Thursday 29 March 2007

Educating Groucho

A few months after The Rescue and after Groucho's take over of our home, we decided it was time that Groucho learnt some manners. Westies are very energetic terriers and, if allowed, will rule the lives of everyone around them! So, we decided that Groucho the Wonder Westie needed to use his super canine powers to learn some manners and some fun tricks as well! Fortunately, we had a very lovely person come to our home to teach us how to channel those super canine powers - Julie from tagnrye. Please visit Julie here.

At first, Groucho strongly resisted being told what to do by Julie - after all, with his cute little face and wonderful personality, Groucho was quite used to getting his own way all the time! But, after a period of extended sulking behind the couch (we never realised that one of Groucho's super canine powers was an ability to sulk, without let up, for over 30 minutes!), Groucho finally realised that if he learnt some manners and tricks, he would be rewarded with a treat and Groucho never says no to a treat! After a little while, Groucho caught on to this whole tricks and manners malarky and really started to enjoy himself!

'Sit' was a bit of a doddle but 'Deck', 'Paw', 'Up' and 'Settle' took longer! We had homework every day and after a few months, Groucho was really into his homework routine and learning more and more tricks. The next time Julie visited, Groucho was more than happy to show off his new skills and learn some more! We are very happy that Julie helped us out and Groucho still enjoys some homework now and then, learning some new tricks, brushing up on his old ones so many thanks to Julie for all her help and hard work (oh yes, and patience with both Groucho and us!). What we have to constantly remember is that, while Groucho is very clever, he doesn't really understand human talk so we had to teach Groucho what certain words mean and reward him when he did the right thing! And Groucho is just so proud of himself when he works it out!!

We were very proud of Groucho when he worked out that he had to sit down at the traffic signals and wait for the little green man to signal it was ok to cross the street! Of course, at the other side of the street, the first thing Groucho did was demand his treat for being such a clever dog! And Grouch, with is super canine powers, quickly worked out that if he did 'roll over' when he was told, not only did he receive a treat but also a big rub on the tummy which of course, Groucho thinks is just the best thing. Tummy rubs are Groucho's favourite!

Groucho is currently putting his super canine powers towards learning some new tricks - 'Wait', 'High Five', 'Stand' (now, this is not as simple as it sounds!) and 'Gentle' and, oh yes, 'Enough' which we use when we want Groucho to just stop being bold! All in all, educating Groucho is great fun - both for him and us and it certainly makes life easier for us all. It is better for everyone if Groucho can understand what we want him to do and it is very important for Groucho to know how to behave when he's out and about on his travels and when he's socialsing with all his friends! And being such a clever little Westie, teaching Groucho to channel his super canine powers into learning tricks and manners is something he enjoys!

Monday 26 March 2007

Groucho and Gypsy Dog

Groucho has a friend called Gypsy Dog. Please visit Gypsy Dog here.

Please check back here soon for photos of Groucho and Gypsy Dog playing together.

Sunday 25 March 2007

Smile - It's Groucho

Groucho is such a clever little dog. Groucho likes to work things out for himself, he loves learning new things to keep his mind occupied. We put some of his home-made treats into his toy and Groucho has worked out that if he shakes it around and throws the toy into the air, the food will fall out. When Groucho grows tired of doing this he rolls the toy under the couch and pretends he cannot get it back out. Groucho waits for someone to get it for him and to throw it - hoping that more food will fall out.

Groucho has made lots of new friends since he moved to Dubai. Groucho loves meeting his friends while he is out on one of his walks around the lake near where he lives. Groucho the Wonder Westie of the Western World seems to make just about everyone he meets smile. This is probably Groucho's most important super canine power - the ability to make people smile.

Tuesday 13 March 2007

Back to the City

So, after a wonderful week in the country, Groucho returned to his city dog life and back to his home which he loved - it was much better than where he lived before The Rescue and our home was definitely being taken over by Groucho the Wonder Westie.
From our patio, Groucho could look out over a river (which he jumped into many times!), two bridges, a large field (more on that later!), a public walkway and the back of the largest cemetry in Ireland (which sounds a bit spooky but it wasn't at all !), so Groucho had a great time, sitting out on the patio, little black nose pressed to the glass, watching the world go by. Sometimes, he would chase the magpies because they always tried to take his food! Unfortunately, Groucho's super canine powers did not extend to flying after them so he had to be happy with just barking very loudly!

Because there was no grass on the patio, Groucho had his own sand pit in which he buried his treats. We didn't realise one of Groucho's super canine powers was an ability to dig at very fast speeds and the first day, more sand ended up on the patio than in the actual sand pit! Groucho was also given one corner of the patio for his own - and we dumped potting soil there so he could dig, bury and all that doggy stuff and it was always very funny when he buried something there, as his little white face would be covered with black sand!

Groucho took over the living room, taking up one cushion of the couch for himself and also a fair amount of floor space! Because Groucho, like most terriers, is very energetic, he needed quite a bit of sleep to prepare for all his adventures and was often found fast asleep on the couch. Groucho also liked to snuggle and would often sit next to us and roll over on his back for a scratch on his tummy. Every night, after his dinner, Groucho wanted his 'play attack' and we would have to chase him around the living room, the patio or take him out on to the grass and chase him around the trees.
Groucho had a lot of friends in Dublin and was very well known. Groucho was particularly popular with the kids who would come up to the patio to visit him. One of Groucho's other super canine powers was an ability to be very friendly to everyone and most dogs although he was a bit scared of cats!

Monday 12 March 2007

Groucho's Holiday in Kerry

In addition to visiting the Skellig Islands Groucho had many other adventures in County Kerry. Most mornings Groucho went down to the beach because the weather was very warm - Groucho wasn't really that fond of the ocean but he did love the wind in his face. Groucho investigated the many ruins that were in the area. There are lots of ruined cottages in the area as a result of emigration during and after the Great Famine (1845 - 1849).

Groucho's super canine powers were tested during his explorations because he met animals that he had never seen before (which is understandable as Groucho was not even a year old at the time). One day his super canine powers almost failed him when he was overly curious about a ewe with her two lambs and he ventured too close - the ewe chased him down and Groucho only narrowly missed being head butted.

Each evening, Groucho went for a long walk with us down to the front gate of the farm and this was probably his most favourite time of the day. Groucho was often let off his lead and would disappear for 20 minutes or so, chasing hares, sniffing all the new smells and generally having a great time, barking at the cows and being quite disappointed when they would not play with him. Every afternoon, Groucho sat out the front of the cottage, looking out at the incredibly beautiful view to the Atlantic Ocean. And every day, Groucho came with us into Sneem where he became quite well known with many people stopping to talk to him. Groucho thought it was great and he was particularly fond of the butcher shop (which produced the best garlic and herb sausages we had every tasted).

And one day, Groucho went on a history tour, to check out an iron age fort near Sneem. Groucho's super canine powers were really tested that day as Groucho had to scramble up some fairly tall walls to check out the view but he thought it entirely worthwhile.

Unfortunately, the week came to an end all too soon. All in all, it was a wonderful week for Groucho and us - it only rained one day, we all had a great week of resting, relaxing, eating some excellent food and, even better, seeing some of the most amazing and awesome scenery in the West of Ireland. Groucho became a farm dog for a week and thought he was quite cool at it, although we are not so sure - even with his super canine powers and being the Wonder Westie of the Western World, it seemed that Groucho was still very confused about the purpose of cows and sheep!

Wednesday 7 March 2007

Groucho and the Puffins

Groucho went on holidays to Co. Kerry in Ireland last summer. One beautiful summer's day Groucho went on a boat trip. There were six puppies on the boat and Groucho quickly made friends with them. Groucho was on his way to the Skellig Islands to check out a puffin colony.

There were lots of steps to climb to get to the top of the island, but Groucho quickly climbed them (he is a super canine after all). Groucho stopped along the way to the top to stare at the puffins as the returned from their fishing trips. Seeing the puffins eating made Groucho feel hungry and he stopped for a picnic close to the top of the island.
All to soon it was time to return to the base of the island to climb aboard the boat to take us back to the mainland. Our skipper had caught some fish while we were on the island and he treated us to some grilled fish. Groucho thought that this was great -- the perfect end to a perfect day. A tired and weary Groucho returned from his adventure on the Skelligs happy in the knowledge that he had seen a real puffin for himself.

Tuesday 6 March 2007

The Rescue of Groucho

It was the 12th of April 2006 when the phone call came. A mad dash up the motorway on the 13th of April and Groucho was busted out of the pound. The rescue was completed by 2.30 pm and the Adventures of Groucho the Wonder Westie of the Western World were about to begin.

His previous owners were not aware of his super canine powers -- but we soon discovered them when Groucho took over the responsibilities for navigation from Dundalk to Dublin. On arrival in Dublin, Groucho displayed his next super canine power -- escapology. Groucho soon freed himself from his new spacious home in search of his next adventure.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend...Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.- Groucho Marx

Monday 5 March 2007

Day One - Groucho enters our Lives!

This is Groucho, the day we brought him home from the pound. We did not know what had hit us - a furry, white fluff ball of energy, mischief and an amazing ability to charm! Poor Groucho was a bit of a mess, his first 6 months of life had been horrible - so, we brought him home, made our home 'Groucho proof' and quickly learnt that owning a Westie is incredibly rewarding. We decided this amazing four legged being needed a new name, a fresh start so, he became Groucho, named after the Groucho (Marx, of course!) - same wacky sense of humour and whiskers! And we are truly grateful to Westie Rescue for finding Groucho for us - he is an amazing dog and as we always say, life is not the same without a Westie!