Month: May 2017

Read on if you like puppies – Herts Pet Photography

It’s 3:30 in the morning and my phone is vibrating on the bedside cabinet so I answer it…..”it’s time, can you help?” says the voice on the other end. Across the road from me Skye, my friend Dawn’s Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie), is giving birth to her second litter. Shortly before Christmas, back in 2015, Skye had her first litter. It was also a first for Dawn and me and we ended up at the vets after the first pup due to a rather large second pup getting a little stuck. Thankfully it was a successful birth and Skye had 5 healthy puppies.

Syke's 1st litter the day before they left for their new homes

This time we hoped to do it on our own, having had previous experience we knew what to expect. I arrive at Dawn’s in the pitch black, wearing the first thing I could grab, and sporting major bed hair!! I get upstairs to the bedroom to find Skye, panting like mad, in the full throes of labour and Dawn sitting there with first puppy in hand. He was the most gorgeous little furry tri colour sausage, the first of what became 7 puppies. Five tri colours (black, tan and white), and two blue merles (black, blue, tan and white). In order of appearance we have Socks, Jasmine, Blossom, Bluebell, Mouse, AJ and Thor. AJ and Bluebell are the two blue merles. All in all the labour took a little over 6 hours and I staggered home a little punch-drunk for some much needed caffeine and a doze.

Sadly AJ was weak and the next day at the vet he had to be euthanised due to irreversible complications. I was heartbroken; having invested so much time, effort, and emotion into saving his life it was heart wrenching to know that there was nothing else that could be done. I held him in my hands and gave him lots of love and kisses as the vet helped him pass over rainbow bridge.

That was nearly 4 weeks ago and the other 6 puppies continued to thrive. The beginning of the week saw them opening their eyes and poor Skye is now battling erupting puppy teeth at feeding time. I’m not surprised she’s becoming a little reluctant!

Having just learnt about solid food, and with dubious balance, feeding time is becoming quite a messy affair. Why eat the food when you can walk in it as well, and how rude when you’re happily eating and your sister comes along and stands in your lunch!

Blossom has been a little slower than the others in discovering solid food and has been having some special one-on-one mummy time to help top her up. Skye is such a natural mum and really dotes on her babies.

Peace reigns after feeding time. With full bellies the inevitable post lunch doze means the pups find a brother or sister to snuggle up with.

The best thing about this age is they have become active, if not a little uncoordinated!! Toys start moving around their pen as they start to play. They stand, sway, eye up the toy and make a frantic dash towards it only to collapse in a heap, a few steps from their target. Oh well it doesn’t matter …“I’ll just wave my paw at it and give it a good bark at instead”.

As Shelties are long coated their fur at this age is so fluffy it’s like cuddling a real life teddy bear! I just love puppy cuddles and did I mention puppy breath!! Is it me or is puppy breath just one of THE best smells – breathe on me puppy! 😉

As they are growing their bids for freedom are getting closer and closer to success. It won’t be long before they are able to escape the puppy pen and wander about independently - I think some reinforcements may be necessary in the not too distant future.

I can’t believe we are half way through their time with us. In another 4 weeks they will be going to their new homes, off to pastures new to find interesting skirting boards and shoes to taste 😉 In the meantime I’ll just have to enjoy the puppy cuddles and make the most of that wonderful puppy breath!!

Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised

The Valley of the Rocks – where the rugged coast meets cricket and goats

Last week once again found me in my spiritual home, Woolacombe, on the North Devon Coast. It’s the second time I’ve been there this year and I already have another trip booked later in the year – I’m moving in by stealth 😉 With its seemingly endless expanse of golden sand it’s never hard to find some space to clear your head or dip your toes in the sea. Woolacombe is always guaranteed to relax and rejuvenate me.

Woolacombe beach deserted with beach huts on left

Every year one of the trips we take when visiting the North Devon Coast is a day trip to Lynton/Lynmouth. We love to visit the putting green and in recent years Layla, my whippet, loves assisting me in trying to win (when she's not rolling around getting in the way!) - although her running off with an opponent’s ball seems to get me marked down…oh well we have fun!

A stroll through Lynmouth shops and galleries is always on the agenda, and this year also included a visit to the newly opened Manor House next to the putting green. A nice cup of tea and a piece fruitcake on the front lawn, in the sunshine whilst listening to the sea, is wonderfully peaceful. Unfortunately our timing was such that we missed their monthly dog show, maybe next time.

Instead of going straight back to Woolacombe we made the most of the beautiful sunny spring day and did a bit of exploring. Having holidayed in Woolacombe every year from when I was a small child I didn’t think there was somewhere new to see, boy was I wrong!! It seems our family mooching and my dad’s taking the scenic route, i.e. getting lost, somehow missed the Valley of the Rocks!

Only 1 mile from Lynton and 500m above sea level, the Valley of the Rocks is a spectacular site and a walkers dream. With stunning, rugged scenery and a choice of different paths to explore it definitely deserves a visit. Whether you feel like a nice easy amble or a more heart raising hike there are routes to suit all. There’s a car park, tea room and the most unusual sight is the Lynton/Lynmouth Cricket field. With it’s crisp clean edges and manicured lawn it sits in stark contrast to the stone walls and rough edges of the craggy scenery, securely fenced to keep out the wildlife.

The most obvious of the wildlife is in the form of feral goats. While I sat and watched, a couple of goats had a bit of a disagreement which was settled amicably in a few short minutes. Thankfully they wandered off seemingly still friends.

Visiting the Valley of the Rocks in May means there are plenty playful kids around to watch frolic and enjoy the spring sunshine. I had a great time sitting on the ground and waiting for the inquisitive little ones to come over and see who the strange person was loitering with a camera in hand.

It was such a giggle when one very curious kid decided the sign for the Lynton/Lynmouth Cricket Club was a great obstacle to use for a cheeky game of hide and seek

And then, loitering by a gate, I found what I can only describe as the happiest little goat I’ve ever seen! I wonder what caused the glint in his eye. The warmth of the sun on his face?, the endless expanse of grass, hills or rocks to clamber and play on? Either way you try and tell me this little goat doesn’t look like he has a smile on his face!

Smiling goat in the sunshine

I could have for walked miles had I not discovered the Valley of the Rocks whilst wearing flip flops, but that does leave Layla and me with somewhere new to investigate on our return to Devon in September.

It’ll be good to go back and see this year’s kids all grown up…. I wonder if my cheeky little friend will still be eating the cricket club sign 😉

For some ideas of where to walk in the Valley of the Rocks visit : South West Coast Path websiteGPS routes website or Walkscene

Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised