Friday, July 27, 2007

Dog Walk Diaries

I have decided, that in the interest of getting at least some exercise, I really must walk my dogs. When we lived on the river, the dogs were able to run freely, swimming and retrieving logs from the water. There was no need for leads, nor were there wild, rabid looking canines, launching themselves at their gates, frantic to escape and eat any passerby unlucky enough to be caught.

Suburbia presents a whole new set of rules.It means, if we want to go anywhere, the dogs need to be on a lead. Nothing unusual about that, apart from the fact that they really don't see the point... and I sure as hell can't walk all three of them simultaneously, because I'd end up with a broken neck.

The last time I tried walking the intrepid trio, Velvette, the Lab, stopped dead in front of me. Which would have been fine, had I not been staring into space. My shins connected with the dog, who is solid, and my upper body just kept going. I baled over the top of her, onto the hot December tar - both hands being occupied by leads, I had nothing to break my fall. Chin first, I landed in a tangle of leads, cold, wet noses inquiring as to this new game - where mom struggles to get to her feet without letting anyone go.

Injuries included: tar embedded-chin, bruised elbow, scraped shoulder, tar embedded knee. I cursed that dog, who stared up into my face with her sweet, enquiring smile!

SO, now I've decided, in the interests of my stiffening anatomy, each dog will be walked on its own, in around our neigbourhood. Oh god, what a potential nightmare. Jo goes beserk, grabs the lead in his mouth and yodels like a banshee. He certainly does NOT behave like he has EVER been exposed to TTouch. Velvette pulls like a train and it sounds like shes being strangled. You'd be forgiven for thinking she's never gone to dog training.

So, I set off, being towed by Jo. We came barreling around a corner, Jo about to leap out of his skin in response to the enraged boer boels trying to eat him through their gate; when a car stops alongside us, the door next to the dog opens and a man gets out, the bloody dog tried to jump into the car! Fortunately he's quite a light weight, so I could pull him off. Mumbling an a apology under my breath, we carried on don the road.

The following day Velvette does THE SAME THING! I kid you not. Except this time, the guy who gets out of his car is all smiles. He comes over to greet the dog, and not wanting to be rude, I smile (apologetically) and try to stop Velvetter from jumping up - but alas, she has no manners. She launches herself at the guy, and nails him IN THE GROIN!! I see this, I'm eye level with his waist, trying to encourage my errant hound to SIT. Yeah right. He's folded over at the waist and smiling politely, tells us to enjoy our walk. I drag the dog unwillingly away. I refrain from looking back to see if he's walking upright.

I'm determined to eventually have dogs who are well behaved on the lead, and who don't bat an eyelid at their lunatic, barking counterparts.

What are the chances?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shlock Horror!

Yes! I know . . who'd have guessed. . . I'm currently reading Jilly Cooper's Wicked, her latest "rollicking jaunt through the Costwolds."

A hint of what's to come is the appearance of Rupert Campbell-Black's name on one of the 11 pages of characters listed, alphabetically. Thank heavens, lest you chuck it by page 66, when the 80th character is introduced as the 14th cousin of the main character, 7 times removed. . .

You're probably wondering at my motivation for buying it, second hand, of course . . . Being an animal lover herself, Jilly kindly included a list of the four-leggeds, and their intrepid humans. That did it, I'm afraid - I couldn't wait to meet Loofah the pony, or Bogotá, Xavier Campbell-Black's - dare I say it - black Labrador.

I love Jilly's books, although this is the first one I'm reading in YEARS, not since Riders, or Polo, back in the 80s, but I remember now, that I loved the journey into quaint English country cottages, and sprawling estates, their tapestried walls and comfy, over-stuffed couches with elegant hounds, snoozing, spilling over the sides. Not to mention the horses. Glorious horses! The obsessions of pony-mad girls, the possessions of arrogant antagonists, who are always shown up by a character who gets the reader's sympathy vote.

I'll let you know if and when I ever get to the end. Who knows when that'll be? I'm only on page 230. .. and this version has a total of 846 pages - a mission to hold upright in the bath for any length of time!

Jilly Cooper, gotta love her!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

All Harry-Pottered out

Yes, it's true, I'm a fan of the boy wizard, when he appears both in print and on celluloid. Today, my mom and I combined the two, we bought the final installment The Deathly Hallows; and caught the early movie - The Order Of the Phoenix. I must be honest, I'm pretty confused as to the order of events in this sprawling story. Only because I read the current movie's accompanying book last year, or was it the year before that, I keep forgetting that Im a book ahead of the movie. . . I think. Unlike my student-cousin, who religiously reads the last book (again) before he reads the new one, so that he knows what the hell's going on - I've only read each one once, and long for the luxury of time which would allow me to read my favourite tomes more than once!

Let it be known that I absolutely HATED going to school, and considered that time spent incacerated was the biggest waste of time in my life thus far. The only thing school had in it's favour, was a daily two hour bus trip and seemingly endless holidays, all of which ensured that fact that I had my nose stuck in a book for the best part of twelve years.

Although I don't envy my twenty-year-old cousin and his varsity timetable, I so wish I had THAT much time to read.

Where do YOU find the time to read? How do you steal precious minutes from your day? When was the last time you dropped your book in the bath?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ready to pounce

This is a pic of my 6yr old Lab, Velvette. She’s exhibiting her “Ready-To-Pounce” pose. It would have been a better photo if I hadn’t chopped her right paw off. You try holding the ball in one hand, camera in the other, and try mimicking some stricken, exotic animal (= intense facial expression) - and then press the shutter!

I love dogs.

Actually, if its got fur and a facial expression, it gets my attention.

This is an introduction to the dogs with whom I share my home and life. No doubt you'll be reading a lot about them. . .

Velvette, my 6yr-old Lab who has been with me since puppyhood. Things she loves most in life: Swimming and eating, not necessarily in that order.

Jo, 5yr-old lunatic LabXRidgeback who joined the pack at six months. He has a Greyhouns complex, and i the reason we have a huge garden out the back.

And Li'l Jackaroo (a.k.a Jackie) the Jack Russell whose family immigrated before she joined us, making us a 3DogHousehold!