The Small Dog gets Snow…

The snow came down, fell thick and white
As far as I could see…
She opened up the garden door
So it could fall on me.

I love the white stuff from the sky
Though it is cold for paws…
It never lingers long enough
For me, before it thaws.

I still remember my first snow
She woke me in the night,
Said, “Come and see my girlie!”
And my world was cold and bright.

We walked through crunchy drifts of snow
And slid on shiny ice,
And all the trees wore silver streaks
And every path enticed.

My body language, so she says
Was such a give-away…
She still can’t look without a smile
At photos of that day.

And I can’t see a snowflake fall
From any winter grey
Without the hope that she and I
Are going out to play.

And though we could not walk the fields
Or scamper down the lanes
As snowballs flew, our puppyhood
Once more flowed through our veins.

Today the snow both came and went,
I hope it snows some more…
I’m watching from the threshold here
So she can’t close the door.

And just for once, she doesn’t mind,
‘Cause underneath, you see,
When snow falls from a starry sky,
She’s just a pup, like me.


BANANAS – PART 4 from Usual Muttwitts

Reblogged from Usual Muttwitts:

“Ican’tsee,Ican’tsee” scritches Squeezy.  Two muttwits, all earflaps and furry bodies, obscuring the High Street, handlebars, all else “Ican’tcontrol–“

Paddles is in a state of shock snifz yu–

Don’t move! barks Bananas

..Kama, Karma, Karmaaa…

Wot yu doing? Squeezy’s gotta squeeze the handlebars Paddles can’t eyeball anything neither, the little Pug being all wrapped ‘round his large snout.

“arhhhh!” Squeezy scritches, trying to move her handpaw from the control but stuck under the weight of both fourlegs.

Don’t move Bananas yaps into Paddle’s thick earflap until…

The mowta whizzes down the High Street, completely out of control, flashing past Tuffy and GitOrrf! in a blur of sniffy fourlegs, whinny skinny roundlegs and Kama, Karmaaa…

Woaa, is that Paddles hanging off the front? wonders GitOrrf!

Nah, mate Tuffy corrects, bit of a sausage hanging from chops just a cool Bananas, init!


Continue reading at Usual Muttwits

The Small Dog is under the weather…

I’ve been feeling under the weather,

It is winter and bones can get cold…

Especially when you reach my age

And your two-legs keeps saying “You’re old.”


Now, I know that in ‘dog years’ I’m eldest,

Though the theory has been disproved

That I’ll age seven years in your twelvemonth

So the argument leaves me unmoved.


Because, me, I’m a puppy when playing…

I can chase, fetch and squeak things all day

Where she’ll only survive for an hour

Before she tries running away.


I can go chase a cat in the garden,

Then I’ll see off the birds, it’s no chore

And  if cows are becoming a problem,

I can see off the whole herd mid-snore.


But my two legs appears to be fragile,

There are some who would treat her like glass…

Meanwhile, I think that she would do better,

If she moved more and got off her….chair…


“But it’s cold, girlie whirl,” she keeps saying,

“It is winter and bones can just freeze…

And if you want more movement from my end

Could we just shut the garden door please?”


But I like having doors that stand open,

So that I can go both ways at will

And if anything threatens my two-legs

I can simply move in for the ‘kill’.


I don’t think she has ever admitted

Just what sacrifices I have made?

“Don’t you think, little small dog, that maybe

In love, cheese and chicken, you’re paid?”


She may have a point ’cause she spoils me,

There’s always a treat I can chew,

And when I’m feeling under the weather

It’s her I will cuddle up to.






The Small Dog in Distress

Now, let us be very clear about this. I was tortured.

I am not blaming the lovely young two-legs in the van… she was kind, compassionate, professional and exactly what you want in those horrendous circumstances.

But my two-legs? The one issuing the orders? She knows what I think about “bath”, “ears” and “toes”…

Four letter words. All of them!

Now, I know she’s been fretting about not being able to groom and walk me properly since she got poorly, and if she had really tried, maybe I could have controlled my very ticklish feet. But honestly… it never occurred to me that she would go to such awful lengths…

I should have known something was in the wind when she got my other collar out… the one she never uses since I bit my way half through it. These days, she has realised I can get out of most things except the big coat-harness. It didn’t even occur to me that she could be so treacherous…

Then she sent me out for a walk with my friend. Now, she can’t really walk me these days, so I really enjoyed going through the village and up the hill. I thought it was a special treat, but ‘parently the sneaky thing just wanted me to run off some energy…

And just as I was home and waiting to get my collar off, they tempted me into the kitchen with treats…and still I didn’t understand how bad things were going to get.

They made sure I was back on my leash and opened the door. A pretty young lady with a nice, encouraging voice let me sniff her. She smelled of other dogs and really interesting… I was happy when they let me go for a little walk with her. She even let me get in her van and I like road trips…

Little did I know…

The door closed behind me, shutting me inside the chamber of horrors. For the next hour, she talked to me calmly while doing  dreadful things to me. By the time I got out the other end, we were both exhausted…

“It could have gone better…” said the young lady, “but she was a bit worried and I didn’t want to push it…” A. Bit. Worried. That’s it? When she sheared off my ptarmigan toes, clipped me in places no two legs should venture, cut ALL my claws, cleaned my ears AND left me smelling of flowers? “… so it will be easier next time…”

I believe Next and Time are also four letter words…

Then my two-legs had the cheek to say she could see all my grey hairs now! Well, at least I have hair… hrmph!

So, I dried myself off all over the sofa… the one she thinks is hers… Much better than a hairdryer. Then I demanded compensation in the form of half their lunch and loads of treats… and now I will snore and smell of flowers at them for the rest of the afternoon. That’ll teach them.

Telling me how beautiful I am is not going to cut it, I’m afraid. And what was wrong with smelling like a hamster anyway? Lots of people like hamsters!

Much love,

Ani xxx

Disclaimer from the Two-Legs: I feel I should point out that Ani, who is currently less than pleased with me, was groomed with absolute patience, understanding and professionalism by the proprietress of the mobile grooming van, to whom I am exceedingly grateful for providing the care that I have been unable to maintain lately unaided. And she will certainly be asked to come visit Ani again… 😉

The Small Dog has the Last Word…

“Anu, old boy, how did you get here?”

Frankly, as  a mention in their latest book, it isn’t good enough. Not only have they changed my name and gender, but I am pretty sure it is the only mention of me in the last of the ‘Don and Wen’ books.

I mean, the first three, the Triad of Albion? That was fine. They stuck to the facts, weaving the story of their adventures in the landscape and the old, sacred places with the things they were ‘seeing’ and discovering. And, as should be the case, I took a starring role. What would they have learned without me to guide them? To show them that Love was the true meaning of the Ball of Power?

They stuck to the plan with the second three books, the Doomsday series. Once again, they kept me centre stage… at least some of the time… as they continued letting ‘Don’ and ‘Wen’ tell their story and all the things they were learning to read in the landscape.  But  you know, when you have pups, whether they have two legs or four, and you send them out into the worlds on their own, you expect them to stand on their own feet, however many they have. So, if they made a  few odd choices and I wasn’t in those three books quite as much, that was understandable.

But then they decided there were some stories they could not really tell, not in quite the same way, not and expect to be believed. So, as they came towards the end of the Doomsday books, they a let a bit more fiction in. And, between leaving poor ‘Ben’ in jail and ‘Anu’ at home while they wandered through the ancient places of Scotand, England, Wales and Ireland,  they went completely off script as far as I am concerned… and me? I barely get a mention!

Now, pardon me for speaking out here, but does it not seem a little strange to leave your most valuable asset at home when you go off ‘on the run’? Or when you have a book to promote? Asking me to launch their book for them was, let’s be honest, only an afterthought… when I happened to wonder if I made it into the last of the Lands of Exile books, Kith ‘n’ Kin…at all…

They reminded me that these last three books contain a strong element of fiction. That they would never leave me behind, and that Don, Wen, Anu and Ben are all fictional characters… even if they do seem awfully familiar in a lot of ways. And that both Ben’s incarceration and my Anu’s absence are just literary devices… and that anyway, they would never mount and armed raid to steal repatriate a standing stone. Even though the mysterious Black Shade is real…

Lands of Exile:


Stuart France & Sue Vincent

            The Beeley Stone, ‘liberated’ from the churchyard at Bakewell, stands proudly in the centre of its village green once more. While the locals enjoy the fruits of its restoration, Ben, who had led the daring raid against authority, still languishes in jail.

Don and Wen, arrested and released without explanation in Ireland, now plot an erratic course through the wild places of Wales, while Jaw-Dark and Kraas, seeking the legendary stone of Fergus Mac Roy, have been separated in the most uncanny of circumstances…

As the darkness closes around them, the Black Shade haunts the moors above Beeley and, in the shadowy rooms of the old tower, an ancient and even stranger story begins to unfold…

Other Books in this series by France & Vincent

Available via Amazon UK, and worldwide,

for Kindle and in full colour illustrated paperback

Triad of Albion

The Initiate ~ Heart of Albion ~ Giants Dance

Don and Wen thought it was just a day out in an ancient landscape wrought in earth and stone, walking the sacred ways of the Old Ones. They could not know what mysteries would unfold as the birds led them deep into the legendary history of Albion.

As the veils thin and waver, time shifts and the present is peopled with shadowy figures from the past, weaving their tales through a quest for understanding and opening wide the doors of perception for those who seek to see beyond the surface of reality…


The Ætheling Thing ~ Dark Sage ~ Scions of Albion

What exactly were the Norse gods doing on a supposedly Christian artefact that looked more like a standing stone than a cross?

Don is drawn to investigate, questioning the history of the Blessed Isles of Albion, while Wen determines to restore the position of one particular stone.

Which would have been alright if Ben hadn’t gone back for the gun…

Lands of Exile

But ‘n’ Ben ~ Beck ‘n’ Call  ~ Kith ‘n’ Kin

While Ben, fast becoming a folk hero, languishes in Bakewell Gaol, Don and Wen are on holiday… or ‘on the run’ if Bark Jaw-Dark and PC 963 Kraas, hot in pursuit, are to be believed.

From England to Scotland and Ireland, the officers of the Law follow the trail of the erratic couple.

But who is the shadowy figure, hovering beyond sight?

What is his interest in a small standing stone and just how many high-level strings can he pull… and why?

The Small Dog on the Common Cold (or why there are sausage rolls under the sofa cushions…)

She’s got a really rotten cold

And isn’t feeling well,

She’s curled up on the sofa

And she looks as rough as hell.

The good thing is it’s ‘feed a cold’

As far as I can tell,

Which means, of course, she really must

Keep feeding me as well

And all the stuff that’s in the fridge…

Leftover new year’s fare…

The pies and pastries, nicely cooked

And all designed to share,

I’m having to dispose of

Because no-one else is there…

And she can’t seem to manage much

‘Cause sometimes, life’s unfair…

She says if I keep eating

Then I’ll only end up fat.

I say that she’s no room to talk

Or criticise on that

‘Cause she’s a bit balloonified…

She says I’m full of chat!

But if she wanted silence

Then she should have had a cat.

The Small Dog’s On Guard

I may be in the doghouse

‘Cause she couldn’t sleep in bed

So she  curled up on the sofa…

Where I dug her up instead

(Because I had to check her

Just in case she might be dead.)


“Oh, Small Dog, you are rotten

Thus to wake me from my sleep.

When dreams had just enmeshed me

And my slumber was so deep.”

“Well, writer you should answer,

Not lay there without a peep!”


“I wanted,” said the Small Dog,

Just to cuddle for a while,

And to keep your toes all toasty

And perhaps to see you smile…

But underneath your blanket

You were just part of the pile… “


“It is cold and I was sleeping

‘Cause I wasn’t feeling well…

Some rotten bug attacked me

And as far as I can tell

I’m viral for the moment…”

“To be fair, you look like hell…”


“Just snuggle up, then, writer,

Pull the rug up to your nose,

I will join you on the sofa

Where I’ll sit upon your toes.

And now I know you’re breathing,

I will guard you while you doze.






Christmas with the Small Dog

I was a bit worried he wouldn’t come, ‘specially after the antlers took a hit…

But he did, and I got presents… like wrapping paper to open!!!

And a new treat-finding puzzle…

And a squirrel of my very own (sorry, Duke!)

And it squeaks…

…and you can really shake it!

And he brought me a whole turkey!!!

Though she says not… but we’ll see, if she leaves it within reach…

Merry Christmas!!!

Much love,



Ani’s Advent 2020! When Magic Happens…

Dear Santa, remember that ball that I’ve had?

For several years now…it was getting quite bad…

And all that was left was some chewed rubber stuff,

A vague hint of curve and some once-yellow fluff…


I’ve taken good care to be so gentle with it

Not tugged it or torn, so the ball would forgive it,

But age takes its toll and there’s naught that can stop it

Especially when I must ‘fetch it’ and ‘drop it’.


So there’s nothing left and the ball’s like a pancake,

It no longer bounces, it just makes my jaws ache,

But although she’s offered a dozen replacements

Not one of the balls could be any solacement.


“That’s it!” said my two-legs, “the poor ball has bought it,

We must find a method or some way to sort it!

We can’t have you mourning for months being surly

And awful depressed for a lost ball, my girlie.”


So, she disappeared and came back from the kitchen

To start doing something, and me, I was itching

To see what she’s doing with needle and cotton,

But she wouldn’t let me, ’cause sometimes, she’s rotten.

But when she had finished, I couldn’t believe it!

She threw and it bounced when I went to retrieve it!

It rolled at some speed when I batted a paw

And I had to go chase it all over the floor!


What magic is this? Must be some invocation

That manages to exceed all expectation!

I’ve known for a while that she’s not been herself,

But I didn’t suspect that you’d made her an Elf!



My ball’s had facelift and looks a lot newer

Of weeks spent in mourning there now should be fewer!

So thank you, dear Santa, for magic come early,

I’m feeling all Tiggerish, bouncy and whirly!




Ani’s Advent 2020! – Pondering

ani (2)Dear Santa, I’m a little dog who doesn’t do religion.
I’d rather chase a tennis ball or terrorise a pigeon
Than argue over who is wrong or maybe who is right…
It seems a silly way to me to get into a fight.

I know the Christmas story, ’cause she told me long ago,
About Joseph and Mary when they had nowhere to go,
And that’s the bit that got to me, ’cause someone found a place,
Although they slept with beasts and not with others of their race.

According to the tale we’re told, they slept beneath a star
And shepherds brought their lambs to see and kings came from afar.
They gathered where the Baby lay, beside the ox and ass,
While angels sang above, they knelt in wonder on the grass.

Now, that’s a lovely story that the world will celebrate…
And then go back to living in their prejudice and hate.
They look askance at strangers if they wear a different skin…
I wonder if the Babe returned, if they would let Him in?

You know, I have to wonder, if there’s any point at all,
In putting presents on the tree or trimming up the hall
Unless they feel the Christmas spirit bringing love and peace
And know that it is in their hearts hostilities must cease.

I know, I’m just a small dog and my voice will not be heard,
I’m only good for cuddles and to chase a ball or bird.
But maybe when you visit you could tell them while they sleep
And give them just a bit of your compassion they could keep.

It would be nice to think it could be Christmas every day
(Without the preparations and the bills they have to pay)
But being gentle with each other, giving Love a place
Within their hearts and in the smiles they’d wear upon their face.

Much love,

ani 001

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