Educating Lyra

Lyra had her first birthday last month. She has also had her first season, and killed her first rabbit. She’s well into adolescence, and like most teens she sleeps all morning and wants to stay out all night.

It’s great that she’s quiet in the morning because that’s when I do most of my writing, but bedtime can be trying. She likes to spend the long summer evenings in the garden partying with the fairies, and I have my work cut out getting her to come in and settle down. When she does come in she’s completely manic, jumping on my bed (where she’s not allowed) and dragging her own bedding around the house in protest.

In order to channel this delinquent energy into more wholesome activities, I’ve enrolled her in Greyhound Rescue Wales Therapy Hounds. She’s not actually a GRW dog, but the project welcomes any breed as long as they pass the assessment.

To my amazement Lyra did pass, and she and the other dogs have been visiting local colleges helping stressed students chill out.

Lyra at Gower College

Greyhounds are the best for promoting relaxation, as they’re happy to lie around generating good vibes while people make a fuss of them.

Chilled out grey at Swansea Uni

Chilled out grey at Gower College

At first I was afraid Lyra wouldn’t measure up to greyhound standards, as she just wanted to chase her whippet mates and jump on the furniture…

…but she did make people laugh, and eventually she settled down and allowed herself to be stroked.

The Therapy Hounds will be visiting care homes next. Not sure how well Lyra will go down at a care home – she certainly won’t be allowed to show off her flying whippet skills there. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Fingers crossed!


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Happy Beltane!

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Lyra Goes to School

Lyra is almost a year old now, and much calmer than when she first came. Her couch potato training is going well and she sleeps most of the morning, allowing me to get on with my WIP. Soon she’ll be a fully-fledged Storyhound, travelling to the astral planes to hunt down ideas for my books.

Teaching her to be a good Storyhound is up to me, of course; but she also needs to learn basic obedience, so I’ve been taking her to a local dog training group. She’s improving gradually, but still a long way from top of the class.

It’s interesting to observe the different characters in the group. Lyra has two special friends, Jimmy and Lottie. They are both much bigger than her, but about the same age, and their size doesn’t faze her at all. When they all get together they just want to play, and their play is boisterous and noisy. They’re like the kids at the back of the class, disrupting everything. A bit like I used to be in school, in fact! It’s often said that dogs resemble their owners, and Lyra is a lot like I was as a child.

There’s a collie in the class who is obedient and highly intelligent, and gets everything right. If he was a kid, he would be top of the class and a prefect. He can’t be bothered with the other dogs, and occasionally growls at the naughty ones. Lyra takes great pleasure in giving him cheek.

There are no other sighthounds in the group, which is a pity because sighthounds really enjoy each other’s company. They tend to play rough, with a lot of growling and nipping, so it’s good if they can play with their own kind. Owners of other breeds tend to get upset if an excitable pointy dog comes barrelling up to their precious pooch and tries to play the Bitey-Face game.

Lyra loves it when she can get together with other whippets, even if the play is rough. When I first took Lyra to play with a friend’s whippets, they all ganged up on her, like children with a new kid on the block; but Lyra held her own, and before long they’d accepted her into the pack.

I’m glad Lyra is so sociable. Whippets can sometimes be nervous, and this can cause problems with other dogs; but Lyra just wants to be friends and play with everyone. All in all, she’s coming along well, and I feel really lucky to have her.

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Preserving my Sanity

The late Pearly Greyhound in her safe space

For the sake of my sanity, I’ve stopped reading, watching or listening to the News.

The situation in Ukraine is undeniably a tragedy, and the threat to the rest of the world shouldn’t be underestimated. I’m glad NATO is taking it seriously, because that  means they will (hopefully) resist doing anything that might trigger Putin’s button-pushing finger. But headlines with emotive words like ‘chilling warning’ and ‘deadly nuclear attacks’ are just ramping up the fear to an unnecessary level, which is no good for anyone.

Last week I kept raking the media for some good news, but the headlines were getting worse every day and I ended up being unable to sleep. Then, half-buried in a piece in the Evening Standard, I found a line that gave me a ray of hope. It said the risk of a nuclear attack is small – one in eighty, according to an existential risk expert. Reading this gave me some breathing space, some relief from the feeling of imminent doom.

Obviously, no risk would be better. Nuclear war is still a possibility. But the future contains many other possibilities, and I would rather focus on a more positive outcome. I might be burying my head in the sand, and Putin might blow my ass off while it’s in there; but I’d rather have my head in the sand than have it drive me crazy with mental horror movies while I’m trying to get to sleep at night.

One in eighty. For now, that’s going to be my mantra.


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Lyra’s first post

Hello. My name is Lyra and I am 9 months old. This is my first blog post.

A lot of exciting things have happened this month. My friend Keith came for a sleepover…

…and I went to a party.

At the party, I played with some other whippets.

I played with some toys.

I met a puppy…

…and I met the Prime Minister.

I was tired when I got home, but my human was happy.

My human says a tired dog is a good dog.



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Wordless Wednesday: Winter Sunset Walkies

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Lyra’s Lessons

As some of you may know, my previous hounds have been avid readers, and they all loved a good story. When they appeared to be asleep with their paws twitching, their astral bodies would be racing through Storyland, hunting down good ideas for my books.

I’m hoping to teach little Lyra to follow in their footsteps, but as yet she’s only got as far as trying to eat the dictionary.

This is not the way to learn the wonder of words!

Still, she’s young yet – baby steps, and all that.


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Solstice Greetings

Warm whippet winter wishes from Lyra!


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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Potluck – #Dogs – The Frustrated Hunter by Annabelle Franklin

Keith has gone to a loving forever home now, but I have many happy memories of fostering him. Here’s one, kindly reblogged by Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord Invitation. Thank you, Sally! xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1100 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’

In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2021 and on occasion I might dip into months either side to share gems. Submissions are now closed but there will be another series in January 2022.

This is the first post from children’s author Annabelle Franklin and shares her love of dogs…and her guest is Keith..

The Frustrated Hunter

Hi, Keith here! Annabelle has been telling me about Millie and Pearl, the two dogs who used to…

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Terminal Boredom #shortstory #amwriting #writingcommunity

I was very scared when I died, because I’d done terrible things in my life. I always thought I’d have time to make up for them, but in the end it wasn’t to be. I kept putting off atonement until it was too late.

The accident was fatal for all concerned; I’d been driving drunk and hit a vehicle containing a family with small children. I knew I was going to Hell, and I wondered what it would be like. I’d heard the stories about fiery flames and demons with pitchforks, but I had a feeling it would be worse than anything I could imagine. The fear was intense.

When the confusion cleared, I found myself sitting in a small room. The walls were stark white brick and the floor was covered with brown lino tiles. The only furniture was the plastic chair I was sitting in, and a small table.

There were no fiery flames or imps with pitchforks. The scariest thing about the room was the total absence of a way out. No windows, no door. Just four walls and a ceiling with a single naked light bulb. The silence was absolute.

I immediately understood the nature of the punishment. I was to sit in this depressing little room for eternity, with no company except my own disordered psyche and no entertainment except the memories of my recent sociopathic existence.

Then I spotted something I hadn’t noticed at first. A phone, lying on the table.

I picked it up, not expecting it to work, but it lit up as soon as I touched it. The screen displayed a message:

‘If you wish to leave this room, we must be satisfied you are willing to atone for your sins. You will need to answer a series of questions so we can assess whether your case is genuine. Swipe right to be connected to an operator, or left to disconnect the call. If you choose to disconnect, you will not have another chance for your case to be reviewed.’

Obviously, I swiped right. A recorded message said, ‘We are sorry, but all our lines are busy. Your call will be answered when an operator becomes available.’

This was followed by a repetitive jangling tune.

Then the recorded message again.

Then the music again.

Then the message.

Then the music.

And on… and on… and on.

It’s still going on now. I suspect it will go on forever. But I can’t bring myself to disconnect the call. If I’m still connected, there’s a sliver of hope that I might get to speak to another human being. If I cut off the call, there’s no hope at all.

That fatal sliver of hope.

I wonder how long before it drives me insane?

©2021 Annabelle Franklin

Image by Darkmoon_Art on Pixabay

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