Monday, 30 September 2013

Monday 30 September 2013

Gisèle and my partner have returned from their holiday where, I am pleased to report, they had a thoroughly lovely time.  I am even more pleased to find that Giz followed my suggestion of keeping a "holiday diary", with which she will be entertaining the reader over the course of the next few blog entries.  I further understand that my partner has captured some photographs to accompany the diary, which have yet to be downloaded.  I've no doubt that the all will soon be barked.

Alas, however, the holiday had something of an inauspicious start, as one may judge from the previous entry on this blog, and my partner and Gisèle had to start out a day later than planned.  Initially, my partner was to blame for the delay.  She overslept and was unable to locate some key items needed for her holiday (she never DID find them, necessitating an aggravating additional shopping trip).  Ultimately it was Gisèle whose uncharacteristically truculent behaviour confirmed the setting-back of the departure (not, I note with interest, something Gisèle confessed to in her latter post).

The little terrier was already somewhat over-excited at the prospect of an holiday with her Mistress (only her second holiday of all time) and the fact that this was the first considerable journey of note to be made in The Gizmobile (which, I'm happy to bark, acquitted its little green self impeccably), when the time came for her to decide which of her toys she would like to take to Devon.  Sweet 'Sèle began gathering up all of her current favourites and putting them next to my partner's suitcase and her own basket.  When my partner saw what 'Sèle was about, she told Giz that she was allowed to bring a maximum of two toys.  This was for reasons, most probably, of space and the lesser likelihood of a favourite toy being lost or forgotten at the end of the holiday.  Gisèle did not accept this limitation lightly.  She whined, wheedled and pleaded for permission to take more, but my partner was not to be swayed.

"Three...?" whimpered 'Sèle plaintively, wagging her tail optimistically.
"Two." declared my partner, shaking her head.
"But I need three!"
"No you don't! It's just possible that you MIGHT need one and I'm letting you take two!"
"I want to have THREE!"
"Well, you have to choose two."
"Two and another one?"
"One big one and two little ones...?!"
"That's still three! Choose two, or I shall choose for you."

At this, Gisèle became frustrated and in combination with her over-excitement she suffered a rare loss of temper.  She jumped into the open suitcase and began kicking out my partner's clothing, growling and snorting and, when chided for her antics, let fly with a selection of angry barks and obscene insults directed at my partner.  (I have no idea where Giz picked up some of the choicer phrases, although I sensed the influence of Betty in one or two of the more exotic examples).  My poor, tired, partner was not impressed and the potty-mouthed terrier was sent upstairs immediately to calm down and reconsider her actions.

The malevolent influence thus removed from the scene, packing was completed, although the hour was now long-passed if my partner had wanted to arrive at the holiday destination in daylight.  A remorseful telephone call was placed to my partner's parents, who were already in situ, and it was agreed that a departure the following morning would be better for all concerned.

My partner climbed the stairs to inform the recalcitrant Giz of the situation and to seek to clear the air with her diminutive furry friend.  At her approach, Gisèle sat rigidly on the bed, guilt visible in her eyes, which were carefully averted from my partner's and her expression firmly blank.  As soon as my partner opened her mouth to speak, Giz barked loudly and clearly (still not looking at my partner):
"I am sorry.  Gisèle-Stephanie is not here at the moment.  Please leave a message after the bark and she will get back to you as soon as possible."
"Gis-" began my partner, only for the tiny terrier to interrupt with a hiss:
"Noooo!  I hasn't barked yet!  You can't leave a message for me until AFTER the bark!!"
My partner was thus silenced.  She patiently looked mutely at Gisèle, who seemed to be counting down seconds in her little head, each second marked by an almost imperceptible nod... after six such nods - "WOOOOF..." Giz intoned.

Bemused silence followed, after a few moments of which 'Sèle leaned towards my partner and loudly whispered "You can leave your message now."

My partner had been fighting an urge to smile.  The battle thus lost, she said loudly and clearly in Gisèle's direction:
"Gizzles, this is Mummy.  I know you are sorry for being cross and rude and you didn't mean the things that you said.  I forgive you and want to let you know that, when you feel ready to come downstairs again, your supper is there for you, in your food-bowl.  We aren't going on holiday now until tomorrow morning, so you can have your meal and then choose which two of your toys we are going to pack.  Then we'll have bedtime story and sleep and leave early tomorrow morning.  You may come down when you are ready.  Thank you.  Bye."

At this, my partner patted 'Sèle softly on her furry, tufty, head and withdrew downstairs.  After a couple of minutes, Giz padded meekly downstairs.  She was warmly greeted by my partner, who enquired as to whether the "message" had been received.  It apparently had.

Following her meal, Gisèle trotted up to my partner and nestled firmly against her for an apologetic and conciliatory cuddle.  This duly performed, two toys were selected and carefully packed in the suitcase: the highly-favoured 'Bunny' and Gisèle's ball and 'ball-throwing claw' (a plastic springy device which aids the throwing of a tennis-ball for those like my partner - a girl - who throw like... well... a girl... See here:

In the event, only Bunny ever left the car on our holiday - 'Sèle enjoyed Dartmoor SO much that the false charms of chasing a ball were deemed irrelevant.

Full holiday details to follow, beginning next time... Stay tuned!


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Saturday 21 September 2013

Hello - it is Gisèle here.  I hope you are well. I am fine.  

I have been very busy stealing biscuits and playing with my friends, but tomorrow I am going on holiday to Dartmoor for a week with my Mistress.  We were supposed to go today, but Mistress and I overslept and then we couldn't find something we needed to take (not my fault, I promise), so we are going tomorrow morning instead.  I expect I (or Jazzy, if he's around) will tell you all about our adventures when we come home.

Keep smiling!

Bye for the moment!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Saturday 14 September 2013

A mostly photo-based entry today.  Due, at least in part, to my partner's endeavours to achieve a Summer 2013 joint-portrait of Elizabeth and Gisèle, during the former's recently lengthy stay with us.  Alas!  The path of charming photography rarely runs smooth...  

My partner was thwarted in her attempts by, amongst other things:
Sudden movement


Idle dozing
Deep sleeping



Sudden itchiness

Betty getting distracted
Unexpected discarded crumb discovery

An impromptu friendly kiss

Betty losing it & deciding to pose alone

AT LAST!!  Something passably acceptable...

So there is a summed-up summer for you.  And now, that tell-tale autumnal nip is in the air...

Gisèle's first boyfriend, Boris the "Labra-Doodle" is coming to stay for one night from tomorrow.  Gisèle is almost beside herself with anticipation.  I am preparing myself to be wilfully blind to 24 hours of giggling, coquettish flirtation and general cheeky silliness.  It's times like these that I wish Betty was back again...

Pip pip...

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Sunday 1 September 2013

As anticipated, Betty returned to her own home on Wednesday evening.and peace reigns supreme here once again.  I cannot decide whether Giz is happy to have the house (and my partner's attentions) to herself or whether she is keenly feeling the absence of her friend.  A mixture of the two perhaps; she seems happy when at home or work and in need of Betty's company when out playing and exercising.

Betty has left behind a souvenir of her long stay, however - an unpleasant dose of fleas, to whose bites Gisèle seems to be allergic.  My partner feels that she is nearing the end of her fight to banish the little parasites from our home, but Giz needed a trip to the vet, an injection and a prescription of unpleasant topical cream, which has to be applied each night before bed-time to the sorest parts of Giz's little body.  I am happy to report that she is being very mature about having the cream rubbed on and is, consequently, making an excellent recovery.  Poor little mite.

Happy days were enjoyed by both girls in the last week of Betty's stay, as my partner's nephew Ewan (7) and niece Carys (4) spent a week at my partner's parents house.  Carys in particular was very fond of both dogs.  We all passed a very happy day at a local woodland play area, with games in the woods, a long walk and a lovely picnic.  It was quite heartening to see Betty's delight at being not only included in the group - but being welcomed and accepted.  Both girls - but especially Betty - were completely exhausted at the end of the day.  It took them a full 48 hours to recover to their full capacities.  Only one thing occurred to cast a shadow over the day out - towards the end of the afternoon, sweet innocent Ewan piped up and asked my partner "which of her dogs she liked best - Jasper or Gisèle?".  With a pang and a sideways glance at Giz (who was playing with Betty a short distance away) my partner quietly replied "Jasper."  I actually felt rather touched (though guilty) about this, but was heartened to hear that first Carys and then Ewan confirmed that Gisèle was their favourite.  Happily, that was the end of the matter - Giz and Betty approaching shortly afterwards so that if anything had been overheard, it would be that Gisèle was the children's favourite.

Since Betty has gone home, my partner has resumed her efforts to help Giz regain her confidence in water.  I am pleased to report that there has been progress.  Buoyed-up by the promise of an extra supper-treat if she was a brave girl, Giz managed to swim - all by herself - to the middle of the ford and back.  My partner was delighted and Giz was SO proud of herself.  Even more so when a large and muscular Border Collie trotted up to the ford with his owner in tow.  He leant down to drink from the crystal clear waters of the stream as Giz stepped out of the water onto the road beside him.
"You're looking pleased with yourself!" he remarked, as the tiny terrier shook off the excess droplets of water, her eyes shining with excitement.
"Yes!" she piped, her tail wagging wildly, "That was my very first swim for AGES.  I had an accident in the sea once and was always afraid after that, but Mistress has been helping me to be brave and to like swimming again." The larger dog nodded politely and Gisèle chattered on. "I was doing really well, but then I had to stop when my friend Betty came to stay and she was here for over two months, she has gone home now and I thought I might have forgetted what I had learned - but as soon as Mistress persuaded me to just have a little paddle and get used to the feel of standing in the water where it is shallow and safe I remembered that it might be OK and so I did a little swim!"

She hardly paused to draw breath.  I expected the large and intelligent-looking dog to mock Gisèle for her inability to swim properly.  But I was happily mistaken.

"Well done you!" he grinned, winking at her.  "It's very difficult when you are trying to overcome something that frightens you and you're very brave to keep trying.  Keep up your practising and you'll soon be able to out-swim a fish!"
Gisèle giggled as the collie bade her a good evening and continued on with his walk.  Bolstered by these kind barks, Giz had a few further swimming attempts, before my partner decided that she had to get out; she didn't want Giz to get tired and begin to struggle (and thus undo the evening's good progress), plus the sun was beginning to sink lower in the sky, and it gets chilly by the river when the sun goes down.  Gis was so excited by her achievement that she practically danced all the way home, where a warm towel from the airing cupboard was waiting for her.

In the meantime, my partner's attempts to teach Gisèle the noble art of the game Dog's Bottom have, as yet, come to naught.  The little gem seems to have mastered the theory, but has yet to perfect the studied art of the game.  The rules of Dog's Bottom are explained in an earlier post, here:  Dog's Bottom - The Sport of Kings  I will admit to disappointment that this noble sport was excluded from last year's fine London Olympics.

Newer readers may also be interested in  my autobiographical series, The Evolution of Jasper, which explains how I began life as an abused and tormented puppy and survived, learned and grew to become Jasper Horatio Stafford...  The first episode can be located here: The Evolution of Jasper - Part One.

My partner is engaged in looking out photographs of Betty and Gisèle's summer together, with which to delight you.  In the meantime, I offer you this example of Giz; exhausted but happy at the end of an action-packed day, clutching her favourite bedtime-story book and her current favourite stuffed-toy (A rabbit, imaginatively-named 'Bunny'.  Quite how these girls come up with names of such inventive genius I shall never know...).