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Bucket Lists – Canine Edition…

Fletch and one of his birthday presents

I’m not the best of dog owners. Fletch gets an extraordinary amount of love, fuss and balls thrown for him (we’re lucky to have a big garden) …but he doesn’t get out and about anywhere near as much as he should do. He’s not the best behaved of animals (my fault) and he’s been very viciously attacked a few times (not my fault), and I’ll admit that I’m lazy and unmotivated when it comes to taking him out. But I’m also wrecked with guilt over it and I’m vowing to make an immediate change.

More Than have created a Bucket List for dogs…it seems silly at first but when you consider that most pet owners get into the rut of morning and evening walks with weekends at the park, it’s nice to think that they’re encouraging people like me to enrich the lives of their pets. Some of the items on the list are utterly banal and others are just ridiculous, but there’s the odd one in there that might inspire people to do more with their pets…and enrich their own lives at the same time!

This is their list (I’ve scored through Fletch’s achievements and added my comments in italics)

  1. Sit on front of a roaring fire – put the word ‘gas’ in the middle of ‘roaring fire’ and Fletch has achieved this…but I think that’s cheating
  2. Swim in the sea
  3. Go mad in the snow 
  4. Do the ‘Beethoven shake’ and soak everyone around you – any dog that’s ever jumped in a puddle or had a bath has done this…
  5. Dig up a flower bed – Fletch once disappeared for ages at my sister-in-law’s house…when we found him he was happily chewing on the 50 year old lavendar plant that he’d dug out of her flower bed. He also likes digging holes around any big branches that fall off our trees…it seems that if they’re too big to move he tries to bury them instead…it’s amazing fun! Apparently…
  6. Have your own spot on the sofa – since my dad moved out, Fletch has his own armchair…spoilt!
  7. Go on a run/cycle ride with your owner – I used to take Fletch out on ‘runs’ with me when I felt like I could handle him pulling me. He loves it, but he can’t quite get the hang of staying at a constant speed and not stopping to sniff every damn thing along the way. Taking him for a cycle ride would be the act of a crazy person
  8. Attend a family picnic – food…on the floor…hmmm, this would be incredible fun for Fletch, but not so much fun for me
  9. Help your owner bag a date – I very much doubt that dogs would worry about this kind of thing!
  10. Cheer your owner up when they are down – Fletch knows when I’m sad…and I’m sure that most other dogs are sensitive to their people
  11. Visit a different continent – I’d love to take Fletch to France…I think this one warrants a blog post all to itself *pending*
  12. Roll in a really stinky, muddy puddle – show me a dog that doesn’t do this, given the opportunity
  13. Ruin a pair of slippers or shoes – I’d really prefer it if fletch DIDN’T do this in his lifetime
  14. Sleep in your owner’s bed – not only does he sleep in my bed, but he stays there even after I’ve gone to work! It’s quite unfair!
  15. Wake your owner up with a big wet, stinky kiss – every morning and every time I fall asleep on the sofa
  16. Chase a cat in a dream
  17. Learn another language (so you can at least say ‘sit’ in two languages) – Okay, so now I want to teach him French…but I’m fairly sure it’d just confuse him even more than he already is
  18. Join in a football game in the park – no, no, no…I can barely stand his embarrassing antics as it is, without him stealing (and bursting) someone’s football
  19. Meet a famous dog (such as Pudsey) – Fletch is (far too) happy to meet ANY dog, let alone a ‘famous’ one…but it’d be cool to say “You know that dog that won Britain’s Got Talent? Yeah? Well my dog tried to hump that dog!”…
  20. Try your paws at dancing – not a huge leap of imagination to see how they got from Pudsey to this…I haven’t started teaching my dog a dance routine (and wouldn’t) but he gets terribly agitated when my sister and I dance around the house and he’s always jumping up us and yapping. To me, that counts as joining in
  21. Learn to speak English (or at least convince your owner that you can howl words) – Fletch might not understand everything I say, and he definitely doesn’t act like he understands me most of the time, but it’s amazing what random stuff he does seem to be paying attention to
  22. Get filthy within 30 seconds of a bath – every dog…
  23. Howl along to your favourite song 
  24. Ride in an open top car – I’m NOT hiring a car…
  25. Learn to skateboard – not all dogs are willing to jump on a skateboard, and it’d be pretty easy for them to get hurt
  26. Have a personalised Christmas stocking – he’d only shred it…
  27. Show the postman who’s boss – Fletch shows EVERYONE who rings the doorbell that he’s boss…he even barks when a doorbell rings on the TV
  28. Try to follow a squirrel up a tree – up a tree, into a hedge, into the road…he’ll chase those squirrels everywhere, which is why he always stays on his lead!
  29. Be a ring bearer – do you want to utterly ruin your wedding? Yes? Then have my dog as a ring bearer
  30. Go to work with your owner – okay if you’re self-employed, have a good dog or an understanding boss, but most workplaces aren’t the best environments for dogs
  31. Have your own Facebook/Twitter account – I thought it’d be funny to upload pictures and say ‘Woof!’ on a few people’s walls…the reality of it is a barely used account that is only really useful for when I want to tag my dog in pictures
  32. Bound through a forest  he bounds EVERYWHERE
  33. Have a personalised kennel – he doesn’t sleep outside, ergo he doesn’t need a kennel, personalised or otherwise
  34. Go on a boat and get your sea legs – a barge holiday would be fun. Trying…but fun!
  35. Play Frisbee on the beach – Frisbees, no…balls, yes
  36. Receive your own birthday card – dogs do NOT care about cards
  37. Steal someone’s lunch when they’re not looking – every time he gets the chance
  38. Create a diversion and steal another dog’s dinner – he steals the cat’s dinner at every possible opportunity
  39. Watch an entire episode of ‘The Washing Machine’ 
  40. Eat doggy ice cream – I had to Google this…it doesn’t seem easy to get hold of, but if I saw it in a pet store then I’d get it as a treat. I’m a bit sad like that…
  41. Receive a doggy birthday cake – this is FAR more like something a dog would be interested in on its birthday…forget cards, it’s cake all the way!
  42. Run a doggy marathon – a sponsored walk with lots of other dogs might drive Fletch utterly bonkers (literally!) at first, but it’s something I’d like to do with him. As well as getting some exercise and having fun, it might be another step along the path of getting him to ignore other dogs
  43. Rip stuffing out of a cushion – Fletch has only ever ripped up one cushion…unfortunately it was a sofa seat cushion *sigh*
  44. Unwrap birthday presents – he loves unwrapping presents…he also loves finding hidden presents before I’ve had a chance to wrap them
  45. Watch Lassie on TV – not Lassie, but he loves nature programs, and his favourite film is 101 Dalmations
  46. Be in a family portrait – this would be a lovely idea if I could get him to sit still
  47. Have a stand off with your own reflection – he tries to tease his reflection by eating treats in front of it…
  48. Have a favourite local pub – our local pubs don’t allow dogs inside, but my friends and I visited a dog-friendly pub while on holiday, and Fletch made friends with EVERYONE
  49. Star in a YouTube video
  50. Sleep in a doggy boutique hotel – I’m lucky to have my family to help me look after Fletch when I’m staying away, but I don’t really like the idea of him being in a kennel or staying in a stranger’s home…I’m not sure what I’d do if I had to leave him with someone I didn’t know while I was away! Nevertheless, I’m not sure many dogs enjoy time away from their people so I’d say that missing out on this isn’t missing out on much

In his life, Fletch has also: met horses (he was keen when they were on the other side of a field, but not so keen when they were leaning over the gate and sniffing him!), been away on holiday with another dog (Fletch hoped it’d be a naughty weekend…but he was very VERY wrong), shared a bed with the love of his life (Sally, a golden retriever…unfortunately, she didn’t love him back, but she did tolerate him in her bed), raced a whippet (and lost), been herded by a sheepdog (despite doing a pretty rubbish impression of a sheep), gotten muddy paw prints in every room of the house, and on every bed (an aspiration of any self-respecting canine), drunk doggy beer, and climbed a castle (okay, so it was only the one at the top of the Lickey Hills, but it still counts!)…

…but one of the things he hasn’t done, is go out camping in Old Red…and I’ve never had the joy of living in a camper van with a dog…

So that’s one more thing for both of our lists!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Animals, Random

 

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To Brittany…and Beyond!…

With any luck, I should be picking Old Red up this Thursday! This relies on him being ready, and on my boss allowing me time off…and both could be major stumbling blocks, but I remain hopeful! Planning our future trips might be a bit ambitious seeing as I don’t have him yet, but my cousin, Lesley, is getting married in France at the end of July and so that means the opportunity for a European road-trip with my little sister, Steph. How could I say no?!

We’re going to Brittany, so the most sensible ferry option is Portsmouth to Saint-Malo (or similar)…but that’s also the most expensive ferry option. Just my luck! Dover to Calais is less than half the price, but it does mean that, once I’ve factored in detours, our 6 day trip is going to be somewhere in the region of 1,200 miles! I’m more than a little nervous, but I never really was one for the sensible options…

Redditch to La Fontenelle via Calais

We’re going to leave Dover at lunchtime on Wednesday 25th, and then travel down the coast, arriving in La Fontenelle on Friday for the wedding on Saturday. Then we’ll start heading back on Sunday morning to catch a ferry on either Tuesday or Wednesday (annual leave permitting!).

We’ve got a three hundred mile drive between La Fontenelle and Calais so it seems silly to travel the same route twice. On the way there we’ll travel down the coast (ish) and stop off at Bayeux and the beaches, but what are we going to do on the way back if not go through the same places? Steph said she wanted to see Paris and I said no to begin with, thinking it’d add hundreds of miles onto our journey and not really be worth our while. It turns out that it’ll only be an extra hundred miles of driving and we could be there by Sunday afternoon, giving us a day or two to explore. It’d be rude not to, really…

Redditch to La Fontenelle and back again…via Paris…as you do!

It’s really exciting but I’m scared on several counts…

I’ve never driven so far in my life…the most I’ve done in a day is the three-hundred miles from Bradford to Exeter. And this will be in a fairly unfamiliar vehicle and on roads where the traffic is all on the wrong side!

Breaking down is a very real possibility…and that could mean either missing the wedding or missing our return ferry. Stressful on both counts. I need to find out about breakdown recovery on the continent as well as buy a whole bunch of tools and a Haines manual!

Puke is also a very real possibility…Steph suffers from really bad travel sickness and I’m not very good on choppy water. With over twelve-hundred miles to travel we could have a problem on our hands! Hopefully, the fact that I’ll be driving like a snail with a limp will help Steph feel better, and at least we can pull over and brew a cuppa whenever we want one!

All we need to do now is sort out a few camp sites along the routes I’ve chosen and figure out the places we’d like to see once we get to Paris itself. It’s a list-maker’s dream and I think I’m going to enjoy the planning more than I’m going to enjoy the trip itself!!

I’d have liked to take Fletch with us, but it’s not even an option. Besides the fact that we’re attending a wedding and he’d probably trash my van if we left him alone for long enough, he is also lacking a passport. I’ve never gotten him one before because there wasn’t the opportunity to take him and you need to meet different specifications for each country you want to visit so there’s been no point getting his vaccinations done without a destination in mind. He’s already chipped, but it takes a few months to get all the necessary jabs and there’s less than two months to the wedding.

Besides all that, it seems like a hazardous enterprise really. I wouldn’t like to run the risk of being turned away at the port (on the wrong side) or Fletch being stuck in quarantine for six months! He’ll have to stick to the UK for the time being…

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Camping, Travel

 

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The Melaware Has Landed!…

A parcel arrived this morning (thank you Snug in a Dub)…it was VERY well packaged and I had so much fun unwrapping all my new tableware and then getting Fletch to pose with it…

Fletch looks snooty because he’s enjoying the feeling of smug satisfaction that comes from pretending you’re being ‘green’

You see that little bit of space on the bottom left of the table? Well at one point during the photoshoot, Fletch got down off his chair to start dancing round me (he’s such a diva) and when I shouted ‘Up!’ (as in, ‘onto the chair’, an instruction he understands perfectly) he thought it best to jump, like a cat, ONTO THE TABLE…into that small space…right next to my precious things…

Needless to say I had a small heart attack as I envisioned everything bouncing off the patio, but luckily he got down with a modicum of grace and resumed posing on the chair, rather than as a centrepiece.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Random

 

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