Saturday, January 21, 2012

Last Week with Kristal

It's almost upon us. The time we puppy walkers find so distressing. Handing the pup back to Guide Dogs or onwards to another puppy walker. And Kristal's time with us is almost up. She's 9 months old now and will be moving on to another puppy walker with whom I sometimes do a puppy-share. I've had more than my share this time, because my colleague has builders in and puppies LOVE fresh plaster, so Kristal has been with us slightly longer than planned. In that time she's really matured and we can see much more adult behaviour and physique. She squares up beautifully, and when she's on her toes, she's a joy to behold.

This week we do lots of things 'for the last time'. Last favourite walk, last trip to John Lewis, last visit to certain friends, last group training class.  Lots of people will call in to say goodbye. Kristal knows the puppy walker she's going to, so there'll be no problem with her settling in. And her best friend Sparky lives there too. (He's the pup in my profile picture... he didn't make the grade, despite being the best I've had at obedience,  so was adopted. It was a medical issue he copped out on.)

I'll be packing Kristal's bags and packing my own too. We always go on holiday when a pup leaves us.... it helps to make the parting more bearable. And I'll get to see her again, so watch this space.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Caffe Kristal

Christmas is over and we're easing back into a more regular routine. Part of this routine is to stop off at a certain coffee shop during our in-town training walks. Kristal knows the fastest route from the car park at Waitrose to our usual establishment. Once there, she ensures that the floor beneath our table is cleared of crumbs before settling down for a snooze. In fact, if given the chance, she'll clear the entire floor of crumbs willingly and free of charge. As a potential Guide Dog, she's not supposed to do that, but you try telling that to an eight month old Labrador.

Guide Dogs often have pups named by firms who have raised the required amount of sponsorship money (currently £5,000). These pups, especially the Labradors, would be very good advertisements for vacuum cleaner manufacturers. Hoover, Miele, Dyson, Bosch would all make very good dogs' names. Come to think of it, Nero would make a good name too. I must drop a hint to the staff the next time we're in. Corporate charity sponsorship is very in vogue at the moment. It provides lots of opportunities for team focussed events and bonding exercises. If anyone is interested, contact www.guidedogs.org.uk and follow the links.

As corporate sponsors you would receive regular information and photographs of 'your' pup and also a visit now and then. A group of flight-side staff at one of the UK's busy airports sponsored a pup and included her in their company public relations video.

Individuals can also name a pup in memory of a deceased loved one, or for any other reason. Some people invest an enormous amount of fundraising time and effort into this, and name pup after pup. It becomes a challenge.

Kristal is not a sponsored pup. The spelling of her name is reminiscent of a character from the TV show Dynasty and I can assure you, she has the attitude to match.

after the storm - AROS 3

cold wet thighs
warm chest
wet dog smell


Christmas Cards - AROS 2 Jan 2012

Christmas cards...
a sentence a year
held dear
because you once featured large in my life


Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Start - AROS1 Jan 2012

    a dickens of a year ends, thank goodness,
    great expectations for the start of a new one