Friends, collies and Amber,
Today marks the anniversary of the first day I met my new people and a week later I was at my new home. To be honest, the time has absolutely flown by and a review of all that has happened since then seems like a good idea. I am a very different dog now from the impish scamp that arrived a year ago, full of bravado and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Doggy) tendencies.
I now know that ADHD is only permissible in wide open spaces, with other like-minded canines. However, I still find myself getting into a bit of bother when I try and interest the old girl in a bit of a rough and tumble. She has to be treated with dignity and her great age respected. I have had to learn about this on my way up a very, very steep learning curve; my head hurts just thinking about it all.
Right from the beginning I settled in pretty well. I think having a good dinner, on arrival, helped the process and finding a comfy spot, to curl up in while having a bit of a nap, was also important.
Then, once we all worked out that I wasn’t sleeping in that crate thing, we all got a bit more shut eye. I have had to compromise – about getting up on the bed – with a luxury cushion, not having quite managed to persuade them of my rightful place. I get a shot at in first thing in the morning (& quite a bit earlier, when they have been doing that drinking thing, but please don’t let on).
So, here we are in 2016, with lots to look back on in the review of my year: 2015, in all its shame and glory – here goes…
1. Dinner time and treats
There is always food in this house but it’s a bit of a trade off and I’ve had to work out what my side of the deal is. I find that lying down in my cushion attracts a good return on investment. Also, taking a few steps back – from the thing I am about to pounce on – then sitting down and looking up cutely also seems to work wonders.
2. Walks, walks, walks
I’m always up for a walk and they come in 2 main types; forest walks and Wainwright walks.
Forest walks are where the old girl and me meet up with our best friend, Amber. Amber has taught me a lot about digging and jumping in very muddy pools, especially just after a luxurious, expensive pampering session. David and Amber’s person, Trevor, do a lot of that incomprehensible talking thing, especially at the end. We just have to hang around getting very bored. I’ve got to know lots of other people in our forest, some of whom are nicer that others (i.e. they have, or they don’t have, treats). The humans all have dogs – with various degrees of AHAD – who I run amock with.
Wainwright walking in the big, big mountains can be a bit overwhelming for a little fella like me and rather exhausting, because we are at it all day. The best bit is when we sit down for a bit of a snack and, once I’m nice and full, I have a bit of a snooze, before we get going again.
I have to be on a long lead during these walks because B says that – even though I’ve got better and try very hard – she can’t totally trust me with the woolly things. I’ve been on the top of lots of mountains with Helvellyn being the biggest one so far. I did it for the first time the day before my first birthday, on 12th June.
Actually (but don’t tell B), I find this a bit boring, repeating the same exercises every week. However, it yeilds a nice line in particularly yummy treats, that come thick and fast, so I suppose it’s a win, win situation. I think a nice bit of beef helps me to learn quickest, but I’m very partial to a bit of sausage or a hunk of mature cheedar. Anyway, I sailed through my good citizens bronze award and now I’m going for silver; I only hope B is up to learning all her bits, about how to look after me properly and make my life wonderful. Everyone there is my friend but we’re not allowed to give much expression to our ADHD traits, which can be a bit frustrating.
Hide and Seek
This is a brilliant game which makes everyone laugh a lot. B runs off to hide while David stops me chasing her, by enticing me with a treat. Then I hear a whistle go peep, peep, peep. That’s my signal to go rushing all over the show looking for B. I can always hunt her out, using my big nose and, when I do, there are always cuddles and more yummy treats – a bit of ham, or chicken goes down very nicely. I sometimes think I am being duped with this game because, sometimes the whistle goes when no one is hiding. I always come running though, knowing there is going to be something worthwhile at the end of it. In fact, now I come to think about it… no, I won’t go there, that makes my head hurt too much.
This is my very favourite thing ever and I would play forever if someone didn’t stop me. They have to do this my breathing gets very quick and I’m in danger of doing something called hyperventillating, whatever that is; it sounds a bit serious to me. The old girl comes running with me but she doesn’t stand a chance. Sometimes though, B throws the ball just for her. Then she hides it between her paws and teases me rotten. I have to plead to get my ball back, whcih is rather humiliating. When she turns her head around I grab it quick, before she can change her mind.
Oh boy, that was the scariest bit of my whole life. I really didn’t want to abandon the safety of the stones beneath my paws but, I wanted to get the toy soooo much and the old girl made it look so easy, just gliding out for it. I marked my very first birthday, on a glorious day in June, taking a leap of faith and just going for it. First of all it was in Angle Tarn, high in the Patterdale mountains, then – later in the day – I did it again, in the massive Hayswater.
Actually, I couldn’t tell you anymore if playing ball, or swimming, is my very favourite game. It’s so difficult to know.
Our first Christmas together brings my the first year of adventures, with my new family, to an end. David packed the car up like he usually does, but we ended up somewhere different this time. This was a bit scary, but quite exciting too. I knew everything was going to be OK when my bowl was the first thing out of the car and I tucked into a nice big dinner. Then, what a week it was. B was there all time with David, not just some of it, and we played more ball than I have ever played. We did lots of walking and I climbed a new mountain, called Coniston Old Man. I think I’ll call the old girl, ‘Helvellyn Old Girl’, after my first big mountain climb; that’s quite funny isn’t it. The best news was I got to go to the pub EVERY night, not just after extremely long walks. I think I have the hang of it now, which has a lot to do with supressing the ADHD tendancies. It wasn’t too difficult because we always sat right in front of the fire, which made me very sleepy. I also made friends with two humans called Richard and Claire; Claire thought I was adorable. What dog wouldn’t sit, stock still, looking lovingly up at someone who gives you such special treats. I can keep that up for a very long time as I know they always cave in eventually. Richard and Claire come with two very big standard poodles, Boots and Bingo. I wasn’t too sure about them because I couldn’t see their eyes, with all that curly fur falling over them. However, I kept my distance and we rubbed along OK. On second thoughts, perhaps my distance was kept for me. The best bit of Christmas, apart from the food – of course, was my three presents. I was very good at opening them, tearing the paper off and casting it aside to see what was inside, just like Toby used to do (I’m told). I got a red squeaky bone and a squeaky Santa. I had great fun with these until the room looked like it had a covering of snow. I was only allowed to play with my third toy for a little while. Apparently, it was Toby’s first toy and he played with it every Christmas for 11 years. The toy was a round white face, with very big tuggy ears. I would love to give those a really good going over and I bet there is a whole field of snow inside. Somehow, I don’t think that would go down very well.
Oh, my goodness. I’ve come over all funny and feel horribly ill. I’ve got to lie down and will have to tell you about my downers, appropriately enough, when I am feeling better.
Happy New Year.
Lots of love,