I am delighted to be able to report that the UK's largest and best known dog rescue charity, Dogs Trust, have chosen one of my images for their corporate Christmas card this year. The image, as shown below, is of our four rescue dogs, two of whom were adopted from Dogs Trust, enjoying a run in the snow on the Ashdown Forest. The card will be sent out to about 20,000 people. The dogs are VERY excited to be chosen and are practicing their thank you speeches as I type. And, as stars of such a widely distributed card, they feel it's only fitting that I tell you a little bit more about them all which I am of course only too happy to do.
So I'll start with Rocky, the dog on the left as you look at the photo. Rocky is 12 years old and we adopted him from Dogs Trust when he was a four month old puppy. I'm guessing from his pose for the photo that he's actually none too impressed with that cold white stuff, especially as it has - annoyingly - got itself rather embarrassingly stuck to his butt and his nose!
Rocky is very much the typical terrier type, he has attitude, bundles of it! He lets us know in no uncertain terms what he does or doesn't want. He's very clever and as such always absolutely shone at his puppy classes. He now knows lots of little tricks such as how to 'shut the door', 'put the toy in the box' and best of all, how to 'find the hidden toy'. Hide and seek is most definitely his all time favourite game. Despite being 12, whenever we play hide and seek he becomes like a little puppy again, bouncing and barking around the place, sniffing out the hidden treasure with a frantically wagging tail and as soon as he's found it he brings it back to us and wants to play again, unless the hidden treasure is food of course, in which case he eats it quickly then rushes back to us and wants to play again. He's an absolute star - talking of which, he is also the star of one of my best selling greeting cards - The Dog Nose.
Rocky has a non-moulting coat so we take him to the groomers for a professional hair cut once every couple of months. Here's a photo I took of him just after getting back home from the groomers.
Next up is the delightfully cute Ollie, the scruffy little grey fella in the middle of the Christmas card photo. Ollie is six and we adopted him from Hereford and Worcester Animal Rescue when he was 10 weeks old and the tiniest of puppies. This is how he looked when we first brought him home. This image by the way is also available as a greeting card which you can access on the Greeting Card Universe website if you click on the photo.
Ollie, as you can see, really is a super cute little guy. He has the ability of always making people smile. There's just something about him, his looks and his manner that warms the soul and brightens the heart. He's my one dog comedy show.
He is of course also an absolute pickle. For example, he has on occasions sneaked food out of Sally's (top dog) bowl, but it's the way he does it that's so funny. As he's stealing the food he throws frequent glances over his shoulder to make sure Sally's not there, then he fills his mouth up with as much food as possible, saunters nonchalantly away from her bowl, finds a spot that he can claim as his own, spits out the food and then eats it all at his leisure. Only Ollie!
He's the one who'll scratch on the bedroom door in the middle of the night, then, as soon as I get sleepily out of bed to open the door for him presuming he needs to go downstairs and out in the garden, he will, quick as lightening, double back from the door, jump up on the bed, curl up in my nice warm spot and refuse to budge. And of course he knows that he's just so cute that I won't have the heart to move him. The rest of the night I'll spend precariously balanced on the edge of the bed with Ollie snoring contently in my ear.
And he's the one who looks like this when he's running ... go Ollie go ... oh but if only he'd remembered to STOP before he got to me!
The little chap right at the back of the Christmas card photo, that's our Jack. We adopted him from Four Paws Animal Rescue when he was about 18 months, he's now coming up to seven years old. Jack had the horrible misfortune of being born in a puppy farm. I hate puppy farms they are cruel and heartless places. If you don't know about puppy farms, please read the information on the Pup Aid website which highlights their atrocities and the horrific suffering they cause. Jack was bought by a well meaning couple who sadly after a while were no longer able to keep him and reluctantly had to give him up to a rescue.
Jack, bless him, does have his problems, but having been a cowering wreck of a dog when we first adopted him, over the years he has calmed down a lot, learned to trust us and has become the most utterly gorgeous snuggle bug you could ever hope for. And ... he absolutely LOVES his food. He does look very much like a Jack Russell, but he's quite a bit bigger than the average Jack Russell so he is in fact a cross breed just like the rest of our wonderful muttley crew. I sometimes refer to them as 'The Four Muttkateers' ha ha.
He's a very handsome boy and, as you can see from the photo below, he easily raises 'being handsome' to a whole new level ... and yes, this photo also ended up being made into a greeting card.
And last, but by no means least, we have our precious Sally, the tan girl there on the right of the Christmas card photo. She is now nearly 14 years young and she too was adopted from Dogs Trust. She was between two and three years old when she came to live with us.
She is such a darling girl and so very well behaved, just a sheer joy to have around. One of her many talents is how she gets people to stroke her. She has a marvelous way of getting that gorgeous nose of hers under your hand and flicking your hand up a little so that almost without noticing it you'll be sat there stroking her. And should you stop stroking her before she's ready, she'll give you a little tap with her paw to remind you that you're not done yet! And who could resist that? Very clever indeed.
Another of her talents used to be a neat trick which we called the kissy kissy trick, where she would jump up and with extreme precision plant the gentlest of kisses on Mike's (my husband) nose. How awesome is that. At 14 she now no longer does this trick but fortunately, surprise surprise, I have a photo.
And there you have it, our rescue dogs, the stars of the Dogs Trust 2012 corporate Christmas card.
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This is a triptych created from three of the images in my Cutlery Set series.