And to 1958

Still in the Lonnie Donegan era, “Jack of Diamonds” was apparently released in 1957, but it was some time after “Cumberland Gap” before I heard it. If I recall correctly, “Jack of Diamonds” was the first 45rpm record I owned! As with “Cumberland Gap”, the lyrics are not particularly meaningful, but then … wasn’t skiffle all about rhythm?

 

So to 1957

Young Colin (11 years old) really liked the skiffle rhythms after hearing “Cumberland Gap”.  With reference to the thought provoking (not!) lyrics, I am assuming that Lonnie Donegan was used to a cabaret style of entertaining hence the insertion of a few “funny lines” which had nothing to do with the song. I listen to it now and, while the words are meaningless, I still like the skiffle sound and rhythm!

Music 1956

1956 was a fascinating year because my interest in music started a little earlier after hearing some of my Dad’s classical pieces; my Mum’s interest in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, and my older sister’s interest in Elvis Presley (and later Pat Boone, Sal Mineo, The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly). Given that variety coming “at me” at such an impressionable age, it is no surprise really that I looked for, and found, my own niche. I liked traditional jazz, and I liked skiffle rhythms, but I also liked the fun stuff!

I have been reviewing the UK hits just to ensure that my timing was correct, and that I had not forgotten a song which impacted me at that time but …. my memory is good. The “Ying Tong Song” by The Goons (Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan & Peter Sellers) was definitely my 1956 favourite. It is still in my music library, and I still occasionally play it! It is ……………………………………… different!

I’ve included this version with the lyrics, so those of you who look for hidden meanings can be challenged!

 

 

A New Direction!

This Blog was started predominantly by my desire to share my experiences with our 80lbs of fur … otherwise known as Ray. That road ultimately resulted in my book about him “Who Said I was up for Adoption?”

Music is a very strong force in my life and so, inevitably, it crept into this Blog, along with a variety of other topics which I found sufficiently interesting to share. I even posted some of my poetry which also resulted in a book “Just Thinking”

Meandering through the Blogging community resulted in a book writing partnership which created “The Odessa Chronicles” (stories for children of all ages!).

I have many other interests which were now taking a “back seat” to Blogging, and the only way that I could effectively re-focus was to relegate this Blog to a lower priority in my life, which is where I am currently at however, I just thought of a compromise.

How about I create a regular Post with music as its basis? In fact, I could cover all the years from my first attachment to music … being 1956 when I was 10! The beauty of this idea (from my perspective) is that it does not take much time to come up with a song, and as long as I can find it on YouTube, then all is well!

Stay tuned for a 1956 musical memory. Who knows … it might bring back good memories for you!

One more benefit of self-publishing!

A short time ago, I published (here) a Post about various aspects of self-publishing (link below).

Publishing your Book!

My general message was that anybody who has a dream of publishing their writings should do so, even though there is a strong possibility that the financial costs involved may never be recouped.

As some of you already know, there can be great pleasure in simply holding a copy of your first book. Imagine then the sense of satisfaction when a copy is sold and, further, the big smile on your face when you read a review and realize that your book has impacted another person sufficient for them to express their views publicly.

Another cause for self-satisfaction would be when the owner of another Blog decides to review your book! Not only are you getting the benefit of another perspective on your endeavours, but your work is then exposed to their readers with the resulting sales potential.

“Who Said I was up for Adoption?” has just been reviewed by Tiana Kelly who authors Sit, Stay, Blog – link below:

https://sit-stay-blog.net/2021/09/17/who-said-i-was-up-for-adoption/

Thanks Tiana and, being a dog person yourself, I was so pleased that you saw aspects in the book which could help new dog owners develop a relationship with their dog.

A Diversion From Our World?

Our world is currently a stressful place to live, as we hear about global warming, violent uprisings, discrimination, intolerance and of course COVID! I am not a great believer in escapism as a method of dealing with unpleasant/stressful circumstances, but sometimes __________________?

The following is the Introduction from “The Odessa Chronicles” (a collection of fun short stories), and gives you some ideas about the personalities of the various characters. The book is available from all the usual on-line book retailers around our troubled world, so perhaps there is a point where escapism is a healthy approach to life? Christmas is also not too far away, so perhaps you should not only treat yourself … but others as well!

Odessa is a Barn Owl – Jaxon is a Jackalope – Dewey is a cat – Man Servant is a human

___________________________________________________________________

There was the familiar whoosh-whoosh sound as Odessa flew down from her roof beam, and landed on the floor very close to Jaxon. “Where are the others?” she asked.

Jaxon rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders. “I told them to be here for an important meeting at seven o’clock this evening.”

Odessa paced around for a few minutes, and then turning sharply to Jaxon, said, “Did you make it clear that I wanted this meeting?”

Jaxon smiled inwardly. “Of course, I did.”

Just then, the barn door squeaked open and the man-servant walked in. “What’s up, guys?” he asked, looking from Odessa to Jaxon, and then back to Odessa.

Odessa just glared at him. “You’re late! Do you have no respect for other folk’s time? By the way, where’s Dewey?”

The man-servant looked around him. “I don’t see him here, Odessa.” Then he turned to Jaxon. “Have you seen, Dewey?” Jaxon shook his head. “Well,” said the man-servant. “I think we can conclude that Dewey is not here!”

Odessa was getting a little agitated. “I know very well where he isn’t. I need to know where he is!”

The man-servant smiled at Jaxon. “Well, Odessa,” he said, “we would have to find him in order to know where he is!”

At that moment, they saw Dewey just coming around the partially open barn door.

Odessa looked straight at him. “You are late for my meeting!”

Dewey just stretched out, flexed his claws, and yawned. “So? What’s so important about this meeting? Anyway, I’m here now, so let’s get this show on the road. I have some nocturnal hunting planned for tonight. By the way, Odessa, why aren’t you out hunting now? Frightened of missing your own meeting?”

Odessa didn’t blink, but just stared at Dewey. “Are all cats as uncooperative as you?”

Dewey stretched and yawned again. “Are all barn owls as demanding as you?”

Odessa turned her back on him with a “Hrummph!”

The man-servant decided to get things under control. “Odessa,” he said, “you called this meeting, and we are all here. What’s up?”

Odessa just looked at all three of them. “Do you know that all our adventures have been documented? Did you know that we have been monitored by Carolyn and Colin?”

All three of them looked at Odessa with puzzled faces. The man-servant spoke first. “I don’t fully understand what you are saying, Odessa. Perhaps you could explain it in more detail?”

Odessa did a few circles on the barn floor, suddenly looking more agitated. “Well, Carolyn and Colin are making arrangements to have our adventures published in a book! How can they do that?”

Jaxon looked at her. “Well,” he said, “given that the two of them create our adventures, I, for one, am not surprised. In fact, I am rather excited!”

Odessa went over to Jaxon. “Don’t you think that our privacy should have been considered? Don’t you think that we should have been asked first?”

The man-servant intervened. “Look, Odessa, not only do they write our adventures, but they are also writing this discussion. Whatever they decide will happen to us … is going to happen to us! We would not exist without them!”

Dewey stretched, flexed his claws, and yawned again. “So, is that it then? Is there any other business?”

Odessa walked over to him. “Do you understand anything that I said?”

Dewey grinned. “I understand perfectly, Odessa. I understand that none of us would have lives at all without those two writers, and that includes the almighty Odessa!”

“Wait a minute,” said Jaxon. “That means that our adventures will make people happy, as they read about us. That means that we might become celebrities. Just think, Odessa, people might want our autographs!”

The man-servant was also smiling now. “Yes, our adventures will be available for everybody to read and enjoy. What a wonderful purpose we will be serving! Are you still unhappy about it, Odessa?”

Odessa ignored him and just flew up and onto her roof beam. “I don’t know whether I want to be a celebrity,” she said. “Look what happens to so many human celebrities! They go really silly and act really stupid, but then … being a celebrity does have its advantages, doesn’t it? I could probably adapt if I had to. I can just imagine… ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to a wonderful barn owl. Welcome … Odessa!’ I will have to give this some serious thought!”

Jaxon then made an announcement. “Look here, guys. While you have all been going around in circles with this thing, I have been using my magic to see what else I could find out.”

“What else did you find out, Jaxon?” asked the man-servant.

“Well,” said Jaxon, “our adventures are being put into a book that should be released soon, and will be available from major bookstores and on-line from Amazon.”

The man-servant looked at Jaxon. “Colin told you to say that, didn’t he?”

“Yes!” said Jaxon.

Odessa was still up on her roof beam, deep in thought.

Dewey looked up at her. “Odessa! Wake up! You do realize that Colin just made you go into a ‘deep in thought’ mode, don’t you? You really have no power to do anything. You’re just going to be an odd character in an odd book. Congratulations!”

The man-servant laughed. “Yes, congratulations to all of us, because we’re going to be in a book!”

“Does anybody know what the book will be called?” asked the man-servant.

“I know!” said Jaxon. “It’s going to be called ‘The Odessa Chronicles’!”

Odessa flew down from her roof beam. “Oh well, I can now understand things much better. A book about us is obviously an excellent idea! This meeting is adjourned.”

___________________________________________________________________

For more information about the book, please click The Odessa Chronicles book cover over to the right (may have to scroll to find it!).

Publishing your Book!

There are a lot of writers “out there”, and they are generally visible by their Blogs. That is not surprising really as blogging offers a golden opportunity to expose one’s writings to a very broad audience. However, some bloggers are more productive than others and the temptation to market a book can be very tempting. Imagine the sense of achievement when your book is in print for the whole world to see!

For anybody contemplating this “adventure”, there are a number of challenges which must be  confronted. The main hurdle (based on my experience) is the initial cost to publish the book, and the ongoing promotion costs that must follow.  The traditional publishers will often cover those costs if they are certain that sales will be sufficient to warrant the investment. That rather limits their perspective to already established authors, politicians and other celebrities.

A very practical alternative is to self-publish. There are a number of companies that will assist with this … but it is not free!  They will, quite reasonably, expect to have their costs covered as they prepare your manuscript to be published in book form with all that entails. There are copyright details and ISBN registration and other facets which ultimately make a book available. When your book is available, it is unlikely that a book retailer will purchase copies unless there is a guarantee of reimbursement for books not sold (dead stock).

A very convenient solution to the inventory issues is Print on Demand. This means that when (e.g.) a copy is purchased from an on-line retailer, they simply order a copy to be printed and shipped.

Having said all that, there are some realities to be confronted. Below are the key statistics from my three books:

“Who Said I was up for Adoption?” – Published August 2015 – Cost to publish $5809.22 – Total Sales to date 118 – Current debt $6066.52

“Just Thinking” – Published September 2017 – Cost to publish $3835.06 – Total Sales to date 20 – Current debt $3822.20

“The Odessa Chronicles” (as this book was a collaborative effort, all costs are mine i.e. 50% of the total costs) – Published July 2018 – Cost to publish $2183.06 – Total Sales to date 88 – Current debt $1948.72

Why the significant costs to publish? It was because I valued an independent review of the draft and received valuable information covering structure, grammatical errors and overall presentation of the book. I also had the book covers professionally done. Finally, getting the book registered for sale and the administration involved in creating (and making generally available) the POD software had costs attached.

Why has my debt load generally increased? Simply because the cost of advertising has been greater than the royalties generated from sales. Advertising is quite expensive and, with book royalties generally around the $3.00 to $4.00 per book, must be considered carefully.

It is difficult for me to express the immense satisfaction I have felt with getting those three books published, especially when the reviews have been so positive. The fact that the revenues from sales have not covered my costs is rather immaterial when balanced against the pleasure of knowing that people have enjoyed the “fruits of my labour”!

So should you publish your book? Absolutely!

 

Some memory!

“Some memory” could be a facetious statement about my memory, which is showing distinct challenges as a result of aging, but my memory was not on my mind when I started this Post … but rather Ray’s memory!

When Ray moved into our home in 2013, we needed a way for him to tell us when he wanted to go outside (for body function reasons!).  He had no issue with using the garden as necessary,  but we were not always out there on his timing. Our solution was to hang a small bell on the handle of the back door, and showed him that when the bell rings … the door is opened. He caught on to that very fast and everything was fine until ……………………………..!

Ray decided that he wanted to go outside at around 1:00am one night and so he rang the bell. The door was opened for him and, with flashlight in hand (must look out for skunks, raccoons and foxes), he was lead out into the garden. If all was clear, then he was unclipped from his leash and allowed to do whatever he needed to do. After a number of “early hours” bell ringing, we realized that he simply wanted to be outside. He then started to resist coming back inside and, as we both needed our sleep, we had a decision to make.

Ray was estimated at 2 years old when he adopted us from our local shelter, so he was old enough to establish a routine for his body. He would relieve himself completely on his daily walks, so we thought that he should be encouraged to do the same before we go to bed.

A few days later, he rang the bell in the early hours, and he was ignored! His solution was to keep hitting the bell with his nose until somebody got up and took him outside ….. where he did nothing but lay down on the grass. The bell was subsequently removed from the door handle.

Ray, once again, adapted very well to his new circumstances. Now fast forward to August 2021, and Ray is now around 11 years old.

Carol was out shopping and I was sitting in our general kitchen area (the back of our home), so Ray would normally be curled up on one of his beds, or on “his” chair, or stretched out on the floor in front of the refrigerator! We now have a small flashlight hanging on the door handle.

I suddenly sensed some movement, and looked up just in time to see Ray side-swipe the small flashlight which went flying across the room. He then stood facing the back door, but with his head turned and looking at me. I can only conclude that he remembered  the bell routine from long ago!

Ray had a developed a single “Woof!” routine for when he wanted attention, so I can only assume that I did not hear him that time. Perhaps I was dozing?  🙂

Way to go Ray! You have always been one very special dog.

Money! Money! Money!

I thought I had broached the topic of money a few years ago but, in the absence of a successful Blog search, I’ll pour out my thoughts on money here and now!

Money is nothing, in that it has no value until it is used to do something.

Money invested serves no purpose except to make more of the same. i.e. it is generating more nothing!

The above may sound a little irrational to some of you … but think about it.

It is an obvious fact that money is a means to an end. If you  are saving to buy a home (e.g.), then when sufficient funds are created, and the home selected, the money serves its purpose. The same rational obviously applies to cars, boats, furniture, weddings, Christmas etc. etc. The point is (and without wishing to be repetitive) that money only has value when you do something with it.

So now let’s move on to those of us who have pretty much what we want. We have probably worked for many years and have managed to achieve a low debt load, or perhaps even a zero debt load. We may still be working. We may have financially lucrative interests. We may have investments. In fact, if we have lead a financially responsible life, we could now be enjoying a relatively (financially) care-free life.

Most of us have been raised in a culture that is extremely money driven. This is neither wrong in any way, nor should it be a revelation to any of you. Money really does make our world go round. We need it to provide the basic necessities of food and shelter. We need it to ensure we get the medical treatment we need, but these are all examples of money showing its value by being used.

What about the money that is not being used? What about that investment made a few years ago on the advice of perhaps your bank. You had it in your bank account doing nothing so investing it made sense, but what are you investing it for? You may have a very precise answer, but for so many people,  the investment is “Well … why not?” “It might come in useful one day.” “Who knows what the future will bring?”

This brings to mind a quote (author unknown) “99% of what we worry about will never happen to us. Insurance companies know that and flourish as a result …………. and at our expense!”

I have suggested to a number of people that they withdraw their savings and treat themselves. Take an exotic holiday. Buy a luxury car. Do something that they have often thought about, but have hesitated because of the expense. The reality for so many people is that they work for most of their lives, and have managed to create a financial “nest egg” … which eventually is inherited by their dependants. i.e. They will enjoy the pleasure of the deceased person’s financial decisions.

There is something wrong with the concept that you and I should spend our lives saving as/when we can, but it is our dependants that get the pleasure from it all.

It should be stressed the leaving a financial gift to one’s dependants is a lovely gesture, and one which I totally support however, at what value is that gift excessive. It is my belief that my children (now middle-age!) should be given a financial gift as/when I leave this earth. My emphasis however is that it should be relatively small gift, rather than a life-changing one.  The issues I see with large gifts fall into two areas.

If they are aware of a large inheritance, they will likely plan accordingly and generally behave like privileged individuals. As their father, I want them to stay financially well grounded and be productive  members of society.

I have the options to enjoy my savings now, or let somebody else enjoy my savings later. I can determine where my money goes in advance (specify in a will),  or I can let the recipients determine where it goes.

So what was the point of this post? I wanted to stress two rather obvious, but often little thought about, aspects of money.

  1. It has no value until used to do something. Saving it for the sake of saving and with no defined end purpose is not only pointless but rather insensitive given the amount of publicly funded organizations providing key services to our less fortunate members of society.
  2.  I would suggest that we all have financially dependant dreams for ourselves. It may be a luxury cruise, or perhaps buying a boat etc., or perhaps helping a local charity achieve its goals.  Do we want to pursue those goals while we can, or do we want our dependants to make the decisions about how the money is spent?

Finally, and only if you do have some available money, click on the book covers in the right hand column and decide which one (or two) you are going to treat yourself to! I can highly recommend “Who Said I was up for Adoption?” to anybody who has a “soft spot” for a rescue dogs. I can also highly recommend “The Odessa Chronicles” to anybody who loves fun fiction, especially when it involves a human trying to negotiate his way through life, but having to deal with a Barn Owl, a Jackalope and a Cat! If there is a child within you … you will love this book. There is also “Just Thinking” …. highly recommended if you are a thinker, and love to ponder various aspects of life!

Food for thought.

 

“Will You Be My Friend?”

Two weeks ago, I was invited to write a “2000 or less words” piece in the context of a memoir, and submit it in a writing competition. I duly wrote “Will You Be My Friend?” however, on reviewing the terms and conditions of the competition, I decided to not enter.

Not wishing to leave it unread though ……………………..

Will you be my friend?

(Copyright C. Chappell 2021)

Many, many years ago, I was a 14 year old boy living in England. I had a keen interest in trains, and a busy railway line was just ten minutes walk away! The walk was very simple. Turn left outside our home, and walk for about five minutes; cross a main road, and I would be at the railway line in another five minutes. One Saturday morning, I decided to go to the railway line for a few hours. This was not an uncommon thing for me to do, and the weather was perfect for spending time with “my” trains.

I should perhaps explain that I was a very independent child, a trait learned after experiencing persistent teasing at school as a result of a speech impediment. I stammered, and saying my name was a major challenge. Children thought it was funny to keep asking me my name, and were clearly amused at my efforts to answer. There was security in trains as, not only were they very large and very exciting as they roared passed, but they never felt a need to ask me my name. Even the ones I saw standing in our local railway station seemed to be quite happy letting me simply be me.

I walked down our driveway and turned left at the end. Just a few yards in front of me was a lady who lived at one end of our street, and she was talking to our neighbour who was doing some gardening. Standing next to the lady was Sabre, a white female German Shepherd. I had seen Sabre a few times when she was on her walks in the neighbourhood.

There was nothing particularly unusual about that day until I started to walk past them. For reasons that can only be surmised, Sabre appeared to see me as a threat and suddenly lunged at me, biting the top of my leg. Given the potential power behind a German Shepherd’s bite, I think it more accurate to say that she nipped me but, as she broke my skin such that I started to bleed, it was a bite to me. I quickly returned home to show my Mom, and she took me to the hospital where I received an injection. My life soon returned to normal, except that I did not like dogs. I did not trust dogs. I wanted nothing to do with dogs.

Over the next fifty years, and while I was indifferent to dogs in general, I did get to know a few people who owned dogs. There were occasions when they went out of their way to show me their dog was not a threat and, while it was reassuring to know that they are not all aggressive, it did very little to change my overall image of dogs. There were dogs on our street who got to know me and, despite my no doubt obvious reservations, came up close and invited touching. Patting their furry bodies and stroking their ears was a rather nice experience, and I became quite comfortable responding to their requests for attention. I even found myself looking forward to meeting certain dogs.

One day a thought crossed my mind that perhaps I could find room for a dog in my life? That thought was quickly rejected as being totally ridiculous. A few weeks later, that same thought made itself apparent once again and, once again, it was dismissed. It was not long before the thought of owning a dog seemed not only practical, but worth investigating. My partner of many years had a number of dogs in her past, but she was well aware of my history and so never pursued the idea of adding a dog to our home. I eventually decided that I should discretely look into dog ownership. Discretion was important because I did not want to raise her hopes that we would be getting a dog.

I introduced myself to our local animal shelter, and explained my journey so far towards dog ownership. I explained about Sabre, and stressed that I knew nothing about caring for a dog. They were very understanding and suggested that I take a walk past the adoption bays and let them know if any of the dogs aroused any interest. Questions would inevitably arise which they could then hopefully answer. There were a number of dogs which I thought may be nice, but so many questions were spinning around in my head. How do I know which is the “right” dog for me? What do I need to know to look after a dog? What if I pick a dog who does not like me? I would like a large dog, but perhaps small would be better? We all agreed that I should go home and think about it some more. If I was still interested in a few days, then we could sit down and talk about my concerns.

The idea of having a dog in our home was constantly on my mind and, during one visit to the shelter, we discussed what I expected from a dog, and what I could offer it in the way of a home. As there were no obvious negative aspects in the context of me adopting a dog, it would now be up to me to look at the various dogs and let them know if a specific one was of interest to me. I felt that I was now “out of my depth” and so decided to get some experienced help. My partner was duly advised and was obviously very happy at the prospect of possibly having a dog in our home. We both walked past the adoption bays on a regular basis and, after a few weeks, decided that a dog named Ray could be a strong possibility. However, he was most certainly part German Shepherd which posed the question of whether I could adjust to another one without dwelling on my history with Sabre. It was mutually agreed that as my comfort level with Ray was a critical factor, I should make the final decision. With that goal in mind, it was suggested that I see Ray as often as possible until such time as I knew whether or not Ray was the one for me.

I visited Ray at least five days a week. Typically he would be brought outside to me, all leashed and ready to go. I would walk with him around a nearby park and then, upon returning to the shelter, would take him into a small fenced area where he could be detached from his leash for a while. There he would just wander around, and sometimes watch other dogs going off on their walks, or perhaps off to their new homes. This was the focus of my life for the next few weeks, until one morning in March 2013. The events on that day not only changed my life, but are etched so deep into my brain that I suspect I will remember that day, even when so many other events are forgotten.

It had started off like so many prior visits. I drove to the shelter and asked to take Ray out for a walk. They said that they would get him ready and meet me outside. Ray and I were soon off on another uneventful walk and, while I was contemplating a future with him, he was just following his nose. Upon our return, I took him into the fenced area and let him wander around as was his habit.

In the absence of any sitting area, I went into a squat position and leaned back against the chain-link fence. It was a relatively comfortable position for me as I watched Ray explore the area once again. He tended to stay close to the perimeter fence as he wandered around but, this time, he suddenly stopped and turned his head towards me. He was on the opposite side of the area, probably about fifty feet away, and he was motionless and staring at me. “What just happened?” I asked myself.

Ray is a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix. He has the broad head of a Rottweiler, but the overall coloring and general appearance of a German Shepherd. At close to 80lbs in weight, he could be quite daunting and, from my squat position against the fence, his eyes appeared to be fixated on me.

He then started slowly walking directly towards me. It was a controlled walk, and his eyes were holding my attention. I stayed where I was and watched him coming closer, but I was starting to think that perhaps I should stand up? Perhaps his intentions are going to be unpleasant but then (I thought) I had done nothing that could even remotely be interpreted as threatening. He was now about ten feet away and I was still, quite obviously, his focus. I decided to stay in my squat position and simply trust him. As he stepped closer and closer, I was thinking about all our walks together, and our times in this fenced area. I was thinking how good he had been when leashed. I was thinking how, when the shelter staff brought him out earlier that day to go for a walk with me, his tail had been happily wagging.

My relatively short life with Ray was flashing through my mind when suddenly he was standing right in front of me. I have never before seen eyes quite like Ray’s. They are brown, with almost black pupils, and can really hold your attention. He was just staring into my eyes, and I had no desire to look away. I was reminded of something I had recently read, which stated “The eyes are the windows to the soul”. If that statement is true, then I have to believe that our souls briefly connected during those moments.

He then very slowly leaned forward until his face was probably eight or nine inches from my face. I was totally transfixed and could only await whatever was about to happen. I watched him move even closer and, still staring into my eyes, his nose touched mine. Contact was very brief, after which he turned and walked away from me.

I was puzzled, very relieved, and needed to know what that was all about. I called Ray over to attach his leash, and then we made our way back to the shelter. As the staff person took the leash from me, I asked if she had a minute because something had happened during our walk which I would really like to understand. She immediately looked concerned so I reassured her that Ray had been very good, but there had been an incident in the fenced area. I then related what had happened and, when I had finished, she was in tears.

She looked at me through her teary eyes and said “You have no idea what he was doing have you?” I explained that my experience of dogs is minimal and so no, I have no idea. She then explained that it was a dog’s way of saying ‘Will you be my friend?’ She also noted that, as far as she was aware, he had never done that to anybody in the four months that he had been with the shelter. “How did you react?” she asked. I explained that I didn’t react as I was somewhat in shock over the whole experience. It was decided that I would have a few more minutes on my own with him, before he was returned to his bay in the shelter building.

We adopted Ray in March 2013, and he still “loves” with us at the time of writing this memoir.