Benji’s Dog Blog

I snooze, eat and play all day long…

PicMonkey Benji in and out

I dig in the garden and jump up to catch a pretty pink flower in my mouth.  I give it a good shake and throw it in the air.  Oh dear, now I’ve lost it.  Better go and practice football to play with Antony when he visits.

PicMonkey Collage Football 12 weeksNow I’m big enough to go for walks, grown a lot and having loadsa fun.  Not frightened of anything.  Well, not much.

IMG_2805

Not sure about larger dogs who poke their huge black noses round me.  The Bernese mountain dog was giant size with huge wet nose, but he snuffled gently.  Better than the golden labradoodle and black standard poodle I noticed chasing across the park, playing tag.  What a game!  I raced across to join in.  They stopped playing to give me a good sniffing.  They were sniffy too, roughly knocking me with their paws before racing off together, noses in the air.  I jumped up and gave chase, but Diane called me.

‘Benji, Come!’  Back I ran to lots of praise and my favourite treat.  ‘Good boy,’ she said.  ‘You’re too small to play tag with their long legs.’  She turned and ran, pointing towards our favourite log.  Will I get a treat for jumping up and running along?  Yes, yum, yum.  It’s easy.  I like climbing on branches and tree stumps, but I never say no to a treat or two.

PicMonkey Collage climbing on logs

I meet children in Oatlands Park, but when I try to dig my way into their play area, I’m told ‘No!’  I’m only being friendly.  Never mind, I see dogs in the distance and race off to say hello.  When I reach them they’re bigger than they looked from across the park.  I wag my tail but a golden labrador is chasing a ball with his owner, not interested in playing with me.  Shame.  Another dog, brown bitsa I think, walks past.  Why would he stick his nose up?   I run back to Diane and another treat as she clips the lead onto my collar.  More treats as I sit in the crate for the journey home where I jump onto my comfortable bed for a snooze.

I'm getting a big boy and like travelling in my crate
I’m getting a big boy and like travelling in my crate

I dream about my first car ride with Diane and Paul.  I didn’t like the crate they put me in, tried but couldn’t dig my way out, so I did a poo.  They stopped the car and cleaned up.  We walked round a field before joining other puppies.  Paul and Diane sat on chairs and I stood on a mat in front.  I wasn’t sure about the golden retriever puppy nearby, it seemed very large, much bigger than my brothers and sisters.  We were let free and he moved across to play, other puppies joined in.  ‘Help!’ I yelped and ran off towards the legs of a lady in charge.  When the puppies found the treats she threw she stroked and talked to me. Feeling better, I stood up, wagging my tail. Next time I met a pretty miniature schnauzer puppy called Blodwen.  She was older and taller than me, with lovely long eye lashes, pink collar and lead.  We looked and sniffed around each other, happy to be friends.

IMG_2707

Puppy Pre-School – 3-weeks social skills course at

The Animal Behaviour Centre of Dr Roger Mugford

The Company of Animals, Chertsey, Surrey

01932 566696.  office@companyofanimals.co.uk

 IMG_2704

Diane and Paul take me for walks in the park and by the river.  I get treats for sitting quietly in the car.  It’s good fun and I don’t poo in the crate.  It would be more fun if older dogs played with me but they only sniff around, then ignore me.  At least their ladies give me lots of fuss.  Once I followed a lady with a friendly dog to the other side of the park.  I couldn’t see Diane and was glad to hear her call.  I raced back for a treat and lots of praise.  Another time I followed a lady with a little boy.  I don’t know why Diane clipped my lead on.  I enjoy racing across the park to new people with children and dogs.

I’ve grown a lot and having loadsa fun.  Bigger now.  Not frightened of anything.  Well, not much.

IMG_2820

Advertisements

PERTH – DAY TRIP TO ROTTNEST ISLAND

IMG_2474

Our fourth and last day in Perth we had taken advice from Trailfinders and pre-booked places on a day excursion to Rottnest Island.  At 7.25 am, the bus was on time and by 8.30 am we were glad to be in the queue to board the Rottnest Express.  The hour and a half boat journey passed quickly.  After such an early breakfast we were ready for a snack and were soon disembarking at the main jetty in Thomson Bay.

Thomson Bay Main Jetty Rottnest Island
Thomson Bay Main Jetty Rottnest Island

This fortuitously brought us to a variety of cafes, bars and shops with good quality offerings.  Keen to explore and not waste any time on the island, we chose a tasty take-away of freshly baked bread and home-made filling.  We ate perched on a low wall in the shade of an overhanging tree, at the same time taking the opportunity to gaze at the pedestrianized shopping and eating areas.

A popular way to get about is to hire a bike.  Cars are not allowed on the island.  There is a bus service but we decided to stretch our legs by taking the road to Thomson Bay North.  The path led us past single storey buildings, reminiscent of the holiday camp chalets on the Isle of Wight.  Cyclists wheeled by as we stopped to see what a small group of people were doing.  One lady had taken pity on a small animal we later learned was one of the unusual Quokka marsupials on Rottnest.  The summer had been unusually hot and dry and the Quokka looked very flea-bitten, certainly I would not have been so generous as to share my water bottle with him.  Quokka carry their young in a pouch, as wallabies, but I thought they looked more like large rats. We walked on.

Quokka

Quokka 

IMG_2460

I admired the aquamarine and blue sea on our right as we continued uphill.  Catching up with a group of walkers in front, we realised it was our Brazilian friend Haroldo with his cousins, whose company we had enjoyed during our evening dinner in the Dubai desert.  He turned, immediately recognising us.

‘Hello my friends!  How good to see you again.  This is our sister, you remember, the reason we travelled from Brazil, to be in Perth with her for New Year.’  We hugged, exchanged pleasantries and discovered we had all visited Kings Park the day before – New Year’s Day – taking advantage of the over 30 degrees centigrade temperature to meander about and make the most of the grassy areas in the sunshine.

‘You must come visit us in Brazil,’ said Haroldo.

‘Thank you, that would be great, but not sure when.  Meantime perhaps your next holiday could be a visit to us in England.’  Cards were exchanged and I’m sure we all were wondering whether we would meet again sometime.  We did seem to have an affinity as we walked together, admiring the seascape and rocky outcrops with natural vegetation.

IMG_2484

Arriving at a fork in the track towards the top of the hill, we left the Brazilians to continue to the Bathurst Lighthouse.  We returned towards the settlement, exploring the back streets with the Chapel, Museum and Library, and Salt Store dating back to the days when salt was used to trade in the mid 1800s.

IMG_2479

We passed the Dome café and continued by a well-kept lawn leading to the Hotel Rottnest.  Resting on a bench shaded by the spreading branches of a giant tree, the enticing aroma of plated lunches – carried by smartly dressed waiters – encouraged us to find a seat.  All the outside tables were busy so we sampled their white wine.  The wait was worthwhile – the chef knew his trade.  The burgers were perfectly cooked to our taste, delicately spiced with accompaniments. Our friendly efficient waitress kindly posed to show off her shirt.  Unfortunately we mislaid the paper serviette with her email details during our subsequent travels, so are sorry not to have sent her a copy.

Hotel Rottnest
Hotel Rottnest

‘That will keep us full until later this evening,’ said Paul.  ‘Delicious, that’s better,’ I replied.

Looking up the timetable for the Rottnest Island bus tour, we discovered many different activities are available.  Cycling, walking, camping, backpacking, bird-watching, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, or lying in the sun on one of the sandy beaches, all are available on Rottnest.  The bus tour allowed time at a variety of viewpoints, including the Bathurst Lighthouse.  We thoroughly recommend you include at least one day on Rottnest Island when you visit Perth in Western Australia.

IMG_2487

BENJI’S BLOG

Benji joins us at nine weeks
Benji joins us at nine weeks

When Paul and I first thought about a dog joining our home, I remembered the cheeky character I had met at a friend’s house.  The miniature schnauzer was staying while his owners were on holiday and Pat kindly found the breeder’s details.  Barry Day has bred many champion dogs and is a well-known judge, so we were delighted to hear that a litter had been born on Sunday, 16 August comprising four bitches and three boys.  On Saturday 17 October 2015, Paul and I drove to Solihull.  Our life with Benji began.

Benji at five weeks
Benji at five weeks

I was sad to leave my brothers and sisters when Diane and Paul collected and drove me to their home.  I was nervous on the journey, in a crate on the back seat, but Diane stroked me to sleep.  When I awoke they showed me a comfortable blanket on a new bed in a different house.  No smells of other puppies, where were my playmates?    It was fun playing in their garden and being fussed.  I do enjoy attention and for a while forgot about my other home.  But later – when they left me in a bed in the kitchen – I was so lonely, I cried and howled, howled and cried.  I couldn’t stop.  Even when they picked me up, it didn’t help.

At least breakfast was familiar, Royal Canin puppy food, the same as my other home.  I was hungry and gobbled it up.  Later I explored a clump of yellow bushy grass.  It looked inviting so I jumped in the middle.  What a shock!  I was covered in cold water;  some I swallowed.

Benji playing tug
Benji playing tug

IMG_2662

‘Paul, Benji’s in the pond!’  Not waiting for rescue, quickly I clambered out over the edge. I had a good shake, water droplets all around, before Diane picked me up in a fluffy yellow towel.  Rubbing my tummy made me wriggle, so she put me down to race around in the sunshine, playing tug with Paul.  It was such fun but then I had to lie down for a power nap.

I won the game of tug
I won the game of tug
My friends - Mr Fox and Fat Sally - keep me company
My friends – Mr Fox and Fat Sally – keep me company

Next day a boy called Dominic brought me some presents and threw a ball down the garden for me to chase.  It made me happy, just like playing with the children in my other home.  He said I could meet his black labrador called Guinness when I’m allowed out for walks.

Dominic went home
Dominic went home

Lots more cuddles and another bedtime.  They found me a different, more comfortable bed, very snug in my special sectioned off area in the kitchen.  Sweet dreams, I’m getting used to it here.

Copper Copy Cat has joined my gang
Copper Copy Cat has joined my gang

It’s fun on the garden table where I pick up the edges of the cloth I’m standing on with my teeth, trying to give it a good shake.  I’m given lots of treats, one a new chicken flavour, and suddenly my fur feels clean and smooth.  When they try to put a soft red collar round my neck, I catch it in my mouth:  if I play it right a few more treats come my way.  Then I sit on my bottom, I’m good at that, just like my Mum.  They try to make me walk but I don’t like the feel of something pulling my neck.  ‘Benji, walk, walk Benji.’  I don’t know what they want but treats are being offered, I guess they want me to eat them.  So I get up and gobble all the pieces held out in a hand.  Before I know it we’ve moved down the garden path to another flower bed with interesting plants to smell.  I taste some leaves ‘No Benji, hydrangea leaves aren’t good for you.’  I let them take the leaf from my mouth.  I prefer the treats.

I like the scent of roses
I like the scent of roses

They put me in the crate in the back of a car.  It reminds me of leaving my brothers and sisters so I struggle to get out and cry.  I ignore the treats and cannot help doing a poo.  My mum would push us puppies out of the bed we all shared to poo – and I want to be good – but I’m frightened and don’t know where I’m off to now, maybe another new home?  No, the movement stops.  I’m lifted from the car and wiped clean before Paul carries me through a door.  I remember the friendly lady’s scent from our last visit and wag my tail.  I sniff the air but don’t recognise any puppy smells.

Looking down is fun
Looking down is fun
In good hands with Simon
In good hands with Simon

Simon Felger BVetMed MRCVS, Weybridge Veterinary Centre KT13 9DT – 01932 855856

Then it’s onto a table, a good vantage point to look around.  Last time I was here someone called Simon the Vet gave me lots of his Coachie treats, that I like a lot.  I wag my tail more vigorously, hoping for more.  Simon feels me all over, inspecting my ears, eyes, paws, back and bottom.  I don’t mind, Simon says how healthy and well-adjusted I am and gives me more Coachies.  As Diane and Paul produce my inoculation and microchip forms, Simon says he thinks I’m champion and likes the way Barry trimmed my fur when he gave me a last bath at his place, before I came here.  Well, everyone says I’m like a fluffy ball and I enjoy all their cuddles so it was worth being bathed, even though I prefer exploring and getting dirty.

Exploring in the garden
Exploring in the garden
Standing on the Agapanthus, moi?
Standing on the Agapanthus, moi?

Today I have a new friend, Caitlin, a friendly girl who gives me lots of cuddles, fuss and attention.  She makes me feel special, we play all the time, well, unless she strokes me on her lap until I fall into one of my power naps.  When I wake I’m ready for more fun in the garden.  My favourite game is chewing flower petals.

One day I somersaulted out of this door!
One day I somersaulted out of this door!
I like the taste of these pink flowers
I like the taste of these pink flowers

‘You’re like King of the Castle playing on the rockery,’  Caitlin said.

‘You’re a lovable scallywag,’ said Diane.  I’m not sure what that is but I get lots of treats so it must be good.  Caitlin’s Mummy arrived and made a fuss of me.  She kept mentioning another puppy called Dougal.  I hope to meet him soon.  I like it here but I miss my puppy friends.  The dogs I’ve met in the park don’t want to play, I think perhaps I’m too small. Still, I’m eating all my meals as I’d like to grow as big as my Dad, then other dogs will play with me.

The first puppy I meet is called Ziggy.  He’s a few months older than me and wants to play, but he’s gigantic and I wasn’t sure where I could hide in this huge garden.  I explored all the flower beds while Ziggy stayed on  his lead and I was able to run around and play with Ziggy’s boys.

Ziggy and Benji phhotos courtesy of Debbie Sasso
Ziggy and Benji photos courtesy of Debbie Sasso
Benji meets Ziggy
Benji meets Ziggy

I liked finding new scents in a different garden.  Before we left I was allowed in their kitchen.  I wore my red collar and lead and drank water from Ziggy’s bowl as he lay in another room.  When it was time to leave I didn’t object to going in the crate in the car and fell asleep on the way home.

That’s all for now, next time I’ll tell you about my visits to the local park and meeting other puppies on Saturday mornings.  I feel another power nap coming on.

Zzzzz-zzzzz-zzzz

IMG_2710

All Rights Reserved

PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA – Kings Park Botanical and Memorial Garden

Eternal Flame and State Memorial
Eternal Flame and State Memorial

Its close proximity to Perth brought tourists and local people to Kings Park, enjoying the fresh air and open spaces, this New Years Day 2015.

We made our way to the State War Memorial on Mount Eliza overlooking Perth Water.  A part of the War Memorial, the Cenotaph includes a roll of honour naming all servicemen and women who gave their lives representing Western Australia in combat:  the Boer War; World Wars 1 and 11; the Korean and Vietnam War;  most recently in 2012 in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Flame of Remembrance and Pool of Reflection were inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth 11 during her visit in April 2000.

Numerous military memorials are placed around the park.  It was humbling, in the embracing heat of New Years Day, to walk along the Honour Avenues lined with eucalyptus trees, where each tree had a plaque in memory of a specific person lost in action:  a total over 1100 plaques.

Botanical knowledge of the trees and shrubs that thrive in the soil at Kings Park continues to evolve.  In 1898 red-flowering gum trees, Corymbia ficifolia, were planted along Fraser Avenue to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.  Unfortunately attacked and killed by patch canker disease during the 1930’s, eventually they were replaced with Lemon Scented gum trees, Corymbia citriodora.

Statue of Queen Victoria
Statue of Queen Victoria

Kings Park consists of 1,000 acres with over 12,000 Australian plant species.  The Lotterywest Federation glass walkway links areas in the 45 acre Botanic Garden, taking visitors high up through shrubs and trees.

The Lotterywest Walkway
The Lotterywest Walkway

As many local people we met, our taxi driver was proud of the open spaces, monuments and ancient trees in Kings Park.  Its easy accessibility to the city and panoramic views across Perth, as well as the Swan River from Mount Eliza, have a unique appeal.

The Park’s history dates back to 1872 when the Surveyor General Malcolm Fraser had the foresight to set aside an area known as Perth Park for public use.  In 1890 Perth Park was enlarged to its current size and in 1901 the name was changed to Kings Park, in celebration of the accession of King Edward VII to the British throne.

Boab Tree (Andansonia gregoril)
Boab Tree (Andansonia gregoril)

Several young Boab trees have been planted.  The Boab is valued especially by local  indigenous people for its edible fruits and other medicinal uses.  Water is retained in its trunk.  In 2008 an established Boab, believed to be over 750 years old, had to be relocated due to expansion of the Great Northern Highway.  It was moved over 3,200 kilometres from Western Australia’s Kimberley region to Kings Park, as a special gift to all Western Australians from the local indigenous people, the Gija.  Today this tree is known as the Giant Boab ‘Gija Jumulu.’

The Giant Boab 'Gija Jumulu'
The Giant Boab ‘Gija Jumulu’

It was great wandering around the Park where we were able to see tree ferns and agapanthus, that we have in our garden at home, in their natural habitats.  Family groups enjoyed picnics on the spacious grassed areas in the 30 degree plus temperature, many taking the opportunity afterwards to relax by the cooling water of the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Fountain.

Tree Ferns
Tree Ferns
Agapanthus
Agapanthus
Pioneer Women's memorial fountain
Pioneer Women’s memorial fountain

We punctuated our visit with a tasty fish lunch in the restaurant before a second walk through the botanical gardens and an ice cream, wending our way to the bus stop, physically and emotionally sated.  With fellow tourists and Perth residents waiting for a return bus to Perth, we felt lucky to have experienced this unique open space:  more so because it is free, no entry or car parking charges.  Fantastic!

IMG_2441

PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA – Exploration and Settlement

View of Perth from Kings Park
View of Perth from Kings Park

Perth on the Western coast of Australia.  With no idea what to expect and time being limited, we had booked ourselves onto a coach tour of the city and surrounding area.  A furious ringing from the bedside table disturbed our sound sleep.  7.15 a.m. local time:  reception saying a coach driver and coach load of people were waiting.

‘No, no,’ I said in dreamlike state, ‘that’s tomorrow, Wednesday,’ replacing the phone.  Our brief return to the land of nod again was disturbed by shrill ringing.

‘The driver assures you it’s today, today is Wednesday.’  Oh, no!  ‘We aren’t ready.  Please send our apologies and ask the driver to continue without us.’

Forty-five minutes later we were climbing into a taxi outside the hotel.  The driver was as good as his word, delivering us to the cafeteria in Kings Park within twenty minutes.  Here we breakfasted on coffee and pastries, strolling to admire the views of Perth below, before uniting with the early-bird coach driver and his passengers.  An interesting history, including ancient trees and shrubs found only in the southern hemisphere, made us resolve to return another day and explore at our own more leisurely walking pace.

Perth from Kings Park
Perth from Kings Park

Between the Carey world-wide chauffeur service – whose welcoming driver had met us at the airport – the taxi and coach drivers, we learnt Perth’s history.  The coach stopped at St Martins Centre.  Located on the site of the first businessmen’s club of WA it was the inspiration for an unusual sculpture group.

FOOTSTEPS IN TIME  commemorates the 175th anniversary of Western Australia and recognises the involvement of businessmen in significant historical moments during Perth’s development.

1697 (back) and 1829 (front)
1697 – Dutch exploration, discovery, mapping, naming of the Swan River. 1829 – Anglo Celtic settlement of Swan River
Central figure - 1885-95 - The discovery of gold
Central figure – 1885-95 – The discovery of gold
1945-55 Post World War 2 European Immigration. 2004 The millennium man
1945-55 – Post World War 2 European Immigration. 2004 – The millennium man

IMG_0402

The coach arrived in Fremantle with time to appreciate some of its large collection of heritage listed buildings, before boarding a boat for our ride up the Swan River.

Fremantle

The indigenous hunters and gatherers of South West Australia were aborigines of the Noongar tribe, who called the Swan River area, Boorloo.  A few years after the arrival of the first settlers in 1829, hostilities – including executions and massacres of the Noongar people – caused them to retreat from the area, moving to the swamps and lakes north of the river.

As we cruised up-river, I imagined the first Dutch explorers travelling along the river estuary in 1697 and their disappointment at finding the soil infertile limestone and sand, interspersed with large flat swamp-lands.  Black swans gave rise to the name ‘Swan River.’  Later explorations by the French and British in 1801 and 1822, found little change:  the land was infertile and unsuitable for settlement.

IMG_2384

In 1827 Captain James Stirling was searching for a settlement in Western Australia, to aid relatives in the British East India Company who were seeking to establish Indian Ocean trade.  In a positive frame of mind, Captain Stirling did not travel far enough upriver to see the mainly sandy soil around the estuary, reporting that the area would provide good quality agricultural land.  Lobbying for a free settlement, unlike the other penal settlements, the British Government was persuaded that such a colony would incur negligible cost, and permission was granted in 1828.

Paddle boat on the Swan River
Paddle boat on the Swan River

Today’s fertile green riverbanks and smart residences along the river estuary are vastly different to the raw emptiness that greeted the first fleet of settlers.  Having disembarked with their possessions in June 1829, they found that no land had been allocated or buildings constructed.  Captain Stirling’s Surveyor-General, Septimus Roe, demarcated the fertile locations close to the Swan and Canning Rivers and upstream, where the district of Guildford had the best quality soil and was settled in the first year of the colony.

The town sites of Perth, Fremantle and Guildford were laid out by Septimus Roe. Perth’s site with access to fresh water, river transport and building materials, was to be the administrative and military hub. Fremantle was the port city, with Guildford the loading point for agricultural produce.

Poor soil around Perth inhibited agricultural development, its slow expansion contributing to Perth becoming a penal colony in 1849.  Over the next sixteen years the large convict workforce – comprising over 9,000 convicts – brought expansion in the form of infrastructure and colonial inspired buildings.  Despite being proclaimed a City by Queen Victoria in 1856, Perth remained a garden city with scattered residences.

IMG_2392 IMG_2394 IMG_2397

In the last quarter of the 19th century, a telegraph line from Adelaide to Perth improved intercontinental communication and was followed eight years later by the first weekly newspaper, the Western Mail.  Impressive government offices were built and the railway line from Fremantle to Guildford was completed.

Fremantle Railway Station
Fremantle Railway Station

The location of the central Perth railway station, with railway lines acting as boundaries, created a vibrant central walking area.   Today this pedestrianized area is being enlarged and improved by the construction of underground tunnels to run trains beneath the city.  Residents and tourists will be able to reach all parts of the city on foot, without the hindrance of finding designated crossings or bridges to traverse the railway lines.   It was a fifteen minute detour from the Four Points Sheraton hotel, to reach a part of town containing excellent restaurants and promising New Year celebrations, so we thoroughly appreciate the improvement these changes will bring once completed.

Perth 2014-a5
Perth 2014-15
New Years Eve Perth 2014/15
New Years Eve Perth 2014/15

Before joining in the musical celebrations to sing in the New Year, we found an outside table where we ‘whispered sweet nothings’ over an excellent dinner for two.  Thinking of the cold wind, and often rain, that heralds in our English New Year, we appreciated the deep warmth we were enjoying here in Perth.

Cheers!
Cheers!

We can luxuriate in a lie-in tomorrow, I’m sure nothing is booked (!) so we won’t have reception ringing our bell with a loud wake up call.

Our plan is to return to Kings Park for a leisurely day, before catching a boat to the unique Rottnest Island, the day after.  I hope you’ll join me for Part 2 of tales about Perth.

DOGS GALORE AT RSPCA GALA DAY

RSPCA MILLBROOK ANIMAL RESCUE CENTRE

Guildford Road, Chobham, Surrey  GU24 8EH

GALA DAY – SUNDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2015

xMG_2402Do you enjoy a family day out with super attractions?

RSPCA Millbrook’s main fund-raising event takes place each year on the first Sunday of September.  Last Sunday did not disappoint.

PicMonkey Stalls
RSPCA Gala Day stalls

The day starts at 11 a.m. when stalls and tents open, displaying a variety of reasonably-priced plants, home-made cakes, jewellery, cards, bric-a-brac and essential animal paraphernalia, as well as tombola, face painting, Inspectors and Campaign displays. In one corner the Fairground slide and roundabout keep children amused.

PicMonkey RSPCA Dog Show
RSPCA Gala Day Dog Show

Dogs of all shapes, sizes and colours come with their owners to enjoy the day.   The Fun Dog Show this year was sponsored by Personnel Selection, who have offices in Surrey, Sussex and Hants.  A pretty husky/pom cross puppy was awarded a best puppy red rosette at the Dog Show.  Not all dog visitors are rescues, but the wagging tails and smiling doggie faces of some showed their delight at reuniting with dog walkers and carers met during their sojourn at the Millbrook Animal Centre.PicMonkey Collage RSPCA Gala Day 2015

Straw bales positioned around the main arena add atmosphere to events. The Dog Agility Display demonstrated the close understanding required between dog and owner.  The skilful demonstration encouraged other owners afterwards to ‘have a go’ in the Fun Dog Agility area nearby.

Fun Dog Agility Arena
Fun Dog Agility Arena
Keen to try Fun Agility Course
I want to try this Fun Agility course

Richard Curtis demonstrated how to teach Heelwork to Music with his talented harlequin dog, and children were invited into the arena at the conclusion of the Mighty Smith Show, to participate in a tug o war.

Richard Curtis with Heelwork to Music
Richard Curtis with Heelwork to Music

The sound of bells and flicking white scarves of the traditionally dressed group of Morris Dancers was entertaining.  Events repeated through the day.  The Shire Horse unfortunately was lame that morning but hopefully will soon be better.

PicMonkey RSPCA Spectators and Morris Dancers

We lunched at our favourite Burger Tent with a welcome  cup of tea from the refreshment hut.  Veggie burgers, hot dogs with a glass or two from the Beer Tent are excellent alternatives.

Away from the Main Arena, small animals and donkeys were on show in the stable block where equine information and lots of tack plus horse rugs were for sale. The Cattery and Kennels give an insight into the work carried out at Millbrook on a daily basis. Dogs and cats arrive in different degrees of distress, for a variety of reasons, and some backgrounds are heart-rending.

RSPCA Cattery
RSPCA Cattery
RSPCA Millbrook Rescue Cat
RSPCA Millbrook Rescue Cat

The Tillingbourne Accordion Band’s unique sound drew us in, to stand and listen to their repertoire, that sent me day-dreaming down memory lane.  I first heard an accordion played outside a cinema queue in Leicester Square: the busker had a string attached to the heel of his shoe that beat a drum on his back.  Very clever, I thought.  A few years later, a smartly dressed accordionist was part of a group entertaining diners in the restaurant up the Eiffel Tower during my first trip to Paris.  Now I associate the accordion with musicians in black berets, singing in French to celebrate Nouveau Beaujolais day.

TheTillingbourne Accordian Band
The Tillingbourne Accordian Band
The Tillingbourne Accordian Band
The Tillingbourne Accordian Band

Following this enjoyable interlude we continued towards the Vintage Car Display, where colourful models shone in the afternoon sun and proud owners ate picnics close by.

PicMonkey vintage cars and pony area

It costs over £500,000 each year to run Millbrook, where new homes are found for hundreds of dogs and cats, horses and ponies and small animals:  guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats chinchillas, degus, budgerigars, cockatiel and parakeets. Each year the money raised by Gala Day helps fund specific projects.   In previous years this has included reforming the pond, constructing new animal blocks, and providing a new enclosed riding school area. Donations are still being received but so far Millbrook Gala Day this year has raised almost £19,000.  A great achievement.  Well Done Sue and all the workers, sponsors, volunteers and Gala Day participants.

xMG_2522 Sue with Dougal
Sue, Manager of Millbrook Animal Rescue Centre, with Rescue Dog, Dougal

If you are interested to learn more about homing or training an animal, working or volunteering, please contact RSPCA Millbrook direct.

http://www.rspca-millbrook.org.uk

Please note the first Sunday in September in your calendar. It really is a great day out for children, dogs and animal lovers.

Puppies and dogs adopted from Millbrook have access to their resident dog behaviourist, June Williams M.A. (Hons) Ed.D, C.A.B.T. June supports new owners during their first three months, with free advice.

Puppy and Dog Training Classes:
Sarah Whitehead’s Clever Dog Company    http://www.cleverdogcompany.com
Sarah is a Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers whose code of practice states that members use only reward-based training methods.

If you like this blog, please share with your friends and click the ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ Buttons to receive an email when future blogs are published.  Many thanks, Diane.