Browsing Tag


Ralphie wearing sunglasses

Cats versus dogs (why woof gets my vote)


I have a dog and am wildly allergic to cats. This could be a very short post couldn’t it…

I could curate some accurate and amusing meme here to help showcase my preference for dogs over cats, but that would be cheating.

This post, after all, is one in a weekly series (oops, we missed last week, sorry) in which Kate Owen and I challenge each other to write about something – anything – to update our somewhat dusty blogs. And this week’s post is cats versus dogs. So…

I’ll start with cats because this is easy. Aside from the usual cat qualities, I’m allergic, they make me sneeze, itch all over and hinder my breathing. So I tend to avoid them at all costs. Makes sense, right?

My oldest child. And the cleanest?

The same can’t be said for Ralphie, my almost six-year-old Cocker Spaniel (who has his own Facebook page btw) who knows he should bark wildly at them and chase them, but after that he’s at a loss. If he ever gets close enough to almost catch a cat, he does a speedy u-turn and runs in the opposite direction like he’s forgotten his wallet or something. If dogs had wallets, of course. Ralphie’s chosen currency would probably be gravy bones or chicken slices over cold, hard cash.

Pushing his cat confusion to one side, Ralphie is my oldest child, my black, hairy, four-legged, faithful and reliable child. And probably the cleanest. We collected him one sunny day from a layby off the M25 (sounds dodgy, it was a legitimate exchange) and he’s been at the core of our family ever since.

12036379_1169252879757034_1896091512501141259_nSave for a short period when we had human child number one and there was lots of crying and not a lot of sleep (Ralphie looked at us regularly with eyes that said ‘what have you done!?’) he’s been very happy to be a Bateman.

He makes his presence known by persistently dragging our shoes from the hallway to the family room, nicking off with the kids’ favourite bedtime toys just before bedtime, and rushing to our feet the second the fridge door is opened. He also takes up all the room on the bed (yes, something has come between Richard and I – it’s Ralphie) and has the longest eyelashes in the world. I love him.

Best house guest ever

But my love affair with dogs started when I was a kid. Mum left for work one morning with instructions that, after school, we needed to make sure the house was tidy because she was bringing special visitor home. And we obeyed, the house was immaculate when she walked in that evening with… Henri, a blue roan Cocker Spaniel! We – my brother and I – were giddy with excitement. Best. Visitor. Ever! Until in he did a poo in my bedroom…

He was part of our family, loved us loyally, and was so soppy we could sit him at the table with a tea towel round his next and feed him with a knife and fork. True story.

Hurt them and I’ll hurt you

Cocker Spaniels are a lovely breed and I’d definitely have another one. In fact, baby number three is off and dog number two is on (at some point in the future, at least). I remember a vet saying that all dogs love you but Cocker Spaniels REALLY love you. And this is true of both Henri and Ralphie, both choosing to lie, if not on you, somewhere where all human movements can be monitored from a lying down position. And they’re a fantastic breed with children; I can trust Ralphie implicitly not to run off, not to bite and not to eat the kids’ biscuits. Okay, that last one isn’t strictly true.

12540928_1222678077747847_6754879257909777303_nSo it’s cats 0, dogs 10 for me. Every time. But with that said, I am a general lover of all animals and the single thing I hate most about Facebook (and there are a few) is the number of animal cruelty posts I see. I scroll past them super fast, not wanting to be reminded how sick some people are to hurt such innocent creatures when their only ask is to be loved. If you won’t love an animal, can’t treat it with respect, manage its needs, care for it, afford it, respect it, then don’t get one. Whatever that animal may be. They’re a commitment, like children, and you should be in it for the long haul. Hurt animals, be it on TV, cases of cruelty or just sad stories can fill me with tears in an instant. People hurting animals makes me want to hurt people.

Eek, sorry, that just got a bit heavy didn’t it. Moving on… I often joke that I’d love to swap lives with Ralphie, he’s got it good. And that’s all that he deserves in payment for loving us, making us laugh, getting us out in the fresh air and preparing us, in part, for the commitment of having children. Dogs rock.

PS Kate (a cat owner) and I need inspiration for next week’s blog post or we’re at risk of writing about saggy eyelids. I kid you not. Ideas welcome!

Kate and Wills join the cocker spaniel club

Ralphie chewing a slipper on a sunbedI’m not usually one for blogging about the Royals, but it seems I have something in common with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

They’ve just adopted a black cocker spaniel puppy which means they’re signing up for a lifetime of happy bum wiggles, being beaten round the legs by an endlessly waggy tail, the mystery of the quiff that won’t stay down, lots of cuddles, squirrels chases, squeaky toys and a spot of bad breath. Excellent choice!

When I saw this picture of Kate and Wills with the new member of their family I thought, just for a minute, that Ralphie had upped sticks, packed his squeaky duck, a chewed up tennis ball and box of gravy bones and hauled his furry ass to Anglesea for a stroll on the beach with Kate and Wills.

To be fair, Ralphie has it pretty good at home (although he probably thinks he’s hard done by) but I’m not sure we could compete with royalty. Thankfully, the pupster in the pic is just a Ralphie lookalike and my cocker spaniel buddy is curled up on the single sofa in front of the bay window, on guard duty. His job, you see, is to bark at anyone who dares to walk past our house so Kate and Wills can sleep easy knowing they have someone to protect their turf. And poo on their floor.

Five for Friday: Why you should check out

Ralphie the cocker spaniel in the carIf you get a spare five mins you should check out, follow Ralphie on Twitter or go and like his Facebook page. Here’s why:

1) Because it’s about dogs and dogs rock. Anyone who has one will know how much fun and frustration they serve up: a joy to be around one minute (cute puppy curled up on lap), doing amusing things the next (like growling at penguins on Frozen Planet) and then tripping you over and licking the sandwich it’s just taken you half an hour to prepare.

2) It’s named after my own dog Ralphie and he’ll get a popularity complex if people don’t like it. Our neighbours have just got a labrador puppy called Molly and Ralphie’s already peeved he’s no longer the cutest dog on the block.

3) It’s part of my Masters in Online Journalism and I desperately want to a) pass it and b) do very well. So the more support I get for it, the better. Pretty please!

4) You can play a part in contributing to the dog walking community of Milton Keynes and beyond by suggesting good walkies to add to the map, flagging up dog friendly pubs and attractions and swapping information and advice on being a dog owner. Comments, feedback and discussion are more than welcome!

5) Just because. Watch these two videos and just TRY not to laugh at the highs and lows of being a dog owner.