Sunday 28 September 2014

Grumpy human...

Gosh, do you know, before this week I had no idea what an important role I play in maintaining Gail's equable temperament and cheerful disposition.

Whilst I am delighted to report that my wound from last weekend has been healing nicely, this has only been achieved at a price. Gail and I have been trying hard to observe to vet's instructions, which limit me short walks on the lead, with a total ban on running around in the undergrowth, chasing cats, jumping on sofas and all sorts of agreeable activities.

This has been boring but, between you and me, I have been feeling kind of wiped out anyway after all the trauma of the 'incident' with Jake. Worse by far has been the effect of this lack of exercise on Gail.

You see it most in the early mornings. She leaps out of bed, all ready to go for our daily trot round the park, she grabs my lead and if she were a pup her tail would be wagging. But when I remind Gail that we are limited to a gentle stroll down the road and back, her face clouds over and later I notice she is less patient than usual when talking to her very deaf mother on the phone.

So for once I was quite relieved when, early today, I spotted her pumping up her bicycle tyres and oiling the chain. She wheeled the bike out the front door and returned four hours later, hot and sweaty but looking much calmer.

She even shared with me a photo of a not so silly sheep, taken by one of her cycling companions while out on the ride.

And later in the afternoon when Gail phoned Human Granny I heard her repeat "Bertie and I will be arriving in Nottingham on the train, at 6:30 in the evening, a week on Thursday" at least four times without sounding at all irritated.

Friday 26 September 2014

FFHT September - apologies

Oh dear I do believe I shall have to send my apologies to my Dood pals Murphy and Stanley this month.

You know, I so enjoyed taking part in their 'Fractured Fryday Hairy Tales' events in July and August. They really were super good fun, and everyone's stories just grrrreat.

But this time I don't think I can do it.

You see, the task is to write something including the phrase 'Just when I thought things couldn't get worse'.

All my friends will know by now that I had a perfectly horrid real life experience last weekend.

Oh it has just been too hard for me, this week of all weeks, to conjure up a narrative about things getting worse.

Right now, I only want to think happy thoughts.

I want to think about sunshine, lamb shank bones, cuddles with Gail, trips to the park, my tank-loving girlfriend Addi, games on the beach, mountain expeditions, comfy sofas, more lamb shank bones, more cuddles, and a world in which everything just gets better and better.

I am trying my best to be brave, I really am.

I do hope Murphy and Stanley will understand.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Bad hair cut or interesting experiment?

Thank you so much again, all my dear and lovely friends, for your kind comments following last weekend's incident. Gail and I feel quite overwhelmed, and apologise that we have not had time to reply to each one individually.

I am pleased to report that I, Bertie, am on the mend. In fact I am starting to find this 'only short walks and always on the lead' regime quite irksome.

Earlier this evening I went for a quick check up and saw a different vet. She was happy with my progress, and said my notes from the weekend contained a 'graphic and gruesome' account of the state of my insides…

However, today I want to discuss the state of my outside.

It won't have escaped the notice of anyone who read my last post that I now have an interesting haircut.

Oh, you didn't notice? Here is a reminder.

As you can see, half the shaved furs around my wound were white ones and the other half were black.

Until Sunday these furs had never once been cut, only stripped. People often comment - favourably, I believe - on my distinctive black markings. WFT aficionados will tell you that cutting or shaving furs results in the black fading to a paler grey colour. But is this true?

Well now, consider this. We have perfect conditions for a fascinating scientific experiment, don't we just?

Oh won't it be exciting to watch what happens to the shaven patch as the furs grow back! What? Gail is saying "exciting like watching paint dry Bertie?" I think that is supposed to be a joke.

I am going to insist on Gail taking a photo of the patch, plus the surrounding never-shaved furs, at fortnightly intervals between now and the end of the year. I  shall publish the results of this ground-breaking research, together with the sort of rigorous analysis you have come to expect from Blogville's Chief Scientific Advisor, shortly afterwards.

I bet you can't wait.

PS Talking of colours, Gail's bruised arm is looking ever more, well, colourful…

PPS  Our Scottie friends might like this cartoon. Click here.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Bertie's injury: update from Gail

Thank you readers for your concern, well wishes and kind advice after Saturday's incident.

I took Bertie to the emergency vet this (Sunday) morning, and she noted the wound in his side was quite a deep one and suggested I leave him to be sedated and they would clean it up thoroughly and check him over.

Imagine my horror when later in the day the vet phoned back to tell me Bertie's injuries were rather worse than she'd initially thought. It seems Jake's teeth must have dug deep and dragged some of Bertie's skin and flesh inside, creating conditions for an infection, and a large cavity full of puss had already developed beneath his shoulder, which required a big incision to clear out. The vet also noted other signs of trauma on his neck.

The poor wee lad.

I finally went back to the vet's to pick him up this evening.

What a sorry sight.

We returned home armed with antibiotics and pain killers. Tomorrow I shall stay at home to keep an eye on him and make sure the wound drain does not clog up. We go back to the vet on Tuesday.

My arm, by the way is fine, just a bit sore and bruised but nothing compared to what Bertie is going through.

One way and another, it has been quite a week here in Aberdeen!

Traumatic end to my Saturday walk

Oh dear, oh dear, I do hope Gail will forgive me and understand I didn't mean it.

You know, I like my blog posts to be honest, and to give my readers a true picture of what's been going on in my life, but I can scarcely bear to write about this.

I feel so very very badly.

And it had been such a lovely walk, along the River Dee with neighbour Yvonne and her flat-coated retriever Jake. Jake and I are not exactly best pals, but we generally rub along together quite happily. And it was such a pretty afternoon, although you'll have to take my word for it as Gail forgot her camera.

In retrospect I'm wondering if Jake was envious 'cos I was allowed in the front of Yvonne's car with Gail while Jake was confined to the boot.

Anyway, it was all peace and goodwill until we arrived back in our street and got out of the car.

Really I don't know quite how it happened or what I did to make Jake so cross.

All I know is that Gail and Yvonne were standing in the street nattering on as usual, then all of a sudden Jake had me by the scruff of the neck and was shaking me quite hard. I shrieked and squealed and Gail tried to prize me from his jaws but he wouldn't let go and in my utter panic I bit her arm and then Yvonne managed to pull Jake away.

It happened so quickly.

Gail checked my neck for signs of injury, but found none.

She insisted that her arm was OK, only bleeding a wee bit, nothing that a good soaking of Dettol couldn't sort.

Later she noticed an open wound on my side, and out came the Dettol again.

Oh dear but I feel just terrible, and not because of my injury.

How could I have hurt my precious human? She is the world to me.

Back home, I made sure I stayed close by her all evening, giving her cuddles and letting her know that I was so very sorry.

I tried to lick her hurt arm better, but soon understood that this was not appropriate behaviour.

Lying beside her on the sofa, my legs started to tremble and I couldn't stop them, and Gail made a phone call.

Oh dear, I do hope she wasn't arranging for me to be adopted.

I didn't want to want to go out for my late evening comfort walk. I really didn't. I felt scared.

Sunday morning update from Gail: poor Bertie is still very out of sorts this morning, and his side is apparently sore, so we are off to the emergency vet clinic later today.

Friday 19 September 2014

Bertie's analysis of why the NO's won

Who knew the anti-independence 'Better Together' campaign were so well organised?

What? You are surprised?

I'll tell you a wee story from Thursday morning.

Anxious to ensure Gail made it to the polling station before work, I hastened round the park.  A Bright New Dawn for Scotland was not looking likely...

Ferryhill Church Hall was just a short diversion from our usual route.

Dogs were not allowed inside and Gail was looking in vain for a suitable place to leave me. 

Before you could say "Barnett formula" a nice lady in a pink jacket decorated with 'No Thanks' stickers appeared out of nowhere. She kindly offered to mind me while Gail voted, assuring her she'd already looked after several other dogs that morning (although it was only 7:30 a.m.)

So Gail went in, and while she was trying to understand the instructions...

…I was enjoying lots of cuddles from the nice lady, who also had a generous supply of yummy treats in her pocket.

Surely, any campaign group that looks after voters' best friends so handsomely is well deserving of its victory?

Thursday 18 September 2014

The autumn crocuses will still bloom...

Friends, I have noticed that Gail has been fretting about the big vote in Scotland today, and is worried what will happen next.

Well I too was mulling over this matter when in Torridon last weekend, and it dawned on me that the important things will not change.

I shall still sit in front of the cottage, watching the world (or at least the sheep) go by, with dear Hamish's memorial stone to my side, and the Autumn crocuses will still bloom.

I shall still enjoy a morning run along my favourite footpath.

And bumptious new neighbours will still need to be put in their place.

The lochside scene will still be picturesque.

And back at the cottage, food and water bowls will still be replenished and Gail will be planning another nice outing for the both of us.

Sometimes, it takes a dog to keep things in perspective.

Sunday 14 September 2014

The deer hunter of Aultguish

Oh it was all so exciting! 

As my friends might already be aware, I am an aspiring but to date unsuccessful deer hunter.

We have a lot of red deer in Scotland. Often times, on walks through the pine woods and over the heathered uplands, the prey instinct has kicked in at the glimpse in the distance of a fast-moving antler, but sadly so far all I have had to show for my efforts has been a series of severe tellings off from Gail.

Many large shooting estates operate in the north of Scotland and 'deer stalking', a traditional pursuit of the British upper classes, is big business.

Last Thursday evening, Gail and I found ourselves in a remote Highland hostelry, the Aultguish Inn (waiting for the A832 to Torridon to reopen following a crash involving a stolen police car several hours earlier).

Standing at the bar in this lonely spot were a cluster of  tweed clad humans  who would not have looked out of place at an Edwardian country  house party. 

Now Gail and I are both guilty, from time to time, of eavesdropping. On this occasion it was a bit of a challenge for me to make out what was being said as the conversation was being conducted in the distinctive 'born to rule' accents of those educated at certain English public (i.e. private) schools, a manner of speaking we rarely hear in Aberdeen but guaranteed to raise the hackles of any self-respecting Scottish Nationalist. 

So far so unremarkable, but my flappy little ears pricked up when it was mentioned, in congratulatory tones, that the chap on the left had "brought one down this afternoon", meaning that he had shot dead a stag.

Well when I heard this I was all for bouncing  over to shake paws, and to ask for hunting tips.

As you know, Gail can be quite the spoilsport. She told me firmly to calm down and concentrate on enjoying my chicken flavoured chew while she finished her haddock and chips and then we would be on our way.

For some reason, she seemed to think it unlikely that the successful marksman  would have any relevant knowledge to impart to an eager-to-learn wire haired fox terrier with an unsatisfied hunting urge.....

And so I had to content myself with gazing in awe upon my new hero.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Tuesday 9 September 2014

I can't believe she didn't buy me some...

...of these sausages.

Yes, that's right, Gail looked inside the meat cabinet in the farm shop, took a photo and then came home with just blue cheese and yoghurt.


Oh, and I guess you would like to see a few pictures from my weekend walk up Craigendarroch, a steep wee hill just outside Ballater.

Looking beyond Ballater to the Balmoral estate, where the Queen too must be fretting about the future of her realm.

Sunday 7 September 2014

Not so surprising after all?

Remember my wee adventure in the 'East Neuk' last month?

At the end of the two day coastal walk, Gail's friend Alison said something which got me thinking.

"You know, this trip has been quite an eye-opener. I had no idea just how many people stop and talk to you when you're accompanied by a dog".

Gail replied along the lines of she supposed she'd just got used to it over the years.

Alison (who is ever so nice) seemed to think it sad and a sign that many folk care more for dogs than their own species.

But Gail, who always likes to think the best of everybody, said as she see it humans - especially the reserved British* variety - need a little encouragement to help them communicate, and pups like me act as a conduit through which warmth, humour and compassion can flow more easily.

Strangely, neither Gail nor Alison seemed to consider the (to me) obvious point that if you are an exceptionally handsome/cute/appealing/adorable specimen then of course people will stop and talk!

What Gail didn't let on to Alison was that even more people stop to chat when she is out on her own with me. 

*And what will being 'British' mean, in two weeks time? 

Wednesday 3 September 2014


Well Gail forgot her camera when she took me for a walk up Lochnagar on Sunday, so I shall try to paint you a picture in words.


Arrive 10 a.m. at start point in Glen Muick. Lochnagar summit in clouds. Put trust in the weatherman, who says it'll clear later.

No wind. Super!

Stop to talk to talkative German hiker. Discover lack of wind not so super - dense swarm of midges descends before Fritz has finished telling Gail how Austrian Alps better than Swiss Alps. Humans start dancing a midge-induced Highland Fling. WFT unperturbed. 

Round corner, startled by a group of ten young men, heads covered in black nets, plus video cameraman. Gail relaxes on realising it's midge protection gear being filmed and not a Jihadi recruitment video.

Reach summit in record time, due to impossibility of stopping. Clouds lift. Half of Scotland in view.

Wind gets up, sun comes out. Midges dematerialise.

Humans can now stop to eat picnic lunches. Rich pickings for cute looking fox terrier (a morsel of ham sandwich, an apple core and almost half a bag of cheese and onion crisps).

On leaving summit plateau, enjoyable encounter with one year old Bedlington terrier bitch - pretty silver curls and a fragrant rear end. Owner comments that a Bedlington/WFT pairing would make gorgeous puppies. Bertie prepared to give 'puppy making' a go but is dragged away...

Meet Fritz again, now philosophising about harmony of Scottish landscape. Or something.

Rocky and  precipitous descent by side of waterfall, Bertie nearly wiped out by brainless mountain bikers.

In woods by Loch Muick, Gail looks enviously at ceps gathered by French foragers.

White sand beach at head of Loch. Bertie dips a tentative paw in the rippled water. Chilly.

Return to car 5 hrs 20 mins after setting off.

Monday 1 September 2014

The Clydesdales and the serial killer foxy

Every year in late August, the Clydesdale Horse Show comes to Duthie Park.

Early arrivals were being spiffed up as Gail and I walked around the park on Saturday morning.

We stopped by one particularly handsome fellow.

He was standing still as a statue while his owners gave his feet a good scrub. 

Let me tell you I would never have permitted that. Gail asked if she could take a photo. The hoof scrubbers cheerfully assented, then one of them spotted me.

"A foxy! You don't see so many of them these days. My parents had a wire haired fox terrier on our farm. Killed everything that moved, it did. Hens, rats, mice, all the cats, every single one of them. Aye, that he did. Cats, chicken, rats, the lot. What's your one called? Bertie? I can see Bertie's paying attention".

You bet. I was SO impressed. Wow! Respect to that farm fox terrier.

Was it really necessary for Gail, in best embarrassing parent mode, to reply with this:

"Oh yes, Bertie's always alert. But the only creature he's killed so far is a vibrating toy hamster. Ha ha".

So NOT funny.