W/C 24th February 2020

Monday 24th February

Today marks the first day of Jay’s holiday from work, he has the next 7 days off. For his first day off however he had to make himself scarce as I was holding my second meeting of The Stitchin’ Bitches, the craft group I founded. Dembe was beside himself, he simply adores all the attention he was getting from all the ladies.

One of my friends had made scones and brought clotted cream and jam. Dembe was being given bits of everyone’s scones on the sly. It is a wonder he could move after.

It was really sweet how he focused his attention onto Imogen, who had lost her own dog Bors, just a month earlier. I remember how Bors had comforted Jay and I after losing our dogs last year. It was beautiful to see Dembe giving all that love to Imogen.

For some reason when it is just Jay and I in the house Dembe has decided to be very naughty and just bark all the bloody time. It is driving us crazy.

Tuesday 25th February

Dembe was knackered after yesterday and was quite happy to snooze all day long. Jay and I needed to make a start on decorating his bedroom after planning that this would be our job during his holiday. Dembe however was not impressed that he wasn’t allowed to be in the same room as us 100% of the time whilst furniture etc was moved.

He is really barky again today and has now started howling when Jay leaves the house . He gets very upset when Jay ( not in uniform leaves him at home). When Jay is in and out of the house wearing his work uniform he is fine but oh my days it is the end of the world when his dad goes out to the shops and we are left. He really does love his whole pack being together silly monkey.

Today I cooked Dembe Mackerel and potato bake from the Lilys Kitchen cookbook. It was supposed to be sardines but I didnt have any tins of those. Bloody hell it stank the house out but he seemed to enjoy it!

Tonight we had dog training, on the whole it was a very good session but Dembe is still being a bugger with his barking. Martin gave us another technique to try with him when he starts barking. We are to ignore him and start talking to each other. If he continues to bark we are to leave the room. It worked at training with just the talking. The minute he realised we weren’t taking any notice he gave up – after about three barks. I will be very interested to see if this will work at home as the barking is becoming a real problem as it is all the time.

There were a few people absent from the training session this week so there were only 3 dogs which was nice as it meant each person had a larger area to work in. Tonight we were working on recall past temptations. Both boy dogs ( Dems included) were heavily distracted by a scent on the floor of the barn tonight. I have a sneaky suspicion that a female dog in another class maybe coming into season – could be a few weeks off yet but Frankie could always pick up on Willows seasons at least 5 weeks before they started. As a result Dembe disgraced himself by having a wee on the floor, it was a scent rather than a full bladder empty thank goodness but still embarrassing.

Dembe did really well on the recall past distractions and Martin pulled Jay aside during the session to tell him what an excellent trainer he was becoming and that it has been a joy watching not only the bond between him and Dembe grow but also Jays confidence as a trainer. Jay of course will never believe that for a second. But it is nice to have it confirmed by Martin.

Wednesday 26th February

Dembe was knackered after yesterdays training session. This week so far Dembe has been really good at not getting us up at the crack of dawn and waiting until 6.40am – which is a lie on these days!

He has been much better behaved today whilst we are continuing sorting out his daddys bedroom. Much less barking and he took himself off to my room and went to sleep.

For the first time in around 17 years we have managed to paint and not get anything on a dog! We are all knackered.

Dembe is really enjoying his home cooked meals again now we have added in another 3 dishes to his menu. He was getting fed up when we were down to just two different flavours.

Thursday 27th February

Dembe really hasn’t been happy about his dad going out and leaving both me and him at home. Weirdly when Jay is in his work uniform Dembe doesn’t react but in his civvies it is the end of the world for Dembe.

Another day of decorating, Dembe has been very good and has been obeying the leave and stay commands. Today whilst we were working he could lie on Jays bed and watch us. We removed the carpet, vinly and underlay from Jays room today. Dembe found that very strange indeed and had to sniff every inch of the exposed floorboards.

It has been quite sad for us in some ways decorating the bedroom. This was the room where Frankie and Willow were born, along with the rest of the first litter and the second litter. The Vinyl was laid for the puppies and the whelping box to make it easier for us to clean up after them. Jay gets very attached to these things and it has hurt his heart this week and made him very quiet. On a number of occasions I have had to explain to him that memories are held in our hearts and minds not objects. The house can’t be a shrine forever and it is time no matter how hard to move on now that we have had Dembe for over a year. It isn’t fair on him to live in the other dogs shadows.

Friday 28th February

More decorating!

Dembe spent the time laying in the hallway with his toes just inside the bedroom – the room he wasn’t allowed to come into! If he wasn’t there he was on my bed sleeping. He reminds me so much of our first dog Travis who was so good with things like that and was more than happy to spend the time sleeping on our bed.

He has been beautifully behaved for such a young pup ( he is 15 months) . He can be trusted not to be getting himself into trouble, even when it goes silent. The only other dog that we could trust like that was Travis. Mollie, Frankie and Willow were all destroyers. Silence meant sofas, kitchen units or Xbox ones were being destroyed.

I think all this rain is getting to Dembe now, after every walk he needs to be hosed off. He is now running onto the gravel and has to be coaxed back so he can be washed off. Yet if it was a muddy pool on the common he would be straight in there.

Saturday 29th February

Its a leap year and to celebrate Dembe woke us up by vomiting bile all over the hall carpet, my carpet and the stair carpet at 4.30am! Deep bloody joy! No idea what the issue is but he was given a zantac and that sorted out his tummy and he has kept everything down ever since. Although he was very suspicious of the cheese triangle that the zantac was hidden in so I fed it to him in small pieces.

At around 10am I noticed that Dembe had the tiniest little fleck of paint on his tail. So we haven’t got away with no paint on him but it is the smallest amount ever!

At around 10.30am the people arrived to collect Jays treadmill that we had sold to them. Another memory leaving the house this week. When Frankie was a pup I had him trained to use the treadmill on the command of jog jog. Again this has hit Jay hard and made him very sad. To be honest I will be the same when my room is done. There is a huge patch of stained carpet at the end of my bed. This was where Travis our first dog was really poorly when he was dying. I have never been able to replace the carpet despite the massive stain on it. Silly what things we hang onto and the importance they can hold.

We are having a day off from the decorating today. Dembe is making the most of it by snuggling up to each of us in turn. He was a right flirt when the young lads were here to collect the treadmill. One of the youngsters was very enamoured with him. Dembe was going a bit crazy jumping between the sofas and having a cuddle. At least now there will be load of room on Jays floor for Dembe’s wicker basket.

We are all feeling a little knackered from our 4.30am puking dog alarm call this morning.

Meet Dembe

Love at first sight

We met Dembe on January 7th 2019. We had two puppies to choose from. Jamie my husband had literally fallen apart in front of me when his dog Mollie had passed away just two days prior to our visit. It had been particularly horrific and I think it will haunt us for years to come.

I felt that as I had chosen our first dog Travis back in 2003, well actually he chose me, it was Jays turn to choose our new dog. The breeder handed Jay one of the pups ( now Dembe ) whilst I played with the other pup whilst sat on the floor. Every so often I would take a sneaky glance at Jay and I could see that he and Dembe had chosen each other. My opinion didn’t matter as long as Jay was happy.

I hoped that this little ball of fluff and sharp teeth would help my husband and me heal. Our hearts had been shattered in the space of two weeks. The house was empty and we were so lost. It seemed that having to wait until Friday 11th January would take forever to arrive, even though it was just days away.