Abandoned but Cheerful

Me: Don’t look at me like that, Nell.

Nell: Did you and Kev have a pleasant dinner?

Me: We did, thank you.

Nell: Lovely and quiet I expect.

Me: Before you continue can I just say that they don’t take dogs in the restaurant.

Nell: I didn’t say anything. We were all happy to be left alone. Abandoned but cheerful.

Me: You weren’t abandoned, Nell. We were only gone a few hours and we brought back steak.

Nell: Yes, that was kind. A taste of what we missed.

Me: Did the puppies behave?

Nell: They wanted to play poker with Mutley and Poppy and I told them they were too young and suggested whist or canasta but they weren’t interested and sulked.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: They said Poppy had taught them gin rummy but I wasn’t having anything with to do with gin.

Me: Well, there isn’t any gin in it apart from the name.

Nell: I know but still, I am not sure Poppy is a good influence. Harriet is very competitive and I caught her wearing a hat the last time she played cards with Poppy and David.

Me: A hat?

Nell: Yes. That girl has attitude. She wiped the floor with David at the last game of Monopoly. He didn’t have a chance. She had hotels everywhere.

Me: Gosh. So you still had a good evening.

Nell: We eventually found a film. 

Me: Paddington Bear?

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous! A talking bear. Whatever next? No, we watched Baby Driver. Excellent film. 

Me: I’m not sure if it was suitable for the puppies.

Nell: Nonsense. Harriet adores fast cars and David loved the soundtrack.

Me: So you didn’t miss us at all then?

Nell: I told you we were fine. Abandoned but cheerful.

Me: Yes, sorry.

Book · Winter

Dealing with Disappointment

Me: I’m ever so worried about Dave.

Nell: Leave him be. He is Dealing with Disappointment. A valuable life skill.

Me: So, Tony never came?

Nell: No. David waited a long time but we think Tony may have gone on his Easter break.

Me: Poor darling Dave.

Nell: He is very low but he is being brave and Harriet is consoling him.

Me: Bless her.

Nell: Anyway, David has earned extra points for excellent Waiting Skills yesterday and his report card is looking a lot better.

Me: He has a report card?

Nell: Of course. Both he and Harriet have had one since they started training.

Me: Did you tell him Tony will be back next week?

Nell: I did and we agreed that he can meet him at the gate and a little jumping is allowed due to the length of separation.

Me: He still looks very low.

Nell: It’s nothing that some good sea air and a swim won’t solve. As I explained to both David and Harriet, a labrador has to learn many things and Dealing with Disappointment is one of the hardest.

Me: Yes.

Nell: I, myself, am constantly disappointed by you, for instance.

Me: Well, that’s not very nice. I’m sure Kev disappoints you too.

Nell: Maybe, But I can’t think of anything he has done right now.

Me: Typical. I’ve probably got a report card I don’t know about.

Nell: You have.

Me: Seriously? Can I see it?

Nell: You cannot.

Me: That’s not fair.

Nell: Deal with the Disappointment.

Me: Can I get extra points then?

Nell: Enough.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Miscellaneous

Waiting for Tony

Me: Where is Dave?

Nell: Quiet. David is working.

Me: On what?

Nell: On his Waiting Skills.

Me: How is he doing that?

Nell: It has come to my attention that David can be a little impatient.

Me: True.

Nell: So, he is outside waiting for Tony. Under my supervision, of course.

Me: Do you mean Tony, our postman?

Nell: Of course, I do. You know how David goes wild whenever Tony arrives.

Me: He does love Tony and Tony loves him to be fair. They are best mates.

Nell: That’s as maybe, but David needs to try and learn to wait. A large part of a dog’s life is spent waiting and we, labradors, pride ourselves on our patience.

Me: I’m not sure that’s true, Nell. I’ve seen you get very impatient.

Nell: Everyone has a bad day. Stop dwelling on the negatives.

Me: He’s peering over the gate though, Nell, in quite an excited way.

Nell: Yes, I am aware. His task today is to try not to jump when Tony arrives. He may bark to alert us, but he has to try and remain calm.

Me: I’m not optimistic about this.

Nell: David may surprise us all.

Me: He’s definitely going to surprise Tony when he sees that great big face looking over the gate.

Nell: Have faith. This is an important step in David’s development.

Me: But what if he fails?

Nell: Then we will try again. A labrador wasn’t built in a day you know.

Me: Don’t you mean Rome?

Nell: I certainly do not. Now let’s all wait for Tony.

Me: Ok. Sorry.


The Terrier Way

Me: This photo makes me laugh.

Nell: Oh good.

Me: Don’t be sarcastic. Poppy looks crazy and you look really annoyed.

Nell: I was trying to be reassuring and Poppy sabotaged me.

Me: She is a terrier. That’s what they do.

Nell: All my hard work with David and Harriet was cast aside.

Me: Is Dave ok?

Nell: He was doing well. We kept him close on the beach and he behaved. Until we got home, of course, and Poppy got involved.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: After the excitement of the last few days I felt Kev needed reassurance and treats in front of the fire was the best idea for everyone.

Me: That makes sense.

Nell: Harriet and I went into the kitchen to reassure Kev but then Poppy came dashing in shouting that we were all going to do it the terrier way.

Me: Oh dear. What is the terrier way?

Nell: It’s complete chaos. Dancing on your back legs while barking and sticking your tongue out. Completely undignified.

Me: Not labradorian at all.

Nell: My exact words. But do you think they listened? No, they did not. Mutley began to bark. Harriet started bouncing and David rushed in with a blanket and pulled it through the water bowl. There was water everywhere.

Me: What did Kev do?

Nell: He laughed and laughed. Especially at me for looking grumpy.

Me: Were there any treats?

Nell: Yes, but wild thrown in the air treats not gentle ones in front of the fire.

Me: It actually sounds like fun, Nell. Maybe you should try the terrier way sometime too? Let your hair down.

Nell: I am a labrador. What on earth are you talking about? We have standards to maintain. Stuff and nonsense.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Nell: Is David watching television again?

Me: I’m just letting him catch up on Neighbours. You know he loves it and I wanted to spoil him.

Nell: I disapprove. If he has to watch something then find him a good documentary, not a soap.

Me: But he is ever so fond of Carl and Susan and they are going through a rough patch at the moment. He loves the drama of it all.

Nell:  We had enough dramas yesterday thank you.

Me: Yes. I was so scared, Nell.

Nell: We all were. Even Poppy ran into the sea.

Me: I thought Dave was going to drown. He was so far out and kept circling.

Nell: If I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a thousand times that he will never catch those seagulls. Those birds are playing with him.

Me: I know but he loves to chase them. We just weren’t expecting him to swim out to sea.

Nell: Kev was a hero, of course, tearing off his coat and striding manfully into the sea. Fortunately the wretched animal started swimming back to the rocks. No wonder he is tired today.

Me: I was ready to go in too, you know.

Nell: That would have been extremely foolish. It was bad enough worrying about David without adding you to the mix.

Me: Would you have gone in after me?

Nell: Without a moment’s hesitation. But you already knew that.

Me: Yes. You and me, Nell.

Nell: Always.

Me: Battling our way through life’s challenges together. The fearless twosome.

Nell: The fearless twosome?

Me: I couldn’t think of anything else.

Nell: Just watch Neighbours with David quietly and drink your tea. You had too much excitement yesterday.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Miscellaneous


Me: What is going on?

Nell: We decided to have a game of Shenanigans with Kev and, as usual, David took it too far.

Me: What is Shenanigans? It looks fun.

Nell: It’s a labrador game. We all play it.

Me: How does it work?

Nell: You take it in turns. It involves a lot of movement and weaving in and out. Someone is It and then passes it on.

Me: You’ve never played it with me.

Nell: We play it with you all the time.

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: Yes, that’s half the fun.

Me: Does Kev know?

Nell: Of course, he does. He is an excellent player.

Me: Why didn’t you tell me?

Nell: You are at your best when you don’t know. Less worried.

Me: Could we play now?

Nell: No, we are exhausted.

Me: Please, Nell. I want to play.

Nell: Patience is a virtue, we labs know this is true. Often found in dogs, but seldom found in you.

Me: Well, that’s not true.

Nell: You won’t mind waiting then.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Prince Harry

Me: My goodness, that red haired retriever has a thing about you.

Nell: I beg your pardon.

Me: You know. The one who looks like Prince Harry.

Nell: Good grief. 

Me: You didn’t have to be so mean to him.

Nell: He was dashing all over the beach showing off. Boxing with David and generally misbehaving. His swimming skills are dreadful.

Me: He was just trying to get your attention. The young knight wooing the beautiful princess.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes. This writing thing is making you very giddy. That young whippersnapper is not a prince and I am most definitely not a princess.

Me: But you are in Harry’s eyes. You are his beautiful Meghan.

Nell: Unbelievable. If he was a prince, and I can’t believe I just said that,  he would not get anywhere by  jumping on her.

Me: Yes, that was a bit forward. I’m not surprised you told him off. He was shocked.

Nell: It had to be done. It is all about boundaries as I have been teaching David and Harriet.

Me: He watches you from afar now, you know. 

Nell: Fine with me. Afar is where he is staying.

Me: Poor young Harry pining for his princess.

Nell: If I was anything, it would be Queen, as you well know.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Quiet please

Me: Nell, what’s going on?

Nell: Quiet please. David is having his lesson.

Me: What lesson?

Nell: Computer skills.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: He’s always been interested, as you know, and Kev is teaching him the basics.

Me: I’m impressed.

Nell: Harriet and I aren’t interested but David never shuts up about it.

Me: I’m glad he is so keen though, Nell.

Nell: Yes, but the silly animal wants an iPad for his birthday.

Me: I’ve heard of stranger things. I think.

Nell: I don’t know why he needs an iPad. I do everything from my phone.

Me: Excuse me?

Nell: Ha! Gotcha!

Me: I believed you.

Nell: Anyway, quiet now. David needs to concentrate.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Miscellaneous

Labrador begging

Me: I wondered if we could talk about labrador begging.

Nell: Begging! We don’t beg.

Me: Oh come on, Nell. Look at your face in that photo.

Nell: You mean my reassuring face.

Me: It’s a begging face.

Nell: It is not. You know we like to show appreciation?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Well, we also like to reassure you.

Me: About what?

Nell: We like you to know we are always there for you.

Me: Only when I’m eating.

Nell: You are at your most vulnerable then.

Me: I am not.

Nell: Notice my head on Kev’s knee and my loving eyes.

Me: I definitely notice David’s head on my knee.

Nell: David is learning fast. He has a kind heart and his reassurance skills are really quite excellent for a young dog.

Me: You are begging for food.

Nell: If you decide to share your food we are, indeed, happy for you to do so.

Me: I know.

Nell: A meal shared is a meal enjoyed. We all know that. Would you prefer to eat alone?

Me: No.

Nell: To silently scoff your food away from everyone.

Me: That’s a bit harsh.

Nell: Isn’t food shared with friends and family much more enjoyable?

Me: Yes.

Nell: I rest my case, now no more of this begging nonsense.

Me: Sorry.


9 months

Me: Dave and Harriet are 9 months today!

Nell: Yes.

Me: Why are they on my bed?

Nell:  They have been sent upstairs to rest and think.

Me: About what?

Nell: Their wild behaviour this morning.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: David jumped down four steps at once in the snow and ice. Risking life and limb. Especially limb.

Me: Why?

Nell: Harriet was chasing him.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: I warned them about it. They dashed inside sniffing into me and scattering snow everywhere.

Me: It’s just high spirits, Nell. They are missing the sea but we can’t get down there at the moment as the roads are too icy.

Nell: We are all missing the sea but we don’t all behave like hooligans.

Me:  Dave looks ever so sorry.

Nell: David is a master of looking sorry. He gets a lot of practice.

Me: Harriet has fallen asleep. Bless her.

Nell: I am only trying to keep them safe.

Me: I know.

Nell: Did you just take chicken upstairs to them?

Me: Not really.

Nell: You did.

Me: They are 9 months today and they look so adorable.

Nell: Chicken is for downstairs. Later. How are they supposed to learn?

Me: Sorry.