A winters walk – Black Park

December 2015Chris and I have unintentionally started a new tradition in the last couple of years of going for a walk somewhere different on my birthday. I’m not sure if two years in a row counts as a tradition exactly but it feels like the start. Last year Chris and I took Elsie to Ashridge Estate with my mum and sister and walked round the woods with hot chocolate. There’s a few pics in this post. This year with Lilly in tow we headed to Black Park.
TreesThe girlsThe dogs loved it, of course chasing each other and running round in circles. Elsie couldn’t resist a mud bath to cool down after weaving through tree upon tree in pursuit of Lil. Let’s face it she’s never gonna out run our little whip-jack but she’s got the stamina to keep going!tree upon treeSitThe picture above makes me chuckle – it shows the two dogs personalities so well. Lil is busy looking for mischief/something to do/wondering what the camera is and Elsie has the look of pure adoration and wanting to please.
Elsie & INot so much in this one…I think she’s seeing what Lil is up to… SplashIt was nowhere near as chilly as last year but we did catch some raindrops on our departure. The weather has been really good for walking but it seems to be turning cold now, time to wrap up!

xxSignature

 

 

Happy 1st birthday Lilly pup

Inquisitive pupThis post is a month overdue (naughty me!) but I still wanted to post it so I can look back and remember when our little pup had her first birthday. (26th October in case you were wondering…)SnugglesLil & monkeyLil now has a year of puppyhood under her belt and she’s very much in her adolescent stage. Cue, being a little terror! If I had to pick three words to describe Lil they would be cheeky, mischievous and inquisitive. I can’t help but smile at her playfulness and sheer determination (…to do her own thing!) It was trying at first but you have to respect her tenacity (and she does have jack russell in her.)Lil in the snowHer cheekiness is actually something I love about her and she has the loveliest nature… a bit clueless (at times!) very friendly and completely full of beans. It’s hard to wear this dog out! On a recent run through the woods, fields, around the park (where she played with lots of dogs) and back around we met a couple with a mastiff and they beamed at me ‘doesn’t she have a lot of energy!’ This was at the end of our double digit mile run!Me & LilIn terms of training we still have a way to go but she’s come on really well. In my naivety of getting a puppy I thought a 6 week training course sounded great. 10 months later and I’ve come to the realisation that the training is something that never stops and having two dogs makes it even more important. We still take both dogs every Sunday to an outdoors training club and it’s become a part of our weekly routine. Lil has got so much better with cars and now looks at me when she feels frightened by a loud car (as opposed to trying to bite and chase after it) She’s learning to control her excitement a bit and I can mostly get her attention back when she gets very excited (this can be tricky as she’s a barker!) It’s still something I need to keep working on as this is the trigger for Elsie to feel anxious…it’s all fun and games! Lil is amazing at retrieving, we have a prey dummy that you fill with food and hide and she goes off and finds it bringing it back for the food reward. She loves her food which is good when it comes to training without it I think we’d be in trouble!

Happy 1st birthday Lilly. You are the cheekiest, loveliest little pup :)

xxSignature

Two years of Elsie

IMG_1788Yesterday marked two years since we first got Elsie. Last year I did a round up of photo’s so it only seemed right to do another post to celebrate her two year anniversary with us :) Yes I’m a crazy dog lady…
2 years of ElsieA few pics from the last two years. She’s such a special dog and true to her Staffie nature is very loyal and loves people.
Chris, Elsie & IWe love her to pieces, if you had already guessed :) Happy 2 year anniversary Elsie ;)Pet Portraits Elsie                                                                           xxSignature

Etsy shop launch!

Pet PortraitsToday I relaunched my Etsy shop! I started the shop a long time ago and never really did much with it. This time I’d love to create more custom and personal illustrations and offer affordable art prints and other bits and bobs. I’m looking forward to working on more personal projects and creating artwork that can be displayed in the home. It’s very early doors at the moment, I’ve got one listing currently and it’s for custom illustrated pet portraits like these. Can you recognise my girls?Pet Portraits ElsieIf you would like to commission a pet portrait I’m offering a single pet portrait for £50 (plus P&P) for a limited time. I’d love to draw some more examples of other lovely pets, it’s certainly not limited to pooches! Please do get in touch and stop by my etsy shop if you’re interested.Pet Portraits LillyYou can see more of my illustration work over on my website and if you spot anything you think would look great as a print do let me know, thanks for looking!

xxSignature

Pupdate – 6 months of Lil

Elsie & Lilly pupI can’t quite believe we’ve had Lil six months, it actually feels a lot longer, like we’ve always had her…I don’t know if that’s good or bad! The above pic is from the first week we had her, awww she was so teeny! She’s now 9 months so she’s still a little un’ but boy is she naughty cheeky! ;)six months with LilShe’s quite the character! At this stage of her puppyhood she loves everybody (especially men!) is besotted with Elsie – although she is always biting her cheeks to play! She chases cars & tries to bite them! We’re working on this one… is very clever with training and has just started to calm down a bit with it.6 months of LilShe’s a noisy one & barks at other dogs and people until she can say hello. She loves jumping (has springs in her paws!) paddling, tummy tickles, sleeping between our legs and resting her head on our knees, running, chewing, chewing and chewing!
The girlsThe dogs together are so entertaining! There’s lots of playtime which involves sharing toys and chasing each other. It’s funny when Lil has a ball or toy Elsie chases her and you can see if Elsie really wanted to she’d bowl her over and steal the toy quite easily but she often lets Lil win, bless her! She definitely treats her like her own pup and we were lucky that from the start they formed such a cute bond.Lil sunbathingLil loves being outdoors and especially sunbathing. She lies in the sun for a bit, gets hot and then shade bathes before going back into the sun. I’ve read whippets can be couch potatoes and a bit lazy at home and then when they’re out they go zooming round. With Lil being a jack russell whippet cross we haven’t experienced a lot of the slowing down bit, she’s always busy doing something, looking for mischief and keeping herself, Elsie or us entertained with her antics! It’s not always easy having a puppy but things feel like they’re slotting into place a bit now and we’re used to this crazy jumping bean and love her to bits!

xxSignature

Pupdate

3 months of LillyThis is one of those moments where I’m thinking, really…does anyone want to see MORE puppy pictures? However, in the name of documenting little moments I had to share these pics to document another month with Lil. It’s one of those sorry not sorry moments.Lilly rabbitLook at that little face…and that ear! She’s definitely got rabbit in her somewhere ;) Since my last pupdate in April things have changed quite a bit. Lil is definitely settled in and feels part of the family now. She’s still very cheeky but she’s learnt a few manners including leave and off (very important!) She’s still a bit of a jumping bean when she gets excited around new people but she’s a lot better than when we first got her. She’s very quick to learn with training and aside from last week (when all she wanted to do was bark at the horses!) it’s been really fun teaching her new things. At the moment we’re teaching her to fetch (so cute!) and she had a go at flyball a few weeks ago and after not getting it the first time, the second time she was on fire and super speedy to return her toy to me. The two dogs together are so adorable to watch, they’re always playing together and it’s been lovely  seeing them chasing each other and tugging on the same toy in the garden. They are still mostly being walked separately unless Chris and I go out together as Elsie is still very protective of Lil around other dogs. We’re still training her but we realise now we need Lilly to get up to scratch as when we’re out Lilly will bark at other dogs to warn Elsie (although Lilly is very sociable.) It’s a case of constant training to get them to be more focused on us and not worry about other dogs. I’m sure we’ll get there in the end! :)

xxSignature

Living with a puppy – 2 months in

Elsie & LillyIt’s a little over 2 months since we first got Lil. We’ve learnt a lot since we got her and it’s been really fun (and challenging at times too.) Having a pup is a lot harder than I (very naively) imagined and having two dogs is completely different to having one. Whilst writing this post Lilly managed to find some kitchen roll and shredded some of it, she’s been barking at Elsie to play with her after they’d already been playing for awhile and now I can hear her chewing a rawhide. That’s all within a 5 minute period ;)Dogs playingGetting another dog has changed things up quite a bit and thrown a few unexpected obstacles our way too. One of the biggest things is probably the training (the time you have to invest, cost and all the rules.) There’s so much to teach a little puppy and so much for them to take in, training is something that happens everyday naturally plus I’ve been taking Lilly to a puppy class on Saturdays and Monday evenings. She learns really quickly and the puppy training itself is going well, I know the time we put in now will pay off when she’s older and hopefully we’ll have a lovely well behaved dog :) I mentioned before that Elsie is also having training sessions to overcome her protectiveness of Lil around other dogs. This was obviously our main obstacle and something we didn’t foresee happening and because of her issues her training has been really quite strict. When we first got Elsie she had just had a litter of puppies taken away from her so I understand her want to protect Lil but it was getting stressful for me as she was showing signs of aggression towards other doggies and I really didn’t want that. Her training is going really well so I’m hoping we can combat it and I think as Lil gets older that will help too.Doggie cuddlesOne of the things that surprised us most was also how quickly the two dogs bonded. You can see from the pics they really love each other. They sleep next to/on each other, play together (a lot) and clean each other, it’s so sweet and it developed very quickly. When we got Lil from the Dog’s Trust they said she needed to live with another dog and it’s very evident that she really did. She adores Elsie and Elsie is really laid back towards her especially when they play together. Lilly often follows Elsie around and loves to be near her and vice versa.Puppy mischiefBecause of the various training it’s meant that currently I’m walking the dogs separately – I don’t think I’ve ever done so much exercise! It’s good for me but it’s definitely time consuming. I think it’s actually been good to give Chris and I time to develop our bond with Lil though as it’s nice to have time without Elsie and to see her character shine through. It’s harder to bond with a second dog and as we are obsessed with Elsie (if you didn’t already know,ha!) it’s good to have the solo time too. She’s been going on short runs with me where she literally runs by my heel or in front. The other day she was running ahead and kept stopping and waiting for me, being really playful, it was almost like she was motivating me to keep going, very cute. A few days ago at training we let her off in a secured area to practise recall (which so far she’s been brilliant at, touch wood!) and she got so excited she did the whole running round in circles thing. It was so funny! We love having her and I’m excited about all the future adventures we’re going to have with them both. This weekend we’re taking the dogs to the New Forest which should be fun!

xxSignature

Coffee date at New Row, Covent Garden

New Row coffeeHaving a little pup around means that if you go out you can only spend a few hours away from them so this week instead of leaving Lilly at home when I went to meet my friend in town I decided to bring her along. We had planned to meet at Hyde Park and go for a walk around the park and do some location drawing but unfortunately the promise of Spring has all but disappeared in London and the sky was grey and cold. We met at Hyde Park anyway then decided to jump on the train to Covent Garden to find a dog-friendly pub.
Me & LillyWe had some lunch and then had a wander around Covent Garden on the search for coffee and somewhere we could sit inside with Lilly. We settled on New Row a place I’d heard of but never tried.Salted caramel brownieI ordered a flat white and Toobie ordered a latte. I also got a salted caramel brownie and, oh MY! It was absolutely delicious and I would go back for the brownie alone although the coffee was amazing too!Toobie & LilThere was a sign that they make their own fresh almond milk everyday which I would love to try next time. Coffee with ToobI’m getting a bit obsessed with coffee lately and making homemade latte’s everyday and on the weekends enjoying them with Christophe. You can’t beat a latte for comfort.PupdateLilly got lots of kisses and cuddles whilst we were there! She was inquisitive, nibbling at dropped crumbs on the floor. Then it was home time and back to work for me. It was Lilly’s first time on a train and she was really good considering the journey was an hour long with a few train changes. I’ve never been on a train journey where so many people have smiled and chatted to me. One lady said seeing her had made her commute so much nicer and made her day. It was so sweet. Lilly on the trainI would definitely recommend New Row coffee for their coffee and their brownies, anywhere that’s dog friendly gets a thumbs up from me really anyway :)

xx Signature

Puppy Diaries – Vol.6

Elsie & LillyI wasn’t going to post a puppy diaries entry this week but I couldn’t help myself in sharing the above photo. The two of them are so sweet together. It’s week three of Elsie’s lead rest and I’m literally counting down the days until she can come back off lead and go for a run. I went to the Dog’s Trust this week and we spoke about getting her re acquainted with other dogs once she’s fully rested. (In the meantime we’ve been walking in the local woods where there aren’t many other dogs around.) It’s a long story but I mentioned she’s protective of Lil… well, her socialisation has taken a few steps backwards because of her injury and being on lead walks only. I’m confident with training she’ll get back to how she was before, there was a lot of change for her all at once so hopefully in a few weeks we’ll get back to a new normal routine.

I won’t be posting a puppy diaries entry next week as I’m planning to do a pupdate every now and again instead of the weekly posts I’ve been doing. If you want to have a look at all the posts from when we first got Lilly up until now you can see them here.

xx

Signature

Puppy Diaries – Vol.5

LillyWe’ve had Lilly for just over a month now. It’s been a full on month of watching her every move, pulling random bits and pieces out of her mouth that she’s found on her travels, seeing her terrorise Elsie one minute then see them cuddle and clean each other the next.Elsie & LilHaving a puppy is harder than I thought! Some days seem more challenging than others when Lilly wants to jump up and chew Elsie’s lead (I thought this was over, but I spoke too soon!) when Elsie gets protective of Lil around other dogs and when Lilly scans the room with a mischievous look in her eye and you just know she’s looking for trouble or something to chew! By the way she has zillions of chew toys but all she wants to chew is the wicker basket containing the toys ;) When you see them cuddled up sleeping in the same basket, playing with the same tug toy and sharing the water bowl it’s just too cute and makes it all worthwhile. It’s still an adjustment having a pup around that you have to give your full attention to but it’s all good.LilI can’t lie I’m looking forward to a more chilled out and not so high maintenance (I hope) dog in the future, but let’s face it that’s not gonna happen for awhile so it’s all about embracing her crazy puppy behaviour and enjoying getting to know her. She’s found a little puppy buddy in the park, a pedigree staffie called Sid who she loves running around with, I might try and get some snaps but she moves so quickly it’s hard to capture much. From these photo’s she’s looking very chilled but trust me this is probably only 30% of the time!Sleeping LilThis week we started obedience training at the Dog’s Trust. It’s a shame as there’s only one other puppy! He’s a gorgeous Doberman with giant paws called Boycie. We’re doing the puppy equivalent to the obedience training we did with Elsie so we’ve already started the training at home but I figured it’s good to have a bit of bonding time with Lil away from Elsie which is making a big difference in her training. It’s hard juggling the two of them while trying to train Lil. She got to play with Boycie at the end of training class which was hilarious! It was all paws and legs!wet dog Elsie & LillyThere’s been oh so many walks, lots of training (working on stopping Lil pulling on the lead,) a couple of runs (just with Lil unfortunately as Elsie is on lead rest still,) pigs ears (gross!) and not as many shoes missing & ending up in the dogs bed this week. I think we’ve definitely made a bit of progress :)

xxSignature