Guest Post from Keith the Lurcher

Keith in bed (4)Hi, I’m Keith! I’m a four-year-old Lurcher and I’m staying with Annabelle while Greyhound Rescue Wales sorts me out a forever home. Annabelle has asked me to tell you a bit about myself, so here goes…

I’m a mixture of Greyhound and Staffy with a dash of Collie, which makes me very handsome and intelligent. You might not be able to see from the photos, but my eyes are a mixture of brown and blue – Annabelle says they remind her of marbles or rock pools.

I love to be with people and I’m very well behaved in the house as long as I’ve got company. Once I’ve been for a walk I’m happy to sleep in my bed or next to you on the couch. I’m learning to sit or go to my bed when I’m told, and I know I must ask to go out if I need the toilet.

Keith on couch

I like my foster home, but I’ve got to be honest – Annabelle does have a couple of issues. For a start, she hasn’t got a dog, and I do like to live with other dogs. I lived with a Chihuahua for a while, and we were great friends. I like children too, and Annabelle doesn’t have any.

Then there’s her attitude to this nasty bug that’s going round. I’m not sure she’s taking it seriously, so I’ve been trying to help her with self isolation and social distancing. If she’s out of the house without me for more than twenty minutes, I’ve been leaving her a pee-mail in the kitchen to let her know she’s late. And when we go out together, I’ve been barking at other dogs to make sure they stay two metres away from us.

Annabelle has assured me the bug doesn’t affect dogs. She also says it’s not up to me to keep her safe, it’s up to her to keep me safe, and my only job is to enjoy life. I’m still trying to get my head around this, but we’re working on it.

The other day we went for a walk with two lovely dogs called Snip and Frieda. I barked at them at first, but we soon made friends and all I wanted to do was play with them. We went on the beach and Annabelle let me off the lead for the first time. I had great fun running with Snip the Lurcher and chasing Frieda the Greyhound, who is gorgeous. They told me off if I got too bouncy or sniffed Frieda’s bum, and I backed off straight away. I’m not looking for a fight!

Snip and Frieda at Earlswood (4)

My new mates!

I’m really grateful to Greyhound Rescue Wales for finding me this foster home and sorting me out a forever home, but they couldn’t do it without the help of kind humans. If you’d like to support them, you can find out here.

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Life without the Storyhounds

When you’ve had dogs for a long time, it’s hard to accept their absence. As well as missing their individual personalities, you miss that canine presence in the home. There’s something magical about the presence of a dog. Mine used to sleep a lot, and I used to imagine they were visiting the astral plane hunting down ideas for my stories.

I also have the more practical problem of what to do with my blog now my Storyhounds have crossed the Bridge, as they used to ‘write’ most of my posts. That’s the trouble with a dog blog – what do you do when the dogs have gone?

This blog may have to evolve, but it’s not going away, so please stick with it if you can! I’d welcome your suggestions – what sort of posts would you like to see here?

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Tribute to Pearl

Pearl first came to me as a short-term foster from Greyhound Rescue Wales in March 2010. An ex-racing Greyhound, she’d originally been in the care of the RSPCA in Lincolnshire. At just over  a year old, she was young for her racing career to have ended. Her ears were highly sensitive, and it’s my guess she was too unnerved by the noise at the track to be any good as a racer.

When she first arrived she was terrified to go outside, spending most of her time hiding in the back room, snapping and snarling whenever the lead was produced. I don’t mind admitting she scared me at times! However, the gentle expression in her eyes belied the outbursts of fear-aggression, and I knew she had the potential to be a sweet-natured girl.

Over the next few weeks, with the help of many treats and my Lurcher Millie, I coaxed her to come out for walks until she was used to it.

That was when GRW tried to home her. I really hoped it would work out, as I wasn’t sure I could take on such a reactive dog long term. But three weeks later she was back. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I’m guessing she freaked out when she found herself in a strange new area and turned back into the Great White Monster when it was time for “walkies”. So the kind people at GRW decided she could stay here for good if I was willing to take her on as a lifetime foster.

I decided then I would commit to giving Pearl a safe and loving home with me and Millie, and she became a Greyhound Rescue sponsor dog, helping to raise money for the charity. I’ve never regretted my decision. During the time she spent with me she changed from a traumatised and desperately defensive dog to a loving and affectionate companion who loved life and jumped for joy at the sight of the lead. I hardly had to do anything; once she knew she was safe, she blossomed of her own accord.

Now she’s gone I can’t believe I was ever unsure about taking her on. She was a very special girl and I would do anything to have her back, healthy and happy.

Photos: header, top and bottom Debra Allen


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Sad News About Pearl

I’m so sorry to have to tell you that Pearl crossed the Bridge on Saturday.

She took a turn for the worse last week as more of her joints flared up. The vets diagnosed polyarthritis and prescribed steroids, but her body couldn’t cope with them. She became very ill and went into collapse. Since she was unable to take the medication needed to keep her out of severe pain, the kindest thing to do was put her to sleep.

She is very much missed by all of us who loved her.

Pearl in bluebells

PEARL 2009-2020


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Read Your Dog a Story! #WorldReadAloudDay

Hi, Pearl here! I’ve been unwell for the last couple of weeks, with some sort of acute arthritis which made my front feet swell up. It was really painful for a while, and I’ve had to take nasty medicine. The upside of this is I get chicken and turkey and ham to disguise the taste. It’s wonderful to have turkey back in my life after being deprived of it since Christmas.

The downside – apart from the pain – is not being able to go for walks. I’ve been very bored, and Annabelle has been reading me her work in progress to keep me entertained. This is good for her as well as me, because reading aloud helps her spot mistakes in her stories – and if she misses one, I can put her right.


We dogs love to be read to. Some schools have schemes where kids can improve their reading skills by reading to a visiting dog. I would love to do that, but unfortunately I’m scared of children. I don’t mind if one or two come up and stroke me, as long as they’re quiet and gentle; but a whole class of them would terrify me.

Today is World Read Aloud Day, so why not try reading to your dog?  I know not all dogs are literate like me, but we all love the sound of our humans’ voices!

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Signs of the times — canine edition

Hi, Pearl here! We Greyhounds don’t often laugh, but this post from Bluebird of Bitterness did make me smile!

bluebird of bitterness

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The Party’s Over – Now for Cold Turkey!

New Year’s Eve – the end of the party

Hi, Pearl here! I thought I’d get a little post in before the dreaded Gutenberg strikes. I’m not exactly sure what Gutenberg is, but Annabelle talks about it like it’s some kind of demon that’s about to descend on Blogland, making it impossible to post anything.

I’ve got to say I’m not  impressed with 2020 so far. Annabelle says I’ve got to do something called ‘cold turkey’. I thought I’d done that already – I’ve had chicken or turkey with my dinner every day for the past couple of weeks – but apparently cold turkey means giving up turkey. She says it’s my New Year’s resolution and I have to stick to it. I think it’s a damn cheek that she’s making New Year’s resolutions on my behalf, particularly as she hasn’t made any herself, but that’s humans for you – one rule for them and another for us.

The worst of it is that human rules don’t work. That’s why the world is in such a mess, and I can’t see it changing just because it’s a new year. Of course, if we dogs were allowed to run things, it would be a different story. We have a strong sense of justice and fair play, and if someone is being greedy and taking more than their fair share, we sort it out in the most straightforward way. I truly believe that dogs can save the world!

This wonderful video demonstrates what I’m talking about.

The answer is simple – if you want real change in 2020, put dogs in charge!

Happy New Year, everyone!


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Christmas Greetings and a #FreeBook

Hi, Pearl here!

All I want for Christmas is to be able to get up the stairs when we go to visit our extended pack – my knees are getting stiff, and stairs are starting to look scary. Annabelle’s family lives upstairs, so if I can’t get up the stairs we’ll have to come straight back home. Wish me luck!

In return I wish you lots of turkey. And sausages. And those lovely crispy little bits of bacon that go around the sausages. And treats. And chews.

And when you can’t move after all that food, and you’re bored with Christmas TV, and you’ve broken all your toys, why not check out one of Annabelle’s books? Gateway to Magic is FREE from Christmas Day through January 1!

Here’s what one happy reader had to say:

Gateway to Magic by Annabelle Franklin was a cute, quick read with some valuable lessons within. I shared this book with my little ones, who absolutely loved it. From their point of view it was ‘awesome’. The author did a wonderful job of painting the scenes, making things very easy to visualise, most especially the Forest of Pointy Fingers! I love it when authors bring a story to life by word-painting, and Franklin doesn’t disappoint! Franklin’s Gateway to Magic is perfectly tailored to its target audience, as my brood can well attest. They all loved it, and we’ll be reading it again for sure!” – J. Aislynn d’Merrickson for Readers’ Favorite

Have a magical Christmas, and I’ll see you in the New Year!

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Smorgasbord At Christmas – Festive Short Stories – A Spoilt Princess and an Unprincipled Frog by Annabelle Franklin

Many thanks to Sally Cronin for featuring my tongue-in-cheek tale on her festive short story spot. I usually write for kids, but this one’s for the grownups!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Children’s author Annabelle Franklin with a modern twist on an old fairy story and a cautionary tale..

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess called Clelia. She lived in a magnificent palace with her mother the King and her father the Queen. (No, readers, that’s not a misprint – her mother wore the trousers, and her father was a Queen in every sense of the word.) They ruled over the prosperous kingdom of Chelsitania, where everyone was posh.

The King and Queen had one great sorrow: they couldn’t find a suitable husband for their daughter. Clelia had been spoiled rotten and was such a brat that no self-respecting prince wanted a bar of her.

On her sixteenth birthday and with Christmas approaching, her parents gave her a golden ball. ‘This is a rubbish present,’ she said sulkily. ‘I wanted a German sports car.’ And she flounced out into…

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The Nerd Gene

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I envy writers who have the nerd gene. Nerdism is not a bad thing. Nerds are generally very patient and don’t lose their temper – essential qualities for online marketing. Nerds are capable of producing swanky websites with book trailer videos worthy of Spielberg, because they don’t lose their rag when the tech is uncooperative. As it so often is.

I have difficulties with online marketing because I suffer from techno rage. For me, working on a computer is often like working with a particularly annoying colleague – the sort of negative person who is always presenting problems instead of solutions. The sort of person who says things like ‘I can’t do that’ and ‘you’ll have to try something else’, and when you ask for suggestions they say, ‘I don’t know, you’re meant to be in charge here, you figure it out!’ The sort of person you feel like slapping, hard. I reckon computers should come with a dummy head attached to the top, so you’ve got something to punch when it displays those stupid messages saying something’s wrong without telling you how to fix it.

Upgrades are particularly annoying. Every time I get an upgrade, my computer refuses to do things it did perfectly well before, and I have to learn a more complicated way of doing them. It’s like having an old but good worker replaced by some whizz kid fresh out of college with all the gear and no idea.

And now we’re faced with Gutenberg, the “wonderful” new WordPress editor which we will all be forced to use from New Year’s Day onwards. In anticipation of this, I’ve been trying to learn the damn thing and have nearly had a nuclear meltdown in the process. It’s taken me two hours just to work out how to create a free test blog so I can experiment without messing up my current one. I don’t hold out much hope for success in navigating the rest of this unwelcome learning curve. I can see me being unable to write posts at all after midnight on December 31.

For this reason, I would like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year now. In case you don’t see me again.

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