Different Dogs, Different Attitudes.

Ok, what are we going to do next?
Go away, see you tomorrow.
I had breakfast, leave me just for another five minutes.

Positives in our lives.

It should be a rough day. In a way it is. Between Covid 19, being house bound and my Dad’s first anniversary, all in all there is a lot of downward pushing thoughts but… he was a positive man and would come back to haunt me if I was negative.

Here is my list of #positivevibes

  1. I have noticed the influx of birds into the garden, reminding me that Nature is fighting back and so will we.
  2. We (Matthews Family) are closer than ever.
  3. We remain healthy
  4. We are happy
  5. Our neighbours and friends and those in our community have taken the message to heart; stay at home to protect the vulnerable and those in your community.
  6. I am fitter, but sore all over, due to having two personal trainers (& crossfitters) living with us.
  7. I am sitting in a warm house surrounded by four dogs.
  8. Though we don’t get to see our granddaughter at this time, she gets to be with her mum and dad all day, everyday. And we can still talk to them via social media etc.
  9. Neighbors stopping, (a distance away) to talk and chat.#positivenews being exchanged.
  10. In the past week I have noticed families out walking or cycling, until now a rare event.

I really hope that everyone who reads this is looking to the positive small things about us as we all work our way through this. I wake every day knowing that with the passage of time we are getting closer to living a world without this threat.

I would love to hear all of the positive vibes you are feeling at the moment.

Illustration courtesy of Sara Ryan

Hello –

It is a strange world and that is a fact.

One question for everyone, have you noticed, when you escape the confines of your four walls for a walk, how eager those who pass (some 8 feet from) you are to say “Hello”? This time last year I purposly said, hello to everyone I passed on a mile walk around the village. I received two hello’s from the many groups of mothers and children who were on their way to the school.

Have you noticed any other positive indications that we might be learning how to interact in a new and better way?

And more importantly, how are you coping? Any hints or tips on how to stop watching a screen from sun up to sundown?

A new helper in the garden. Belle is visiting for a few months and loves company. Her idea of helping is..sitting.

Distractions

We, like many other households, have had our daily lives upturned. So, in order to distract myself, I turned to the garden which has not had much tlc in the last few years.

As you can see from these pictures it will take some time but hopefully over the coming months it will be transformed. Luckily Kelly, Niall and Pat wondered where I was and when they discovered what I was doing, they gave a helping hand.

Pat and Kelly took pity on me and joined in with the digging.
It looks a mess but we will get there.
These three were no help at all!

Dog training and walking lucky for me can be a solitary task, so we continue to work where there is no one around us.

I hope everyone else is finding ways to stay healthy in mind and body. I would love to hear how you are all coping.

Introducing the team

I cannot forget him, but, this is a post linked to a new blog that is more concerned about the working dogs I have the pleasure to work with. They teach me all the stuff that Bob believed to be unimportant, that is everything to do with working dogs. Bob’s work was relaxing.

Working With Search Dogs

This blog can not be anything without these friendly faces. So before I go into a long winded post as to how we met perhaps it would be best to simply show and state the little I know about them. I say little because they constantly learn and develop and in the process drag me along with them.

Ellie, seasoned search dog whose mission in life seems to be to accumulate as many tennis balls as she can.

Ellie the eldest is the most experienced and vocal. She and I have been on many adventures together.

Judy will always find the scent and sometimes if I am not looking the container is also located.

dav

Judy, is a labrador with a heart of gold, she lives to work and constantly wants to please those around her. She is as happy in the water as she is out of it.

And…

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Dogs who love to work

Everyone who knew Sir Bob knew his idea of a workday was: breakfast followed by a nap, followed by a slow walk, lunch, nap while watching Ellie or Cooper work and then dinner. His border collie pal and the labradors were, are and always will live to work.

So when I attempt to slow one of these three down, it is unpredictable. On Wednesday after working Cooper, I took him for a cross country walk. He just doesn’t do walking, but eventually, he stopped to take a breath.IMG_20200122_111624_922

Naughty or Nice?

Constance Claus or Mrs C as some call her was pleased, everything was running smoothly in the run-up to Christmas Eve. She had a long list. It was so long it rolled behind her, around the workshop, out the door and into the main square where Summer, her perfectly white cat was using it as a bed.

The elves were working at a frenzied pace due to a bet that Noel would beat the record for putting wheels on bikes in a single day. He was on hour number 8 of 12 and it was showing. His beard was a damp sponge as sweat flowed from his forehead. Constance stopped to watch him and was pleased to notice that the kindly younger elves had equipped Noel with a cold drink which sat on his hat , the long straw flowed from the bottle straight to Noel’s mouth.

Happy they were looking out for each other Constance looked back at her list,

“Check the Reindeer have passed their fitness test.” She smiled at the line underneath – and your husband as well.” She frowned. It was a long time since she saw him, breakfast to be exact.

Standing on the nearest empty chair, Constance gave a piercing whistle. Everyone except Noel stopped working to look at her. “Has anyone seen Santa?” When she was met with silence, Constance felt a moment of worry then she brushed it to one side.

The elves shuffled in a group to stand before her. “He never leaves the workshops, he is bound to be here, somewhere, we will go find him for you.”

“And I will go and check on lunch for you,” she smiled as she left to check the kitchen hoping he was sitting having a giant slice of gingerbread and some milk.

However, the kitchen was empty, ten minutes later the elves began to report in:

he is not in the bedroom, he is not in the reindeer house, he is not in summers house, he is not in the workshop on any of the floors or in any of the cupboards.

They fell silent. “Oh no, we have lost Santa, ” the elves were rushing about in circles, panicking. “Broken Candy canes! We have lost Santa,”

One tiny elve piped up, “perhaps he has gone away for a holiday.”

“Don’t be stupid Dilly, he never goes on holiday. He is the holiday.” The others answered.

Dilly responded by crying loudly.

“How will we find a lost Santa, we can’t tell anyone.” Constance stared at the ceiling then lowered her eyes at the sound of someone munching on a cookie.  “Bob can find him!” She said then wondered aloud, “Where and how did you get those sugar-coated cookies?”

Santa’s four-legged friend looked around the room,then he tried to hide behind the tiniest elf in the room.  It didn’t work, neither did his reindeer costume. reindeer 6

I am not a sniffer dog – I am a reindeer.

There was a loud official knock on the kitchen door. Everyone including the cookie munching Bob turned to see who was doing this when no one ever knocked on doors in Santa’s home.

Taking a deep breath Constance stepped forward and slowly opened the door.  It was George, the giant elf who everyone almost, nearly but not quite forgot about each year as his job was to protect the boundaries of Santa’s home.

“We have a situation, Mrs Claus.” His voice was deep and officious. He appeared to look happy, something which never happened and was deeply troubling every other elf in the room.

“A..a.. situation. How what and where? We never have a situation beyond the threat of running out of time to get the job done.’

“Well, perhaps you should follow me.”

“Why?” Constance was puzzled. This was a first for her just like hearing George speak in such a serious tone.

“I need help as it is a little bit delicate and he is moving too fast.”

“Who?” Constance was getting tired of this. “Just tell me straight.” She and the elves walked outside after George.

His answer was to point upwards.   Everyone stared high into the sky.  There he was, but he was not sitting in his sleigh practising his driving skills nor taking care of the fluffy white clouds or the birds who were flapping and diving out of his way.

No, he was sitting on Rudolph and they were racing about the sky, doing loops and summersaults, diving towards the ground sending snow flying from treetops along with hundreds of birds who had been enjoying a mid-day nap until they were rudely awoken by the racing, giggling Santa. Then in a sizzling flash they sliced and diced the clouds up into tiny marshmallows, Santa grabbing chunks and throwing them to the elves below who were enjoying the show, clapping and laughing.

“This is not funny,” Constance told everyone. Hands-on her hips she wondered just how much sugar Santa had consumed to get him in this state then forgot it as the elves asked,

“We need to get him down but how will we do it?”

“I could write him a speeding ticket or careless driving ticket or an over the sugar limit ticket.” George was bouncing on his toes with excitement. He never got to arrest anyone, imagine being the one who arrested Santa!

Constance’s words knocked the smile off his face. “I know the one person he will listen to and he will be down in an instant.”

George looked depressed. His claim to fame was being squashed.

Pulling her phone from her pocket she dialled a number. The elves were laying bets on who it was Constance was ringing. “Some real police. – No the FBI – No. His dentist he is terrified of him.”

Someone even better Constance said, as she approached Dasher. Leaping nimbly on to his back she took to the sky. Constance and Dasher did not race about like Santa, they flew to a large cloud and waited for him to come to them. Words were exchanged, the elves saw Constance lean towards her husband with her phone in her hand and five seconds later he was on the ground. Constance and Dasher joined Rudolph and Santa then turned to the astonished elves.

Constance slid from Dasher and stood to smooth out her skirt fully aware that every elf was dying to ask her who she rang. She took her time and tried not to smile as Santa marched off muttering and grumbling about wives not allowing husbands to have any fun at all.

Finally, when she was ready she said, “His mum!”

 

 

Thinking outside of the box

Ellie has been working as a search and recovery dog for over 61/2 years and we have learnt a lot.  The top tip we can give anyone is: training is never simple or confined, in other words always be prepared to think outside of the box.

head in bucket

What Box? This is a bucket.

Does anyone know how to build an ark?

It is cold, it is very wet. So wet in fact I am contemplating building an ark. But Ellie, Judy and Cooper are not bothered all they want to do is run and play, or train.

As I pull another pair of leaking wellington boots off my soggy feet, I wonder how did I get into this? Then I look at her sparkling eyes and realise – it is all your fault. But, we do have fun even on the wettest coldest days.