Tag Archives: dog stories

Dog Squad Blog – Border Collie Skai

This week’s post is from Craig Gowans. We served together in the Army in Germany and I worked and socialised with Anji Gowans who is great fun (and also barking mad!) Craig gave me loads of information and anecdotes regarding his time as a Royal Military Policeman, which helped shape the first book in my ‘Unlikely Soldiers’ series. http://smarturl.it/m202d6

Here’s the story of the Gowans family K9 pal, Skai.

Skai is a Border Collie originally from Holland.  Her Dad is actually a Dutch National sheep dog champion, which is pretty cool!  We got her in January 2007 and so she is now 12 years old, although you wouldn’t think it!

Border Collies are famous for their herding abilities and working with farmers and shepherds to herd sheep and goats all over the world. Watching them work is really impressive as they operate on commands using whistles.  But why whistles?  Well it’s simple, a whistle carries over much further distance that voice.  So when they are working across large distances and in bad weather, they can still understand exactly what the shepherd wants them to do.  

Having Skai as a member of our family has been and continues to be tremendously rewarding; her love is undivided and she is always there whenever we need her for a hug, or just to talk to.  Sometimes she even helps our youngest daughter with her university work! 
Skai is a people person, but sometimes can get a little close to your feet if you are in the kitchen (so my wife says!) 

Skai has a myriad of facial expressions, like a human I suppose, some of them do make us laugh.  Whether it’s serious herding mode, elegant and beautiful mode or just ‘what are you doing Skai?’ mode, you can almost tell what she is thinking by the way she looks. And if you are lucky she will give you a squinty look, which we all now means ‘I love you’.   

Skai loves to herd, she just cannot help herself and I genuinely think it is all that matters to her from waking up, to going to sleep! Being from working stock it is literally part of her DNA where she has an unbelievable urge to watch and herd the cats!  She follows our 3 cats and literally every single waking minute of every hour of every day she stares at them!  Just waiting for them to move.  When they do, off she goes ‘Come by to the left, away to the right’ lol it really is non-stop.  The cats will go round the coffee table and Skai will go the other way to herd them, when she gets there she just stops and stares.  Poor cats think this is normal as she has always done it.

The cats are used to her, but for visitors who don’t know Skai, they find it funny.  But to Skai, it’s not funny, it’s serious, she’s working! 

Skai loves to go for her walkies and is very obedient off the lead and listens to verbal commands and whistles.  We have the ‘Wrekin’ hill near us and she loves to go up there for a walk with us, always good for photos too, all the smells and long grass and heather are just what
she likes.

Skai has seen all of our four children grow to adults and met their children too!  She is a true part of the family who brings us all happiness and lots of love.  She has been with us since we lived in Germany with the Army and moved to five different homes in total.  Skai is getting into her twilight years, but there is literally no stopping her.  She is really healthy and just won’t slow down (It is the Collie way!).   

I hope you enjoyed reading about Skai, she really is quite special to us.  I will leave you with my favourite picture of her at the top of the Wrekin, if you look closely you will see those ‘Squinty eyes’ I mentioned earlier.  

What a beautiful dog and a lovely story. Thanks Craig.

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.