Puppy dog tales

We’ve not been great at blogging lately. Mostly because things on the writing side can be summed up with “nothing happens.” We could post regular updates on the rejections but that would be boring and we’d run out of space. And we haven’t been ghost hunting since early August so there’s nothing happening there either. Mostly we’re waiting for things to happen – for rejections to come in and for ghost hunting to begin again, which will probably be November. But then November has NaNoWriMo, so that will hamper things.

So instead, this post is about a new addition to the animal army. Seven years ago, we lost our 12 year old Staffy cross Lab, Bruce. No, he wasn’t a Staffrador or a Labdfordshire or whatever stupid combination names people give to dogs that are clearly cross breeds, just so they can sell them as a breed and get more money (think Cockerpoo, Labradoodle, Jackerpoo. Those aren’t breeds! They’re cross breeds! Mongrels. It’s not a dirty word.)  We’ve always had mongrels and they don’t need fancy names. Bru’s death was the worst day of our life. He’d been diagnosed with lung cancer two weeks previously and we were told he had two weeks to live. At the same time, our eldest dog, Jack, a Jack Russell cross with other breeds was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and we were told he had six months. He lived for another 18 months until he was 17 and died 6 years ago. Last year, our sister’s dog, Misty, a Jack Russell cross Spaniel, cross crazy beans, died aged 14. We carry their photos with us in headstone shaped lockets that we wear every day. If the Victorians can have mourning jewellery, so can we. Losing our boys and then Misty (who was a regular visitor) hurt so badly we swore we’d never have another dog.

But things don’t always work out that way.

Our sister, Sarah, wanted another dog and started visiting rescue centres. Our mum decided that as Sarah was getting one, we should get one too, as they’d be spending a lot of time together. We were against the idea. You read that right. For once it was us saying no to a pet. This has never happened. On a weekly basis we’re trying to get around our mum’s pet ban by telling her how cute these baby tortoises were that winked at us, or that an elephant would make a welcome addition to the household and that our house is seriously lacking in the penguin/goat/pig department. But we did not want another dog. We always swore the only way we’d get another dog is if it was from a rescue centre. Breeders see their dogs as nothing more than cash machines to be discarded once they can no longer make them money. The number of ex-breeding dogs in dogs home is disgraceful, most of them less than 6 years old. Eventually, we were persuaded to go to Cardiff Dogs Home to have a look. It was like a prison and upset us for the rest of the day. So much so, we put in a formal complaint to the council, who said they would investigate it. The home wanted us to bring our cats to meet the dogs, in a carrier. Anyone who has ever met a cat, will know how the cat will react to that. The only one of ours that wouldn’t freak out, is Spectre. But she’s 15 and doesn’t deserve that ordeal. It is a stupid idea that will only traumatise the cat. It’s supposed to be so they can see how a dog will react. Dogs react differently to a cat in a carrier to one that is either hissing at them, slapping them or running away. When we mentioned this to other rescue centres, they were horrified.

On Friday we went to the RSPCA in Newport, which Sarah said was a lovely place. It was closed due to NATO. So we went to Crofts Kennel in Bridgend. They brought a 6 month old Lurcher (Greyhound cross with either Collie or Terrier) called Harly to meet us. It was love at first sight. He came straight to us, cwtched up to us and in five minutes, he decided he was coming home with us.

P1090337Who were we to say no?

Then we found out Lurchers aren’t great with small furries, as they’re bred to be hunting dogs. Seeing as we have 4 cats, two rabbits, a duck, iguana, corn snake and 4 African snails, this wasn’t looking good. We’ve been on several Lurcher forums and they’ve all said it is possible to integrate Lurchers with furries. Some even posted photos of their Lurchers lounging with their cats. However we have a rule in Casa Raven: once an animal is here, it will never leave. It doesn’t matter how long it will take to train him not to chase the cats, he is staying.

P1090316As soon as we got him home, we got out the basket of dog toys that we’d kept. He spent ages rifling through it, pulling out different toys. He didn’t know what to play with first. He’s a quick learner and has already been desensitized to the rabbits. He’s not interested in Peking Duck and she’s not bothered by him. Although it’s hard training him not to torment the rabbits when Peking is standing by the pen, trying to peck the rabbits through the chicken wire. He is great with our five year old niece and it already feels like he’s been here forever. Apparently you can be creative with Lurchers’ training, as they’re intelligent and obedient. We’re thinking we could train him to hunt ghosts instead of small furries, so one member of Calamityville will be a professional, because let’s face it, it will never be us. Although we don’t hold out much hope on training him to hunt ghosts when we can’t convince him not to eat his bed.

He just needs a name. A long list was drawn up: Krueger, Jigsaw, Ash, Bram, Frankenstein, Milton, Marlowe, Hamlet, Jensen, Jazz, Cruz, Rogue, Bandit, Zero, Scraps, Bone Jangles, Harker, Messamilano, and our personal favourite, Van Helsing. Our mum has vetoed Van Helsing and won’t negotiate. We then had a shortlist of Jazz, Jensen, Cruz, Bandit and Rogue (and secretly Van Helsing, which we keep calling when we’re alone in the hopes he will answer to it. Mostly he just looks embarrassed). Today we’re down to Bandit or Rogue. We’ve given him the option of choosing his name, but he’s not interested in anything that doesn’t involve eating. He seems to have a fondness for paper, which means our niece will be able to say “the dog ate my homework” and it won’t be a lie 😀 We’d better keep a close eye on our manuscripts.P1090321


  1. He looks like a Rogue to me.

  2. Dogs are the best thing EVER…

    • they are 🙂 That’s why it’s taken us 6 years to get another one. There have always been dogs in the house, we’ve always had 2 or 3 at a time so there was never a time there wasn’t a dog here. It’s nice to have another one. It’s like he’s always been here.

  3. I love the name Bandit, and every good ghost hunting operation should have a dog 😉 He’s gorgeous!

    • thank you! He is gorgeous, even if he does insist on eating everything in sight! It’s nice having another dog around. It already feels like he’s been here forever.

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