The Small Dog has a Bad Week…

“Help! Ambulance!”

Not a good way to start your week, but last Monday, it was panic stations. My two legs went wonky and, stood all hairless in the tub, she couldn’t breathe. The next few minutes, I was going spare, I can tell you… with her gasping, the ball guy phoning, and me trying to be there for both of them and stay out of the way at the same time.

A squealy thing on wheels arrived and I sat with her while they did stuff to her. I don’t mind admitting, I was frightened and shaking a lot, but then they bundled her onto a bed thing and took her away.

I didn’t see her again for a week. I wasn’t sure I would ever see her again.

The ball guy and my boys were all really worried. There was no sign of her at all but they told me it would be okay… I didn’t really believe them. The ball guy took some of her clothes things in a bag… so I put her a chicken treat in too, just from me. When he came back, he still had the treat, but it smelled like her… so I felt a bit better, Then, he let me speak to her on the phone a few nights later. And one of my boys came round too. Then some new people.. even though she still wasn’t home. It was all a bit weird and worrying.

Even put me off my food.

Anyway, yesterday, people came with machines and everyone seemed to be getting real excited…and my boy brought her home! I was beginning to think I’d never see her again!

She smells funny… not just funny clean, but funny weird. She has obviously been at the vets a long, long time… but she came in and cuddled me as soon as I could stop wiggling.

She has a short leash attached… like a head halter so she can’t pull or escape or go very far. And it is held by a noisy thing that doesn’t move, so she is a bit stuck. Which is fine by me, as I’m barely taking my eyes off her in case she goes missing again.

I’m just hoping they don’t have to call the squealy thing again now. She still doesn’t seem right, but I am watching her like a hawk and pretty much glued to her feet. It is really hard to guard them when you don’t know what is going in or where.

So it has been a hard week…and a worrying one… but at least she is home where I know I can keep her safe. I hope.

Maybe I should sleep in her bed to make sure?

Much love, Ani xxx





When something fell from heaven,
“Well! What’s this?” the small dog said,
“If clouds are raining food, now,
Could I have a steak instead?”

A crow had dropped its breakfast
And it landed on the grass,
But seeing Ani’s interest
Decided it would pass.

The small dog was a bit confused
And thought she’d ask the question,
So brought the evidence to me
Before she tried digestion

It wasn’t long since breakfast though,
And not one to be beaten,
Once reassured, she buried it,
“Elevenses, uneaten.”

She tucked it in beneath the green
“I’m saving it,” she muttered,
“But when I dig it up again,
Could I please have it buttered?”

The Small Dog’s 10 Best Tips for Training your Two-Legs

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The correct training of your two-legs… ‘specially visiting two-legses…is critical to their well-being. I thought I’d share my ten favourite tips for the establishment of proper pack behaviour…

ani window1. Use advanced surveillance techniques. Never let them arrive unexpectedly. This gives you a unfair unique advantage. You, of course, will know long before your two-legs that a visitor is arriving. They have to wait for a knock on the door. Which means, you can be ready… and waiting…

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2. Decontamination. You don’t know where they’ve been… they may even have been near cats! But a thorough washing both cleans them up and lets you investigate. They, poor things, have a problem with soap and smelly stuff… they smear it all over. They taste a lot better when it is all gone. They think you are being cute and giving kisses… but that’s okay. We know better… And anyway, if they are going to stuff us in baths with their smelly stuff, what do they expect?

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3. Let them play. They like to think they know best. They also think they understand humour. There are limits, however. Me, I draw the line at coats and fluffy jumpers. I know some short-hairs like ’em them in cold weather, but I’m quite happy in my own skin. Still, if you let them play their games, they have no excuses when it’s your turn 🙂

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4. Establish firm boundaries. This is especially important with regards to your sofa. It may be necessary to demonstrate… If they still don’t get it, ignore them. Then, if all else fails, sit on ’em.

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5. Establish ownership. While it is possible to allow your two-legs a certain amount of freedom, it is best to show them quite clearly in which areas you are in charge. This obviously includes the ‘fridge and its contents.


6. Obedience training. Set the ground rules early and be consistent. This should be one of your first priorities. They need to know exactly what you expect of them.

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7. Prevent boredom. A bored two-legs will only get into trouble. Stimulate their minds by setting them puzzles. It might take them a while to work out what they are supposed to be doing, but it keeps them out of mischief. Just give them some attention and encourage them…

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8. Keep them active. Your two-legs need plenty of exercise… ‘specially if they are inclined to sit in front of their little boxes all day. Two…or three…nice long walks every day should do the trick, but you can always encourage some activity in the gym too…

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9. Encourage a healthy diet. This means making sure they keep you well supplied with food, treats and tidbits. Their diet doesn’t bear thinking about. Apart from the cheese and the chicken…. I think ’bout those a lot.

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10. Keep them happy. Give them plenty of cuddles so they know they are loved. Listen to them when they talk to you, be aware of their feelings… and share every laughing moment you can with them.

ani (1)Remember, a happy, healthy two-legs will, if properly loved and cared for, last you a lifetime. Ani winks

Much love,

Ani xxx

Cuween Hill Chambered Cairn #Orkney #Scotland

“Any people that revere their dogs this well have my approval,” writes Deborah Jay.
I can only agree 😉


Back again to yet another Neolithic chambered cairn – this one, Cuween Hill, is the final one we visited, and I’m glad, because I can tell you, if this had been the first, I would never have gone inside!

The approach is up a steep hill (guess the name gives that away!), and it isn’t until you get up close that you realise just how low the entrance passage really is.

The only way to enter was by waddling through in a squatting position, unless you wanted to crawl on hands and knees, which would have been an option but for the large puddle which extended inside as well as out.

Now I’m really not great with confined spaces, and although I waddled my way in on my haunches okay, the moment I stood up inside, I wanted to get back out again. Having the only exit at knee height…

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The Small Dog Despairs…


Sometimes…well, okay, often, I despair of my two-legs, I really do.

She is so proud of how well we communicate, but what she really means is that while I understand loads of her language, not just smells and body language, but words too… she can pretty much only understand a little bit of mine.

Granted, she has got used to telling the difference between the special blinks that just show I’m paying attention and the ones that show that, in spite of everything, I love her. And she’s got a pretty good vocabulary for barks, ear-angles and tails. She knows when I’m not feeling too good and can ‘read’ when I am inviting her to play… and even tell the difference between when I’m telling the pigeons to go away or when there is a real intruder out there.

But, she just doesn’t get my singing.

I think the problem is my parentage. She’s used to setters… she knows I am intelligent, even though some dog sites use words like ‘a little willful’ and say we have ‘a tendency toward independent decision making’… But she’s never lived with a Toller before… and my dad was a Toller. Now, the site does mention my intelligence and inventiveness, even if it does say I am ‘strong willed’ and ‘can take control of a household’. It also says, “screams, sheds, likes to roll in dead fish and other stinky things, and is generally smarter than the average person.”

Well, I don’t scream… but I do sing. And my two-legs has no musical appreciation…or understanding.

Take the other night. I am curled up on the sofa. Outside it is dark and damp, but she still has the door open for me. And then, I see it… an intruder… so I start singing to her to let her know. It was fairly obvious… but all I get is,

“What’s the matter, girlie?”

“Don’t you feel well, my girl?”

Then she gets up to come and cuddle me.

That’s all very well, and normally, I’d be fine with that, but six inches of fat, brown slug is now slithering down the side of the rug towards my ball. I’d have dealt with it myself, but I’m not allowed to touch slugs. So I kept singing. And it took me ages to get her to look in the right direction!

And they call me a ‘dumb animal’…

I mean, she did get it eventually and unstuck the thing from the floor. They weld themselves onto it, you know. She said it would be happier in the garden. I thought she would be happier not finding it barefoot in the dark…

It is hard work being the intelligent one in this household 😉

So, anyway, I’m going to have a bit of a rest, ’cause she’s off adventuring again for the first time in ages, and I’m going to stay somewhere I don’t need to guard quite as much. I’ll tell you about it when I get back.

Much love,

Ani xxx




The Small Dog Plays Mother…

I’m a creature of habit, I have my routine,

I know where she’s going, I know where she’s been,

I don’t like her going out late, or at all,

I’d rather she stayed home with me to play ball.


This morning she did things before she went out

With stuff in the bathroom, that left me in doubt

As to whether she thought I’d be easy to fool…

But sometimes a break in routine can be cool.


She brought home my boy, ‘cause his bathroom is broke

And for two-legses having no bathroom’s no joke.

So, he came to use hers (I will not call it mine)

And to have him around for a while was just fine.

I let him play ball for a bit and share treats

(While she tried to con me… tried trimming my feets!)

I de-stuffed my pillow (that’s two that I’ve killed)

While he went and soaked in the bath she had filled.


But when he came out, he just smelled like a flower,

I thought I should exercise real doggy power,

So cuddled up close, did the whole ‘puppy eyes’,

Then, as he’s my pup, took him right by surprise…

No two-legs of mine needs to smell like a rose,

(And especially not when he’s under my nose)

So I washed him again and I got him real good

Till he smelled, to my taste, how my two-legses should.


I had just washed his face and I’d groomed him real well,

The ungrateful two-legs just said, “Mum, I smell,

‘Cause the Small Dog has licked me,” and I saw him glower,

“I think I should probably get in the shower.”

Beauty and the Beast: Grooming the Small Dog

I looked the small dog in the eye
And she looked back at me…
A more determined look, I think,
You would go far to see.

I’d only mentioned it was hot
And that she must concur
That summer is no time for dogs
To wear their winter fur.

“A bath would be a good idea.”
I spoke to empty air…
She was long gone and disappeared
To hide behind my chair.

I wheedled, pleaded and cajoled,
But would she come out? No.
She knew from past experience
That in the bath she’d go.

I tried to reason with her
Then gave in and tried a bribe…
She sat in silence, wary
And ignored the diatribe.

My blandishments fell on deaf ears,
She wouldn’t move at all…
Until my back was turned
And she went off to find her ball.

I found her brush, it’s almost new,
I’d bought it years ago
But she will never let me close
To where her feathers grow.

I cannot brush the dog at all,
In spite of arrant need,
Not even when I cheat a bit
And put her on the lead.

But this time, somehow something changed
She stood as still as death,
And while I brushed, she snuck in close
Till I could feel her breath.

She’s not a ‘licky’ dog at all
So took me by surprise…
The tongue came out with purpose,
Caught me right between the eyes.

She got her own back as I brushed;
Her weapon grew more bold…
Revenge tastes sweet, or so they say,
Though I’m more hot than cold.

And so the dog is fully groomed,
But I’ve been laundered too,
All unconsenting, I’ve been washed
With horrid, doggy goo.

The victory must go to her,
We know who has the power…
While she escapes the dreaded bath,
I’m heading for the shower.

The Small Dog’s ‘Recipe’ for Chicken

“There are, you know, limits, O writer,” said I,

“To how long I’ll stay here to whimper and sigh.

Perhaps it’s the heat that been making me sicken…

But now I’m not well, you should feed me on chicken.”


“Oh Small Dog, you do not seem too ill to me,

You’ve barked at the horses, the birds in the tree,

You’ve warned off the postman delivering bills,

You seem quite alert, given all of your ills.”


“O writer, I think I’ve contracted a bug.

You know I was queasy, was sick on your rug.

I went ‘nil-by-mouth’ for the whole weekend too,

I’m curled up in bed and I’m feeling quite blue.”


“O Small Dog, you do look quite sad, I must say,

Though that didn’t stop the ball coming in play,

Nor did it prevent you from bounding about

Like some rabid canine each time we went out.”


“O writer, for all of the ills I endure

There’s one simple remedy, of that I’m sure…

A morsel of chicken, or if not, some cheese,

A sausage or two… and a slice of ham please…”


“Now, Small Dog, I’ll grant you that chicken’s okay

You’ve not really eaten a mouthful all day…

Apart from the treats and a gnaw on a chew…

Just give me a mo, I’ll see what I can do…”


That’s how I got chicken for breakfast and tea

A chicken she bought and cooked only for me.

For all young pups out there, a word to the wise…

They’ll do almost anything for puppy eyes.


Notes from a Small Dog: Weathering the weather…

I’ve been a hot dog this week, with the sun blasting down so much we couldn’t even go for a walk except early mornings… and these days, I like to sleep a bit later. She’s done her best to keep me cool, though, leaving all the blinds closed till the sun was off the house. Which was also cool as it meant I didn’t have to worry about warning off intruders like horses, hang-gliders and pigeons. I’ve slept a lot.

Mind, she did say I was slacking a bit when the red kite landed in the garden and I didn’t tell her about it… she just saw it take off again. Now, I think she’s being a bit unfair there, ‘cause if I’d have barked, it would have just flown away even sooner and she wouldn’t have seen it at all!

But anyway, today was the hottest yet and, with not the slightest breath of air.  I went and found a cool spot on the kitchen floor. I suggested she join me there, ‘cause she was properly melting, but she just started muttering about doing a rain dance and invoking the storm gods.

I think the gods must have been listening… ‘cause they stepped in pretty quick, before she could start the dancing lark (they are good like that)… and we had an almighty storm, all of a sudden.

I didn’t realise they had acted so promptly at first, so I went out and barked at the sky when it started growling. Then the rain was battering the windows so I came in, while she dashed round closing things and mopping the rain up from the floors.

The wind got really loud and blowy and the sky was growling non-stop… so, just in case she was frighted by it all… and not because I was, I mean, dogs aren’t scaredy cats, whatever she might say… I took up a position in the corner of the hall, behind my bed, so she could come and sit with me on the floor. So she would feel safe, you know.

She says she likes storms, but I don’t think she liked this one much, cause she had to get dressed and go rescue things from my boy’s pond… and she’s still catching up on work though it is hours after my bedtime! How am I s’pposed to get my beauty sleep?

I suppose I could just settle on the mat by the door, with my nose outside… as long as she doesn’t get the hoover-monster out…

Much love, Ani xxx

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