Death by scan-gulation!

Pic Sheila Gower

Today I am feeling quite worried and may need a bit of reassurance. Sue asked me if I fancied helping out at a local animal charity stand at the Cumberland Show. She said I would be getting lots of fuss and attention and would be fed lots of treats so she sold the idea on me. I had a feeling there was a catch by the strange gleam in her eye but I am a sucker for food so off we went. What she failed to tell me was that I was going to be a stooge dog for the children and adults to practice their skills at scanning a dog for a microchip. So I ended up with about 100 people scanning me all over to find my microchip, and very ticklish it was too! Now here is my worry – are those things toxic? I mean, have I been zapped with gamma rays or something? I keep checking the mirror to see if my fur is falling out. Oh dear, I have gone all faint, I think I need to go and lie down again.

Happy birthday, Lotty

img_7689Happy 14th birthday to my dearest companion  Lotty.  She wears the trousers in this relationship but I don’t mind. We share lots of fun experiences together and are great friends. We are sometimes partners in crime when it comes to ambushing people having a picnic on the fells! CLICK HERE to see video of me and Lotty playing on her birthday!

Teachers pet!

Earlier this week Sue had a long chat with me. She said we were going to a place called ‘school’ where she was going to talk to some children about the importance of being kind to animals. She told me if I was very good, I would be allowed into the school to meet the children. (I found out later that she told the children if they were very good, they would be able to meet me!) She went ahead into the school to talk about things like grooming, training, poo bags (yuk!!) and all sorts of things about what a pet needs to make it happy and healthy. Finally my time came and I met the children. One little girl said that she would stand at the back of the class cos she was afraid of me but she soon saw what fun her friends were having stroking me, and she came over to say hello too. Unfortunately, I did choose that very day to start my summer moult so there were a lot of hairy school uniforms by the time we finished! The children enjoyed our visit so much that they sent me and Sue a card with their drawings on, to thank us for visiting them.

Why trailhounds dont have handbags!

Today Lotty and I went for a run at Golden Valley Common on the Malvern Hills. I met up with my best friends, Ben, Cassie and Jenny. I got so excited when Ben’s mum got out of her car that I leapt up at her, managed to loop my leg and head round her handbag then went racing off around the (extremely wet, muddy, puddle filled) common, with her handbag in tow. By the time I stopped, her lovely blue bag was plastered in brown gooey mud. Sorry, Auntie Laraine!

My 1st agility competition – I’m afraid I tore up the rule book!

Today I went to Scotland to take part in my first ever agility competition. It was really exciting with nearly 100 dogs competing. I knew it was very important to remember everything I was taught in training. In my first 2 classes I …….well……. forgot pretty much everything I was taught in training! Ignoring Sue’s instructions in my excitement, I raced around randomly jumping whatever I felt like, I squeezed through a gap in the fence and ran over to say hello to a cute little bichon frise, I decided to introduce myself to the judge by leaping up and planting my front paws on his chest nearly knocking him over, I loved the tunnel so much that I ran through it twice, I clambered all over 2 stewards who were sitting on chairs in the ring. Finally, realising that Lotty wasnt there to watch my debut (or debacle as Sue later called it) I shot off though the car park to fetch her out of our car. When I practice agility, Sue has a number of hand signals and verbal instructions to help me. Today she seemed to be doing a new one that I hadn’t seen before. It consisted of her holding her hands over her eyes and groaning the words “Oh no oh no oh no”! At the end of the 2 rounds I had scored a total of 95 points which I thought was quite impressive till a haughty collie explained that they were penalty points! I even overheard one collie say to another, “What do you expect from a silly hound dog?” That really spurred me on to try harder in the next 2 rounds (the fact that Sue asked the judge for permission to carry a piece of sausage in her hand may have been a deciding factor too, of course!) Class 3 was definately better but my crowning moment was Class 4. Apart from one jump that I knocked over, I did a perfect round, even doing the weaves and seesaw properly. Out of 22 dogs in my class I came 5th and won a rosette!! Hmmmmmm, think I may have a go at sheep dog trials next – that would really be one in the eye for the collie brigade!! Click picture to enlarge

Agility, my new hobby – bring it on, collies!!

I race around the course at Crufts as fast as I can, listening out for Sue yelling instructions to me and pointing the way for me to go. I am the last to go and the time to beat is 49.7 seconds, set by a world class border collie. Sue yells TUNNEL and I fly through the tunnel, barely touching the sides. When still in the tunnel Sue shouts RIGHT GO so I turn right on exit then leap over the jump in front of me. Sue screeches GO GO and I clear the next 2 jumps then hear her scream WEAVE WEAVE WEAVE as I bash my way through the poles. Almost at the end now, Sue calls SEESAW and adds a quieter STEADY just to remind me to slow down and make the contact. Then its GO GO GO over the final 3 jumps. The crowd leap to their feet, clapping and cheering. I leap all over Sue who is crying with emotion. She says ” We did it, Woody my boy, we beat the best”.  Then I hear her say “Woody….Woody, wake up. You’re twitching in your sleep”. I open my eyes and find myself at home on my bed. Ah well, my agility stardom was just a lovely dream! I have been going to agility classes for quite a few months now. OK lets be realistic, I am never going to compete at Crufts, probably I am never going to compete anywhere but it is lots of fun. At first I couldnt even go through the poles with them 2 feet apart but now I am improving all the time as you can see from my video on youtube HERE. I think I am getting the hang of it, and as long as Sue carries a piece of sausage in her hand to give me at the end, I’ll keep doing it!!

Never mind Ho Ho Ho – I’m cold and want to go home!

Tis the season to be jolly….. well, not if you are a trailhound named Woody, it isnt! I think I went well and above the call of duty on Saturday – I spent the day helping on a promotional stall at Keswick Market. It was very cold and frosty, and I wouldnt have minded except Lotty was wrapped up in a duvet all day with 2 heat pads! Why wasnt I allowed one of them? Ah yes, I forgot – the last time I had one, I put some extremely big tooth marks in it so I cant be trusted. Sunday was much better – we had a run in the snow up above Rydal Water. Here is a picture of my party hat – I think something isnt quite right about it but am not sure why! Lotty and I would like to wish you all a very happy christmas.

Click on picture to enlarge

Me and Fell are in the doghouse!

I’m in the doghouse….again! This time I blame my foster brother Fell. Sue took me, Lotty and Fell up to Easdale Tarn for a walk. (Click pictures to enlarge). We had a great time and I think when the family having a picnic told me to ‘B***er off’ it roughly translated as ‘Thanks for putting muddy paw prints all over our sandwiches and the slobber will definately add to the flavour’. We headed back down to Grasmere lakeside and, taking no chances with the numerous sandwich boxes on display, Sue put me and Fell on a lead. At the time, Fell was telling me about the sport of dog sledding and we decided to have a go there and then. I dont think we appreciated the importance of Sue needing to be on a sled when we started pulling! We have no video of the event but I think it must have looked something like THIS VIDEO ON YOUTUBE When Sue got up and dusted herself off, she was very cross with us! Apparently she had a big hole in her gore-tex waterproof trousers, a big hole in her best walking trousers and a big hole in her knee. (I have no idea what gore-tex means but apparently the cost of a new pair is going to come out of my pawket money for the next year, which has amused Lotty greatly!) Next week, Fell is off to his new home so wont be around to get me into any more trouble……. except when he comes to visit for his holidays, heh heh!

Grasmere Sports – the ambassadog halo slips!

Today we had a plan. Sue’s friends, Tina and Nigel, were staying with us for a holiday with their trailies, Jack, Dan and Sam. The plan was for us all to go to Grasmere Sports as trailie ambassadogs and let the tourists see what wonderful pets we had become since retiring from racing. The day started well, we all behaved impeccably, letting people stroke us and standing calmly while people asked questions about us.  Then the first hound trail started…… when we heard the hounds set off, the excitement got to us and we began twisting, turning, pulling, howling, yowling, wrapping leads round legs and generally causing mayhem. Even Lotty (usually Little Miss Perfect) got caught up in the excitement and howled her head off!  Not to be deterred, we were then entered into the fun dog show. Jack decided that the judge was the scariest thing he had ever seen and he tanked off with Nigel on the other end of the lead. Nigel ran as fast as he could but finally did a spectacular belly flop on the ground. Next up was Dan with Tina – Sam was so upset that Tina had left him that he started howling and leaping about like a whirling dervish. When it was my turn to see the judge I knew that my title of trailie ambassadog was at stake – well, what can I say? I was placed 4th in a class of 39 so I think I redeemed myself and saved the day!  Click pictures to enlarge

My mate Ben comes for his holidays

My mate Ben from Worcester is staying with us for 2 weeks. Ben is a year older than me  and we get along just fine. Even Lotty likes him so he must have good karma cos she can be a bit waspy with some dogs invading her space. She has even shared a bed with him (watch it, dude, she is my girlfriend, after all).

Today we went for a hike up Sale Fell, it was really hot and we were all cooked. Sue wanted to get a photo of us all overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake so she lined us up, pointed the camera then…. started doing a weird sort of dance, jumping about and hitting herself on the head, legs and arms. Ben looked at me quizzically, ‘Does she usually do this?’ says Ben. ‘No’ say I. Sue then starts shouting something like ‘Arrrggghhhgerroffbloomingflying ants’. Anyway, between hitting herself and leaping about she takes a quick photo then we head back down off the fells and head for home. Click on picture to enlarge. Me, Lotty and Ben on youtube HERE