The Small Dog’s Salad Days…

Let us talk about ears,

It’s a subject that’s sore,

And the two-legs gets cross

If I scratch with a paw

(Even though, I would say

That’s what paws are made for.)

*

Now, I have floppy ears

Which, as everyone knows,

(And especially dogs

Who have got two of those)

Tend to get a bit sticky

And trouble the nose.

*

So, the first time it happened

We went to the vet

And they stuck me with pins

Saying that’s the best bet.

(And, I’ll tell you, I haven’t

Forgiven her yet).

*

She decided we’d try it

Her own special way,

And she cleans them with

Natural stuff every day

(And I wonder what next

She will bring to the fray?)

*

We’ve tried all the flowers,

The leaves and the bark,

She’s made stuff from herbs

That we picked in the park.

(I’m still none too keen

On this ear washing lark.)

*

She’s gone with cucumber,

Which cools them down nice,

There’s garlic and oil

That’s she’s tried once or twice

And the vinegar worked

Pretty much in a trice.

*

“What next, oh wise two-legs,”

I take her to task,

‘Cause, what with the garlic,

She’ll need a gas mask.

“A vinaigrette dressing?”

(I thought I should ask).

*

I’m keeping my ears

To the ground while she plays,

(She has weird ideas

And some much weirder ways…)

It’s not how I thought

I’d spend my ‘salad days’!

*

Meet Guest Bloggers Zozo & Jools (and The Muttwits)…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

What is our blog about: 

Usual Muttwits follows the misadventures of a diverse community of dogs inhabiting the fictitious Thameside town of Westley Piddle.  The blog features stories on the various muttwit characters and is experienced through their own particular dogs’-eye point of view.

Each story (which is weekly serialized) focuses on one particular muttwit from the pack, forced off his furry butt to do something extraordinary to help out his best mates. What should be a simple enough ask mostly ends up in pure doggerel, lots of ear-flapping, and a quick bite or two of both friend and foe.

The blog is presented in the style of a graphic diary with the manga-inspired illustrations drawn or doodled beside the text which [‘”wot’] is written in a colloquial London voice. The stories are created to be family-friendly so there is no gratuitous language, sex or violence either written or…

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Here is Ruby with more information on Muttwits.

willowdot21

© willowdot21

Hi it is me again Ruby. I have just had a chat with the very talented Zozo and Jools and here is what they had to say.

What is your blog about?

Usual Muttwits follows the misadventures of a diverse community of dogs inhabiting the fictitious Thameside town of Westley Piddle.  The blog features stories on the various muttwit characters and is experienced through their own particular dogs’-eye point of view.

© Zozo& Jools

How are the stories told

Each story (which is serialized weekly) focuses on one particularmuttwitfrom the pack, forced off his furry butt to do something extraordinary to help out his best mates. What should be a simple enoughaskmostly ends up in pure doggerel, lots of ear-flapping, and a quick bite or two of both friend and foe.

The blog is presented in the style of a graphic diary with…

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The Small Dog’s Downfall

She said I was scruffy and needed a bath,

I said she’d be lucky, was having a laugh,

‘Cause my two-legs alone cannot lift me and hold me

The best she can do is manhandle and scold me

While she ends up dripping and I end up running…

My two-legs shampoo me alone? She was funning.

*

“Oh no, little Small Dog, we’ll try something new here…

Just come to me, girlie, I’ve got dry shampoo here.”

What, dry stuff, not wet stuff? Perhaps we could try it,

She’d not con me into the bath, ’cause I’d spy it,

I could do a runner, if she turned out sneaky..,

But ‘dry shampoo’ somehow did sound a bit freaky…

*

She sat on the sofa, “Stay still, little squirmer!”

She got a good grip, when I moved, she held firmer,

Then aimed something at me that’s all wet and squirty…

To call that stuff ‘dry’ is just playing real dirty!

She made me all frothy, put foam on my belly…

“Just go with it, girlie, you soon won’t be smelly.”

*

She brushes and combs while I’m squirming and whining,

“Don’t worry, my girlie, your coat is all shining.”

“Don’t worry? You do realise it’s confusing

To tell me a wet shampoo’s dry. That’s amusing?”

My scent was a thing any dog could take pride in…

I smell like a lemon… I’ve gone into hiding.

*

The Small Dog and the Hoover-Monster

She says that I am an unfortunate pup,

I shed loads of hair that she has to clean up;

When it’s summer the finest fur next to my skin

Makes its way to the floor so my top coat is thin.

*

Now, myself, I think that is a perfect design…

The fine stuff’s discarded, the top coat can shine,

She helps it along as she combs me each day…

Then I can go out, either sunbathe or play.

*

But she’s none too happy, and curses instead,

And says she could make up her own ‘feather’ bed

With the hair she removes from my coat and the floor

When she’s just hoovered up and she says, “Small Dog…more?”

*

It comes out in handfuls, she’s filled up the bin,

As if Nature’s management style is a sin,

I really can’t help it, it’s just how I’m made

That turns carpets hairy wherever I’ve laid.

*

So morning and night she will Hoover the hair,

And sweep in between with meticulous care,

And then turn around, see a new hairy trail

That’s wafting in furballs as I wag my tail.

*

“That’s it!” she says, “Small Dog, I’ve got it! Of course!

I should, without doubt, tackle hair at the source!”

So she tempted me over with treats to her knee…

And then, so unfair, turned the Hoover on me!

*

Well, honestly, first I just stood there in shock!

I just dare not move, stood as still as a rock,

She Hoovered my back and my tail and my side…

Until I shot off, seeking somewhere to hide!

*

And her, rotten two-legs, all she did was laugh

And go on to threaten a ‘nice’, soapy bath!

So today, if she grooms me with more than the comb…

I’m packing my tennis balls and leaving home!

The Small Dog’s Complaint…

Dear writer…

*

I know you’ve only got two legs

And elephants have four,

But honestly, you sound like one

When walking ‘cross the floor.

*

It’s every night; I go to bed

And settle down to sleep,

You stumble round, make so much noise

‘T would make the Sandman weep!

*

Perhaps you ought to take more care?

Maybe you need to diet?

Or go to bed before I do…

Or maybe, just be quiet!

*

Dear Small Dog, are you being fair?

I’m quiet as a mouse!

I tiptoe through the pitch dark night

To navigate the house.

*

I open doors and close again

With care so they won’t creak,

It’s only when I find a bone

Barefooted, that I squeak.

*

If, on occasion, I might groan,

Or even, sometimes, curse,

It’s ’cause I’ve found a soggy chew,

A tennis ball, or worse!

*

You’ve left me mangled spiders out

For unshod feet to find,

While I protect your slumber, dog,

By walking bare and blind.

*

And what about your nightly dreams

That wake me with a start?

Bone-chilling growls and sudden barks

Designed to stop my heart?

*

Dear writer, that’s ’cause I’m on guard

And while you’re counting sheep,

I’m chasing all the monsters off…

You need your beauty sleep!

😉

IndieAni Bones and the dragon’s lair III

Image: Sue Vincent

Parking the car up a bumpy lane, we got out and walked along the Ridgeway for a while. She said she was saving the best till last… and I would have been happy with the little wood she let me drag walk her through. I like woods. You never know what you might find. What we found was a steep bank and a deep ditch… and I should prob’ly apologise for forgetting she was on the other end of the leash when I bounded down and across it… She got herself up onto her feet again and I was pretty glad to see she wasn’t broken and was still laughing. It wasn’t far then before we reached Wayland’s Smithy.

They had been hoping to have the place to themselves, but there were loads of two-legses… big ones and tiny ones… and even another dog! Thankfully, though, they didn’t stay long. Most people don’t, she says. And then we could explore properly.

She doesn’t like getting lots of two-legses in her pictures of these old places, but you need to see just how big this thing is! Me, I’m the little black dot under the first big tree on the right… She said the mound covered a burial site and was a hundred and eighty five feet long… and had been around for a very long time.

About five and a half thousand years ago, she said, the people here had built a stone floor and a wooden house for the dead. One person was buried in there and then the bones of another fourteen people were buried with them. This house was covered in earth, then about a hundred years later, they built the new mound over it, enclosing it in a kerb of small standing stones. At the front of this new mound, there are chambers and a passageway guarded by huge standing stones. At least seven adults and one child were buried in the chambers… probably just the bones. Then she said something really worrying… She said we had to find Wayland and his consort… but that we could only see them if we were dead! I mean, I hadn’t pulled her in the ditch on purpose

I was glad she explained a bit better! The legend is that you have to leave silver for Wayland and he will shoe your horse. Maybe, she said, that story wasn’t what it seemed… maybe by offering something of yourself, the Smith would help you continue your own inner journey. But we had to find him first. ‘Pparently, the mound would once have been a lot taller, and the backs of the stones would have been piled with earth, ‘visible’ only to the dead buried there and the seers who came to commune with the ancestors. When I had a look, I could see what she meant. The fronts of the stones were not all that interesting, but the backs were alive with faces, creatures and strange forms. And I could only see half their height from the back…

I had to go and look inside… though it isn’t about looking, at least, not with eyes. You can see stuff anywhere… even just pictures will tell you what things look like. You have to look with your other senses and listen with your heart. Then you start to understand what it is you are seeing. You touch the Long Memory… dogs understand, but a lot of two-legses don’t seem to remember. And that’s okay, as long as some do. So I went in quietly to pay my respects, then we all settled down to listen to the song of the stones.

And then, it was time to leave. I was a bit tired by then, but it had been a wonderful adventure! They took me home and then went to see my boy for a while before he had to go to the big two-legs vet. I was too tired even to eat for a while so I snuggled down on the sofa… until she brought her special blanket in from the car for washing. Then I snuggled down on that instead. She just shook her head and said, “Oh, Ani….” and smiled. I think she was tired too. It was a good day.

(Click the highlighted links to read more about this site)

IndieAni Bones and the Dragon’s Lair II

We left Dragon Hill and parked a little way further up. My two legs was a bit cautious here, ’cause there was a lot of sheep to worry about, but to be honest, I was too excited to be getting up into the hills to bother about them. I’m not keen on sheep. The only ones I’ve met close up stamped at me! And anyway… I had enough to do, trying to herd my three two-legses.

Aerial view of Uffington Castle
Aerial view of Uffington Castle: Geograph © Copyright Dave Price Creative Commons Licence.

Off they went up the hill, and as soon as she thought it safe, she let me off the leash again. Well, one of the girls went off ahead, so I thought I’d better follow her. After a while, I looked round to check on the others and realised I couldn’t see my two-legs! She couldn’t have gone far, I thought, and anyway, I knew where she’d left the car. As I still couldn’t see her, I thought that’s where she must be hiding, so I ran all the way back down the hill. No two-legs. Then I hear her and the others shouting and whistling for me from up top! Where had she been hiding??? I had to run all the way back up again! By the time I got there, comments were being made about my rear end, which I thought a tad unfair. Much more of this up-and-downhill business and my rump would be positively sylph-like!

I made a point, after that, of herding them better… or at least, I tried to, but a dog can’t be everywhere at once… and they can! So, I stuck close to mine and we walked around the castle. Now, Uffington Castle is not what you might call a proper castle, so I had to do some ‘vestigating. There are no walls or drawbridges… and ‘pparently, there never were any. But the hill is crowned with rings and ditches of earth with ‘gates’ in. She called it a hillfort. And the Ridgeway, an ancient track that crossed the country, runs close by.

She told me the banks enclosed about three hundred and fifty thousand square feet. Now, I didn’t like to say anything, but I couldn’t see any feet other than theirs, square or otherwise. But she has some weird ideas. She said it had been made the best part of three thousand years ago and no-one really knew why, ’cause it is on top of a hill and there is no water or anything… so it would not have been a great place to live. And no-one seemed to have really lived there properly either, ’cause there were no buildings. But they did go there, and pot sherds and stuff have been found. Maybe for festivals or to trade? She said it was a no digging area, not even if I sniffed out any more bones. They’d already found eight Saxon and forty-six Romano-British burials and a couple of shrines up there, but I was not allowed to see if I could find any more. You’d think they would be glad of the help…

Uffington-White-Horse-sat.jpg
Aerial image, NASA

Then we walked down to the White Horse. Our friends could not believe that we could get so close to it. The ‘horse’ is a three or three and a half thousand-year old hill figure, made of trenches cut three feet deep into the hill and filled with crushed chalk.

It is a bit like Whiteleaf Cross, where I’d had another adventure, but much older. It is ‘scoured’ every few years to keep it white, and my two legses had been there when it was scoured last year. But this horse has watched over the Manger for a very long time.

Now, the whole ‘horse’ thing is still being debated, but what isn’t arguable is that it is aligned with the sun, which seems to overtake it at midwinter. So, it is a solar beast… and maybe those pointy things coming out of its mouth are supposed to be flames. Which would make it a dragon… But then, some folk think it is a sabre toothed tiger, which she tells me is a cat as big as her car… I think I’d prefer it to be a dragon.

We were careful not to walk on the chalk, but we did do some exploring, ’cause the thing is huge! Three hundred and sixty feet, she says… that’s a foot for every day of the year apart from the five that never used to fit. And it is carved into a steep slope… but you can’t actually see it properly except from the air or a very long way away. There was a lot of how-ing and why-ing going on, I can tell you.

Anyway, she said we still had one last place to see. By this time, my legs were quite glad we were not going to walk the mile there and another mile back. She was going to take the car closer again to save time, ’cause we only had the morning.

I’m not used to all these hills, and I was really glad she’d packed my bowl and water! I think she ought to pack some for herself next time though… she was looking a bit pink by the time we got back to the car. I couldn’t wait to see where we would go next…

(Click the highlighted links to read more about the sites)

IndieAni Bones and the Dragon’s Lair

It was a misty morning when she woke me. She was up and about earlier than usual… I wasn’t even awake when she started bustling about… and yet, when I’d had my breakfast and went for the leash, all I got was “Not now, girlie.” I ask you… what kind of a start is that to the day? “Don’t worry,” she says, “you’re going on an adventure.” Then she put some water and my bowl in her bag, dug out my seat belt and stuffed me in the car!

Well, she promised me an adventure, and I certainly got one! I thought I was going to see my canine mates, Gooch and Hardy, ‘cause we started off going that way. But no… we ended up in a car park with a big, long metal worm thing that was eating people. “It’s a train, you daft dog,” she says. Not reassuring, I can tell you. So instead of parking there, she put the car near a field and we had a run for a while. Different, yes, but not exactly an adventure… and then she stuffed me back in the car before I’d chased so much as a duck!

Then she took us right up close to the train thing, and two two-legses came up to the car… waving and smiling. Mine jumps out and they start hugging her! Well, I don’t normally allow hugs… not even from two-legses that she wants to hug (apart from little ones… that’s different.) So I barked a bit, just to make the point… and the new two-legses ignored me and got in my car regardless! One of them climbed in right beside me too! Her name was Alethea and I’ve heard a lot about her. “I’ve heard a lot about you over the years,” she says. Well, that shut me up, ‘cause you never know what she might have heard… but it can’t have been too bad, ‘cause she stroked me and seemed happy enough to be with me. Now I knew why I’d had to have a bath the day before… reinforcements had been called in and they stuffed me in the tub without so much as a by your leave…

Anyway, it seemed we really were off on an adventure, ‘cause we drove for ages. I might have got a little impatient in the rush hour traffic around somewhere she said was called Oxford, but it is called singing, not whining. It’s a Toller thing, and my Dad was a Toller. And anyway, they were talking all the time, so I was just joining in. But eventually, after hours and hours of driving… which she said was nowhere near that much… we pulled up at a green place and she finally let me out. It was a perfect spring day… all warmth, flowers and sunshine…

“Just a quick stop,” she says, taking the girls over to a big stone by the roadside. She said it was the Blowing Stone, a big sarsen with holes in it. If you put your mouth to the right hole and blow in just the right way, it makes a sound like a musical instrument that can be heard for miles. Alethea tried and, unlike my two-legs, sounded the stone almost straight away. That was a really good start! If these new two-legses understood the stones, we were in for a really good day!

We drove on a bit further and stopped again. This time she locked the car and took ‘my’ bag with the water in. A much better sign! “Dragon Hill,” she says. Now, I’ve wanted to go to this place for ages, ‘cause her and the ball guy talk about it so much. Alethea took my leash, but as I was a bit worried about whether my two-legs would make it up the hill, she had to give me back. So, up we went to the top, where the bare patch of chalk shows where St George slew the dragon… yeah, right! There is a dragon here… but it is far from slain.

Anyway, once she had checked for sheep, she let me off the leash at last… and then the fun really began! She started to tell them about the place, and about how her and the ball guy had started their adventures here. While I explored, she told them about the hill and how it might have been used in the long-long-ago, when the land was much younger. She showed them the Manger, and told them how she had ‘seen’ it filled with water and reflecting back the folds of what he had realised was the dragon’s wing. We looked up and saw the white outline, carved into the hill above… and she wondered if it was a horse or a dragon… but told us it was not the dragon…

But, when I tried to go up the slope to get a closer look, she called me back. We only had a few hours there as she had to take my boy to the hospital later, so she was going to move the car to another place to save time… and then we would get a closer look…

(Click the highlighted links to read more about the sites)

The Small Dog in the Rain

She says I’m inconsistent
‘Cause I don’t like getting wet
In bathtubs or in garden grass
That’s been rained on and yet…

I’ll jump into a muddy pool
Or, in torrential rain,
I’ll walk for miles exploring, then
Ask to go out again.

I’ll bound through all the long grass
Holding water in its blades,
And splash in any stream or ditch
By nature or man made.

But let her fill a steaming tub
I’m quickly out of sight
In case it’s me she wants to soap
I’m always poised for flight.

I work hard to be fragrant
To the perfect canine Nose,
It’s not my fault she’s human
With a paltry one of those.

For dogs and whiffy coats, say I,
Go always hand in glove.
She calls me inconsistent,
But I know it’s me she loves.

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