The Princess Tails

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


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The Princess Looks Back – Part Four

Me - looking back!

Me – looking back!

I hope that some of you are still with me.

Until I started this I had no idea how sad some of the stories would be when written down in black and white and how they might bring tears. I apologize to everyone if I’ve made you sad. Please keep reading.

I will start today by saying a huge thank you to Angel and Chaos over at House Full of Dogs for giving me the super sweet blogging award. I do already have this award but it is lovely to be thought of and you can never have enough pupcakes!

super-sweet-award1-1Don’t you just want to scoff them all?

I then want to thank Little Binky and Granny over at Angel’s Whisper for allowing all their readers to share their Inner Peace Award. Who doesn’t want and need inner peace? I certainly want it. What with pupcakes and inner peace I am a very happy Tibetan right now 🙂

Inner Peace Award

Inner Peace Award

I would like to do as Little Binky did and invite any of my followers to help themselves to this award. Especially those who have stuck through my ‘Looking Back’ series and have found them traumatic. You probably need some inner peace about now!

My last post left The Help and her family in New Zealand. I think she was born with a restless gene though because it wasn’t too long before they were moving again. This time to Switzerland. It was only for two years though so once again she was determined not to get any furpups.

As so often happens with The Help and her family, those two years passed and they began to put down roots. They bought a house over the border into France and as buying a house is a pretty big commitment the signatures hadn’t dried before she was already wanting to add another commitment – a dog.

Of course she told The Boss it was for the sake of number one and number two son. Ha! He wasn’t fooled.

She looked in the local papers and nearly bought a collie. Then they met with a breeder of Sheltie’s and learned that they could be very timid and had been a little over bred in that area so they decided that perhaps that wasn’t the right dog for two active boys.

The Boss didn’t want a big dog like a Newfoundland, Pyrenean or a Bernese Sheepdog which The Help loved so she had to look at smaller models.

They had a lot of children in and out of the house so whatever dog they had needed to be safe and friendly.

Really they were spoilt for choice. There are so many great dogs out there. Mixed breeds and what is termed pure breeds.

There were a few limitations though which made her look very carefully into the type of dog she got. As she was busy driving kids around The Help knew that she couldn’t take a dog for long walks as she had in the past so it had to be a dog which was happy with the large garden they had and the occasional trip out. It had to be friendly and safe with the unpredictable behaviour of children.

Although many of these things depend on training and safe exposure there is little doubt that there were certain breed traits which The Help didn’t feel suitable around children. So many things to think about.

Reading through a book she had come across a Tibetan Terrier and immediately fallen in love with the cuddly looks – well, we are gorgeous! She read about the kind temperament, how good we are with children and how playful we are. All of these things seemed positive, but she didn’t know where to get one.

One day she read about a dog show in a local town. That would be a good place to meet and maybe buy a dog she thought. They even mentioned Tibetan Terriers so she would get to see them.

So they turned up at the show and found the Tibetan Terrier class. These cuddly dogs were gliding around the ring and a strange couple over in the corner had a huge white rug in front of them which they were brushing. The family talked to a few owners and chatted to some of the dogs waiting around and discovered that they were friendly and all the owners were effusive about us.

The strange couple continued to brush the rug and The Help kept looking at them wondering what on earth they were doing. Towards the end of the competition someone went over to them and the lo and behold the rug got up and pranced into the ring! That did it. He was gorgeous and with that laid back personality who could resist getting one.

Whilst at the show they saw an advertisement for a 5month old Tibetan puppy being sold by a breeder about a two hour drive away. Not too bad a distance. The Help would have liked a younger puppy but there were no others nearby.

So a week later, the appointment was made and the family drove for hours to look at the puppy. The Help kept telling number one and number two son that they may not return with the puppy so they found the trip very tedious!

When they arrived at the house it was chaos. It seemed like dogs were everywhere. As well as breeding Tibetan Terriers these ladies also bred Briards, very large cattle herding dogs. Eventually they put the big dogs away and The Help and family were left with about a dozen Tibetan Terriers tearing around a small yard. It was like being in a cake shop for The Help – she would have taken every one but her eyes kept getting drawn to the only white one that was in the group.

She turned to her mother who was with them and expressed the wish that they’d take the white one away because it was the only one she had eyes for, she hadn’t taken any notice of the black and white pups running around.

The breeders eventually cut the white one out of the group and The Help thought that would be good because she could focus on the others. They put the white one on the table and told them that this was the puppy which was for sale. Apparently she was actually golden in colour and much prized. They had specifically bred their bitch with a dog from the UK in order to get a golden but her teeth had come through overshot and therefore she was useless to them. They were very disappointed. The Help not so much.

The first Tibetan for the family

The first Tibetan for the family

So of course the trip home was made with a squirming puppy who vomited into the gear box and got cuddled by The Help – so much for getting a puppy for her sons!

Toffee was a quiet Tibetan. She didn’t care for other dogs which was surprising as she had spent so much of her early life well socialized with the other pups, but she loved The Help. She loved all the family and would go out and play with the boys but The Help was her focus. One thing about us Tibetans is that we do tend to have a favourite in the family.

The Help apologises for the quality of the photos but she hadn’t mastered digital at that time and the photos have been on a few more travels since then.

Toffee loved her family

Toffee loved her family

She was definitely a family dog and was very stand offish with strangers and visitors. She had a great bark and frightened people coming to the door but then she would step aside and expect The Help to protect her. That’s what we do – we alert our people to intruders but then it’s up to them to look after us 🙂

Toffee with her wide grin

Toffee with her wide grin

She was bigger than I am, but I know that Zac and I were small for our breed. I often wonder if she would have liked me if we’d ever met. As she wasn’t too keen on other dogs probably not, but you never know, perhaps she only liked other Tibetans.

Toffee hanging out with the family

Toffee hanging out with the family

When The Help first got her she wouldn’t eat very much. Within days though she realized that wasn’t a good idea and from then on the battle was to stop her eating! Every hair cut revealed whether she needed a diet or not. I’m glad to say I have only had that problem since the pup has been around and I’ve occasionally got some of his food.

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Like most of us she enjoyed her sleep! In fact she was a little too quiet at times and The Help actually took her to the vet at one point to see if she was okay. Everything came back clear so it was just that she was a passive dog.

Like me she did not like water. What is it with us Tibetans? She also hated snow which I haven’t ever seen. The Help told me that one day when the first snows came she decided to go walking in the forest behind their house. She drove up to the snowline and got out. Toffee was in the car and looking to stay there. She got her out and Toffee looked at her with scorn. Walk? In this? The Help set off, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was a little snow on the ground. Toffee trudged after her trailing a few metres behind. When The Help looked back Toffee stopped and shook her paws to get the snow off. After 20 minutes of walking with a dog in abject misery The Help gave up.

As soon as she turned around, Toffee turned and high tailed it back to the car and sat waiting eagerly to go home!

She was not an active dog. Many a time she went out for a walk with the family only to return in the arms of one of them as she refused to walk any further. Take it from me we Tibetans can be stubborn when we want to be 🙂

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She went everywhere with the family and unlike myself never had a thought to go exploring. She hardly needed a lead and although the garden wasn’t fenced she wasn’t interested in leaving it. On their walks she would respond to The Help’s voice and if there was a cat or anything that caught her attention a quick word from The Help would make her ignore it. I could do that, I’m sure I could – if I wanted too.

Anyway, one of her favourite things was to go to the airport. The Boss was always travelling then and Toffee would go to the airport to pick him up. They would tie a bow around her neck and everyone would smile at her and for once she would wag her tail and was friendly. When she saw who it was she was coming to meet they would let the lead go and she would run to them – it was all very Heathcliff and Cathy if you get the picture.

When number two son left to go to University Toffee was almost twelve. She developed Cushings Disease as an elderly dog. Until that point you would never have known she was getting older. At first she responded to treatment but then didn’t. She became very weary and when the time came to put her down she was ready. You could see in her eyes that she just wanted to sleep.

For such a quiet girl she left a big space but it was time for The Help to move on again so she was in no hurry to try and fill the void. Toffee had been a great pal. She saw number one and number two son grow up and was a constant companion to The Help. She did her job and more and she did it beautifully. She is remembered as a lovely girl and all the memories are happy ones. So please, no tissues with this one!

Toffee was their first Tibetan and it is a tribute to her that they went on and got two more when next they settled long enough to be responsible.

Toffee, the golden Tibetan

Toffee, the golden Tibetan

Golden in colour and golden in nature., she was one of the good ones.

With love from Zena, the proud Tibetan


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The Princess Looks Back – Part 3

Me - looking back!

Me – looking back!

The next furpals to enter The Help’s lives were definitely not planned!

With number one son about 18 months old they left the grey Northern Hemisphere skies and travelled to New Zealand to live. It was supposed to be for three years. Fresh from the pain of leaving Pashtu behind The Help was not looking to get any pets even though that decision would leave a big whole in her life.

What’s that saying about best laid plans…….?

Within the first few months they found a house they liked and bought it. The family they bought the house from had two boys and a dog and a cat. They were leaving for Australia. In one of the last visits that The Help and The Boss made to the house they discovered that this couple were putting the cat and the dog down because they did not want to take them! They were horrified.

The dog was a young Sheltie called Mandy and the cat a grey tabbie called Charlie or ‘Garlie’ as he was always known due to the inability of a baby to pronounce his name properly.

You know what happened next don’t you?

Yes, you’re right.

They bought the house and took the dog and the cat along with it.

Mandy learning to trust us

Mandy learning to trust us

For some reason most of the photographs at that time seem to have been of number one son and then number two son who was born shortly after they moved to New Zealand. this means that we were not able to find any photographs of Charlie and only a few of Mandy. The Help tells me that they have many more in a different form, photographic slides, but I think she’s just telling me that so I won’t judge her!

I freely admit that Mandy was a handsome dog. She reminds me a little of Roxie, a Collie from our park. She was large for a Sheltie apparently but I’m afraid to say she had not been treated very well and was very timid.

So The Help and The Boss began to work with her and Charlie to try and tame them.

Their new house had a lot of chapel ceilings and beams. Charlie lived his life in the kitchen high up on the beams. This didn’t seem particularly hygienic or friendly so The Help gradually discouraged Charlie from jumping on the fridge and then onto the beams.

Actually she just piled some saucepans on there so that when he tried it they fell and made an awful noise. Not very subtle was it?

It did mean that eventually Charlie joined in with family life a little and in the winter months when it was cold he would sit on The Help’s lap. They never really felt that he loved them, but they did understand that they were tolerated as without them Charlie wouldn’t get regular meals and a warm house!

Mandy learning to overcome her fear

Mandy learning to overcome her fear

Mandy was a harder project. She was used to kicks and abuse and wouldn’t come near the house at first. With a lot of patience and well placed treats The Help finally got her to come inside and to learn that she was not going to be beaten.

She was a gentle dog and loved children although she did have an issue with the postman and would nip at his heels to ‘herd’ him away from her house. The Help had to apologise a few times and when she realised what was happening she kept Mandy in at the time the postman was due to call!

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They had had Mandy for a few years and she had just about left her fearful ways behind her when all of a sudden she disappeared. She had jumped the fence and escaped. The Help was shocked and couldn’t understand what had happened.

They contacted the local police, vets and lost dogs home. She had on an identity tab but they lived not too far from farmland and The Help was worried. She knew farmers would simply shoot a stray dog and not stop to check the tags.

A couple of days after Mandy’s disappearance she was told about rumours of a farmer having shot a dog in a nearby valley. She had a friend who had recently lost her son through a brain tumour and together they drove into the valley to see if by any chance this dog was Mandy and if they could find her.

They drove around for a while and were just returning home when the friend spotted Mandy in a nearby field.

The Help got out of the car and began calling. Mandy was running and didn’t seem to hear. She drove the car trying to keep the dog in sight and eventually Mandy got onto the road. Again she stopped and called but the dog just ran past her with a glazed look on her eyes.

The Help jumped into the car again and overtook the dog by about 200 metres. She parked the car and opened up the back of the hatch. She stood next to the car on the open road and began calling Mandy’s name and talking to her. Perceiving the road block ahead the dog slowed and then something got through to her. She began trotting towards the car and jumped in, wagging her tail and happy to be safe.

The Help and her friend were in tears.

They took her straight to the vet. She had been shot with buckshot and that was easy to fix.

Something however was not right. She began to revert to her nervous ways and The Help saw her walk into a wall on a few occasions. Sometimes she would seem to overbalance and they began to get a little concerned that she might snap at them when she was in a ‘glazed’ state. They were worried about her around two young children.

They went back to the vet. He thought perhaps it was hormonal and gave her an injection.

Her strange behaviour continued and The Help was concerned. Then one night she fitted. The Boss knew what was wrong. He believed she had a brain tumour. They had both watched their friend and neighbour’s son die recently and the symptoms were almost the same.

The next day she was back at the vet who was very unimpressed by The Boss’ diagnosis and their concern that the dog was sick. He thought they were simply trying to get rid of an unwelcome pet. He kept her overnight. That night she had a massive fit and The Help was woken by the vet calling to say she needed to be put down.

It was thought that the physical trauma and beatings of her past may have caused a bleed into the brain but we will never know for sure. She was a young dog, but I’m pleased to say that her last two years were spent in comfort, safety and a family’s laughter.

I promise you not all of The Help’s stories are sad ones, though I’m beginning to be amazed that she kept on including us in her family as I retrace some of her furkid history.

After Mandy they were not going to get another dog, but once again they got sucked in by a sob story! A work colleague was going overseas and needed to find someone to look after his dog whilst he was away. Of course they said they would and that is how they found themselves with a Cairn Terrier.

Angus was obsessed with balls and used to collect them from all around the neighbourhood. The Boss would line them up on the wall at the bottom of the garden for the kids to reclaim their balls!

Angus with number two son

Angus with number two son

After a couple of years Angus returned to his owners and shortly after that it was time for The Boss and The Help to be on the move again.

Love from Zena, the looking-back princess


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The Princess Looks Back – Part Two

You may remember that last time we talked about the first furpets The Help had when she left home.

At that point The Boss came along and life began to change a little bit. You may remember that they went away for a year leaving Jason with a friend and Chaucer with family.

Here is where they went:

Afghanistan

Afghanistan

First they went to live in Bangladesh and then they moved to Afghanistan. They didn’t getting any furpals in Bangladesh, unless you can count the huge cockroaches which The Help certainly didn’t want in the house!

They knew they were only going to live in Kabul for a year so they didn’t intend to get any pets. The Boss really didn’t know The Help that well if he thought that was going to work!

Walking past a flower shop one day she saw a parrot in a tiny cage. For some reason she felt so sorry for the parrot and asked the man if it was for sale, he shrugged and named a price which didn’t seem a lot to The Help but which she learnt later was about ten times the price of parrots in the market nearby!

The main difference was however, as she told The Boss, was that their parrot was healthy and didn’t die after a week which tended to happen to those bought at the market. They named him Mango and after a great deal of patience they encouraged Mango out of his tiny cage and on discovering his wings were clipped, they bought a stand for him to live on.

Mango used to love The Boss, he liked riding on his shoulder and sharing his bacon and porridge for breakfast. For some reason he used to just sit on his stand and give the death glare to The Help which she thought was very ungrateful of him considering she had rescued him!

One day when The Boss was seeing if Mango would like some fresh air in the garden, the bird shocked The Boss by spreading his wings and flying a few metres. Unfortunately this took him over the wall into the neighbour’s garden. The Boss ran to the wall and saw Mango come to rest inches away from the neighbours boxer dog. Fortunately the dog was so shocked and a little elderly so The Boss was able to sprint around and into the garden and rescue Mango before it got messy!

One night they were invited over to a friends house and told that they had a present. The Help was intrigued, her birthday wasn’t for weeks. When they arrived there they were horrified to be presented with a puppy. Don’t get me wrong, The Help fell in love instantly with this puppy, but they knew they weren’t staying in Kabul very long and they couldn’t take him back to the UK. America didn’t have the tight quarantine regulations that the UK had. This family already had an Afghan hound who wasn’t too happy to have this puppy in the house so they were anxious to find another home for him.

What were the chances The Help wasn't going home with this puppy?

What were the chances The Help wasn’t going home with this puppy?

They were told the story. The couple had been driving through Kabul when they saw this small white puppy running across the road and just miss being hit by a car. They stopped and picked it up. They looked to see if they could see any evidence of it’s mother or anyone who might be searching for it but could see no-one. So they had no choice but to take it home.

The Help and The Boss listened to the story and applauded the family for rescuing the dog but explained the many reasons why they just couldn’t take him. Their decision was accepted and they sat outside in the garden nibbling on crackers and watching the two kids pull the puppy, drop the puppy, dump the puppy in a vat of water and generally do things that should never be done to a little fellow. Did the parents let their kids run riot on purpose? We shall never know but the outcome was that after watching this for half an hour they looked at each other and knew they couldn’t leave this little guy, they had to take him home. So they did.

They called him Pashtu and he quickly grew into a loving, bright and special pal.

Pashtu in the garden

Pashtu in the garden

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When they first got him he was still only lapping, within a week or so he began to chew and from then on he thrived. The local people referred to him as a ‘ditch’ dog. I suppose our equivalent of a mongrel. He was gorgeous apparently (although I am sure he couldn’t have been as wonderful as me!). He was a little like a Maremma.

At six months he resembled a Maremma

At six months he resembled a Maremma

Being an only furball he had a lot of toys. During the winter there was a lot of snow on the ground which didn’t bother Pashtu, he was made for snow with a thick double coat and hairy pads to grip the ice.

Every morning in the winter he would go out and dig up his toys. He would carry them to the middle of the garden and then check that no-one was watching. Then he would take each one and bury them in a new place to be dug up the next day!

Don't you watch where I put these!

Don’t you watch where I put these!

He would drive out on the weekends with The Help and it caused people endless amusement to see a dog in the car! Pashtu would sit up like a king, sometimes in the front, sometimes in the back.

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The cold never really bothered him but he used to like to sit with The Help close to their one paraffin heater at night. One night The Boss commented on the funny smell in the room. They looked around and down and suddenly realised that Pashtu’s beautiful white feathery tail was smouldering!! It smelt awful. Fortunately they were able to stop it burning before he realised what was happening or felt any discomfort. He had a tiny brown patch in his tail for a few weeks as a reminder.

As a tiny puppy he used to love to steal the freshly washed laundry. One day The Help came back into their apartment after shopping and Pashtu shot out of the door, one of her freshly washed bras in his mouth. She chased him up the street and then suddenly became aware of people, mostly men, looking after her in amazement. Recalling that she was in an Islamic country she decided that Pashtu would have to return by himself with or without the bra. As soon as he realised she was no longer playing he returned, still with the bra in his mouth.

She put the laundry away as soon as it was done after that.

The Boss and Pashtu enjoying the snow

The Boss and Pashtu enjoying the snow

As the time came closer for them to leave it became obvious that The Help was struggling with having to leave Pashtu. They discussed with an Afghan friend the possibility of taking Pashtu home to the UK despite the quarantine issues. They were advised against it. At that time the Afghan government had become sensitive about people exporting their Afghan Hounds and he also said that he had known of animals exported without any water in their cages so that they died in transit.

None of the information they received was hopeful so they turned their attention to finding a home for him within the International community of Kabul. They found an American family who were looking for a dog. They were diplomats and had a small son who Pashtu seemed to get on with. They would be able to take him to America with him when they left. It broke The Help’s heart but she felt it was the best chance for Pashtu. She hoped he would bond with the boy and then return to the States.

Mango went to an American family too and the daughter was thrilled to have him. They had bought many a bird from the local market only to have them die and the young girl was so happy to finally have a healthy parrot.

The Boss & The Help left Afghanistan only a couple of weeks before violence erupted. As soon as The Help arrived home she wrote to the American family to find out how they were, but actually to find out how Pashtu was. The news was not what she wanted to hear.

Pashtu had run away. He didn’t have time to bond with the family before he slipped out of the gates. We have no way of knowing what happened to him. The country was never to be the same again.

Did Pashtu find his way back to their little house and did one of the Afghans who knew him take him home? The Help hopes so.

Her heart broke a little leaving Pashtu behind and when she heard he was lost she was devastated.

By now he is at the Rainbow Bridge and is one very special furball that she is hoping to see again one day.

In memory of Pashtu

In memory of Pashtu

With love from Zena, the emotional Princess


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The Princess Looks Back

I thought I’d talk a little bit about history. The Help’s history. Ancient history in fact 🙂 BD (before digital) so all the photos are rather blurry.

I mentioned some time ago that it might be interesting to find out a little bit about the furkids that shaped her. She has told me that she always loved animals. Almost any kind of animal but particularly dogs, cats and horses.

Growing up her family seem to have had quite a few dogs. Kips, Patch, Cindy, Boozy, Heath & Wilson (bulldog brothers named after the politicians of the day!), so as soon as she left home and was by herself one of the first things she wanted was a dog. As a child she had lived with a German Shepherd, mixed breeds, spaniels, boxers, and bulldogs and she didn’t have a particular breed in mind. She just wanted a dog, a companion.

She was living in England in the middle of the countryside without neighbours and surrounded by fields. It would be good to have a dog for security as well as company.

The Internet was a mere twinkle in a Scientists eye so she had to rely on phoning the RSPCA and watching the advertisements in the paper until she found a dog she felt she could rescue and offer a good home to.

Looking back it was done so carelessly. She was young – very young – she tells me 🙂

She saw and ad in the local paper and phoned the then owner and made a time to go and see the dog on offer. A young de-sexed Irish Red Setter.

She was very excited driving to the house. She turned up in her little car and parked outside a large stone manor house. A middle-aged man came out of the house and whistled for the dog who ran willingly over from some far corner of a huge and manicured garden. Jason (the dog’s name) was definitely about to come down in the world!

The Help was immediately smitten. Jason seemed friendly and The Help is a pushover so she wasn’t going to drive away without him. She couldn’t get a good reason for the re-homing from the owners and she was too young to push. All she knew was that here was a dog who was unwanted. He had a lovely soft expression in his eyes and a desire to please. She might not be able to give him a manor house and rolling lawns, but she could give him a loving home where he belonged and so straight away she said she would have him. She sensed the relief of those around her.

No-one asked anything about her. They didn’t ask what sort of a home she was going to provide or if she was at home during the day. She just took him. No one ever followed up to find out how he was. They were rid of a burden and The Help found her companion.

Jason enjoying company and cuddles

Jason enjoying company and cuddles

Happily for Jason, he had a great home. He was an Irish Red Setter who had clearly never really been looked after. He had a dry and staring coat which no amount of oil and conditioners could improve but he was loving and good natured and The Help never did understand why he was being passed around.

He slept in her bedroom and for the first week he woke her every morning at 5.00am by pulling the duvet off her bed! Clever as that might have been, she trained him NOT to do that as soon as she could!

He loved roaming the fields which surrounded the house and they went on long walks. He wasn’t much of a guard dog but he was company. At that time The Help used to ride a lot and Jason loved running with her. Oddly enough she had a chestnut horse so they matched but she assures me that had nothing to do with her getting him. I wonder……

The roads she rode along were mainly quiet which was a good thing because occasionally Jason would suddenly decide to lie down in the middle of the road for a quick rest. When I think about how crazy she is about me and the roads I wonder that she took him out like that. She would never let me off leash near a road. Maybe I’m just special 🙂

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One thing which was a problem was the car. He used to behave as if he was being taken to the slaughterhouse every time he got into a vehicle and was only happy when he was sitting on the front seat passenger or the driver! As you can imagine this was a problem. At that time harnesses for dogs in cars were not as common as today and as The Help only had a small mini a partition wasn’t practical. However, they didn’t crash!

This did settle down a little as he got older and nothing awful happened to him. I don’t like the car either and having heard this story I am beginning to wonder if the problem doesn’t lie with The Help and not me after all. I’ll give more thought to that.

Shortly after Jason came to live with The Help she realised that she had other pets in the house who had not been invited. Mice.

Now The Help doesn’t mind mice. She thinks they’re cute, but she does prefer that they are not running over her food and living in the oven!

So she had the bright idea of getting a cat. A local farmer had some kittens and said she could have one so she got Dee. She asked the farmer when the kitten might catch chase mice and was told not for many months, but she hoped that the smell of a cat in the house would deter them.

At about this time she met The Boss who was quite amused by her menagerie and loved animals himself which was a good thing because otherwise the relationship wouldn’t have worked.

On the first night of having Dee, The Help was woken up by terrible screams. Thinking the kitten had been somehow injured she grabbed a torch and went running out into the dark. Being the country there were no street lights or other illumination. She could find nothing and the screams had stopped. Heart pounding she went back to bed planning on finding the kitten if she could in the morning. She didn’t sleep. She was sure the poor thing was hurt.

As she opened the front door that morning she tripped over the remains of a rabbit! That’s right, a rabbit. This small kitten who was not yet meant to chase mice had torn a rabbit to pieces. The Help was a little disconcerted and very upset about the rabbit but she couldn’t believe at first that the kitten had done this. Perhaps a weasel or stoat had killed the rabbit and the kitten had just brought home some of the spoils.

This answer satisfied her that day but the same thing happened the next night and from then on various pieces of torn up bunnies could be found dotted around the garden. Meanwhile Dee seemed to have made a deal with the mice that they could stay in the kitchen with her blessing!

Dee, Killer Cat

Dee, Killer Cat

The Help had bought a litter tray and all the usual things that one gets for a cat and was a little surprised when Dee refused to use the litter tray at all. Everything she had read about cats had described them as fastidious clean creatures who would not soil there own area. Dee seemed determined to break all stereotypes.

She preferred the carpet to any other means of toileting and no amount of scolding, treats or bribes could get her to go outside or use the tray. It was as if the outdoors was her place and the indoors just a giant bathroom to her!

A red flag was raised when Dee developed another ‘cute’ trait.

The lounge and kitchen were separated by a few steps with a guard rail. Dee quickly discovered that if she sat on the top rail by the top step anyone walking through from the lounge was a target. She would hurl herself at them and then claw all the way down their body. The Boss suffered badly from this game of Dee’s and it became a war of stealth for The Help and The Boss to make it into the kitchen without bleeding claw marks on their arms or legs.

Dee was not interested in cuddles and would fight if The Help picked her up. It began to dawn on The Help that something was wrong (doh!). Was the cat crazy? Could you have a feral kitten? She didn’t know, but as she patched up more wounds and swept the remains of another poor rabbit from the doorstep she began to feel that Dee was not really working out.

Not being equipped to deal with a problem kitten she was fortunate in living in the country. Farmers were always wanting or willing to have another cat to keep down the rats or vermin in their barns and the cats had a great time. It seemed that it would be an ideal life for Dee. The life she had been born into really. It was with relief that she took Dee around to a local farm and The Help could once more walk around her home unmolested!

The Boss & Jason

The Boss & Jason

This still left the problem of the mice in the house so once again The Help thought about getting a kitten but this time she wouldn’t go to the local farmers, she would go to the RSPCA. They always had kittens needing a home.

Taking a small box in the car she drove to the local shelter. She was taken into the cat house and told that there were dozens of kittens to choose from. Third cage in and a huge ginger cat threw himself at the bars miaowing and clutching onto her hands. She talked to him for a while wasting precious minutes. She knew there were boarders in there as well and this fellow was obviously there whilst his family was on holiday. He was sleek, beautiful and obviously loved. He was gorgeous.

Eventually she tore herself away and looked at some of the kittens, she could hear the cat shouting after her and went back several times to talk to him. No kitten particularly grabbed her fancy and she realised she was looking to see if there was a ginger one because of the boarder.

The lady came back in to see which she had chosen. The Help had to confess that she hadn’t managed to choose a kitten yet and had been distracted by the ginger tom.

‘Oh, he’s looking for a home too.’ she was told.

Apparently he was not as loved as she had thought. He was the product of a broken home, the husband had taken the dog, the wife the kids and no-one had room for the cat any more. They didn’t even know his name or age in the RSPCA. He had just been dropped in. I suppose it could have been worse. It was good for The Help.

Needless to say the little box The Help had taken with her wasn’t much use on the homeward journey. The big ginger tom ran around the car and then settled in the front seat purring. He had come home and he knew it!

Handsome and proud of it!

Handsome and proud of it!

The first thing The Help had to do was find a name for him. For some reason all the usual cat names of the time did not sound dignified enough for this proud guy. Eventually she chose Chaucer being a fellow red-head!

So Chaucer joined the happy home and he and Jason and the horse got on famously. Sometimes The Help would go out into the garden and see Chaucer swinging from the horse’s tail who didn’t seem to mind at all 🙂

Receiving due homage!

Receiving due homage!

Cat and Dog enjoying the garden and each other.

Cat and Dog enjoying the garden and each other.

Chaucer loved going for walks too and sometimes had to be shut in the house for his own safety!

In the evenings when The Help would return from work she would hear the vocal cat screaming as he came racing to greet her bounding through the long grass of the neighbouring fields. He would be visible on the up-jump and then disappear again. It is a memory she always carries with her.

The first time The Boss met Chaucer, the cat bounded onto his lap, put his paws on his shoulders, pressed his nose against The Boss’ nose and purred. For a moment The Boss was rigid waiting for the cat to turn on him (Dee’s influence lived on), but as the minutes passed and Chaucer’s purrs increased The Boss realised that he had been accepted. That was one of the cat’s favourite positions.

A couple of years after meeting The Boss and getting married a new chapter began. The Help and The Boss got a job overseas for a year. Chaucer was to stay with The Help’s parents and Jason with The Boss’ best friend who had always wanted a dog, loved Jason and loved hiking.

When the year was up and they returned Jason, who was getting older, was so happy and settled they didn’t have the heart to wrench him away again. He lived on for many years hiking the local hills with his new master, loved and happy and The Help never did understand why he had ended up in that newspaper ‘Free To A Good Home’ but she is pleased he did and that she was able to write a happy ending to what could have been a tragedy.

Chaucer came back to live with them after that year away. They picked him up from a local kennel after the twelve month separation. The Help was driving the car and he immediately sat on The Boss’s lap, pressed noses and purred so loudly the car felt like it was vibrating. He hadn’t forgotten them.

He stayed with them as their first son was born and until he grew old. Always a handsome and dignified cat who loved laps, cuddles and who had chosen The Help as his new home on that day in the RSPCA shelter.

Love from Zena, the Chronicler Princess


26 Comments

The Princess Says Thank You

I’ve decided that today is time for catching up.

As some of you know, it’s been a little chaotic around here lately. This means that we are behind with our thanks and acknowledgements re: Saint Mollie’s generous donation of her prize to me the pup.

For those of you who are a little confused Misaki ran a competition to find a Saint for blogville last month. I entered the pup. You may have noticed from some of our recent posts that he is very good at tearing his toys apart, good practice for protection duties I thought.

He didn’t win it. Don’t worry about his feelings, I didn’t even tell him I’d entered him so he wasn’t too upset when I told him he’d been beaten 🙂

Mollie our wonderful pal over at Mollie’s Dog Treats won it but demonstrating true saintliness she kindly donated the prize to me Raffles. Doggy from Doggy’s Style also won and he donated his prize too!! I Raffles would not have been so generous so the best guys won.

At the height of the chaos which was our house at that time we received this wonderful prize and The Help has never got around to saying thank you properly and showing you all what I we got.

Packed with Prezzies

Packed with Prezzies

I got first choice. "What do you mean I can't have all of them?"

I got first choice.
“What do you mean I can’t have all of them?”

"OMD - What is it?"

“OMD – What is it?”

"Okay. Got it. Food" :-D

“Okay. Got it. Food” 😀

Tucking into mine with great enjoyment - and that fox? My toy!

Tucking into mine with great enjoyment – and that fox? My toy!

Later on I let him play with the fox.

Later on I let him play with the fox.

Showing the action that made him a near winner, the pup is a blur as he battles the evil fox.

Showing the action that made him a near winner, the pup is a blur as he battles the evil fox.

You might like to have an update. The treats I have to confess did not last long. They were great 🙂

The tug is still with us, though it has seem some vigorous pulling action and is a little frayed. The ball on the rope gave the pup a very happy afternoon but then sadly ended up just being a bit of rope. However, being a pup he played with that for a while!

The fox is amazing. He has been loved, tortured, tugged and sucked and remains intact. He is even still squeaking.

All of the gifts were a great success so a huge thanks to Misaki at The Misadventures of Misaki, to Mollie and Mollie’s Dog Treats for donating her prize to me Raffles, and to Doggy at Doggy’s Style for donating his prize too.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

Love from Zena, the happy princess


35 Comments

The Naked Princess

Well. Not really.

But it feels a bit like it.

Yesterday I was this cute, shaggy and okay I acknowledge it, slightly knotted Tibetan.

Portrait of a shaggy dog

Portrait of a shaggy dog

Then I went to the spa. They bathed me, cut me and combed me and I think they went a little too far!

I feel so naked!

I feel so naked!

And not only do I have to deal with the sudden loss of my long hair (on the one hand it’s easier to run around, on the other I feel strange) but on my return I had to cope with the ministrations of Raffles who was very concerned about where I had been and why I looked different on my return.

'So then I had a bath and they got out the big dryer......'

‘So then I had a bath and they got out the big dryer……’

To my embarrassment the cut revealed that I have been enjoying a few too many puppy treats lately and for the first time in my life I have a little more belly than I should. I am mortified.

Then, to add insult to injury it was a little cold this morning and The Help thought that maybe the short cut might be too much of a shock for me so I had to go out looking like this.

Oh the shame!

Oh the shame! If looks could kill…….

At least it’s purple – the royal colour. See my skinny little legs. I did hear The Help say to keep the leg hair longer. Sigh. It’s always the same when you go to get a haircut. They get carried away and you spend the next few months growing it again. The Help complains about her hair being cut too. It must be a family thing 🙂

For those of you who saw the pictures of our garden yesterday and were so kind about it, we thought we’d show you pictures of what it was like before the big trees came down and they made a big lawn for us to run on.

This was the garden until last year

This was the back garden when Zac & I moved here

The garden until last year

The garden until last year

The Boss worked hard and had it looking pretty. We had a little patch of grass and then we went through the arch and behind that shed you can just see three really big trees. They began to lean rather badly and threaten neighbours. That’s when The Help and The Boss decided that they couldn’t leave them up any more.

Before

Before

That before picture looks great. Zac and I loved exploring the different parts of the garden but nothing would grow down where the shed is because of those big trees. The other problem was that the garden took a lot of water. Not good in a country like Australia where there is so little rain.

The in-between stage.

The in-between stage.

The Boss spent ages moving the plants, then he got someone in to take the trees down and move the sheds and then he had to put down turf. And all this time I couldn’t use the garden.

It was cute before but I guess it was worth it because this is what we have now and as you have all mentioned, it is a great garden for us to run around in – when I feel like running!

A Pergola stands where the big trees used to be so we can sit in the shade and watch the pup playing on the lawn.

A Pergola stands where the big trees used to be so we can sit in the shade and watch the pup playing on the lawn.

What a difference? Do you prefer the before or after? We’re hoping this one won’t use as much water as well as giving us space to run.

Have a good day.

Love from Zena, the plump Princess 😦


38 Comments

The Princess Shows You Hers

Yesterday. At least I think it was yesterday. All the days are rushing into one at the moment.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Yesterday, Mollie over at Mollie Dog Treats gave us a tour of her garden and asked us how our gardens are growing. So this morning when we came back from our romp at the park The Help took some pictures. They are not very good, but they give you an idea.

We are in Australia in case you hadn’t realised. So it is not summer here, it is Autumn, the end of Autumn. Nevertheless some of the plants don’t seem to realise it.

These roses have been flowering off and on since Spring!

These roses have been flowering off and on since Spring!

These Petunias on the back fence seem to be enjoying the cooler temperatures.

These Petunias on the back fence seem to be enjoying the cooler temperatures.

The Potato Vine clambering over the shed is one of The Help's favourite thing in the garden. It flowers all the time and even though it has invaded the shed she loves it!

The Potato Vine clambering over the shed is one of The Help’s favourite thing in the garden. It flowers all the time and even though it has invaded the shed she loves it!

The climbing roses are still climbing and rosing!

The climbing roses are still climbing and rosing!

The Boss' geraniums are still adding some colour too.

The Boss’ geraniums are still adding some colour too.

And our grass is green again after the summer.

And our grass is green again after the summer.

Just in case you don’t believe me when I say it’s Autumn, this is our maple tree in the front garden.

And the leaves?

And the leaves?

IMG_2118

Here they are – waiting for a strong wind to blow them around the garden again!

So that is my autumn garden.

Then this morning I went to Doggy’s Style and he alerted us to the importance of having a good photograph on hand for emergencies. This has brought to a head my long hair debate. If I went missing would this photograph do me justice?

Is this the stunning Princess Zena?

Is this the stunning Princess Zena?

Cute and Cuddly - yes

Cute and Cuddly – yes

All that combing, bathing and hard work and this is as good as The Help can do? My hair can get three times as long as this but we’ve had a chat. I’ve had enough of the comb. The Help’s had enough of my wriggling so today I go for a pampering at the local spa. Nails done, hair washed and cut and tomorrow a new Princess Zena will emerge – one with eyes you can see!

Have a great day everyone.

With love from Zena, the knotty Princess!


44 Comments

Wreck It Raff

I am trying to be an understanding princess.

I understand that The Help has two parents she gives a lot of time to.

I understand that The Boss is still recovering from the eye surgery gone wrong and it has been almost five weeks since he could drive.

I understand that he is fed up but at least he does seem to be recovering now.

I understand that The Help had a morning in the hospital having a procedure she won’t talk about and she has lots of appointments for herself, The Boss and her parents.

I understand that we have been lucky not to have missed a morning in the park or my cuddles in the evening despite all of this.

However, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how they could leave me so often alone with ‘Wreck it Raff’ and think it’s okay!

The Evidence

I Know What You Did Last Summer

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Psycho

Visiting Hours

The Horror Show

The Horror Show

Psycho

Psycho

Child's Play

Child’s Play

Friday 13th

Friday 13th

See No Evil

See No Evil

Cry Wolf

Cry Wolf

He Knows You're Alone!

He Knows You’re Alone!

I understand we are being left a little more than usual …….. but…… H E L P !!!!

With love from Zena, the (safe) and understanding Princess


38 Comments

The Pressed Princess

Hello all,

This is really just a catch-up to say sorry we haven’t been around to visit and comment on your blogs and may not be for a few days.

Monday started so well with my receiving my prize from Animal Couriers for being able to match up the names with their travellers (who said I don’t have a brain!). Along with some cards and a wonderful key ring which The Help has pinched, there was also a great fridge magnet.

IMG_2024

The Help is looking for ways to attach it to the outside of the house! And no, it doesn’t mean I’m mad (though maybe I could persuade people that The Pup had a screw lose?), but it would certainly made people talk about us which I like 🙂 I rather like being thought moody and interesting enough to deserve a French label. Anyone who is anyone should have a French label!

I think I’ll have another one made which reads ‘Chien célèbre’ 😀

So that began Monday well, thank you Animal Couriers.

Then Miss Harper Lee nominated me for the Sunshine Award. I do already have this award but was really touched to be thought of again and if you haven’t met Harper Lee you should pop over to her blog. The picture of her as a pup sitting in a basket made my tail wag it is sooooo cute.

Suddenly, Monday went wrong.

The Help took The Boss to have a check up on his eye and the next thing you know we are off to stay with Devon at the Team leader’s house and they are rushing into Melbourne for emergency surgery on a detached retina 😦

They are now back and The Boss is back to the beginning trying to recover with a sore eye.

We coped because we know Team leader well and in fact I had a very comfortable night. The spare bedroom at Team Leader’s house is a very nice room with satin and sequin covers. It looks very pretty and just right for a Princess. So, without Team leader realising it until the morning, I spent the night on the satin, sequinned spare bed and The Pup slept on the floor! I just wish The Help would provide a bed as civilised for me at home!

It was however a sad night for another reason too. You have heard me talk about Prissy Paws? What is a blog without someone to tease and what are stories without a villain? Well, he will be cast as the villain no more. He went to visit the vet on Monday and they discovered that he is the end stage of heart failure. Team Leader is very sad and so are we. We are hoping that his little heart will keep on going for longer than the vet thinks and that he will be here to snarl at us for months to come.

So Monday was a very mixed day and all of this is why we are very behind with things and might be a bit behind for a week or two.

All of you take care and keep on having fun and normal communications will resume as soon as possible.

The carpet? You seriously expect me to sleep on the carpet? Where are my satin sheets? Where are my sequins? Pffft

The carpet? You seriously expect me to sleep on the carpet? Where are my satin sheets? Where are my sequins? Pffft!

Love from, Zena, Le Chien célèbre,

Raffles, Le Chien Lunatique

and The Help


42 Comments

The Princess Comes Clean

No. This is not about the state of my coat.

This is an update on the pup.

As most of you know, the whole purpose of getting a BIG pup was for me to have a bodyguard. How is it going you ask? Not quite according to plan I say!

For all his size he is a very gentle guy.

For once I got to the sofa first and he has to squish up on one side :-) See how big he is?

For once I got to the sofa first and he has to squish up on one side 🙂 See how big he is?

Miss Eight was here last week and he ran around with her and never once in the two days of play did he knock her over or hurt her and yet he can be such a klutz!

He causes endless amusement with the others at the dog park because he always seems just a few beats behind the other dogs. He is still playing chase when they have switched to hide and seek and then they have broken out from the trees and he’s still waiting on the other side! He is the kid who is counting to a hundred playing hide and seek and all the others have gone off to watch tv without telling him 🙂

Decisions, decisions. To play chase with Diesel, puppy school pal and German Shepherd, or chew the stick with Rosie and Cassie? BTW if you look closely just where Diesel's head should be that's me playing with him.

Decisions, decisions. To play chase with Diesel, puppy school pal and German Shepherd, or chew the stick with Rosie and Cassie? BTW if you look closely just where Diesel’s head should be that’s me playing with him.

It makes me laugh too and I would love to have Zac at my side to have a chuckle, but of course if I’d had Zac, Raffles wouldn’t be here. Ah well, I’ll chuckle anyway!

I do wonder if he will ever assert himself. Last week a huge black lab decided he rather fancied Raffy and Raffles who is bigger and heavier just stood there. It didn’t occur to him to be nasty or even to shake him off. Sometimes his good nature goes a little too far!

I guess that is the problem with being the baby of the group. None of the other dogs really take you very seriously and you are always trying to catch up and talking about catching up you should see him run! Don’t get me wrong, he can go quite fast, but he needs about half the dog park to work up the speed and then there is the moment when the other poodles, who are all a little smaller and lighter on their feet, decide to turn. He has done some spectacular face-plants! He just does not have the grace of the others. We’re not sure if that will come or if he’s just too big a specimen to be graceful with it.

I don’t care that he can’t turn on a sixpence, I just need him to turn on any potential threats to ME. That is looking less and less likely. In new situations he usually looks to me to make him feel safe.

I do admit to feeling more secure when he is around than when I was as an only. And I do occasionally see glimpses of potential, like when he tore apart some hapless toy which was unrecognisable by the time he’d finished and he did manage to look really nasty once – see what you think.

This looks fairly fierce right? You'd never know he was just catching bubbles!

This looks fairly fierce right? You’d never know he was just catching bubbles!

As you may know I haven’t always behaved very well in the car and  The Help hates to take me out in it. I’ll just remind you of the piece I wrote about my howling and turning on the hazard lights when left for five minutes in the supermarket car park. If you’ve forgotten just go to The Impenitent Princess to read all about it. I used to wind Zac up too so the both of us would whine and complain. For this reason The Help and The Boss have taken The Pup out in the car by himself. Because I’m a bad influence – moi????

You can imagine how surprised I was when instead of going out for our usual walk last week we were loaded in the car. I immediately began whining and making a fuss but Raffles just sat there looking down his nose at me with such a solid calm expression that all of a sudden I didn’t feel quite so nervous. In fact, I felt rather silly so I sat down and shut up.

We had a peaceful journey The Help was amazed and pleased. I’m not promising that I’ll be so good every time but perhaps whining and jumping around and getting a large standard poodle puppy excited in a confined space is not good for my health!

So although the jury is still out on whether he is actually ever going to protect me, one thing no-one can argue with is that he’s a good natured hulk and I even permit him to play with me from time to time although it usually ends up with me being a very soggy princess! For all his huge size and weight he hasn’t hurt me so that has to be in his favour.

I have decided that I will have to spend some time training the guy. I’ll let you know how the lessons work out.

NEWSFLASH                       EMERGENCY                  HELP!

I began this post several days ago.

Today the dreaded event happened, the unthinkable. I was tortured and did Raffles help, well sort of. He licked me whilst I endured………… A BATH

The torture chamber

The torture chamber

Suffering for the sake of cleanliness.

Suffering for the sake of cleanliness.

Yet more implements of torture

Yet more implements of torture

Hiding out in my bed in case The Help decides I'm not dry enough!

Hiding out in my bed in case The Help decides I’m not dry enough!

So now I really have come clean, externally and internally! I should feel better right? Confession is a sort of therapy. Admitting the pup is a useless bodyguard should be cathartic? So why don’t I feel better?

Oh, I know (sarcastic tone).

It’s because I’m still slightly damp and The Help is going to want to brush my tail soon. That’s why!

Have a good day everyone, back soon with the promised furballs of the past. The Help is trying to find a photo which she can publish.

love from Zena, the sparkling Princess.