27 August 2010

Mina's mission... aka ' The Alternative Toy Story. Part 1'

I've blogged about Mina's "squeaker seeker and destroyer" tendencies before (see December 2009 Archive).

I'm sure it's a situation many dog owners find themselves in... a brand new plush toy, dog excitedly starts to play with it and then about 50 seconds later, said plush toy has been well and truly disemboweled, squeaker removed and the stuffing knocked out of it - quite literally.

I've lost count of the number of toys Mina has disemboweled, pulled apart and shredded. Cheap toys, expensive toys, Mina pretty much destroys them all - if not within a matter of seconds, then usually a few hours.  I sometimes wonder if she sees it as a personal challenge (if any dog toy manufacturers are reading this - I'm sure I could hire Mina out as a toy tester!)

So, what's survived and what's made it onto the Mina Wall of Shame?

The Wall of Shame...
Valentine's teddy (only a £1 from poundland)

Sadly, this teddy didn't live long past Valentine's day.  I bought three teddies in total - one for each hound - and yes, you've guessed it, Mina destroyed them all!

Only one of the original teddies now remains. This Ted is minus his innards and one leg, but still gets thrown around by Mina and Jasper on a fairly regular basis.

Twas the night before Christmas....
...well, OK then, it wasn't really; it was Christmas day and each hound received Rudolph the Rope Reindeer.
The 'before' shot of Stevie's reindeer

'Caught in the act'

The 'evidence'

"Who me?"

Even poor Rudolph couldn't stand up to Mina's inquisitive and supercharged squeaker seeking capabilities. I suppose you could say it was her alternative to the stuffing served with the turkey!

Boyes finest - Freddy the Frog

Another multiple buy, I have lost count of how many versions of Freddy the Frog I have bought - he croaked it too! The slide show is like an animation of Mina in full squeaker seeker and destroyer mode.

The pièce de la résistance...

After five long years, toys were no longer enough and Mina turned her attentions to her bed.  In fairness, I think there was a little, tiny hole in the cushion and Mina being Mina couldn't resist  pulling at the stuffing. From there, one thing led to another....

To find out what toys have survived the Mina Wall of Shame, watch out for The Alternative Toy Story, Part 2...coming soon to a blog near you.

If you've some stories of your dogs toy terrors, do share them too.

15 August 2010

My life's going to the dogs...

On April Fool's day this year, I received a letter notifying me that I was likely to be made redundant.  Unfortunately, this wasn't an ill-conceived April Fool's joke and 13 days later I was officially out of work.

Now, you may think that's enough of a reason to describe my life as "going to the dogs" but you'd be wrong. On the day I received my letter (great timing - not - as it was before the Easter bank holiday weekend), and once I'd recovered from the shock, I hit Twitter.

"Redundancy for all" by Brian CK/Digital Leica on Flickr
I didn't really want to tweet all my woes (honest), but I remembered seeing a tweet about a job at the Kennel Club and wanted to find out more...

...The application deadline was the following day, and after speaking to my husband, parents and the Kennel Club, I decided to apply. The post was for 3 months, covering sabbatical leave, and was based in London - hence the conversation with hubby, who'd be on hound duty whilst I was away, and my parents, whose house and creature comforts I'd be taking advantage of if I was lucky enough to get the job.

To spare you the to-ings and fro-ings, I did get the job and once I'd finalised my termination date from my old employer, I started on 16 April.  However, whilst I was in doggy heaven I did need to find work for when my time was up and I returned home.

I live in a lovely part of the UK -  rural Lincolnshire really is very beautiful - but it is a part of the UK that isn't exactly flush with Senior Marketing Communications jobs.

"Yellow is the New Green" by Lincolnian (Brian) on Flickr

I need a job that allows me to work flexibly so I can start my University studies in Canine Behaviour and Training this September. I also need a job that will help pay for my University studies and help keep me, hubby and the hounds in the manner to which we'd like to become accustomed!

So, I've done several things...Firstly, I've set up my own Marketing Communications business - SJM Marketing - essentially, 'rent a Marketing Director'. The SJM element happens to be my initials, but in a happy coincidence is also the initials of the hounds - Stevie, Jasper and Mina.

The aim of the business is to provide marketing and PR advice and support to small companies which may not be able to afford a permanent, full time Marketing Manager/Director. Hopefully, I'll be able to work with companies within the pet care sector and I'm already in discussion with one such company.

Running SJM Marketing also means I can work from home with the hounds taking over regular 'office guarding' duties and keeping me company. I'm working on the website, but if you're reading this and would like to email me about marketing/PR, you can contact me on: susan@sjmmarketing dot co dot uk

Stevie taking his 'office guarding' duties very seriously!

Secondly, I've just been accepted to be trained as a tutor for National Puppy School, which is very exciting. I'm a firm believer in the importance of socializing puppies and can't wait to start the training, which begins in September.

I'm hoping that the Puppy School and University studies will complement each other.

I should be able to start running Puppy School classes in 2011 and complete the foundation part of my degree by 2013. I'll then need to study a further 2 years to obtain a full Bachelor of Science degree in Canine Behaviour and Training.

So there you have it -  whichever way you look at it -  my career is definitely going to the dogs, but thankfully for all the right reasons.
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