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vendredi 17 novembre 2017

CAN CATS AND DOGS GET ALONG ?






Is it true that cats and dogs are harwired to hate each other, or is it just popular belief ?

Well, it seems my two dogs are quite conventional, and have decided to stick to stereotypes, each in his own way.

Canaille, the English Springer Spaniel, is anything but a risk-taker, and the smallest insect flying too close to him throws him onto Sugardaddy's lap for protection. So, whenever I take him out for a walk, if we bump into straycats, he stops dead, as if rooted to the ground, and looks at me with ' Nope, not going there! ' eyes.

The long-whiskered mewing creatures must have gossiped about the local scaredy-cat Springer, cause every morning the neighbour's tabby cat comes to play silly antics behind our kitchen glass door.


No need to say that those morning performances drive Canaille nuts, and telling him that Leon is a dog-friendly cat doesn't calm him down.
Why ? Maybe because the only difference between Leon and Lion is just a single vowel ...Who knows ?

With Ulysse, the Coton de Tuléar, that's another story. 
That cute little dog is anything but a coward, and whatever the size of his four-legged fellows, he never fails to rule the roost.
Since he was born, he has led a blood feud against cats!
He is an aboslutely fabulous runner, and he must have beaten the Sprint World Record dozens of times.


Fortunately he is a poor tree-climber. So, no teeth and claws duels, just barks and hisses concerts.

But that buoyant and clownish little guy has more than one trick up his sleeve, and when fighting like cats and dogs is out of question, he knows how to challenge them...

Last time I visited an old neighbour of mine, who shares her cottage with Juju, a beautiful but a bit grumpy tomcat, first Ulysse behaved very smartly, and didn't lunge at Juju, who was lying on the sofa.
Of course, he gave it an old college try to command respect, but in spite of his warning growls, Juju didn't move an inch. Instead, she yawned, stretched just enough to show her claws, and then curled up again on her cushion.


After all, an Englishman's home is his castle, isn't it ?


Ulysse , who had expected a kind of eyeball-to-eyeball encounter, didn't know where to stand. He had to react quickly, cause otherwise he would be tarred with the same brush as Wimpy Canaille! What a shame! He was like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Then ,suddenly, before I could realize , he had rushed to the cat's bowl, swallowed down her dry food, and drunk down her water in one go.
Then he licked his chops and looked at Juju as if saying , " You see, there's more than one way to skin a cat! ".



Boy, my "Mr Three-Teeth-Left "    who couldn't munch kibbles,and kept turning up his nose at his bowl, had sacrificed his so-called delicate stomach for his cat-chasing reputation!
Cheeky Ulysse's good education to start from scratch again (sorry, no pun intended).

Of course, I apologized, and the day after I offered a nice scratch post to Juju on behalf of Ulysse.



Now I hope their next dog-cat introduction will get along swimmingly...
In the meantime, all your tips and tricks to turn Ulysse into a cat-friendly dog are welcomed.




mardi 7 novembre 2017

DO DOGS MIMIC THEIR OWNERS ?








Today a feel-good story!

I have read on the Net that dogs mimic their owners.
Well, our two dogs are just like chalk and cheese : Ulysse is a kind of easy-going boy, and usually toes the rule, whereas Canaille's silly antics often drive him across the red line. Then, better not try to find out who mimics Dearhubby, and who mimics me...

Anyway, those two guys are eager and hard-working students, and there is no way to quench their thirst for knowledge.




As soon as we step into the kitchen, they immediately paw in, too, ready to learn how to open the fridge or the treats drawer.



When running a bath, quite sure to come across two pairs of eyes saying , " We know how to jump into that huge puddle, but could you show us how not to flood the whole bathroom ? ".



Lacing up our shoes usually triggers a woofing rumpus, cause of their tremendous efforts to do the same loops with their leashes.
When it comes to imitating us in the garden, they don't live yet up to their expectations ( and not to ours, either), and still confuse planting and digging (even though they give it the old college try...).



But, whatever their daily imitation performances, I think Ulysse and Canaille will never make me laugh as much as Indy, a she-Springer, who shared our lives for too few years.





My son had adopted her from a shelter in the South-West of France, but at the time he was working in a restaurant, and always on a tight schedule, so we decided to dogsit Indy ...furever!

When we homed her, the poor girl was just skin and bones, and her frightened eyes let us figure out the rough patches she had gone through, before my son rescued her.

She was so shy that when we were sitting on the sofa, watching TV, she used to curl up in a very small corner of the room, as if she thought she was an intruder. 
Quite sure that that sweetheart had had her fair share of rebukes.

So, one day, to make her feel at ease, Dearhubby decided to sit on the floor near her.That was a way to show her that all humans were not tough and heartless, and that now she could enjoy a carefree life.

As soon as he sat down close to her, she looked up at him shyly and quite puzzled, then slowly stood up, tippawed to the sofa where I was sitting, and after a last flabbergasted gaze at Dearhubby, she climbed onto the sofa, looked at me, uttered a deep sigh and went to sleep!

That was a living proof that dogs mimic their owners, wasn't it ?

Good bye, dear reader, and remember : behave yourself, just in case a dog should be watching you!






And don't forget : BE PERKY!



vendredi 3 novembre 2017

TWO DOGS UNDER THE SAME ROOF : TWO DIFFERENT WAYS OF LIFE






Hi everybody,


If you browse through my blog, you'll be soon surrounded by wet noses, wagging tails,and cheerful woofs, so no use hiding it : I am a genuine dogaholic.




Overcoming my addiction and going to rehab ? 
Well, there are plenty of Dogaholics Anonymous meetings around here, and I've already attended quite a few, at the vet, at the groomer, at the local shelter, and you know what ?
I've come back home with more pawesome stories to share with Dearhubby, who suffers from dogaholism, too!

You see, actually I think that I don't feel like being cured, cause of the tremendous amount of love and fun my dogs bring into my life.

Come on, don't get me wrong! Having a dog is not just treats and cuddles. If you want to laugh at your pooches' silly antics furever, first thing is to keep them healthy.

My two dogs, Canaille, the English Springer Spaniel, and Uysse, the Coton de Tuléar, are just like chalk and cheese, so everyday cares turn either into some kind of chilling out, or some kind of workout. Different dogs, different strokes, and when you know those two breeds, not hard to guess who takes it easy, and who fools around...






Feeding Ulysse reminds me twice a day that I am a poor cook, cause, more often than not, he turns up his nose at my lovingly-prepared meals.
Yes,lovingly-prepared, and that's putting it mildly.
Actually, Ulysse is not a picky eater, but if I tell you that we nickname him " Sir Three Teeth Left ", you'll figure out easily my " kitchen nightmares ".

Easy-peasy with Canaille who is an eager eater, and swallows down whatever is in his bowl or drops from the chopping-board. That's how a while ago, he gulped down a clove of garlic, and then stared at me, as if saying " Hey naughty you, how can I find a girlfriend with such a smelly breath ? ".

When it comes to daily grooming, Ulysse is the perfect customer and the perfect tipper. A few licks on my hand to show he is satisfied with his fluffy cottony coat hairstyle. Fortunately my comb has more teeth than him, cause his hair gets matted in a wink, and frolicking in the dead leaves turns him into a worn-out mop!





Quite another story with Canaille, who is not a risk-taker, and has two great enemies at home : the roaring vacuum-cleaning monster, and the brushing " hedgehog ".
As soon as I take the brush out, he runs around the room like crazy, jumping and barking at it. The only trick I have found to help him make up with the brush, is to put the treats jar close to me. Then, I can deal with my panting and drooling customer.




Walking time is my favourite part of their daily cares. In Brittany there are plenty of country lanes where they can go off leash and sniff the latest news from " the Wild West ", and where I can meet ...other dogaholics!

Anyway, even if I master all that quite well, it doesn't make me the packleader...
Canaille is an English Springer Spaniel, which means a first-rate cuddle maker, a speedy ballboy, a heart-melting beggar, but a " let me have it my own crazy way " guy from time to time...
Ulysse, the Coton de Tuléar " was my mother-in-law's, and he came to our place when she died. I guess she brought up her boy pretty well, cause he toes the line. Did she bring up Dearhubby in the same way ?
Hnmm! ...Come on, I'm kidding, two dogaholics never criticize each other!

Now that I've told you everything about my dogs' daily routine, a special note for my regular readers and the new comers.

Any resemblance to reality is not pure coincidence, but just the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, from the early posts to the latest ones.

                                               Pawesomely yours.

                                         
                              

vendredi 27 octobre 2017

MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY TO DOGSIT













Before getting my own dogs, I used to dogsit a lot, and let me tell you that it is no fun.
Come on, I'm kidding! I mean it's no fun when it comes to giving dogs back to their owners. 
I remember being on the verge of tears when saying good-bye to the doggy I had homed and already bonded with.
When it was a friend's dog, I always respected the deadline to give it back (a friend in need is a friend indeed), but when it was my daughter's, I often tended to procrastinate,... nudge, nudge, wink, wink...

Believe me, post-dogsitting blues is a rough patch to go through, and I experienced it after taking care of Jonasz, a kind of Korthal Griffon who stayed with us a couple of weeks.




And yet, that dog was a heavy load for us...

Yes guys, a heavy load for us, and that is putting it mildly.
Quite surprising, cause he had all the qualities you can expect from a four-legged companion.

He was a friendly and affectionate tail-wagger, a fabulous cuddle-maker, and a perfect guest.

So, what ?

Jonasz was in his early youth, and needed frequent walks to burn his energy, and there was the rub!

Don't get me wrong. We were on a staycation,and we didn't mind cruising the neighborhood as long as he wanted to.
Unfortunately, we were living on the fifth floor, with no lift, and the first time we took Jonasz for a walk, we suddenly realized that he was living in a single storey house, and thus had never experienced the fear of standing on a ledge, looking into a black hole.
He was staring at the flight of stairs, as if about to skydive for the very first time.



He looked so wary and nervous that we quickly decided not to let him fly solo and ...carry him downstairs!

I know, any dog behaviourist would have told us that we were totally wrong, but you see, when you dogsit, you want your guest to feel comfortable.
Anyway, travelling five floors down with a Yorkie, a toy poodle, or even a cocker, is not that difficult, but with a Korthal Griffon, it meant lifting about 19 kilos! Fortunately my friend Maggy had kept him away from yummy table scraps, otherwise the downstairs trip would have been rather hazardous.

Well, actually, Dearhubby turned out to be the only one able to perform such a heavy weight workout four times a day.
As days went by, he got better and better at exercising his biceps.

Then came the time to give our guest back to his owner, and of course, the same old tune again : twinges of sorrow, vain efforts to hold back my tears, a last tummy rub, an ultimate  cuddle, and I handed Jonasz's leash to my friend Maggy who started walking downstairs with ...Jonasz on her heels!!



Scared of the stairs ? Not at all!
Midway to the fourth floor, he turned back, and was it my imagination, or did he really give us a " I played a good trick " wink ?
I don't know, but we had a good laugh, and Dearhubby said he would have to look for another coach to keep his muscle tone!

 Dogsitting a joker didn't dampen my dog addiction, and whenever asked to look after a dog, I have never refused, even though once I should have asked first about the breed, but that's another story...











vendredi 20 octobre 2017

THE STORY OF A SHELTER DOG






Hello everybody,


Today a nice story about a dog whose life was not a always a walk in the park...

I'm a dogaholic and I don't want to be cured. I'm really crazy about dogs : I love their wet noses, their wagging tails, the story in their eyes, their antics and their eternal optimism.




A sign I am an overly obsessed dog-lover ?
Well, whenever I reach into my pocket, doggy treats remnants fall out in addition to my keys, some loose change, and tissues.

You see, the diagnosis is quite clear : I'm a dog addict in every respect, and it's no use trying to kick that addiction, cause it runs in the family!

My love for dogs is so deep that whenever I hear the phrase " It's a dog's life ", I can't help thinking about my sweet Charly.

That poor dog was not born under a lucky star, and before we met, he had gone through a lot of rough patches, and had experienced quite a few whammies...

A couple of months after his birth, Charly left his mum and his littermates, and settled down in his new home.
Puppies are always upbeat, meek and friendly, and Charly was ready to bond with his foster parents and enjoy the place.

Unfortunately his new owners were away all day long, and to make sure he wouldn't make a mess inside, guess what!
They tied him with a rope to a stake in the middle of a tiny yard!
The only thing he could do was to pull the short rope and walk in small circles!

Of course, the poor innocent dog thought there was a misunderstanding, and started barking all day long to ask for help.
In vain! Not a single dog-speaking soul around to understand his message. Just neighbours tired of his whining claims, and about to file a complaint.

So, what was to happen, happened . The too Noisy Charly was taken to a dog shelter and abandonned there among a pack of desesperate dogs, all in the same boat.
To get adopted the competition was fierce, and when there were visitors, everydoggy gave it their best shot.






That's how one day a couple of elderly people got a crush on Charly and took him to their place.

Charly was thrilled to bits and ready to love them to the moon and back.
Bye bye the gloomy shelter, the scary row of metallic cages, the deafening barking, bye bye a dog's life!
A future of cuddles and treats was ahead of him.
But once more, his happiness was short-lived.
Four days later, he was back to square one...

Actually, when put on leash for a walk, the poor dog had done what he had been used to, when tied with a short rope to the stake in the tiny yard : he had walked in small circles, then, of course, tangled his leash around the lady's legs and nearly knocked her over.



After  risky journeys to the park, his new owners had realized they were too old to teach him how to walk nicely on leash, and had driven him back to the shelter.
They were heart-broken, but so was Charly!

After those two failed adoptions, he lost his zest of life, and got sick with sadness.
He spent days facing the grey wall of his cage, and didn't even beg for potential adopters' attention any longer till...Mother's Day 1996.

On that day, I was feeling ready to fill the void my first dog had left when he had passed away ten years before. At the time I had cried my eyes out, and sworn I would never have another dog, but...never say never!

That's how I met Charly. He looked so depressed that , first I was a bit reluctant to adopt him, but once taken out of his cage, I couldn't resist his hopeful dark eyes, and that was the beginning of a long love story!

So you see, in a dog's life, every dog has its day, so never give up hope, and don't forget :

                                            BE PERKY





vendredi 13 octobre 2017

DOGS' SMALL TALKS



                                         
       



Hello everybody,


Have you heard about the legend that on Christmas, at midnight, all animals are given the Power of Speech for one hour ?

I don't know its origin, but it doesn't really matter, cause at the stroke of midnight on Christmas, I'm usually busy serving the traditional Yule log* and checking the fun meter is running smoothly, so I have no time to listen to my dogs.

Anyway, even if at that time they wanted to speak, with all the hustle and bustle around, I'm afraid they wouldn't be able to get a word in.

Fortunately I am one of those blessed with dogs in their lives, and I don't have to wait until Christmas for the magic to happen.
Whatever the time of the day, there is always one of my two furry babies ready to make small talks.

Canaille's hangout to have a chat with me is the kitchen.
I'm an early riser, but even in the wee hours of the morning, when I step into the kitchen, I'm quite sure to come across him.
Sometimes I wonder if he was not about to raid the fridge, but I have never caught him red-handed (and red-pawed, either).
Anyway, my suspicions are quickly swept away by his innocent eyes looking down at his bowl, up at me, down at his bowl again, as if saying :

   " Good morning, Sleeping Beauty! I thought you would never wake   up! You know, I've been fasting since last night, and I really need to fuel up. Can't you hear my tummy rumbling ? So, if you don't mind, we'll have a real talk later ".
                            


OK, then! While I am sipping my first cup of tea, he swallows down his morning bowl, and once done with it, he gives me a big ' Hope you'll repeat the invitation ' thank you.






At lunch and dinner time, that good guest is back in the kitchen, ready to help and chat.




" You're taking the chopping board out ? Well, don't worry, Mum, if you drop one of those mouth-watering things you're cutting, I'll clean up the floor ".

" What are you stirring ? It smells delicious!".

You see, that guy always finds the right word to cheer up the lousy cook I am.

Don't misunderstand me. Canaille doesn't open his mouth just to play the food critic.
When I am brooding or worrying, he is quick at noticing it, and never fails to put his paw on my lap and say :

  " Come on, Mum, let's go outside and play a good ' Fetch the ball ' game. Sure, you'll realize all is not gloom and doom today! ".


As for Ulysse, things are quite different. He is nearly 15 and then much quieter than the 10-year-old buoyant Canaille.
Does older mean wiser ? Well, Ulysse is the living proof that it does.
This cute little doggy is born smart, and even though he has gone through some rough patches *, he has always managed not to lose his zest of life and his cool side.



So, when I'm in my study, looking desesperately for inspiration, after a while he yawns, stretches himself, and I can hear him whisper :

  " Stop racking your brain, nothing good will come out of it today. Let's have a good cuddle session. Believe me, it's a lovely way to meditate and drain your stress ".

Most of the time he is right!

You see, dogs (and actually all pets) don't wait the magic of Christmas to speak, what you need is just to lend a caring ear.

So, prick up your ears, and don't forget :

                                        BE PERKY 


Here is a link for the traditional Christmas Yule log :

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/15704/chocolate-decadence-yule-log/






   

vendredi 6 octobre 2017

A TRIBUTE TO MY DOGS



           



Hello everybody,



This week I have cobbled just a short post, cause I'm on a pretty tight schedule.
Here in Cap Sizun, the very tip of Brittany, after countless rainy and foggy days, the weather's clearing, and according to the weathermen, we can expect a lull and the next few days shoul be sunnier.
Then, no time to spare indoors, cause in the garden the weeds and dead leaves are plotting a coup, and if I sit idly, they will rule the roost in no time. 

But before heading to the garden, I want to write a few lines about my dogs, cause Autumn is really the time of the year those two sweethearts deserve a tribute and a pep talk before facing the rough patch they will go through till Winter comes round the corner.




First off, the early days of October ring the bell for a visit to the groomer, which means standing still and steady on a grooming table for nearly two hours! Sheer torture for those two buoyant and playful fellows.
Even though I schedule the appointment sneakily, when D-day comes, instead of jumping joyfully into the car as they usually do, they haul themselves up onto the back seat with a lot of deep sighs, as if they knew where they are going to. A quick glance in the rear view mirror, and I immediately see sad eyes imploring for mercy.
Anyway, once in the salon, those two customers put on a brave face, and are as good as gold. 
So, kudos to them!
        
                                                

Once rid of that chore, what they just need is to frolic in the garden, but unfortunately that's when things go wrong...

The kick-off of Autumn means it's high time to beat the birds to berries and the wasps to the fruit, cause our garden is a real larder.
Of course, my two high-spirited tail waggers are thrilled to bits when harvest time comes, but their expectations is quickly dampened.
This is the season when their usual playground turns into an obstacle course.

When I pick up blueberries, my two helpful assistants rush into the shrubbery, and more often than not, we have to hurry back home and take tweezers to pull out thorns.




Then the sneaky apple trees take advantage of the slightest breeze to drop some apples on their heads and leave them flabbergasted and wondering where that damned sniper can be hiding.




If they run away from the orchard to avoid being knocked out, the huge oak trees take over and bombard them with a few score of acorns. Lighter than apples, but just like a machine-gun fire.




After such misfortune, they could withdraw and get shelter in the garden shed, but those brave guys want to watch my every move, for fear I should grapple with some mysterious attackers.
So, what's better to regain their composure than a little rolling in the grass in the shade of the chestnut tree ?
Ouch! No way to catch a break there, either!
Chestnut husks don't make a comfy mattress, unless you are a fakir!




Battle weary, they are about to resign from their yard boys' temp job, when the mischievous squirrel who has taken residence in the walnut tree start hopping from one branch to the other to tease them.




That's enough to boost their zest of life, and send them barking and jumping again.

Even though a whole Autumn day in the garden wear them out, the next morning those two brave guys are ready to put their lives at risk, just for Mum's sake!

So, hats off to my two furry babies!

And now, cheerio, dear readers, Mother Nature is calling (and fruit, dead leaves and weeds, as well).

Whether you call it Autumn or Fall, make the most of it, and don't forget :

                                       BE PERKY