Look What I Can Do! (30 April 2014 – Wordless Wednesday)

Jimmy the Maltichon (Maltese/Bichon X) from Dublin, Ireland - Fluffy Tufts www.fluffytufts.wordpress.com

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Pogo at the Beach! (Wordless Wednesday – 23 April 2014)

Pogo at the Beach

Fluffy Tufts is participating in the Blog Paws blog hop. Come and join the fun!

If you are on twitter, you can follow Pogo the Poodle. He would love to hear from you!

Fun at the Dog Park!

There is a lovely park close to where I live, Marlay Park. I often walk there with the gang. Sometimes, I will meet friends or my brother and we will sit outside the cafe and have coffee and cake! They do a delicious vanilla latte there.

Marlay Park was one of the first parks in Ireland to open a dedicated dog park. Usually in parks here, dogs are allowed off the lead in any area of the park at certain times of the day. I prefer this method as poor Casper is too anxious and overwhelmed when faced with all the other dogs at the dog park.  It is better for me to wait until the allocated times and choose a quiet area to let him off.

However, since Pippa joined our gang, I have found that I frequent the dog park more often. It is great to have a secure area where she can have a good run and really stretch out her legs. I made a video of a great day that Pippa and I had at the dog park with a friend and her two Swiss Shepherds, Okami and Yuki.

Would love to hear what you think of dedicated dog parks? Are dogs allowed to be off-lead where you live? How do you ensure that your dogs get enough exercise?

The ‘Dead Zoo’ – A Tourist in My Own City

Not long ago, we paid a visit to the Natural History Museum of Ireland which is known colloquially as ‘The Dead Zoo’!

The Natural History Museum AKA The Dead Zoo

“The Natural History building was built in 1856 to house the Royal Dublin Society’s growing collections, which had expanded continually since the late 18th Century.

The building is a ‘cabinet-style’ museum designed to showcase a wide-ranging and comprehensive zoological collection, and has changed little in over a century. Often described as a ‘museum of a museum’, its 10,000 exhibits provide a glimpse of the natural world that has delighted generations of visitors since the doors opened in 1857.”

Taken from Natural History Museum, Ireland

Stuffed Badger at The Dead ZooI remember going to this place as a child. I was filled with a confusing mix of excitement and dread. On the one hand, the museum appealed to my great love for animals. I was always fascinated to see the stuffed foxes and badgers, as well as the more exotic animals like the snow leopards and giraffes.

However, the skeleton of the giant elk loomed ominously in the entranceway, giving me a thrill of fear. And the scariest exhibit of all was the full-sized basking shark that hung from the ceiling. I would keep my eyes firmly to the floor and a tight grip on my Daddy’s hand as I skirted around the edge of that section of exhibits .

Stuffed Lion cub at The Dead ZooOur recent visit was filled with delicious nostalgia.  Not everything was how I remembered it, but the giant elk still stands majestically just inside the entrance. And of course, my nemesis, the basking shark remains suspended from the ceiling. Even now, all these years later, I still couldn’t bring myself to walk under it!

I would love to hear about your favourite childhood outings. Have you revisited those places as an adult?

We Wish you a Merry Christmas!

I don’t even know if I have any readers left at this stage! My year has been very busy and unfortunately, Fluffy Tufts had to take a back seat. I will have a bit more time in the new year, so I really hope I can update you all and start sharing our adventures on a more regular basis!

Things to look out for: a new addition to the gang, some exciting news for me and Mr Fluffytufts, extremely cute dog trick tutorials and lots more…

Happy Holidays to you all!

Flurries, a Fall and a Daring Rescue!

Jimmy at Wicklow MountainsWe have been having a very strange spring here in Ireland. From what I’ve seen on the news, we are not the only country to be experiencing unseasonal weather at the moment.

A week or so ago, right at the end of March, we woke up to a blanket of fresh snow! I couldn’t believe my eyes. We decided to pack up the car and headed out for a drive in the country with The Lads.

We drove through the Dublin Mountains and onwards into the Wicklow Mountains. Funnily enough, the further we drove, the less snow there was. There are many public walks throughout Wicklow, so we decided to stop off at one of these and take The Lads out for a hike.

Pogo the Poodle at Wicklow MountainsIt was really a lovely day. The Lads enjoyed exploring the forest, sniffing every inch of the place! They even had fun doing their own version of agility, jumping tree stumps, climbing steep banks and running along felled trees. While we were walking, a sprinkling of light powdery snow fell delighting us all.

Unfortunately, the day was spoiled considerably when Jimmy fell down a steep embankment!

Mr Fluffytufts had stopped to take a photograph of a waterfall while I continued along the path with The Lads.  Jimmy was trotting along the edge of the path when suddenly a pile of shale slid out from under his paws and he went rolling down the embankment. At first, I couldn’t see him as he had rolled into the undergrowth. Thankfully, when I called out to him, I spotted the red of his jumper moving.  Next, was the question of how to reach him… I tried but wasn’t able to climb down myself.

Me with Casper the BichonJimmy got himself out of the undergrowth but in his panic he went to bolt in the wrong direction. I don’t think I ever yelled so loudly in my life! Pogo and Casper joined in by barking, and together, we were able to catch Jimmy’s attention.

I maintained eye contact with him and asked him to ‘climb’. The others were encouraging him on by barking and whining for him. He tried, but the bank was too steep and he kept slithering back down.  I then instructed him to ‘wait’ and was relieved and proud when he waited perfectly till I was able to attract Mr Fluffytufts’ attention.

Mr Fluffytufts was the hero of the day! He came running up the mountain path and without hesitation, climbed down the bank through gorse and brambles until he reached Jimmy. We checked Jimmy over and apart from a few scratches, he was fine. Needless to say, everybody went back on their leads till we got back to the safety of the car!

The Lads enjoying a hike in Wicklow Mountains

My Day at Crufts

Breed Ring at Crufts 2013It was a very early start for me, with the alarm clock going off at 4.30am! The plane was packed with other dog lovers heading to Birmingham to spend the day at the the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts!

Having lived in Birmingham for several years, I knew exactly how to get to the NEC and in no time at all, I had collected my pass and was queuing to enter. I chatted to a lady who’d travelled with her Heelwork to Music Club, all the way from South Africa. They had a member competing in the International HTM Freestyle, so they’d come to cheer her on. Now that’s a supportive team!

Shopping at Crufts - Hall 5The KCAI stand was in Hall 5, so I was sent in that entrance. I actually couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the size of the place. Stalls selling everything you could possibly ever need for your dogs. I spent an hour or two wandering around, picking up goodies for the lads. I will do a post over the next few days reviewing my purchases!

I watched a little bit of the breed judging in the rings in Hall 5 also. Then I headed off to explore the other four halls!

The International Agility was taking place in the Main Arena and one of the members of my training club, Declan Dolan, was representing Ireland with his collie, Bonnie.  I made my way to the Arena in plenty of time and caught the end of the Agility Teams Small Semi-finals. It was exhilarating to view such brilliant dog/handlers teams. The Beacon Smalls went on to win in the Finals. Click here to view their winning run!

Next in the Arena, the International Agility Jumping Round. The competitors had to do a jumping round in the morning and an agility round in the afternoon. Only the top sixteen would make it through to the Finals in the evening. I was really rooting for Declan and Bonnie.

I met Declan at my first ever agility competition. I had had a terrible round with Pogo. He was so excited about the show that he wasn’t focused on me at all. He even tried to climb the judge! As I left the ring feeling humiliated, Declan approached me and very kindly gave me some great training tips and advice. He made me feel a lot better about everything. It was some time later before I realised that this man was Declan Dolan, top agility handler and Crufts winner!

Declan and Bonnie went on to come 2nd in the Finals that evening and I was there in the arena cheering them on. Their round is at 12 minutes if you would like to watch it.

I could ramble on for hours about all the things that I did and saw at Crufts. I had a brilliant day and really hope to go again next year!