Soggy doggy playing fetch in the rain

We’ve had a rainy weekend but this cute dog hasn’t let the damp weather spoil his fun!

soggy dog having fun in the rain





Keep a mop handy for those muddy paw prints when he gets home…

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As Seen On TV…

Louise Dolan, Simon Howgill and HollyWe’ve been contacted by a researcher for a TV production company asking for more information about one of our videos on You Tube. The questions she asked made me think back to when we first adopted Holly and reflect on how much she means to us so I thought I’d share them with you. Don’t worry if Holly becomes famous though – she won’t let it go to her head and will still keep in touch with her fans…

Our video is called Happy Dog Gives Owners Crazy Greeting


Old Dalby – a village in Nottinghamshire, England

Name of dog, you and other person in video.

Holly the dog and her owners Louise Dolan and Simon Howgill. You can also hear the voice of our dog walker Sally in the video. Holly stayed with Sally whilst we were away and Sally jokingly says that she’s sorry but we can’t have her back as she enjoyed looking after her so much!

What is the dog’s breed? What are some of the common characteristics of this breed?

Holly is a Border Collie crossbreed dog. She is very smart and loves dog agility which comes from the Collie in her. Unusually for a Collie she is not normally interested in chasing balls or other animals so Holly lives happily with our cat. I think Holly must also have some Spaniel in her family tree as she walks with her nose a few millimetres from the ground and stops without warning so she doesn’t miss a good sniff!

When, why and how did you first acquire the dog?

Holly was sent over to England on a ferry from Ireland with a shipment of dogs who had been saved from destruction in Irish Council pounds. There is a big problem with stray dogs in Ireland and very few rescue centres so many dogs are put to sleep every year. Holly was very lucky to get a second chance and was taken from the ferry to a rehoming centre in Rugeley, England called the Border Collie Trust. We had lost our last dog very unexpectedly due to sudden illness and were heartbroken and couldn’t face the Christmas holidays without a dog. So we went to the Border Collie Trust who were still open for rehoming dogs and found a dog who we named Holly for Christmas.

How would you describe the dog’s personality?

Holly was the most nervous rescue dog I have ever seen. She hid under a chair when we were adopting her at the rescue centre and wouldn’t come out even for some home cooked chicken. She got on well with our cat straight away and has always loved travelling in the car but was incredibly scared of people, especially men and children. It took Holly four weeks to let us even touch her and it was was difficult having to be so patient when all we wanted to do is give her some fuss.

Holly will always be a bit wary of strangers due to her terrible start in life but she is now the most loyal and loving dog I have ever owned. She likes nothing better than to spend time with us.

When did you realize that there was something special about your dog?

The first weekend we had Holly she was so scared she escaped from our garden when a visitor opened the gate and we couldn’t stop her from running away from home. We were devastated and got many family members to help us to search for Holly for hours. Simon’s mum saw Holly running up the middle of a busy road but couldn’t catch her that night. The next day we were eating breakfast before being ready to resume our search and we saw Holly walking up the drive to our house. We opened the front door and she walked in! I think that this was the first moment that she realised that we weren’t trying to hurt her and she might be better off at home with us. Since then she has never run away again and never even lets us out of her sight when she is off lead.

How would you say your relationship is like with your dog?

We have an incredibly strong bond with Holly. We don’t have children so she makes our family complete. She is very sensitive to the emotions of people that she has bonded with. So if we are fed up she will insist that we play with her until we have cheered up and if anyone in the family is ill or upset she will lie quietly next to them and give them a gentle lick. This was a great comfort to my mother when she was very ill.

Take me back to the very first moment when this video happened.

We had just got back from a 12 hour flight from sunny South Africa and were wrapped up against the freezing cold weather in England. We rang Sally to let her know that our plane had landed and drove straight from the airport to Sally’s house to pick up Holly. Sally heard us arrive and opened the front door so Holly came rushing out to greet us.

Why do you think your dog was so excited to see you?

Holly is always really happy to see us whenever we come home as we have such a strong bond.

Does your dog always get excited when you come home or was this particularly special?

It was the longest time we had ever left Holly because we went on safari for 3 weeks to celebrate my 40th birthday. It was particularly special to see her again as although we had a wonderful holiday we really missed her and she really missed us!

We think Holly is such a special dog, and because we don’t like to leave her, we started a website listing dog friendly places to stay and visit so she could come too!
We wanted to give something back to the Border Collie Trust to thank them for rescuing Holly so all money raised goes directly to them. The site is called and it was featured in the local papers when we launched. Here is a link to the articles.
So far we have raised over £3700 to help change the lives of other rescue dogs like Holly.

My Dog is a Cliche – Postman Wars

dog with letter

Holly has a nemesis. I know she’s a walking, drooling cliche but it’s the postman.He keeps posting letters through the door and leaving everytime Holly barks. So the coward doesn’t even stay to face the music…

She’s not keen on visitors at the best of times but this time she’s bearing a grudge. She only needs to see him getting out of his van or crossing the street on a walk and she starts eyeballing him. It’s like she’s thinking “What self respecting visitor would be wearing shorts in this cold weather? That is definitely a postman.”

She’s on red alert when she hears the van pull up our drive. She restricts herself to barking at him when we aren’t in the house. Apart from the shameful time we were in the garden and the gates were open and she chased his van down the drive but we don’t talk about that…

When we are home she adds an extra level of excitement as we rush to see whether we can pick up the mail before Holly shreds it.

Half our Christmas cards will have a little doggie chew mark on the corner where we didn’t quite make it. This is not quite as bad as when Simon ordered a new part for his computer from a well known internet auction site and Holly ripped open the attractive jiffy bag and ate the contents. After being really pleased to outbid his rivals and win the item Simon was slightly less pleased when he was asked to write a review and had to put “Arrived quickly and well packaged before being eaten by my dog.”

So if you plan to send us a Christmas card this year please put it in a thick envelope as I don’t think that Holly will be extending the season of goodwill to include postmen…

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Dog Agility Champion

Holly agility championHope that you are all enjoying the long and sunny Summer days. We had a brilliant day out at a local agility show and enjoyed a picnic with friends at lunchtime. In spite of the large lunch, Holly and Simon did a great job winning the steeplechase in the afternoon cheered on by enthusiastic members of Melton Mowbray dog agility club. Holly won some dog biscuits that she shared with her doggie friends.

To see a video of twinkle toes Simon and super dog Holly’s winning agility run please click on the video link from the Rover Recommended homepage.

Well done Holly!

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World’s Worst Jokes About Dogs

Dog jokes

It’s confession time…I secretly love bad jokes about dogs. Some of these would be too bad even for a Christmas cracker… Enjoy

My dog’s got no nose.
How does he smell?

Why should you walk carefully when it’s raining cats and dogs?
You might step in a poodle.

Click here to see more extremely woof jokes. You have been warned…

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Spot the Dog Competition!

Can you spot Holly the dog in the dining room of the Culbone Inn?

Hiding HollyIf you can, why not enter our Spot the Dog Competition to win a fantastic 2 course dinner with bed and breakfast for 2 people (and doggy friends) at Exmoor’s highest and award winning Restaurant with Rooms?

The Culbone Inn is situated close to the Somerset/Devon border on the beautiful Exmoor National Park with an abundance of world class walks from the doorstep.

Simply click the link here and let us know where Holly is hiding!

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Why Dogs Rule and Cats Drool

Here are 10 reasons why dogs are better than cats in case you needed some persuasion…(and a bit of a laugh).

Snooty catCats have never completely got over the snootiness caused by the fact that in Ancient Egypt they were worshipped as gods.

Read the other 9 reasons here. Go on you know that you want to…

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My Favourite Quotes About Dogs

Peke dog

Here is a round up of my favourite quotes about our four-legged friends. I hope that you love them as much as I do!

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Find a Popular or Unique Dog Name

Choosing your dog’s name is not an easy decision. Here are some of the most popular dog names in 2012 and some ideas to help you to think of a unique or cute name for your dog.

There are a few things to bear in mind when naming your dog. Try to pick a name that your dog or puppy will easily recognise and that will not be confused with a basic command such as Sit, Stay, Down, Come or Fetch. If you have more than one dog in your home, select names that start with different letters and sound significantly different. Dogs tend to respond better to shorter names and it’s easier to shout out a one or two syllable word clearly in the park!

Popular Names for Boy Dogs

Max, Bailey, Buddy, Charlie, Jack, Archie, Rocky, Milo, Harry, Alfie, George, Sam, Oscar, Noah, Ben, Riley, Finlay, Harvey, Toby, Kai, Seb, Ollie, Bobby, Kieran, Dexter, Basil, Pip, Kirby, Badger, Gyp, Harley, Hugo, Buster, Alfie, Angus, Hamish, Alvin, Beanie, Beano, Beazer, Benji, Banjo, Bertie, Bruce, Buzz, Chester, Clyde, Clint, Danny, Dennis, Dave, Digby, Freddie, Harvey, Herbie, Indie, Jamie, Jazz, Jim, Jimmy, King, Laddie, Monty, Ned, Pal, Pepe, Reg, Riley, Ricky, Robin, Spencer, Zak, Jake


Popular Names for Girl Dogs

Bella, Lucy, Molly, Maggie, Daisy, Chloe, Sophie, Sadie, Lady, Princess, Tasha, Biddy, Trixie, Holly, Millie, Abby, Sasha, Sandy, Katie, Annie, Chelsea, Coco, Lily, Amber, Rosie, Cinnamon, Duchess, Jasmine, Muffin, Ruby, Grace, Mia, Evie, Freya, Maisie, Poppy, Ella, Alice, Amy, Bess, Beth, Bonnie, Darcy, Dixie, Dolly, Faith, Ginny, Gabby, Gwen, Gypsy, Hope, Izzy, Jade, Jess, Kerry, Cara, Keira, Layla, Mabel, Nancy, Nellie, Penny, Pippa, Sadie, Tara, Tess, Zoe, Kim, Kizzy, Polly


Cute Dog Names from Popular Characters

Scooby, Scoob, Yogi, Gromit, Pluto, Odie, Snoopy, Snoop, Pongo, Perdie, Tramp, Muttley, Dougal, Shep, Pebbles, Winnie, Sweep, Sooty, Womble, Zippy, Noddy, Pudsey, Muppet, Simba, Thumper, Biggles, Casper, Elmo, Ernie, Gizmo, Marley, Scrappy, Toto, Jumbo, Bolt

Great Dog Names from Famous People

Madge, Kylie, Queenie, Wills and Kate, Xena,  Beckham, Brooklyn, Rooney, Elvis, Sherlock, Caesar, Riggs, Cheryl, Beyonce, Bieber, Shakira, Rih-Rih, Britney, Ziggy, Tiger, Jolie, Brad, Bowie, Oprah, Clooney, Whitney, Jacko, Prince, J-Lo, Dylan, Frazer, Hercules, Homer, Houdini, Merlin, Nero, Ozzy, Ringo, Samson, Stig, Tyson, Miley


Posh Dog Names from Designer Brands

Gucci, Radley, Champagne, Mercedes, Chanel, Prada, Bentley, Porsche, Burberry, Tiffany, Rolex, Moet, Fendi, Cartier


Dog Names that bring out your Dog’s Personality

Magic, Mischief, Lucky, Foxy, Sassy, Smartie, Fidget, Sparkle, Bouncer, Poppet, Missy, Rover, Butch, Snuggles, Champ, Flash, Speedy, Sparky, Skippy, Chuckles, Tickle, Merry, Ace, Captain, Chance, Dash, Digger, Hero, Mouse, Puzzle, Rascal, Fly


Dog Names that match your Dog’s Appearance

Ebony, Snowy, Snowball, Raven, Patch, Scruffy, Teddy, Fluffy, Spot, Jumble, Bear, Hazel, Panda, Freckles, Pixie, Copper, Ginger, Blackie, Blaze, Blue, Dusty, Goldie, Jet, Rusty, Midge, Elf, Silver, Red Smoky, Smudge


Scrumptious Dog Names based on Food and Drink

Toffee, Fudge, Candy, Toast, Coffee, Chardonnay, Biscuit, Whisky, Brandy, Sherry, Waffles, Guinness, Olive, Peanut, Pickles, Pepper, Saffron, Crumpet, Honey, Lollipop, Nutmeg, Truffle, Chilli, Chip, Cocoa, Spud, Cookie

Timeless Dog Names from the Natural World

Nature, Skye, Star, Rainbow, Bracken, Bramble, Barley, Ice, Echo, Flora, Flower, Heather, Petal, Midnight, Misty, Ocean, Opal, Storm, Summer, Sunny, Breeze, Galaxy, Shadow

Louise Dolan

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Could Your Dog Be the Next Pudsey, Winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2012?

Pudsey the dancing dog and his owner Ashleigh Butler swept to victory as the winners of Britain’s Got Talent 2012 with their dynamic Freestyle Heelwork to Music routine choreographed to the Mission Impossible theme. The close bond between Pudsey and Ashleigh shone through and won the hearts of the nation.

Heelwork to Music originated from set exercises forming the heelwork component of dog Obedience competitions, which were set to music. Emphasis on musical interpretation and creativity increased with the introduction of Freestyle routines into competitions.

Freestyle or Heelwork to Music can be used to as a way to play with your dog, encourage them to listen to you and respond to your body language. This strengthens the bond between you. It also offers great mental and physical exercise for your dog. Successful routines rely on your dog responding to your commands when off lead. This provides motivation for you to train your dog in a reward based way towards a fun goal and at the same time improve your dog’s basic obedience.

Some people enjoy participating in Heelwork to Music competitions and to compete in Kennel Club organised events you will need to register your dog on their Activities Register. All types of dogs can register – it’s not just for pedigrees!

Trying Freestyle Heelwork to Music with your dog is easy. Mary Ray is a renowned world expert in the sport and her book, “Dancing with Dogs: Easy-to-Learn Techniques and Fun Routines For you and Your Dog” is available from Amazon or via her website. Richard Curtis is another of the UK’s leading dog handlers in Freestyle and he has competed successfully at Crufts many times. DVDs from Richard and Mary using positive reward based training methods are available from

If you prefer to learn in a group there are loads of dog training clubs on the Kennel Club website where you can try Heelwork to Music with your dog.  Do your research and visit the class in advance to make sure that it will be a positive and fun experience for you and your canine companion.

Who knows, your dog may turn out to be the next Pudsey…

Louise Dolan

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