The Princess Tails

The Musings of Zena, a Tibetan Terrier sharing her life and wisdom with Raffles, a Standard Poodle


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Warrior Princess

Groucho from Groucho the Wonder Westie gave me this idea and I’ve been thinking about it ever since he mentioned it.

The suggestion was a result of my last post when I was talking about how big Raffles is. He obviously felt sorry for me in comparison to the hulk that is my puppy Raffles. I have to say that I still harbour a certain amount of resentment towards The Help. She promised me a puppy and look what I ended up with. Although he’s great in many ways, he is not my idea of a puppy and I am not ready to forgive her for that yet. I feel short-changed.

Anyway, in my last post I described how my going out into the garden seemed to be viewed by Raffles as an invitation to play. The most basic of trips has become fraught with danger and embarrassment.

Groucho suggested I use evasion tactics. What a brilliant idea! Evasion. Self-defence. I have been planning ever since.

I really need number one son to help me here, or even number two son. They are both good at emergency response and they have both attended and led courses on survival and how to behave in high riskΒ  situations like kidnapping in overseas countries, the places where they work.

However, because they tend to be working in overseas countries they are never around when you need them so I can’t ask them what I should do. I have tried to remember some tips and I have come up with some ideas myself.

1. Risk Assessment

One of the things that number one son is trained in is risk assessment. This is the first step really. You have to decide if you might be at risk. Am I at risk walking to the dog park? Not really. I am in safe company, an unlikely target for kidnapping (even though I do understand I am special) and Raffles is busy focussing on getting to the park.

Am I at risk at the park? Very definitely. I am now with the big dogs and let me tell you they do not take prisoners. When they are tearing around and playing games it is like ten-pin bowling at the park! Owners flying everywhere πŸ™‚ But, because I stay alert and I have identified the risk I have only been bowled over once.

Having assessed the level of risk I am keeping my distance from the unruly Poodles!

Assessing the risk and keeping my distance from the unruly Poodles!

Am I at risk at home. Sometimes.

Having assessed the level of risk I have to make some decisions. How am I going to respond to that risk.

Risk assessment means being alert at all times. It may look like I’m just meandering down the garden path but really I am alert and watching. Every muscle is a coiled spring, every sense scanning for danger. If you are living with a puppy or a kitten you can never relax, never go ‘off duty’.

I may look relaxed and asleep but if you look closely.... my eyes are open ever aware of danger. FYI camera's are now constituting a danger in our house!

I may look relaxed and asleep but if you look closely…. my eyes are open ever aware of danger. FYI camera’s are now constituting a danger in our house!

2. Response

a) Run – This is always my first response. If you can find a gap, run and don’t stop running until you have reached your safe place wherever that may be. If you are away from home and feel the need to run from danger it is probably wise not to run to your own home because then the pursuer would know where you live. It is usually counselled that you run to a friend πŸ™‚ Great. Then the pursuer knows where your friend lives. Lucky friend!

Run.......

Run…….

Sometimes it is impossible to run, perhaps you are cornered or injured. At the moment I am having paw problems and running fast is not an option for me so I have to use other tactics.

If you can’t run it might be useful to try and figure out what the attacker wants from you.

b) Assess the level of danger. If Raffles is just after a toy I make a decision whether it is worth the yips and grumbles and fake attacks to keep that toy or if I just hand it over without a fuss. If there is any risk of personal danger I would hand it over at once. No possession is worth my being injured. Fortunately the level of risk with Raffles is usually measured by the proportion of slobber I am likely to be covered in!

How badly do I want the toy?

How badly do I want the toy?

Not that badly, it was finished anyway :-D

Not that badly, it was finished anyway πŸ˜€

At all times your aim should be to escape so even when negotiating you should be scanning for escape routes and ways to RUN if you can without inflaming the ‘attacker’. Usually when I run I manage to go faster than the pup and I know I can turn quickly so I will always go for this option. If you are not certain of outrunning the pursuer this is never a good move.

And again I say..... RUN......

And again I say….. RUN……

If you cannot run you may be forced into a situation where you need to defend yourself. It is surprising what useful tools are with us all the time and when it comes to an emergency these can be called upon.

c) Defend yourself. I have great sharp teeth, not so good claws. Occasionally a tool may come to hand which can intimidate an attacker, use anything you can if it comes down to it.

Under that friendly, happy tongue is a row of sharp teeth ready and waiting to defend me.

Under that friendly, happy tongue is a row of sharp teeth ready and waiting to defend me.

d) RUN. It is never too late to seize the opportunity if you see a gap. As you may have realised by now this is always my preferred approach.

At my best Raffles cannot catch me - he falls over his big paws!

At my best Raffles cannot catch me – he falls over his big paws!

e) Look Confident. Through it all make sure that your state of mind is positive. This will show in your body language. I have found that I have a tendency to let my tail drop, a sure sign that I am feeling overwhelmed. Positive self-talk is good and can be as much of a weapon as my teeth. If I look like I’m beaten, I am beaten.

This sort of posture would make me vulnerable to attack at any time.

This sort of posture would make me vulnerable to attack at any time.

Here I am showing confidence and being in control despite having a marauding puppy following my every move.

Here I am showing confidence and being in control despite having a marauding puppy following my every move.

f) Call for help. If running is not an option and the confrontation hasn’t worked my last resort move is to call for help, or scream as loudly as I can. This will usually bring the attention of others and almost always result in the attacker running away themselves. Screaming is good. I have a great voice but haven’t had to resort to this one with Raffles. If you are able to scream and run this will often ‘encourage’ the attacker to break off the pursuit knowing that your cries will most likely have been heard and already others could be drawn to the area.

I am a mere blur leaving Raffles to make a vain attempt at catching me.

I am a mere blur leaving Raffles to make a vain attempt at catching me.

g) Hide. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot run and for some reason drawing attention to yourself is impossible or doesn’t seem like a good move you can hide using the environment around you.

I find long grass a great hiding place, bet you can't see me.

I find long grass a great hiding place, bet you can’t see me.

One of my favourite hiding places at home, under the desk. Raffles is too big to fit.

One of my favourite hiding places at home, under the desk. Raffles is too big to fit.

If you do not see a good hiding place use camouflage. I am great at this. Depending on where you are you do your best to merge into your surroundings and your attacker can’t find you. Unless of course your attacker happens to have a long snout and incredibly good smell ability! But it works when I’m hiding from The Help at bath time!

In the strong Australian summer sun I often merge into the shadows at the dog park and I find that if I add a few bits of dried grass my disguise is complete!

In the strong Australian summer sun I often merge into the shadows at the dog park and I find that if I add a few bits of dried grass my disguise is complete!

My favourite. Black dog, black bedding. It works every time :-D

My favourite. Black dog, black bedding. It works every time πŸ˜€

h) Play Possum. Finally. If all else has failed – play dead. I warn you this is a messy technique which almost always results in my being chewed and sucked and being covered in puppy lick, but it does mean I get a peaceful hour or two. You just have to work out if it is worth the cost.

Play dead.

Play dead.

I hope all of you keep safe and never have to use these tips but if you do remember that whenever you can the best thing to do is RUN….

Love from Zena, the Prepared Princess


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The Princess Remembers

Nostalgia – a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past.

Do you remember when I first met Raffles and I thought he was big?

Raffles at the beginning

Raffles at the beginning

We used to play in the garden together and have fun.

We would share sniffs and interesting things.

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We would run and play in the woods nearby.

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And afterwards we would share my special little bed (before someone broke down the edges!!).

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And remember when THEY decided that you weren’t allowed on the settee?

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Those were the good old days.

They are gone forever.

Now, I have a hard time finding room on MY settee – so much for THEIR good intentions.

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I creep into the garden hope to get away without being ‘spotted’. But, I fail.

Can you see me? Raffles can :-(

Can you see me? Raffles can 😦

On my way back in I have to run the gauntlet of an almost seven month who thinks if I’m outside I must want to play but who is three times my weight and size.

Where’s the fun with tug-of-war with those odds?

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Once spotted I have no choice but to make a run for the house hoping I can make it before I get savaged.

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Today, due to a sore paw (note the right leg is being held up so I am hobbling) I didn’t make it.

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Having made it plain that I was in no mood for a game I am ‘escorted’ into the house.

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To add insult to injury he even eclipses me in the photographs – I barely get a look in.

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Remember when Raffles first came to live with us and I thought he was huge?

Well I was wrong.

Now he is huge!

Keeping cool in the OZ heat and remembering the good old days of three months ago!

Keeping cool in the OZ heat and remembering the good old days of three months ago!

Love from Zena, the thoughful Princess


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The Valentine’s Ball Begins

Mollie & Ranger’s Valentine’s Ball has arrived!

There is great excitement. Dancing. Drinking. Eating. And of course all the girls will be looking at what everyone else is wearing!

Mollie & Alfie's Valentine Ball Invitation

Mollie & Alfie’s Valentine Ball Invitation

If you want to have a peep and join in the voting visit either Mollie or Ranger and leave your opinion in the comments.

Today we are voting on the Sweetest and the Hottest couples. Tomorrow will be another voting day and they are keeping us in the dark about the categories.

This is a competition with real prizes which I know will be great.

So far I don’t have any votes but never mind! Even The Help hasn’t voted for me which I think is mean. She said it wasn’t sporting or something. I think she’s jealous πŸ˜€ After all, she isn’t going to a ball.

To be honest I don’t think she’s doing anything for Valentine’s Day. She is mumbling something about commercialism. Give me the opportunity to have fun and I’m there.

At one time I thought I might have to go with Raffles. This would not have been a disaster because he is a good looking fellow, but it was a little like going to the Prom with your brother (yuck!). You can imagine how pleased I was when Basil asked me to the ball with him. I have long thought him the cutest guinea pig in Blogville so I was happy. He turned up with these lovely roses and the cutest look on his little face. Well, judge for yourselves:

My Outfit for the Ball

My Outfit for the Ball

The Help does struggle on these occasions but I appreciate her hard work and I know she does her best (bless).

Here is me with my date:

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He turned up in the wonderful pink Limo and while I was admiring the colour, he shyly approached with those gorgeous roses which so matched my outfit (how did he know??). He was the perfect gentleman and we rode in style to the ball.

Meanwhile, Raffles was not left out. The very splendid lady Litchi invited him to the ball as her escort. I was so pleased when I heard that because it meant that I wouldn’t have to worry about him and I could have a good time. He was pleased too because he wasn’t going to be left out or have to alone which for one so young can be a painful experience.

Here is Raffles with his date:

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Pretty fancy aren’t they? Apparently Litchi wanted Raffles to feel comfortable and so she wore her hair ‘a la Poodle” for the ball. Very classy I think.

We have a few days of fun but we started the whole event off with a wonderful sequence of dancing. Raffles and I had to do this one together because of all the rehearsing required, here’s a still taken by the Doggerazzi:

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The dancing was put together by the wonderful Nellie and if you want a giggle go over and see the whole video. I want to hire Nellie as my publicist, she’s so much better than The Help!

Love from Zena, The Frilly Princess!


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Sharing the Love & Happy Birthday Miss Eight

So we’ve been a little quiet on the blog front. I can tell you it has been anything but quiet on the ground here.

Not only has there been a flurry of behind-the-scenes activity to get my outfit organised for the Valentine’s Ball, but we are also having a few family health issues.

This has not been fun. The Help’s father has been having some health issues over the last twelve months. Then two days ago her mother decided to get sick too and The Help was out at the hospital until 4.30am! Was I glad to see her safely home. And now her mother is safely home too so I hope we can breathe and relax.

Fortunately her mother is doing quite well and I am hoping normal service (focus on ME) will resume again soon.

Mollie & Alfie's Valentine Ball Invitation

Mollie & Alfie’s Valentine Ball Invitation

Mollie, Alfie & Ranger are busy organising the ball. Rather them than The Help is all I can say. I don’t think she’ll be able to organise herself out of a paper bag at the moment! I had huge problems getting the outfit for the ball to my taste but I think we got there in the end. Hope you’ll all come and join in – just have a peep. We’ll let you know when it’s on, then you can vote for me πŸ˜‰

There is a rumour (started by Ranger) that Cinderella will be there. What is a ball without Cinderella? Raffles and I had a chat, we think it could be Doggy! Yes, really. You wait and see.

Talking of the pup (pup…ha!), he had to go to the vet this week and have a vaccination. He didn’t even notice because at the moment of impact The Help gave him a treat. Yes. He is THAT easy! The shock came when it was weigh in time. At just 7 months he is 27.6 kilos. He is not fat however, it is all big poodle muscle.

I tried to play tug-of-war with him last week. You can imagine how that went. Raffles got the toy, I got the toy. Raffles tugged, I staggered off to one side and found I didn’t have the toy any more! We are not altogether compatible in the weight and strength stakes.

I do think however, that I have a stronger stomach than he does. He seems to get sick quite a lot. Maybe it was the vaccination, maybe it was his dinner but 6.00 am this morning he starts all the signs of being sick. Not able to go outside, which he usually does on these occasions, he decided (as he has done in the past) that my bed was the place to be sick in. My bed! What’s wrong with his? So I scrabbled at the door to get The Help up. She slept through it but The Boss heard me and came out to help. Raffles was still sick on my bed, but only a little bit. So now The Help has to wash it – teach her to get up faster when I tell her to the next time πŸ˜€

As this is the month of love there has been a lovely award going around. The Why I love Thee Award created by Nerissa and her family who are obviously very talented because it is a lovely award.

Nerissa passed this award onto Nellie who has passed it along to everyone! Now, I’m not sure if the original aim of this lovely award was only for cats but …… TOUGH! I’m a friend of Nellie’s and I WANT this one!!!!

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You can see why I like it can’t you? It is really pretty, so thank you Nellie for allowing all your pals to have this award and thank you to Nerissa’s Mum for making it πŸ™‚

There are rules, but they are simple. Thank the one who gave it to you, post the award, tell everyone why you love someone and then nominate a friend or friends and pass it on.

I thought about who I should talk about because I have a lot of love for those around me. I am growing to love Raffles because he helps me to feel safe when we’re alone, I love The Boss because he is gentle and kind and looks after me. I love The Help’s parents because they come by a lot and it is always fun to see them. I love Miss Seven who is actually Miss Eight today and I love number one and number two sons but I don’t see enough of them.

Really, it is obvious. I have to tell you that for all the joking and sarcasm I love The Help.

I love her because she is always looking out for me. She feeds me. She walks me. She makes sure I’m safe when we’re out and she makes safe places for me when Raffles decides he wants to play and I don’t.

I love her because she sat up with me for three nights holding me as I cried when Zac died.

I love her because even though Raffles isn’t the pup I would have chosen, she did get him because she was thinking of me and he will grow into a fantastic pal.

I love her because I can depend on her.

I love her because every night, after dinner I jump up on her and she rubs my tummy. And if she stops a gentle ‘bop’ from my paw reminds her to continue πŸ™‚

I love her because she loves me and she shows me in lots of ways that I am special to her and I do the same to her.

I was never in a horrible home. I haven’t had a background of abuse or cruelty. The Help found me when I was a tiny pup (as pups should be) and straight away I was loved, nurtured and protected. I am a very lucky Tibetan and I have The Help and her family (and Zac) to thank for that and I do. I love them all and I am thankful that I have never had to be afraid of those around me who are supposed to care for me.

Okay. Sloppiness over……. πŸ˜€

I also want to pass this on to those who read this blog and enjoy such things. Like Nellie, you have helped me and shown love to me in different ways and so now I give this award to you.

I think I shall make that my Oscar acceptance speech πŸ˜€

Today is Miss Seven’s birthday so she shall now be known as Miss Eight. We cannot believe it! Eight! We met her first when she was about six and she has grown a lot since then, though Raffles is heavier!

So to Miss Eight who is fast becoming able to read this blog herself:

I Hope you have a wonderful birthday and Raffles sends hugs, licks and cuddles as do we all – except of course The Help and The Boss who just send hugs and love!!

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Love from Zena, the Loving & Lovely Princess