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Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

My Dog Harry or “Should We Still Be Suffering These Delinquents”!

In Amelia Curzon blogs, Guest posts on August 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm
Amelia Curzon guest post on Nick Wastnage's Blog SpotFor those of you who know me you will be fully aware of my love for all animals, both wild and domesticated. Over the years my family and I have bought or rescued innumerable dogs, two cats, one cade lamb (who lived for a further fifteen years), several horses and masses of small furry things. All of them, without doubt, had individual needs and personalities. We have had so many now, including chickens and cockerels, we have run out of names!  But, as ever, there is always one who you remember the most. For me it was my beautiful and affectionate cocker spaniel, called Harry.

Harry was a blue roan, and ten weeks old when he arrived. He was one of the few chosen from a breeder as opposed to a rescue centre. He was so endearing and huggable and, well just adorable and spaniely. It was love at first sight. I used to put him in the poacher’s pocket of an old Barbour (just the right size) and take him everywhere.  Unfortunately he outgrew the pocket very quickly and was subjected to the dire humiliation of his first collar and lead. All four paws went into brake mode and, for ten days at least, he travelled along in this position with me pulling and someone else pushing in order to make any progress at all.  We failed miserably. Harry eventually won the battle, and the lead was forever abandoned. In fact, he won a lot of battles (but he never gloated). Like my present spaniel, Henry, he did naughty things and when told off managed to look unbelievably appealing and contrite – five minutes later he would go and do exactly the same thing again.  I guess it’s just a spaniel thing!

The next two years of ‘puppyhood’ saw him gnawing his way through eighteen sweaters, fourteen pairs of shoes, eight chair legs, a doll’s house, every pair of socks in the house he was lucky enough to get hold of, countless homework (yes, it really does happen),  a shed load of books, and a large portion of the dining room wall.  And yes, I did keep count! To say nothing of the fact he was, without doubt, the noisiest dog on the planet. He spent an enormous amount of time barking at visitors from behind the comfort and safety of an old armchair, and he could keep the noise up for hours. ”He’ll grow out of it soon” was the excuse we all made for him for all his little foibles. ‘For better or for worse’ – we felt we were married to him!

On the plus side, he gave us endless hours of fun and pleasure. He loved all things. He befriended the hamsters, the rabbits, the guinea pigs and most of the chickens. His best friend was the cat. And he got on so well with the other dogs -a huge black Labrador, the sweetest of Staffordshire Bull Terriers and a Jack Russell. All in all, he was to shreds.

Then something quite dreadful and tragic happened – a small band of feral teenagers had started to run amok in what was, until then, our very respectable and quiet English village. I, like others, tolerated their appalling behaviour for a while; spraying obscene graffiti, tearing up gardens, breaking windows, loudly revving their L-plated mopeds and hurling abuse at the residents. The authorities did nothing.

One morning, seeing them hiding behind a nearby wall and throwing objects at the windscreens of passing motorists, I thought it was time to make a stance. I went out to where they were congregating and told them their behaviour was both dangerous and unacceptable, and must stop. I cannot repeat the abuse that flew my way.  A neighbour and friend happened to be driving past and stopped and remonstrated with them too. Further abuse was hurled.  He, incidentally, was 6’5” and well-built.  They were not deterred. Eventually another neighbour called the police and they were moved on, screeching threats as they left.

We awoke two days later to find Harry looking extremely ill.   I put him on the back seat of the car and rushed over to the vet. It turned out he had secondary peritonitis and x-rays showed three broken off hypodermic needles inside him.  He died later that night.  He was only six years old.

There was no doubt in anyone’s mind, including the local police, that these thugs were responsible. It was assumed something had been thrown over the garden fence, possibly bread or meat, with the needles wrapped inside.  No-one saw this happen.  Despite the police having every confidence in the knowledge that the culprits were the same hooligans we had approached, there was little they could do.

Since losing Harry, I see no abatement in this sort of behaviour – In fact, things seem to have become much worse. But why are we not reacting to the appalling things we learn of every day? Is it because we do hear of such occurrences every day and have become inured to it, or is it because we all have so many problems in our own lives we do not want to become involved. Or perhaps it is the fact that were any of us to intervene we would be the ones breaking the law!

Whatever our own reasons, a general decline in education, all round discipline and respect for others have all played a major part in the deterioration of our society and we find ourselves subjected to insensitive and amoral beings invading our lives. Those who contribute nothing and commit senseless and unnecessary anti-social crimes. Where is the community spirit we used to know? And why have so many of us stopped caring? Or do we only care when something affects us personally?

My real question is: When it does become personal, does one seek revenge, put it all behind oneself, or bear a grudge for eternity! I doubt the latter though would be very helpful to anyone – more verging on soul-destroying – but I have to admit, although Harry died four years ago, I am unable to forgive those badly-parented youths for what they did, and bad parenting undoubtedly begets bad behaviour.

Yet, perhaps I am wrong. There are those who would have us believe the perpetrators are the victims.  I for one do not view them as such. And although they may feel abandoned, disenfranchised and forgotten – like the rest of us, they had, and will always continue to have, choices.

Short Bio

Amelia Curzon is an author, blogger, mother, budding environmentalist and lover of all animals.

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First posted on nickwastnageblogspot  27 August, 2012

“I’m a crime writer, and write about dastardly deeds, but even crime writers have emotions, and I found Amelia’s post deeply moving and heart wrenching. It carries a message, and begs a serious question.”  Nick Wastnage (27 Aug 2012)

Feel the stress? Get a Pet!

In Guest Blogger, Pets on April 20, 2012 at 1:05 am

This week I am really excited and delighted to welcome my first Guest Blogger, the inimitable  Catalina Egan

Here in South Florida there seems to be a lot of stressful energy abounding, not in the small nucleus that is my life; after all my predominant existence these days is in the world of the characters’ whose lives I get to manipulate,Guest Blogger Catalina Egan on Amelia Curzon's Blog - "Carte Blanche"create and destroy.
The stress of which I speak can be seen in places that are meant to feel peaceful and relaxed and there are many such places in this haven for tourists escaping their own realities. It could be this global economy that doesn’t seem to lift or the pending presidential election that seems to promote more anger and rude behavior than other elections have in the past.
I know it isn’t my personal perception. I love (as any writer, I would imagine) to eavesdrop. A few days ago it was not through eavesdropping as my pharmacist stated his views in a very loud voice for all in the rather long line to hear.
“Yeah right a pet helps release stress.” The remark was accompanied by a sardonic laugh.
I waited, just long enough to see if anyone else would voice an opinion. There were obvious looks of agreement and a few of those lost in their own cyber-Bluetooth-twenty-first-century-world of I may look like I am standing right next to you but I am actually very far away.
So I spoke, “Pets are absolutely great to help release stress!”
Raised eyebrow said it all from my pharmacist.
“They don’t talk back like a teenage son or act grumpy like a husband.” I continued.
Smile, sword out and coup de grace.
“Or nag like a wife.”
Quick, think, make comeback remark
“Exactly, pets help relieve stress from everyone’s perspective.”
I picked up my prescriptions (and no, not Prozac or any other stress reducer), although my cholesterol could be due to stress and not my ability to eat an enormous meal and lack of proper exercise.
Prescriptions in hand I boarded my car and remembered when our pet Taco entered our lives in 2004, another presidential election year full of nervous Floridians.
Taco is a 5 pound 3 ounces Chihuahua, unlike mine, his weight never changes. He belonged to a family that had not realized Chihuahuas need a lot of attention and don’t do well alone. Theirs was not a home life. As a writer I may well give the word homebody an entirely new dimension.
So we adopted Taco when he was two years old and in an instant he magically influenced our lives and relieved stress.  To begin with he woke up happy every day ready to look for any and all adventure, a bit like Winnie the Pooh. This Taco the Chihuahua on Amelia Curzon's Blog - "Carte Blanche"made me get out of bed with a smile and take him for a walk. I discovered how many beautiful birds visited us every morning and got to laugh as Taco’s bark made the Blue Heron spread its majestic wings to get away. I saw how flowers are so different during every one of our walks, how they open to the day and close up to relax at night.
This in turn made the hectic get-ready-for-morning-routine or I-don’t-want-to-do-my-homework afternoons so much more fun. There was always Taco to share it with. On one fortuitous occasion my son’s homework was on the floor and Taco decided to pee on it hence providing the perfect excuse for lack of completion.
We got Taco a few months before as a family we lost some loved members and as if by magic Taco always knew who needed him the most. To this day one can notice that this is not just with the three of us but anyone Taco comes in contact with.
We pick up Austin every afternoon and as sure as any teenager he says good afternoon to the dog before he says good afternoon to his mother. Taco has made our little family complete and happier.
Taco will be 10 this September, he still bounces and runs like a young dog and when I am too focused on writing I often find a pile of toys by my feet, the moment I see them Taco’s tail wags and he is ready to play catch. He does not always get to play, but I can certainly feel loved and sought after.

If you would like to read more from Catalina go to

Here are a few of Catalina’s other links which may interest you:



All Good Roosters Go To Heaven

In Amelia Curzon blogs, Animals, Pets on March 1, 2012 at 12:19 am

It has taken me a while to start on my second blog, it got lost in the confusion of marketing and promoting in so many places, I found I completely lost track of where I was.  Far too much information seemed to be coming my way. Then sadness descended and I thought I would take the time to share it.

Cuthbert with Hens

This is my beautiful Cuthbert, a six-year-old Partridge Blue Brahma.  At least he was until this morning. He stood two and a half feet high and weighed enough to feed 30 people at the appropriate festival lunch. Don’t worry, we feed them, they don’t feed us. Just thought it was worth a mention.  He was a big, big bird.  He was also gentle and funny.

Upon his demise, his small harem of hens, now reduced to three, didn’t bat a wing! They looked, turned and carried on with the day’s scratching and foraging.  The loss of their ‘leader’ fazed them not one iota. It quickly became obvious Cuthbert would clearly be more missed by his human friends than his own kind.

All his life these particular three hens bullied him mercilessly. He was forever having his legs treated and bandaged as a result of ruthless pecking.  Poor old thing didn’t stand a chance, nor did he ever put up a fight!  Whereas I am quite fond of my trio of very pretty Bantams, these hens were, and still are,  downright murderous and bloodthirsty.  Throughout their short lives they have killed and consumed  vast arrays of smaller wildlife, mice, baby frogs and small birds, to name but a few of their victims, and rather like cats they have played with and tormented their prey and even fought over it. Even the dogs and cat give them a wide berth. (But they will also receive a decent burial when they die– no-one ends up in the freezer in this house!)

Dear old Cuthbert did his best to keep them in order, but to no avail. Big as he was, as far as they were concerned, he just didn’t have that ‘je ne sais quoi’.  Never the authoritarian; he was simply large, lovable and clumsy. That is not to say he did not have a happy life.  He did. Though it has to be said, he never could crow properly and, perhaps due to his size and weight, he could not fly, even a few yards.  His run was strikingly reminiscent of John Cleese in the Ministry of Funny Walks and his risible advances towards his hens in his younger days just don’t bear repeating.  He also loved his food and would patiently wait for it by the back door each day, several times a day – which I shall miss.

Cuthbert had looked a bit shaky for a couple of days when we saw him spread-eagled on the grass and lying very still.  Realising he had probably gone, we discussed briefly where we would bury him and I, with heavy heart, moved towards his ‘body’  as my son appeared at my side with a shovel and a sad expression.  As I gently lifted Cuthbert up, he in turn lifted his head, looked at me, my son and the shovel and immediately sprung back into action. He was having none of it!

This happened three or four more times, minus the shovel, until it became apparent he was not going to be with us much longer. Last night I had to carry him to his bed and this morning, after I had stroked him and talked to him for a while, he left us.

Losing pets, which are truly our friends, is always sad, but writing this now I can only see the pleasure he gave to us and the amusement he provided, and the admiration he drew from others. People, of course, not his monstrous consorts.

Life, of course, will go on as usual, but Cuthbert will always remain in our hearts.

Cuthbert   2006 – 2012


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