Social Distance

I am still having issues about feeling like the invisible woman when I am out walking. I crave social distance and now that my ankle is still very unstable after the sprain, I find it extremely unnerving to have to step off pavements to avoid gaggles of people who clearly never heard of the 2 metre guidance or the concept of single file or just plain manners.

I heard of one approach to achieving a bit of space from a friend of mine who has a big ferocious looking dog. He walks on the inner and has the dog on the outside and finds that people keep a very wide berth.

Maybe I need to rent an Irish Wolfhound or a huge German Shepherd as our dogs don’t do the trick when it comes to scary, scary. Instead, kids come running to ask if they can pet them!

I’d love to hear of any strategies you have found that work for you, apart from screaming or glaring at people, when you are walking alone and wanting that 2 metres.

PS. I see some people pulling up a mask as I approach as if to send out a silent message but as I wear glasses this could lead to some steamy encounters!

PPS.Would singing loudly do the trick as I am a crow? What songs would work best, I wonder …

The Morning Dance

So, the clocks fell back in Ireland last night but the three dogs that populate our house are still tuned in to Summertime.

They sleep in different rooms because they have very different personalities and preferences but once one hears me opening even one eye, the morning chorus begins.

Mornings are a magical time for me as I am the person who gets to experience the three of them greeting the day.

Puppy Stan does a special dizzying twirl when he sees me coming and sometimes I wonder if he will take up hammer throwing for the inaugural doggy Olympics. He races around the garden as if doing training laps and then whizzes into the kitchen in search of his breakfast.

Meanwhile, the flying saucer upstairs has leapt from his bed and tears down the stairs like a man on a mission. He’s the fluffy mixum-gatherum one who is totally besotted with son.

Last,but very much not least, is the gentle hound, who always catches my eye with a look of gratitude before he dashes towards the garden and a reunion with the fluffy one. They have their garden haunts to check out and then when they see me arriving with breakfast, the gentle hound looks up at me and eyes a ‘thank you’ before he even glances at his dish.

When I let that pair in again, the fluffy one plays games trying to ensure that he his reunited with son ASAP.

The gentle hound always manages to find a bit of my bare flesh and kisses me with his wet nose. I so love him for his sweet gestures.

They are all quiet now but their contentment is nothing to mine after this life-enhancing show of love, appreciation and sheer exuberance through such different doggy personalities.

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)

 

 

 

Sundowning with Stan

Watchful Eye
Watchful Eye

There’s a magic about September sunsets, especially those spent at the beach with a bundle of spaniel energy called Stan.

Stan 3
Shadowing Me

Is there time for one last dance with the waves?

On the Edge
Pause!

Another day draws to a close; a day of puppy fun, frolics and fondest unconditional love.

Stan 4

Tomorrow is another day!

Contentment
Contentment

Treasured Guilt ~ Five Photos/Five Stories 5

I was eight when our Dalmatian, Beauty, ‘fell pregnant.’ It was either an immaculate conception or a neighbouring dog, randy Brandy, scaled the 15ft wall that lay between them and had his way with her.

Randy Brandy was a big wire haired mixum-gatherum of a dog with a long square head and every conceivable shade of brown in his coat. Beauty was ‘beauty’ personified!

She had four pups, Freckles, Brutus, Tiny and Treasure. I was absolutely thrilled when they arrived but my parents were rather less enthralled and didn’t want Beauty getting worn out by them.

My little heart broke as one by one homes were found for the pups. Treasure was my favourite and I hoped against hope that I would be able to persuade Mother and Father to keep him.

(As I look at the photo of Beauty and Treasure which Father took, the fact that Treasure is a little blurred doesn’t escape me. Beauty was the apple of Father’s eye!)

Beauty and Treasure
Beauty and Treasure. Photo: Frank Tubridy

However, the terrible day dawned when Mother found a woman who wanted a gentle pup to give to her mother. We were living in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan and the new owner was based in Dublin which seemed to be at the other end of the earth to me.

Collection was arranged for a Friday evening in deepest November and the kind lady, knowing of my upset, handed me a book token for the huge sum of £1 when she arrived to take Treasure away. (At that stage, £1 was worth about a year’s pocket money to me.)

At around 10pm that night, the telephone rang and it was the rather distraught daughter phoning from Dublin to say that Treasure wouldn’t get out of her car and that she would be bringing him straight back. Needless to say, I was thrilled. ( I’ve often wondered what really happened as it couldn’t have been that difficult to get a tiny pup out of the car.)

So, when I woke the next morning, Treasure was back with Beauty, back where he belonged!

A few weeks later, friends of ours who lived just a few miles away said that they would love to have Treasure. I realised, even then, that this was probably the best offer that was open as I would get to see him regularly and I knew he would be very well looked after. Even I could see that he was getting a bit much for Beauty.

Everything worked out great for Treasure and I did get to see him as often as I wanted.

However, I’ve lived with that book token on my conscience all these years. I know I should have given it back. I know, I know, I know … but I couldn’t resist all the Nancy Drew books and the doggy diary that I could buy with it.

***

I would like to thank Willow for nominating me for this Five Photos/Five Stories Challenge.

Here are the rules for the Challenge:

“Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.

My final nomination is Dale over at A Delectable Life

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?

Stan1

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