Are we there yet? Welsh Camping 2015

A holiday together was long overdue! We spent past few years, moving houses, getting married and doing up our new house – atleast starting on it! So this year, we finally decided to embark on an adventure. For the first time in five years, we managed to go on a holiday together. Lack of money and my visa restrictions motivated us to go camping. And boy, that was fun!

Our children had never been camping in the past, so this was a great big adventure for them and our pooches . We chose the Welsh Highlands of Porthmadog in North Wales. I, personally had no idea how or what Wales was like, but my husband nagged me into believing it was one of the best places to be camping. And, I saw why as soon as we drove up the hills, through the winding roads with spectacular scenery that surrounded us; we were enamoured by the massive expanse of it’s sea coast and I, was particularly taken by the friendly, enthusiastic and helpful people of Porthmadog.

There was a lot to do in town but we stuck to our campsite that walked straight into the Black Rock Sands. It was HUGE and it had a dog friendly end to it which almost seemed bigger than the non-dog friendly end of the bay, very convenient for families who were traveling with pets. We spent 5 days lounging about the beach and climbing great big mountains and relaxing basically. We even made some good friends at the campsite and celebrated our dear Irene’s 7th birthday on the beach!

Here are some of the pictures for you to have a sneak peak at our holiday:

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Just arrived, tent is set up and now time for cuppa!

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steam railway

on top

snack break

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Smug face, for being the first one to climb up the hill.

sibling love

There is no shame Rustle, if you can't handle those nettles!!

There is no shame Rustle, if you can’t handle those nettles!!

proud moment for Ed

selfie

well achieved

little hiker

intrepid Irene

climb no 2

best one

relaxing

crazy hair

hand stand

more action


bon fire

Irene's birthday

cutie pie

friends

don't turn your back

That is how we cramped everything and everyone into our tiny car.

That is how we cramped everything and everyone into our tiny car.

I hope you enjoyed looking at our experiences. Let me know about your summer holidays and camping experiences!


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Every christmas present will tell a story this year…

If you are anything like me, you still haven’t done your christmas shopping. And even if you have, I don’t think one can ever do enough shopping.

This christmas I promise to shop local and not step into the giant shopping complex that ruin the prospects of our local businesses. I think shopping from independent local shops provides an exclusivity to the gifts (how many people do you spot wearing the same primark christmas jumpers? or jackets from H&M on sale?).

I like my presents to have a story and warmth, and it comes from local business owners as they are small and can give you personal attention while sharing the story of their journey with you. I have never met a superstore owner walking up to me to ask if I needed help and displayed a curiosity to know about me or share their amazing story?

Like I prefer to know my food and what goes into my body (Where it comes from, how was it produces etc), I prefer to treat my gifts the same. I’d like to tell my friends and family, something about the present they will be owning.

Here are some of the shops I went into and found some interesting stuff. Now there are many more, but I shall leave that up to you to explore :

The Secret Wardrobe (High Street):

Lisa Parsons is one of the most soft spoken and warm hearted person I have met. She loves her shop and is so proud of her products. Her products range from jackets, hats, scarves to jewellery and more. There is something for everyone. They are sourced from all over the world although mostly England, and picked and chosen from Lisa’s travels. It looks fancy but is very affordable. Do not fear to enter because you are on a budget. Lisa will help you out, mark my word!

Email: lisaparsons@hotmail.co.uk

Phone: 07830074649

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 Comics & Sci – Fi World (Market Place):

We have had a surge of new independent shops in Margate’s Old Town and on the high street, most by female entrepreneurs meaning a lot of shops cater to women. So this shop was perfect to find something for the “HIM (s)” that also need presents. Some amazing old comics to rare movie figures and collectables. Toys, books and magazines for the big babies of the family can also be found. The owner is very friendly, although not particularly chatty. But his face did lit-up when I told him that I am trying to inspire people to shop local through this blogpost.

Email: comicsandsfworld@googlemail.com

Phone: 01843225335

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No:60 (High Street):

This is a small little shop based on the high street with an assortment of handmade products made by the owner and some supplied by local people. They have handmade soaps, bags, purses, jewellery and some other decoratives like candle holders, essential oils etc.

The owners also run workshops from time to time on various interests like making loom band lampshades to cupcake decorations.

Find them on twitter: https://twitter.com/No60Margate

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Doggie Apparel (Old Town):

This is my favourite place. Every one gets a present on christmas, so why not your pooch? Here’s an exclusive shop just for doggies. They have everything handmade for your dog from beds to jumpers and jackets, leads, harnesses that are made to order and custom sized apparel, toys, treats etc. We had a great time just hanging out in the shop as it has such a lovely vibe and environment. Rustle, my dog loved trying a couple of things and we can’t wait to go back to shop for his size from the new stock coming in just before christmas. A must visit!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/doggieapparel (They are all over the place including Facebook and everybody is talking about them, easy to find)

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Pop Up Margate (High Street):

This is a place full of surprises as shops come in and out. Everytime I visit, there is a new little stall selling some new things. I have taken a few pictures but this is a place for each one to explore and find what they like. I would especially like to give a shout out to Faith, who makes cushions and is also a seamstress, who plans to take her pop up stall to the next level by opening her own independent shop soon, hopefully in 2015. She is quick and very very reasonable. She is here to stay and very local!

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Hooked On Books (High Street):

This is heaven for all those reading aficionados. There is a wealth of rare, old, classic hardcopies/paperback for just a few pounds. It is big and nicely organised. Gary is helpful, personable and non intrusive. You can sit and spend hours without being pushed to purchase. Even my kids were nice and quietly occupied while I did my work.

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I hope some of you will visit these shops and show your support. Here’s wishing everyone a very merry and prosperous christmas.

Mummy’s of Thanet

I have the best mother in the whole world!

I am sure most of us relate to that. And many of us are trying to be one!

Beachwalkmuse in chat with some of the mother’s around in Thanet with some interesting stories to share…

The Curio in Margate

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Jo Willis, the creator of The Curio in Margate and an amazing photographer is a new mother and lives in Margate with her husband Dom and daughter Dulcie. Jo speaks to beachwalkmuse about her journey….Read More

 

Helter – Skelter

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Fiona Crawford runs Helter Skelter in Broadstairs which has recently won Britain’s Friendliest Business Award. She is a single mother of a 15 year old and provides a safe haven for all the parents of toddlers in Broadstairs…

Beachwalkmuse finds out more about Fiona…Read More

 

Beach Within Reach

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Being a mother is a full time job. But for Debbie Fifield, it is literally so. She is a registered full-time carer for her 13 year old son Ryan who has a rare disorder. When she is not looking after him, and managing her son’s twin sister’s teenage tantrums, she volunteers for Beach within Reach. She says she is forced to go to One Direction’s gigs with her daughter but I think she secretly loves them nonetheless…

Debbie Fifield in talks with beachwalkmuse…Read More

 

TAG Rescue – Thanet

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Yasmine Moss is a 21 year old and owns 6 rescue dogs. She is not a typical mother of a child, but she is a mother figure to not only her own dogs but has helped hundreds of dogs in her lifetime so far…She is a vegetarian and owes her mother  a lot, who is also an ardent animal lover, for what she is today.

I don’t know about many others, but I admire her work and cherish her acquaintance…

Yasmine Moss, finally finds time to speak to Beachwalkmuse about her favourite topic – Rescuing dogs…Read More

TAG Rescue – Thanet

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Yasmine Moss is a 21 year old and owns 6 rescue dogs. She is not a typical mother of a child, but she is a mother figure to not only her own dogs but has helped hundreds of dogs in her lifetime so far…She is a vegetarian and owes her mother  a lot, who is also an ardent animal lover, for what she is today.

I don’t know about many others, but I admire her work and cherish her acquaintance…

Yasmine Moss, finally finds time to speak to Beachwalkmuse about her favourite topic – Rescuing dogs…

Tell us something about yourself?

I was born in Margate and have lived in Birchington my whole life. I did my degree in law from University of Kent. After finishing my degree last year, I went on to working for Tag and started fostering dogs.

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How did you get involved with TAG?

My mum has always been an animal lover. She was always into animal rights since she was very young. So she knew TAG and she knew Debbie who is from TAG. When I expressed my desire to working with rescue animals, she put me through them and that’s how I started working for TAG.

When was your first rescue?

I think my rescue was when I was around 19 and we found this dog called Marcey in the pound, whose time was up and she was about to be put down. And so I decided to rescue her. We did eventually find her a home – took us about a year but we got there.

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So apart from TAG what are you doing job wise?

Right now I am, apart from TAG which is my part time job [so she says!] I also help my brother with his property development business. I manage some properties in Margate. I did a law degree but that is not where my heart is at the moment. I love property and working with TAG part-time allows me the flexibility to pursue my other interests.

What is it that you like about rescuing dogs? What is the most rewarding part?

We have had rescue dogs since I was a baby. My mother would rescue all kind of crazy dogs, so to not have a dog would be weird. Rescuing and finding homes for the dogs is just natural for me. That is how I was raised, perhaps to be an exceptionally tolerant and accepting of dogs in need.

The rewarding bit is to see them improve in health, behaviour etc. Most dogs who come to us or we rescue come with major trauma’s. One of the greatest example would be my dog MILO who was found under a coffee table peeing all over out of fear of people. He was really scared of hands – meaning he got abused a lot. But now he’s come out of his shell, he is outgoing, he enjoys life and to see them come such a long way is very rewarding.

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Do you keep a count of how many dogs you have rescued so far?

For TAG, last year we homed about 90 dogs. But I also work for a little rescue called Angels for Dogs which is my mum’s and her best friend rescue organisation. So we rescue from them as well. So between us we have rescued about 60 dogs.

There are so many staffies in the shelters, what are the main reasons why they end up in the shelter? 

Most of them come because they fall pregnant, or are unwanted puppies. Some people don’t want a dog after they get into a fight. When people get a dog, they don’t take certain factors into consideration. We never rehome two females in the same house. They get very dominant and tend to get into fights. And a female dog fight is far worse than males. Males fight and forget but females like humans hold a grudge. It is very hard to rehabilitate them to be together.

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What do you do to unwind?

If I find time, I like to sleep. But I have got some really lovely friends, if I am stressed and tired I can just call a friend and pop out for drinks or coffee. They understand that this job stresses me out and sometimes makes me upset so I need to talk to people and my friends are always there. I am very lucky that way with my friends. And taking my dogs out as well, walking them and spending some time with them is really nice. When you are fostering a dog, a lot of your attention is on the new dog and your own pack gets ignored so as and when I get a chance, I try to take my lot out on my own and enjoy bonding with them.

If somebody wants to get involved with TAG, what can they do?

Apart from fostering, one can always volunteer at the centre. You will have to contact TAG for that. One of the biggest thing for us at all times is fund raising. It costs us about £2,000 just to look after the kennels. So if anybody could fund raise on our behalf or contribute to TAG, that would be a great help.

We have a lot of Romanian dogs coming in? And there are a lot of people not quite understanding the need to rescue them when we already have so many dogs in our own shelter? What would you say to that?

As I said earlier that TAG has a lot of Staffordshire Bull Terriers and a lot of people don’t want a staff. I get a huge amount of phone calls saying that they don’t want a pit bull or pit bull kind of dog and I have to ask, “do you mean a staff?” People don’t want them and they have a bad reputation and unfortunately you can’t change everyone’s mind.

For me personally, no matter where the dog comes from – Africa or Romania, if a dog can come here and find a home that’s brilliant.

Romanian dogs are street dogs. Their only problem is fear of people. But that is easy to fix with food and affection. Most English dogs in my opinion are spoilt brats. They are victims of neglect or lack of training, abuse and trauma’s which can sometimes take a lot longer to fix. Most of them are not socialised at an early stage, whereas street dogs are already socialised, one doesn’t have to worry about doggy socialisation, that comes to them naturally.

Also dogs in our rescue are not suitable for everyone’s lifestyle, whereas these Romanian dogs are very humble and easy to look after. They just need their little spot to sleep and be fed. Everyone can find a dog amongst them.

People often don’t know how much to walk their dogs. Or they give up because the dog pulls a lot. what would you say to people with such dogs?

I would say get up early, take them out for a walk and try different places. When you take them to the same place, they get bored and pull you towards what attracts them the most. Take them to different places. Exercises is not just a long run, sometimes a short walk but full of smell like a walk to the woods would stimulate the dog’s mind so much that they’d sleep peacefully for a few hours. There has to be a balance between physical and mental exercise. Both are important.

A lot of dogs are not neutered. Would you like to stress on the importance of neutering/spaying your dog?

The reason that there are no many dogs in the centre is because people don’t neuter and spay their dogs. I think a lot of people, especially men don’t like to neuter their male dogs thinking it makes them less of a man or something. But the fact is that the dog can get cancer and you wouldn’t even know it until its too late. And with females, it is so common to find their wombs being infected and they die within a matter of days. And treating that itself is £1,000 if that happens. It is a shame that as a country we’ve come to a point where we have to neuter every possible dog. Just because of a few irresponsible owners, we now neuter every dog. Some dogs are lovely with all their bits but then again in todays time it is only responsible to neuter than otherwise.

Any advice for people who want a dog for their children?

Well a dog is not for children. We have many cases where parents bring a puppy back because their kids wanted the dog but won’t pick up the mess or walk the dog. Children who want dogs, are not necessarily going to look after them even if they promise. As an adult, parents need to know that when they adopt a dog for their children, the major responsibility is theirs. It is not fair on the dog to be passed on from one handler to another because you child couldn’t take the responsibility. I never picked up any of my dogs’ poo for until I was around 18 or so. A dog is not a present, it is a responsibility of at least 15 years.

Yasmine Moss can be contacted through Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/yasmine.moss.798?fref=ts

Or visit their website for animals in need of homes : http://www.tagpetrescue.org.uk/

 

Blood, Bones and Flesh!!

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My dog loves it! He has an amazing coat, very calm temperament, and has managed to win himself a few rosette’s at a local charity dog show for his health, good looks and for being the best in the show. No this post isn’t about my dog at all but about what our dogs love the most – FOOD!

As popularly said, “We are a nation of dog-lovers.” And so we do everything possible to keep our best friends healthy and happy. Proper exercise, love and good diet is essential to keep a dog’s temperament and health tip top.

According to some research online, we spend about £411 per year on pet food, (but I am sure some of us spend more, especially the ones with multiple number of pets). Now that is a lot of money. I love my dogs and I like to see them enjoy their food as much as I enjoy mine. A dog would naturally find raw meat, bone etc more delicious than dry boring kibbles. But the dilemma is that, the kibbles promise to be complete food and we don’t have to worry about any lack of nutrition or added supplements. On the other hand though, raw diet is cheaper, more enjoyable and believe me or not if prepared properly much more healthier too, but it is hardwork chopping those vegetables, saving those left over rice for next day, defrosting frozen meat?! It is so easy to just buy a packet of dry food, shove a cup full on a bowl and offer it to your dog as if it is some gourmet recipe.

Now every time I tell people that my dog is on raw diet – some make faces, some judge and some I just can’t seem to convince that raw is much healthier, natural and cheaper way of feeding your pet especially dogs!

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I feed Rustle raw food on a budget of less than £25 a month. Whereas when he was on dry kibbles only, I was paying about £60 to £80 a month. I mean if you are going to be lazy with dog food and you care enough for your dog you would prefer buying Iams or Hills Plan or the like than Pet Shop’s complete food. C’mon it’s human equivalent of ICELAND meat which I dare not eat! Yes call me a snob! I never buy horrendous value meat or poultry. So why should my dogs be treated badly, after all if they aren’t healthy, my bank balance won’t be healthy either with all those vet bills.

Anyhow, so I have rescued a new puppy. More about her in another post. And although she is on Iams at the moment, I am thinking of putting her on raw diet for her health reasons sooner than the shift I did for Rustle. To find inspiration and gain knowledge I often go back to reading this article below written by our Aunt Penny Taylor – who is an accomplished writer, owner of about 14 lurchers and ferrets. She loves taking her dogs out hunting and has some really good stories to tell. It is amazing to see this woman in total control of her 14 working dogs when out in the wild.

More about Penny and her book here:  Sky Publications. This book is very informative for novices who would like to consider raw diet. If not it also makes a good read for the ones who think raw diet is totally barmy and painstaking.

Here’s a chapter from her book that gives an insight into doggy health and benefits of feeding raw and negatives of feeding dry:

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Let me know what do you feed your pet and what do you think of raw diet?

Daphne – The Cocker Spaniel!!

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Meet the most benign guard-dog rescue, Daphne. If she is not on the beach or cuddling up with her owner Susan Barkham (Sue), she will be either sleeping on her bed in The Boat House (local shop on the jetty), or wag her tail welcoming every customer.

The very first time I met both Susan with her dog Daphne was on one of my beach adventures with Rustle. I saw this woman walking a cute little dog, who came across as very timid and shy. Without any hello, I remember Susan saying, “She wouldn’t poo here, I would like her to poo and pee out on the beach. She holds it in and will only do it in the backyard.” I didn’t see the harm in a dog performing her ablutionary obligations in the back yard. Then Susan said, “Well I have only just got her yesterday and I work in the shop on the jetty, 6 to 8 hours a day. There’s a beach she could go to but she holds it in until we get back home, that cannot be healthy.” So yes, she had a point! But as we spoke, Rustle pee’d on some seaweed and Daphne followed suit. Hurray! I hadn’t met a woman who celebrated a dog pee-ing on the beach so much before. It was definitely a happy moment of Sue’s life.

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Daphne is a two and half year old cocker spaniel. This rescue has had two previous owners before she found her forever home in Broadstairs.

Susan, 65 years old, who is a retired teacher had a labrador that passed away in 1992. Post – divorce and after her children left home, this dog was her only companion. If there was one thing she looked forward to going home was her ever so waggy tailed labrador. After the death of her Labrador, Sue couldn’t bear the emptiness in her house. So, she decided to take a break and go to Sicily and teach English for a few years before settling down in Broadstairs.

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Susan took a retirement from teaching only two years ago which eventually led to her adopting Daphne but there is an amazing chronology of events that took place leading up to her retirement. One fine day Susan’s daughter brought her the tickets to the Prince concert that she’d always dreamt of. The tickets were for a Saturday. Susan was aware there were two things in life she wanted to do before she got another dog, that is attend Prince Concert which was now possible and then travel to Spain. Susan said, “I thought well, the concert’s for the weekend – and I am close to retiring, so why not just quit. ” So she quit her job just like that, celebrated her retirement by going to the concert and then flew off to Spain.

Now, there was just one thing left to do – get a dog! Just a few days before getting the dog, she got offered a job at The Boathouse in Broadstairs. And her first question to the owner was, “Can I bring my dog to work?”. The owner said yes and asked, ” what kind of dog do you have?” and Susan replied, “Oh I don’t have a dog, I am asking just in case.” The owner probably was puzzled, I wouldn’t put words to his thoughts.

Anyhow, following that one evening when she was babysitting her grandson, who is apparently a computer geek (which kid isn’t these days!), randomly suggested his grandmother to look at some rescue dogs, and they found a cute little cocker spaniel and believe it or not within a day, Susan had the dog.

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Daphne at that time was living with a family in Suffolk who had adopted her from someone else, and the family dog wasn’t getting on very well with Daphne. The family put Daphne (16 months old) for adoption as they didn’t see it fair on their older dog to spend its last few years adjusting and compromising with a new addition of a dog. So as soon as they received the call from Susan, they hopped in the car the very next day and drove Daphne down to Broadstairs (Sue didn’t have a car and Daphne didn’t have any experience of traveling in trains, but the then current owners were desperate). And that is how Daphne ended up in Broadstairs.

Daphne is a lovely little thing bouncing around on the beach, very friendly and docile. She loves attention and cuddles, especially from Sue. Next time if you visit Broadstairs’ The Boathouse, don’t forget to say hello to our pretty pooch Daphne and her owner Sue.

The Royal Duke of Broadstairs….

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Meet the ever so lovely Poetry Pleasence and her two pooches – giant gentle Duke and his big brother Sampson.

I remember meeting Duke, who is a 1 year old great dane, when he was only a few months old, and my pup Rustle went running up to him trying to reach his mouth to lick him of course. And , they ended up having a good old play.

Poetry, 17 told me that Duke wasn’t allowed to climb steps because his limbs might suffer as he grows older. As soon as she said that, “Mad dog lady” alert popped up in my head. So I chased her a bit more and have finally understood Duke’s whole story and I am guilty of being judgemental.

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Duke suffers from arthritis and hip dysplasia. Apparently, hip dysplasia and arthritis  is very painful, but for Duke it is the way of life. Turns out he was born with it. Hence, one would never be able to tell that he is probably in acute pain, when they look at the very playful and attention seeking Duke playing around or rubbing himself incessantly against your nice expensive jacket, moulting all over.

Now of course, when one has a pooch with such defects, the obvious question that comes to the mind is “puppy mill/farm?”

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Dog lover Poetry had Sampson, the ever so handsome 18 months old Weimaraner, her pride and joy who is as healthy as healthy can be and has recently fathered a litter. He is absolutely stable and calm. To keep him company and for the love of great dane, Poetry went on the internet and looked for pups on Pre-loved. There she came across a litter where Duke was up for mere £250. It looked dodgy and upon visit, she saw the state of the kennel and had an instant sympathy to rescue the poor little Duke. Now the breeder, who I would rather refer to as the dealer, showed kennel club papers etc (which could have quite possibly been fake as done very commonly). Having been aware of all this, Poetry couldn’t resist saving Duke’s life and she has been fighting for his life ever since, even though doctors have on occasions suggested otherwise.

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Poetry strongly suggests people to be very careful where they get their dogs from. Poetry doesn’t regret having Duke and wouldn’t change anything about the way she got him. But, she did enunciate that, “Do not fall for Kennel Club registrations. They do not mean anything. Visit the breeder, the parent dogs and meet the puppy a few times before you actually decide to bring them home. I couldn’t have been able to tell about Duke’s health earlier anyway as his symptoms were not obvious, any dog can have such defects but the state of the dogs lifestyle and hygiene was appalling and no animal should be living in such a state – healthy or not.”

As we all know, there is a lot of backyard breeding and dealing of puppies from the puppy farm. Brave and bright Poetry has all my respect for doing what she did as a seventeen year old, but as educated and aware citizens we do need to make sure we report such kennels and people who are into dodgy dealings and try and bring this to an end.

It was great to meet both Sampson and Duke along with Poetry, who has never had it easy. Dogs do act as a social bridge and help one know people better. Poetry is a hero, not only for rescuing Duke and fighting for Duke ( it didn’t look easy to walk and play with Duke who is taller than I am when he tries to jump up to “hug”), but for becoming the person that she is despite her tough past.

Pretty Poetry Pleasence(I love her name), was abandoned by her parents at a very young age of about 2 years old. She has never seen her mother since or father and has been raised her by grandmother (maternal). She has two other half- siblings. Despite her past, she has huge respect for the concept of “parents” and till date holds on to the respect for her father who she has never really met.

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True to her name, Poetry is  very pleasant, strikingly pretty, clever and has a very big heart! She grew up with a lot of dogs around her and she has every intention to keep that going for as long as she can.

When asked if she was seeing someone, she said, “My life has changed because of Duke. I cannot really trust anybody with Duke and hence I am bound indoors most of the time. Duke’s medicine, making sure the carpet is laid flat on the stairs so that Duke can avoid climbing them as much, being there for him if he has a fall and making sure he is doing alright takes up a lot of time and energy. I don’t get to go out much or have time for others.”

Well, I take that as a NO. So well boys out there, keep an eye for the gorgeous woman named Poetry with black and white patchy Duke and blueish grey Weimaraner. Good luck, if you can get close to her as her pooches are always on guard!!

P.S: Poetry brought Duke from someone called Carol J Roper from Shropshire. So please beware of that name and place perhaps.