Puppying Up

It’s three years today since Jean’s beloved King Charles, Sophie, died and I suddenly realised that I have an awful lot to thank her for. She was with Jean for nearly fourteen years and was her constant companion and bestest doggy friend. See, if Sophie hadn’t found her way into Jean’s heart she would never have wanted to get another dog ~and that dog happened to be me!

I’ve heard from Harry’s dog how Sophie and Jean were a strong female team in a house full of males and they understood each other inside out. Even I can see the special bond that they had from this photograph:

Me and Soph
Jean and Sophie

I’m a three year old puppy now and it all hit me today that Sophie would want me to be as kind as I possibly could be to Jean. I wonder am I growing up or what?

Anyway, I’ve tried my puppy-best to be as loving as I possibly can be today. (I suppose I should try and be like that everyday but that’s another matter.)

We went to the beach this morning and I tried to show her every ounce of beauty, even in blackness.

The Beauty of Blackness

Talking of colours, you won’t believe this but the other day when I thought Jean was going off without me she suddenly said: Do you want to come with me. I’m going in search of a rainbow.’ I hadn’t a clue what a rainbow was but I decided to take my chances and go with her. Here’s what we saw and it’s one of those moments that I think may have brought us even more together than ever. I hope she doesn’t mind me showing it to you but really and truly it was something to behold:

Our Rainbow

There’s pots of gold at the end of rainbows in Ireland, in case you didn’t know. (I didn’t know ’til Jean told me).  I think we’re probably talking pots of gold at both ends and I know now, for sure, that the pot of gold at the end we saw was Sophie smiling at us and passing on some of her wisdom to me.

Just want to let you know Sophie that I’m trying as hard as I can to be how you’d want me to be. And thanks for keeping that little doggy door open for me in Jean’s heart.


Puppy Stan xxx







Together Again

Ready and Waiting

One of my very favourite times of the day is when I can sense that my Dad is getting nearer and nearer on his way home from work. I do everything in my power to get up onto the sofa so that I can have a good view out the sitting-room window and be there to welcome him before he’s even in the front door.

He never, ever fails to meet my eyes and smile in at me and then I race out and meet him when he comes into the hall.

You might think that these reunions get boring but they don’t ~ in fact they get better and better everyday cos I’m learning to read what kind of a day he’s had and if he wants a gentle nuzzle or a bit of rough and tumble.

We have our little time together and it matters to me  more than I could ever tell you. He loves me as much as I love him and I’ve come to learn, too, that he likes to have ‘home’ time with me so that he can unwind in a way that’s not about anything except happiness to see each other.

He doesn’t know about all the hopping and jumping I do on the sofa while I’m waiting for him but that doesn’t matter, does it, as long as we get to share that ‘together againness’ every evening in the special way that we’ve developed it.

Lots of love,

Puppy Stan.

P.S. Here’s how Tramore Beach was looking today. Imagine I was able to be racing around there while Dad was working. It’s a dog’s life alright!

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

Dogging About

Hi World,

It’s Puppy Stan here after what seems like an age. On the subject of age, we had a big day last Tuesday when my ‘brother,’ Harry turned  twenty-one. I was afraid he might change overnight but he’s still himself and still has lots of time for me!

Man and Dog!

Part of his birthday celebrations included going to a Bruce Springsteen concert in Dublin. I was the one that greeted him when he arrived home at some crazy hour. He was humming away to himself and hasn’t stopped since. I love when we have those ‘hello’ times in the middle of the night  dawning cos I get to hear all the news first.

This song has been buzzing around in my head since he came back from The Boss’ concert. (I had always thought Jean was the boss, but anyway, she kinda still is.)

Here’s hoping you have a sunny, sunny week. I’m planning on making it my business to finally start swimming. I hope I can screw up the courage to go into the blue, blue sea. If not, I’ll continue to play and pant at the beach with my Boss.

Glory Days


Talk soon,






I Want To Surprise Her!

Woof Everyone,

It’s two years today that I came to live here in Tramore. I was only 9 weeks old and Jean and Harry came allllll the way to the heart of Co. Wexford (that makes me a Yellow Belly) to get me. Well, they didn’t know it was me they were getting ‘cos there were five of us pups still waiting for homes.

We were all ‘love’ puppies. Our mama was a a golden cocker spaniel and our dada was a liver and white springer spaniel. Our mama was very, very pretty and was a champion show dog and often had puppies with other cocker spaniels. But she was in love with my dada who lived on the same farm and they decided that they wanted to have a family of their very own.

Funny enough, none of us looked like our parents. The others were all black and white and I was the only all black puppy. I knew I had a good chance of being picked by Jean because I heard the boss talking to her on the phone and saying that there was only one totally black pup in the litter.

It was dark when they arrived and I was all nervous. The boss brought them out to our shed and shone a torch down at us. I didn’t know what to do so I stood a bit back from the others and pricked my spaniel ears.

Harry immediately said: ‘Him, he’s lovely.’ He picked me up and petted me and then handed me to Jean. I clung onto her coat and tried to melt her eyes. I could feel her heart beating very fast and then I saw a little tear trickle down her cheek. (I didn’t know then that she was totally heartbroken and missing her precious Sophie who had  died only 10 days before. Getting me had been all Harry’s idea ‘cos he couldn’t bear to see her so upset.) I knew I had won her over when she stroked my ears with as much love as any puppy could ever want.

My First Time on a Cliff!
My First Time on a Cliff!

And puppies do want love; everyone wants love and that way the world can spin around in a twirl of happiness like a puppy running after his tail.

You hear about ‘a fly on the wall.’ Well, I’m a ‘puppy under the table’ and I see and hear everything that’s going on. BUT, I don’t ‘love and tell.’ That’s one tip my dada gave me when I was saying goodbye to him that night.

I was kinda surprised to be called Stan ~ but now I know the whole story. I’m called after Stan Wawrinka, the tennis player who had just won the Australian Open in 2014.

My Namesake, 'Stan' Wawrinka
My Namesake, ‘Stan’ Wawrinka : Source:  Wikipedia

If I’d been got today, I’d definitely have been called Leighton, after Leighton Hewitt who played his last match today after a great career. Poor Jean was sobbing when he gave his farewell speech. I don’t think ‘Leighton’ would be a great name for me, though. It’s a bit of a mouthful and very grown-up sounding.

Two years has flown by ~ I often wonder about my brothers and sisters and how they’re doing and, of course, I miss my mama and dada. I hope they are still as madly in love as ever.

But, I wouldn’t change anything for the world, except maybe running up to the very top of the cliffs in Kilfarrasy the other week. I’m not the better of that yet and have nightmares about never being able to get back safe. I knew Jean loved me long before that day but I saw absolute love in her eyes when I eventually found a way back to the car. She didn’t even give out to me but just cuddled me like no other cuddle I’ve ever got and I was soaking and covered in rubble from the cliff face. We haven’t been back there since.

So, I’d best go and see if she’ll take me for a celebration walk, even though it’s raining. I’ve a feeling she will!

Happiness is ...
Happiness is …

Night all and Sweetest Dreams!

Love Stanny.

P.S. I love you, Jean, and I’m the lucky one, not you!

P.P.S. Good luck in The Austrialian Open, Stan W. You can do it!!!






To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before

Dogs have been a fundamental part of my life since I was seven and I can honestly say that the days I got them and the days they died have been among the most significant of my life.

I was thinking about all this today as it is the second anniversary of Sophie’s death.

Sophie and Me
Sophie and Me

There have been four new beginnings with dogs spanning five decades and each has been shared with precious people; Mother and Beauty; Father and Tiffany; Sophie and our son, Harry; and Harry again with Puppy Stan almost two years ago.

Similarly, I was fortunate to have been surrounded by love and intense empathy when Beauty, Tiffany and Sophie died. Such empathy matters hugely.

I know that some people have never taken to dogs and don’t quite ‘get’ the human-dog bond. It’s a bond that’s a precious gift and all the dogs that have punctuated my life have given far more love, loyalty and treasured memories than I could ever describe.

Today has been tinged with sadness but son, Harry, has understood completely and Puppy Stan has been all warm and cuddly and his tender eyes have never left me.

I’m glad that Sophie can rest peacefully knowing that all is well in this little part of my world.

Sophie (2000-2013)
Sophie (2000-2013)




I Think She’s Gone Totally Crazy

She said it was a perfect time to go to the beach ~ our Garrarus ~ ‘cos the tide was full out and I’d be able to run and run and run on the sand. She seemed to be in a bit of a hurry and said something about ‘calm before the storm’ but all I could picture was golden beach, birds and maybe that dotey little madam I was nuzzling out there the other day:

Our Garrarus

When she was letting me out of the car, she nearly got blown over by a ferocious fierce gust of wind and I mean FIERCELY FIERCE.

She was all wrong about me having the whole beach to myself. There were monsters everywhere and it was all dark and scary. Just look!

Tide Out??
Tide Out??

I know I’m a big boy now but I got all shakey and tiny when I saw this black giant comin’ at me:

Clinging on for dear life!
Clinging on for dear life!

The birds were all weird as well:

Is that a white eagle?
Is that a white eagle?

All she could do was take photographs and mutter about how lovely it was and that maybe she’d even go for a swim ~ a WHAT?


Am I Standing or Sitting?
Am I Standing or Sitting or just Hair Raising?

Anyway, I thought I should warn you that she’s not herself today. I’m not myself now either but I think she’s downstairs lighting the fire. That should help if I can just get myself onto the rug right in front of it.

What to do about her is another matter. Any ideas?








Wish You Were Here

Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford

Today was a smashing day here in Co. Waterford and I had the most delicious swim out at Garrarus Beach early this morning.

While I was soaking up the sea and sun, I was half thinking about son Harry who has hopped over to England for the weekend. Part of the hopping involved him driving me into Waterford in the wee hours so that he could catch a bus to Dublin Airport. Little did I ever think that he’d be doing the driving like that but it’s been our Summer of ‘mother/son’ driving with Bruce Springsteen keeping us company.

Back at home, the little fluffy dog (a cross between at least a sheepdog, terrier, King Charles, Alsatian….)  that Harry rescued a few years ago had clearly been doing a lot more than half thinking about his beloved owner. He had worked himself up into a complete tizzy and practically scratched his neck off.  I suppose I should have anticipated some drama like this as the last time Harry went away the dog almost bit his paw off.

Back to the same vet who mercifully assured me that the neck damage is curable but that the bond between the dog and Harry was quite another matter! Basically if H flees the nest, the dog will have to go with him.

Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot

As dusk turned to darkness, I was beginning to wonder about H’s promised phone call. I was here at the computer and called out to hubby if he’d heard from him. He replied as casually as anything:

Oh yeah, he rang a good while ago and said he’s grand. He got cut off so wasn’t on for long.’

The little dog has been bopping around since the phone call and I’m still wondering if fathers have anything like the same bonds with their boys as little dogs and mothers do?

Stepping Out with Puppy Stan

My life has been punctuated by four incredibly special dogs and the days I got each of them are definitely among the very happiest days of my life.

I know this may sound a bit extreme, but they rank way ahead of my wedding day or the day our son was born. Both those days were fraught in their own ways, whereas the doggy days were relaxed and somehow pure joy.

Today marks the first anniversary of meeting Puppy Stan ~ feeling him clinging onto me and gazing into my eyes when I picked him up in that dark yard in the depths of Co. Wexford.

He’s found his niche in our world now and is lying on ‘his’ chair in the kitchen basking in the sun, as I write this.  Goodness only knows what he’s dreaming about! Perhaps summer days on the beach?


I think he knows that it’s a special day. He was full of his fun before the sun even rose and the pair of us were out ‘skating’ on the frosty paths long before the rest of the world had woken.

Now to the woods to run free …..

Stan the Man
Stan the Man





Happy Birthday, Dear Friend


Dear Stan,

It’s hard to believe that you are a year old ~ a whole twelve months of dogginess.

It’s even harder to believe the way you managed to bring pure joy and sunshine to my shattered heart after Sophie died in January. I had absolutely dreaded that terrible day and it was beyond terrible but your arrival here just ten days later on January 21st brought new hope and the promise of a new friend.

You understood from the very beginning  that no dog would ever ‘replace’ Sophie, with her thirteen and a half years of Cavalier King Charles empathy, solidarity and amazing female intuition. She was there for some of the toughest times and never, ever failed to care.

I’m sorry I doubted you so much  but I didn’t think such a tiny black bundle of fur could possibly lick my wounded heart and lift the darkest of dark storm clouds.

But you have and you’ve done it with panache. How could you have known to look at me through the banisters those first few weeks, just like Sophie used to? How did you know how much I needed you to snuggle up and let me gaze at your piercing brown eyes?

So many doubts that January evening when we first met ~ but you clung on and implored, bringing me back to the first meeting with all the precious dogs of my life, Beauty, Tiffin and Soph.

Your mother was one of the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen, a golden Cocker Spaniel and your father a very friendly, handsome brown and white Springer. Sometimes I see their colours gleaming in your shiny coat but most of all I love your long  spaniel ears that blow in the wind as you race along the beach.

When I say that you’re ‘pure joy,’ I must mean it. No one else would get away with eating my poetry books, camera batteries, emptying the bin all over the kitchen floor, waking me at all hours when the moon is bright, demolishing my furry boots…..

Thanks again for all your fun, friskiness, knowing looks, uplifting springing and most of all your forever welcomes.

Here’s to lots and lots of years of health and happiness,

Love you more than you could ever know,




The Black Dog and Pure Joy

I can’t even begin to explain how doubtful I was about getting a puppy after my beloved Cavalier King Charles, Sophie,  died in January after sharing thirteen and a half years of life with me.

Reflection of a Black Dog
Reflection of a Black Dog

My biggest fear was that I just wouldn’t be able to bond with a puppy even if s/he was the the cuddliest, most puppyish pup in the world.

It was out of pure heartache that I got Stan and it was in a hopeless sort of hope that he could somehow help to take away some of the pain and emptiness I was feeling.

It seemed to be right and fitting that I would get a dog with spaniel ears and I was determined that the dog had to be jet black. When I held ten-week old Stan, just ten days after Sophie’s death, and felt our hearts beating as one as our eyes met, I knew I had to bring him home.

It was only the other day when I was listening to Roddy Doyle talking about his new book for children, which features a black dog, that I suddenly realised how my need for a black dog was all tied up with my low, low mood and Winston Churchill’s Black Dog of Depression came flooding back to me.

It also came to me that four of the most joyous days of my life have been the days that I first met the precious dogs that have punctuated my life. I can remember every single detail about those meetings.

Each one of the dogs has been an absolute joy and young Stan is carving out his own unique place in my heart. Yes, he’s digging up the garden, robbing the kitchen table, eating my shoes ….. but he is full of life, hope and love.

Stan: Taking a Breather in Tramore Beach
Stan: Taking a Breather in Tramore Beach