Willow in the Lakes

Well, strictly speaking she only went IN one lake – Derwent Water – for a little paddle, however I digress.

So somehow I have got to the ripe old age of *cough* without ever having been to the Lake District. When Daughter suggested it as an Easter holiday suggestion last year it took me a while to get into the idea, not helped by not being able to make up my mind which part of the Lakes we should base ourselves in. Eventually I found a cottage in Keswick and so that is where we found ourselves on the Saturday before Easter.

Having arrived at 4pm it wasn’t long before we decided to find some food and ended up at The Square Orange bar. Like many eateries in Keswick it’s very dog friendly, also like many eateries in Keswick it caters well for both vegetarians and vegans. We liked it so much we had to go back for another visit!

The weather forecast for the week, as is typical for the Lakes, was changeable however the first two days looked pretty good – clear if not warm. So on our first full day we decided to explore the lakeside around Keswick itself, which was the point at which Willow decided to paddle in the shallow edge of Derwent Water. She enjoyed the new environment, although the people pottering around in rowing boats confused her and she felt the need to shout at them.

Small terrier dog sitting on fallen treeThe following day was Husband’s birthday, the forecast was again good, so we caught a launch straight across the lake and did the popular walk up Catbells. Despite the fact that it was more of a scramble than a walk in places Willow channelled her Cairn terrier genes and, despite her legs being noticeably shorter than mine, she easily made the summit. I made the summit too, but with somewhat less elegance and more red-faced heavy breathing. We carried on along Catbells and made our way down to the lake again, following the lakeside path back to the landing area and caught the launch back to Keswick. Willow, as is her way, was happy enough on the launch as long as we were with her, however she did scramble off quite smartish once we got back to the jetty. Husband’s birthday supper came courtesy of The George – again dog friendly and highly recommended.

Tuesday’s treat was a trip to the Puzzling Place – unbelievably also dog friendly! I say unbelievably as it’s an exhibition of illusions, hands on puzzles and interactive elements – not the sort of place you would expect to allow dogs in; there was also a surprisingly good hologram exhibition. Willow was on her best behaviour the whole time and even took part in some of the interactive elements to great effect. It was a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours.

Wednesday afternoon found us climbing again, this time at Rannerdale Knots. This was a nice easy walk up above Crummock Water, although the wind was really strong – as shown by Willow’s coat. Small terrier dog on hill looking down at lakeWe came the steep way down which was a little harder, especially with the wind gusting around us. There was a lot of walking on loose slate on the paths (as with many of the paths in the Lake District) and when we got back home I noticed Willow was limping a bit on one of her front paws. It didn’t seem to bother her and by the time we’d been out to eat and returned home she was walking normally.

Thursday saw us exploring further down the lakeside from Keswick to the Centenary Stone and then taking the long route home through the Great Wood at the foot of Walla Crag and then cross country to Castlerigg Stone Circle. From the outskirts of Keswick the disused railway line provides a nice off-road route to get back into the town centre. Again, Willow took it all in her stride. Interestingly, although she has shown an interest in sheep when we’ve been on the Isle of Mull, here she has completely ignored them. Even when faced with this lot across the road in front of her, she was really calm and disinterested which was very reassuring.A flock of sheep spread across a public road Thursday evening saw us in The Bar Metro enjoying veggie/vegan burgers, again with Willow welcomed.

I have been really impressed with the number of places that are both veggie/vegan friendly and dog friendly here in Keswick. I should also give an honourable mention to Kat’s Kitchen a vegetarian and vegan speciality café about 50 yards from our cottage. It has been great to have such a wide range of places to choose from. No doubt there are plenty of other places that are either dog friendly or veggie/vegan friendly, perhaps even both, but it was impossible to try them all out in one week. I have also been incredibly impressed with Willow’s behaviour this week. She was a little unsettled in the new environment when we first arrived, but she has been a model dog all week. In restaurants she has settled down under whichever table we happened to be sat at and waited for us to finish. On walks she has been interested but not over-excited and she’s put me to shame with her energy for walking up and down hills! In the cottage she has happily used her crate overnight and not climbed on any of the furniture. I think all the walking may have helped though, at times she seemed quite worn out!Small terrier dog asleep on a rug

Willow

As I said in my previous post, Willow is a cross between a Cairn Terrier and a Pomeranian; she has the body and coat of a terrier, with a Pom’s tail and a face that’s somewhere between the two.

Dog on rug

It’s fairly obvious that she has not been properly socialised as a puppy as she jumps at any strange noise. We brought her home from the fosterers late afternoon on Saturday and she spent a good half hour or so exploring the ground floor of the house, going back and forward through the rooms smelling everything. Unfortunately she soon learned that the kitchen is a source of lots of strange noises – the washing machine, tumble drier, the click of the microwave door, the kettle… and promptly decided that the safest place to be with all these noises was behind the Christmas tree in the living room, wedged into a corner. She stayed there for quite some time and wouldn’t be tempted out until Daughter budged in behind her and gradually ‘budged’ her out. To be fair Willow has adapted really quickly and yesterday decided she could be next to the Christmas tree when she was worried and not behind it.

In the meantime we’d put the blanket that we’d brought from her foster home into her crate and covered the crate with another blanket so it smelt familiar. She soon decided that was an alternative safe place to be. She has gone into the crate overnight both nights and apart from some quiet whimpering for about a minute on the first night she has been really good. This morning when I let her out of the crate I was met with a very energetic ball of fluff who danced all around me and whose tail was going nineteen to the dozen trying to tell me how pleased she was to see me.

The one thing she doesn’t appear to be scared of is people coming into the house. She’s been quite happy to go up and greet the two visitors we have had with a wag of the tail, which is reassuring.

She seems to be quite an intelligent dog. Although she was allowed on the furniture at her foster home she has only tried it a couple of times here and has soon picked up on the fact that she’s not allowed on the sofa. If she wants a fuss one of us will sit on the floor and fuss her, but she’s not allowed up for a fuss. Cat, however, is allowed on the sofa, a fact that Willow is not happy about. She and Cat seem to have reached an uneasy truce. They’ve touched noses a few times and had a good smell of each other; Cat has thumped her once for some impertinent sniffing and Willow has chased Cat once when Cat was daft enough to run away. Willow isn’t allowed upstairs but Cat is so that she’s got a safe zone to retreat to. Everything is fine until someone makes a fuss of Cat, especially if they’re sitting on the floor doing it. Willow may be happy to be bottom dog at least for the time being, but I’m not sure she likes being bottom cat. I’m making sure we keep an eye on them as much as possible but it does seem positive so far and I hope given time they will become much more tolerant of each other.

So that brings the tale up to date. Today both offspring were at school and Husband was out at a meeting. I was working from home and Willow spent the time that I was working curled up in a basket next to my feet, very well behaved. It has been a pretty positive start to Willow’s rehoming but it is still very early days.

Dog-shaped hole – filled!

Cairn Terrier crossThis is Willow. She’s a seven month old Cairn Terrier-Pomeranian cross who spent the first four or five months of her life living in a barn on a puppy farm and was rescued by Friends of the Animals RCT.  She has spent the past two months living with a foster family with other dogs and cats.  Last night she left her foster family and came to live with us.

I’ll tell you more about her in a day or two, once she’s more settled.