Category Archives: Dog relationships

Dog Squad Blog – Lovely Little Lexi

Today’s guest blogger is Charity Rowell-Stansbury. Charity has been a blogger for over ten years and an avid reader for as long as she can remember. She adores her 10-year-old rescue dog Lexi who isn’t part of the original Islan Dog Squad, but features in Book 3. Here’s their story, told by Charity. 

Lexi has been my constant companion and muse for two years. Our story almost ended before it even began. 

In April 2015, I was diagnosed with PTSD and I lost my job shortly after. A little over a year into a marriage with my now ex-husband, Kyle, we decided that it would be nice if I had a companion who could stay with me at home while Kyle was at work. We were both determined to adopt a dog; however, we also knew it would be difficult because I have asthma and allergies, which means I can only tolerate certain breeds. Since the dog was more for me than him, it was up to me to filter through the hundreds of dogs in our local rescue agencies to find one that might be a good match.

After a couple of weeks of searching and following local rescues on Facebook, one of the local agencies posted a picture of a dog named “Coconut.” Her story was incredibly sad because she had an owner who loved her very much, but he wasn’t able to continue to take care of her. Unfortunately, she had heartworm and the agency was trying to raise funds to cure her. I expressed our interest in her and even offered to pay a portion of the heartworm cure, plus the adoption fee, for the opportunity to meet her. Over the course of two weeks, the agency seemed receptive, but I started receiving private messages from complete strangers on Facebook telling me that the agency was just stringing me along to receive a donation. When I pressed the rescue agency for a specific date when Kyle and I could meet Coconut, I was told that she had been promised to someone else. I was crushed and was ready to put my search on hold for a few weeks because I didn’t think I could handle another rejection. 

Coconut

A couple of days after my horrible experience, I decided to look just one more time at another agency’s site before taking a break. During that search, I found this picture:

Lexi, pre-adoption 2016

Her name was “Lexi” and she was a Maltese; one of the breeds that several allergy and asthma foundations said I should be able to tolerate. I could see the wariness in her eyes but there was something else behind it, curiosity and a bit of playfulness. I imagined she was looking at the camera saying “Whatcha doin’?” I saw a couple of other dogs on the site that I also liked, so I sent an email expressing my interest. 

A little over a week later, I received a phone call from Nancy, a foster guardian with the rescue agency. She said that all of the other dogs were adopted, except for Lexi because she was shy and reserved during adoption events. I immediately empathized with Lexi because I can be shy and reserved around groups of people, and it takes me a while to warm up to new friends. I admitted to Nancy that Lexi was my first choice, but I was a bit wary of mentioning it in the email because of my experience with the other rescue agency. Nancy and I set up a date for when she and Lexi could come by the apartment. At the end of the meeting, Kyle and I had a new furry family member. 

Lexi, day after adoption

Since Lexi is the first dog I’ve ever had, I was overwhelmed at first. When we spent our first day at home alone together, we did a lot of staring at each other and thinking, “What am I supposed to do with you?” After a couple of days, I learned that she was timid about exploring her surroundings and I needed to be calm and confident to encourage her when we went outside. After a week, she was more confident about walking outside and decided that she wanted to introduce herself to some of the people in our apartment community. This forced me to come out of my shell and connect with neighbors. It didn’t take us too long to figure out our individual strengths and weaknesses, and we soon learned how to emotionally support each other.

Lexi, 2016

Today, Lexi is a completely different dog. We’ve been through a lot together, including a precipitous change of address and a divorce, but we have overcome these challenges together. I can’t imagine going through the past couple of years without her, and I’m looking forward to going through the next few years with her in my life.

Lexi, 2019

To read more about Charity and Lexi, check out Charity’s wonderful blog and book reviews here: https://www.onmykindle.net

Dog Squad Blog – Barking Mad Chip

Today my guest blogger is Dean Evans. Dean and Sarah are the proud people parents of Chip (AKA Aden in the books). If Chip were a person he would be called eccentric or a nutter (depending on your point of view). I’ll let Dean explain.

Chip’s story starts in a scrapyard in Barnsley. We saw this tri-colour Collie with pedigree papers, when he was six months old. He was skinny (weighing five kilos), covered in bite marks, with both eyes full of gunk. But he was such a happy little boy. He didn’t like walking on a lead at that age but was very obedient. 

I brought him home and he settled in well with our five year old Husky Thor. There was drama on our second walk out with both dogs. Chip confronted a Rhodesian Ridgeback that had a go at Thor who was forty-five kilos of non-confrontational Husky. He got in front of Thor to protect him – all five kilos of him. He soon started to gain weight and put on three kilos during the first week with us. 

Chip has developed some strange habits. The kids where we used to live nicknamed him the spinning dog, due to him spinning continuously up the road on walks. Not sure if this was because I was walking too slowly or if he is completely mad. He also used to chase cars. He’s now decided that’s too much hassle so when given the chance, he sprints up the roads in the opposite direction to the car, absolutely flat out, then comes back tail up, looking very pleased with himself. If Sarah or I stop to talk to someone during one of our walks or are chatting to the neighbours, Chip loves to make as much noise as possible. He is so jealous around other dogs and hates me stroking or giving them any attention. He shows his displeasure by eyeballing them and they learn to back off. 

Butter wouldn’t melt…

Chip could also be described as an all-in-one home entertainment system. When watching any sports he is very noisy and barks at the TV or makes other strange noises when he has a toy in his mouth. He is most excitable during football matches but also enjoys rugby, cricket and boxing. As long as spectators are making a noise he is quite happy and loves winding himself up during goal kicks, free kicks and corners.

Chip watching footie

Well known for being the fun police with other dogs, Chip will run for miles to stop other dogs enjoying themselves. He also goes berserk around the swimming pool when the grandkids are over making mad noises, picking up any toys in his mouth and running off with them.

Chip chastising Obie

Like most dogs, he is very enthusiastic about food and chases us around the kitchen near dinnertime keeping so close that he constantly bumps into whoever is feeding him. He is also a grazer at meal times; a few mouthfuls at a time then back five minutes later for a few more.

He absolutely hates the heavy rain, thunder and lightning, and shakes like a leaf. Any loud noises freak him out and at night he will jump up on the bed and if he’s really frightened will lie across my head. Only my head by the way and he only ever wakes me up if he needs to go out at night – he knows who the soft touch is in our house.

So he’s crazy, loud and a bit strange but he’s a massive personality and a whole lot of fun. Chip’s wonderful and he makes our world a better place.

Click here to discover more about The Island Dog Squad. http://smarturl.it/ru5uye

Dog Squad Blog – Obie (AKA Digger)

Last week my friend Joanne told us all about her adorable Pug named Lola. Jo’s youngest dog is Obie and this is his story.

Obie was a rescue puppy. He was put in a bag along with two siblings and the bag was thrown into a dog pound. I saw a picture of him on Facebook asking for adoptive parents and told the kids I wasn’t sure whether I wanted another dog. But we all went for a look anyway.

Isn’t he lovely?

My resolve didn’t last long and within five minutes of meeting him, I had agreed to adopt. We took him home straight away. It turns out I’m an impulsive shopper, even with dogs! I’ll just add here that we also have three cats and we all adore our pack; correction, we did have three cats.  One has decamped and lives between us and a Russian neighbor – I think their food is posher than ours. She does come to visit every now and then but has turned into a bit of a snob and turns her nose up at my offerings.

What you looking at?

Now back to Obie. He was an extremely naughty puppy. But only after he sussed us out and worked out what he could get away with. I didn’t realise his initial quietness was just a trick to lull us all into a false sense of security. We certainly fell in love with him and soon after that happened, he turned into the devil dog. Obie chewed everything from balcony chairs, to bras, cushions and shoes. In fact, he is not at all fussy and will chew at anything he can get his teeth into. He is very active and his favourite pastimes are going for long walks and runs. Since I’ve got the fitness bug I take him running and he loves it, to the point of getting very excited as soon as my trainers come out of the cupboard. 

…And sleep

Initially Lola hated Obie but they have now bonded and cuddle up together every night in the same bed. He is forever trying to get Lola to play fight with him but she is sooooo not interested. I’ve even caught him dragging her around the garden holding onto the rolls of fat she has on her neck. When he becomes too much for her she certainly lets him know.

“I know you love me really Lola.”

Obie’s code name in Deb’s books is Digger and there’s a reason for this. I have to be vigilant otherwise he will dig up all the plants in my garden and ruin all of our good work. This is frustrating as Lola has now got out of the habit of doing this but Obie’s decided to take her place. He is also an escape artist and sees any gate or fence as a challenge. But like most dogs, Obie loves his food and a little whistle with the promise of a treat, or a rustle of paper will bring him running back quicker than lightning. 

Butter wouldn’t melt

We love him even though he’s a naughty boy and sometimes makes us scream. He’s the youngest member of our pack and home wouldn’t be home without Obie.

If you’re curious about ‘The Island Dog Squad’ novellas, you can find out more at this link http://smarturl.it/ru5uye

“I have nothing but the highest of praises to sing for this thought-provoking, tear-jerking tale of torture, death, hope and survival.” Rosie Malezer for Readers’ Favorite – 5 stars

What if?

Life can take us in many different directions, some planned others not. I believe it’s called fate.

I’m Sandy, I was rescued by my people parents Allan and Deb on 14 March 2018. I think rescued is a bit of a stretch actually. I was living quite comfortably in a cat and dog rehoming centre on a military base in Cyprus, (BARC Cyprus) where we were all treated very well. Fed and watered, accommodated in basic digs, received lots of cuddles, and all our needs met. The only things missing were having our very own people parents, or a family to room with, depending on your perspective.

Deb came to look at another dog in February. She saw me first then decided almost instantly that I was ‘the one’. She only had to convince Allan to agree. He visited the following day and liked me too. At this stage I thought they were amongst the many volunteer walkers who helped out the centre staff, so didn’t allow myself to get too attached – though I felt a connection with Allan almost immediately. By the fourth visit I suspected something was going on, so here I am, sitting downstairs in their lovely home in Souni Village, contemplating the route my life has taken. They are out at work for a few hours, grafting they tell me so that I can be kept in the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed during the past couple of months.
I’m having a lazy couple of hours having already worked out how to get the treats out of the toy they left me, those little titbits are long gone. So now I return to my original question. What if?
What if I had been the only blonde puppy born in a litter of adorable black puppies, and the mistress had a reason for disliking blondes?
What if I had almost been attacked by a nasty-looking big fish with massive teeth, then another, prettier big fish saved me?
And what if I’d been washed up on a beach and saved by uniformed dog trainers who taught me skills your average dog could not even imagine?
The story started to form and I’m determined to get it all down and published eventually so you can read about what might have happened if my life had taken a different direction.
Next time I’ll introduce you to some of the other characters in ‘The Island Dog Squad’, and their special talents. I might even tell you how we met.
Oh and by the way, I didn’t tell the other dog that Deb had come to look at her. Sometimes ignorance can be bliss.

The Island Dog Squad – Coming to Amazon on 20 July 2018

I’m excited to tell you that the first book in my new series of novellas will be live on Amazon on 20 July 2018. ‘The Island Dog Squad’ is inspired by Sandy, our lovely rescue dog. Sandy intends to write a blog about the series and her life, and will get around to it shortly.

Jessica Bell designed the cover and came up with these three after I submitted the questionnaire. They’re all fabulous so it was a really difficult decision. I asked some of my friends and readers on Facebook what they think, then decided to go for my favourite, with the dog standing on the rocks.

This is the winner!

 

Here’s the blurb and a few comments from the 5-star reviews:

I have nothing but the highest of praises to sing for this thought-provoking, tear-jerking tale of torture, death, hope and survival.” 

Rosie Malezer for Readers’ Favorite

 

“Anyone who’s had the privilege of sharing their lives with an animal companion will love Sandy’s story … most highly recommended.” 

Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

 

In the depths of despair, she has no idea who, or where she is.

Dying of thirst and with her ribcage almost poking through her skin, she can barely put one paw in front of the other when she’s rescued from the street.

When Sandy’s people parents take her to her beautiful new home on the island, she tries to focus on her future, and return the love and kindness showered upon her.

Then she meets Lola, Obie and Chip, and the traumatic flashbacks begin.

As her past slowly unravels, and her memory returns, Sandy must make a choice that will determine her life and her future.

What will she decide?

‘The Island Dog Squad’, an animal action and adventure novella, told by Sandy the rescue dog.

Donut Dreams of Wendies (5)

I thought it was going to be just another ordinary day in our home but there was more activity than normal. Something was going on but I couldn’t quite put my paw on precisely what. I nodded off while waiting for the people parents to come home from work. She took me for a walk and I assumed he was out for a pint and would return later – he’d finished his week of call out duty and was likely to be chilling in a local hostelry. Bedtime came and went and I refused to go up those wooden stairs with the lovely lady of the house, so settled on the sofa.

Donut on setee

She sighed, gave me an affectionate pat, and off she went. Some time later I realised he wasn’t coming home. I walked up those stairs with the weight of the world in my little legs. Where was he and why hadn’t he come home?

It took a while to get off that night and when I did, I dreamt of the Wendies. For those of you who don’t know, Wendies live in the dark recesses of the planet Largo. The indigenous aliens use them to bribe and scare their offspring, much like humans do with their children. Wendies are the equivalent of the bogeyman or maybe Father Christmas (I sometimes get those two mixed up). Suffice to say that it wasn’t a pleasant dream. I’m glad I woke up before the Wendies spirited me away.

Slide1

I wasn’t the only one who didn’t sleep well and she was a little short with me the following day. I forgave her though; she was obviously missing him too. I wondered when he was coming home?

The days passed slowly and I started to think he might be gone for good. I even went to his favourite place in case he’d been delayed there, but still no sign of him.

Donut on bar

Night times were always worst when I had to resign myself to the fact that another day had passed without him and it was such an effort to walk up those stairs at the end of each day.

I always enjoy my walks but instead of the usual human accompaniment, my surrogate auntie from next door joined me and my lady. I was left to daydream as they chatted about women’s stuff – no, please don’t ask for details! We occasionally met other dogs and their human companions, and I must confess to a hint of jealousy as I watched some four-legged strangers bask in the love of the human couples they were with. These occasions were tinged with sadness and I couldn’t even be bothered to make friends with these dogs, or have a quick sniff of their nether regions.

Then yesterday I sensed a strange atmosphere. She’d been shopping so the cupboards and the fridge were replenished. There was also some recently purchased beer in the house and a new spring to her step; call me Sherlock Holmes if you will but I know she’s not the type of lady who drinks beer.

My hopes were dashed when she went out in the car when it was dark. Another social function perhaps? Could I have misread the signs? I sighed and fell asleep.

Not sure what time it was when I was woken by the door opening and something else. Yes, it was that familiar Geordie accent. He’s home! My little family is almost reunited (miss you Victoria) and all is well again in my world.

 

Donut – It was great while it lasted…(4)

It was great while it lasted, but some things just aren’t meant to be. Pretty much from day one in our relationship I noticed that Teddy drew loads of attention. Don’t get me wrong, people love me too and I get my fair share of cuddles. But with Teddy it was different. Everywhere we went they wanted to admire or touch her. She lapped it up of course but for me, it became a little tedious.

As well as having to cope with this, a few dogs tried their luck (what a cheek!) but Teddy graciously told them that she wasn’t interested and I was her one true love. My heart swelled.

Teddy model photoTeddy with Ball

A few weeks ago we were playing ball at the dog beach. As an aside I was a little disappointed to discover that people are allowed on our beaches, but we’re not allowed on theirs. What’s that all about then? Anyway, we were approached by an older looking female Pug who introduced herself as Lola. She had the gift of the gab and it was obvious early on that she was an astute business dog. (I googled her later and was proved correct). She smothered Teddy with compliments, telling her that she was adorable and believed she would make a fab model. She told her about the glamorous life and the travel involved and I could see the faraway look in Teddy’s shining eyes, until she looked at me. Teddy smiled at me, and then turned Lola down. The shine seemed to have disappeared from her eyes and, much as I adored Teddy, I couldn’t let the opportunity of a lifetime escape her.

Lola

We had one final date the next day and as we sat holding paws and watching the magnificent sunset from the beach, we vowed to stay in touch and be friends forever. I hope she’ll remember me when she’s rich and famous.

Seeing me a bit down, my people parents decided it was time for an overnight break to take my mind off what could have been.

Off we went to Latchi to stay with some friends in a lovely villa and it was simply wonderful! The weather was sunny and we had lots of fun on long walks, fishing and just shooting the breeze. The people parents and their friends overdid it that night and while they drank and put the world to rights, I spent some time chasing the local cats. They were all a little delicate the following day – the people, not the cats – but I was as right as rain.

Donut with beer

I got on with the new people friends, two lovely men, like a house on fire. So well in fact that I’m beginning to wonder if there’s another reason that Teddy and I weren’t right for each other.

One other pleasant surprise during the weekend was the new music. I absolutely loved the Justin Bieber vibe and am pleased to announce that I’m now a Belieber!

That’s all until next time folks. Be good.