Misery’s Mishap

I am proud to introduce my first guest blogger, author Kevin Cooper

I should also like to add that nobody has offered to write on Misery’s blog. Haha Misery.

Kevin is an extremely good writer, or otherwise he wouldn’t be appearing on my blog. He has just republished the second edition of his first novel, Miedo, more info about Kev and his books on Kev’s blog.

Now onto the story by Kevin…

This short story is based upon actual real events; names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Scene One: Gibraltar. Current Date and Time: May 2nd 2014. 14.02.43

DDI (Doggy Detective Inspector) Pip here, investigating the scene of what was reported to be a major disturbance in the area yesterday around about midday or thereafter and near the old military bastion that has not been in use for quite some time now.

I don’t like disturbances out here on, The Rock, and it is my job to make sure trouble is cleaned up and order is kept, if you get my meaning.

A constable comes up to DCI Pip, “Nothing here sir, we’ve searched everywhere.”

“All right son. Listen up, I know you don’t get much excitement out here on, The Rock, but tell the lads to keep a tight one on this at the moment, OK? It just won’t do to have unseemly gossip floating back over to mainland, Spain and god knows where else across the bloody continent from there. We don’t want it attracting the wrong sorts. Comprende?”

“Yes sir…Will do sir.”

I’ve had my team search the area thoroughly with a fine, toothed-comb and so far they have found nothing untoward.

…time to make some enquiries.

Investigative probing look. Don't mess with DDI Pip

Investigative probing look. Don’t mess with DDI Pip

Scene Two: Hospital room with three beds. Time: 16.54.56

A woman with long dark hair and seemingly to DDI Pip’s mind, a countenance you would only expect of a Russian Countess, is unsuccessfully fighting off a male nurse trying to force feed her some pain tablets. The woman in the bed opposite is laughing her arse off at them. The other bed was empty.

DDI Pip walks up to them, waves his doggy tag, clears his throat noisily and addresses the male nurse in a serious tone,
“I’ll need a word with this poor lovely lady, if you’re quite done!”

“Yes sir.” The nurse stands there, looking dumbfounded and somewhat flushed.

“Well, run along then, there’s a good lad.”

Said lady in bed looks on in amusement.

“Now then… Ms.?”

“Call me Misery, everybody does. How can I help you, Mr kind inspector who just saved me from horrible nurse?”

“I believe you were admitted into this hospital yesterday?”

Misery: “Yes, that’s right.”

“I need to know of your whereabouts and the events that led you into this ghastly place, if you would be so kind.”

“Well it’s not like I’ll be going anywhere soon or that I’ve got anything better to do at the moment is it? Do you want the long or the short of it?” She smiles.

“Whatever suits your fancy, dear, take your time.” DDI Pip pulls up a chair.

“You’d better get your notepad out don’t you think? Wouldn’t want you missing out any important details now, would we?” She smiles again.

He returns the smile, digs into his inside jacket pocket, retrieves a notebook and pen, composes himself, and smiles back again. “Right ready when you are dear, fire away.”

“I was at home working away on my computer, and quite happily as well, if I may add, when Podenco, my beautiful doggy, asked if I could take him for a nice stroll to his favourite playground which is on top of the nearby disused military bastion. Unlike yourself, he’s a dog of leisure, you see. (Pause for effect)
“My partner offered to take him, he being off work for the bank holiday, so I could carry on with my own work, but I needed a bit of a break so I insisted on going. I got a break all right (she points to her foot) just not the kind I had in mind.
“Have you ever been up by the old bastion inspector?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact I was up there just this morning…having a stroll so to speak.”

“Good, then you will appreciate how dangerous it can be for us bipeds with all the guttering, pipes and tubes, not to mention the lack of a parapet on one side and the huge unprotected gun openings looking over a one hundred foot drop down to the car park below on the other.
“Despite the dangers, however, we love to keep our four-legged friends happy. Podenco happily looked down from the gun openings and sniffed around while I carefully walked down the middle of the bastion.
“Anyway, Podenco was lagging behind a bit when I called to him and in his excitement he inadvertently ran into me from behind while I was still carefully making my way forward. Out of the blue, I ended up on my back and pain shot through my leg which must have twisted somehow as I fell. It didn’t look right and I couldn’t move.
“The worst part was that no-one was around and I didn’t even have my mobile ‘phone with me. I managed to slowly crawl a little way and sit on a step, that’s when I started to wave at people and yell for help.”

“I understand there is a bar at the ground level. Had you been drinking?”

“I wish. I might not have felt it so much.”

“And you hadn’t been mugged or raped or anything else untoward?”

“Have I mentioned anything to that effect, inspector?”

“No, I’m just trying to understand and make sense of what some people are thinking they saw or heard. Please carry on.”

“I shouted in both English and Spanish. ‘Help, I cried or Ayúdame!’ Some people did look up and see me, but then they decided to ignore me.
“It seemed like ages, but finally a couple appeared and Podenco, who had been running back and forth frantically trying to get help for me, ran to fetch them.
“Upon seeing my distress, the man immediately rang for the ambulance and was kind enough to lend me his ‘phone so I could ring my partner who later came to help and here I am.”

“Well, that’s a relief, I must say. The reports I got from the passers-by who had not totally ignored you, but feared the worst painted an entirely different picture.
“I will have to get a statement from Podenco, you understand? …just to clarify your story.”

“Of course, as you must.”

“Well take care dear and don’t let them bully you around. Hope it’s nothing too serious and thank you for your cooperation. If there’s anything you need or something you’ve forgotten to tell me, here’s my card.”

“Thank you, Mr kind inspector.”

Scene Three: Misery’s home. Time: 20.45.16

DDI Pip knocks on door. Misery’s partner opens the door, “Yes?”

“DDI Pip, I’ve just been talking to Misery and need to clear up a few things with, Podenco, is it?”

“Ah yes, she already told me all about it. Come on in inspector. Podenco it’s…”

Partner doesn’t get to finish as Podenco thinking that Misery must have returned home bolts to the door.

“Oh, a fellow canine, and who are you then?”

“DDI Pip…”

“Oh wow, you work…what is it like? Are you taking anyone on?”

Can I help?

Can I help?

“Actually it’s a serious business and not at the moment no, but you can help me with something.”

“Really?” (Wags tail in excitement)

“Yes, I just need to clarify Misery’s story about what happened at the old military bastion yesterday.”

“Oh wow, like I’m under investigation or something?” (Way too excited about it)

Wow! So excited!

Wow! So excited!

“That is generally what they call this yes. I need to know what led up to the events of that day, what happened and how you were involved in all this, if you would be so kind.”

“Well, I was gasping for a walk and a bit of a mess around, as you do, and I thought it was high time for Misery to get some exercise as well, so I went and asked her to come with me.
“She was only playing on the computer anyway so it’s not like she had anything important to do like clean up the Land Rover ready for a trip to the finca in Spain or anything like that.
“Anyway, I took her up to the top of the old military bastion so I could check things out and watch people walking below from the old gun ports while she got her exercise.
“Everything was fine when Misery called me…she likes me to stay close when I walk her you see. Anyway, I ran to catch up to her when she seemed to just suddenly stop…by then it was way too late for me to keep from careering into her and over she went. I don’t really know what happened after that, but she was in a right state.
“She couldn’t move at first, but then she tried to walk, like we do, but could only kind of drag herself. At first, I put it down to lack of practice, but then she starting yelling, ‘help’ and ‘ayúdame’.
“There were some other folk walking below and they looked up but ignored her. They’re not like us dogs…we’d be there in a flash if someone called for us. As, you well know.
“Anyway, I started to panic and ran back and forth to try and get attention, but it didn’t work at first. Finally, a couple saw me and I ran to them to let them know what had happened.
“After that some more help came and that’s about it really. I’m not in trouble for knocking her over am I? I didn’t mean to do it, honest.”

“No son, you did the best you could. I’m sure it’s not your fault she fell over. Accidents do happen.
“Just to clarify, there was no suspicious activity. No one tried to mug her or do anything else unseemly to her when she fell? It’s just the people that looked up and or heard her…well you can imagine…”

“Honestly, do you think I would ever let anything like that happen to my Misery? Not a chance! I’d tear them apart first.”

“Well that’s that cleared up then. Thank you for your time.”

“Will you let me know next time they’re taking someone on?”

I can be serious. I think

I can be serious. I think

“I’ll put in a good word for you, son, but I can’t make any promises.”

Scene Four: Back at HQ. May 3rd 2014 09.14.32

Constable approaches DDI’s desk, “Any luck with the case, sir? The lads are anxious to know.”

“Case is closed, son. I’m writing up the report as we speak. Luckily, one of our kind was with the woman when she fell. He’s a bit excitable, but a good lad. He managed to get her some help in the end.
“The others down below misunderstood what she was crying out for and thought the worst of it. You know how some of these people are.
“The woman is in the hospital with a damaged foot, pobrecita, but I think she’ll be all right in time. It must be tough when you’ve only got two feet.”

“What was her name, sir?”

“Misery.”

“Oh, ol’ Misery. She’s a good ‘n sir. A lot of the lads like her. Some of them say she’s a Russian Countess, you know.”

“Is that so?” DDI Pip smiles as he wraps up his report.

With which, it's time for a snooze

With which, it’s time for a snooze

The End

Ten years of GotThem – and more on the harnies

It’s my Gotcha Day. Or rather GotThem Day. It’s ten whole years since I found a pair of waifs and strays wandering around the streets of a Spanish village and I decided they needed looking after.

Ten long and happy years, so much has happened I can hardly remember. I’ve seen dogs come and go. First Paddy went, except he was always horrid to me so that didn’t upset me. But then my best friend Princey went. Prince taught me to lie at the gate and look after it. I have tried to pass that onto the Little Rat, who has been the dog who has recently come.

I have sat in three of my Land Rovers, although the oldest one doesn’t go anywhere for now because it is stored in our workshop.

Me in my oldest Landy, from an avatar pic

Me in my oldest Landy, from an avatar pic

I got a passport so that I could travel to Gib where Master and Misery bought me a new kennel flat. I like Gib because people come up to me in the street and give me hugs and pats. I consider I am rather well-known in Gib. After all, when Misery went out on Sunday and met another blogger, Amy had already met me and knew exactly who I was.

I have been carbooting in Spain. Master has been to work in Gib. Misery, of course has done nothing.

Off to market we go

Off to market we go

I have chased cats 🙂 And killed rats.

I have had tick disease, but that wasn’t very nice, at least I got better though. Now I have arthritis which is worse in winter, so I am a tired sleepy Pippadog these days. Unless I see a cat. Or a barky aggressive dog.

Today I have spent some quality time on my sofa. It is very difficult to get on there with Little Rat who, for a small dog, manages to take up an awful lot of my sofa. But Misery told him to get off, it was MY day, so I should be left in peace on MY sofa.

Me. On MY sofa

Me. On MY sofa

Waiting for gotchaday eggybread. Look at greedy rat, on MY sofa, and look at the length of his tongue

Waiting for gotchaday eggybread. Look at greedy rat, on MY sofa, and look at the length of his tongue

Now, on my last post about our lovely new harnesses, a few friends asked about them. Misery can write this next bit for me.

There are stockists in America:

• Shaggy Chic Pet Boutique; 818879 9663; California 91377
• Modern Sport Dog Intl; 904-733-2984; Florida 32217
• Veterinary Behaviour Consultation; 5043923411; Lousiana 70131 PERFECT FIT SPECIALIST
• GR8K9S, LLC; 301-788-7112; Maryland 21771

But the company also ships around the world, you can click on prices in US Dollars.

Sizing – you measure around the dog’s girth, ie just behind the front legs.

Snowy’s girth is 45cms and his harness is a Perfect Fit 20mm one. The sizes of each part of the harness are:

the throat part – XS
the underneath part – S
the top part – S

cost (excl VAT because Gib is rest of the world) – £25

Pippa’s girth is 83cms and he has a 40mm Perfect Fit.

The 20mm and 40mm refer to the width of the webbing, not the actual harness as the fleece then sits underneath that.

the throat (front) part – M
the underneath (girth) part – L
the top part – L

Pippa’s really is a perfect fit.

As on the last post, Snowy is a growing dog, so there is some flex there and we have already loosened up the girth, but at the moment, the only part that is slightly loose while fully tightened up is the throat section. Don’t know if XXS would have been better, but it fits well enough not to worry about it.

Anyway, I just emailed the girth measurements to the firm, told them what type of dogs they were, approx weight, and age. I also pointed out that Snowy can be very pully and I did need a strong harness for him even though he is small and young.

This is so much stronger and comfortable, I feel much, much better walking Snowy with it. Having a feisty Podenco on a lead one moment and charging around a car park the next because the D Ring had snapped was not good. These are so much more solid and sturdy.

And although Pippa is normally the most docile dog in the world – a cat or a bad dog will suddenly see an arthritic elderly dog transformed into 30kgs plus of sheer muscle and pulling power. So again the need for a strong harness.

We bought matching one metre leads to go with them. You can get a double length lead and attach one end to a D ring under the throat to use for guidance. That sounded beyond me at the time, but I might consider it for Snowy.

Costs in sterling:

Snowy – £25
Pippa – £32.49
Two leads – £20
P&P – £12.77

Total cost – £90.26

In US pricing Pippa’s would be around $60 and Snowy’s around $40.

I’ve given the detail of both harnesses and their prices so that you can get a good idea for comparison.

This page gives a very good explanation of it, and you can see the different components.

Now if all that sounds very complicated (it did to me which was why I emailed the company), my friend Vicky who suggested I try them, bought the fleece-lined harnesses, which she was very pleased with. She bought them for her two dogs, and then bought another one for her mum’s dog when she went to stay with her.

A harness for Pippa in that would have come in around $42 (size 6), and a Snowy one around $33 (size 2), maybe a size 3 as/if he grows more, so $36 later for a larger one? Approx 3/4 of the price compared with the ones we bought.

I am happy with the ones we bought, Vicky is happy with the ones she bought.

The advantage with the perfect fit for Snowy, is that if he does grow, and any of it gets too small, we can just buy the one part, and won’t need a full harness.

All the parts are fully adjustable, so you can tighten/loosen up to obtain the best fit for your dog.

Yvonne mentioned collars to me, and they also do fleece-lined collars, which are priced between $13 and $16.

I hope that gives everyone some more idea about these excellent products. They are made in the UK, the quality is very good, and the helpfulness and service combined with fast packaging and delivery is some of the best I have ever had.

While they are not cheap products, cheap does not = good. If my dog is safe and comfortable, to me that is paramount. Plus the fleece lined leads are comfortable for the person holding the dog too.

If you are seriously interested in these, then I would suggest contacting one of the American outlets or the UK company directly at:

Dog Games

Meanwhile although this is Pippa’s Gotchaday post, or rather GotUs day, here is a vid of Snowy in his harnie, where you can see some close-up piccies of him wearing it.

And an earlier Snowy post from his diaries about his first visit to the sea.

October 2013

Snowy’s Diary – 11 – To the sea, the sea

One evening, we went for a walk down the river bed. It is not a river at all. It is an arroyo. A stream. And in summer it is dry, dry, dry. I enjoyed it. It was fun.

The next morning after my breakfast, while it was still cool, and cloudy, off we went again. But when I turned to go right for home, we continued down the arroyo.

Then we came to a busy road. Except it wasn’t very busy because it was Sunday. Lots of people on two wheels. [PD: bicycles, Snowy]. I sat at the road as My Person has taught me. I don’t know why she doesn’t sit though. Then when she gave the all clear, across we went.

After not very long we turned down a long, straight, quiet road. I had no idea where we were. MP seemed captivated by the state of the cabbages. As you all know she is no good at gardening and I do my best to help her. These were very large cabbages. Hers are very small. More Podenco help needed in the garden.

Then we heard a whooshing noise and we turned right. Houses to the right of us and nothing to the left. [PD: Stuck in the middle with you] We spoke to a handsome young Spaniard or maybe she spoke to his dog. Who knows? I would have spoken to his friendly dog, he was brown and looked sort of like me, but I had MP to exercise so onward we went.

Next she turned left onto the nothingness. We followed some wooden boards. There were holes that she strode across. My little puppy legs couldn’t manage that so I used Podenco initiative and went up and down the gaps. Or down and up actually.

Then down some soft stuff until we came to the whoosh whoosh moving blue liquid. I think My Person thought I might like to go in. I don’t think so. My paws are clean enough.A slight Podenco whimper alerted her of my disapproval and off we went again. My first visit to the beach and the sea. There was no sea outside my rubbish bin where I was found.

I hope we go again. We were out for a whole hour and I didn’t do a single pee or poo. Wasn’t that good of me? [PD: Er Snowy, the point of going out is to pee and poo outside. You might realise that when you come to Gibflat] It was also MP’s longest walk since she sprained her ankle so it was a good result for both of us.

I have to say Podenco Activities for the rest of the morning were largely on the sleeping side. My Person seems to think long walks may be a good thing for lively Podenco puppies.

Someone told her that salt water may be good for poorly ankles so next time I will make sure she gets her feet wet. If I see her do it, I may consider it too. But she is much taller than me so I will need to be very careful with that wet stuff. We will see. Or sea.

………

Pippa will be out and around to comment in the next day or so and reply to your last ones.

New harnies! and – the domesticated Podenco

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa Paws brought you lots of goodies. Luckily the reindeer mail service brought our harnies in double quick time so I can proudly report on them.

They are made by Dog Games, a UK company, which Misery found extremely helpful.

Obviously with Misery being stupid, she couldn’t work out what size or type to get for us, and as she is also extremely tight careful with our dog biscuit money, she wanted to check that the company would not charge VAT (Gib is exempt) before she placed her order.

So she subjected the firm to a barrage of emails, and a very nice man patiently answered all her inane pertinent questions.

They do a fleece lined harness, and one called ‘perfect fit’ which is also fleece lined. They come in lots of different colours, and you can get matching leads too.

The nice man suggested Misery buy the Perfect Fit ones for us and told Misery which sizes we would need. Master told her to buy nice green ones to match my Landy.

Can you believe that she ordered them on the Friday and they arrived in Gib on the Tuesday? so she went hot-footing it down to the parcels office on Wednesday to collect them.

Here I am wearing mine.

Wandering down the arroyo with my nice new harnie (I cropped Little Rat out of the picture!)

Wandering down the arroyo with my nice new harnie (I cropped Little Rat out of the picture!)

Here are some more piccies, and I have even included Little Rat on one of them.

Pippa Review:

Comfy, very very comfy, and for poor old dogs with arthritis, extremely good as I don’t have to lift up my paw to put it on, it just clicks around my girth with two clippies. Excellent. The fleece means it is soft and gentle and doesn’t rub my fur at all. As the leads are also fleece, it means it doesn’t hurt Misery’s or Master’s hands either.

They are very strong which will keep Little Rat under control, although also sadly means I haven’t much chance of chasing cats.

Stars:

Service – 5/5, or maybe 6/5

Quality – 5/5, and – they are made in the UK, which is a GOOD THING.

Design – 4.5, colour choice is excellent, mine is indeed a perfect fit, Snowy has a little extra room in his front piece (there are three components to the harness) but we figure he will grow into it. The different pieces and sizing can be confusing but the helpfulness of the staff easily compensates for that. The good thing about Snowy’s is though that if he gets any bigger we can just change the relevant part of the harness without having to buy a whole new one. And as he is getting even fatter we have already started to extend the webbing around the girth.

Cost – they are not cheap, but if you want a comfortable and secure harness for your dog, surely you would be willing to pay for a quality product?

Overall Pippa rating – 5/5.

They ship all over the place and also have outlets in other countries. They get a big PippaPaw of approval from me.

Next, I will be doing a couple of food reviews as we have not been able to get our normal Waggs from Morrisons all the time, so Master bought a different one for us.

Over to Snowy for more of his diaries.

September 2013

Snowy’s Diary – 8 – The gardener

The next day BFD and NM left us.

Boooooo. Just me and LW again. I miss them.

What to do? Apart from play with my toys. I have so many toys now. A ripped vest, corks, my rope toy made my NM, bits of cane, plastic plantpots, kitchen towel and the cardboard inserts, and two bouncy balls. And her toes of course. I wouldn’t call my people mean but they didn’t exactly incur a huge debt at Toys R Us. But does it matter if the toys serve their purpose? I think not.

I have decided to emulate my person so I have taken up gardening.

I was gardening from an early age

I was gardening from an early age

Apart from turning over soil by digging for Australia in what used to be the spinach patch, I have taken to inspecting the seedlings and the herbs.

This involves climbing onto the garden, and checking their strength by lying on them. After all, if they can’t manage a few pounds of Podenco puppy they are going to be rubbish crops.

I like the herb garden. It smells very nice. I climb up there too. There is basil and parsley and oregano and what should have been cilantro but has morphed into parsley. [PD: more cilantro has been sown] There are lettuces as well. For some reason my inspection of said plot with my tiny dainty feet meets with being lifted off.

I also prune the spinach, the cacti, although I did get a nasty spike in my paw with that one, [PD: cacti have been moved out of reach], and the hibiscus. Apparently hibiscus makes good tea. I can recommend them to eat. And the yellow pollen looks very pretty on my forehead.

I’ll post another gardening update later when I have found more plants to inspect, prune, remove and generally put under Podenco Control.

September 2013

Snowy’s Diary – 9 – House-proud Podenco

I have also taken on some domestic duties. Primarily this involves tidying my rugs and blanket, tugging and pulling them by their tassels so they meet standards of Podenco Orderliness.

I am training my person (she’s not limping so much now so I need a new name for her) to be cleaner and tidier too.

I bring in dead plumbago flowers on my feet and sometimes to chew, so she has to sweep up and mop out. I still do the odd pee and poo inside, so she needs to clean that up and mop again. I like a clean and tidy house and it keeps her on her tasty chewy toes.

I must be doing a good job with her training as Nice Man commented on how clean and tidy the house was on his visit with BFD.

I also check all furniture within jumping up reach. Soon I hope to be able to jump up fully to carry out a thorough inspection but for now I just have a look. The BFD told me he has a sofa to sleep on. I have tried to get onto her very large bed which has plenty of room for a litter of Podenco puppies let alone just me, but it is still too high.

One night one of her pillows fell on the floor and I lay on it. I like my rugs and blanket but this pillow was very soft and comfy. It was white too, like me. I think when I am bigger it will be a good bed for me. NM won’t agree with it, but he didn’t agree about Dogs on Sofas. BFD soon sorted that out.

What else do I do? Oh yes. We have a nice lace curtain over our patio door to stop horrid buzzy flies entering. I always give it a firm tug to make sure it is correctly in position. As for the cleaning duties, I chase around after the mop and the sweeping brush to make sure she is doing a good job. I think that is all. Pretty impressive for an eight-week-old street puppy I think though.

Pippadog:
Well that’s enough from the Rat. More interestingly, here am I.

Me.  With MY plantpot.

Me. With MY plantpot.