Sunday, 30 December 2012

The highs and lows

We have had a fantastic Christmas. My boys being thoroughly spoilt of course.

We have been very busy with our canine and feline guests too.
There was no room at the inn so the days have started very early to ensure a good standard of care for all. I did bring Marion in to help a little to ensure I had time for family activities too.

Phoebe is growing fast. She is challenging the rules a little as I knew she would. When I call her to come in or follow me in the fields she is walking in the other direction. I assume she will run to catch up with me as we are always together my hope is she will not want me to be too far away. So far it is working as she panics and runs to me if I get too far ahead.

Our 14 year old Labrador Gemma, who I proudly boasted to Mel (dog groomer) how fab she is looking for her age just before Christmas has been in the vets for the past 2 nights.
Over 3 days she became more and more listless. The vet has run various tests and carried out several examinations with no conclusion. We are still puzzled but she has improved massively and back to eating like a horse. I was gutted at the thought of loosing her. She has been such a big part of mine and my boys lives for so long. I know they don't live for ever but am so please she isn't leaving us yet. :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Soooo cute

Pheobe plays with the cockerpoo puppies so well and is surprisingly gentle. They, being so very young hang on her ears and nibble her toes and she never objects and is clearly very tolerant. I never leave them un attended of course but it's great for all of their education and socialisation. The puppies coats are looking great and being fully weaned are ready for their new homes so if you are interested please make contact as they will soon be snapped up :)

I am doing heal work with Phoebe now and as with all of her education so far she is proving very easy.
I can understand other peoples frustration with puppies when they are out all day as she at just 13 weeks old has huge amounts of energy but I do have the advantage of having all my dogs and boarders to tire her out.

There will be no room at the Inn this Christmas (West Farm anyway) as both the cattery and kennels are very, very busy.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Nice weather

Yes it is cold but what do we expect for winter. All the animals are lovely and warm as they all have heating in their units. The self filling water dispensers are standing up to the minus degrees too.

I took Lola (one of our labradors) and Phoebe (our now 11 weeks old Rottweiler) for a long walk.
They were both fantastically well behaved. Lola particularly impressed me as she barely left my side and came as soon as I whistled. I have only had her since April 2012 and although I have done some training with her  she has had little one to one but I could not fault her.

The walk did end up being about 7 miles and Pheobe was a star. She trotted along quite happily and socialised with every one and any one. She is quite submissive if she meets a dominant dog which is great as I do not wish to have an aggressive Rotti.

Phoebe continues to do well with her training.
She sits on command, even at a distance. I am struggling a little to get her to go down but am working on it. She is very good at coming to heal and staying by us. My boys love to take her when they do the horses hay and fascinate how good she is. She comes to work with me when I go to tend the boarding dogs that way she will be very well socialised with other dogs. As I don't know them all I am cautious as to who she runs with.  I am mindful of giving her plenty of rest as she is so young and needs to rest to grow.
I am taking her out lots too and took her to Trusty pets where we buy our food. She enjoyed that and sampled a little of their stock :)

I did laugh as I took two cats for boosters for their owner who told me they are queens but they are in fact both boys :) Suzy and Trixy shall become Simon and Trevor :)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Life with a puppy

Phoebe is being such a good girl. Having said that she is getting ooooodles of attention and training from us humans.

She is being very well socialised with other dogs as I have my pack and Mel (the dogs groomer) brings her little pack, one of which is a Rottweiler too just 1 weeks younger than Phoebe, whenever she is here.

She also comes down to the dog boarding with me and at times there are many dogs, young and old, large and small, happy and grumpy. She copes with them all.

A few people have asked me about routine and practicalities so here goes.

Her crate is in our main room and she is in there whenever we are not giving her attention, feeding, walking or training her. She was ignored from the day she came home if she objected to being in there so for her, for now, it is normal and she is never noisy.

In her crate she has a soft bed, water bowl to the rear, toys she can chew, balls hanging from the roof and old socks tied onto the side. She does play with the various items. I do also feed her in her crate.

She has never messed in her crate so there is no need for newspaper.

She has, on two occasions woken me in the night and after waiting a while I have let her out and she has been busting to relieve herself. You need to learn to "read" your puppy.

First thing in the morning, in the early days I lifted her but now I just open the crate and call her, I head towards the out side door and expect her to follow me (she always has so far). She almost immediately squats to urinate. I let my older dogs out too and they have a good play. After some time it's back into the crate for a rest and breakfast whilst I sort my boys and do school run. Once home she comes to the dogs boarding to clean and sort and socialise. Then into her crate for lunch and snooze.
It depends who is around and what I have on but she either plays with other dogs or out for lead exercise in the afternoon. Then back in the crate whilst I collect n run my boys around.
If my boys want her out to play and or train her they know to put her out side first and stay out with her until she has spent a penny at least.

Who ever goes to bed last puts her out for a short while then into her crate for the night.

When ever she is out of the crate I am often calling her and giving her commands. She is getting the hang of it all. If my attention is diverted for any reason she is put some where secure and never left to wander.

So far, so good. I am sure there will be hickups along the way but she has been a pleasure and so easy so far. I have made a point of taking her food off her a couple of times as she really is keen to dominate over it and I must remember she is a Rottweiler after all :)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Weaning well now

Well, Have you tried taking pictures of puppies. :)
They do make me laugh as they jump and squeal at sudden noises and to get this photo I knelt down by the barrier to their pen and they all jumped as I stood up. Soooo funny.
They are starting to get very hairy now and at last they are starting to eat solid food as opposed to relying on Toffee's milk.
Toffee is spending less and less time with them and who can blame her with those sharp teeth and claws.

Like everyone else we are surrounded by water. I am trying to put the horses hay at higher ground so they aren't stood in water all day. My boys are being very good at helping with the hay. Well they are their horses and they should shoulder some of the responsibility.

Phoebe continues to do very well. She is very keen as she took hold of a pheasant's leg (unattached from it's dead body) and shot, like lightening behind a unit and could I get her out?.
I gave the rest of the bird to my other dogs and none were nearly as keen as her.
Perhaps she will prove to be a good ratter :) That would be a great help as there are quite a number around as I think the raising water levels are pushing them to higher ground. They usually make an appearance ready for winter so I am always prepared.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

4 weeks old

Just about on their feet as they wobble rather than walk. Their legs get stronger by the day. Eyes and ears are open. I know they can hear as they squeal and jump at any sudden noise. They are of course getting used to family life which will set them up well for their forward life.

Phoebe, our gorgeous Rotti has settled in fantastically well. She is in the crate in our family room as she is going to be a house dog. This is good for me as I am for ever advising people about having a puppy and how to avoid having their homes chewed whilst still taking care of the puppy and training it well.

My very, very first job in the morning is to open her crate and take her straight out side to relieve herself. She gets to play with my other dogs then too. I feed her her meals in the crate where she has water at all times too. She comes out several more times a day and always outside first. I usually go out with her and once she has done number 2 I do some training with her. Either inside or out on the yard.
In her crate she has her bowls, bed and lots to play with. There are socks tied to the sides, ropes hanging from the to , a piece of coal and a paint brush.
She may wine a little at times but soon stops when she realises no one is listening.
My boys are really enjoying having her and are helping with the training too which can only benefit her.
She has had her second injection today so we are off to puppy training. Ill let you know how she gets on.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

11 days old already!

Doing very well. They are all looking healthy and well hydrated. Toffee is eating like a horse but look how fantastic these puppies appear. Eyes and ears should open in the next couple of days or so.
Their coats are starting to break as they will have very hairy mop type coats when a little older as they are cockerpoos.
Toffee is very relaxed with the steady flow of human visitors but she will not let our other dogs visit yet. Much to Gemma and Pippa's disappointment.

Our guard dog !!

Meet Phoebe. She is 7 weeks old and gorgeous. We collected her on Friday and she has settled very well. She has learned her name, comes when called and can sit on command. Ok! we have a long way to go but she is off to a great start. My boys are all working well and enjoying her too. We are going to take her puppy training, starting as soon as she has had her second injection.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Labradoodle girl

This little girl is still available from Lulu's litter. (multigenerational)
She is very laid back and has a super, fleece coat and very dark nose and eyes. At 10 weeks old she is very ready to leave home.

Puppy sales are much slower than they have been for years and the price the labradoodles command is nothing like it was. I guess it is the economic climate and more people breeding.
Our future plan with Labradoodles is to use a miniature or toy poodle as using standard can produce enormous offspring.

Cockerpoos are here!

 Toffe is having a well earned rest from her puppies. She is looking fantastic and is a very attentive Mum.
Her cockerpoo puppies are gorgeous and all thriving well. We weighed a couple yesterday and the girl is 280g and male 300g

The rest of the managere is all fine. Life is so much easier with just 2 horses. The new horse if proving a bit tricky and as we found out recently he is very, very green so we are treating him like a 5 year old even though he is 14
I cannot wait to pick up our Rottweiler puppy. My boys are very excited about her too.

I am going to change some of the grills on the dog boarding to give a 5cm gap as some of the smaller dogs can walk through with ease :).
Christmas bookings are going well so far anyway.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Well, i have done it :)

For many years we had a most gorgeous Rottweiler, Max. For those who knew him he was a most wonderful dog, we lost him, aged 14, 3 years ago and we do miss him. He had a great presence and offered us enhanced security. We have gone for a girl (no name yet) that way we won't compare but I cannot wait to get her home. She is very well bred and the family is full health screened which is very important in such heavy dogs.  These are her Mum, Dad, Gran, Gran Dad and aunty all are stunning characters.

At last the dog boarding is having a lul which gives me time to clean and prepare for our next busy time. The cattery, on the other hand is so busy. I don't know why and long may it continue.

My boys are very busy at school, working hard and preparing for GCSE's and AS levels so the pressure is on for them and I know they will do their very best so finger crossed they do well.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

so cute!

This is one of the little girls from Lulu and Hugo's litter. They are up and running everywhere they can get to now. Their coats are fabulous. They are fully weaned and starting to leave home and yes, I am pleased as trying to keep them all clean is impossible, when they are all jumping around and some one has left a parcel. What fun they are though and my boys do love playing with them.

I had no idea concrete block was so porous. My dog boarding kennels is built in it and every time it rains the walls are damp. I am reluctant to put shelves for bedding up as it too will get damp.
My challenge for this week is to paint the outside walls!!!
It has taken me ages as the paint just disappears but I have almost finished the two ends of the building which take in the most being so exposed. I like the look of it painted in magnolia which is a bonus so over time will aim to paint the whole 33 metres. I do like a challenge. :)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Up on their feet already

Now 5 weeks and very lively. Eating well and full of fun.
Mum (our F2B Labradoodle) developed an abscess but Jilly our Labrador stepped in and helped with milk supply. Instincts!!!

All are doing great now. Lulu back to full fitness and milk supply
Jilly enjoyed unlimited food
Puppies are great finding new homes as have lovely, thick fleecy coats.

My partner and I went to London to see Tim Minchin in Jesus Christ Super Star and it was fantastic. Ben Forster, he lead, definately stole the show with a solo. Stunning!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Is she laughing?

She is adorable and the whole litter are so very confident as they charge around the paddock in the sunshine.
Sales are very slow but that is usual for this time of the year as people are getting back to normal after summer holidays. Fingers crossed it will pick up as I have many mouthes to feed already.

I am really missing not having a horse but with life as manic as it is I think it is for the best. We may need to get a larger one for my middle son having said that as he continues to grow (almost 6 feet age 15 years) and he clearly loves his riding.
 My eldest son is doing a lot of work with his new boy. I am impressed at the level of patience he has with him.

My youngest is off to Germany soon on an exchange. He is looking forward to it and he really does enjoy learning the language.

Marion and I spent most of last week thoroughly cleaning the boarding units after the summer rush and ready for the next busy time. Christmas bookings are coming in already for both dogs and cats.

Friday, 31 August 2012

So cute!

These are our F1 guys who are ready to start leaving this week end. I have managed to get them out on our yard, playing with our adult dogs over the last few days which is great for their education and confidence building. They are fully weened and wormed and eating 4 good meals a day.
They are practicing their "choose me" face here.

I have had a lot of the bull breeds of dogs in the boarding and have decided that they are definitely different as they use their shoulder strength and like their play mate on their backs. They seldom growl and I would think give very little warning if they are going to turn nasty. Having said that the ones we have had in have all been lovely and we never leave any dogs out un attended so have had no problems.
The biggest was an American bull dog and he is HUGE.

Marion (my help) is settling well and getting used  to the dogs. She was always great with the cats but has had to learn more about the rabbits and small pets too. She says she is enjoying it and I do hope so as it is lovely to have help on board that you can trust.

I an very disappointed as I am having to give my one self indulgent week end a miss this year as there is just so much going on with our businesses and my boys too and I would never want them to feel "parked" in any way.
There is always next year.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Interesting day!

I had to leave my eldest son to do midwifery duties today as Lulu started whelping at 5 am and I had an appointment mid am. I had no choice but to go but my son is perfectly capable and indeed proved his capability as he had to help one out of the amniotic sack and this evening is doing very well, as they all are.

We now have Labradoolde 50/50 F1 chocolate or one cream girl. 4 weeks old
Jackapoos just one little black and white girl. 3 weeks old
Ladradoodles 75/25F1B these should be low/non shedding and curly/ fleece coated. Born today

We continue to be quite busy with all the boarding animals but this evening we did find time to play on the horses and what fun it was.
I haven't ridden for weeks so was a little tentative. I really enjoy riding our 14.3hh fellow so I am going to take him when I go to horse camp. I have so much responsibility sitting on my shoulders so my safety has to be priority. Camp is just fun for me as I really do not have the time to compete at the moment which is a shame but reality.

Friday, 10 August 2012


Sooo cute with her tongue peeping out.

Her Mum is Pippa (tri coloured jack russell) and her Dad is Woopert (chocolate miniature poodle)

She is black with splashes of white notably on her feet. She hs her slippers on :)

Pippa is such a possessive Mum and she had a snap at Gemma (our retired lab) she is her best friend normally and Gemma only wanted to help but Pip has nothing of it and told her off!!

The puppies eyes are just starting to open but they have no intention or need to become mobile :)

Thursday, 9 August 2012


What a life, all that drinking and snoozing.

As you can see the puppies are doing very well and growing fast. Bitch milk is incredibly nutritious.
They are opening their eyes and ears and are just about managing to get their bellies off the floor and waddle around. I will start weening them now which takes some pressure off Jillly.
She is a fantastic Mum who is enjoying having unlimited food. Well she is a Labrador.

The businesses are all very busy what with summer holidays and the olympics. It is lovely to hear of peoples experiences when they come back from London. I have heard nothing but praise from the number of people out on the streets guiding people to their destination to how clean and welcoming it all is to the whole atmosphere and level of excitement being quite electric. I would love to have got hold of tickets and experienced it first hand and I am so very pleased those empty seats have been filled.

I have a lady on board to help me a little with the animals which is great. I managed to rope her into helping me with a little DIY too and we built a small pen in the end room of the dog boarding. We just need to get some shelves up now and plumb in the dogs washer then everything is done and I should be able to put my feet up. Just a little :)

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Chunky puppies

Jilly has just had a good play session, in the rain. She needed a break from her Mummy duties as she is doing a fantastic job. The puppies are all doing great and they have doubled at least since they were born. Their coats are just starting to break a little as they are Labradoodles.

My boys are at pony camp this being their last day they have a one day event, riding dressage, show jumping and cross country. They have both had a fantastic week, both having had responsibilities for a squadron and many of the children are new to senior camp so they have had their work cut out.

I am shattered as the business is very busy and I have been doing all the food shopping for camp each day and taking it up to them. Well! it gets me in to make sure my boys are ok :) I have a lady who comes in to let the dogs out at lunch time and help out in what ever way is needed. She is enjoying it thank goodness as it is so hard to find some one you can trust with not just your business but your home as well.

Must go and get the water proofs out as it is throwing it down of course :(

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Has the rain stopped?

Golly I do hope so.

We are trying to put an additional dog run up so we will have two big exercise areas for our guests to let off steam. It has been a challenge as the rain has pored and pored. It has been relentless!!
We have our fingers crossed that summer has at last arrived.

Jilly (chocolate Lab) delivered her litter of Labradoodles today. Dad is Max, a chocolate standard poodle. I sat up with her all night and typically the first one arrived at 6.15 am. They look beautiful and healthy. Jilly looks shattered but is coping very well.

My boys have had friends around this week and it has been lovely to hear them chatter and play. They spent much of the time together, out side and on our island. They had a BB war and really enjoyed them selves.

We have puppies

Jilly (Chocolate Labrador) and Max (Chocolate standard Poodle) have produced a lovely litter of chocolate or golden Labradoodle puppies.

Jilly it doing a great job and being a very attentive Mum. She will let us handle them which is great for the puppies education and confidence building but wo betide any of our other dogs that go near her "den". The puppies only sense available at the moment is smell so exposure to humans is great. We have a lot of people in and out and everyone loves to see puppies. Many have never seen them so young and are fascinated. We don't let people hold them at this stage as I do feel that would push Jilly too far and serves no real purpose. Myself and my boys handle them and check them over regularly.

My two big boys are at pony camp and having a great time. There are 44 children there, half newcomers. All with their ponies of course. We went to see them yesterday and it was smiles all around. My eldest jumped a metre high jump on his new horse so was beaming from ear to ear and my middle son was on the cross country course jumping very confidently and surrounded by girls.
They are at Eland lodge which is a British event yard wit fantastic facilities.
They are already talking about camp next year. They clearly love it.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Down on the farm

My place is looking very clean and tidy. I have been painting and cleaning all the cat units (with a little help from my boys) I have painted the floor and what a difference it has made to it. It is all 5 years old now so was in need of a spruce up.

The dog boarding continues to go well. I have lots of dogs in and summer is proving to be very busy.
I love nothing better than to get to know their charactors and who can go out to play with who. I have cut back a little on how much they went out as the dogs were getting so very tired as it was turning out to be about 4 hours play time a day and I guess they are just not used to it. They still have  3/4 runs out a day and ooodles of attention. My boys love helping too. They have all been brought up with animals of course so are very confident around them. No summer holiday for us this year.

We are down to just 2 horses as I have parted with mine. A multi factorial decision of course but I am missing them as I cannot get on top of all the grass this year.  Perhaps we need sheep?

Friday, 6 July 2012

Idilic life??

Ok, so it is not always an idilic life style as today I have been trying to divert the flow of water off my drive and cleaning out drains but it is all part of it. This weather is showing me just what I need to do to have my place as close to perfect as is possible. :)

The cattery has stood up to it very, very well in fact, I did have to laugh as, as the torrential rain fell I looked across and saw every unit with the cat occupant sat out in their run (under cover of course).

The dog boarding has just let some rain water in through the block work at the rear. The roof continues to leak but I have a solution to that. The dogs really don't mind getting wet and have had their usual amount of exercise and play time. I am on my 4th change of dry clothes today.

I do really enjoy it though which is half the battle. I love making sure all the animals in my care are well cared for no matter what the weather.

I have noticed an incredible amount of slugs this year. I guess due to the wet and humid conditions. There are also mini tree frogs every where. I haven't spotted them on my land before.

Summer is on it's way.        I hope!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Summer is here

I am so not going to moan about the weather!!!

I am really enjoying the dog boarding and it is lovely to get to know all our guests. We have a Rotti in at the moment who I would love to hide when the owners come to collect her. She is just fabulous. So affectionate and loving. She and some of the others come up onto my yard for a good run around. My boys are loving it too as they get to play with these lovely dogs. They are animal crackers too.

We do have a cocker spaniel in who hasn't settled in the boarding and didn't even settle in our house until I put her with some of my dogs. I think she needed the company.  She is fine now.

The girls cooking litters are starting to look a little round now so we should have puppies later this month. We are expecting Labradoodles and jackapoos. Fingers crossed all goes well for them.

Toffee should come into season soon so we should have cockerpoos later in the year too.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A Lull

We actually have one day with no boarding dogs in so I am going to put the finishing coat on the floor then we are ready for summer. This coat is specialist for kennels and will not be affected by dogs claws and we can pressure hose it with no ill effect. I am determined to keep it all looking as smart as it is now and never smelly.

We have been having real problems with the horses not letting us clean their ears so have resorted to a very simple, sedating method called a twitch.
You have a stick with a loop of sting and take their top lip and in effect restrict the circulation. This releases endorphins in their brain and they are very sleepy which allows you to complete the treatments much more safely and effectively. Once the twitch is removed they are fully alert with no after effects.

Monday, 18 June 2012

cleaning, cleaning, cleaning

I am giving the cattery a thorough, spring clean. I have hoovered every nook and cranny and my eldest son is painting and freshening up the wood work.

We have found some lovely paint to do the floor in both the cattery and dog boarding so that is the next job.

He is coming to the end of his GCSE's and with the unemployment in the youth of today there is ever increased amount of pressure for them to do well. Fingers crossed. He does care which is half the battle.

I still haven't ridden for ages, partly as so busy but also having saddle problems. Think I have it sorted though.

We have new neighbours who seem very nice and reasonable so I am happy as living in such a secluded area is easier just knowing you have nice people on your door step.

Monday, 11 June 2012

My feet have hardly touched the floor :)

I cannot believe how busy I have been with boarding dogs, cats and small pets.
It took me pretty much all day to tend them all, to ensure a good level of care and attention all round.

I had a Collie who had managed to eat rat poison a few days before she came to me so she needed special care and attention and vitamin K. What a responsibility. I had a few others guests on medication too. I really should charge for the administration of it.

My own dogs are settling to the visitors although i'm not sure that they are very impressed with it all.
I have had some of my girls in season too.
Pippa has mated a poodle so we should have Jackapoos
Jilly has also mated a poodle to create Labradoodles. First cross
Bae is having a rest this time around much to her disgust.

I only have a couple more to come into season so they should be all done for my busy summer time.

The horses are all very well but rather fat with all this lovely, lush grass.
My boys and I set out to do a ragwart pull in the horses field as it is poisonous if they eat it. I could not believe how much there was. We filled 2 big bins and have much more left. Years ago we never had a problem with it as there is a small orange and black caterpillar that eats it but nower days it has been killed off by use insecticides.

I haven't ridden very much as have just been so busy but I would like to do a dressage competition before the end of the year. Just the one :)
I am trying to get hold of a saddle flocker (stuffer) at the moment to alter our saddles but how hard is that proving?
There are so few of them around, good ones any way.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

I do miss the ponies

This is the first year we have had to mow the lawn! It was hard work and took myself and 2 of my boys hours to get on top of it. It's looking good now though.
In the past we have had our small ponies who who were great at mowing and didn't churn it up if they had a run around (unlike the big guys). They didn't keep it quite so even so there is that bonus.

How is the weather suiting you?

I am so pleased with the dogs boarding in that as it is south facing it gets the sun and does get very warm what with the light concrete bas as well. The granite floor within the units is so lovely and cool though so the dogs are absolutely fine. The automatic water dispensers work very well giving them fresh, cold water at all times. We have just had one who doesn't like to drink out of it but that's no problem as we have many water bowls.

My male Labrador (Oscar) is getting very worked up as I have 3 bitches in season and he cannot "marry" any of them. Bea is having her season off. Jilly has mated with a standard poodle to produce first cross labradoodles. (Jilly is Hug's Mum) and Pippa will mate with a miniature poodle hopefully next week to produce Jackapoos.

All go as ever down on the farm as my eldest has a new horse too. Rocket. He has been out of work for some time so we are taking it slowly and sensibly to bring him back as he aims to go to camp on him in July.

All good fun!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

looking ahead

Bookings for both the cattery and dog boarding are going very well. We are almost full all summer.
I am trying to get ahead of some jobs like mowing the drive which is a challenge s the grass has shot up and is sooooo thick. It helps to keep me fit :)

I have been putting the finishing touches into the boarding units such as beds, chairs, mats, bowls etc

We have a golden doodle in at the moment as well as some others but he is huge and so bouncy. What a lovely character too.

My guys are all a bit out of sorts as I have two of my girls in season. Bae is not being mated as she is on a rest but Jilly will be as she has missed two seasons. I think my other girls are coming into season too which is driving Oscar (my male Lab) mad as he will not marry any of them.  His new wife is very settled but won't be old enough to marry until late 2012 early2013

I wormed all my guys today. Oh! I know how to live.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Good news

Sadly I lost my big brother to lung cancer last year (50 years old). Typically, for a man he refused to go to the doctors with his symptoms. Who knows what might have happened if he had.

Today I have had a message from an old school friend who I became re acquainted with at my brothers funeral. She was given a diagnosis of lung cancer last year and has had several courses of treatment and now has a "stable disease". Great news.

Business is doing well. We have a few cats one of which is emigrating to New Zealand in July. Button Mushroom is lovely. He loves a cuddle and lets me know when he has had enough.

We have two absolutely gorgeous miniature terriers in. They are so small with big characters but they do love a hug especially Cocoa.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Very proud

I hope you don't mind but I am going to mention my youngest son as he attended his first athletics competition on sunday. He is a member of derby athletics club. He was a little nervous as you would expect with 5 other clubs competing. The atmosphere was lovely, very friendly and everyone very encouraging. He ran 100 and 200 metres and came first in both (by quite a long way). Of course he is thrilled to bits to have confirmation that he is quite quick and his brothers are claiming credit for training him as he has had to run from them all these years. We shall see where he goes with it as it is a huge commitment for him with training twice a week and the competitions can be a huge distance away.
For me, I love that he has a focus with something very positive to aim for and achieve.

The dog boarding is going very well. I am getting into the swing as to how it all works out and ensuring all the animals in my care have lots of attention. My eldest son impressed me as whilst I was out at athletics he had all the boarding dogs out to exercise them.
We are almost full at points over the summer holidays so I do envisage turning business away :(

Jess is making a good recovery but she has not slowed down any :(

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The rain continues to fall!

Lola continues to settle well. She was charging around with Lulu and Jilly today. They were taking it in turn to hold the ball and the other two chanced. I love to watch them play and have freedom.

I have been out erecting fencing this morning. The constant rain has made the ground nice and soft which made the knocking in with the sledge hammer easier but I am fed up with getting wet! when will it stop!

Jess is going back to the orthopaedic hospital in Lichfield tomorrow for a check x ray but she is doing very well and really starting to use that leg. I really do not feel that she will have slowed down any.

I am really hoping to get my horse out to do some dressage competitions when the weather improves. They do need to be clean and tidy which is very difficult when the ground is so wet and muddy and we don't have stables.

He is looking great and has wintered well.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

What a long day

The day started extra early as I have a few boarding dogs in and I do like to give them all time and attention. I also have quite a number of cats to care for and as always my own crew.
My boys, of course need sorting then off to school.

I sat having my cuppa and browsed the internet in search of a wife for Oscar (my gorgeous chocolate lab)
Today I found her. A 7 months old chocolate labrador. Good pedigree and KC registered.
Something felt right about her but it was a nasty day with heavy rain forecast. I did have an appointment at the vets for standard jabs but my mind kept drifting back to this puppy so I moved the appointment and headed off to Leeds!!

We have called her Lola and she is lovely. A deep chocolate colour and whilst still a little nervous having been dragged from her home, she is settling well. I have been doing some training with her and she is very quick to learn. But why wouldn't she? she is a labrador.

The family who had her had just taken too much on with 4 very young children and 3 young labradors. Very brave but it was proving too much for them. I do think people underestimate how much time, attention and exercise any dog needs.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Oh! My! Goodness!

And I thought she must have just bruised herself when she ran into the log but as she was non weight bearing the next day I took her to  Bob Payne (Vet in Willington) He referred her to specialists in Lichfield and she had her fractured femur pinned and plated that very day.
I have no idea why but she wasn't pregnant which is a blessing as she has a few weeks of recovery and behaving herself.

Sorry to all those waiting so patiently for her off spring but she will make a full recovery and I shall mate her her next season in about 6 months time.

On a lighter note.
I have Red boarding with me at the moment. She is one of Toffee's last years litter and what a ball of fluff she is. I shall try and get a photograph of her if she will stay still long enough. She has a beautiful character too.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Great ears!

Bobbin and Bonnie (boarding dogs) are having a great time playing chase.
I have just put them back in their own unit for a snooze as they would play all day. I love to see them though, having some freedom and space to play.
I have had all the boarding dogs out together this morning and what a good time they all had. As I find my feet with this new business venture, always erring on the side of caution, I try new ways and as with my own dogs, I feel the best way to fully exercise a dog is off the lead, chasing and wrestling with others. This is all subject to temperament, age, gender and willingness. Of course

The pully systems are now all in situ for the trapdoors. (It took me all week) I am so pleased with them as they are substantial, aesthetically pleasing and very robust.

Jess (my cocker spaniel) is so very energetic and enthusiastic. She shot out of my gate as we were heading off across the fields and she slammed into a log. Needless to say she is feeling very sorry for herself now.

What beautiful weather again and thank goodness as my eldest son is on his silver D of E practice walk.
He was so looking forward to it so I am pleased the weather has been kind to them as it is miserable on the move for 3 days, camping and getting wet and cold.
He is about to seriously start fund raising as he is going to Tanzania next year to build toilets and teach english in an orphanage.
My youngest is running 3K at the Derby fun run. Good luck

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I did it!! (with a little help)

The concrete base is now in!!
Thank goodness as 10 cubic metres is a lot to level and tamp down. I am shattered. 
What a difference it has made though, it looks great and will be so easy to keep clean and disease free.
The cement wagon couldn't get close enough so I had to hire a pumping machine. If I put the extra cost out of my mind, what a difference it made to the job. They pumped it from the yard, over the kennels and into the run. To an extent it could be spread as it was poured. 



Monday, 12 March 2012


I have decided to take up running!
Mad, maybe.
My youngest has started running with Derby Athletics and he needs to train more often. He is keen and I would like to support him (and get a lot fitter in the process). We are planning to drop onto the canal and run together which would be exhausting but fun. At 12 years of age he is too young to go alone and I doubt he would wish to either. I have no desire to attempt to keep up with him but how nice to be able to share the journey.

My boys and I are planning on doing a run/ride
My eldest two on their horses and myself and my youngest on foot. We shall go on a circuit from our home which is about 5 miles. We giggle at the thought of doing it and I shall let you know when we do.

This week my major job is concreting the dog run. This will ensure that any boarders can get our for a good run around no matter what the weather or ground conditions. It will also help with the peering of their nails. We have been working out the angles and falls to ensure we have no pooling of water in the run. It needs to be easy to clean down too and I have no intentions of having smelly dog kennels.

The painting is all done now!!!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Down on the farm

I have been painting for what feels like days!!

I am using specialist paint in the kennels on the walls and the floors. The floors have taken 3 coats but it is looking great now.

The concrete is no longer absorbent  and dusty but has a lovely, none slip, easy to clean finish.
I have painted to walls a rich cream colour and this too is easily cleaned and lifts the light in the units too.

My next job is to level the scalpings (rubble) in the run, wacker it down and then the concrete can be delivered. The ground has dried out lovely now so the wagon should have no difficulty gaining access.

Once these last jobs are complete I can get posters made as the photographs can be taken then I can really get going with the marketing.
Having said that I am so very pleased with the bookings I have had to date through word of mouth. August particularly is quite busy with a steady trickle leading up to then. A steady start to any new venture has to be a good thing to high light any, small teething difficulties ( I hope I won't have any of course)

Back to the painting :(

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

She decides

Jess (our working cocker spaniel) is in season. I put her together with Teddy (golden, toy poodle) but she wasn't ready. Yes she would stand for him but at that final, crucial second she squealed and shot away leaving him bewildered and confused. This continued for several days but then her hormones were obviously at the correct level, as she decided yesterday  (day 11 of her season) was the day and wether he was interested or not he was going to "marry' her.

They mated a few times over the next 24 hours so fingers crossed we should have beautiful, cockerpoos in 9 weeks time.

Toffee who spends a lot of time with Jess is in season too. I am not taking a litter from her this season as she bred summer last year so this is her rest time. She has other plans though as she parades in front of Oscar, my Labrador stud. I have locked her in a dog boarding unit for her own good.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A few days off

I have just been to London for a few days. it was lovely and very relaxing. We went to see Absent Friends at the Harold Pinter theatre which was very funny and I could relate it to some of my friends lives.

The atmosphere in London was very warm and friendly. Lots of people were happy to chat and almost everyone was smily.

One lady visitor was fascinating outside a shop. We stopped to chat with her. The shop is Abercrombie and Fitch. She encouraged is to take a look. How could we resist.
The entrance had a line up of young men with very well toned torso, waxed and oiled. There were a number of girls with gingham, short dresses on. They were all very, very welcoming.

As we walked beyond this entrance I noticed just how dark it was and no windows. More bodies populated the shop and they were all very well versed in their welcoming greetings. We wondered but to be honest I couldn't wait to find the exit, which I might add wasn't easy. How things have changed as there was no opportunity to focus on the product for it's colour or quality as it was so very dark and the intention seemed to be to distract you but I can only assume this approach is successful as they seem to grow from strength to strength. The young were certainly enjoying the experience and they are their customers of course.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

What fun!

This is Cocoa, he is with us on holiday. What a lovely gentle nature he has. he is a very calm boy and doing well with his basic training. I think he is enjoying his holiday and i am so pleased we have under floor heating in the dog boarding.
Oscar, Jilly and Toffee came to play with the puppies this morning. They are all snug and resting now.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Play time!

We have cocoa back for his holidays. Is Toffee eating him?.

They have such fun as I have 2 puppies still available and Toffee and Jess love to play. When ever I can, I have them all playing in the run of the dog boarding. It was lovely and sunny yesterday so quite warm as the building faces south. The under floor heating in their sleeping area is on a thermostat so I don't have to worry about them getting cold as they know where the heat is when they want a warm up.

I have the builders in today as we are doing the final polish of the granite floor, in the sleeping area, ahead of putting the specialist sealant on.  I am looking forward to the weather improving so I can concrete the run as it is not easy gathering droppings from the gravel.

The horses are doing well through this winter. If anything, they are a little fat. We are managing to keep them working between myself and my sons. Our big boy needs the regular work as he is so big and rather aged. These in themselves are not a problem but he did have 4 years of doing nothing and it has proved very difficult to bring him back into work and get him fit. 3 years so far.

We toy with replacing him as my eldest son wants to do more but as I have no funds available and he is such an honest horse, he gives his all to whatever you ask him to do and we both trust him. These facts will make him very difficult to replace.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Looking good

The puppies have almost all gone to their new homes now. This is one of the girls still available. She is getting very good at recall and not wetting in her bed. She is very confident and just follows me around our yard. I do like to run the puppies, when old enough, with my adult dogs. They teach them so much and help to grow their confidence.

I really would like to get my horse out a little more but boy! was it windy this weekend. Horses don't do too well in the wind as their instinct is fight and they do rely on being able to hear well.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Beautiful day

What a lovely, sunny day.
I have boarding dogs in and let them play and have a good run around in the big pen with a couple of my dogs, well supervised of course. This way they do get lots of exercise whilst in my care and should go home after their holiday, shattered.

I took a couple of my dogs down to the canal today. It was so very peaceful and beautiful with the frost. The canal is frozen over. My dogs seldom go on a lead but do cope very well with the restriction. They are great off the lead thank goodness as we meet so many that aren't. I do believe that often they just pick up on their owners/handlers anxiety. If only we humans could chill.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Nice weather

Yes it is fffff flipping cold but how nice to have some proper winter weather. The birds in my son's aviary have managed to hatch quite a number of chicks through December which, they have never done before. They have all they need to hand, to survive but the wild birds will not have that luxury and they too will have been thrown by the unseasonal heat.

Horses are funny as the first frost always sends them a little whappy and today was no exception as they flew across their field, bucking and squealing as I went to feed and put them hay out.

The boarding dogs are doing great as the heat hit me as I opened the entrance door. All of the heater units lights were on. The whole building is so warm. I hate to think what it will do to my bills but my guests are happy and comfortable and that is all that really matters.

We still have quite a number of cats in and they too have their own, individual heat source through a pad. They were all sat on them this morning and who can blame them?

The puppies are the biggest challenge at the moment (only a couple left)
They need plenty of room to run and play now so outside would be ideal but it is just too cold so I run them on my yard with my big dogs, this all helps with their education too as the big dogs take no none sense from them and don't hold back if they need to chastise them for and "bad" behaviour.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The dogs are hiding!

This is the view across the front were you can see the large exercise ring and all the individual units.
I think the cooling towers look good in the back ground.

Puppy sales have gone well with just 3 left at this time of year too!
I have had lots of feedback and they all seem to be settling in well.

I has been a very warm winter which in many ways is good but our horses are carrying quite a bit of weight going into spring. This has significance for laminitis (inflammatory problem in horses hoofs) as it is directly linked to weight. I cannot bring myself to put them on a diet though as we have a cold spell forecast. British weather!!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Happy new year to all

Life is a little quieter after Christmas which was busy to say the least.
Having said that there are the lucky people who can take their holidays outside of the school holidays so we have a few dogs and cats in.

Today I took my horse out for a hack, what with the wind I haven't dared to take him out but we need to work him regularly as he needs to be fitter for my son to take him to pony camp where they do have to work hard every day. I am hoping to get to horse camp myself this year.

I have had a lot of interest in the dog boarding and have taken bookings right up to October 2012.I decided today to paint the block work!!! Why did I do that as it takes ages and it is so absorbent but it will look nice

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Bags packed. One of our Labradoodle puppies.

She has a stunning coat. This is one of Lulu's puppies. She is a good sized, chunky girl with the most unusual eyes and very pale nose.  We also have Chocolate and black Labradoodles looking for a home.

This warm weather is confusing our animals as my son's cockertails have chicks!! They have just about grown their feathers so we are hopeful that they will survive if the temperature drops suddenly. I would put a heater in his aviary but the adult birds strip the electric cable with their beeks which is never a good idea.