How Bob arrived.

A co-worker of my husband asked, “would you be interested in a 2 year old dog?”

The question caught him out, as he kindly asked what kind of dog. Fast forward to the weekend and we went to see this Norwegian Elkhound. Bob was bought for a lady in her eighties. But he was too big, too strong and heedless.

We arrived at the house in the country and were greeted by Bob, front paws on the top of the gate and hind ones planted firmly on the ground. He took one look at us and smiled. I think he was saying, gotcha!

He was correct. He had us from that goofy smile and ceaseless tail wagging.

He came home with us quietly. We stopped to buy leash, bowls, dog food etc. And then the trouble started. He decided he would be boss and eat everything in sight. Wellington boots, shoes or slippers weren’t good enough they were simply a starter. What he liked was the tough teeth crunching wooden posts, his kennel and finally his coupe de resistance, the electric gate leads.

As everyone knows he obviously survived the electricity but didn’t go back for seconds. The reason being the wires were encased in plastic casing then a metal casing. In fact everything we thought he might eat was encased, or locked away or hidden.

Luckily he mellowed as he settled down though he never lost that heedlessness making teaching him a very big challenge. In the end though I think he has been the teacher.img_0201

Take this idea I had for photos of him and Ellie.

I had everything set up then he decided he wasn’t in the mood for modelling.

On this occasion I didn’t give in.


It isn’t easy getting the bow in place, getting him to allow it to sit there was the big problem.



There is that look on his face again, wouldn’t you love to know what he was thinking?


Puddling about – an update from the canine pool

We did return for another session to the hydrotherapy pool and much to our surprise, Ellie wanted to go into the pool.

This time we had a surprise in store for her – a surf board.

Unfortunately we had so much fun we didn’t get to take photos, this time. We reckon it is an achievement to get a collie pushing off a board into the pool, but then again there were balls involved and we all know her love for tennis balls.ippipp

Bob’s Diary: A tough morning out in October.

Sunday Morning and we were brought on a walk! This meant a lot of hills, running and puffing. The first two applied to Ellie and the last bit to me. I find it tough going now, to walk up and down hills but there is always a benefit after exercising.

My sleep is full of dreams but I keep dreaming I am attached to Ellie. I wonder why?

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Maria’s Stuff: Training Days

We did something a little off the scheduled training plan yesterday. We took a bus, it was a first for Ellie

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

We had hidden an object on the bus. Five minutes later she had the sock and sat on the seat waiting to be driven somewhere.

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Getting back to work

We (Ellie and I) have been busy getting back to the serious job of working/training for S&R. There has been a lot of walking, obedience, river work, scent work  however,  it is not all work and no play as you can see from the photos

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

We were waiting a long time and

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

in the end we had to go in search of our missing companion.

Yes – he had gone home for a snooze.

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Maria’s Diary: Pictures of a helper who needed rescuing.

Ellie loves to work as everyone knows and Bob, well Bob is Bob and he loves to sit.

But Ellie’s last training session brought many tears, of laughter as our exercise almost ended with a helper floundering about in the water. When Ellie found him he was adrift in the river without a paddle on a sinking boat.  He was rescued. And as you can see the boat survived as did Ellie’s pal, Fred.




Bob’s Diary: Tips on training your owner.

I thought some tips would come in handy for every animal on how to help train your owner.


Perfect the – I am listening look – it will win you loads of hugs and praise









If your owner wants to play ball  – let him. There will always be more balls around or another dog to find them.

ellie playing 4


bob with pups












It is important you set some boundaries, and always teach them by example.

Exhausted after receiving award



circle the wagons















Maria’s Stuff: How we found Ellie a job.

Bob never needed a job, correction, Bob didn’t want a job.

Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product, Eleanor Roosevelt

Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product,
Eleanor Roosevelt

But Ellie was constantly moving, if there wasn’t a ball around she was up to mischief. She taught Bob how to open gates and doors. Before this he presumed that was our job, to let him get from A to B, when he huffed or barked, demanding it to be done.

Ellie looking at camera

Ellie’s relentless energy threatened to wear me out. If she got into the utility room nothing was safe. Her favorite game as a pup was to tumble the unwashed clothes from the basket , then carefully, one by one distribute them around the garden. As it is a large old garden this did annoy me but the neighbors enjoyed watching me retrieve, bra, socks etc from trees or shrubs. Or if she got into Pat’s shed she would rearrange what ever she managed to reach from the nearest shelves and hide them around the place.

I began researching ways to wear Ellie out.

I took her to agility lessons. She loved the whole buzz about the place.

We brought Bob and he enjoyed the attention and the endless treats that were bestowed on him by his new friends while he watched her work.

To get to the center was a 45 minute car journey and it didn’t tire her out, but it did me. Bob was the added factor, he was gaining fans and weight. So I stopped the driving bought a tunnel, we made a see saw, and we use buckets and garden canes as jumps. It is not Crufts but it works.

ellie playing 4

I knew she wouldn’t make it as a service dog but I began to wonder about her ability to find her beloved ball. No matter where I hid it, she would find it and quickly. I moved up a gear and began to hide, socks and gloves about the garden. She still worked tirelessly and efficiently at finding the articles. While listening to the news one day I heard of a young woman who was missing. I remembered a friend of mine who was distressed for many years when a cousin of hers walked away from the house.

This and Ellie’s love for finding things is how we came to work with her as a search and rescue dog. She and I train everyday in some small way, but go out on searches (pretend ones) once or twice a week. It is a job she loves doing. The minute that harness is strapped on her she changes from being a crazy ball driven animal to a dog who has a serious job to do.

Bob seems to enjoy her absences as he is spoiled by everyone. Especially Louise who comes and takes him for a stroll if she knows he will be home alone. Mostly he does what Bob does best absorbs the beauty of the day and sleeps his time away.