My Not So Pedigree Dogs

As a literate Lurcher I’m always on the lookout for new talent, and I love this story by our friend Poppy, a promising writer at age 11. This tale was inspired by her own dogs.

Bella and Blue

My Not So Pedigree Dogs by Poppy Elaine

It was Saturday morning in the village of Sunny Vale. Bethan and Blue were on a walk with their owners when they spotted a group of dogs coming their way.

‘Hello!’ Blue woofed.

‘Hello!’ the dogs woofed back.

‘Who are you?’ asked a male Labradoodle.

‘I’m Blue and this is Bethan.’

‘You fur is nice. What breed are you?’ asked a little Cockapoo.

‘I’m a Bichon Frise crossed with Border Terrier,’ said Bethan, ‘and Blue’s a Bedlington Terrier crossed with Poodle.’

‘Ha ha!’ laughed the dogs. ‘So you’re mongrels,’ snorted the male Labradoodle.

‘Yes,’ said Blue.

‘Mongrels! Dirty mongrels! Our cousins are coming next week, they’re pedigrees. So you had better stay out of their way! They despise mongrels! Ta ta losers! Until next time!’ The dogs barked over their shoulders as they departed.

‘Oh dear!’ fretted Bethan.

‘Oh dear is right!’ fretted Blue.

Three days later Blue and Bethan were sitting in their back garden, still suggesting hopeless and rubbish ideas to each other to stop the dogs laughing at them.

‘I know,’ cried Blue after half an hour thinking, ‘we can disguise ourselves as…’ Blue’s words were drowned out by laughter. A big fluffy something fell into the garden.

‘Cleo Clevercat!’ Blue yelled. ‘What are you doing listening in?’

‘Your ideas are pathetic!’ laughed Cleo. ‘All you have to do is have haircuts – ‘

‘We are not listening to your ideas, ‘ snorted Blue.

‘Oh yes you are!’ hissed Cleo.

‘No we’re not!’ growled Blue.

‘Give her a chance,’ woofed Bethan.

‘Thank you Beth,’ Cleo said. ‘What you need to do is have haircuts and give yourselves designer names.’

‘But how will we think of designer names by the end of the week?’ asked Bethan.

‘Leave that to me,’ meowed Cleo smugly.

Bethan and Blue went to the groomers the next day to have their hair cut.

‘Oh, I don’t like it, make it stop!’ Blue yelped. ‘Oh good, it’s stopped.’ Blue didn’t like having his fur clipped or being bathed.

The next morning, bark mail arrived for Blue and Bethan; it was passed from garden to garden. The message was from Cleo Clevercat. It said: ‘Meet me at 2 o’clock at Oak Square.’

‘It’s not long till 2 o’clock,’ said Bethan. ‘How are we going to get out of the garden?’

‘We’ll have to jump over the wall,’ said Blue. ‘It’s not high.’

At half past one, Bethan and Blue both jumped over the garden wall and ran to Oak Square.

‘I can’t believe we made it in time,’ panted Bethan.

‘Come on, you two,’ said Cleo. ‘I’ve thought up perfect designer names for you.’ And she whispered them to the two dogs.

By the end of the week, Blue and Bethan had memorized their new names. Out on their walk they saw the designer dogs with their cousins coming towards them.

‘Are you the mongrels our cousins told us about?’ asked a Poodle.

‘Mongrels? Us?’ said Bethan. ‘I’m a BichBord and he’s a BedliPoo. Haven’t you heard of us before?’


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The Old and the New

Old Millie

Well, I’ve made it through to the spring, just like Annabelle said I would. But don’t let anyone tell you old age is a golden age . There’s precious little that’s golden about it, as far as I can see.

For a start, I can no longer run the way I used to. We sighthounds love to run, and when I was younger I used to run for the sheer joy of it; now I can only run when I’m scared. I get scared a lot on walks now. When you get to my age, Nature is always on the lookout for an opportunity to send you over the Bridge. I’m not strong enough to survive a snake bite or fight off an attacking dog, so if I see something I don’t like the look of, I take to my heels before it can spot me.

Which brings me to another problem of age: I quite often forget my way home. If I lose Annabelle when I’m running away, I end up losing myself as well, causing much anxiety for both of us. It’s better when we can go for a walk with our friends Snip and Frieda. I feel safer on a walk with Snip; nothing scares him, and I know he’d protect me if anything went wrong.

Snip 011

Snip, my guardian angel

These days I prefer astral travel to long walks; but since I’ve been spending so much time out of my body, it has started acting off its own bat, without my say-so. Things are being done in the house that really should be done outside, if you get my meaning.

On a happier note, the view from the front garden looks much better now than it did last October when the conifers were cut down. Remember this?

Stumps and cables

The nature spirits have been busy behind the scenes, and now it’s bursting with new life.

Millie in spring garden

Also, our friend the ash tree has made it through the winter. We were afraid we were going to lose her to ash dieback last autumn, but she’s fought back – and here she is, resplendent in her spring finery!

New ash leaves 1

I just wish I could be renewed every spring. I was never meant to get old, I was meant to be a puppy forever.

Is it just me, or does everyone feel like that?

Note from Annabelle: You’re lucky you’re a dog, Millie – you may be old, but you still look stunning. When we humans get old, we look like muppets and garden gnomes.




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When One of Your Favourite Fairy Tales is Given a Dark Twist #SundayBlogShare #BookReview #LostBoy

A great review from Lucy of a book I’ve just got to read. The dark side of Peter Pan – how can I resist?


Prior to reading Lost Boy by Christina Henry, I would have turned my nose up at the thought of reading one of my favourite fairy tales, retold with a darker twist.

Favourite fairy tales for me are precious things, which I store in glass cases at the back of my mind. Occasionally I open up their cases and recall sitting by my bedroom window, waiting for fairy tale characters, like Peter Pan, to show up. My heart would be beating with excitement at the thought of being whisked away to his island, free from grown ups and rules, for wonderful adventures. Up until I read this book fairy tales were things which should be preserved.

Before I read this book I had become hooked on reading light-hearted romance stories and had no desires for reading something darker.

So there I was browsing around Waterstones a week ago, reluctant to see…

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The Magic Pool

Left behind

Pearl and I are not happy with Annabelle. On Easter Sunday, she went out with her friends and left us behind. This wouldn’t have been so bad, except her friends had DOGS with them.

Bella and Blue

Blue and Bella

How unfair is that? If Annabelle’s friends could take their dogs, why couldn’t she take us?

They were all going on an exciting adventure, to look for the magical Blue Pool. When I asked why we couldn’t go, Annabelle said they weren’t sure exactly where the Blue Pool was, and the walk might be difficult for my stiff back legs. Cheek! I might be old, but I’m not completely incapable!

Then Pearl piped up. ‘I haven’t got doddery old legs! Why can’t I come?’

‘Because it’s a bank holiday,’ Annabelle said. ‘There’ll be loads of kids around, and some of them might be playing football. You know how you freak out when you hear someone kicking a ball.’

‘I think it’s very selfish of you to go somewhere we can’t come,’ said Pearl.

‘Never mind,’ I said, after they’d gone. ‘We can follow them in our astral bodies and see this Blue Pool for ourselves.’

So that’s what we did. We closed our eyes, left our bodies and followed them.

I have to admit, it was a long way to the Blue Pool. First they had to drive to Broughton Bay and park in a car park next to a caravan site – where, sure enough, some kids were playing with a football. Pearl nearly turned tail and flew back home at that point, but I managed to persuade her to follow the humans down to the beach.

The beach itself was pretty quiet, and very, very BIG. The humans wandered around for ages looking for this magic pool, which was well hidden. If I’d been in my physical body, I would have found it hard going. But one advantage of astral travel – apart from effortless flight – is the ability to find a place just by thinking about it, and we found that old pool long before they did.

Blue Pool 2

The Blue Pool is an absolutely ma-HOO-sive rock pool concealed near the foot of the cliff. You can’t see it from the beach – you have to know exactly which bit of cliff to head for, and even then you have to climb a little way up before you can find it. The water is so deep that some say it’s bottomless. This isn’t true, of course, but it is deep enough for humans to dive into without hitting their heads on the bottom.

Another great thing about astral travel is, we can see all sorts of bizarre magical beings that humans don’t even know about. Such a creature is the Amazing Paisley Fish that lives at the bottom of the Pool. The Paisley Fish is covered with an intricate fractal pattern in vivid colours that glow like neon, shifting and changing with the subtle movements of the water. Sometimes it splits apart into a myriad of smaller fish, which dart around the Pool like colourful fireflies before coming back together.

It’s a fascinating spectacle, and we could have watched it all day. We had to be careful, though, because this creature isn’t really a fish – it’s a powerful nature spirit, and if you haven’t got your wits about you it’ll suck your soul into the Pool and trap it there. The smaller ‘fish’ are actually trapped souls, trying to escape. Luckily, Pearl and I had enough canine smarts to stay out of reach of its magnetic power.

Ages later, Annabelle and her friends managed to find the Pool. I felt like asking, ‘What kept you?’ but of course there’d have been no point, because they couldn’t see us. Nor could they see the Paisley Fish, which was probably for the best.

On the whole, I reckon we had a more exciting time than they did.

Note from Annabelle: I only left them for an afternoon, but they’ve been guilt-tripping me ever since. Millie has even threatened to go on strike, so God knows when there’ll be another post from her. I’ll have to eat a large slice of humble pie.

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Does This Look Like Spring to You?


The big freeze is over now, but it was fun while it lasted – at least for us dogs. Annabelle did nothing but moan about postponed appointments and cancelled outings. We didn’t even get as much snow as some – just enough for a magical walk in the valley behind Three Cliffs Bay – but the humans were all panicking and cancelling things like it was the end of the world.

A dusting of snow

‘The trouble with postponing things,’ Annabelle said, ‘is that they still have to happen sometime, and you end up with a train wreck of a week with too much going on.’

Pearl was more than happy to miss her dental appointment. That wasn’t down to the weather, it was because the vet’s tooth-cleaning machine had broken. Pearl claims she used her famous greyhound hypno-stare to send the machine a death ray, but I don’t believe that. The greyhound hypno-stare is good for making humans give treats, but no way is it powerful enough to travel to town and kill a machine.

Pearl's hypno-stare

I haven’t got the heart to tell her the machine won’t always be broken. Like Annabelle said, when things are postponed, they still have to happen.

Spring special offer! Annabelle’s books Gateway to Magic FREE and The Slapstyx half-price this week only!

Gateway to Magic blurb 1


Slapstyx Blurb sand


Got a book on Smashwords? Promote it in ReadAnEbookWeek!

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Passing on my skills

I won’t always be around to post here, so I’ve been trying to pass on my skills to Pearl. Not that I claim to be an expert, but people seem to like my blog and it would be a shame for it all to stop after I’ve gone.

Millie teaches blogging skills

Pearl has posted once or twice before, but only to disrespect me and big herself up. That sort of bitchiness will not win followers (at least, it shouldn’t). Readers want interesting topics and useful information. Pearl isn’t stupid, but like most greyhounds she’s basically lazy – she thinks blogging is hard work and one or two posts a year is more than enough. So I’ve been trying to encourage her by setting little exercises.

The first one was a how-to list. ‘People like how-to lists,’ I told her. ‘And they’re easy to do, so it’ll be a good starting point for you.’

‘What shall I make my list about?’ she asked.

‘Anything you like,’ I said.

This is what she came up with.

How to Trash a Chair by Pearl Greyhound

  • Scrape it with your claws until you’ve made a small hole
  • Use your teeth to pull out some stuffing
  • Make the hole bigger
  • Pull out more stuffing
  • Carry on until all the stuffing has gone, or your human notices what’s happening
Pearl destroys chair

Has anyone told her a chair is not a toy?

All I can say is, I hope it’s a long time before I have to hand over the controls of this blog to her.

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The Cheetah and the Dog by Patricia Furstenberg #BabyAnimals #ChildrensBook #FreePuppyDownload @PatFurstenberg

A puppy making friends with a cat? A BIG one, at that? This needs further investigation…



Here is a cheerful picture book with sweet rhymes that celebrates diversity and promotes friendship, sure to resonate with families – particularly non-traditional ones and with the fans of Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”.
When a cheetah cub and a puppy dog bump into each other while chasing the same prey, it is only natural for them to play together until sundown; and the next day; and the following one. The two animals care for each other so much that they even rescue their respective packs, thus becoming an African tale.
Inspired by the true story of Kasi, the orphaned male cheetah, and Mtani, the female Labrador, which struck a remarkable friendship and remained life-long friends, “The Cheetah and the Dog” is a glorious celebration of curiosity, respect for life, and unconventional wisdom, a heart-warming, fun read that belongs on any family’s bedtime shelf.
Similar books: “The Lion…

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When the World Goes Wrong

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while, but I haven’t been well.

Until Annabelle took me to the vet, I thought it was the world that wasn’t well – it kept tilting and whirling so I couldn’t keep my balance – but the vet said I had something called canine vestibular disease. She told Annabelle it’s something that happens to old dogs, and I would feel like I was ‘on a boat’ for a while. I must be a good sailor, because I didn’t throw up – apparently a lot of dogs get sick with this condition. I still wouldn’t want to go on a boat, though, if that’s what it feels like.

Dizzy Millie

Where’s my head at?

I haven’t even been able to sleep properly – it’s hard to sleep when your bed won’t keep still – so my trips to the dream world of Storyland have been interrupted, and I haven’t been able to help Annabelle with her writing.

Pearl is being her usual unhelpful self – she says I’m going ‘ga-ga’. I’m not sure exactly what she means by that, but I don’t think it’s meant as a compliment. She’s in no position to criticise, considering how disgracefully she behaved on our visit to the family at Christmas. As soon as we arrived she stole the remains of a roast chicken from the kitchen bin, and growled rudely when it was taken away from her. She stole food off people’s plates and trashed the furniture, removing the dog-proof covers and burrowing into the cushions. Worst of all, she ran away from us while we were out on a walk and very nearly got herself killed on the main road. She was lucky to escape with a few scratches and scrapes.

Pearl's scrapes (2)

At least she can still go for long walks, which is more than I can do at the moment. The other day she took great pleasure in telling me she’d heard a blackbird when Annabelle took her out. As if!! No blackbird would be singing this early in the year. Would it?

Altogether, it hasn’t been a very happy New Year for us so far. I hope it’s better for all of you!

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It’s Snowing in Fairyland!

The presents are bought, the cards are sent…


…and it’s snowing in Fairyland!



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Stuff Christmas

There are many things about humans that puzzle us dogs, one being the amount of STUFF they seem to need. Parts of Annabelle’s house are stuffed with STUFF, and she never even uses most of it – so why is it there?

Millie, Prl and clutter

A Problem Corner

The situation tends to get worse at this time of year. We know it’s a time to celebrate the start of new life, but does that have to mean buying endless new STUFF? It doesn’t stop with presents – people get Christmas bedding, Christmas tablecloths, Christmas nightwear, Christmas dresses, and deliberately hideous Christmas sweaters. We’ve even come across Christmas toilet seat covers, and special Christmas outfits for dogs –  stuff we wouldn’t be seen dead in if we had any choice in the matter. These things will only be used once a year, and in some cases once in a lifetime. It doesn’t make sense.

I asked Annabelle why she wanted yet more STUFF, and her reply was surprising:

‘I don’t want more stuff!’ she said. ‘I want to get rid of the stuff I’ve got!

‘So you don’t want any presents?’ I said.

‘No! All I want for Christmas is a magic wand to make it all go away!’

She is also stressing about what to buy other people. ‘Why don’t you just give them some of the stuff you don’t want?’ I suggested.

It seemed like the perfect solution, but Annabelle didn’t agree. ‘It doesn’t work like that, Millie,’ she explained. ‘You can’t give people old stuff as presents – it has to be new. If you give people old stuff they think you’re cheap.’

All I can say is, I’m glad I’m a dog and I don’t have to worry about any of this. Give me a plate of turkey and I’m happy.


That Back Room!

Note from Annabelle

I just want to point out I’m not one of those sad people you see on TV who keep buying stuff they don’t need. Half of this stuff isn’t even mine – I just seem to have become a repository for other people’s clutter. It started when I was a teen, and this woman (who shall remain nameless) kept giving me things out of her house. She would say, ‘I found this in a cupboard and thought of you.’ One item was an absolutely heinous red crocheted granny shawl no self-respecting 17-year-old would be seen dead in. I couldn’t understand why it had made her think of me. I’ve only recently worked out that people who do this aren’t being generous or thoughtful – they just want to offload their old crap.

I’d put it all in a skip today, except you’re not supposed to do that. You have to RECYCLE it, which means sorting it all out to go to different places – and who’s got time for that when there are stories to write?

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