There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie


Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.
~Rumi


May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett


Friday, 29 May 2015

Our Wee Jack

"My little dog--
A heartbeat at my feet."
~Edith Wharton

Wee Jack at 7 weeks old;
 a Jack Russell Terrier and Bichon Frise mix.


For some reason, about two months ago, Stuart and I both simultaneously and spontaneously decided that we needed a puppy.  The thought was just in both our heads one day, "We need a puppy!", and that was that, we were getting one.


I was away from Oxford for several weeks this spring, visiting back in the U.S., and when I returned on May 12th the puppy fever had only spiked.  A day or two after getting home and suffering from jet lag, I got up in the night and began the puppy search in earnest.  It only took 15 minutes and there he was, our puppy, in black and white, furry, roly-poly glory.  I returned to bed informing Stuart (it was 3am) that we'd be driving up to Carlisle, the border of Scotland, on Sunday to pick up our puppy. He just rolled over and said, "Ok darling, that's great."  (That's why Stuart's a keeper.)

So on the 17th of May, only five days after a long-haul flight and returning home, we cleared away breakfast, waved our guests off, jumped in the car and were on our way to Carlisle, 250 miles away.  We didn't think twice about driving 500 miles for our new pup, it only felt like a wonderful adventure and gave Stuart the opportunity to sing his favourite song, "I Would Walk 500 Miles" --  for 500 miles.
The M6 in Cumbria and our farm shop stop.

We had beautiful scenery along the way, waved to the Lake District as we passed by, and stopped at a wonderful farm shop just off the motorway before driving into Carlisle.  Our spirits were very high and it didn't take long to find the address we were looking for.  And then, four hours after leaving Oxford, we were holding our new puppy, wee Jack.


As I held him, he calmly looked up at me and we both knew, Jack and I, that he was right where he belonged.  What drew me to Jack, other than the fact he was the cutest puppy I'd ever seen, was that he's a Jack Russell and Bichon Frise mix.  I thought what a great combination--the traits of each breed would enhance the traits of the other, and I was so right.  I could tell right way he was going to be a very special dog and companion.

We let his mummy say one last goodbye before packing him into his special basket and the drive back to Oxford.  We drove the 250 miles in a haze of puppy, Stuart driving and me never taking my eyes off Jack.

Once we were home, it seemed to take Jack no time at all to settle in and become a part of our household and our lives.  Since I'm home all day, I have the time to give the attention such a young puppy needs--which is a lot.  I haven't gotten much sleep since May 17th, or done much of anything other than attend to the needs of a furry, wee babe, but it doesn't feel like work in the least bit--and now we can't imagine our lives without him.


Jack is very, very smart, learns things almost immediately and absolutely 
loves being outdoors.  His very favourite place is in our garden 
and he loves to be chased in circles around the bird bath.


He's been by my side as I plant summer flowers, "helping", 
and the little plastic flower pots have become a favourite toy.


He adores his soft bed in the corner of the kitchen and has already 
learned that breakfast-time is quiet-time, and sleeps peacefully 
in his bed while we serve breakfast.  So smart!


He learned how to navigate the garden steps in one go--the very first time.


And Jack even snuck back under the garden gate, scurrying back up the steps 
and letting us know he was not done playing in the garden.  The little scamp!



Jack is definitely on his way to becoming a fine B&B greeter.  
He accompanies me to the door, greeting postmen and guests 
alike, wagging his little Jack Russell tail like mad. 


More than anything though, he's embedded himself 
deeply and irrevocably in our hearts, our wee Jack.


"I think dogs are the most 
amazing creatures;
they give unconditional love.
For me they are the role 
model for being alive."
~Gilda Radnor

This is a Bichon Frise,
which is a blend of a water spaniel 
and a poodle.  They're known for their cheerful
disposition, and are loveable and enthusiastic.


The Jack Russell, or Parsons Russell Terrier,
is an extremely clever, lively dog, with larger
than life personalities.


So far, Jack is a perfect combination of both
breeds--extremely clever and sublimely loveable.

Jack, 8 weeks old.