Mama J and I were abandoned and left to fend for ourselves last week by Granny and Grandpa in favour of the high seas. Okay so I’m exaggerating here as no they weren’t doing a Jane McDonald and cruising the high seas in sparkly frocks or in Grandpa’s case a black tie suit, better make that one clear! They went for an overnight stay to Dracula country, Whitby. So I was in charge of Mama J and began by turning into an Army Drill Sergeant Major. Now salute Mama J and give me twenty press ups followed by twenty sit ups then a five mile run! So maybe I wasn’t so harsh but I was her motivation to walk as I still needed to go out for my daily exercise and toilet activities. I was so shocked but also pleasantly surprised when Mama J put my harness on and then clipped my lead in place and said, “Right Elsie Bear shall we go for a stroll down the lane?” I thought I might need a sit down as I felt a little faint but gave a skip and a jump of encouragement instead (see I found giving more carrot than stick works better with Mama J in the motivational stakes) and we were off down the road both with our golden blonde hair blowing gently in the breeze. As we turned the corner two of my foes (Mama J told me they were friendly but I was having none of it) were heading towards us so I started barking and swinging around like Louis Smith on his pommel horse with Mama J laughing to the dogs owners but also trying to calm me down at the same time. That was Mama J’s arms worked out along with a little Highland style jig! Once they had passed it was wee business as usual until we got followed by a tractor. Another nemesis that I like to bark at and living in a farming community we sure see a lot of tractors around these parts, oh argh (I’m doing my best West Country impression here)! The driver waved at Mama J and she waved cheerily back, “What the hell are you doing woman? They’re a pain in the bloody ass!” I muttered under my barking breath. Well, that last bit is what Mama J says if she gets stuck behind one. Indeed following bikes they’d be number two on her Room 101 hit list. Frank Skinner would need psychiatric help if Mama J ever ended up on his show as her list of grumbles grows by the day. We then passed another quiet dog on the way back up the road whose owner said, “Oh dear she does like to bark doesn’t she?” as I was making loud noises from my mouth. Mama J smiled and said, “Yes she loves the sound of her own voice!” On returning from our evening stroll, Mama J needed a stiff and strong cup of tea to get over the excitement of her first taste of exercise in about seven and a half years. She walked Marble a few times when he was a puppy but then he grew too strong for her when he reached maturity. Well, that was Mama J’s excuse and she was sticking to it. I on the other paw am perfect for Mama J to walk if Granny and Grandpa fancy the odd trip away. 

We had a lovely girlie night watching Clare Balding presenting Scruffts, which is a competition held at the same time as Crufts but for mixed breed pooches. Mama J is searching on her iPhone to enter me. Didn’t she learn anything from our evening stroll about my disliking of being in close proximity to other dogs? After watching that it was time for bed and this is where my protectiveness really kicked in as I was shut in Mama J’s room and I kept hearing noises such as the landing light timer turning itself off, then the heating and water switching off. Each time I heard something I was off the bed to investigate like a MI5 Secret Agent stalking the bedroom doorway. Mama J made the mistake of opening the door the first couple of times I did it and I ran barking as I went onto the landing then down the stairs. I must protect myself and Mama J were the thoughts running around my head. As I did this a few more times and the time was now marching on, as I was marching around the bedroom I could sense Mama J wasn’t best pleased with my behaviour. Time for the paw then lick trick which at 3.05am still worked at bringing a smile to Mama J’s face. Good job I’m so endearing and cute as dogs with less charm skills may have really failed by this time zone. I thought I better not push my luck too much more so we both went to dreamy sleep for the rest of the night. 

It was an early start as Mama J had a 9.05am doctors appointment so my very own Julia Bradbury/Alfred Wainwright (Mama J will soon be rivalling them both in the walking stakes) and I were off down the lane again by 7.50am. Hey whose training who here? Mama J was relived as I did a number two this time. When Granny rang to see how we had done on our morning walk Mama J joyful told her I’d indeed done a pooh! No surprise though as when Mama J was a little tot, she walked into a crowded hotel restaurant and announced the same thing to all the guests chomping on their breakfasts. Some things never change do they?

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