Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Dog of the Day 26th March 2013

It's a bit rainy today in Iceland, so I thought I'd catch up on a few photos from earlier in the trip. Last week I had a lovely walk with my friend JP and his clan of cockers and labs. We met originally after I commented on his lovely puppy photos on Flickr, and have since become friends and now met in the flesh! We had a walk along the beach with the dogs and I captured a few of his lovely dogs. This one is my favourite - I met them all last year when my own hunt for a cocker spaniel puppy had just begun, and hoped that I'd find one that looked like her (I did!). She's called Tiffany, or Tiffu for short, and is now two. I think she is just divine!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 22nd March 2013

I'm currently in south-eastern Iceland, near the famous Jökulsárlón lake. I've been on the road for a couple of days, and apart from meeting up with a friend and his dogs for a walk (photos to come of them on another day) I've only really come across one dog. It was quite a lovely encounter though. 

I have my own rented 4WD, which means that I can just take the odd turn here and there and not worry about where I might end up. So yesterday, as I drove between Reykjavik and Vik I took a little turn off the main road and explored for a few kms before turning round and heading back and onwards with my journey. At my turning place I reached a historic village (there are lots!) and decided to get out to have a look. I jumped as I felt something against my leg. There looking up at me was a very cute dog. He then proceeded to grapple around on the ground and finally picked up a piece of lava rock which he then placed at my feet. I picked it up and threw it and he trotted off to retrieve it, and brought it back and placed it in my hand.

We did this over and over for a few minutes, before I hesitated, he heard something, and off he trotted back to the village.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Off to Iceland...

So I'm off on a photography trip to Iceland today, so no more Dogs of the Day from London for a while. I am meeting up with a friend with 5 dogs tomorrow - 3 cockers (of course!) and 2 labs, so hopefully there will be a couple of Icelandic Dogs of the Day to come.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 17th March 2013

More horrible weather! So the camera has been left at home yet again (I think I'm becoming a fair-weather dog photographer!). But I have plenty of worthy dogs from previous occasions! Today's Dog of the Day is Chloe, a golden working cocker spaniel. I was surprised to learn that she is a worker, as she has the long silky coat and low-set ears of a show-type, but her owner assured me that she is from pure working lines. She didn't look at the camera, but had a little sniff of Henry (in the background, as he often is).

Friday, 15 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 15th March 2013

It's been a bit grey today. Was having a bit of a try-out of a new lens (a 19-35mm Cosina kindly donated by a friend!), but any dogs captured with that just look like a distant speck.

So today's Dog of the Day is a dog I saw on our walk yesterday morning. It's an orange roan cocker spaniel, the colour of Henry's mother. I haven't spoken to the owner, so no idea of name, gender or age. Quite a cute mop on its head though and very prancy gait!


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 13th March 2013

One of the things I enjoy most about photographing dogs - which is also one of the most irritating things too! - is that you never know what they're going to do. You cannot tell a dog what position to take, to hold still, to smile. You just have to hope for the best each time. A treat usually helps to get them to concentrate for the seconds it takes to compose and take the shot (they are usually very easily distracted). But sometimes the random ones work well too, when they're just doing their thing, when they move at the last moment, and you catch a detail, like that softest of fur on their neck...

Today's Dog of the Day is Henry, my little chap (again). He's had an ulcer on the cornea of his right eye for the past 10 days, which has no doubt been painful for him in the biting wind, as well as just generally uncomfortable, with lots of gunk sticking his eyes together (he wears the Cone of Shame at night). He should be on the mend now (another vet appointment in the morning), and I'm still enjoying photographing him pottering about when on walks. One pose I can guarantee catching him in is with his little cocker spaniel nose to the ground. When he's not eating sticks or playing with another dog, he's sure to be sniffing the ground!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Pet Theft Awareness Week - 14th - 21st March 2013

There has been a massive number of thefts of dogs in the past few months, and the plight of two working cocker spaniels stolen on New Year's Eve (Tia and Maisie) has left me feeling particularly angry about the whole thing, very sad for the poor owner, and very glad that my little cocker is safely sleeping beneath my chair.

I've just heard about Pet Theft Awareness Week, which is a great initiative to highlight this problem and try to find ways to tackle it. One piece of action is the creation of an e-petition to the government to try to change the seriousness of the theft of pets.

Please have a look at the Pet Theft site and share!

Here is the link to the petition:

Hopefully all this publicity will make it harder for thieves to sell on stolen dogs and get them tougher sentences when they're caught (and let's hope that more of them are!).

Dog of the Day - 12th March 2013

Today's Dog of the Day is Tai (again), the young Silken Windhound (Borzoi/Whippet cross), dog-brother to Jaz, the Borzoi/Afghan cross. As with most pups he sits patiently if he knows he's getting a treat; most of the time he is running around like a mad thing. Jaz is far more laid back (in the background).

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 10th March 2013

It wasn't raining this morning, so I headed out for a walk along the Thames with the camera and a friend and her dog. Today's Dog of the Day is the lovely Liesl, an 8-month-old golden cocker spaniel puppy. On the way home her owner put her in the basket on her bike, so as not to over-walk her. She's a very pretty little thing.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Dog Poo: Bag it and Bin it People!

Instead of a Dog of the Day photo today, I'm going to have a dog-related Rant of the Day about poo!

As a dog-owner, two things really really irritate me about other dog owners. Firstly, people that don't pick up their dog's poo! This is just not acceptable.

All of our dogs poo, and all responsible owners watch their dog, pick up the poo and dispose of it. I spend a couple of hours a day walking my dog, and always pick up after him. I keep an eye on him when he's off-lead so I know when he's doing his business (most dogs usually wander off for a bit of privacy) and when he's on-lead it's fairly obvious where and when he goes! Walking along the pavement I often have to move my dog out of the way of poo that some poor unsuspecting pedestrian has already trodden in, spread along the pavement at stride-length intervals. I run around on the grass with my dog, hoping that neither of us gets some on our feet (I can vividly recall the smell as I picked some out of the tread in my shoes last year, with a tea-towel over my mouth to stop me retching). My dog stops to sniff poo that's been left on the grass, which is no doubt how he's picked up a string of recent infections, including campylobacter, hook worm and tape worm. I'm sure no-one wants their child to get dog-poo anywhere near them and pick any of the nasty infections it might be harbouring.

The other day a young middle-class lad was walking past with a golden cocker spaniel I hadn't seen before. The dog stopped to poo and the guy made no effort to pick it up. I shouted over to him and said "Excuse me, your dog just pooed, please pick it up." His response was "It's not my dog, I'm just walking it for a friend; I haven't got any bags." I gave him a bag (I always carry at least 3 with me) and he did then pick it up, but he wouldn't have bothered if I hadn't said anything. If you lend someone your dog, give them bags and instruct them to pick up the poo too!

The other thing that I find equally despicable which leaves me gobsmacked every time is that some people go to the effort of actually picking up their dog's poo (which surely is the gross bit) and then they LEAVE the bag. Really. You see them lying on the pavement, or at the side of the path, or hanging from a tree in the countryside! Fortunately in my local vicinity there is very little of this ridiculous behaviour (the louts around here don't bother to pick it up in the first place), but venture into South Kensington, Chelsea, Belgravia, along the Thames Path in Battersea or the countryside in Herts/Bucks, etc.. and there you see it - neatly-tied bags just lying or hanging there. Who do these people think will clear these up?! What kind of person thinks that this is OK?! Why can't these people take these bags with them and dispose of them elsewhere? It just makes me really sick that some people could be so arrogant to do this, expecting someone else to clean up after them. Often these bags have also been trodden on, presumably the person sliding along the pavement as they've had this misfortune.

This photo was taken on the corner of Eccleston Street and Chester Square, in the very affluent area of Belgravia (you can see some of the many Porsches and Mercs in the background). There are bags full of poo that these people have just left. Of course I've never seen anyone actually drop their bag on the ground, just as I rarely see dogs pooing on the pavement and their owners not picking it up - these people know it's wrong and they clearly do it when no-one's looking.

Please don't just pick up your dog's poo, take the bag with you and dispose of it too! Be a decent dog-owner and stop giving the rest of us a bad name by leaving our streets and parks filthy!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 8th March 2013

Today was horribly drizzly, so again, no camera. So today's Dog of the Day is one of the regulars in the park, taken last weekend. Ellie is a 7-month-old boxer and is quite boisterous. They really do box! She plays very well with Bailey, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, but is a bit too hectic for the poor little cocker spaniels!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 7th March 2013

The weather returned to being damp and miserable today, so the camera stayed at home. Hopefully the spring will return again soon; it was so lovely to see the crocuses out in the sun earlier in the week. So today's Dog of the Day is another dog seen at the English Bulldog meet-up last Sunday. I can always spot a cocker from a mile off, and have to go over and say hello (it's been a little habit of mine for the past 30 years!). This little beauty is Dusty, a three-year-old chocolate roan show-type cocker spaniel. She looked like a 5-month-old puppy, but looks can be deceptive!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 6th March 2013

Today's Dog of the Day is another Archie. He is an interesting mix of miniature poodle, crossed with a Powderpuff Chinese Crested dog (not the hairless one). He's a lovely little chap of 7 months old and with a recent haircut he looks very tall and thin, with rather spindly legs!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 5th March 2013

Today's Dog of the Day is one of the bystanders at the English Bulldog meet-up that I went to on Sunday. There were lots of other dog-owners walking their dogs. Some of them stopped to have a gawk at the spectacle. This dog sat patiently as its owner checked out the bulldogs, but looked rather bored. She's a basset hound, but doesn't have the droopy eyes and jowels that you sometimes see; perhaps she's crossed with a beagle, or perhaps it's just a sign that the droopiness is being bred out... I particularly liked the little white patch at the base of her tail and the black around her eyes, as if she was wearing kohl eye-liner!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

English Bulldog Meet-up in Kensington Gardens

A few days ago I chatted to one of the local dog-owners about his English Bulldog, Frankie. He told me about a monthly event that I decided I had to go and check out for myself, regardless of the fact that my dog is a cocker spaniel, not a bulldog. On the first Sunday of every month, a group of people meet in Kensington Gardens (the western part of Hyde Park) with their English Bulldogs. I headed off there this morning, armed with my camera, but minus my spaniel (he just wouldn't have fit in).

It was certainly an unusual sight, seeing about 30 or 40 of the same breed of dog all pottering around together, chewing sticks together, sniffing each others' bottoms, trying to hump each other, cocking legs up trees, snorting, breathing heavily and just generally hanging out having a great time with their mates and owners. Just like any other breed there was a Molly and a Poppy, a Harry and a George, a Nelson and, er, a Knut (the chap in the first photo!), among others.

I tried to count all the dogs, and think that there were about 30 or more at any one time. Apparently once summer comes the turn-out gets even better - so I'll have to return.

Lots of people walked through the park looking rather bemused, and asked me what was going on, or rather, what the occasion was (it was pretty obvious that it was a meeting of English Bulldogs!). I found the whole spectacle rather bizarre too, but would love to see the same type of event for English Cocker Spaniels - maybe it's something I should organise...

More dog photos can be found on my website, and are available for purchase as prints, personal downloads and for RM licensing. For more information on the event, check out this link.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Dog of the Day - 2nd March 2013

Today's Dog of the Day is a papillon, seen in the distance in the local park; I've never actually seen one in the flesh before! The breed is actually a type of toy spaniel - its alternative name is the Continental Toy Spaniel.