The most expensive raisin in history

Hello, my name is Alex. I’m Turi’s older sister and therefore Saffi’s Auntie. And I have a terrible confession to make. I almost poisoned Saffi!

I really didn’t mean to. If you’ve followed Turi’s blog, you might have seen me pop up in some of the photos, always nestling my little fur niece close to my bosom! For although we’ve always been a cat-loving family, and I had my reservations about Turi introducing a dog to the fold, the minute I met Saffi, she stole my heart.

I take my responsibilities as Saffi’s Auntie very seriously – I love taking her for walks, teaching her new tricks. I taught her to RUN when she was teeny, bounding across Barnes Common like utter lunatics together, hiding in the grass and splashing in the Thames. I am number one giver of cuddles (after my Dad). I’m not so hot on telling her off, especially when she jumps up on my legs for attention, but surely it’s the parents’ job to discipline their children ;-).

Turi instructed me on day one about all the foods we couldn’t feed her – chocolate and so on, and since then I’ve been incredibly diligent, scouring the floor at family gatherings for chocolate and other naughty items, removing lilies out of reach etc.

Until Easter Sunday morning.

Turi and Marcus were on a couple of errands, so my parents were keeping an eye on the Saff-pig. Full of the joys of Spring, I popped round to see everyone, with freshly baked hot cross buns and a bunch of daffodils. Whilst making breakfast, I managed to burn one of the buns, and was about to throw it away when I saw Saffi gazing at me (well, the bun actually), so I broke a piece off and gave it to her. She wolfed it down in about 2 seconds flat, tail wagging furiously, and sat back expectantly, waiting for more.

Luckily at that moment, the phone rang – Turi on her way back home. I laughed as I told her about her greedy little puppy and how she was loving her Easter treat. I actually had another bit of hot cross bun in my hand, ready to give to Saffi. Turi went silent on the other end of the line – then gently reminded me that raisins can be poisonous to dogs.

All credit to Turi – she didn’t freak out at all. We discussed how much of the bun Saffi had eaten (about a third at most) and how many raisins it might have contained (up to five, I reckoned?) She told me not to worry, that she’d keep an eye on Saffi and take her to the vet if she started looking unwell.

I felt awful, but reassured by Turi’s calm reaction. However, after hanging up, I went straight on the internet, and found several horror stories about dogs and raisins. The one that scared me the most was the puppy who’d gone into kidney failure after snaffling just one grape from the fruit bowl. I got myself into a real panic and decided to drive Saffi straight to the out-of-hours vet.

My Mum came with me, and like an episode of Challenge Anneka, kept Turi updated on the phone, all the way to the vet in Wimbledon. The out of hours vet was lovely and reassuring and told us she’d give Saffi an injection to make her throw up.

Saffi returned to the waiting room ten minutes later looking highly unimpressed. She proceeded to barf all over the floor for the next half an hour. The poor thing had nothing left in her stomach so all she was throwing up was bile. I anxiously questioned the vet about her state of health – she was convinced we’d got any trace of raisin out of Saffi’s stomach, and that she’d be fine.

As I handed over my credit card, wincing at the bill (£204!!), I asked exactly how many raisins she’d thrown up.

One raisin, said the vet.

The most expensive raisin in history.

I have learnt my lesson and won’t be feeding my little fur niece anything from the banned list ever again! But I don’t regret forking out for the vet bill, as expensive as it was. Saffi might belong to my sister and her fiancé, but she is definitely a most beloved family pet and I couldn’t bear any uncertainty about her health, especially if I’d caused it.

I am certainly never sharing my hot cross buns again.

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The ‘big’ reveal…

Such exciting news – my parents GOT A PUPPY!!! After months of gentle persuasion they decided to get their very own Cockapoo and are delighted with her… I still can’t quite believe we’ll have another ‘Poo in the famly.

Please meet ‘puppy’ who is yet to be named.

Close up

Puppy tummy

Isn’t she adorable?!

We – I mean my parents (!) – adopted puppy from a hobby breeder called Allison in Shropshire. Allison has a great approach to dog breeding and is so knowledgeable, particularly regarding health testing, genetics and socialisation. She patiently answered all my questions… and anyone who knows me will know there would have been lots of them!

Puppy’s Mummy is the stunning Darcy, a chocolate roan English Cocker Spaniel from working lines. Both Darcy’s parents were PRA clear which means that she is hereditarily clear through parentage. Darcy is affectionate and very people-orientated.

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Darcy’s beautiful markings & stunning eyes

Puppy’s Daddy, Bigwig, is a chocolate Miniature Poodle owned by Allison’s friend Lucy who breeds Labradoodles, Cockapoos and occasionally Goldendoodles. Bigwig has been Optigen tested for PRA and is clear.

Puppy was one of nine puppies – five chocolate girls, three chocolate boys and just one apricot boy. Given that Bigwig is a young stud, I think you could say he did rather well! All the puppies were born with liver coloured noses which means they’ll develop beautiful green/amber eyes.

All puppies

All nine puppies

My parents knew they wanted a girl – here is a picture of all five girls together.

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How my parents chose between these little beauties, I don’t know!

Puppy is settling in so well. She loves nothing more than wiggling her way into your lap for a cuddle. She is confident, playful, mouthing everything, bounds up to you like a rabbit and is proving to be a bit of an explorer. She chases you if you run and we’ve had to be so careful not to step on her as she has a habit of settling on your feet if you stand in one place for too long.

Saffi was initially curious and a bit snappy – I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive. However, now that she has adjusted they have been inseparable – lots of rough and tumble, toy sharing (and stealing), licks and shnuffles. I think they’re going to be the best of friends.

Share my teddy

On bed
Some lovely cuddly shots – will put up a video soon!

I am loving helping my parents adjust to puppy ownership and from a selfish perspective the new arrival has satisfied my puppy broodiness! I’m just relieved that I didn’t view Allison’s litter with them or I’d have wanted to take them ALL home with me. Allison has just three puppies left to find new homes – a chocolate boy and two chocolate girls. If anyone would like Allison’s details please don’t hesitate to get in touch – I cannot recommend her more highly.

Turi, Saffi & ‘Puppy’

x

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Don’t be fooled by the cute face…

After two hours of grumbles, sitting when I wanted her to stand, sulking, diversion tactics, howling, wiggling, trying to jump of the table and a cut finger (me, not Saffi) I have come to the conclusion that £35 for a groom is an absolute bargain.

Sulky puppy

I’m sulking, don’t even try and make eye contact with me

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WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY LEGS? THEY. ARE. SO. SKINNY!!!

Saffi cute

Ok, I’ll pose just once. If you give me a treat.

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Saffi… a new member of staff?

I have been lucky enough to bring Saffi into work with me today and here she is helping me respond to some emails :-).

I took her for a walk first thing in an attempt to tire her out. One minute she is being a bit mischievous, stealing paper and teabags out of the bin. The next minute she flops with exhaustion from the excitement of it all.

I will take her to Green Park over lunch… fingers crossed she is a bit more compliant after that!

Saffi in the office

Saffi demonstrates her touch-typing skills

 

 

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My little helpers

Going away for a week and I was lucky enough for receive ‘assistance’ from my two little helpers…

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Knowing how much Marcus ‘loves’ giving Saffi a bath I decided to give her one before I left. Post-bath flumpies…

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The longest and most overdue update I will ever post

Hello everyone!

I cannot believe that nearly six months has passed since my last post. Life really did take over for a while and I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to people who have continued to follow the blog and make comments.

Where to start on what has happened since my last post…

In October Marcus, Saffi and I spent the weekend in the Peak District with my Mum & Dad, sister and her hubby. We stayed in an idyllic dog-friendly cottage which I’d highly recommend. The details can be found here: http://www.dovedalecottages.co.uk/. The owners Susan and James are warm and welcoming, the cottage is lovely and brilliantly set up for dog owners with a separate ‘drying cabin’ for wet and muddy dogs and the location, for avid walkers, is perfect.

We did a lot of hiking during our stay. On Saturday we climbed the notorious Stanage Edge. We did see a few dogs off the lead along the edge but because Saffi is so full of beans and loopy on walks we didn’t take the risk. She whimpered like mad – initially I thought she was scared or cold as it was very windy. We soon realised that she was, in fact, frustrated and wanted to explore over the edge!

Saffi Kiera Knightly

Saffi does her best Kiera Knightly impression 

On Sunday we did a five hour walk down Dovedale Valley which was so pretty. Saffi loved the unfamiliar varied terrain and we worked out that she must have run two or three times the distance we walked to’ing and fro’ing between us. She got so excited at a point where we had to cross the river on stepping stones that she jumped in.

Saffi crossing river

Saffi crossing the river, moments before she fell in

Later on in October we sadly lost our 13 year old Bengal cat Zulu. He and Saffi were playing when suddenly he keeled over and had a heart attack. Zulu had a long-term heart condition but nothing could have prepared us for how quickly he passed. We tried to resuscitate but sadly did not succeed. RIP our little Zulu-bug xxx

Zulu

Zulu x

Inevitably the other cats Bluebell & Elmo, and Saffi, noticed Zulu’s absence and the weeks that followed were a bit strange. Elmo in particular had been very close to Zulu and it has been heart-warming to witness Saffi and Elmo becoming closer and closer as time goes by. Where Elmo goes, Saffi goes and visa versa – I often find them behind the garden shed together or hear them chasing each other up and down the stairs. They are true partners in crime.

Saffi & Elmo

Please love me, pleeeeeeease 

In December preparations for Christmas and New Year were all-consuming and I was so shocked to find myself carefully choosing presents for Saffi. I have always rolled my eyes at ‘silly dog owners’ who buy their pets presents, I mean as if they know it is for them! I stand corrected. There is no doubt in my mind that Saffi enjoyed the present sharing as much as the rest of us!

saffi christmas

A red squeaky rubber toy… for me?

Like us, Saffi also enjoyed the glutinous food of the festive period… a little too much. She managed to devour a pork knuckle and at midnight on 30 December, when she started vomiting and had diarrhoea, we rushed her to the emergency vet. She had an x-ray – seeing the contents of her stomach was a bit disturbing but also reassuring as it showed that she was digesting the bone gradually and there didn’t appear to be any shards or sharp pieces which could have been fatal. £350 later and scared out of our lives Marcus and I agreed never to give her a cooked bone again. Lesson learnt.

On 1 January Saffi turned a year. How did I feel? I mourned the fact that Saffi could probably no longer be considered our ‘baby’ but elated that I could say she had turned out to be the most perfect dog I could have hoped for. Getting Saffi has been a life-changing decision – and her presence hasn’t only affected Marcus and me but also our parents and wider family. My Mum even joined Cockapoo Chat, something I never expected to happen. Her first post:

“Saffi’s Grandma. If you had called me that 8 months ago, I would probably have objected – just a bit too much humanising (?) of dogs. Fast forward. Oh my. I absolutely adore her. My heart constricts and misses a beat when I think about her. When we don’t have her (we look after Saffi for Turi and Marcus three days a week) I worry about her. Traffic (a real big one even if she is off the lead in the middle of nowhere ), meeting a big bad dog, swallowing a snail. What has happened? We (I include my husband in this) have entered the world of besotted dog-owners (well, almost). We miss her when she isn’t here but the amazing welcome she gives us when we have her for the day or when Turi or Marcus drop by almost makes up for not having her all to ourselves.

Seriously, we want a bit of freedom, and if we had a dog full-time we couldn’t do some of the things we want to do. But having her some of the time – we absolutely love it. I have discovered things about a dog that only dog owners know. Her eyes follow me, and if I look directly at her, her tail starting to wag furiously, and she tilts her head to one side as she looks at me – honestly! If I lie down on the carpet beside her (the truth now) she flops beside me and does ‘spoons’. And her defiant pose reduces me to hidden giggles – I have to because when she sees me laugh her tail starts wagging and she comes up and licks my feet. Walking her is a joy – we have met so many people – well dog-owners – who always say ‘She is just gorgeous! Is she always this lively??’

The ‘feel good’ factor of having Saffi in our lives is just lovely, and I wouldn’t have believed it before she came.

So now I enjoy browsing here and seeing all these gorgeous cockapoos out there!”

Now my parents just need to be convinced to get their own Cockapoo. I had a lovely catch up with Anne at Broadreach Dogs, where we got Saffi from, who told us that she is having a litter of black puppies later this year… I am keeping my fingers & toes crossed that my parents will get Saffi a little companion… watch this space!

SaFFI SHOE

Grandma loves me which means I can get away with ruining her favourite shoes 

January bought lots of snow – I don’t think I have ever spent so much time outside in such cold weather. One Sunday Saffi and I walked for four hours and neither of us got tired – it was too much fun!

Saffi snow 1

Saffi and I enjoy ‘snow football’

Saffi snow two

We built that (… we didn’t really but isn’t it good?!)

In February I decided it was about time that Saffi got her first ‘real’ collar. I bought her a beautiful Argentinian collar from http://polkadotpie.co.uk/ . Tracey at Polka Dot Pie was so helpful and we laughed when I told her Saffi’s neck circumference – we had to order their smallest size which is normally reserved for toy dogs!  With hindsight I should have bought a darker collar given that Saffi is such a mud-lover but I love the Argentinian designs so much that I might just buy another… and a coordinating belt for me!

Collar 1

Saffi looking beautiful in her first adult collar 

At the end of February it was a year since we’d bought Saffi home. We went through all our videos and pictures and got quite emotional – prior to getting Saffi I would never have acknowledged the all-consuming love you have for your dog.

Have I missed things? Probably! Life is so full and varied with a Cockapoo. But don’t worry, I won’t leave it so long this time between updates! 

Turi (& Saffi) x 

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I will NOT cooperate

With the recent wet weather Saffi has been getting soaking wet and muddy. Even though she was recently cut quite short it’s still a bit of a hassle trying to keep her clean. This morning, for the first time, we put on her red Equafleece in preparation for yet more downpours.

What a sulk! She wouldn’t budge when we left the house to get in the car & I eventually carried her. When we dropped her off at my parents I practically had to drag her up the drive, she barely wagged her tail when she saw my Mum and apparently once we’d left stood stock still refusing to move.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saffi looking gorgeous in her red Equafleece

My parents eventually resorted to removing the coat and she instantly returned to her normal, bouncy, happy self.

Has anyone else experienced behaviour like this?!

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Some light relief for a Tuesday morning…

This made me laugh out loud…

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/dog_paradox

Enjoy! 🙂 x

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For those who love taking pictures of your pets…

Check out Instagram – a free download available on any smart phone. It enables you to apply different settings onto photos and works really well to show off the variations in Saffi’s coat and colour…

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Ready… steady… GO!

I have been impatiently waiting until Saffi is old enough to come running with me. I was going to wait until she was nine – 10 months however she runs SO hard and fast on walks I decided it would be ok to start slightly earlier as it wouldn’t make any difference to her speed. Personally, I haven’t run for a while and am not very fast so it’s not as if she wouldn’t be able to keep up.

We went on our first run at the weekend and it was BRILLIANT! Until we reached Barnes Common I kept Saffi on the lead and when she realised I was going to be running too she kept stopping to let me catch up with her with the sweetest expression as if to say, ‘come on slow coach!’ Perhaps she finds the runs more stimulating than running but she (touch wood) has been so well behaved on the runs. Not that she’s naughty otherwise but her recall and biddability are even better than on standard walks. And I find that because I’m distracted from the discomfort (ahem ahem!) of recommencing running after such a long break because we’re having so much fun.

My new running partner Saffi approaching the Circus currently on Barnes Common

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the last few months Saffi has learnt to understand the commands ‘stop’ and ‘walk’. I have my Dad to thank for this – he introduced the new commands because Saffi exhibits next to no road awareness or sense. On runs I’ve found these commands so useful… as we approach a road I shout ‘stop’ and she waits for me and when her lead is reattached and it’s safe to cross the road I say ‘walk’. Since she has picked up these commands so well I’m gradually introducing ‘run’, ‘left’, ‘straight on’, ‘right’ and ‘this way’.

In fact my Dad, who won’t admit it but was apprehensive about Marcus and I getting a dog, has taken a real interest in Saffi’s training and activities he can do with her. He has bought a whistle which Saffi cannot ignore even when she’s having a ‘cloth ears’ moment and more recently bought a contraption to ‘attach’ her to his bike so that he can go cycling with her. The picture below shows his first attempt using a short length of broom handle cable tied to the bike with an elasticated strap and carabiner clip. He then went for the ‘Walky Dog bike attachment’ commercial model at K9: http://www.k9active.co.uk/walky-dog-bike-attachment-p/b41b01000wda.htm.

Reluctant Guinea Pig…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saffi isn’t 100% sure about cycling just yet but we are taking a family mini-break in the Peak District in a couple of weeks and hope to do a cycle ride – by then we hope she’ll start to enjoy it.  We’ll also take a pannier with us so that we can carry Saffi if she gets tired – we’re aware that she’s still young and don’t want to over-exercise her. I’ll report back as to how well it goes!

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