Rascals Pet Photography

– Natural images capturing your pet's true character

Rusty at Cudmore Park, East Mersea

Rusty and I took our first trip out to Cudmore Grove Country Park on Mersea Island today and we were very impressed.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves; meeting many friendly people and lots of new friends for Rusty to play with …

It’s a perfect place for dogs to have fun – with both plenty of grassland and beach to run around on.  Plus, if your dog likes swimming – as Rusty does – then you can be sure they will tire themselves out by the end of your visit.  There’s also a friendly cafe offering tasty bacon baps (with an extra rasher just for Rusty) …

I’ve lost track of how many lovely people I got chatting to – and Rusty was in his element with Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Collies, Cockapoos, Jackadoodles, & Rottweilers to have fun with – and all so friendly and well-behaved.

We’re definitely going back again very soon …

 

Rusty liked the children’s play area …

… climbing on things …

… having fun with his ball on the beach …

… posing and hunting …

… and chilling out in the grass …

Dog-Friendly Watering Holes in Suffolk

The Nethergate Brewery Tap at Rodbridge near Sudbury is a great place to stop off when you’re out with the dogs. The lure of a refreshing pint, cool glass of Prosecco, or flavoured gin, is certainly an encouragement to walk a little bit faster !

The taproom and shop are dog-friendly and there are always lots of lovely dogs to meet at the weekends. There are also outdoor seating areas both at the front and rear of the building – so there’s plenty of space if your dog is nervous of others.

It’s situated just off the Valley Trail – which is a foothpath following the path of the old railway line between Sudbury and Long Melford. The brewery is easily reached by walking through the Rodbridge picnic site  (which has good access to the river for the dogs to swim and plenty of room to run around).

Rusty loves it and we regularly do a circular walk here with his friend Jessie, the Springer. There are many different routes to choose from – some incorporating the glorious expanse of Sudbury Water Meadows.

Today, we stopped at Nethergate for lunch on our way around, to take advantage of the wood-fired pizza stall which is often present at the weekend. Very tasty …

Amongst the dogs visiting today was a lovely greyhound called Grace, who was extremely ‘chilled out’ on the grass behind the brewery. I couldn’t resist a quick photo ..!

 

Greyhound resting

Grace the Greyhound

 

Perhaps Rusty and Jessie will see you there soon ?

 

https://www.nethergate.co.uk/brewery.html

Rusty enjoying his Dorset Holiday

Rusty’s Camping Holiday in Dorset

Do you want to take your dog on an enjoyable, hassle-free holiday in the UK ?

Dog Holidays are my favourite type of holiday; especially camping holidays – because I get to exercise lots, spend all my time in The Great Outdoors and live a simple, stress-free life for a week or two … with a deliriously happy dog !!

We’ve just come back from at week at a brilliant ‘dog-friendly’ venue in Dorset –  Rosewall Campsite – on the ‘jaw-dropping’ Jurassic coastline at a place called Osmington Mills, in peaceful surroundings just east of the tourist trap of Weymouth.

It’s a friendly, family-run site with clean, modern facilities and is on gentle, terraced slopes surrounded by the coastal hills – only a few minutes walk from the rock-pool beach and a pub serving delicious food and beers. And guess what...It’s Dog Friendly !

The campsite at Osmington Mills, Dorset

Rosewall Campsite, Osmington Mills, Dorset

A great place for a beer & meal at the Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills, Dorset

The Pet-Friendly Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills, Dorset

Rusty loves his holidays – it means 24-hour access to his two favourite people – with no chance of being left alone whilst chores are done, plus being to sleep in the tent right alongside us !

 

 

Dorset is a great place for Rusty, with loads of long walks along the rugged, Jurassic coastline and daily opportunities for swimming – as well as our full attention.

The benefits for us owners are also many – the fantastic scenery and unspoilt, peaceful countryside. For example, just 100 yards west of Durdle Door the crowds are left behind you …

The weather was amazing this year as well, although rather too hot for our planned trek from Lulworth back to the campsite on the coastal path. We had to do the walk in stages, with frequent swimming stops to cool off. There is a quiet beach, albeit pebbly, a reasonably short (but hilly) walk east of the campsite. Well worth the effort though … Kimmeridge to the east of Lulworth is also a great place to drive to. It has smooth, safe ledges reaching out into the sea which are covered at high tide and are fun to walk out on with your dog.

Here’s the link for the campsite ( it was our 5th visit there !) -:

http://www.weymouthcamping.com

 

I hope you like my images of the coastline and Rusty enjoying himself – I hope they tempt you to visit this special part of England ..?! ( You must promise not to tell those ‘dogless people’ about it though !)

 

Rusty at the Stables

Rusty came with me at the weekend whilst I visited a friend at her stables. I was so excited to meet the horses in her care and didn’t want to leave Rusty at home alone – so this was a brand new experience for him.

 

He certainly appeared a little unsure of things as he looked out of the car …

 

 

 

He isn’t too keen on cows and sheep, so I wasn’t sure how he would react to the horses. The latter were all very laid-back and used to Catherine’s dog, Bella – but Rusty thought that some of them seemed mighty large !!

 

 

I captured this image of him looking somewhat perturbed, as he kept a safe distance away …

 

 

After a while, I decided to let him sit back in the car, with the hatchback open – and sure enough, he joined me again after a short while and started to follow me around the muddy fields. He discovered something much more interesting than the horses themselves – Horse poo !  He was now quite happy frolicking about in the mud and helping us to ‘poo pick’.

He also seemed to quite like the hay that was spread out for the horses …

 

 

In fact, he looked very handsome with his rusty coat contrasting with the colours of the hay and mud.

 

 

At the end of the day – if Rusty is close to me ( and has a supply of food to boot) – he is always going to be happy …

Bella

I would like to introduce you to Bella – a gorgeous Whippet/Labrador cross – who I was lucky enough to meet last weekend at her owner’s stables.

I’ve never seen this particular combination of breeds before and I was immediately smitten. Bella is graceful and playful, with the prettiest face and a rich rusty coat like my own gorgeous boy.

Whippets have always been a favourite of mine – but to me the addition of Labrador into the mix makes for something extra special. I may be biased though !?!

What do you think ..?

 

 

 

 

 

Suffolk Dog Day 2016

The ‘Majestic’ and moated Helmingham Hall in Suffolk – with its glorious expanse of parkland – was once again the setting for the annual Suffolk Dog Day. It’s an extremely well-organised event on all fronts, which always results in a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, despite the presence of hundreds of dogs of all colours, shapes and sizes – thrown together in the midst of all manner of exciting distractions and expected to behave themselves …

Feeling rather overwhelmed by the excitement of it all  – it was me, rather than Rusty, who wasn’t sure what to look at first or which direction to head in. It had been a long-anticipated day for me, as Rusty was convalescing last year after his ankle operation and we had to miss out on our visit.

Our first port of call was a small lake, where a retrieving competition was taking place against the clock. Despite being Rusty’s favourite playtime game, as well as recent practising with a dummy to speed up retrieving – Rusty swam around the water aimlessly, totally missing the whole point of the exercise ! The lady timing the competition was very kind – and let Rusty have a second chance. The winning time at that stage was 16 seconds  – I definitely think more practice is in order before next year …

 

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Our initial disappointment was followed by many highlights – such as the impromptu gathering of Fox Red Labrador owners (including local breeders from Yoxford); meeting a gorgeous and rarely seen ‘Dark’ Golden Retriever in the queue for the portaloos and having Rusty’s lunchtime treat of a cold sausage stolen from under my nose by an extremely cheeky Dachshund – living up to his ‘sausage dog’  nickname !!

After lunch, we wandered over to the trade stands and we were lucky enough to meet a lovely Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever called Axel. He was 8 years old and had a lovely temperament –  obediently sitting for his owner whilst I took some photos.

 

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Axel

 

We took Rusty for a free massage consultation at the ‘Born to Run’ trade stand, to ascertain how his ankle injury has affected his range of movement – and it was very interesting to discover how his muscles and myofascial tissue have become tight through compensating for his weak leg. I am very tempted to take him for some massage sessions… It was also very amusing to see how much hair he left behind on the poor lady’s T Shirt and consulting couch !!

 

Next, we took him to try out a fun agility course – with Happi Days, who run a Dog Day Care Centre in Rendlesham, Suffolk (www.happidayscentre.co.uk). He fared much better at this and was surprisingly good. The course involved several low jumps and an extremely high walk plank with steep ramps. He tended to be rather fast and over-enthusiastic, which led him to lose concentration and run past a few of the hurdles – no surprise there – but I was so proud of him when he scrambled up and across the high plank without any bidding ! I really believe that he could be a very good agility dog with some proper training.

 

Whilst there, we once again met Rusty’s perfectly ‘colour-matched’ lady friend – the beautiful ‘Dark’ Golden Retriever, Amber.  Amazingly, her owner had got talking to another lady with the same breed, same colour – and discovered that the 2 dogs were in fact sisters ! They had both been asked lots of questions about their dogs – who people seemed to think were Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers – although it seemed obvious to me that they weren’t …  They are smaller than the standard Golden Retrievers, with a shorter coat than we are used to seeing. They really didn’t look that different to Rusty. Like him, they are from working dog stock – and so they are very similar in stature – as well as matching his colour. Here are my favourite images of sisters Amber and Bonnie…who had been racing about and were rather hot ..!

 

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Bonnie

 

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Amber

 

I seemed to be following a theme of russet-coloured dogs, as next I met Biscuit and her mother – 2 extremely cute Irish Terriers – with wiry coats and endearing inquisitive expressions. Biscuit did some lovely posing for the camera – and I was really impressed with how sensible her young owner was, as she described what training she had been doing with Biscuit so far …

 

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Biscuit

 

The owners running the Happi Days stand had a delightful young working springer called Daisy. Affectionate and well-behaved with an angelic face and black & white ticked markings; I just had to capture a few images of this beautiful dog – who was apparently being trained to locate broken electricity cables underground ..!

She really had to be voted the most ‘photogenic dog of the day’ – so very pretty …

 

Daisy

Daisy

 

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Daisy

 

Daisy

Daisy

 

After finally breaking my habit of only photographing dogs of the same colour as Rusty, we headed for a shaded patch to sit with a well-earned drink. The parkland echoed with the comforting tones of Peter Purves – as he commentated, as usual, on the dogs in the show rings. I had entered a Rusty in every possible class on my previous dog day visit, however, I have learned the form and realised that despite how traditionally handsome your dog seems, the judges will always give the top prizes to Staffies or Bulldogs – French being extremely fashionable at present ( with one winning the most handsome male small dog class).

Whilst we sat relaxing, a friendly lady with a Staffie walked by with a first prize rosette on his collar. Dexter had won the most handsome large male dog category – and my predictions were proved correct. He looked totally unmoved by the experience, wondering what all the fuss was about – as I took some photos of this rising star of the ‘show ring’.

 

Dexter

Dexter

 

 

The lure of the wonderful Helmingham Hall itself, surrounded by its moat and amazing gardens, drew us to take Rusty for a proper walk around. It was great (but surprising) that dogs were allowed to wander with their owners around the gardens – which were pristinely kept and exquisitely beautiful.

Here’s my favourite doggy shot from the Walled Garden – 2 Retrievers who had just caught sight of Rusty from the opposite end of the central path…

 

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The show was reaching its final half hour and we were all feeling tired, so we made our way back to the car – after a thoroughly enjoyable day. We had met some lovely people and wonderful dogs and surprisingly lots of Fox-Red Labs…even though I must add that Rusty was the most handsome of them all (of course !)

On our way, I spotted a ‘spotty dog’ – unusual in that he was brown & white, instead of the traditional black & white … What a lovely expression !

 

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I had been surrounded and overwhelmed by the most gorgeous collection of dogs that you could ever hope to see in one place – and yet only managed to capture a tiny percentage on camera… I had wanted the day to last for ever – but I guess there’s always next year …

… Roll on Suffolk a Dog Day 2017 !

Archie & Clover visit Sudbury Water Meadows

It was about time that I introduced Archie, Clover and of course Lisa to Sudbury Water Meadows …..

 

View of Sudbury Water Meadows

View of Sudbury Water Meadows

 

Archie had a glorious time rolling in and eating cowpats, therefore ensuring that none of us ( apart from Rusty ) wanted to get anywhere near him !  Luckily, plenty of water was on hand to clean him up ….

 

Archie after bathing ...

Archie after bathing …

 

Rusty spent most of his playtime chasing after Archie and trying to emulate his mischievous buddy, so there was little opportunity to capture him in the frame.

 

Rusty during refreshment time at The Mill Hotel, Sudbury

Rusty during refreshment time at The Mill Hotel, Sudbury

 

Clover was the easiest of the three dogs to capture, as she trotted around sedately and posed for us in the meadows and the river …

I was able to sneak couple more photos of Archie – who rarely stands still for a second …

 

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I can safely confirm that Sudbury Water Meadows was a big hit with the two Lurchers, although I’m not so sure that Lisa will be as keen, after having to give Archie a thorough scrub and freshen-up when they all got home …

Rusty certainly enjoying sharing his favourite ‘playground’ with his 2 best friends !

Suffolk Gundog Club at the Suffolk Show 2016

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I made my annual visit to The Suffolk Show last week, in conditions that could only be described as wintry.  In fact, the weather forecasters confirmed that Thursday 2nd June was colder than Christmas Day …

Meeting some of the members of the Suffolk Gundog Club certainly cheered me up and I managed to get some pleasing images despite the tricky conditions.

The dogs that I met were all very well trained and behaved impeccably. The first featured dog was a young Springer, called Able, who was sitting extremely attentively on a paving slab, whilst his master threw balls and dummies around him. His owner had given him the command to sit and wait until he was ordered to retrieve anything and it was amazing how he resisted temptation !

I then watched a Retriever called Gypsy put through her paces. She was a gorgeous dark red in colour and her owner told me that this was the original colour before Golden Retrievers started to be bred. I have to admit that Gypsy was the first of that colour that I had ever seen. Her owner told me that he had 3 generations of the same family – what a beautiful girl she was !

The last dog I am featuring today was a very affectionate and well-trained Spaniel / Labrador cross called Elma. She has a wonderful character – and from the perspective of being an effective gundog – has the best characteristics of each breed to bring to her work in the field.

I really hope that I will get the opportunity to photograph more of the amazing dogs from the Suffolk Gundog Club in the near future …

Poppy & Snowy

 

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Kersey Church & Village

 

I was lucky enough to join a group of close friends for an enjoyable walk around the beautiful Suffolk countryside at the weekend – taking in the picturesque village of Kersey. The walk was made perfect for me by the presence of 2 new friends for Rusty …

Poppy, the Jack Russell Terrier & Snowy, the Miniature Schnauzer …

I was apprehensive at the start of the walk, as Rusty was attacked by a grumpy Jack Russell bitch about six months ago. This has left him very wary of the breed – to the extent that he will slink past any that he meets, running away from them at his earliest opportunity. Amazingly, I needn’t have worried. Poppy was extremely well behaved and laid back – she really wasn’t that interested in her male companions and just did her own thing ! This meant that Rusty felt under no threat whatsoever, which was fantastic news …

Poppy is an OAP in terms of dog years, however she trotted around the 9 mile circuit with the vigour of a young pup. She is extremely independent and was happy to explore the countryside, sniffing out any interesting signs of rats or rabbits.

 

Poppy

Poppy

 

She is a friendly and lovable lady, not inclined to bark or snap – and is very content to cuddle up to her owners, Emma & Jock ( who understandably think the world of her…)  She loves her titbits and was happy sniffing out any available treats when we stopped for lunch at the Kersey Bell Pub – peanuts definitely seemed to be her favourite, although she wasn’t that fussy !

 

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Poppy on the scrounge – Kersey Bell

 

Kersey village is extremely attractive and unspoilt. Its main street runs uphill to the church and is lined with wonderful period cottages and grander dwellings. There is a ford at the bottom of the hill, known as the Kersey Splash – and Viv decided to pose with Snowy in the water -:

 

Viv & Snowy Marsh in the Kersey Splash

Viv & Snowy Marsh in the Kersey Splash

 

Snowy, the Miniature Schnauzer is 4 years old. He is white and so is unusual – because the Miniature Schnauzers I have met are predominately grey in colour. This made him seem like a completely different dog to me, less harsh in appearance and adorably handsome. He has the most gorgeous cocked ears that are a lovely soft pink on the inside. His temperament seemed gentler too and reminded me of my very dear friend, Elsa, the Schnauzer puppy who I met many years ago.

 

Snowy

Snowy

He made friends with us all and seemed to be happy trotting along in Rusty’s company. He was also quite independent – and resisted Rusty’s repeated attempts to play and chase around, despite much bowing and encouragement. Poor Rusty – he does love playing tag !!

Our friends Viv and Sarah offered Snowy a home when his owner needed someone to look after him – and I believe that they have taken on a real gem …They have only recently lost their previous dog, Miffy. She was a fabulous Yorkie with an amazing character – who lived to a ripe old age. Albeit having a difficult act to follow, I believe that Snowy is a wonderful successor to Miffy – as he is a complete darling – with a lovable and approachable character – and a willingness to be everybody’s friend. It was love at first sight for me… and I knew that I was completely smitten when we returned to his house for tea and he stood with his front paws on my lap to give me lots of doggy kisses !

 

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I was extremely excited on the walk, as I was on the constant lookout for photo opportunities of the 3 dogs, especially Poppy and Snowy. Neither of them stayed still for long and so were not as obliging a model as Rusty.

 

Rusty Dog

Rusty Dog

 

To finish, I thought that I would post a photo of each dog in Black & White. These were all taken at our lunchtime stop at the Kersey Bell – and certainly show that all Poppy and Rusty were thinking about were their tummies !!

 

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Snowy, being good !

 

 

 

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Where’s my food ?

 

Don't tell !!

Don’t tell – but I think I got it all !!

 

Rusty had a wonderful time on Sunday with his new friends – it was a very pleasurable experience, made even more so by the relaxed bond that the 3 dogs established…

Here’s to many more wonderful walks together in the beautiful Suffolk countryside …!