But Bertie, you are only are only three years, eleven months and eight days old, I hear you say (if you are reading this on the day it was posted). You can't possibly have known Stella
for five years.
Well of course it was my predecessor Hamish the Westie
who first encountered the famous Stella from Minniesnowda. This is the comment she left on Hamish's blog on 26th January 2009.
Hi Hamish! This is my first visit to your blog and it looks like its gonna be fun. I'm going to put you on my Favorite Blogs and visit often.
You come see me too.
Gail says this was a big milestone because shortly afterwards Stella told some of her blogging friends about Hamish and, after six months of being ignored by the world at large, his blog finally gained a following.
You know, in this trip down Memory Lane today I am going to mostly let Stella speak for herself via her comments on Hamish's and later on my blog.
So this is what she said to Hamish when he complained about sore paws hurting in the snow:
9th February 2009: You know, Hamish, the sled dogs of the North require boots to protect their feet over long miles of pulling a heavy sled. So if you want to on-line shop you could find a Sled Dog Supplier for your red boots.
Or you could just do like me, toughen your feet up on the walks and get stronger about it. Bear it, in other words!
Gosh, I certainly recognise that voice! But then a few days later Stella came back with:
12th February 2009: Hamish, I think I owe you an apology because I was harsh about your feets and needing bootz. I know you are an older guy and I want to be more respecting of you.
I am wondering how old I shall have to be before I get this sort of respect from Stella, something I can only dream about just now. See how the relationship developed:
11th June 2009: Ah, Hamish, you are such a dashing fellow and so good to Gail.
29th June 2009 (following a post about String Theory): Happy 100th Post, Hamish! I really wish I could share your interest in this scientific theory, but alas, my brain is just not equipped for such thinking. It doesn't stop me for admiring you, though, for being the deep thinker that you are. I would be thrilled to see a Nobel come your way. I like your new collar too.
15th October (encouragement when Hamish complained about feeling his age): You are a wonderful 14 year old guy, and if you just keep to what you know, you will have quite a few more years, I think. And I love you just the way you are, too.
17th January 2010 (on Hamish's new red coat - the one I now occasionally wear): Hi dear Hamish, I don't know how I missed this post, but I did! Your new coat is just the BEST, all the features, collar up, collar down, velcro, your name, are simply grand. You could wear it to Minniesnowda and not get a bit cold. Maybe get some slippers for the feets.
17th January (after reading about the famous scone and lace tablecloth incident): Oh, Hamish, what a perfectly wonderful story! No pictures needed, you told it very well. The thought of a cute little white dog with jam and cream and scone crumbs all over his face is just too rare. I'm sure Granny scolded you, but these things are usually forgiven fairly soon.
7th February (when Hamish reported suffering from seizures): Hamish! You are my best pal, I can't have you be sick! Do what the Vet tells you and get better soonest! Oh, I just wish we were not separated by so much ocean and miles. I would visit you everyday there was if I could.Love and hugs, Stella.
19th February (on hearing the saddest news): It was a great shock to me to learn that my best friend and pal, Hamish Westie has passed on. Who will argue with me now, and who will advise me, and who will love me like he did? He was an irreplaceable Pal, and I can't even think of the days without him. My Mom was telling a friend about him and said that she thought he would be passing soon and when he did it would be like losing Otis the Scotty (age 16) all over again. And it is.Our friendship and love will remain with you, Gail, you who took such good care of him.In sympathy, Stella and Jo.
I have to tell you that Gail shed a wee tear when re-reading the 19th February comment. But of course before long I, Bertie, bounced on the scene. This is how Stella greeted me:
20th April 2010: Hello Bertie! Welcome to our world! We are so happy that you have finally arrived and that things are going (somewhat) well for you. If you need anything, just let us know! Has she had you leash walking yet? Not easy, but you will manage it. Kisses and a cuddle, Stella and her Mom.
Stella was always concerned abut my educational progress:
16th May 2010: Hey Bertie! Now where are all the details of your first puppy school class? I would think you would be bursting to tell us all! You are a very handsome boy and will prove to be an excellent airhead I am sure! Just lets hear how that first class went.
But when I embarked on series of 'Bertie Boffin' science lectures, the relationship with Stella hit a rocky patch:
21st September 2010 (after the thermodynamics lecture) :Whoa, Bertie! I came because I heard there was gonna be frosted cake . . .what happened to that? I brought a couple of biscuits from home and I think Mango swiped them. I'll try to come next week but some improvements need doing. . .like the frosted cake for just one thing. I also want to know why didn't Ludo come? He is a special friend of mine, and I was looking forward to seeing him here.
And things went from bad to worse when I organised a geological field trip in Scotland for all my dog blogging friends:
8th October 2010: It seems that you are busy these days organizing your field trip. Now in an earlier letter from Eric SquareDog he said he didn't care to be rained on and would stay in the van if the weather was inclement. And I repeated those words in my letter. I have no wish to be wet or uncomfortable in anyway and I will come only if I can stay in the van (you providing a warm wooly blanket for me). Now this includes getting my feet wet. I just don't like it. So, Bub, take it or leave it. I believe you also said eats were not important. I have news for you, they are highly important. Now you were concerned in a letter to Ludo that I would not take orders from you, and that is correct. Another take it or leave it.
When I refused to accept Stella on those conditions she opted instead for a holiday by Lake Como with George Clooney (click here
for more details) and later sent me this note:
16th October 2010: So,Bertie, Your trip wasn't quite the smash you had hoped for, eh? Even though you didn't get a lot of studying in, most everyone had fun! Even me, of course I wasn't with you! I am not much for apologizing, Bertie, because its easier to treat people well than to wind up having to offer an apology. So lets just say for this time, Let Bygones be Bygones. One caveat, Bertie, I always mean what I say, always.
Fortunately, over the years, the rift has healed, although Stella still tries to keep me in line, as you can see from this comment when I blogged about being distracted by girls at agility:
3rd October 2012: Of course its all very clear to all of us: You want to chase the girls (especially that cute little Bijon) and have your usual fun with them. Not gonna work here, Bertie, gonna have to knuckle down and get busy with your agility skills. Go, Bertie, Go!
I've noticed Stella is always envious of my trips by train to see HGD:
19th November 2013: We are not even allowed to ride the city bus, even if we have the fare! It all seems wrong on so many levels. Give HGD a smooch from all of us!
But she was not at all sympathetic earlier this month when Gail wanted to wash me in a cold Scottish stream...
Oh Bertie, you always have some little something to complain about. . ..man up and give those feeties a quick dunk!
Well, by now I think my readers will have got the measure of my friend Stella (and her Mom Jo).
Stella dear, Gail and I absolutely adore you, we treasure every single one of your comments, and we hope you will be giving me a piece of your mind for many years to come!