Pebbles our new dog has arrived. She is lovely, but seriously nervous. Just now she plucked up the courage to peep around the kitchen door. Aargh! The sight of Tiger the lolling tortoiseshell, her four short little striped legs in the air, was too much. Oh dear. Cats and dogs. I am reminded of their relationships...
OK. I'll only do some light gardening this afternoon - maybe just pot up my latest annual seedlings (pansies and lobelia), or do a tiny spot of weeding. Or I'll hang out in the house, read a book, and make soothing dog conversation. Maybe a mixture of both.
Oh dear. The blow by blow account of Pebbles settling in. She was overwhelmed and frightened for quite some hours. Then she started exploring. We were all doing so well. Both dogs were in the kitchen with me, both had responded to the 'sit' command, and both were concentrating. Enter Tiger the cat, who stopped to nonchalantly wash her bottom (as cats do). Aargh! Pebbles scuttled back to the laundry, tail between her legs. Oh dear!
But What a Difference a Day Makes...
Pebbles is much better! She's happy and completely confident, very smoochy, and quite attentive. The two dogs have been zooming around the garden all day, with just a couple of snarling stand-offs, nothing too serious - enough to get them both told off. But... And I guess there's always a 'But" with a new dog... Pebbles' fear of felines (yesterday) has been replaced with today's very bad habit - barking at, and trying to chase the scary things away. Tiger in the house is really puzzled by the noise. Barking at me? Me? Little old me?
Minimus, lurking underneath the cottage, also got the barking treatment. Well, all I can say is that Minimus will win, if it comes to a show-down! Winnie is very wary of Minimus and will not venture too close to the cottage verandah, just in case the scary fluffy grey monster is in residence. And Minimus usually is - on her cushion on one of the verandah cane chairs, surveying her paddock, checking for interlopers.
So I've been able to garden all day. After four hours it started hailing - how rude! I'd been clearing weeds and mess from the gardens and paths behind the pond. Half an hour later the sun came back out. So I poked the bonfire back into life and dumped a trailer full of Deodar trimmings onto it. Whoosh went the smoke. Pouff went the accompanying Cordyline leaves. Sizzle went the dry ferns.
The dogs have been in the garden all day, racing between me and Non-Gardening Partner, checking in and checking out. Pebbles won't jump in the pond, but she's been in the water race. She doesn't chase sticks or tennis balls (just cats at the moment, such a no-no).
Pebbles is only one and a half years old (so she's a young dog, a big quasi-puppy), and is a full sister to Winnie. She's a smaller dog, height-wise, and has a slightly broader forehead. Her white bits are a little bit different, and her fur is finer. And she has a wee black smudge on her nose.
Monday 11th September
More cat chasing this morning - hmm. So I have blocked off the lounge from the dogs, and Tiger the cat is now down there in her favourite chair, a full tummy, and not a care in the world. Pebbles is plodding around trailing a dog lead, which gives me better 'access'. Poor Buster was given the treatment (three times!) this morning. Oh boy. We all have a lot to learn, me the most, probably.
Two Dogs - Pebbles and Winnie
We will try the dog park now, and see what happens. I'll take the extendable lead and cross my fingers. With a new non-puppy one doesn't really know all the bad (and good) habits.
Weeping Pink Cherry
The dog park went OK, after Pebbles' initial attack of nerves. We've been gardening for two hours, and Winnie and Pebbles have been playing. Unfortunately Winnie has now slightly hurt her eye, and is sulking inside. And there is no sign of Buster. I've shut the dogs in the house and wandered around a few times, calling her, waving some very tempting steak and rabbit around. Trouble is that Buster has her own style. She doesn't miaow, so I can't hear her. She thinks she's a spy, and sneaks around the garden hiding, so I can't see her. My goodness, I hope she comes back. It would be terrible to lose her. I don't want to think about that!
At the End of the Day...
I've weeded and tidied around the koru brick courtyard, and spread five bags of horse manure around mainly the deciduous Azaleas. I'll need to weed-kill the sorrel before I spice up the wee Camellia garden, though. They had rather a rough time when the hedge trimmer trundled past - many of the larger branches crashed down and broke off their branches. Three are the red Takanini, and one is the smallish white Mansize.
Look at That!
Pebbles has made a couple of minor barking lunges at Tiger, who just ignores her. But I have to stop this bad habit. Mister Google (well, actually the Best Friends Animal Society) tells me to try the 'Look At That!' technique. Early days, early days. I'll do it!
Buster is back!
Aha! I've just gazed outside and there was Buster, black as midnight cat, sitting on the patio table washing her bottom. Too much information? It's a cat thing. When in doubt, wash your bottom.
So I snuck outside with a plate of steak and rabbit, which went down a treat. I 'helped' Pebbles think about something else by giving her a toy to play with. A knitted teddy makes the ultimate sacrifice...