Saturday, 14 April 2018

Waterlogged Wimpole

On Friday afternoon I had the hare-brained idea that Wimpole Hall would be a good location to walk Isla in relatively calm and peaceful surroundings.  This failed miserably on two counts: firstly, I didn't realise that the schools were still on holiday, meaning that there were kids everywhere; and, secondly, the grounds were so waterlogged that only the main gravel car park was open.  This soon filled up, of course, meaning that there was a queue to get in - even at lunchtime.  Isla was a little worried by the noise of the cars and the number of kids running around, but eventually we managed to cajole her into the (relatively empty) area in front of the hall.  At this point she started to enjoy her walk.

For a labrador, Isla is a bit of a wuss when it comes to water.  Puddles have to be avoided at all costs, and she really doesn't like rain at all.  Still, the occasional Gravy Bone as a bribe did seem to help a bit.

She was glad to be back in the safety of our crate after such an exhausting outing.  What cruel and thoughtless humans she's been saddled with...

Vital statistics at 13 weeks old:

Weight:  8.2kg

Situation with cats:  Desperately frustrated that they won't play with her, so there is much barking and jumping around in an attempt to spur them into action.  Needless to say, it doesn't work...

Sunday, 8 April 2018


Being a week after Isla's second set of injections, Saturday was "Walkies Day".  We were warned by the vet about an outbreak of Parvovirus, to which young pups are particularly vulnerable until their immunity is established.  The advice was to avoid places where people normally walk their dogs.  Working on the assumption that this is pretty well everywhere, we decided to combine a trip to Girton College for Harriet with our first real walk in the grounds.

We needn't have worried about Isla in the big wide world, though, since she took to it like - well - like a labrador to walkies.

She clearly has the "pack" instinct, as she became very hesitant as soon as one of us (usually me with a camera) held back for any length of time.

We're limited to 15 minutes per day at the moment, but at least Isla will now be able to work off some of that energy which has been building up.  The daily dog walks are the main thing I've missed after losing Amber last October, and I can't wait to re-establish them.  It will be a little while before we're able to go for a ten-mile stomp, unfortunately, but I was always told that patience is a virtue.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Crufts 2018 (part 2)

I mentioned in the previous post about the size of some of the dogs we saw.  The St Bernard, although large, was actually quite restrained compared to others.  I've included a few humans for scale...

As always at Crufts, however, it's the dogs who are the stars.  Here are some of the beautiful animals we had the privilege of meeting while at the show.

For some breeds it appeared to be de rigueur to wear a bib in order to stay pristine for the show.  Not sure I'd want a dog which needed a bib, but that's another matter.

Now, I'm fully acquainted with a Norwegian Blue, but a Norwgian Purple was a new one on me.  A real bonus that they were on offer, though...

Finally, a picture from the Toft stand, which was selling wool and patterns to make dozens of different dog breeds.  Issy is a Toft addict, so it was essential that we spent lots of time (and money) at this particular stand.  The dogs really are pretty special, though, including the Schnauzer pictured below.  Just look at those eyebrows.

That's it for another year, but hopefully we'll manage to get back to Crufts in 2019.  It really is a "Grand Day Out".

Friday, 6 April 2018

Crufts 2018 (part 1)

Just before Isla joined the family at the beginning of March, Issy and I made our annual pilgrimage to Crufts - on this occasion for the Working and Pastoral groups.  I have never seen so many enormous dogs in one place ever before, and the largest we found weighed in at an astonishing 85kg.  The dog in question could eat a 15kg bag of food in a week - a feat which Amber, a classic labrador who was totally dedicated to her food, took over six weeks to achieve!

I'll start with a few pictures of dogs and their humans.

Preparing these large - and often shaggy - dogs for the show ring is a serious business.  I watched for ages as a lady appeared to apply make-up to a Samoyad with a brush.  It turned out to be some kind of french chalk which soaks up any errant damp patches!

Old English Sheepdogs were in a class of their own when it came to preparation, although this one didn't seem at all pleased with the process.

More pooches to come in part two...