Thoughts on things and stuff.

Sunday evening and the fire’s on. We’re just back from a beautiful, icy beach walk. Selkie’s had her dinner, licked her whiskers clean and curled up in a wee ball on her bed, paws paddling, dreamies on. There’s a cup of hot tea on the desk, HQ is quiet and peaceful, and I’m looking back at a list of appointments from the 2018 diary.

It’s been another eventful year for Highland Dogblog, and while I wasn’t always quite sure which parts of the ship were going to make it through the storms, I knew the core was solid and we would emerge. And we have, different, but sound. And most important of all: still madly, passionately, ridiculously in love with dogs; keeping it woof and being good to the wurrld!

2018 saw us saying goodbye to two of our big projects: Selkie’s Seconds and Barker’s Bothy. Selks and I are super proud of both projects and all they achieved, as well as grateful to everyone who worked together to make them what they were.

There were more changes facing us when we reined in the HDB hosted pack walks. These had unfortunately become a victim of their own success, and despite trying out a few different options, I felt that we weren’t able to manage them properly and it would be better to let them come to a natural end. Again, we are happy to have had hundreds of walks with paw pals from all over the Highlands and Islands, proud of what we achieved together all of us and glad to know there are still pockets of friends who met through HDB still out walking together.

On the upside we held onto Scentral Park and all that it enables us to do. The project has gone from strength to strength and continues to be supported by HDB volunteers who give up their personal time to keep this special place on the go. It’s almost three years now since Mr Mohamed gave us permission to use his land and we are very much in his debt.

Following on from lots of community litter picks over the years we went on to introduce a new project in January called My Walk, My Bag! which has enabled us to play a much more active and ongoing role, together with millions of people across the world, facing up to the challenges of plastic and other waste clogging up our environment. Dog walkers have a unique niche that we are able to cover, and it’s been a joy seeing folks coming together under the HDB flag to tackle local environmental problems. The fact that this campaign is now celebrating a whole year’s worth of effort, month after month, whatever the weather, chipping away, one bag at a time, speaks volumes about you, your dogs and your commitment to keeping things woof. Oan yersels!

We did end 2018 without our usual Christmas Party in the forest but there was just no way our wee “Dingwall family” could take that on having lost our big man Riley at the beginning of the month. He was so much a part of everything at HDB and we are feeling his loss keenly. Thank you for understanding, and for supporting Dianne in what I hope will become a happy, new tradition of “Coffee & Chats” at the park.  

I’d also like to say thank you to the Board of HDB who quietly support the whirlwind that is HDB. I so appreciate their counsel, and their unwavering support no matter how many times Selkie and I change direction and charge off on new quests.

And speaking of herself … well, my “wee” Selkie Seal turned seven this year and is, I’m happy to say, as mischievous as ever. Keeping up with her adventures and her wild Highland spirit is a full-time job for The Mummy. She has absolutely loved, loved, loved moving to her new “house by the sea” and having her own wee garden. We have been in our new village for about six months now and have met some wonderful doggie pals and kind people. Selkie says we are two “verra lucky souls” and I agree with her 100 per cent on that one. We are also both very grateful for all your messages and support during those times she was “vet ridden” and on her “fishing line” for different reasons during the year. You cheered us up no end – thank you.

Pals, Selks & HDB are not really ones for new year’s resolutions. Selkie says it’s better to “look it back” over the year that was and say thank you for all the blessings and incredible people we have been able to share the year with. She also says that it’s good to “try and learn it some lessons” from stuff if you can, but not to stress about the past. Much more important, she tells me, is that once you’ve “done it your thank yous, counted it your blessings and learned it your lessons” is that it’s time to “turn back around, get your tail up, put your nose in the air and face whatever the new year has in store”.

“We gots to take it things as they come, one day at a time, do it the best we can, with ower pals, and that’s all, and that’s enough” Selkie Seal.

And on that note then thank you all for being our pals, for answering “the call” to all the crazy ideas we have foisted upon you during the year, for picking up the balls we’ve dropped and manning the fort when we couldn’t – I think we can say goodbye to 2018 knowing that together we kept it woof, big time. How about we do it ALL AGAIN in 2019?

Lots of love to you and your families, and a special thought to everyone who has lots their precious ones during the year.

Lauren & Selkie x

p.s. Rufty Tufty forever!

That’s 2018 (almost) in the bag!

HDB’s monthly “My Walk, My Bag!” is coming up at the end of the month with
December marking the 13th time dogs across the world put their “paws to their paths” under the HDB flag and join in the worldwide efforts against plastic and other gunk!

Thirteen clean ups have been completed in twelve months – and that’s a LOT of rubbish. Well done everyone. We couldn’t be more proud of you and we’re looking forward to bringing 2018 to a fabulous, positive close with one more … so paws to your paths on the weekend of the 29th – 1 Jan – let’s get out there and keep it woof! 

Holly, Keira and Rio from Finstown, Orkney (pic: Susan Harcus)

A super human as well as Supervet!

Morning. An inspiring weekend for HDB. Headed off to Glasgow to see Professor Noel Fitzpatrick‘s show “Welcome to my World”. Honestly, what can you say about that man? He’s something else, and his wee border terrier girlie Keira is absolutely gorgeous too.

Also managed a quick visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery to see the “Welly Boot Dug” (as you do!) and just generally enjoyed the sights and sounds of the city. Happy to be home with Selkie and back in the countryside this morning, HDB is not made for the city long term that’s for sure, but it was a fantastic experience. If you’re ever feeling the need to remember there are other people in the world who love animals as much as you do spend some time “with” the “Supervet” he is a very special human being.

Siccaro drying coat review

A fine addition!

The Siccaro Supreme-Pro drying coat  is a serious piece of kit. Beautifully made, great quality and very absorbent (gets better with wash and wear too). For seriously soggy doggy days, combined with cold weather, this is the drying coat that goes in the car with us.

It’s a little more fuss that a lightweight drying robe, and I feel that we will definitely get more use out of it in winter than summer, but it has all the bells and whistles (like back leg panels and proper fastening clips) and it has great neck/chest coverage and really wraps up the dog properly after exercising or working in bad weather.

For us personally, HDB loved the long neck (I thought it would give Selkie’s ears a chance to dry) but Selkie decided she wasn’t having the “hoodie” on. Size-wise we should perhaps have gone down a size and maybe if the hood had fitted more snugly this wouldn’t have bothered her so much, but it’s a minor detail. The Siccaro is a well made, solid drying coat and a good addition to the current selection available to wet and filthy dugs everywhere!

Disclosure: HDB received a large Siccaro drying coat free of charge for this review.

Siccaro

Selkie’s DAWGS add more than 70 locations to Word Cleanup Day

The results are in and between us DAWGS (Dogs Against Waste Globally) we added more than 70 locations to the global total for World Cleanup Day. DAWGS reported in from all across the Highlands and Islands, other regions of Scotland, as well as England, Northern Ireland, Tanzania, South Africa, Canada, the USA, Australia and The Netherlands!

Organisers operating from Estonia even gave posts from HDB airtime on the international page because what we were doing was so different! And Sandra Swanson’s photograph (featuring wee Kirstin) was selected by them for a promotional post.

What a fantastic experience it was to participate in a worldwide day of cleaning the planet. It feels like the tipping point is finally coming. Thank you for being part of it all and for all your fabulous support.

 

Scottish Highlands - Alness Point
Photo: Sandra Swanson, DIngwall

Highland Dogblog and Action4Dogs

Highland Dogblog will be teaming up again with Max Muir from Action4Dogs for three days in May. Over the three days (13, 14 and 15th) we will be hosting one-on-one consultations at Scentral Park (fully booked), AND Max will also give a talk on the Saturday evening (details still to be finalised). More soon meantime SAVE THE DATE!  P.M. Sat 13th May!

If you have missed this opportunity for a one on one with Max and you would like to see him next time he’s up north please send Lauren an email so you can get your name on the waiting list highlanddogblog@gmail.com