A Truly Awful Day

In our married lives Chris and I have been so lucky. The number of good days have far outnumbered the bad days. Other than a few dreadful life events such a dad dying suddenly when only 67, mum passing away last Xmas, and Olive’s terrible illness, I think we have been pretty lucky.
However today, very reluctantly we have decided that we can no longer cope with our beautiful black cocker spaniel Madoc. Anyone reading this is likely to know about the difficulties we’ve had with him and his various issues. We’ve had the best of support from our very understanding friends, and professional advice from some of the best behaviourists available, but unfortunately and very reluctantly we’ve decided we’re not really making any progress, but rather we’ve become better at managing him and his difficulties. In particular I’ve almost become afraid to handle him in any way, and we’re both petrified of how he might behave with friends, if he has one of his moments.
In particular while ‘ managing ‘ him our lives have become very much more restricted. We’re afraid to invite people to the house, and are wary of using our caravan down west as we feel we are constantly ‘ on guard ‘ watching and waiting for something to go wrong.
A few things have happened in the past couple of weeks that have made us look again at what’s happening, and what we hope to achieve, and have realised that Madoc doesn’t have a place in our future. He will always have a place in our memory and our hearts, but not alongside us in our lives.
Unfortunately our options are limited. There isn’t a miracle cure! He isn’t re-homable because of his history of biting. He might, and only might, be accepted by a shelter who would keep him for the rest of his natural life in a kennel, but we both feel he would have little or no quality of life in these circumstances.
Unless Emily or Sezan have some other better idea, it looks as though we’re going to have to have our little man put down. Our only consolation is that he’ll have had the couple of years life he could have had, and that we gave it our best go on his behalf. As you might imagine at this particular point in time this little consolation isn’t helping a great deal. Ian

Summer walks on the Pickleridge

Sorry we’ve not updated the blog but we’ve been having too much fun at the caravan since mid July.  We’ve essentially lived there for the summer with just the odd short trip home.  I’m just going to post a longer than usual video that is a compilation of several walks at the Pickleridge near Dale. It’s been our favourite spot for  walking the dogs through the summer as it’s quiet with plenty of space for them to run.   The beaches are far too busy for a relaxing walk at the moment.

Wet Dogs Again!

Well they do love the water!  The trouble with Broadhaven is that every walk involves a  swim for the dogs. We just went down to the beach with a couple of tennis balls this morning, then having got them wet and sandy we went into the woods to rinse them off in the stream. We now have two damp, sleepy dogs snoozing in the sun while they dry off.  I just took a few photos this morning, trying to get Broadhaven in the frame as well as dogs.

Broadhaven I’m setting off with Nefyn to Ilminster later today. We’ll be doing a four day recall workshop together while staying in a Travelodge.  It should be interesting and we’ve been promised its hard work!  Ian and Madoc will be having a few more days in Broadhaven.


We haven’t had much of it since we arrived in Broadhaven but today was glorious!  We took the opportunity to drive across the Haven to Bosherton, about 40 minutes away.  The route takes us over the spectacular Neyland Bridge & past Pembroke Castle to the Stackpole Estate. We’ve mentioned it before. The owners of the estate wanted a water feature so, of course, they flooded the valley below the house.  The house is long gone but  the estate is a wonderful wildlife haven and a great place for a walk.  We took the short route from the Bosherton  end, alongside the southern end of the lake to the beach at Broadhaven South.  The dogs had a wonderful time!  Nefyn had several dips in the lake and then we arrived at the beach where the lake water overflows into a stream. Both dogs enjoyed chasing sticks in the stream and sea before we headed back up the other side of the lake.  Here’s the video.

First Swim Of The Year.

We’ve just started our 25th year of owning a static caravan in Broadhaven. Usually we turn up on the first day of the season, but this year we’re 2 weeks late, as we’ve been getting the house ready for the decorators.

We’d packed up in a hurry 5 months ago when Ivor fell at home, and we rushed off to check him out. Neither of us thought that it’d be 5 months before we next set foot in the van. Fortunately one of the wonderful things about a static caravan is that they are virtually maintenance free, so when we turned up everything was in good order.
The dogs seemed pleased to be here again, even though the weather was pretty awful with regular heavy downpours.
Here they are enjoying a swim in the pond at the Pickleridge.


A Beach and a Band

We had a great day yesterday!  It was St Davids Day, the first day of spring and SUNNY!  We loaded the dogs into the car and headed to Ogmore about 30 minutes away. The spring tide was well out so the beach was huge and as an added bonus there were no sheep in the fields that the coast path runs through. Presumably they were all busy having their lambs back on the farm.  The dogs haven’t been to Ogmore before and were so excited you could see the bounce in their step as well as the wag of the tails as they ran down the slipway onto the beach.

An hour and a half later we had two very tired, wet and sandy dogs back in the car. We hadn’t got down to the sea but walked alongside the rocks and rock pools, with Madoc and Nefyn paddling, chasing balls and playing with other dogs.  Nefyn was fearless when it came to leaping into pools of unknown depth off the rocks.

Here’s a bit of video and slideshow of the stills we took.

We had a quiet afternoon then went to the Globe in Cardiff to see the Blues Band.  I remember the Globe as a cinema when I was at school though never went there. It’s now a live music venue with a bar at the back, standing room only on the floor of the auditorium and a few seats and tables on the balcony. As a cinema it’s tiny but as a music venue it’s brilliant! You’re so close to the music and the band!  The band themselves were great. Wonderful musicians, great voices, funny and very self deprecating. They’re headed up by Paul Jones , former lead singer with Manfred Mann and have been together, playing small venues like this for 35 years. They obviously love what they’re doing and we loved listening to them. My feet were aching by the end though. Next time we’re going early to grab a seat upstairs!



Great News

Yesterday afternoon the behaviourist from Bristol veterinary school came to see Madoc. She brought her research student with her, and we were later joined by 2 members of a TV production team. Apparently Madoc’s case may be suitable for inclusion in a TV documentary on aggressive dogs.
The great news is that the behaviourist believes she can help bring about a dramatic improvement in Madoc’s behaviour. We are both so pleased and relieved, and can’t wait to get started on the treatment programme with Madoc.
Also,in the evening Wales finally got their act together and thrashed France. All in all a fantastic day.


We investigated a new footpath today, alongside the River Clun near Llantrisant. We expected it to be wet and muddy…..and it was!  There were huge puddles in the fields. When the path forced us close to the river we turned back. The dogs were fascinated by it but as it was flowing fast and strong we were afraid they would be swept away.   In a few days we’ll explore the path on the other side. It appears to run higher up the hillside so should be higher and drier

A Quiet Few Weeks

Yes, we have no news!  It has been very quiet if a little dull as we have settled back into routine.  On Mondays and Fridays I take Dad to Bridgend to visit Mum, on Thursdays and alternate Wednesdays we have Emmy for the day.  In between we  dodge the showers to take the dogs out for a walk. The weather has defeated us a few times though we usually get out but we’re limiting ourselves to places with hard paths to avoid the mud.  Madoc has settled down.  He really is a creature of habit!  Unfortunately life changes, all the time, so we need advice on how to help him cope with it.

We’ve had a couple of highlights.  Vicky’s parents, Gloria & Alan, came over for a meal one evening. Ian did a rather hot Jamaican curry but they seemed to cope with it!  We also went out for an Indian meal with cousins, Chris & Mike.  Amazingly this was the first time the four of us have had an evening out together without other people. It was such a success another meal out is planned shortly. Finally we had a visit from Gill, my college friend, and Mike. It was so good to see them for the first time in a couple of years. They’ve both had major health problems so we hope this year is better for them.

of course I have to end with some videos. The first is of Emmy.  While Ian was practicing his harmonica last week she decided to dance. It was either Irish or tap dancing I think. At any rate it involved a lot of stamping!

second video is the dogs on our walk yesterday. It just shows how wet it has been this year. The pond they are swimming in is actually a big puddle that is normally a rather damp and muddy bit of woodland floor



An Eventful Couple of Weeks.

It’s been a long difficult couple of weeks, but fortunately all’s week that ends well. Ivor has recovered well from his fall, and is back at home. He seemed to have lost a little confidence and was ‘ off his legs ‘ but he’s now getting back to his old self. Huw and I moved his bedroom downstairs last weekend, so at least we’ve taken the stairs out of the equation.
Mum had a fall at 4am a couple of days ago! Fortunately she doesn’t seem to have broken anything, and is managing quite well at home. However it was a bit of a shock and a wake up call!
On a much more positive note, Madoc’s dog ramp training has gone well, and yesterday he used ‘ properly ‘ for the first time. It was so rewarding.
Last night I met up with a few peeps who were at Maesycoed School with me. There were 10 of us altogether. Last year there were only a couple, so who knows about next year or perhaps even better in 2015 when it’ll be 50 years since we left. It was good to have a catch up, and meet 2 other bikers! We also couldn’t help reflecting on a couple of school mates who we’d never see again.