The life and times of an English Airedale Terrier puppy

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Remembering Oscar Always

We will never forget you darling Oscar. I hope you know how much you are loved and that we miss you every day. You were a one in a million special and unique boy. I hope you are pleased that Harry and Cassidy will keep us company and teach us even more Airedale ways. They will never replace you, but have made our hearts happier again, which I'm sure is what you would want.

All our love forever fuzzy boy,

mummy and daddy xxx

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Name's Harry, Happy Harry

Hello old chaps and chapesses. Harry's the name. Absolutely super to meet you all. My new master and mistress have told me you're all absolutely fabulous types, so I hope you'll be pleased to meet me.

As I said, my name is Harry. I'm 10 1/2. My birthday is 14th March, which Katy says is the same day as Oscar's girl Faya. I have lived with my old family since I was 12 weeks old, but they have been having a few difficulties and I was no longer able to live with them and they needed to find me a new home urgently. My old family loved me lots though and found an Airedale rescue service and asked them to find me a simply marvellous home befitting an older timer like me.

I am a very fortunate chap I know, as almost immediately the rescue coordinator rang to say he had talked all about me with a lovely couple and that they had decided they would like to meet me with a view to offering me a home. They came to see me and talk to my family, and of course one they met yours truly it was a done deal.

I came to live with my new master and mistress Katy and Martin on Saturday evening. I must say they seem jolly nice so far, and they have a rather pretty old pusscat girl called Flakes who I think I could be very good pals with. They have told me that it gets better, and that in 5 weeks time a young whippersnapper named Cassidy will come to live here too. That sounds topper. I lived with 2 dogs and I do love a young pup to play with and keep me young at heart.

As I said, I'm a bit long in the tooth at 10 1/2, but that doesn't hold an Airedale like me back. The old legs give me some jip but I still like a good stroll. My eyes are a bit cloudy but I still have darn good eyesight, and the hearing is a sharp as ever.

I grew up with children and love them immensely. I met master girls yesterday and reckon they're just super. They gave me plenty of cuddles and fuss, but know to leave me be for an afternoon nap. What more could I ask for?

I have been for a recce of the new patch and it seems jolly nice. Left some pee on every lamp post and tree to let the local boys know there's a new stud in town. Met a few dogs and had some good sniffs. I hear I am off out tonight to meet Poppy, a pal of master and mistresses darling Oscar.

Talking of Oscar, I believe he had a hand in making sure I found this fabulous new home, so thank you Oscar. Even though I didn't now you, I am learning lots about you and you sound like an amazing young chap. If I can make your mum and dad a tenth as happy as you did I'll feel blessed indeed.

Katy says I can share Cassidy's blog, as she wants Oscar's to be mainly about him and a tribute to his memory, so please come on over there to learn more about me and hear about the young 'un.

I'll leave you with a few piccies of the first day of my new life. I am charmed to meet you all and hope we'll become firm friends.

Here I am with Martin getting plenty of ear scratches. I may be an old gent, but I just love lots of attention and love. Nothing wrong with being an old softie I say!

Here I am trying to persuade Flakes that I'm a good egg. I think she is semi-convinced. I'm sure my charm will win her round soon.

I have been out every day to pay my respects to Oscar. I really do think he got me here and I will forever be in his debt.

Toodle pip for now,

Harry x

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WESWATC Fun Day 2007

On Sunday after lots of indecision, we decided we would go along to the WESWATC annual fun day. We had planned to go with Oscar, and we decided it would still be nice to go and see his friends.

We arrived in time to see the egg and spoon races. In this photo you can see from left to right Mojo and her dad, Russell, another Oscar, Archie and Willow.

Here is Oscar's good pal Archie. They met up at grooming, walks and other club events and got up to all kinds of mischief together. You can't really see too well, but he's wearing his polka dot bandanna from Oscar.

This little cutie pie is Ruby. She was a darling. She's been very poorly so is a bit small and skinny for her age, but she still had great time, not letting anything hold her back in true Airedale style. I had lots of cuddles.

She almost fell asleep on my lap. She had the sweetest fuzzy little face. Hopefully now her medication is sorted out, she'll stay healthy and happy.

We took E and J with us, and they really enjoyed playing with all the Dales. Here's J getting Ruby to sit for a treat. I think they are now quite excited about our new puppy after being quite upset and confused about Oscar's death.

The mummy dog game is a popular one. Basically you have to wrap your dog in as much toilet roll as possible in 2 minutes. Little Willow was quite relaxed about it all.

Her big brother Jasper looked a little embarrassed about it all.

And feisty young miss Mojo was having none of it. As soon as her dad got one piece wrapped around her, she whipped round and tore it off. They eventually managed to get some on her tail in a last ditch attempt!

We took Oscar's cowboy outfit along, as we had had it made for him by Butchy and Snickers' mum to wear today. We asked Mojo's mum and dad if she'd like to wear it in his honour. Even though it was very large for her, she still managed to carry it off with a certain je ne sais quoi and scooped 3rd prize.

There was some pretty stiff competition for the title as you can see. Bob Marley Dale.

Oscar's pal Rupert dressed as his namesake Rupert the Bear

Pirates of the Caribbean must be popular amongst Airedales as there we two Pirates present.

I'm not quite sure what this guy was trying to be, but he seemed quite impressed with his outfit despite looking a bit silly.

Jasper made a very handsome groom.

And Willow was a beautiful bride, though it looks as if marital bliss could be over already as Jasper is about to wrassle her to the floor!

There was much more fun to be had, with competitions for best groomed Airedale and best trick, an Airegility course to try, a sausage hunt, musical chairs and quizzes for the humans. E & J won the "guess whats in the poop bags" quiz. Luckily there was no poop, just doggy related stuff like leads and whistles!


We took Oscar last year. He had only been living with us for a week. He had a blast, though last year there were no other puppies to play with. This meant he got everyone cooing all over him with no competition! Although the youngest by a long way, he was already showing his potential, and won first prize in the "best trick" competition with a "roll over" and a "shake paw".

Here's the group photo from last year. Can you spot little Oscar?

Here we are playing musical chairs. Silly? Yes. Good fun? Definitely!

Oscar was far more interested in trying to sniff the other contestants than playing the game!

He took everything in his stride though, not being fazed that all the other Dales were a lot bigger than him.

This was our attempt at the mummy game. Not bad I don't think, though poor Oscar does look a bit like he's got a huge nappy (diaper) on, bless him!

Tough as it was to go without Oscar and seeing all those Dales, I'm also happy that we got to see all his pals having fun. We also got to chat with Oscar's breeder about the puppies. All being well we can go and visit Cassidy and the others on the weekend of the 29th/30th of September when they'll be 3 weeks old.

Katy and Martin x

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A New Life

Hello all,

After all the tears, heartache and sadness of recent week, we wanted to share some happy news with you. Oscar's breeders girl Maggie (not Oscar's mum) had puppies in the early hours of Sunday 9th September and we have decided that we would like one of the puppies. We have always been in close contact with Oscar's breeders as you know, and they have been a great support over the last 7 weeks. Oscar had a big place in their heart, especially after being taken back to them by his original owners.

We have known since Oscar died that the puppies were due, but at first we were too distraught to even think about the possibility of a new dog entering our lives. We were so numb from the loss of Oscar that all we could think about was being without him. I felt overwhelmed with guilt at the thought of getting a new puppy or dog, thinking Oscar would feel he was easily replaceable, when this is so, so far from the truth. I also didn't want to get too excited about a puppy to find something had gone wrong with the pregnancy or birth and face yet more heartache. We have come to understand now through talking to each other and other people, that by getting a new dog we are in a way honouring Oscar and the love of Airedales that he gave us. I know deep down that he wouldn't want us to go through life unable to open our hearts to another dog, and to have one from his breeders who have litters very infrequently seems fitting.

As I said, the puppies arrived at the weekend, there are 4 girls and 3 boys. All are vigorous and healthy and Maggie is apparently taking it all in her stride. We do not know yet if we will get a girl or a boy, but as long as they are happy and healthy we do not mind at all. They will not have the same sire or dam as Oscar; the sire is English and American Champion
Jumpin Jack Flash at Jokyl, the dam is Magwyr Starlight Over Sherifs. This should mean that the puppies have very distinct personalities, looks and traits to Oscar, but no doubt will share the same clownish love for life as he had.

As you all know, Oscar's KC name was Sherifs Sundance Kid, and we have decided to call the puppy
(Butch) Cassidy as a way of remembering and honouring Oscar. Cassidy is a fairly unisex name I think, so should suit a boy or a girl pup. Funnily enough both Martin and I came up with the name independently (Martin at 4am after waking from a dream about Oscar!).

I hope you will all be pleased to hear our news. Thank you all once again for the fantastic love and support we have received from you all over the last 7 weeks, it has been a great help in us coming to terms with Oscar's death and helped us through some very tough days.

Here is dad, isn't he handsome? He's English and American champion Joval Jumpin Jack Flash at Jokyl. His pet name is Jack.

Here is mum, Magwyr Starlight Over Sherifs. Her pet name is Maggie (another Airedale Maggie!), and as you can see, she's stunning (and muddy!).

And here is the first photo of Maggie with the puppies, though it's very hard to see them as they are just a black mound at her stomach! Apparently they all took quickly to mum's milk bar. I'm sure many more photos will follow over the coming weeks.

Katy and Martin x

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Oscar Unseen

Hello all,

We are now coming up to 6 weeks since our darling Oscar died. Last Saturday (1st September) was a difficult day as it would have been Oscar's first anniversary of coming to live with us. By a strange coincidence, Martin was sorting through his phone and found some photos of Oscar taken during his first few days with us which we hadn't looked at since then I don't think.

Here is the fuzzy one making a visit to our friends Simon and Lucy's house. He was a very good boy in the house, no accidents. Outside however, he did do quite a bit of gardening, dead heading plants that were actually in their prime! Luckily his cute face got him off the hook pretty easily! Here he is having a good game of tug with Uncle Simon.

And here is he celebrating his arrival! Don't worry, the Champagne bottle was empty. He was far more partial to the foam on a pint of Guinness anyway, and would always try and get his nose in there if a glass was left unattended. It's hard to remember him being that small and fuzzy, he grew so quickly, though of course he had already done a great deal of growing by the time he came to live with us.

There were also quite a lot of photos of Oscar playing with Paddy the Poodle, but they're pretty much all just black and tan blurs as the two of them were chasing around like crazies!

I also found this video of Oscar playing with his Wubba that I don't think he'd ever got round to showing you. I think it shows Oscar at his best, a big silly clown who loved life and having fun so, so much. I hope watching it will make you smile and laugh.

Katy and Martin xxx

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oscar's Stone and Mini Oscar

Hello, thank you all for keep stopping by and checking up on us. It means a lot. We thought you might like to see the pebble we had made for Oscar. We are really pleased with it. We didn't want anything with dates or anything like that on, just something positive to remind us of him in as happy and simple a way as possible.

Once we knew how big it was, we were able to finish planting. Hopefully before too long the planter will now be a mass of colour.

A very lovely lady in America who used to read Oscar's blog contacted us after he died to send us her condolences and support. We have kept in touch since. She makes mini Airedales from felt and wanted to send us one. He is absolutely beautiful and has been going everywhere with me.

The photos don't really mini Oscar justice, but he even has teeny tiny Airedale eyebrows and a big juicy Airedale nose.

He will be treasured forever along with all your tributes, kind words, cards, thoughts and prayers.

We are doing OK. As some of you mentioned, it had now been just over a month since we lost Oscar. In some ways it doesn't feel that long, but in another way it seems like ages since we last stroked or cuddled him or had him bumbling around the house.

We are still finding that there are people to tell - people that I used to see out walking who have seen me and asked where he is, people at our local pub who have asked about him. Yesterday was the first grooming at our Airedale club class since Oscar died. Ralf & Molly's mum and dad went along and told people there for me, so we have had emails and messages from people there in the last couple of days. I am sure there are other people who still don't know. Oscar certainly was a very popular puppy.

We still have days when we feel very teary and emotional. I suppose we just have to be easy on ourselves and try not worry to much if we feel sad or if other people don't understand that we are still mourning. We were sent a very good little booklet called "When an animal friend dies" which has been very helpful to read.

As I have said before, I suppose only time will heal the pain of losing Oscar, but I'm not sure we will ever fully get over the shock and sadness, just learn to live with it and move forward and try to remember as many of the happy times as possible. Hopefully that doesn't sound negative, it's not meant to.

Katy and Martin xxx

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oscar's Fields

I think you all know by now how much Oscar loved his almost daily visits to his beloved Seven Fields. No matter how many times we went, rain, wind, snow or shine, he never seemed to tire of running around there either on his own or with friends old and new, with or without a ball or tasty stickie. Here are some of our favourite photos of Oscar doing his thing there. It is nice to think that a little bit of him still lives on in the fields he loved so much.

I have also tried to add some videos of Oscar playing at Seven Fields here which were saved in Video Egg, but they are appearing as black boxes and won't play. Maybe there's a blip with the site. I'll try again later.

Katy and Martin x

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Goodbyes & Hellos

Firstly, thank you so much for continuing to visit Oscar's blog and for all the lovely messages you have left. It has been nice to feel you are all still there for us.

Thank you also for the many beautiful cards we have received. Amber-Mae, we have received the beautiful drawing & it is being framed. We will post a photo once it's done. Thank you so much for sending it to us, we will treasure it.

On Saturday we went to collect Oscar's ashes. It was a very emotional thing to do & definitely made it hit home that he was really gone. Before that it had almost seemed unreal or as if we were stuck in a bad dream. I am glad we chose to have him cremated and get his ashes back though. They came in a beautiful casket.

When we got the ashes, we almost couldn't bear to not have them in the house with us. We kept them with us over the weekend, and decided it was better to do what we originally intended. We went & bought a planter to put his casket in. Although it is rather plain, we both really liked this one. We placed his casket in the bottom and planted the rose bush from Poppy's mum. We have ordered a memorial pebble like the top one here which we will place in the front of the planter, then we can add more plants around it. We want his pot to be as colourful and full of life as possible. You all know how Oscar loved his gardening, but at least these plants will survive his pruning attempts. We can see the planter from the house, so will always be able to keep an eye on him, and if we were ever to move we can take him with us. I will post a collection of photos from Seven Fields soon.
We are still looking for a nice trophy, plate or statue for the training club award. We have a couple of ideas, and will let you know when we have chosen something. I am going to go along on Wednesday next week and take his new training dumb bell and a few of his tennis balls for their "toy box". I know I'll probably find it really hard, but I still feel like I want to go and see everyone and take something of Oscar's along.

Moving on to happier events, we went to see baby Leo on Monday. He's really teeny tiny still. We had lots of cuddles, I fed him and Martin even did a very smelly nappy change. He's a really good boy and barely made a whimper all day.

You can see how small he is on this photo. He was 5lbs 10oz when he was born, so I imagine he's only put on a little bit of weight since then. I'm not that used to handling babies, especially tiny ones so it took me a while to feel confident. With his 2 girls, Martin is a pro already as you can see.

Hopefully we'll be able to go over and see him regularly. They live about 1 1/2 hours drive away, so we should make the effort to go over every 6 - 8 weeks and see Leo grow up.

One thing we found quite hard about going to visit was that they have a 2 year old Border Collie. He's called Samwise (from Lord Of The Rings) and although he's a lovely boy, it was just hard being around a lively puppy for a whole day.

We gave him Oscar's harness as he's a puller when walking and it definitely helps, especially if Michelle is going to be pushing a pram and trying to walk him too. He is so good around the baby. We went out for a meal at the local pub and he lay by the pram lots as if to guard it and keep an eye on the baby, and in the house he does the same. He doesn't touch any of the baby's soft toys, he seems to know already that they're not his. I know Border Collies are very clever dogs, and Sam definitely seems to be true to type.

We are printing out all the pages of Oscar's blog & memorials. There certainly are a lot, and there are probably some we haven't found yet! Thank you again to everyone who has cared about us and Oscar so much.

Now we are feeling a little bit stronger, we will make our way around your blogs and see what you've all been up too. I'm sure there's lots to make us smile.

Katy & Martin xxx

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Our Oscar

Before we say anything else we just want to say thank you so much for the unbelievable number of messages, emails, cards, prayers and tributes to our darling Oscar. We are completely overwhelmed by how many people loved and cared about our boy, and how many of you are there to support us. It has been a great comfort to us to know that we have such a great network of people out there from our next door neighbours to the furthest corners of the globe. We will reply to all your emails and tributes, but it's going to take us some time so bear with uis and know that we are very grateful for all your support.

When we set up Oscar's website, we wanted to share the joy and laughter brought into our lives by our fuzzy little clown. We are feeling upset now that so many people have been saddened by the death of our darling boy. When we started his blog, the thought of losing him was not in our mind - we just assumed he would be a part of our lives for 10 or more years rather than 10 months.

On the one hand we feel quite guilty at feeling so devastated by his death after him only being a part of our family for such a short time when lots of people have to deal with the loss of their beloved pet after many years together, but then we think that to lose a seemingly healthy puppy so quickly and unexpectedly is just as much of a shock.

We have spent the last 5 days doing lots of crying, talking about Oscar, looking at his blog, photos and videos, reading your emails, messages and tributes and realising that we had many, many people to tell the awful news about Oscar. He certainly was a popular puppy and had definitely packed a lot into his 13 months.

It is clear that Oscar was a one-off and touched the lives of people with his sweet looks and nature, clownish personality and eagerness to do anything asked of him. We were so blessed that David and Martin his breeders trusted us into our care after he had already had one home, and we will be forever grateful to them.

I hope Oscar enjoyed every second of his time with us. We always tried to make sure he had the best of everything - care, attention, what we thought was the best food for his poor delicate little tum, visits to lots of different places, training, having fun at agility, lots of toys, friends to play with every day, good walks and most of all more love than you can imagine.

At the moment it is hard to imagine life without him. The house is desperately quiet. It's so strange to come downstairs in the morning and not see him still snoozing on the sofa or his bed not wanting to get up (he was never a morning dog), or to hear his claws tapping around on the wooden floor and his tags jingling. When we came home from work we used to be able to hear his tail bashing against the radiator in the hallway as it wagged like mad in anticipation of us coming through the door. Not hearing that is very strange. So much of our daily routine revolved around him - meals, walks, training, agility, grooming, visits to meet up with new friends we had made since getting him - it's as if we have lost a huge chunk of our day to day structure. I suppose in time we will work out what we used to do before, but at the moment it feels very strange.

We do know that Oscar was such a little ray of sunshine that he would not want us to be sad for a long time, so we have tried to look to doing some nice things to remember him in a happy way.

We have arranged for Oscar to be cremated, and we have decided to scatter some of his ashes over at Seven Fields which must surely have been his favourite place as he played there every day with his pals. We will keep the rest and are going to get a nice garden planter to bury them in. His pal Poppy's mum bought us a lovely rose bush which you can see in the photo, and we will plant that in there too. We are going to have a boulder memorial made to put in the garden.

We have spoken to Tracey who ran his obedience and agility class and asked her if we can create an award in his memory to be given out at their annual prize night. She thought it was an excellent idea, so we will start looking for a nice trophy and think up a fitting award title. Any suggestions are welcome.

On the day that Oscar died, Martin's sister-in-law gave birth to a premature baby boy. They have named him Leo after Martin's middle name. Though small, Leo is perfectly healthy and is at home already. We are going to visit them all on Monday. We thought maybe Oscar gave Leo his place here and made sure he was safe and healthy.

Since Oscar died, all the awful rain we have had for months has disappeared overnight and we are left with glorious summer days. Perhaps Oscar is sending that sunshine down for us to tell us not to be sad.

We are going to print out all the pages of Oscar's blog along with all the beautiful tributes and create a special book which we can look at always and remember the very happy times we spent with our precious boy. I hope everyone who reads his website will be able to do the same.

We will continue to visit the other blogs and look forward to seeing all the adventures Oscar's pals get up to.

We will update Oscar's blog again when we take his ashes to Seven Fields.

Well, we could talk forever about our precious Oscar, but I want to leave you happy not sad. Here are a selection of our favourite photos of our fuzzy little clown that we hope will make you smile.

Katy and Martin xxx

Click here to get your free ringtone!

Click here to get Days at