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July 2014 Archives

July 9, 2014

Introducing Toby

Only a week after the Assistance Dog day, we collected Toby, our labrador puppy. He isn't a trainee assistance dog, nor has he been rescued: I tried visiting the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and went home heart-broken. I wanted to rescue them all, but realise it just isn't practical.

So on the summer solstice, we went for Toby, our dog for life, then aged 9 weeks. It's taken a while to blog about him simply because his arrival in Duddingston has created so much puppy mayhem both inside and out. Fortunately it has coincided with a period of brilliant weather, so house-training is going really well.

But I hadn't realised how long the 3 weeks of confinement (from first jab to a week after second jab) would seem with a lively puppy who can't be taken out for walks. People say it's just like having a new baby: well in some ways it's harder, because babies stay where you put them, at least at first, whereas puppies gallop about under your feet, get caught in doorways and would escape from the garden if it weren't for my emergency fencing project. Also babies don't have needle-sharp teeth and claws!

Anyway, the grandchildren were delighted at his arrival, especially Amy:

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I'm not sure that the garden will benefit from his attentions. Dogs' colour vision works differently from ours (they have two kinds of cones to our three), but Toby still targets colourful flowers.

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He loves to pretend he's stalking something and probably once we can take him outside the garden he will remind us of our former dog Bramble, whose field skills were formidable.

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He seems to flit between two states - fast asleep and wreaking havoc - with nothing much between. This makes it very difficult to photograph him (and means that any serious work is confined to his sleeps). But I've caught him at rest, unawares, a couple of times:

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Can you see his blond eyelashes?

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July 26, 2014

Toby: the first five weeks

Toby is 14 weeks old today. In the five weeks he's been here, he has put on over 5 kg of bone and muscle, captured many hearts (including ours) and wreaked havoc in our garden, house and lives. He's given us a lot of laughs and cuddles, and although he isn't good for productivity, he is great at improving my overall work/life balance.

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He is curiously reluctant to go for walks, despite the admiration he receives whenever we take him out. People stop on the street to admire him, some even stop their cars to greet him. Many ask if he is an Andrex puppy. How clever of Andrex to cash in on the cute factor and labrador popularity. What those ads don't show you is the needle-sharp puppy teeth. He chews on everything, indiscriminately: shoes or feet, sticks or furniture, garments or flesh, toys or flowers, ice cubes, metal, broken glass and worse.

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Yesterday I took him to the beach at Portobello. He was cautious of the sea, but delighted with the sand and above all with meeting so many other dogs and people. One family kindly gave him a ball, fully knowing that his teeth would puncture it.

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He's a feisty dog, full of energy and fun, and is clearly going to be a dog of character. Just occasionally, I catch him at rest, looking thoughtful:

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About July 2014

This page contains all entries posted to Jacquetta in July 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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