Saturday, 8 March 2014

Pets, beautiful pets.... (photo heavy blog)

Just thought I would take a minute to introduce you to our lovely indoor pets! 

The day we brought her home
My darling cat Pandora was the first of our little zoo.  She's a moggy who we have had from a tiny kitten (we think half Persian but we're not 100% sure).  I fell for a picture of Panny and drove forty miles to collect her immediately.  She was a little ball of fur with big golden green eyes and silken fur and I just fell in love.  My husband is animal obsessed and fell for her like a ton of bricks too.

The experience of buying her was a powerful lesson.  The lady who sold her was insistent that she was quite a chilled out little cat who just wasn't interested in jumping around.  When we said that we had bought her some kitten kibble, she told us not to bother in future as Pandora was 'fine on adult food' - and always tried to eat her mum's kibble out of the bowl.  
Pandora the poser...

When we got out of her darkened living room and had Pan home, we realised that one of the reasons she had no energy was that she was so hungry.  She scoffed the portion of kitten food in record time and immediately perked up. 

The second, equally worrying thing that we noticed when we had her in the light that she was absolutely crawling with fleas.  It was so bad that while my husband rushed to get some flea treatment off Emma, I got her in the bath to
Pandora's box
physically wash the worst of them off her tiny body.  I had never seen so many.  I would never buy an animal this way again; both of us were horrified that anyone who seemed so normal could keep any animal, let alone a kitten, in this condition.

Being dunked in the bath must have been a frightening experience for a tiny little kitten in a new place.  She hated being bathed (as most cats do!) and to this day she has an ongoing war with every hairdryer we bring into the house, but she was so much more comfortable with most of the fleas gone.  Once she had been treated she transformed into a bouncy, playful little kitten - she was so good at hiding, we had to put a bell on her for fear of stepping on her!
Showing off her fluffy tummy

As we've had her, her tail's got bigger and puffier and her fur has got longer and fluffier, as you will see from the photos.  

She is definitely a one and only - we have fostered one cat and adopted another (who sadly died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism just weeks after we had him). She has always been much happier as a single cat, although she gets on fine with our dogs.  One of our favourite sights is our 2 kilo cat chasing our 25 kilo dog round the house in circles.

Millie on her first walk
Our first pooch is Millie, a shar-pei we had from a local rescue kennel called Croft's.  She is chocolate brown and is lazy, loving and has a deep and abiding hatred of baths, just like Pandora...

I originally wanted to get a poodle type - and we went and walked dogs at the pound in order to get used to walking them and the level of fitness we would need, in the hope of eventually finding the right dog for us.  When we first started visiting, we weren't in a position to take home a dog because we were renting, and didn't feel it would be fair to get a dog not knowing whether we would be able to home it reliably in the future.  

Millie settling into her new home
Walking the dogs at the rescue was fun, although it could be sad too.  The first dog we fell for with a thump was called Sindy - a big, gentle silver girl who was a Neapolitan Mastiff cross.  She had to be sent away to a specialist rescue where she could be fostered in a loving home as she was starting to show signs of kennel rage.  Although we were sad to see her go, it was definitely exactly what she needed

The second was an adorable, cheeky Newfoundland girl, Fifi, who broke our hearts, but thankfully for her she found a wonderful home well before we found our little house.  

So when I saw Millie's big brown eyes, I didn't want to fall for her and have to say goodbye again.  The first time we walked her, she was just on the end of the lead the whole time and wouldn't even take a treat.  She was so shy and timid but she blossomed a little more every time we saw her - starting to woof and wag her tail as soon as she saw us walk past her cage.   
Millie sporting her muzzle
Every time we went up to walk her, I knew it would probably be the last one.  I just couldn't believe this sweet pooch would be without a family for long.  But as our house purchase dragged on and on, we still continued to walk her every week.  Finally, our house completed and we were able to visit the rescue centre and amazingly she was still waiting for us!!  

When we first got her home she was totally overwhelmed, having spent months shut in at the rescue centre, and didn't know what to do with new people or places.  She chased Pandora and we had to do weeks and weeks of training to get her to understand that Pandora was boss (now they are good friends and even rub faces when they haven't seen each other all day!)

Millie is the most loving, chilled out dog at home, but not without her problems. She is still afraid of new people, though she doesn't run away any more, and she can be dog aggressive occasionally - especially when she's under the weather.  She has to be walked with a muzzle on at all times, not only because I would not forgive myself if she harmed another dog, but also so she can be safely socialised and with luck, eventually put this behaviour behind her.
Millie with us on our honeymoon

 We've been talking for a while about getting a second dog who can help Millie to learn her manners and to get used to dogs and doggy behaviour so that she doesn't overreact to everything.  We hoped this would improve her confidence and help her to live a happier, more normal doggy life.  Also, as we both work, we wanted her to have company, as she sometimes got stressed about being alone.  But we wanted the right dog - one that is a good fit for our family - friendly, confident, non-shedding (because Millie sheds enough for two!) and able to behave well around cats.

 This is where our darling new pooch comes into the story.  

George looking a bit sorry the night he came home

My hubby was looking at the rescue centre's facebook page  about a month ago and noted a video of new dog, 'Sherlock.' He was a pale coloured poodle type dog, dashing about and playing with a squeaky toy.  

He persuaded me that we should go up to Crofts and walk Sherlock - just for the sake of a walk...! I don't know what it was about this video, but I insisted on taking the extra lead, 'just in case'...  After a walk with Millie to check they got on, him demonstrating a fabulous lack of interest in a cat, and then a bit of paperwork, he was ours!

When we got him home, we just weren't sure about his name.  He had been assigned it at the pound, but it didn't seem to fit, and if I am honest I didn't really fancy standing in the park yelling 'SHERLOCK' to call him back!!  So I had a scour through my bookshelf for names and finally settled on George.  He responded to this almost straight away.
George after a clip and a bath

George had been a stray, and though the rescue centre had deflead and wormed him and given him a bath - but he was still straggly, with holes in his coat where he had chewed to scratch the itch, and thick fur between his toes. First thing the day after adopting him, we took him to a brilliant groomer who spent two and a half hours bathing him, clipping his nails, trimming off his tangles, brushing his fur, cleaning his ears - the works!  He looked so much better - but was still a little thin as he wasn't fully recovered.  
George at the park

Now, after a few weeks with us, he is fully settled in.  He has had a few problems with accidents, and at first he was too excited to eat. but he is now getting the hang of living in a home again. 

He has loads of energy, is slowly building up weight, eating properly and bouncing around at the park like a lamb in springtime.  George is a live wire, always bringing his ball for us to throw, bounding around and as delighted as Millie to see us.  His beautiful curly fur is starting to grow back - including the bald patches which are now showing up as light brown spots!

Much to our surprise, Millie was fine with him, without a muzzle, in a matter of days, and after a week we started leaving them alone together, a little at a time.  They now spend their days together and friends have noted that Millie is much more confident and relaxed! 
 I hope you've enjoyed being introduced to my little monsters :) 



  1. That is cool, I could read your blog all day the way you write. I knew you would be an awesome blogger lol x

    1. Hehe! I am so glad you are enjoying it. It makes it worth writing :) xx

  2. What fabulous home these pets have found!


    1. Thanks Helen :) they are a big part of what makes our house a home. I wasn't a pet person before meeting my husband - but now I don't know how we'd do without them :) xxx

  3. Oh your little ones are adorable! Each one of them! I love that you rescue animals...we need more of that in the world! And I am glad Millie got a pal...they are lucky to be in such a good home!! Wishing you a very wonderful weekend! Nicole xo

    1. Thanks Nicole - we certainly dote on them! I know what you mean about rescue pets - I wish as many would give a dog a second chance as seem to breed their dogs and cats (or at least fail to neuter them) without a thought as to where the puppies or kittens will go.

      Thanks once again for your lovely comment - and I wish you a beautiful weekend too :) xxx

  4. I love them all! I'm glad the dogs are doing well together.

    1. I can't tell you how relieved we are about that! Given Millie's behaviour to some other dogs, we were very nervous - but it's been a dream! Glad you enjoyed, thanks for reading :) xxx

  5. I just love the whole story, from the kitten all the way to George. I think you are a fabulous family to adopt these beauties. Well done.

    1. Sorry Meredith, I replied below rather than replying here - I was obviously having a funny five minutes and clicked the wrong button!! Xx

  6. Thanks Meredith, how kind! To be totally honest the trick for us is not adopting pets, tee hee! So glad you enjoyed reading :) xxx

  7. What wonderful pet carers you both are! I lost myself in your beautifully written post and went through lots of emotions too - poor little Millie, she was very fortunate that you found and took care of her - such a load of fleas on her would have caused anaemia eventually! It's so lovely that all your chosen pets are getting on so well together - because you went about choosing and introducing them in the right and appropriate way! Well done to you both, and happy days to all of you! Joy x

    1. Thanks so much Joy :) especially for your kind words. We are so glad to have them all in our lives really - others' loss is our gain, I feel. Indeed, our poor little cat was in a bad way. In fact she also has flea allergy dermatitis and will out her fur after just one or two bites, and I often wonder if this is due to early exposure to so many of the little blighters. I just don't understand how owners can behave this way to an animal. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend to come :) xxx