Monthly Archives: August 2012

What I wish I’d known before owning a pet.

Petplan has asked me to write a blog post:

“What I wish I’d known before owning a pet”

What I wish I’d known before owning a pet? Well, to be honest, I’ve always had pets. Mum and Dad had a minimum of two dogs before I was even born, and I only remember a year or two of university days when I was without a four legged friend. So this post was tougher than I first thought. However, I thought about all the thoughts and advice I’ve gained from my various critters over the years that I never really expected, and here’s what I came up with:

  • The therapy they provide. Because the wisest advice and the most in depth self-help book does not compare with the gentle chin of a large, soft head placed on my knee. They just know when I’m sad.
  • There is no way – ever – to look cool whilst picking up dog poo.
  • How rewarding rescuing an older pet can be. Puppies and kittens are undoubtedly cute, and although they grow up faster, they are every bit as hard work as a child in my opinion. Older pets are usually the last to be rescued. We were lucky enough to find our gentleman Fizz when he was 8 years old. Now at 12, he’s still going strong, and he came toilet trained, beautifully mannered, and very grateful for a home.

 

  • The heartbreak when you loose them. Nothing prepares you for that.
  • I wish I’d known sooner about the on-line community. There’s a plethora now of like minded fanatics and pet lovers that offer a wealth of support and friendship over the net. I’ve had all kinds of advice from total strangers tapping away on their keyboard and it’s lovely. (NB – Nothing replaces a proper veterinary consultation if they need one though!)

Hmmmm, what else? Oh I know!

  • I really wish I’d known about the wind caused by particular brands of dog food that I’m probably not allowed to name. Many are the times you could have caught my husband and I sat watching TV, both with the necks of our jumpers hooked up over our noses. Something not even my daughter’s nappies have achieved.
  • Whilst we’re on the subject, I wish I’d known about dogs needing their anal glands squeezed. That’s a shocker when you first come across it!
  • How expensive pets can be. Although I would say that if you begrudge one penny of that expense, you may not be right for owning one. Having said that, it’s always worth investigation non-profit vets near you (animal trust, blue cross etc) but be prepared to use your spondoolies when needs be.
  • Get them insured! Nope – Petplan didn’t tell me to put this bit. This is ALL me and I think it’s SO important. Insurance has been a God send in the past and enabled some of my dogs to live long happy lives that otherwise would’ve been cut brutally short.
  • I wish I’d known not to worry about having dogs when I found out I was pregnant. Grace has a wonderful relationship with them (I wrote about it here) and studies now show that having a dog can improve your child’s sense of responsibility, encourage caring behaviour and teach respect and sharing. There is even research that kids who grow up around pets can be less likely to have allergies and other illnesses. Caution, common sense and research must always prevail when mixing animals with children, but it’s something I wouldn’t change now for the world.

 

And finally . . .

  • There is nothing . . . NOTHING . . . more disgusting than your dog puking up a poo he ate onto your carpet – and then re-eating it. Thanks to Badger for that one.

 

So there you have it. Perhaps slightly more anally focused than I’d initially intended, but the world of dog and cat ownership is often not pretty.

(Petplanhas asked me to write this post with PolPol and Larley and has thanked me kindly with some vouchers in return. Visit the Petplan UK Facebook page for more.)

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What the Holidays have Taught Me.

Well Gracie Girl, the holidays are drawing to a close and our extra time together has been . . . insightful. Lovely, cuddle-filled, puddle-splashingly, tantrum-throwingly delightful . . .  but insightful. Certain things have come to my attention. Odd habits and wonderfully childish eccentricities have presented themselves over the past few weeks, so here are a few pointers/words of advice about some stuff we could maybe work on? 

  • It’s lovely – LOVELY – that you are so fond of animals. But perhaps the snail obsession could be toned down? Just a little? We don’t always have to find one to ride with us in your Smart-Trike cup holder when out and about. They honestly don’t like having baths in your water tray, and not every baby snail has to be named “Gracie Snail.” Also sweetheart – please remember that not all of your friends share this deeply felt mollusc love, and if they are crying and running away from you, then they probably don’t want to be friends with the snail.
  • Bedtime stories are no longer quite they ordeal they used to be (see here for a reminder) but are now a lovely snuggly, gentle shared experience that bring peace and calm to the end of the day. However, the vice like headlock that you administer immediately afterwards in an attempt to get me to stay in bed with you is not as endearing. I am now straining muscles in my contortionist-like attempts to break free of them, and they really need to stop, Grace.
  • The number 16 does exist. Your counting is superb for your age, but whatever your beef is with the number 16 – it will have to be addressed.
  • You need to stop getting upset if Daddy trumps and forgets to say “pull my finger.” I shall also be speaking  to Daddy about this.
  • Tampons are NOT sweeties.
  • Mummy is using a sieve – not “catching carrots” in her “net.” Whilst I feel a pride in the fact that this reflects the many happy hours spent rock-pooling at the seaside, it had also made me re-think how often you see me cooking fresh vegetables, and I hereby resolve to increase the frequency.

That’s all for now my little ball of madness. You’re like a firework dropped on the floor, Grace: Beautiful and fizzing and sparkling, flying in every direction, a liability and a huge excitement. One day you’ll shoot away into the sky and show the whole world your beautiful colours. Till then, stay strange little one. Love ya X

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Organic Children Sticky Hand Sanitiser

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We’re baaack

It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine! Thank goodness – lasts post’s worries were unfounded and we had a great holiday. Phew.  I’d like to take this opportunity to big up Pentewan Sands in Megavissey, Cornwall. Camping or caravans practically ON their private beach. Lovely. And Gibby was only awful on one afternoon so I can cope with that. Particular highlights for us would be the Bistro on the beach (actually eating in peace whilst watching her run around to her heart’s content on the sand. No having to chase her round this restaurant . . . bliss!) Another highlight would have been that we thought the entertainment one night was going to be a comedian called Arnie Fuckbucket – but we sadly misheard. Boo. I’d have definitely gone to see an Arnold Fuckbucket due to him having the best stage name ever, but as we’d just misheard ( he was actually Arnie Flatbucket? Something like that) we didn’t bother. Gibby’s highlight would be the swings on the beach.

Yet again, we lucked out with our holiday neighbours! Dawn and Mark camped opposite our caravan (or Little House as Grace liked to call it) and were a cracking couple. “Helloooo” if you’re reading this.) Despite a bit of a North/South divide causing a few communication errors, the JD and the larger was flowing and soon ironed them out. Grace got so used to them that we now cannot pass a tent or even look at a picture of one without asking “where Dawn and Mark?” Bless.

Nothing beats a beach holiday with a wee one does it? And I wouldn’t know where to start in saying how fabulous Cornwall is. We did a bit of sight-seeing in the mornings, then trooped down with a picnic,  a fishing net and a bucket and spade, and that was us for hours. We all loved it. 

Can’t wait to go back. Downside? Getting stuck in traffic on the already very long journey. Nine hours man . . . nine hours. Also, I had a moment of feeling “arty” and tried to photograph a pretty little bird whilst tipsily walking back to the caravan one night. Unfortunaltey, said bird was perched above the door to the gents which I didn’t realise. The gentleman that walked out zipping up his flies to find me brazenly standing pointing a camera at him was very gallent all things considered. “There’s sea views over there y’know love” he points and laughs and ambles off and I am left embarrassed and feeling a little grubby. Minus a picture of a bird.

I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite memroies:

 

 

 

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EVERYTHING crossed for nice holiday!

Eeesh, Grace is tricky at the moment. I feel like it’s a make or break kind of time in terms of behaviour, so guns are being stuck to! Example: After a particularly crappy day, we foolishly attempted a pub lunch. She literally screamed and ran round in circles from the second we walked through the door. I told her to sit down – we’d brought books and crayons – but instead I got a “NO!” followed by a raspberry blown in my face followed by immediate running/screaming again and nearly sending a waiter flying.

“Grace, sit down with your book please and we’ll get you some sausages.”

“NO!”

Grace, stop running away and sit down or we will go home.”

“MUMMY NOOOOOO!” Further raspberries, runs off screaming.

We leave. We haven’t so much as looked at the menu, and G causes merry hell at being taken back out to the car, but so be it. Lord only knows what the people passing us thought on the short walk home, dragging a screaming toddler along who’s wailing “My go back to the puuuuuuuuuub! AAAHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Then it hits home we’re away on holiday soon. A camping holiday. Now I love camping if you have the weather for it, but we’ve only ever been as a family when Grace was still small enough to stay put when you left her somewhere. I tentatively google the met office later that same night. Looks like we won’t be having the weather. BALLS!

For the first time I  can remember, I am not excited about going on a holiday. Eating out a lot is kind of mandatory when you’re camping with a wee one. I certainly wasn’t planning camp-stove and baked beans for every meal. Combine that with rain, queueing for showers and loos and a very tricky toddler, and you’re not looking at the prospect of much relaxation.

One phonecall and a few hundred quid later, we’ve upgraded to a caravan. Phew. Excitement creeping back now. Shower and kitchen facilities, own loo, central heating and double glazing, cbeebies if absolutely necessary and a table to sit round out of the rain, or if/when restaurants prove disastrous.

SO,  my lovely house-sitters are coming  (too many dogs – it’s easier this way!), bags are packed, car is filled up and cleaned out, bank account is considerably depleted. And guess what? We’ve just picked her up from having tea with Grandma, full of promise and excitement at the prospect of exploring Cornwall with her, and she’s cranky as hell with a high temperature.

Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Calpol administered and keeping EVERYTHING crossed that she perks up and we have a nice week. Pleeeeeeease?

 

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