Monday, 1 July 2013

Car Trouble and Weddings

Despite my youthful good looks I can still remember those days when cars weren't quite as reliable as we're used to nowadays.  I mean gym membership wasn't required since you got all the exercise you needed pushing your car when it broke down and everyone could paint because every weekend you had to colour in those rust holes that kept popping up under blistering paintwork.  Oh yes, great days!

Anyway, a few weeks ago I noticed the temperature gauge on our car going up a bit too high for my liking.  I told the people I look after (Chris & Helen) but they pretty much ignored me.  Typical!  They turned the heat up and that drew heat off the engine and the temperature fell.  Well that's ok bit it didn't deal with the problem and boy they paid for it.

I may be a hardy terrier but I'm not keen on heat.  Even though Sue up the road gave me a cracking haircut the other day I still prefer things on the cool side rather than the blistering heat of the desert.  For that reason when Chris & Helen went out dressed in their finest the other evening I wasn't too upset because I knew they were in for a bad experience in that car.  And that's what they got.  It went pop after 20 minutes and they had to get a load of mineral water and fill up the radiator and then drive for nearly two hours with the heat full-on on what was already a warm summer's evening.

Due to the fact that I was saved from two hours of heat-induced dribbling in unrelentingly arid conditions I feel I can forgive Amy & Lloyd for not inviting me to their wedding reception, especially since we are not talking about a one-way journey here for Chris & Helen.  They had to come back too and by the time they arrived and I'd run downstairs to say howdy I thought they'd had their faces painted red at a kid's birthday party or been on the losing team on a paintballing weekend.  Either way I made soothing sounds and they cooled off, eventually.

They then started telling me about where they had been, how great the stately home was where the reception was held, the perfect grounds, the balmy evening, the pleasant company, the fabulous band ... well I got fed up and went to bed.  I tell you, you can go off people! I mean it was ok when hearing about the heat-related disaster parts of the evening but not the good bits.  After all, I should have been there if there were good bits.  And that's the lesson here I think.  First, listen to your dog because your dog knows things.  Secondly, act on it because that way you'll never have to boil alive in a car like you did in the 70s.  Thirdly, keeping a car well-serviced and cool means there will always be a place for your dog in the back for those trips that are worth going on.  And let's face it, that's pretty much all of them.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Life Outdoors

As far as I'm concerned the more time I can spend outside the better, but it's not always as easy as it might be.  I mean I get to go on a few walks every day and weekend which is great but there's a few tips and tricks that I'd like to pass on to my fellow four-legged friends out there if you don't think you're getting as much leg-stretching time as you deserve.

Straight Lines

Never walk in straight lines.  Think about it - if you meander down any path from left to right and back again you can stretch out even the shortest of walks, not just in terms of how far you travel but also in time.  I reckon that a basic two mile stroll can probably be stretched to three using this method and 40 minutes can be eked out to an hour or even more.  It has the added bonus of discovering things which you might not otherwise notice in the undergrowth, so from a nature study point of view it's also a winner.

Discovering Interesting Things

Some walks are more interesting than others.  If you find a regular walk is getting a bit dull simply plant your paws and walk in the other direction.  Just in case this is misconstrued as a wish to return home you might have to turn again and run for some distance with enthusiasm.  Normally, though, it allows you to take control of your walk.  Once you have turned around just make sure you meander off in a new direction when you are still a while from home.  A great way of discovering great new walks, new places and interesting things.

Rolling In It

I am regularly criticised for the state I return in after a good walk.  The fact is, finding something revolting to roll in has two real plus points.  First, I love it and if it's a foul-smelling thing that I can get all over me it makes a dog feel good.  It's somehow empowering, know what I mean? Secondly, the more gruesome the smell the less chance of getting back early because every attempt will be made to find a stream or other water source to let you wash down.  This in itself can be a bonus, especially if the weather is fine.  It's also a good laugh if you've gone out in the car to clamber back in and feel that special aroma fill the air around you. OK, I know, there can be a downside - the shower or bucket of water when you get home.  This is simply Newton's laws applied in practice, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so sometimes you have to grin and bear it.  It's a science thing.

Enthusiasm in All Things

Enthusiasm in all things pays dividends. Rolling, jumping, lolloping, speeding around with a big smile always goes down well and can get you out for a walk when you need one.  Of course, barking can also help but is best saved for when it's hugely required to enforce a point you need to get across.  We all know that humans can be a little slow on the uptake so sometimes you need to give them the benefit of the doubt, but not that often.  If in doubt, try a gentle nose nudge when they least expect it and a doleful look.  Take it from me, this works!

Keep Your Ears Open

All of you will know what I mean here - sometimes a human will try to sneak out of the house hoping you won't hear them.  Haha, like that's gonna happen!  We have been blessed with serious hearing precisely to deal with sneaking out issues like these, so when it happens wake up and leap up enthusiastically (read more about enthusiasm in all things above).  This should do the trick and get you taken out too.  If it doesn't work then go into instant depression.  Look up with wide eyes and walk off, remembering to turn your head back for a quick glance as you do to let them know you are deeply wounded.  This should work.  If not try cute.  This means drop to the floor and both paws over your nose.  Keep doing this cos humans love it.  I know this.  I've used it quite a few times myself to great effect.  You should hear 'Aaahhh' and then you will be picked up and taken out wherever they are going.  Job done.  You see, a few little tricks can make all the difference to getting outdoors, staying outdoors and having a seriously good time when you're there.