Friday, May 14, 2010

A little secret.

You'd think that I might have developed the common sense to check the weather forecast before leaving for the airport. Despite years of travelling it still comes as a complete surprise that the weather at my destination will be anything other than bright and sunny. So it proved to be. It was wet and windy in Amsterdam , the rain propelled through the chill air by stormy gusts from the North Sea and the sea gulls wheeling and squawking in the grey overcast. Just as it's always freezing when I go to Buffalo, so it's always wet and windy whenever I go to Amsterdam - definitely not the weather for a light weight suit. Not even a Kenyan Olympic sprinter could have made it across the plaza from the terminal to the cab rank any more quickly than yours truly.

In the hotel the card you're supposed to fill out for breakfast and hang on the door before 2 am caught my eye. Among the options was the 'Grand Royal Ontbijt voor twee persons'. For the royal ransom of €169 you could get coffee or tea, fruit juices, a bread basket plus a half bottle of champagne, grilled lobster, salmon and cream cheese,open sandwiches, a spoon of caviar, a truffle omelette, and a greek yoghurt with berries. Would you find that appetizing ? Call me old fashioned but lobster for breakfast is a gastronomic innovation too far. 'The font' thought it would make a wonderful wedding breakfast and was distinctly unimpressed with my view that a steak and a pint of beer might be more fitting. Despite the crackly phone link I caught something about 'romance' and 'typical'.

Wilf remains out of sorts. His whole world has changed since the start of the week and he doesn't like it one bit. The best way to describe it is that his exuberance has gone and he's somehow become an old dog. A week ago he used to hurtle out of the door first thing in the morning ready to deal with the great big world outside. Now he lies asleep curled up in his bed reluctant to start the day. We'd expected a reaction to his brothers death but nothing of this depth or duration.

It's less than four days since Digby left us but the subject of a new companion for Wilf crept into the conversation for the first time last night. We'll give it a few more days of 24/7 tickles and bi-hourly walks to see if Wilf snaps out of his depression and then decide what we have to do to . After the evening walk I phoned back to Derbyshire and spoke to the lady who breeds PON's for her advice and thoughts about rescue dogs and new litters. She understood Wilfs reaction immediately and had some very practical advice. It's not just Wilf who feels that the background noise in the house has moved from a full, rich wrap around stereo of sniffles and snorts to a dull mono .


  1. We have that Amsterdam weather here too.
    I so understand that you might be at least thinking about a new companion for Wilf. I often wonder if I am being a little unfair to Bertie (and before him, Hamish) in maintaining a single dog household.
    Bertie is just now saying hello and 'chin up' to Wilf. Can you hear him?
    Cheers, Gail.

  2. As for me, I can never quite comprehend the fact that I can descend from up above the clouds where it's bright and sunny, down to land in a city that's rainy and bleak. That never seems to compute for me somehow.

    And, I totally agree with you about the breakfast, although I would love to be described as a "twee person". Only the yoghurt and berries appeal. However, I am surprised that you, a Scotsman of all people, should find it a bit too much. "The Full Scottish Breakfast" is pretty hearty, after all. Each time I'm in Scotland and reject the FSB for toast and fruit, the waiter inevitably looks at me with pity.

    I hate it so for Wilf. You know, we had Edward for just a few months before we realized that he was a dog that was going to need a friend. His tendency towards melancholy disappeared completely when we brought Apple home. I'm glad you are talking to the PON lady.

  3. I hate to break this to you Angus, but a new puppy will need 24/7 tickles and bi-hourly walks too!! But I have to say there's nothing like a new puppy to lift an old soul. I hope you can find one.

  4. Breakfast is my favorite meal, but having lobster in the morning does not sound appetizing--I'm a southern girl so a heart-stopping breakfast of biscuits with sausage gravey and eggs would be my choice! :-))

    I'm glad you got some good advice about Wilf! There are some dogs who are fine as an only dog and love being the star!! Others I've found need and thrive on having a co-star!!

  5. So sad to hear about your loss.
    Last year I had 3 border collies, mum & her 2 sons, 1st & 2nd born from the litter. The first born died from stomach cancer. Mum & his brother were devasted, they curled up together & actually cried. Took them awhile but they had each other and were doing ok. Then a couple of months later mum went to sleep (unexpected) My only remaining boy went from a tight close family unit to being an only dog. It was hard on him (& us, we were devasted) but we spent a lot of time with him and time does heal wounds. The one thing I do regularly is arrange play dates. He really enjoys the company & has a great play. It has taken awhile but he is now ok being an only dog.
    Give him time, love and lots of attention.

  6. The weather here hasn't been so great either and it certainly colors the mood. We saw a very similar reaction with Phantom when Dakota crossed. It takes time, but if the family is ready for a little one, then do what feels right.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  7. Like all who suffer loss there is a time of healing that must occur before we can move on(as they say).
    But also Wilf's position in the home has changed... once part of a pair he is now the single protector of his human companions and the house.
    You having had to leave so soon after Digby's passing has also made him wonder if you will return...
    Dogs are so smart and they sense things we have get to understand, having been with his brother for so long the adjustment will be difficult.
    Susan x

  8. Wilf may need a little playmate.. He had his brother for so long.

    We're having Amsterdam weather; but it is winter here.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  9. We just got done with similar weather! You have my condolences.

    I'm curious to see how things go with Wilf. Hopefully he'll bounce back!

  10. Dozer here. I was an only dog and life was just fine. Then one day Mum and Da went to the animal shelter and came home with Cooper. They even made me go and meet him at the shelter. I made it clear he was not needed or wanted. So of course they brought him home. Since then my life has been one miserable day after another. But I am a corgi, what do I know? Mum says there is "safety in numbers" which is some sort of American rationale for having more than one dog in the house.

    Give yourselves some time to mourn and then follow your heart. I can send Cooper by FedEx if you send your address.

    Love, Dozer

  11. Yes, a younger companion may just be what Wilf needs to 'snap' out of his depression. Good luck.

  12. All of you are going through a transition and Wilf, being a dog, senses more about what you are feeling than you know what you are feeling. So, he's not only carrying around his sadness, he is toting yours with him, too.

    Maybe before you bring a new pup or dog into the house you should take Wilf to meet some other dogs to play with - see how he reacts. Wilf will give you the clues.

    Sending my love from across the great divide...

  13. An added companion just might help fill a tiny bit of the Wilf-sized hole in your lives.


  14. Four days isn't very long when you're grieving for a companion of nine years -- in Wilf's case, his entire life. We're thinking a new ball of fur might be the answer. Several of the two or more dog families we know have found that, following the loss of one of the pack, bringing a new dog home after a bit has brought the sound level back to stereophonic from mono.

    Not sure if you can access the link below, but it has amazing photos of the icelandic ash.


    xx Joan, Jake, and Just Harry

  15. Despite the dreary weather, I love the pictures of Amsterdam. The sun will come out soon. I know it will!

    I say eat that lobster and caviar!

  16. I've been wearing wooden shoes and buying tulips, its been so Amsterdamn-like here this week. And it's no Dutch treat. Ccccccold and rainy, with gale force winds earlier in the week. One day of teasing sunshine and now back to a damp chill. It's always this way in May close to my birthday - I say it's because Hell is freezing over in honor of the occasion.

    So Angus, pray tell...what kind of work do you do? You seem to have some marvelous travels in your line of duty.

    Petey seems content as an only dog -- especially since he travels on an airplane every few months (under my seat, not in cargo) and a second dog would make that cost-prohibitive. I also am not completely convinced he knows he's a dog. But I agree that with a little puppy, Wilf's shepherding instincts might kick back in and having a form of employment, lift him from his gloom.

    Have a restful weekend,

    Jane and Petey

  17. I hope all will get easier for all of you. It's so hard dealing with the emotions after something like that. I am certain whatever choice you make will be the best for your family. Take care, my friends.

  18. We can imagine how bereft Wilf (and all of you) feel. Let's hope that time, and perhaps indeed a new companion, will eventually ease the pain.

  19. i've got to agree with you, angus. lobster is a bit much for breakfast.
    there is nothing wrong with considering a companion for wilf. he is sad and lonely, and if he doesn't break through, then a companion might be good for him. is there at least another dog friend in the village that wilf could spend some time with? that might help.

    the booker man and asa's mama

  20. Such glum weather in Amsterdam, but an unbelievable breakfast voor tweee persons; that's for sure. Poor dear Wilf. Please give him pats for us - I think you made a good move by calling the person who breed PONs for advice. We think of you so often.
    Hugs xoxoxo
    Sammie and her peeps

  21. Oh Wilf,

    This is such a sad time for you. I hope you are feeling happy again soon, but I know it will take some time. I will stop by again for a visit soon.

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  22. I feel so sorry for Wilf. I hope he perks up soon.
    Mandu (an only cat)

  23. Angus, you all need time to grieve. Even Wiff. He'll let you know when he's feeling better; and he will feel better. So sorry for your loss.

  24. We think Digby will herd something in your direkhtions that will help with a decision -

    Do not evFUR think it is too soon or not the khorrekht thing to do -

    Holes do need to be filled so more stuff doesn't leak out -


  25. It's good to hear that the world is still churning in your neck of the woods. That breakfast???...don't they believe in fibre???
    Anyway, I can just imagine the unsettledness in your household. Give Wilf a hug from us (or ask the font to do it if you are flying high)
    Sending lotaluv from us all

  26. Wild sounds like my Monte. Monte after losing his brother was pretty low he mourned terribly for over a month, but when we brought home Harley he was in love. She made his world spin again! Being "ready" isn't always in the cards, sometimes it is forced upon us. Since you weren't ready to lose the beloved Digby, you probably aren't ready to gain another. BUT sometimes (in my case) things happen for a reason (even when they suck) that end up good. Lots of love and safe travels, the farm. PS I could eat lobster for breakfast!!!! :)

  27. I know I may sound like a know-it-all, I don't mean to be, and I am not. Wilf is nine? Bringing in a puppy could be too hard on him, physically and emotionally. He may resent the "intruder" and of course, his time of attention will be cut in half. He does need a playmate though, is there a dog park, or a friend that has a dog he likes?
    Another thing, you are all grieving, try to do yours in private, turn some music on, make the house busy and include him in the bustle,give him something else to think about, besides missing dear Digby. I am sorry if I sound odd, it just makes sense to this old lady.

  28. . My gosh. I love lobster, but at breakfast? It does sound a bit much, and with all the other stuff...whew.
    Good idea talking to the breeder since she knows PONS so well. I'm sure y'all will come up with what is right for Wilf and yourselves.
    Meanwhile y'all remain in our hearts and prayers.
    Jamie & the Texas Sundogs

  29. even though you will always miss him and no dog can replace Digby, another pup could be the best for all concerned. there is no such thing as too much love.

  30. When I first saw the pictures before reading your posts, I thought, "That looks more like Amsterdam than France!" Sure 'nuff! Well, even in Oklahoma we get weather like that. Today is a good case in point. Took the wee ones on a field trip to the farm and it rained the whole time, we were all wearing coats and galoshes. Miserable weather for man or beast! I'm home now, curled under a lap blanket wishing I had a bowl of hot vegetable beef stew. It feels like February. Anyhow, I know Wilf is missing his little buddy, and hopefully with time he will come back from the depths of sadness to join you in some play.

  31. Hmmm, I must agree with the steak and beer! The lobster breakfast would be OK if someone else was paying for it! Our dogs mirror our energy. Give it time. Try Rescue Remedy, it really helped me.


  32. The squares say every time they have been to Amsterdam they say the weather is like that. Ours has been ccccold but no rain. Tempted to hop across and visit the POM breeder?


  33. I've been to Amsterdam! Loved it there.

    I feel so bad for Wilf! I figured he would take Digby's death pretty hard. Poor little guy! I think about him a lot.

  34. We are so sorry to hear of Digby's death. Our deepest sympathy to Wilf and all of your family. After our beloved Whiskers died of kidney failure March 2007 our house seemed very empty and his brother Socks seemed very lonely. We adopted two 4-week old kittens (Scylla & Charybdis) who had to be bottle feed in April, they kept us all busy and Socks surprisingly seemed overjoyed to see them. They filled our hearts with joy. Although no cat will ever take Whiskers' place they made their own. Which is a long rambling way to say your family will know when the time is right to adopt another dog.

  35. Mommy agrees with your wife lobster for breakfast would be very romantic.

  36. Hum...interesting breakfast. Bet Wilf would have shared it with you. A Yankee by birth and lobster always interests me, but not for breakfast. I'm more of a cold pizza and beer gal! The question of what do you do is begging for an answer along with what kind of hotels you frequent. I usually manage Hotel 6 when traveling. (they always leave the light on--usually to chase the bugs away)
    Wilf will let you know and the advice of the PON breeder/experts is always the best. He's been part of a pair for 9 years, just like us, it has to be extremely difficult. You'll know--just like you knew earlier this week. Dogs have an amazing way of telling you what they want.
    Zach's mom

  37. We've had a taste of the weather you're describing without ever leaving manhattan..92 one day and 40 with gusting winds and rain the next. The strangest spring in years.
    I hope Wilf find the spring in his step again and his zest for life.
    Asta sends her smoochie kisses and wishes she could run and play with him and try to cheer him a little
    hugs and love
    Asta and Mommi

  38. It's not the contents of the brekky SHE objects to, it's the PRICE!! Googley Moogley pups, IT's FOOD. It goes in one end and out the other. SHE believes money should be spent on good food, but there is a limit to what is reasonable. Yikes!

    I've been a bit droopy myself since Puffy shuffled off his mortal coil, and I didn't even like him all that much. I haven't been eating so she stepped up my exercise. That's been helping everyone.

    I hope Wilf gets his mojo back soon. Or you get him a playmate.

    soft woofies kisses all around,


  39. That breakfast would be perfect for one of my Champagne Thursdays... lobster... yummmm...

    Hoping Wilf will perk up in time. I have scheduled a second walk with Petey, Jake's surviving companion, for Saturday afternoon. Last walk we took Halle the standard poodle, on Saturday, Petey will be accompanied by the little poodles Toby and Jeter. Hoping you are all well. xoxo