Friday Flash Fiction – Therapups

I had never heard of the charity Therapups, nor had Google, but one of my late aunt’s dog loving friends sent me the postal address. Aunty had requested no flowers for her funeral, just a donation to her favourite charity. I sent a small cheque and a brief letter with my address included, requesting the next copy of their newsletter, which was apparently going to feature a tribute to my aunt.

A week later I received a hefty envelope, almost a parcel, with a gushing letter thanking me for my generosity. The newsletter was to follow shortly, but in the meantime they were pleased to send me a Therapups key ring with dog whistle attached and one hundred biodegradable poop bags in a designer carry case; all in the distinctive charity colours puce pink and sunflower yellow. I don’t own a dog, but they weren’t to know that. Also included was a colourful booklet explaining the charity’s work; it seems they provided therapy and assistance dogs not covered by other better known charities.


I was quite impressed, Therapups gave every dog an opportunity to make a contribution whether they were a St. Bernard with shopping panniers or a handbag sized ball of fluff you cuddled to calm your nerves. The newsletter duly arrived and gave more enlightenment as to my aunt’s contribution; who would have guessed her knitting skills would have been put to such good use or her Aloe Vera plant stand at the annual fete so popular? It was even more of a surprise to learn that her bad tempered terrier mix, who drove the neighbours mad with his constant yapping, had been a ‘wonderful therapy dog whose sad passing at the age of nineteen left an unfillable gap in Thelma’s life, undoubtably leading to her untimely demise weeks later at the age of ninety nine.’

Enclosed with the dozen copies of the newsletter was a puce pink and sunflower yellow picture frame with an unflattering photo of Aunt Thelma surrounded by half a dozen very ugly puppies. I wrote once more to thank them and promised to pass the newsletters to the rest of the family, though what I would do with the remaining seven copies I had no idea.

A week later another parcel arrived with a dozen Therapup calendars and an apologetic note… ‘I know it’s May already, but hopefully we all need calendars now we’re on the roadmap to Covid Recovery.’ I did not get around to replying or hanging a calendar up; I got the impression from the pictures on the calendar that they took the dogs no other charity wanted.



I was surprised the next week to receive yet another parcel from Therapups, a strange pink and yellow object which turned out to be a folding water bowl. I gave it to a dog owning friend. It was barely a week later when another package arrived; a paperback biography of the founder of Therapups. By now the charity had spent more on postage alone than I had given them in the first place, but it wasn’t hard to guess that they were expecting more from me. Enclosed were direct debit forms for regular contributors and leaflets on their free will writing service. I put them all in the recycling bin; I had little prospect of much money, now or after my death. Friends had expected Aunt Thelma to leave me her run down, but valuable house. She left her house and possessions and £57.37 all to Therapups.
They were not put off by my lack of response and further gifts left me wondering if they thought I was in need of a therapy dog. I received a yellow and pink rug for my wheelchair and dachshund shaped herbal wheat bag for chronic pain. My latest gift is a cuddly sunflower yellow toy puppy, far more handsome than their real dogs and I have to confess he is rather a comfort and I even sneak him into work.

Silly Saturday -Picking Pampered Pets

This could be one of the reasons ( muddy walks carrying little bags containing… ) why people who bought puppies during Lockdown are now getting fed up with them. Ironically, while shelters fill up with unwanted dogs, people who want to keep their pampered ( and expensive ) pets are having them stolen, because of the increasing demand for dogs during lockdown. If the dog thieves could be persuaded to only steal unwanted dogs…

Dog thieves can sneak away with your tiny pup without anyone noticing.
If you own a pangolin he’s even more likely to be stolen, so keep him on a lead.
WHY NOT CHOOSE A PET THAT NOBODY WANTS TO STEAL?
WHY NOT CHOOSE A PET THAT NOBODY WANTS TO STEAL?
How about a pet you can take to the beach to guard your towel and clothes AND is too big to steal.
PLACID PETS LOVE TO COME ON A PICNIC WITH YOU
WITH PATIENCE YOUR PET CAN BE TRAINED TO DO ALL SORTS OF THINGS.
IF YOU ARE BUYING A NEW PET, MAKE SURE YOUR GARDEN IS BIG ENOUGH
…and be careful if you are buying a pet on the internet…
Descriptions are not always accurate and you may not get what you were expecting.
Dogs are still people’s favourite pets and they conveniently come in different sizes.

Silly Saturday – Covid Community Caring Characters – Interview no. 1

I may not be a medical person, but I can help those who are, make life easier for them. We’re only taking the children of key workers now, but we’ve extended our hours. They work long hours, so do we. My staff are super committed, they love their job.

Yes we are seeing a lot of anxiety among those we care for, they are sensitive to the tensions at home. They know life is not normal at present, we give them plenty of one-to-one attention. We give them individual balanced diets and plenty of fresh air and exercise. Our aim is to socialise them within their bubble groups and we have a full programme of activities and rest periods. They love the outdoor adventure playground and the indoor fun gym.

Yes we are fortunate to have this beautiful setting at Sunshine Valley. No not at all, the price reflects the cost of running an establishment like this, the high staff ratio and the excellent staff qualifications; but there is a discount for NHS. Well, all my employees are professional dog walkers and I have a degree in dog psychology. You can tell your listeners their Fur Babies will be totally safe with us at Sunny Valley Doggy Day Care.

Friday Flash Fiction – Cassie

Cassie gazed at the motionless creature, in no hurry to catch his prey. For the first time she felt a pang of guilt; there was no escape for the crickets, who also sat motionless, enjoying the humid warmth of this new luxurious environment. They were blissfully unaware of their fate, no different from spring lambs gambolling in the fields waiting to be eaten by humans. She put aside her guilt and laughed to herself; with all restaurants closed because of the virus, would those lambs be saved from the abattoir? A joke to share later with James.
Suddenly the gecko moved, playing fair, only snatching the cricket when it jumped. It was the most eventful time of the day in the vivarium; the other gecko, realising what she was missing, was roused into action. Soon they would be resting after their lunch; life was simple and they were content, or she assumed they were. Since being imprisoned herself, Cassie wasn’t so sure, but at least the geckos knew nothing else.
Week four of quarantine, isolation, lockdown; whatever you liked to call it she knew she had no cause to complain about her lot compared with others. She understood the government’s reasoning now, still had her job, didn’t have to share her precious living space and had the luxury of a garden and a daily bike ride.

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Photo by Miri on Pexels.com

The garden was an unexpected blessing, mowing and weeding had revealed all sorts of plants springing up; it had been a jungle when she bought the house and her intention had been to have it all flattened once the work inside the house was finished. A pleasant patio with a few feature plants in pots no longer seemed a good idea. Her aunt would have been amazed at her sudden interest in gardening. She took photos of emerging plants on her phone then sent them to James so his mother could identify them; he wanted to make sure his mother’s mind was stimulated during her isolation, so she didn’t end up with dementia.

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Later on, when she had logged off from work, Cassie sat with a cup of coffee, ready to Facetime James.
‘I’ve seen a robin in the garden, if my team at work could see me, getting excited about a bird…’
‘I can beat that,’ said James ‘I saw our robin having a bath, I couldn’t take a picture, if I opened the back door he would have flown away.’
‘I think I heard mine singing, but it sounded too strong for such a tiny bird… that’s one thing I’ll miss when we get back to normal, peace and quiet so you can hear nature.’

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That wouldn’t be all Cassie missed; would James still want to chat every day, every evening once he was free to get out of his mother’s house and get a place of his own, back to work, going out. Would they meet up? She wasn’t even sure she wanted to meet up for real. Her iPad screen was like a vivarium and James her pet man, all the fun of flirting and chatting without the pitfalls of a relationship, having a chap getting his feet under your table and not going. Would she tell him about Giles, he had not told her anything about the divorced wife, not that there was anything much to tell about Giles, no drama, mostly sheer boredom. Perhaps Giles’ greatest contribution to her life had been to unknowingly encourage her to go for promotion; had he realised she had opted for the transfer as a tactful way of slipping out of his life, or rather slipping him out of her life…

Cassie sat back and drained her coffee mug, paying attention to what James was saying now. The way things were going with this dreadful Covid 19, it would be a while before anyone got back to normal and she didn’t really mind.

What’s Wrong With Wrats?

Rats seem to be everywhere lately, but don’t worry about another great plague.

Last week Pete Springer was inspired by one of my archive blogs to write about his teaching days with class pets – rats. His post was headed by a picture of a most adorable rat which reminded me of TV star Roland Rat; the only rat to join a sinking ship, credited with saving TVam breakfast television in the 1980’s.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/class-pets/

One of my children did have a pet rat in his class, I did hold it once and it was very cute; after all, rats are just big mice and I had pet mice in my junior school years. My friend and I bought two mice from Aldershot market, plus a little book on mice and assured our parents they were both male. Of course they weren’t. Luckily my father loved woodwork; the designer shed/greenhouse he had built himself was soon filled with cages and bags of hay and oats. We ended up with forty mice, some of them pregnant, I will draw a veil over what happened to them next.

By strange coincidence, just before Pete posted his blog, I heard from my friend 300 miles away ( too far away to be of any assistance ) that her young dog had found a rats’ nest in the garden. As a busy carer for her elderly mother the last thing she wanted to find on the staircase was a blind, hairless, mewling baby rat being tenderly licked by the dog. ( Handy hint, this is one of the many reasons why it is not a good idea to let dogs lick your face. )

Thankful that this could not happen to us as we don’t have a dog I was soon to get my come uppance. Since we finally got around to having the outside light in the back garden fixed it comes on quite often, usually to reveal a fox; the fox suspected of chewing up my garden shoes. Late one night ( at a time when only bloggers and foxes are awake ) the light came on and there was Mr. Fox playing with something furry, and it didn’t look like a slipper.

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In the morning there was a dead rat on the back lawn. Obviously the fox has better things to eat. Feeling like a frontierswoman I trekked the few yards to the bottom of the garden and got the spade out. Throw him over the fence? No, we have nice neighbours. Put him in my compost bin? No, never put meat in your garden compost. The council food waste bin that you can put meat in? No it’s got our house number on. I gave him a woodland burial, relieved that I managed to scoop him off the grass with the spade. Two mornings later a second dead rat appeared. Perhaps the foxes are doing us a favour with rat control.

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The ‘woodland garden’ is the corner where the compost bins and insect hotels hide; a tangle of apple tree, holly and ivy and sapling nursery. Cyberspouse suggested the piles of branches preserved for hedgehogs and insects are also luxury living for rats. I have never seen a hedgehog in our garden despite the plentiful supply of slugs for them to eat.

While we sign petitions to save hedgehogs and are reminded to mind the gap, leave holes in our fences for hedgehogs to travel, no one suggests we worry about the survival of rats. When does wildlife become a pest? Why are we not urged to protect rats’ environment and put food out for them?

What wildlife do you have in your neighbourhood?

Gold Award 2

 

Silly Saturday – Unaward Winning Wildlife Photography

It can be dangerous for the wildlife photographer out in the New Forest far from civilisation.

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And the camera crew may spend weeks on location letting the wild creatures get used to their presence.

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Any suggestion that some shots are not genuine is strongly refuted.

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When animals have young to protect there is a great risk they will attack the photographer.

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A rare sighting thought to be unique.

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A camerman may spend hours waiting patiently for a shot of a rare bird.

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Police have issued a new picture of the bird feeder vandal.

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The crow family are so intelligent they take their own selfies.

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The team travelled to South America to get pictures of guinea pigs in their natural habitat.

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For more of the photographer’s work visit the gallery.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-three-picture-gallery/

Silly Saturday – No News

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We were hoping to go over to our correspondent… somewhere, but apparently there is no news today. However we will bring you an update as soon as there is some news.

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Now we go over to Sally for the weather… oh, I’m just hearing there is no weather today… If you’ve just joined us we’re receiving reports that there is no news today. Those of you who are following us on Twitter please let us know what is not happening in your area and send us your pictures.

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Tributes are pouring in for a writer who didn’t become a household name, but her husband thought it would be nice if she heard some plaudits for her work while she was still alive.

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Reports that Stonehenge had turned into fudge overnight turned out to be pure fudge.

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Traffic delays are not expected anywhere today

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and reports are coming in that nothing is happening in many places.

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Meetings were to be held, but there’s no point now.

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No one was called to 10, Downing Street.

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Businesses also reported a slump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us again for the lunchtime news when we hope to bring you some, in the meantime viewers have been sending in pictures of their pets.

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If you like looking at photos instead of the news there are pictures aplenty at my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views/

Silly Saturday – Fifteen Favourite Facebook Fotos

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Sue has checked in to Toytown International Airport.

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Chocolate Moose has changed his profile picture.

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Wanda has changed her profile picture.

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When one door closes another one stays shut.

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We all need libraries – in our own homes…

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        Behind every cloud there’s rain.

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Donald Trump buys Stonehenge for new golf course.

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New Spiderman film, the 27th in the franchise, promises to be the blockbuster movie for 2019.

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The clock is ticking backwards towards Brexit.

 

 

 

 

 

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Government announces new technology to deal with drones.

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Know what you are getting when you book a cheap holiday flight.

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Hey guys, wish you were here, this is the view from our holiday apartment.

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Day 53 of our world cruise.

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Doctors successfully separate conjoined twin rabbits.

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Please share – our darling fur baby Tiny has gone missing.

Friday Flash Fiction 636 – Fur Babies

‘Pompom’ called a shrill voice.

When did real dogs turn to toys wondered Vince as he trudged through the mud, conspicuous as the only human without a dog. The dogs skittering around two women did not match the environment, what happened to Labradors and Rottweilers? As if in answer, a large muddy dog, originally yellow, bounced playfully out of the bushes only to find itself attacked by a tiny ball of white cotton wool.

‘Pompom, naughty boy, heel.’

The Labrador’s owner laughed, so did Vince until the ball of fluff veered towards him, jumping up growling to snap at his ankle.

‘If he was an American Pit Bull,’ said Vince gruffly ‘you’d be in trouble with the police.’

The owner scooped up Pompom and marched away as if he had incited the attack.

The walking business, to avoid blood pressure tablets and type two diabetes, was proving to be worse than going to the gym. Vince’s life of crime had not involved exercise, he had had other people to do that for him. But he hated hospitals, so he had no alternative but alternative therapy.

He paused to avoid a large puddle and looked up to see a young man pushing a three wheeler cross country pram. Inside it was a miserable looking baby, but slung under the man’s arm was a baby sling with a fluffy white face poking cheerfully out.

‘It’s even muddier further along’ said Vince, imagining with relish the pram getting stuck and baby falling out.

‘I know,’ said the man cheerfully ‘we must be mad. Oh, you haven’t got a dog… this one’s getting on a bit so he can’t walk far.’

That was when Vince had his idea. Fluffy toys didn’t attack Vince the Mincer and get away with it.

 

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On the internet that evening he looked up breeds of dogs, it turned out the mini monster cotton wool ball was actually a valuable breed. Vince looked up battery operated toys and ordered some ‘Fur Babies’ – barking, bouncing, battery operated toy dogs that looked remarkably realistic.

His daily two mile walks had a purpose now. Among the many mutant miniature wolves he encountered, Pompom was a regular, his owner had a strict routine, returning to the car park at the same time each day.

At the dog parlour he bought a National Trust green puppy sling.

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Vince hid in the bushes, hoping no one would think he was a flasher. Did blokes do that any more, he wondered, or was it all on the internet? In five minutes Pompom should pass that way, trying to avoid having the lead attached to his diamond studded collar. For Pompom was a real dog at heart, who preferred puddles and fresh air to the pink Kar with its sticker ‘Precious Pet on board’.

Some ancestral lupine instinct stirred in little Pompom as Vince waved the dripping fresh raw meat. Within seconds he was in the bushes, within seconds he was bound in the puppy sling and Vince was switching on the battery operated Pompom doppelganger.

‘Pompom, here Pompom, Mummy’s got a treat for you.’

Vince remained motionless, one large hand clamped round Pompom’s tiny muzzle. He remained just long enough to see the toy dog trot obediently out of the bushes and the owner bend down to pick up him up. Her scream attracted the attention of other dog walkers and Vince slipped away.

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At home, Pompom was in an old rabbit cage and Vince was wondering if he should put the dog on EBay or if a ransom demand would yield more money, or perhaps he could do both.

That night he taped a notice on the window of the little coffee kiosk in the car park.

FOUND – ADORABLE WHITE MINIATURE DOG.

IF YOU ARE THE FRANTIC OWNER

PLEASE PHONE THIS NUMBER…