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New Boy on the Block


Today, we added a new member to our animal family, Haribo the collie.  As some of you may know, I work part time at Pawplay, a local day care and boarding centre for dogs.  One of the regulars is a collie called Haribo.  Over the few months, the owner has been looking to rehome him.  Collies are tricky dogs because they require to be worked otherwise they can easily become bored and destructive, so finding a new home was proving tricky.

In the week before Christmas, something made me think that maybe we should take him.  It’s hard to be specific, but I think dogs know when they are on the “rehoming list” so to speak.  Maybe I saw it in his body language.

Anyway, me and Mrs D trooped to Pawplay (Haribo was a Christmas guest) on Christmas Eve so that Mrs D could meet him.  She loved him straight away so we asked Richard if he could sort it.  Arrangements were duly made and we picked him up this morning.

Introducing a new dog is something to be done carefully.  As fans of Cesar Milan, we pretty much followed his approach.  The result was a very calm introduction to his new surroundings and our dogs.  Of course, they already knew him from Pawplay and indeed, George was delirious with happiness to welcome him.

haribot-collie-runningIntroductions made, we headed out for a walk.  It really helps the new dog to settle if they are tired out.  We headed to our field and let all three off to play.  Haribo loved it and charged around.  He and George played a little but Haribo was off running this way and that.  George still has a sore leg from an accident a few weeks ago so is a little reticient to run too much.  The only downside was Haribo found a nice patch of duck poo and proceeded to rub it all over himself.

haribo-collie-runningWe checked on his recall and, well, it needs a bit of fine tuning.  But once, he gets the idea he’s to come back, comes back quickly and happily.  It’s something he needs to master before we can trust him off lead.  There are pheasants, rabbits and even deer around – mucho tempting for any dog!

But, he had a good time and then we walked around the village to test his heel walking.  A tendency to pull, but being a collie, he soon worked out what was wanted.

Later in the day, we introduced him to our livestock.  First the chickens.  He showed only a passing interest – perfect.  It took us weeks to train our terrier they were not to be hunted!

sheep looking at dogThen the sheep.  Now, we had harboured thoughts about training him to be a sheep dog.  A test for a sheep dog is to let them see sheep and see if their herding instinct kicks in.  It’s pretty obvious when it does!  Well, our sheep were more interested in Haribo than the other way round! They trotted over to inspect him.  Haribo glanced at them and then discovered the tasty dog snack of sheep poo!  So, as a sheep dog he may need a little encouragement.  Not that we mind, it will be easier for us if we can take him in the sheep field and he doesn’t go racing off rounding them up!

And then, back to the house for a well deserved rest and a chew.  But that was not all, the smell of Duck poo was just too strong.  Soon Haribo found himself having a bath.  Haribo was a little uncertain, but the combination of warm water and a massage from Mrs D turned it into a positive experience.  He was even less impressed, at first, with the hairdryer, but some gentle rewards based training with our terrier as a role model and he was soon stretched out enjoying a full blow dry.  And it’s not long till dinner time :).


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2015 drawing to a close


It has been a few weeks since our last update.  That’s not because nothing has happened, on the contrary we have been busy as ever.  But much has been maintenance and stuff that is hard to write about, and probably harder to read about!

Given it’s approaching Christmas, we should probably have a suitably festive picture, but the fact is we can’t find the Christmas tree.  It was in the stable, but it has vanished into thin air.  The stable was cleared and now is a straw and hay store.  All the pipes and cables left hanging by the previous occupant have been tidied up and boxed in so it can be used for lambing if needs be.  But the Christmas tree disappeared in the process.

Talking of lambing, Ginge the ram has gone home.  We were sad to see him go as he was quite a character.  Quite laid back, not what I expected in a ram at all.  I think he was a bit miffed to be going home because he butted me for the first time just before we loaded him into the trailer.  Luckily, from only a step or two away.

We have finally tidied up our entrance too.  That’s what the picture is above.  There was a bit of a gap in the hedge and it was just overgrown with grass and brambles.  I dug all that out and planted another hedge.  And then we marked the drive with stones, partly to protect some manhole covers and partly to make it look nice.  Then we covered it with MOT.  At last, no more muddy experiences getting out to open or shut the gate.  I painted the milk churn as a birthday present for Mrs D.  If you look closely, you can see the little sheep on it.  I had to do it twice because the first time, the paint just peeled off.  Now I know Hammerite metal paint sometimes needs a primer!

Aside from that, plenty of mulching is going on in the veggie patch.  I’m hoping a local farmer will dump a trailer full of horse manure round soon.  It doesn’t go far – I emptied four large compost bins and that hasn’t even covered half of it.