This is DD1 and our second rescue dog, who she has taken on the task of training.
He was an Irish street dog and was rescued from a pound when his seven days were up. A very lovely rescue called Heathlands Animal Sanctuary brought him to the UK and fostered him for three months before we met him and took him home.
He’s a good old fashioned mutt. DNA tests have shown he’s got a labrador grandparent, and a husky grandparent, and the rest is a real mix. But he’s very keen to learn and is a good partner for DD1 in both dog training and agility classes.
Here they are practicing the ‘Watch Me’ command, where he is supposed to be looking at his owner and ignoring what’s going on around him. You can see the concentration on his face as he waits to be told what to do next.
He’s not perfect, and is partial to stealing food and disappearing after interesting smells when in the woods, but he’s a loved member of our family now and the thought that he was so close to being killed because no one wanted him makes me very sad.
We all have to make the most of the nice weather while it lasts.
We’ve just had the last week of our summer break and the weather has been lovely. After our washout of a summer holiday in Ireland, we had to make the most of it so got out and about as much as possible.
One of the places we visited was Knebworth House. We’d never been there before despite it only being 40ish minutes from home. It could do with a lick of paint but though it was a bit young for the 14 and 13 year olds, the 8 and 10 year olds had a great time on the slides and adventure playgrounds. Be aware there are some height restrictions on the slides, but DS is the shortest of us at 133cm and he could go on everything.
We got an icecream, which was reasonably priced and the younger two got a bit wet playing under the water feature, but dried off pretty quickly afterwards.
Then we drove up to the house and gardens (observing the 10mph speed limit so the kids could hatch a couple of Pokemon eggs) and had a stroll around the gardens and maze. DS liked the dinosaurs, DD3 liked climbing the hills and rolling down and the teens tore themselves away from their phones long enough to appreciate beauty of the house itself.
So, in short, it’s a nice place to visit especially if your kids are 10 and under. There seemed to be plenty of things for under 8s to do as well.
There weren’t too many wasps, I didn’t feel like we had been ripped off by the entry price and it was much more fun than school shoe shopping.
We’ve been on holiday in Ireland for two weeks now and can confirm that the weather is shite.
There is so much to do, and such beautiful scenery, but you will probably need to be wearing wet weather gear with a fleece underneath to enjoy it.
The flipside to this is that you never take it for granted when the sun does come out.
On our third day in Dingle, it stopped raining for a bit so we decided to drive up to the top of the Conor Pass.
I had been a bit put off by some of the trip advisor comments; one in particular described ‘semi perilous’ drivng conditions with narrow roads, rock faces and steep drops.
But the lady who lived next to our holiday cottage said the road was two lanes all the way to the top from the Dingle side. And there was a view point at the top where we could turn around if we didn’t feel up to coming down the other side.
The view from the top was stunning, and I could see how the road worked on the way to Tralee, so decided to have a go at the other side. It was fine, you just had to keep an eye on what was coming towards you and stop somewhere where they could pass before they reached you.
There are a number of places that can only accommodate one car, so you do have to be prepared to back up if necessary. But the drops aren’t sheer, there are stone walls between you and certain death.
To be honest, if you are used to driving in London, you’ll be fine!
And it was definitely worth it, as once we got over the pass we found our way to Fermoyle Strand, one of the most beautiful (and emptiest) beaches we’ve ever been on.
Last Thursday was my birthday. It was also the first day of the school holidays for us. This was not a good combination as the kids were overexcited and over tired and DH didn’t get home until almost 9pm as the Metropolitan line fell over.
I has to wait the entire day for my presents. Three of the kids took gifts DH had bought and wrapped, and claimed them for their own to give to me.
But DD2 is 13 and used her own pocket money to buy me this cup from the local shops.
I have to point out that I turned 46 on Thursday, so was NOT born in 1995, but apparently ‘It was the oldest one they had’.
This makes me feel very old indeed.
Happy Birthday to me!
One of the advantages of getting a new car is that we can now sneak up on our cats.
They used to recognise the old one, and when it pulled up they would be sitting on the path, crying and waiting for us to get out. If we didn’t get out quickly, they would walk onto the road which is not the best idea if you are a feline.
But now, they ignore the new one, and seem surprised when we get out of it.
This is our ginger cat on the roof when we came home the other night. He seemed quite comfortable up there, and watched us go into the house, but joined us with a frog in his mouth 10 minutes later…
The girls had a petting zoo come to their guides group last week. I was on the rota as parent helper, so had to take the two smaller ones with me- what a shame.
They had a ball and DD3 loved the little bantams. She spent quite a lot of time hypnotising them and placing them in various places.
Then she had the idea of putting them on the donkey’s back and giving them a ride.
Luckily neither the chooks nor the donkey minded.
My youngest daughter has always wanted a pet bird but neither DH or I like the thought of a bird stuck in a cage for 10+ years. Plus, we have cats.
On Monday there was a post on a local parents’ page saying someone had found a budgie, had anyone lost one? And if not, could anyone take it and look after it as person who found it was asthmatic. I waited a bit to see if anyone more suitable replied, but after a couple of hours dropped the finder a PM. He replied quite quickly and told me that the bird was being kept in a plastic box. It was quite safe and well, but obviously needed more suitable accommodation.
All we could offer was a smallish hamster cage with perches made from apple tree twigs but it would do until the bird’s owner was found. The kids were ecstatic and have named him/her Charlie. The cats were also over the moon and had to be persuaded ( with a water bottle) that Charlie was not some sort of environmental enrichment activity for them.
Charlie has been with us almost a week and I’ve registered him/her on a load of lost bird/pet sites. I’ve had one reply from a lady who lost a blue budgie a week previously. She lost her bird about 6 miles away so it’s certainly not too far away, but hers was a mature male, while Charlie is probably 5-9 months old and most likely a female. So from now on I’m going to refer to him/her as ‘her’.
I think Charlie most likely comes from an aviary or pet shop. She is not scared of humans or cats or dogs but isn’t hand tame. I’ve had to hold Charlie a couple of times to move her and I haven’t been bitten. And budgies can bite quite badly if they put their mind to it!
So for now, we have a bird. DD3 is very pleased, I like having the little chirper in the house and even DH has just ordered a new cage for her so it seems that Charlie has her little feet firmly under the table.
We have two rescue dogs and we do agility with both of them. Actually, when I say ‘We’, I really mean DD1 and DD3.
DD1 has taken on the training of our newest dog and I used to train our older dog myself but I’m too slow for him. So DD3, who is 10, has taken him over and she is doing a brilliant job.
She’s been running him for about a year now and they are probably almost ready to start competing. It’s been a steep learning curve for her and she found it hard at first taking directions from the lady who takes the classes.
She’s had to learn how to use her body language to give her dog the signals he needs to know what’s coming next.
She’s had to learn to think about the dog’s point of view.
And the rules involved in tackling different bits of equipment.
Most importantly, she’s had to learn to cope with making mistakes and disappointment in a way that keeps her dog’s tail wagging.
I think agility is a brilliant sport if you have a dog of any shape or size.
It’s loads of fun for dogs and owners, even if you end up relegated to the sidelines and function as a mobile hitching post. watching your daughters do all the work!