Malamute Myths

This is shamelessly stolen from my malamute hero (one of them anyway) – Joe Henderson.

This man and his Alaskan Malamutes are an inspiration!

Joe Henderson has worked with Alaskan Malamutes for over 25 years, and although he doesn’t admit it, his malamutes have him well trained. Each year Joe offers clients remote dog sledding expeditions throughout Alaska. For more information, please visit Joe’s website at www.alaskanarcticexpedition.com
‘Alaskan Malamutes have been on this planet for a long time and recent DNA testing shows they are one of the world’s most ancient breeds. Throughout history we have called upon the malamute for the toughest jobs—dragging sleds to the North and South Poles, hauling U.S. mail across Alaska, and packing ammunition for our soldiers in WWII. But why are there so many myths about Alaskan malamutes?

In order to bust some of the myths, first we need to explore their history and origin. The Mahlemuit people or Inuit, whom they are named after, used the Alaskan malamute breed over 10,000 years ago and possibly earlier. The malamutes crossed the Bering Straits with the Inuit from the arctic regions of Siberia. They were used as pack dogs, hunting dogs, and sled dogs and protected the Inuit families from bears. It must have been a rugged life back then and the dogs had to conform to their environment or else they wouldn’t survive. They had to be stout and have stamina to carry a pack or pull a sledge. Their coats had to be lush with just the right length and thickness to hold their body heat and repel whipping snow during blizzards. And malamutes had to be intelligent, trusting, and loyal since they lived with people who valued them as part of their family.

It’s also believed the dogs ate when the family ate which meant during famines they had to develop a digestive system that allowed them to absorb every micronutrient from their meager rations of food. I have seen dogs half the sizes of malamutes eat twice the amount of food as them—malamutes are just great keepers. These guys also had to develop hefty paws that would endure traveling on dry snow and sharp ice. Basically, it can be said the Alaskan malamute is the perfect breed for a brutal and imperfect environment.

When traders, trappers and gold miners explored the frozen lands of Alaska they were introduced to the Inuit’s most important family member: the malamute. Eventually the dogs became quite a valuable commodity amongst the newcomers, which ironically nearly destroyed the breed. The increased demand for dogs decreased the numbers and caused people to start breeding the malamutes with other breeds. Luckily, the line was saved and was registered in 1935 with the American Kennel Club (AKC). There are several strains of Alaskan malamutes, and a variety of color phases and sizes.

Although the AKC has their standards for the show ring, I prefer the heavier guys with big feet and larger bones. They hold up better for freighting in the arctic, and that’s what the breed was designed for originally. Nonetheless, the smaller strain makes great leaders and swing dogs since they are lighter and more athletic than the larger brutes.

Myth 1:

Malamutes have an aggressive nature towards people

Sometimes called aggressive, or half-breed wolves, the malamutes’ character has been dragged over the coals. It’s completely understandable why a person would be intimidated by a 100+lb. malamute. I certainly was when my first malamute looked me in the eyes like he was seeing dinner. Then he knocked me off my feet, pinned me down with his burly paws then smacked me on my lip and nose with a big drooling kiss. Malamutes love people, it’s just amazing. From the time they are pups waddling around in the yard until they pass on to malamute heaven they starve for attention from people. This desire to please is the foundation of the Alaskan malamute character, their driving force. It’s what makes these guys tick.
Because of this strong instinct to please, malamutes have to be handled with kid gloves, psychologically speaking. These guys are so emotionally sensitive that it’s easier to deal with children, but children eventually grow up and malamutes don’t. One of the things that really get me is their pouting. Now, many of you have kids and have experienced this ancient art of persuasion or maybe some of you remember practicing this tactic of getting what you want yourselves. But, when malamutes pout, it seems to pierce your inner soul and there’s no way you can resist, just no way! You end up throwing the white flag of surrender and give them what they want and a bit more for good measure. Pouting is typical behavior from malamutes and not exactly aggressive or wolfish in any way whatsoever.

Myth #2:

“Alpha Role” method is an effective way to train malamutes

I have been told that malamutes have to be trained with the alpha role method, a tactic that became popularized in the mid-seventies. With this method, basically you flip the dog onto his back and hold him in that position, sometimes by the throat. The theory is that this teaches the dog that you are the pack leader. The alpha technique may work for other people and other breeds, but I don’t think our malamutes attach themselves to me because they think I am an alpha dog. Nope, No way, I don’t buy it. I am not one of them, I don’t act like them and I don’t dig holes, roll in dirt or howl all night. Those malamutes look at me with respect and love and not as their equal or competitor and I see them in the same way.

Besides, most malamutes are naturally submissive toward people, and they don’t need to be terrified into submission. I have found that even my toughest, macho, hormone raging, dominant dog in the kennel will turn into an innocent, tail wagging ball of fur that acts like a baby when I walk up to him. Take Hero for example, he’s the tough guy, the junkyard dog. He intimidates the other dogs just by his powerhouse physique, and polar bear sized paws. Hero takes no flack from anyone, and lets the other dogs know that he’s king. He reminds me of a bull dozer, nothing can stop him. But the moment Hero sees me; he whines like a puppy, completely letting down his macho image and forgets his dominant role in the kennel. He turns from a lion to a kitten; actually I am embarrassed for him acting like that in front of his girlfriends!

Myth 3:

Malamutes are lazy and have no stamina

There are a few myths about malamutes that I have heard which surprise me. Alaskan malamutes were not designed for speed; they are the draft horses of the sled dog world. Malamutes love to work hard. That’s their nature. I have never seen sled dogs that yearn to pull heavy loads with such passion and enthusiasm. But my malamutes do not care for (nor are they interested) in sprinting for long distances. Sure, once in a while they enjoy a good run for a few miles but after that, their tails start to droop down which usually means that they aren’t enjoying life. Droopy tails for pure bred malamutes just isn’t natural for them and can sometimes signal stress or injury.

Malamutes love the challenge of dragging heavy sleds in rough conditions and they get bored when they’re on smooth, groomed trails, especially the larger brutes. Those guys eat up tough pulls, the tougher the better. Sometimes they growl when they lay into their harness on an uphill pull as if they’re proving themselves to their mates. I have one guy named Mitch. His brown and white coat and sharp mask makes him one of the handsomest dogs in the team. Every time we hit a tough pull he lets out weird growl/bark that intimidates the dog beside him. Now, if Mitch could speak I bet he would be barking orders like a drill sergeant, “Follow me! Lean into it you punks.” Those guys can pull with high intensity for hours and hours without tiring. They’re just unbelievable!

A freight team will put their heart into pulling all day. But there isn’t an animal on earth that can work at such high intensity for long; otherwise they would give in to exhaustion and crash. To protect themselves from crashing, malamutes have developed a strategy that sets them apart from other breeds, a strategy that has evolved over thousands of years of hard work. When I first observed a freight team employ this pulling method, I thought the dogs were lazy. But after watching them closely I realized that the malamutes were performing a calculated and ingenious energy conserving tactic.

The best way to exemplify this tactic is just visualize that you are standing on the runners with me. Holy smokes, what a white knuckle experience! The whiplash we’ll get when 2,000 lbs of malamutes hit their harnesses. After the team runs about a mile and settles to a trot, you’ll be able to relax your hands to allow the blood flow back in them. Directing your eyes up the gangline, you will notice that some tug lines are slack and the dogs are pulling sporadically. Actually, these dogs are testing the load. Like a computer gathering data, those ancient canine creatures are testing the weight in the sleds and friction of the snow.

Depending on these conditions, the dogs will set a comfortable pace for themselves that enables them to conserve energy like a marathon runner. Even after the team finds a good pace, they stretch the energy saving tactic even further and each dog hits their harness for a few minutes then relaxes and hits their harness again. This tactic lets them recover their energy, regain their strength, and then jump back in the game. Often the pace will surge in speed every few minutes when the team employs this method in sync with each other. Conclusion: malamutes aren’t lazy…just wise.

Myth #4:

Malamutes are stupid animals

Now, how many times have you heard this: “Malamutes are dumb as a rock.” But my favorite is: “Malamutes are dumber than 100 dead chickens.” That’s great! And it’s damn hard for me to keep a straight face when I hear this. These guys have a way of making you think that they are dumb. I believe they have a hell of a sense of humor. I swear if you let them, a team of malamutes would have you pull your own sled across the frozen white tundra while they relax on the runners sipping hot chicken soup and smoking cigars. After all they couldn’t have survived thousands of years being dumber than 100 dumb chickens.

Malamutes are great people trainers. They know how to get folks to do the most ridiculous things. I remember a while back when we were filming the Walt Disney feature film, White Fang. We had spent most of the winter prior to the movie in the arctic busting through drifts in -70 Fahrenheit temperatures. Suddenly my team of tough freight hauling brutes was introduced to Hollywood. Instantly, they had fallen victim to the soft celebrity lifestyle. Wow, those guys just melted with all the attention. Everyone on the film crew smothered them in pets, kisses, belly rubs and ear massages. By the time they were done with them they had become a bunch of flower-sniffing cream puffs and I feared they would find a smelly harness a disgusting insult to their new sophisticated life!

Getting the team adapted to a film set wasn’t easy. My freighters pull and stop on verbal command only, which is an extremely important aspect in hauling freight. They don’t stop on resistance from the brake or a hard pull, and when they do feel resistance they dig deeper and pull stronger. So the command to go is “OK”, and those malamutes live to hear that command. The first day of filming was a blast for my new team of cream puff malamutes. I had them lined up in front of the sled with the actor waiting patiently for the scene to begin.
“Action” rang out on the director’s megaphone. Just like clockwork the actors carried out their lines gracefully and professionally. Then it was the malamutes turn to perform. On cue from the director I said “OK” and the team took off with the actor standing on the runners. It was the perfect scene and a perfectly executed performance. I must say that the director was quite impressed.

Take two. I’ll never know why Hollywood directors have to retake every scene. As the words “action” rolled out of the director’s megaphone again, the malamutes were on it. Instantly they sprinted toward the set…without the actor! The leader then recognized his favorite ear scratching buddy, the camera man, and dashed toward him. The team figured out the command to go followed “Action.” So it was only reasonable for them, they thought, to enter the scene when they heard the director yell “action.” After all, the malamutes decided they were the stars of the show and the sooner they put on an Academy Award winning performance the better. What a scene—a team of malamutes nearly plowing over an expensive movie camera in pursuit of their best ear scratching buddy. Nope, these guys didn’t win an Oscar, but they proved they could be a gut busting comedy team.

Of course the dogs received so much attention for their lively Hollywood performance that they were anxious to do it again. But knowing these guys and how quick they learn, I suggested to the director that he should start the scenes with a different word rather than “action.” And also he should change his tone of voice periodically also. The director seemed awfully put out using ridiculous code words like “start” or “begin please,” rather than the traditional “Action!” I couldn’t believe it, here was a major motion picture being filmed and a team of malamutes running the show!

Alaskan malamutes have been clouded in myths and misunderstandings, but they have risen above it all and have made excellent contributions to our society. They have certainly served above the call of duty and have brought many smiles to young and old. And God willing the legacy and spirit of the Alaskan malamute will live for at least another 10,000 years’.

 

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Following on from Popper’s theory of falsificationism – dog wee vs wind velocity! Take one large, slightly dim male malamute, a really windy day (definitely Force 7 on the Beaufort Scale of Malamute Walking – Tails and ears blow away, and a lovely side parting through the fur is plainly visible. From behind, windswept, exposed bum holes look like marrowbone roll biscuits ), and me standing too close behind when said dim dog pees. It’s testable, refutable and falsifiable through observation and empirical evidence (that evidence is all over my jodhpurs lol). Don’t try it at home, folks

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I have a contract free day today – so far, so I really must get down to this sodding essay; only 1500 words to go! We went for an extra long and exciting walk today along the riverbank, where the polite rabbits live, so paws crossed that the beasts are extra sleepy. They certainly seem it so far! We watched the cormorants, herons and the gracefully elegant Image result for swans in mistegrets catching their breakfast, while the swans – I think we saw both mute and bewick’s, but the mist was rolling in and it was hard to tell, rested on the opposite bank. So, now I have coffee, the dogs have sleepy snores, and I must find some appropriate words to form intelligent sentences – ho hum. Writing an article for an Irish magazine about the Cheltenham Festival yesterday was far more interesting!

 

Well, that was breezy! Both dogs have had a Doris Enema this morning, and whilst the view from behind wasn’t particularly pleasant, they seemed happy – strange beasts!

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Malamutes, Coffee and Rothko!

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Today I have been juggling writing a 2000 word essay on philosopher Karl Popper, my latest contract – copy for a damp proofing site, and depression! Procrastination is an uphill…….oh shiney. I started by completing two pages of urgently needed copy, before writing the essay question and a rough introduction. Bloody brilliant start – pat on the back for me……..this was before 10 am. Since then I have sat and stared into space…….tomorrow’s another day!

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Phew! That was nerve racking (and yes, being as pedantic as I am, I checked the spelling and etymology of the phrase)! Walking calmly home after and overly warm jaunt, we met Harry, running out of out of his farm driveway! Now, we’ve had a few meeting with Harry, usually when he’s running loose on the blind bends. He’s a gorgeous tricolour collie – not particularly large, but he makes up for that in sheer snarly aggressiveness. My experiences with farm dogs is that they are fantastically trained with livestock and the running of farms, but fucking awful with other dogs, and very territorial. Harry is no exception. My dogs were brilliant, and just stood while Harry barked, growled and generally scared the shit out of me. Luckily, he does usually keep his distance but even so………Hamish would rip him to shreds if he got too close. Thankfully, as I was sort of stuck there, Harry’s unabashed owner came (slowly) to collect him, and with a cheery wave (seriously?), they were gone and silence reigned. Ummmm……

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This morning, for a change, we went exploring; we found horse poo, cow poo, and sheep poo – the beasts were ecstatic! We also met a more respectful class of rabbits – these ones had the decency to actually make an effort to run away. No tagging each other in a bunny relay race, no squeaky bunny sniggering as they stay just out of reach, taunting the poor demons, and no weird rabbit droppings laid in completely straight parallel lines, or any other geometric design, for that matter. These ones had read and inwardly digested the ‘How to Look Like a Proper Rabbit, and Not Draw Attention to the Lagomorph World Domination Plan’ guidebook. But at least the dogs are sort of knackered now, and I have coffee and study books open – tsk who am I kidding? lol Image result for rabbit poo

How to tell a Malamute from a Husky
By Doug L
For the ever-shedding pack

Shelters often cannot tell the difference between a Husky and a Malamute. The general public is worse. Malamutes are generally large but it may be a big Husky, a small Malamute, or a mix of the two. If you see a Northern breed dog or have adopted one from a shelter, this
simple quiz can help differentiate between these two very distinct breeds.

Note the position of the ears:
A. The ears are almost vertical to hear mice under the snow.
B. The ears point out like radar dishes to hear grocery bags.

The eye color is:
A. Blue. Or brown. Or both. Or yellow and blue in one eye. Sometimes I
swear they switch places.
B. Brown, definitely. Maybe blue. What are you, a show judge or something?

The proper term for the dog is:   IMG_1580 (2).jpg
A. Siberian Husky
B. Alaskan Malamute
C. My snooky wuggums

Is that a squirrel?
A. Squirrel? Come on guys, let’s get it!
B. Smmh mmbl?*gulp* What squirrel?

Have you been digging?
A. Yes, I am terraforming your planet.
B. Yes, at the bottom of the steps is a pit deep enough you can’t see out of it.

You introduce a new dog food and:
A. Bleh. I’ll hold out for chicken. For days.
B.*Whoosh* More, please? And that chicken defrosting in the fridge? Gone.

Intelligence test: cover kibble with a cloth and let the dog figure it out.
A. Grab the cloth. Give it a kill shake. Vacuum up the kibble.
B. Whine. Sniff. Whine. Ah, the heck with this. Pounce on the cloth
with both paws. Tear a hole through it. Vacuum up the kibble.

How does the dog wake you up?
A. Jumps on the bed and sits on your head.
B. Jumps on the bed and sits on your gut, crushing the air out of you.

When people see the dog they say:
A. Ooh, is that a wolf?
B. Ooh, is that a wolf?

The pack starts yodeling at 3 am and sounds like
A. A-ooo. Yii-ooo!
B. Rooo Wooo!

The dog is built:
A. Like an eco-friendly pickup truck, very light on gas. Goes
anywhere and can haul quite a bit.
B. Like a Unimog truck and sucks up fuel like one. Goes anywhere,
hauls huge loads, and drags you through the brush.

When the dog sheds:
A. You brush and vacuum for days and still have hairy tumbleweeds
bigger than rabbits.
B. See A.

You left her alone in the car for only a minute and she:
A. Shredded the passenger seat, half the dash, and chewed off the gear
shift knob.
A. Ate the passenger seat and threw it up on the driver seat.

When you feed the dogs, you
A. Put the bowls in one room and they scramble for their own bowl.
B. Put the bowls in separate rooms and close the doors.

The dog flosses his teeth by:
A. Shredding furniture.
B. Shredding house siding.

When your dog meets other dogs, she thinks:
A. They might be new playmates. I wonder if they like chicken?
B. They might steal my dinner. I wonder what they taste like?

Is the dog is trustworthy around human infants?
A. Totally. They howl together.
B. Absolutely. They sleep snuggled up to each other.

Northern dogs are escape artists. On several occasions the dog:
A. Dug under the fence, jumped over the fence, or pried open a hole
just large enough to slip through.
B. Chewed through a fence post until he could push down the gate.

Of course your dog counter-surfs.
A. She jumps onto the counter and walks the length, sampling everything.
B. She puts her front paws on the counter, licks all the garbage from
the sink, and carries a 10 lb sack of potatoes back to her crate.

Every dog should go to obedience class. Your dog, however:
A. Ignored you through the whole thing, made you look like a fool by
aceing the exam, and promptly went back to ignoring you.
B. Gave the “hairy eyeball” to every Rottweiler and Doberman in the
class but was nervous around the Chihuahuas.

You turn vegan and decide your dog should join you. You toss
vegetables to the dog. He reacts:
A. Snap! Spit! That is*not* food.
B. Snap! What the hell did I just eat?

When a friend comes over, the dog reacts:
A. Hi there! Just one pat, thank you. You are dismissed.
A. Hi there! Got any food? Ooh, I love to slobber faces. Got any food?

Siberians and Malamutes are not the best at recall. The dog runs off and:
A. Two hours later you get a call from the local police. When you
arrive, the dog is smiling from the back of the cruiser and the top of
their white car is covered with muddy paw prints.
B. Two hours later she scares the hell out of you by sneaking up from
behind and barking.

The proper number of Huskies or Malamutes is:
A. 2
B. 3 or 4
C. Every Christmas you send a bottle of bourbon to the local animal
control officer.

Answer key:

If you answered A to most questions, you probably have a Siberian
Husky. You have been distracted for 10 minutes. Check to see your dog
has not escaped with the car.

If you answered B to most questions, you probably have an Alaskan
Malamute and your dinner was stolen while reading this quiz.

If you answered C to the last question, you are owned by Siberians or
Malamutes. This is normal. You do not need professional help,
regardless what your relatives say.

 

Yes, I am well aware that I am bad for oversleeping; however, you had an extra long walk to Image result for spilt coffeecompensate, and an apparently delicious breakfast, so why do you feel it necessary to throw the rope toy at my head and, whilst the tennis ball in coffee cup was an impressively accurate shot, was it really deserved? By contrast, it was hysterically funny to watch the look of panic on your face when you realised that at the speed you were going, you wouldn’t be able to stop in time- straight over the sofa and onwards! PMSL

 

The sunrise was gorgeous this morning – salmon pink streaks in a slate grey, fading to white, then to blue, sky as the earth moved under it, the beasts relaxing flat out underneathsunrise the moving rainbow of colours. There you go, I have to get my creative fix somehow; my current contract is writing about damp proofing – there’s only so much creativity that you can sneak into that (I did try, though, describing how tanking a cellar could turn it into an extra room – a colourful playroom, a relaxing reading den, etc – I wonder if it will stay in until it goes to print lol). But it’s now zoomies and coffee time

 

Beast Training:
‘Dogs Haw/Gee’
Hamish – immediately, without thinking, goes the right way.
Pagan – checks paws to work out direction – both are white lol
‘Dogs Sit’
Pagan – absolutely, cos I will get a treat and am much cleverer and smugger than Hamish.
Hamish – Well, it really depends on what you mean by ‘sit’; you could mean ‘bounce’, or ‘sniff’, or ‘jump up’. Do you mean ‘sit’ as in not standing, and if so, what do you want me to ‘sit’ on? The floor is relative to the direction my paws are facing, surely? I’m on my back, therefore where is the floor? Is the floor a metaphysical theory of space? The floor presumably lays on top of ‘the ground’ therefore do you mean ‘floor’ or ‘ground’? If you mean the floor as the base level, then that is not the floor, it is the ground that lies under the floor…….’Just fucking sit’!

 

I am in the doghouse – committed the cardinal sin, the thing that no one should do, or at least be caught doing it, I am a bad person. I feel guilt, shame, and disgust at myself for allowing myself to tumble headfirst into the pit of the murky underworld, the quagmire of temptation, and possibly even the Bog of Eternal Stench, deserving to live out my days in the Oubliette of darkness and loneliness (sorry, I seem to have slipped into Labyrinth land). I dare not even speak of what I have done, it is too shameful, I could not bear your scorn, your turning away in embarrassment for me, your disgust at my appalling sin…….oh okay, if you insist……I slated Pagan to Hamish, AND SHE HEARD ME!!! I am broken

Bastard bloody dog – now, he wants the peel taken off his apple before he’ll eat it!!!

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Updates and Stuff

img_1523-3Treated myself to the most gorgeous little Tudric/Liberty & Co pewter bowl yesterday – I adore the feel of the soft, luxurious hammered metal, the simplicity of the lines, touching on the art nouveau movement with the curve of the handles, and the organically curved split where they join. A bargain at a mere tenner (after a bit of haggling anyway lol).

Dear Doctor,
This morning I found myself crawling around on the floor with the beasts; we were all singing together, pawing each other (people – please!) and generally having a joyous time. Is there something wrong with me? Take a double measure of gin up to 10 times a day, you say? Okey dokey, Doc, I’ll start right away!

Study……study……. I’ll just groom the dogs…..study…….coffee………game of tug with img_1522-2Hamish…….study………..Pagan wants a tummy rub……..study………why, Hamish, of course I’ll play football with you…….coffee……..study……..group song……..you want a back scratch, Hamish, while I rub Pagans tummy with foot? Of course………..study…….coffee…….just pop dogs out for a wee……..time for dog games…….stu…..seriously, why do I bother with the study? 😉

Pagan ‘fell’ in the pond this morning – and then apparently couldn’t find the bank to climb out! Happily swimming round like a strange platypus, head underwater, and her tail, rudder-like, flopping around. Silly moo!

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 Well, with all the pollarding, the fields are a quagmire of muddy soup now that the freeze has vanished. Bring back the crunchy frost, please! However, despite all the odds stacked against me, I stayed vertical – always a bonus, I feel. The beasts were filthy due to joyous sharking across the cricket pitch, Slutbitch collecting every worm cast on her face whilst I dragged an apparently dead dog across the field. Eventually, by a weird mix of writhing and rolling, she caught up with me – I do wonder what people think if they look out of their windows and see two muddy mallies who have lost the use of their legs, miraculously jump up to flatten the weeble, who then starts screaming and batting at them to get off, which just makes them worse – seriously, dogs, every fucking morning – why? So, of course, a rough toweling down (although by this stage I was muddier than them) is an excuse for pre breakfast zoomies, followed by a session of sulking because I wouldn’t feed them until their breathing had settled down – silly pups! Now, full and contented, they are snoring happily, and I am considering Decartes Theory of Knowledge – cos that’s just how we roll here

Image result for muddy fields The fields are in a state of disarray at the moment – big yellow diggers and machinery everywhere; it’s pollarding time! Frozen ruts, and clods of mud lie in wait for a toe stubbing or a stumble, or both in my case, one straight after the other! There is a sense of fear among the rabbits as their warrens get blocked by branches and scrub. So, we’ve been heading to the woods, where owls fly like pale spirits through the trunks, and the scent of deer lies strong on the ground. Approaching through the shadowy darkness (yes, even darkness has darker patches lol), a light – the Silent Jogger and his hound. We stop for a quick chat, his dog joining in. He admires the demons, and I launch into my usual spiel – insane, chaotic, not good pets, high prey drive etc, with SJ politely laughing along with my descriptions. His laughter changes tone, and in response, I look down at the beasts – these ferocious, untamed, feral demons. Ummm……yup, they are rolling in the mulch and mud, licking it off each other in sheer delight, and murmuring to each other happily. Gee thanks, bastard traitors – now, I’m a liar lol!

The barking  foxes scared the bejesus out of me last night – so close to the house, and so human like that they stopped me in my tracks. I paused, held my breath, and waited. Every call sounded like an attack, like someone in real trouble; then, a beautiful vixen appeared – sleek and sultry, out looking for her dog, and I relaxed, happy and content in the knowledge that nature surrounds me with its glorious heart-stopping beauty.

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After the fox/human scariness, when I put the demons out for last wees, I put their headcollars on – just in case. They ran hither and thither (*note to self – must use this phrase as often as possible – needs to be revived in the English language), noses to the ground, far too excited to settle down and get on with their bedtime routine. In the hedgerow at the bottom of the garden, I was slightly alarmed to see two pairs of green glowing eyes, one at human height!! But the bastard animal was halfway up a tree just to freak me out even more. And as the dogs got closer, it jumped down and made off through the woods with its mate, two adrenaline fueled malamutes and a weeble. Fortunately, the demons stopped before pushing through the brambles and ditches into the woods and beyond! What stopped them? It certainly wasn’t me hissing angrily, the tempting treat of biscuits from my pockets, or the sudden desire to behave – no, it was fucking badger crap for supper! Jeez, is it just me?

 

Busy busy day here – contract writery stuff and essay juggling! Fortunately the beasts had aImage result for the cheshire cat tiring walk, with sniffs galore, bunny holes to pee in and things to drag me to. In the distance we saw the lights of the Silent Jogger – cue bouncing on the spot before taking off at a gallop with me in tow. Fortunately, the cat in the tree stopped them; its Cheshire Cat grin smiling down at us, satisfied by its safety, and the chaos it was causing below, with green eyes blinking slowly in the torch light. Eventually we got home in one, rather weak and floppy, piece. They are snoring, I have coffee – all is calm (for now)

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Stuff

Well, after a long, crunchy underfoot walk we are back! It was so loud out there; the poplar and willow trees, covered in a dusting of snow, cracked and creaked in an alarming manner, and every crisp paw fall was gunshot loud. But now the beasts are snoring softly, stretching contentedly in their sleep, and peace reigns. Except in my head – my head is loud and crazy, full of timescales and deadlines, pre essay panic, and searching for the words to make Image result for study and coffeecoherent sentences. More coffee is definitely needed before I open the books! Must not procrastin…..oh robin in the garden……..green woodpecke……….nope, books!

 

Eeekkkk just got asked to write a bio; how’s this? ‘What am I passionate about? I am passionate about my freedom; freedom to learn and to live, to grow, to watch the barn owls across my garden, to study the spider as she builds her web – look closely at the markings on her back, the spots and splodges, her sheer perfection. I drink coffee under the full moon and laugh with my sisters from times gone by – I call myself a chaos witch, and yes, I follow that path, although often straying off it and wandering through the shady Image result for garden spiderundergrowth.
But I live for my dogs – these two chaotic, unruly sled dogs that make me laugh, sing and worry; they are my reason for everything. It’s the three of us against the world!’

 

With my previous module on my degree path – psychology, and the ones before that, the Image result for philosophy booksauthors of the text books either hadn’t written/published their own books or just kept them out of the syllabus. With philosophy, authors of the OU texts are plugging their own work everywhere. Which suggests that A) ego the size of a small planet B) they have plenty ofImage result for philosophy time spare to concentrate on their own work C) philosophers can talk shit, anyone will publish it, people like me will buy it, and attempt to look clever by understanding someone else’s theories instead of developing their own. Oh look…..a theory……..must write a book based around it, padded out with big, clever words and citing some bearded 17th Century philosopher, who, when read properly, makes a lot of sense. Actually, despite evidence to the contrary, I’m loving the course, it’s just hard going with a stinking cold, and bleary eyes.

 

Frosty, clear, beautiful and fucking slippy out there. I remained remarkably vertical, but the beasts were slipping nicely along the lane *snigger*. We were out early enough to meet Gertie the Pink, but I guess her grunting, camo wearing owner decided that crossing the road to the cricket pitch for her daily 2 minutes walk was just too treacherous. Or maybe he decided that his thin cotton camo shorts would just be too chilly this morning *shudder (and not from the cold)*! Today is a day of writing, study and dentistry (don’t ask, nervous img_1499-2enough as it is), and lots of coffee and furry hugs (shhhhh don’t warn them that there’ll be a Grab and Hug later 😉 ) but for now – coffee!

 

Everything was frozen today – even the lane was icy and treacherous, and if the demons were slipping, there seemed little hope for me. But we made it to the fields unscathed. Dogs, generally, seem content with little – food, shelter, attention and a daily walk/sniff around; they require little else from us, and yet, some people still seem to fail on those counts. Do we have a finite capacity for caring? We take this puppy into our homes, care, love and hug it, until it gets to boisterous adolescence, then some people decide they don’t love it anymore, and pass it on. Those small things it requires go by the wayside, we get fed up with caring and loving, and reach that tipping point. I know my friends have an infinite capacity to care – they don’t run out of compassion and love. I know I am preaching to the ones who do this already, but lets try and make 2017 a better year. Let’s face it 2016 was utter shit for a lot of us – let’s make this a proactive year of change. The energy seems good and positive for that. TBH I don’t really know where I’m going with this post, so I think I’ll just shut up now xxx

 

What Am I?

NYE and we’re all looking into the future – but the past is part of that. No matter how hard Eckhart Tolle preaches (and I do listen, honest), we/I cannot isolate the two.

So, what am I? I am a writer – freelance and seeking that perfect job, rather than small short term contracts. I am as poor as a church mouse, but that will get sorted in time. I am a student – studying hard and faking cleverness. I am owned by the most stunning and wonderful dogs. I am creative – I have ideas to paint again, but am too scared nowadays to put brush to canvas – words are my safe medium, with no judgement necessary.

I had an abusive childhood – not physically, just lacking in the love and understanding that an adopted child needs. I was locked in my room for hours at a time, I wasn’t hugged, or Image result for lonely childhood artlistened to. I was judged as unintelligent and backward because I took so long learning to read; the school thought I was ‘retarded’, and my parents never questioned it, never had/took the time to learn what interested me, what made me happy, what gave me the security that I lacked so badly. An ‘artistic’ personality in an academic household – round peg in a square hole!

I had abusive relationships – both physically and mentally, that left me lost and longing, but feeling it was all I deserved; worthless and unlovable, not knowing what ‘normal’ love is, without that desperately sick feeling of need, of needing another person next to me, looking after me.

Image result for booksNow, I am here – three years after the Big Break Up; three years on my own (apart from occasional men) with my dogs. It still amazes me that I am capable of doing even the smallest thing – I take pleasure in hoovering my lovely rented cottage. I am not criticised over the smallest thing. I wash up, despite the dishwasher in the corner, because it’s something I can do. I look at my books – they are all mine, collected in the last three years (I left with nothing). I smile at the paintings hung on the walls – not done by me, but one day maybe.

I lie in my bed at night, cosy with the lamp on, snuggled under the duvet, with a cat curled up on the pillow next to mine, and the dogs snoring in the next room, and am content.

I still panic at the slightest thing – a phone call or bill can send me spiraling out of control; a complicated instruction can confuse the hell out of me. I panic that I won’t have enough money left at the end of the month. That, because I put things off until the last possible minute,  I’ll run out of medication, and the dark will take back what it once owned fully.

But, I’m sitting here, with three writing contracts to complete, one dog softly asleep in theImage result for typewriter on desk kitchen, the other by my feet, the house warming after the night’s chill, and coffee on the go, and I can smile, pushing any worries away for now.

2017 will be my year to shine!

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