Thursday, 31 January 2013

My little Albert monkey is 6 years old today!

I can't believe my little Albiepops is 6 years old already!

Albie on his first day with us
He was the cutest puppy ever, and although he's now a handsome adult dog, he's still a puppy at heart. His favourite game is 'monster' - he rolls over on his back and bites at his bed or blanket or my clothes, and thinks he's a really fierce dog and very brave to attack such dangerous inanimate objects. He's a bit spoilt in that he lives in a house on top of a hill, and has managed to convince himself that he really is King of the Hill. He sits on the window seat in the living room bay window and looks down on everyone and everything that goes on down there. But when he meets other dogs he tends to get distracted by oh-so-fascinating smells that just happen to be leading him in the opposite direction... It's so weird how those two things always seem to coincide. And he only recently discovered the trick of cocking his leg, bless him, despite having watched his 'brother' Chester do it for years. Up until now, Albert has been doing all his widdling on the grass so the other dogs couldn't figure out his size. ;o)

First time on the beach
He's a cheeky little fella with lots of personality, and his need for cuddles is sometimes so intense that he has to be taken to the ICU (Intensive Cuddling Unit). We're perfectly matched in that respect - he's my little cuddle bug! Sometimes, one human won't cut it, though - in those cases he needs double cuddles (being cuddled by two humans at the same time). It is no wonder this dog quite literally wears his heart on his sleeve:

Albert is very clued up to human emotions and he instantly knows if you're feeling sad or upset. He will run over to you and force some cuddles on you until you feel better (which is quite quickly when you're being comforted so skilfully). He can be quite pushy at times as well. If he feels he isn't getting enough attention, he will start to push furniture around with his nose. He started with small things, like the little bin in the bathroom, then moved up to small tables and even dining room chairs. This morning he started pushing the kitchen bin around and accidentally figured out how to open it! This pushy behaviour can't be very comfortable for him (doggie noses are very sensitive), but it does the job - instant attention! ;o)

He's very smart in many ways, my little Albie. Recently I have started giving the dogs half a treat if they come in from the back garden as soon as I whistle, as Albert has a tendency of doing his best 'I'm a paralysed Springer Spaniel' impression (it's a Springer thing) at the most inopportune times. Chester is usually already waiting on the doorstep, but Albert has now started sitting in the middle of the garden, waiting for me to whistle (apparently calling doesn't count), and when he hears me whistle he runs inside as fast as he can. That way, he is guaranteed to always get a treat. Sometimes I wonder if he's only asking to be let out so he can come back in and get a treat! ;o)

Albert is also the inventor of the art form of pawking. Albert says it's kinda like poking, but you do it with paws. Basically, if your human is being all thick and not behaving properly, you just keep pawking at them until they figure out what you want. This can take a while, but don't give up. Your human will get there in the end. If you can jump up on a chair, sofa or window seat, this will be helpful. A high vantage point makes pawking vastly more effective.

Come on human, I want supper!

Albert is a very happy little monkey, and his little tail is always wagging and beating a rhythm on the floor or wall. I wouldn't be surprised if his tail is constantly black and blue underneath the fur, but it doesn't seem to bother him at all.

Keeping up with tradition, Albert's birthday present will be a toilet roll. Nothing makes him happier than tearing all that paper apart only to find a cardboard tube inside that can also be torn apart!

I tried taking a few pictures of Albert on the evening before his birthday, but he didn't really feel like posing last night:

"No pictures, no pictures!"
Oi, I said no pictures!

In the end, he obligingly agreed to stand still just long enough for me to capture this image:

Ok, one picture, then cuddles!

It breaks my heart that I will have to separate Albert and Chester in a few months' time. I have no idea how any of us will cope with that, and I try not to think about it too much. For now, the three of us are very happy together; we just wish it would stop raining for a while so we can go for proper walks in the fields.

Happy birthday, Albie! I'll try to stay away
from your food today, love Chester xx

There were three male puppies to choose from in the litter when we got Albie, and we found it so difficult to decide that we actually left the breeder's for a while to think it over. In hindsight, however, it is clear that we never had a choice at all. Albert was destined for me and I for him. I can't imagine not sharing my life with this cheeky little cuddle bug. 

Just checking that you're still there, human.

I love you, Albert.