Gotcha #4

Well that sneaked up on us, today is four years to the day of when Tilley first puked in our car … erm … what I mean is, that today is her fourth gotcha day!

Insert lots of soppy stories about how she is the best dog in the world and none other gets anywhere close. And tons of funny stories about how she makes us laugh. And how she shows us how she is the smartest cookie in the dog biscuit jar every day. Well that will just bore you to bits and anyway you know that this is true, if you have ever met The Diva 🙂

So here is a wee handful of pictures of her life with us over the last year.

Ain’t life with a dog brill?

Review of the Ruffwear Webmaster Harness

ruffwear webmaster harnessWe tried more than half a dozen harnesses, anti-pull systems and leads. Most lasted about a few walks before Tilley managed to pull against them or find a way out of them. Yes, she was bonkers and keen on pulling for the first year or so!

The Ruffwear Webmaster Harness is the only one she hasn’t done a Houdini on. Along with the Gencon headcollar the Ruffwear harness is the only thing that she “accepts” and doesn’t pull so much on. [As an aside, this is the dog that will happily lay outside our tent with a 30 metre line on and have birds land about 2 metres away and just look at them. Whereas when she is on a short lead on she will pull like a steam train toward a bird/dog/cat 200 metres away. Go figure!]

The Ruffwear harness is very well made, solid with durable stitches. We have used it constantly for three years, at least twice a day, in all weathers. She has been swimming in the sea and lakes and rolling in her “mud baths”. When it started to smell a bit we gave it a good hand wash. We hear some people even stick them in the washing machine.

ruffwear webmaster harness on beachThe Ruffwear harness holds well onto Tilley when we need to lift her over a stile or into the van. Without any moaning from her when she is “dangling” in the harness, it gives her good support. When she wear the harness I don’t fear that she will slip out and do a runner, all I have to worry about is to remember to hold onto the lead.

We also like it as other harnesses clearly hurt her legs (she had surgery when 6 months old for elbow dysplasia so we are very careful of her legs) when she pulled against it and cause her to limp. The Ruffwear Webmaster Harness hasn’t hurt her or elbows if she does a runner and she has forgotten she’s attached to me.

We might get the Brush Guard to give her more support when we lift her over obstacles. Even though with the amount of fur that Tilley has and her love of running into mud and undergrowth, I don’t think we would get much protection from it.

We managed to attach a little cheap bag to the side of the harness so that she could carry her poop bags and poop. This got a lot of comments – ooh, that is cute, she can carry her own treats – though when I tell them what we really use it for the cuteness disappears… 🙂

The only thing that got damaged on it that we had to fix was one of the belly straps that got chewed by one of our foster dogs (hello Jordan!). This we easily fixed at a local tent, boot and backpack mender since our sewing machine wasn’t strong enough.

We got a new one because the aluminium V-ring leash attachment started to wear through the strap it was attached too. Still good going after three years of Tilley wear.

I would highly recommend anything from Ruffwear as it is solid, durable gear with quality stitching. And, hey, Tilley does look good in her smart red harness!

Three is the magic number

Today is Tilley’s gotcha day, three years with us.

It’s been so great to have her around. Her legs are good, yes now and again she jars it and have a day or two limping. But her tail is wagging high and happy to go walkies.

She even started to like driving, when we get going she lays down on my lap, though still keep an eye on my driving. She have now learnt the last roundabout before we get to Mum, she squeals/whines like no tomorrow as soon as we get to it.

She got a few friends she loves to go play with, funny that she is very good off lead when other dogs are around. Some morning we get to meet 5-7 other dogs and she get a good sniff and run.

Yes she is still a right old Diva and tries to boss us around and is sometimes hard work. But no matter what they said in that article where they said dogs don’t like hugs, she demands them, Pressing her head in, leaning hard against us and if we don’t do it right we get a pad with her paw.

She started on raw food and she is much better for it. She also get a bone from the butchers about every week and is utterly knackered after an hour chewing away.

Oooops I forgot, we visited Dogs Trust at Darlington and they remembered Tilley 🙂

Sit down here is a few snaps of her over the last year.

Pinta Bean

Today we are saying goodbye to Pinta. She is the main reason why Peli agreed to my nagging to become dog owners.

We visited our friends where Pinta was a massive part of the family and she walked straight into our hearts. She and Sancha were the first for Peli – the first dog sitting, the first dog walking and her first dog poop pick up 🙂

Sadly the big C got to her, but we know that our friends did the right thing. They gave her a wonderful life on pillows and many cuddles, away from the streets of Mexico.

We will miss you Bean.

Gotcha day mark two

2015-08-31 19.56.49So Tilley has been with us for two years now and we have hardly noticed the time go by. She’s always been with us, hasn’t she?

As friends who have seen us with our mutt will attest, we love our little diva.

She’s got us sussed out and we do anything to her begging call, mainly belly rubs and treats.

All the rules we set on day one are of course strictly upheld. HA! Got you fooled, she is on the sofa, upstairs and on our bed. And the feeding from the table hasn’t gone that far that she has her own plate and seat, but she is working on it.

She been through the mill with us: operations, from which she has healed as well as she can. Sadly, she has arthritis in her hips and the elbows. Though there was no sign at all when we walked up to Stickle Tarn in the Lake District the other week. In and out of the rock pools, jumping from boulders to boulders like she’s done this all her life.


And then there were the many foster dogs. We finally learned that our little diva is a one-dog-in-the-house sort of a girl. Though she did help us fantastically well with the other dogs, they clearly were calmer and more settled with us and Tilley.

Walking on a loose lead happened a few months ago, after many harnesses and training tricks. Though she does tell me off when I don’t walk her before 8am!

Our new campervan she loves much more than the old van. She will happily sit up front and look at the world go by. We can barely put the camper bed down before she is up there spinning and digging around, making her own bed. Right in the middle and on top of both our sleeping bags.

A few weeks back we went camping with many of our friends and she was very content with the extra crowd – and belly rubs – just laid there on my lap or in campervan sleeping away.

2015-05-03--15.48.00-IMG_1043 She keeps us on our toes as she is very clever and learns things in the blink of an eye. So, new names for toys, friends and food she clicks on right away. Which means we have tried English, French and talking the first letter of words. Because any hint of “walkies” or “carrot” or “food”… you get the picture… she goes bonkers.

She might be smart but she still asks for belly rubs, food, walks etc in the same way so at times it is a guessing game – what do you want, Tilley?! And backwards she will walk while doing funny shaking, growling sounds with her mouth.

She will tell us when it is time for us to cook or sit down and relax on the sofa. She really loves to chill out while we cook, and when we relax on the sofa she loves to drape herself across me so she can have a good old sleep.

Oh, it is time for walkies, is it, Tilley? Right, OK.

Happy Gotcha Day, Tilley Diva!

Ruby the foster dog

Meet Ruby from Romania who came to us Saturday night after a long journey, but still bouncy and full of it. He is just about four months old got all his vaccinations and a Pet Passport. He will need to be neutered when he is old enough.

He was found with his mum and the rest of the litter in the snow late last year. He is now ready for adoption in the Yorkshire/Lancashire area, send us a message on this blog to arrange to come and meet him!

Alfie the foster dog

Meet Alfie. Isn’t he beautiful? He’s a stunning 3.5 year old neutered male who gives the most loving kisses and adores having his ears stroked! We think he has some collie and lurcher-type in him – he can’t half sprint! He hasn’t had the best start in life and is looking for a home with patient and active adopters who can give him lots of commitment and stimulation. This boy will make an incredibly loyal companion – he adores human contact and develops strong bonds with his friends.

He is still very puppy-like and playful and would make a great only dog as long as he gets lots of exercise, or could live with an active female dog who also likes to play. He can’t live with cats as he chases them, and given his bouncy nature, he is better with children over the age of 8. He loves getting out and about and walks brilliantly on a harness with hardly any pulling – he makes a fantastic walking/running companion.

He was quite fearful and hand-shy at first, especially when putting on his lead, but this is improving and he is learning to trust us. He tends to bark and mouth when he is unsure or over-excited, so we are doing positive reinforcement training with him to overcome this, and he is doing well. Adopters will need to commit to continuing this training.

He also sleeps quietly through the night and is doing well with his basic training. He is not yet fully toilet trained, but he is clever and this is getting better every day. Do you have the time and love to offer this fantastic boy?

I have walked him in town with many people/cars around, only thing that scared him was the beeper at pedestrian crossings. Though, when he hears one car on its own he is a bit worried.

There is a few things he is scared of, like my hat at first and a person carrying a glass panel. Else he will go to other people to say hello and hopefully get a cuddle.

Be prepared to get a lap dog, erm, chest/head dog, because he just want to get close to you for cuddles. That is pretty much where he spend the evenings on me.

If you are interested he will be rehomed in Keighley and the surrounding areas area, please contact Aireworth dogs in need Go on you know you want to!

2nd birthday walk

We celebrated Tilley’s second birthday, well the date we picked since we don’t know the real date, with a little walk to Wycoller. On the Ferndean way which makes a nice four mile loop. It is a bonus walk for us all :

– We get to see Tilley’s favourite person, Mum, so plenty of cuddles for her and cups of tea for us.
– She gets to run loose: there is a nice enclosed area, which is nicely away from busy roads and surrounded with fields.

We have also found a way to keep her from running around in her crate or back seat of the car and sounding like we are taking her to an abattoir. Let her sit on the front seat, so Vicky is now relegated to the back seat. There is the odd whine and whimper from her, else she is quiet as a mouse, while she studies my driving.

Quinn the foster dog

Quinn from aireworth dogs in need**UPDATE**: Quinn met his future family today, a lovely couple and daughter who is at university. They live right next to lovely walking areas, and we are sure he is going to be spoilt rotten. He was so excited to see them that he decided to show off and played with our Tilley for the first time, before retiring to the warmth of the radiator for a flat-out kip. He’ll go to his new home once his kennel cough has gone, so he’ll be with us for the next week while we get him back to strength, start his vaccinations and get him further on the road to recovery. Hurrah! [/end update]

The dog formally known as Pepe Le Pew, Exodus and Rusty, but now known as Quinn arrived yesterday for some TLC after having a rough life so far.

This gentle soul is about one year old and a good half his supposed weight. He hoovered down the food we gave him, even by hand. He has a very soft mouth – that is if you don’t mind slobber!

He stank to high heaven so we gave him a good old scrub behind the ears, where he just stood there quietly and let us wash him while he inhaled a bit of kibble. I wouldn’t say he now smells of roses, but he is now very welcome to get a cuddle!

As soon as he got into the house he wanted to come for cuddles, and loves gradually creeping over your knee until he’s properly sitting on your lap. He’s a bit heavy for a lap dog but we don’t have the heart to push him off!

Tilley wanted to play badly, but Quinn is still a bit scared and weak to do that for more than a couple of minutes. He is very gentle lad, he didn’t jump up while I was preparing food and he sits quietly next to the table while you’re eating (you will struggle to resist his gorgeous brown eyes).

He is neutered and is awaiting all his vaccinations. He is very skinny and has a bit of kennel cough at the moment which is improving with honey, four small meals a day and lots of warmth and kindness. We’re feeding him puppy/junior kibble, bulked out with pasta, vegetables and salmon oil. He’s already looking much better just two days after he arrived. Even in his hungry state he allows you to stroke him and take his bowl away while he’s eating, so we don’t think he’ll have any food issues. He just wants to nomnomnomnom all the time, understandably! But we’re feeding him little and often, just to get his tummy used to food again.

I have had him out for two small walks – he gently pulls on the lead but I’m sure that it will not take long to train him to walk well on the lead. He is very keen on other dogs we saw at a distance and other humans he wanted to go and say hi to. He hasn’t seen any cats or birds yet, so lets see how he handles them. When on the walks he is still scared of new things and places, and sometimes hides behind me, but is learning fast that it safe.

We think the poor lad has been shouted at when he wees because he’s very anxious, holds for a very long time, and looks scared and stops doing his business when we say “good boy” – so we now give him lots of space and gradually he is learning where to “go”.

This chilled-out boy is a real cuddle monster! He likes nothing more than to gradually work his way across you on the sofa until he’s fully stretched out across your lap. He’s a lovely, affectionate lad.

After his first walk yesterday where he started with his tail between his legs and wasn’t sure what was going on, he totally changed when we walked back into the house, like he knew that this is a safe and good place to be, tail up wagging and a spring in his step.

His first night at here we let him sleep in the kitchen, but after 10 minutes of howling and scraping at the kitchen stair gate we heard the tell tale sounds of a dog sprinting up the stairs and seconds later we had him on the bed cuddling madly up to Vicky. I took him down stairs and he settled on one of the sofas while I slept on the other. After an hour I went upstairs again and we heard nothing until I got down in the morning where I got greeted by a very tired looking and wagging Quinn.

We will miss him when he goes but will be really happy to see our second foster in such a loving forever home. (Otis is doing very well, by the way!).