is actually beginning to understand what I want.  My Dad because he runs fast with me and makes me grin and I am SO pleased to see him when he comes back from this thing they call work.  My Boy because he laughs when I do funny things, he gets up in the middle of the night and hugs me when everyone else is asleep, and because he is MY BOY.

We’ve done rather a lot of stuff this past week.  After the adventures at Spike Island, my Mum and Dad took me to a local park where they knew there would be lots of dogs, geese, ducks, swans and those funny little black things – coots and moorhens – I think.  There were also some disreputable characters smoking whacky baccy under the railway bridge but we’ll draw a line under them.

We did running – me and my Dad.  My Mum was in charge of the Scooby Snacks; I get them when I sit, stay, lie down and don’t pull anyone’s arm off.  I growled a bit; only at dogs that looked a bit dodgy (and the chavs under the bridge of course). Some of the other dog walkers we encountered put their dogs back on leads when they saw me pulling a bit – very considerate.

We were all enjoying the walk when this woman  with a very wet black labrador came up to us.  The labrador was a bit lippy so I barked a bit  – back atcha Soggy Snout!  My Dad took me over to the pond and gave me a hug so that I stopped barking.  The lippy labby shook smelly canal water all over my Mum, and the woman said she recognised us from the RSPCA.

The woman said “Isn’t he socialised?  I didn’t think they were supposed to be homed until they were socialised?”

Pardon me?  All I did was growl a bit.  Your dog has been chasing the wildlife, jumping in and out of the canal, making people wet and smelly by shaking himself all over them, and actually – he growled at me first!

My Mum was trying to get away from this mad woman who had now gone on to complain about the park and how she hated bringing her dog there because he always jumped in the canal, frightened the ducks and made people wet when he shook himself.

Oh for heaven’s sake woman – put him on a lead then!  Or don’t bring him to the park! And most of all don’t accuse me of not being socialised when your own dog wouldn’t win any prizes for grace or charm. I’m the one that’s been incarcerated for the past eighteen months after all.  Woof!

She went in the end and we walked on through the park, ran a bit more and then I got to stick my nose out of the car window and drool all the way home.  I love fresh air!

By comparison the next day was a bit quiet; my Dad was off shooting things with paintballs and my Boy was off shooting things with little white pellets.  There are a lot of these pellets in the garden but you can’t eat them.  I had a quiet day with my Mum, although she did take me for a walk round the block after I woofed at the United Utilities man outside.  My Mum and I were both very pleased when my Dad and my Boy came home though.  There was much excited tail wagging and grinning – on my part – my Mum doesn’t have a tail but she smiles a lot.

There have been other incidents this week; nothing terrible really but my family now know that in addition to cats, aggressive dogs and mad women, I don’t like joggers either.   Someone knocked at the front door the other evening when my Mum and I were dozing on the sofa/watching Pointless.  Oh boy did I bark!  Whoever it was had vanished by the time my Mum had calmed me down – Hah! Another cold caller bites the dust.

Oh, I have a new bed!  I still have one in the dogservatory but this one is furry and fluffy and takes up quite a lot of floor area in the living room.  I still like getting up on the sofa to have hugs but this new bed is good to crash out on and keep an eye on everyone at the same time.

I’m gradually getting introduced to my family’s favourite places too.  Yesterday we went down to another place on the river by the big bridge, no dogs but a dangerous looking jogger who got the benefit of my most menacing growl.  He passed us again but my Mum was sneaky and spotted him first; she sent me and my Dad up some steps into a lovely smelly wood and by the time we got back the jogger was just a dot in the distance.

I was a bit muddy when we got home and my Boy decided that I should have a bath.  My Mum and Dad were dubious.  Bear in mind that for the past two weeks I have been firmly told that the bathroom is out-of-bounds; it also has a clattery floor that makes my nails slip and it smells of flowers.  My Mum put a towel on the floor and with the generous dispensation of Scooby Snacks managed to get me to acquaint myself with the bath.  I got one paw in it and my snout but that was all.  I think she understood that this bath thing was a non starter so she filled a container full of warm water and we all went back into the living room where I had a fairly decent wash and brush up of the undercarriage area.  Hah! Managed to avoid the bath AND got lots of hugs into the bargain – not  to mention the Scooby Snacks.

Tonight we went up to the Monument to watch the sun set.  It was a bit chilly for the humans but I loved it.  The whole place smells of rabbits and other dogs and even more rabbits but no cats.  I had a really good sniff around, we watched some buzzards circling and a couple of planes and helicopters but the humans wimped out eventually and we went back to the car.

So I am a happy perro.  Life is full of food and snacks and sleeping and running and walking and games of hide and seek in the garden with my Mum, but best of all are the hugs.

Steamy windows, coming from a doggy heat ….

Hiya! (I said I was bilingual).

Well, I’ve been here a week now and I have to admit, this is better than kennels any day.

I have been very good – well – apart from the slight accident with the edge of the settee when my Mum spoke rather harshly to me and I had to stop mid-pee.  I held on though whilst she scrambled into boots and coat, found my lead and took me outside.  No accidents since.

The gates are a bit of a nuisance; although I tried to get through them the first night here, especially the old one, no chance.  I like the old gate best because I can see the car and the road and maybe even  – CATS.  I can smell them.

I have my own room; it used to be called the catservatory but now it is most definitely the dogservatory or Scoob’sRoom.  It has a bed where I can keep my bones and toys (and sometimes sleep when they put me here and shut the door).  It has blankets that smell of my Boy; he had them on his bed for a week before I came home so that when I’m shut in here I can smell him.   I like that.

They’re pretty quick on the uptake, my Mum, my Dad and especially my Boy. They can tell the difference between me being happy, wanting food, wanting to go out, needing hugs and wanting to go out again.  I like going out.

The first night I was here I did a lot of sniffing; they’ve had cats in this house and I can smell all the places that they used to go but it’s an old smell that doesn’t set me off now I’m used to it.

My Mum is an early bird who comes downstairs when it gets light and takes me out to the garden for an early morning sniffle and wee.  She has learnt that before she lets me out of my room, she should unlock the patio door, get her boots and coat on and be ready for my excitable greeting – a couple of circuits of the living room with my tail wagging madly should do it and then a BIG HUG.

Then we come indoors and she tells me how wonderful I am and gives me more hugs.  I sit patiently by the kitchen door whilst she makes her breakfast and I flump on her feet  whilst she eats it.  I am mellow – for a while.

Stairs – I don’t do stairs.  I can manage the first step but the stairs are made of wood and I don’t like the sound my toenails make when they clatter against them.  My Mum and Dad don’t mind about the stairs but my Boy would dearly love to have me up in his room and keeping him company. That’s where I’d be if it wasn’t for the stairs but as it is I have learned to sit at the bottom, look sad and wait patiently for the humans to come back down to me.

I don’t do chairs or sofas either.  I’m a dog and I like to keep at least two of my paws firmly on the floor and if I’m really tired I like to lie down on the carpet (oh carpet – after eighteen months of concrete floor  – I SO love carpet) and if I can put my snout or my paw onto the foot of one of my humans then all the better.  They are mine and they are tethered to me.

I don’t whine.  I don’t bark much either.  Now that  I have taken possession of  my humans and I’ve got used to my new home, I am proving my worth as a guard dog and I like to think that my basso profundo woof would put off the most enterprising intruder.  I am very pleased to meet visitors however – a bit too pleased as apparently not everyone likes having 30 kilos of happy dog in their face.  Why?  I particularly like to have a standing (or a sitting) hug with my paws on my human’s shoulders, grinning happily with my mega-tongue lolling inches from their face.  What’s not to like?  My Mum has told me that we’ll have to turn that down a bit for visitors though and she’d quite like it if I tried not to knock her over with my happiness.  No problem with my Dad and my Boy – they are taller and more steady on their feet.

The food here is good too; the Boy did research on his laptop thing and I have the best doggy food there is, no cheap tinned stuff or dried stuff full of fillers that gives you the runs and makes you windy (well – I am a bit but the humans just wrinkle their noses and turn this fan thing on for a few moments – a dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do).  I get treats too; lots of hugs and nice things said to me but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the treats.

The walks are the best though.  When I was at the RSPCA, my Boy and my Mum walked me up the road, through the woods and back by the field.  I got excited when I saw the kennels but more excited when they took me round for a second circuit and then once we’d got to know each other better, a third.  Now I’m home – well that is a totally different matter.  After my early morning bounce round the garden I wait patiently till my Dad gets up ; sometimes he has his breakfast first and sometimes he can see that I need to go out NOW!  We run.  He likes to run because it is good for his back and I just like to run.  He is still getting used to walking me because he’s never had a dog before but he says lots of nice things to me and doesn’t mind me sniffing for cats.  When my Mum walks me she doesn’t like me to pull so she slows down and stops until I get the message.  Our walks take a long time as a consequence and we don’t go very far.  My Boy is the master when we walk.  He is in control.

Nappy sacks (scented and biodegradable) are much better than pooh bags which have a nasty habit of tearing when you scoop da poop.

The car is cool.  It has big windows and now that my Dad understands that I like to put my nose out of the window, snort and drool horribly at the fresh air (baby wipes are good for drool removal) I am very  happy in the car, so happy that the windows steam up from my happy heavy breathing – zero visibility – good job we have air con.  My humans talked about putting me in a cage for car journeys but bought me a special harness instead.  I would prefer to be free to leap around in the back but I suppose the idea of being hit by a jet-propelled pooch if the car stops suddenly isn’t a very good idea.

My Mum and my Dad (the Boy was still in bed) took me for a long car drive to the seaside.  It was very windy and there were loads of other dogs (including one that was so small I though it was a cat and started to get excited, then it did a little woof and I relaxed).  My Dad and I ran, and ran and ran and ran until my Mum sat down on a bench in a huff.  We came back and my Dad and I gave her hugs as she explained that running was good but it was better when we turned round and ran back to her again.

What is this thing about day and night?  Apparently humans have to go to bed when it gets dark and that’s when I get put in my room.  If my Boy can’t sleep he comes back downstairs and lets me out for a while and we sit on the floor together and watch ‘Mythbusters’ and films about guns and war. We have good hugs when everyone else is asleep. This worried my Mum a bit but she did some research on HER laptop thing and discovered that us dogs are polyphasic – which is a difficult word but it means that we don’t have day and night in Dogworld – we just sleep when we feel tired and wake up again when we want food, walks and cuddles – and when the post man calls – Big Woofs.

Yesterday I took all three of my humans for a walk to a place called Spike Island – loads of sea and woods and old concrete buildings that looked as if you could have a good sniff and wee round them but my Boy said there was broken glass there and kept me away.  My Boy smiled a lot and my Mum and Dad held hands and looked happy too.

So, at the end of the first week, I think that we can agree that I’m here to stay.  These humans are shaping up quite nicely and what they lack in experience they make up for in enthusiasm and big hugs.

Adios or Ta Ra Chuck  – whichever you prefer.