Category: Poppy

Poppy and Harvey – An uneasy alliance

Last week, my mum came and stayed with us here at Crafty Chai towers. Not only that, but she brought Harvey along with her. Harvey is my sisters dog. He is a Welsh Cocker Spaniel and was a puppy when my sister got him, 13 years ago! Harvey is an old man who likes things just so. He’s a little bit grumpy and his health, hearing and eyesight is not what it was. He has no patience for the likes of Poppy! This made for quite an uneasy alliance between the two, with one thing in common – me!

Tolerating dogs

They’ve met a few times now and while they tolerate each other, they are by no means friends. Poppy wants Harvey to run and play with her, but Harvey does not want to do this. Harvey wants to eat and sleep and have a little attention but that’s about it. Harvey also wants to sleep in all the beds and on the sofa, meaning that Poppy spent a lot of time nesting on our bed instead. (Though Poppy isn’t allowed to sleep in his bed!)

Over the few days that Harvey stayed, we learnt that our house is too small to have two dogs in it on a permanent basis. Also, walking them together was difficult too, as Poppy likes to walk fast and chase squirrels, whereas Harvey plods along, barking at anything unfamiliar, having little rests along the way. Poppy also likes to finish off anything from Harvey’s food bowl, something that Harvey did not like and they almost came to blows over this. They also got a bit jealous of each other with me. If I was giving Poppy attention, Harvey would come over to get his share and vice versa.

The one thing they did bond over was cats! One afternoon, while sitting out in the garden, despite his poor eyesight, Harvey spotted a cat strolling along the back wall and sprinted down the garden, barking away, with Poppy hot on his heels! There’s life in the old dog yet!

Things Poppy the Dog likes to eat

Poppy is like a hoover. She will eat almost anything. Whether we’re out walking through town or pottering around at home, you have to have your eyes peeled in case she wolfs something down that she shouldn’t. To look at her, you’d think butter wouldn’t melt, wouldn’t you? But she is a scavenger. She will root through people’s bins, handbags and even snatch the food out of your hand if you’re not careful! She gets fed plenty, we discussed it with the vet when we got her, as she was underweight, so she’s just being a greedy guts.

Sleepy dogHere’s a roundup of just some of the things she’s eaten over the last week – some of which, she shouldn’t!

  • Chewing gum off the street
  • Sick off the street
  • Cat poo (lots)
  • A dead bird, twice. One was recently deceased, one not so much
  • Small mammal bones
  • A strawberry
  • A slice of cucumber
  • A plastic bag containing goodness knows what (I managed to pull it out of her throat)
  • Lots of ‘unknown’ food/animal stuffs off the street
  • Chips off the street
  • Frozen watermelon
  • Skittles off the street
  • Haribo sweets off the street
  • Apples – she’ll eat fresh, half eaten, partially decomposed and little crab apples that fall off trees near our house. She’s not fussy!
  • Pizzle
  • Pig skin roll
  • Her regular food
  • Egg shells – both out of bins and out of trees
  • Possibly a nibble of a small jellyfish
  • Roast Lamb, thanks to my naughty Mum!

Now, we do know that she shouldn’t be eating most of the stuff on this list, but she’s much closer to the food on the ground than I am and she’s a lot quicker! Plus, once she’s got it in her mouth, unless there’s something to grab, like the plastic bag, you do not have a hope in getting it out of her mouth. Believe me, I’ve tried. And no amount of treats, or shouting ‘Leave’ (our drop command) or swearing will get her drop it. Once it’s in, it’s in. Also, the stuff she eats off the street is in very small quantity. I watch her like her hawk so if I see she’s got something past my security, I step up the pace and get her to walk away from it (or drag her away while encouraging her with a treat, all while trying not to gag on whatever gross thing she’s chomping on!)

We are very careful & strict about what Poppy eats. We do not give her treats unless they are natural. We don’t want her to beg for food or be the kind of dog we can’t take to places because she’s a nuisance at the table. She has a bed in the kitchen which she sits in while we’re preparing food and on the whole, she’s really good around food. (She’s only stolen a few things off my OH’s plate!) She has natural treats, as much as possible, and while we might give her human food, such as a strawberry, it won’t be much and it won’t be processed. She doesn’t view food the same way we do. If she deserves a treat, she’ll get one, but it’ll be suitable for a dog.

Now if only I could get the good people of Abingdon not to be such litterbugs, walks with Poppy would be easier!

Keeping Poppy Entertained in the Summer

It turns out that Poppy isn’t a massive fan of hot weather. We noticed this quite quickly when it got warmer back when the UK was enjoying a heatwave. She couldn’t settle and it was too hot to sit with us on the sofa, which is where she most likes to be. It also meant that we had to abandon her lunch time walk, as it was way too hot to go out. We moved her morning walk so that we went out at about 6am, when it was a little bit cooler, and moved her tea time walk so that she went out as late as possible (though sometimes it was still too warm then). Poppy wasn’t overly keen on the fan, but sometimes it was an essential. Despite being a small dog, she overheats quite quickly and we (well, I) was paranoid that she’d get heatstroke!

Early Morning dog walks

So, in a bid to keep her entertained, exercised and cool, we experimented with a few of the toys we already had for her. My sister also suggested freezing cubes of watermelon. This has worked a treat. Poppy wasn’t particularly interested in playing with or eating ice cubes, but she loves to crunch up the frozen watermelon cubes!

One of Poppy’s favourite toys is the Wobbler. You fill it with treats and then she bats and pushes it around to try and get them out. It’s a great way for her to use her brain and get rewards at the same time. Lots of people think dogs just need plenty of walks to keep them entertained but they also need mental stimulation. For example, the Blue Cross recommended that, as we feed Poppy dry food, we could simply throw it out into the garden and let her hunt for it. After all, that’s what she would do in the wild. It’s only through convenience for us that humans put dog food in a bowl. Poppy loves playing with the Wobbler. It’s much better than the treat ball we got her. It doesn’t get stuck quite so easily and it’s much more hard wearing.


Another favourite is a classic. It’s a Kong. This is amazing and disappointing at the same time. It’s amazing because the possibilities of what you put in it are endless. It’s disappointing because Poppy always seems to eat what you put in at an amazing speed! Ordinarily, we fill it with peanut butter, treats, the Kong liver paste, pretty much anything. There are tons of recipes online that you can try out that’ll keep your dog entertained. This summer, we’ve been focusing on how we can use it to help keep Poppy cool.

kong dog toy

One of the best things we did that Poppy really liked was to plug the narrow end with peanut butter and fill it with milk. We then popped it in the freezer until it was frozen solid. Poppy demolished in less than 10 minutes! But she has to figure out how to get it all out. We also filled it as normal, with peanut butter and treats, and popped it in the freezer. While she’s licking it, she has to work hard to keep it in one place so it’s a great way to get her to use her brain without getting overheated.

Hot dog

As Poppy doesn’t play with toys, using these is a great way to get her thinking. She also doesn’t really like playing in water, with the exception of rock pools. While we’re very lucky to live near some lovely rivers, we don’t live close to the beach! So while other dogs are leaping about in the water, keeping cool, Poppy is snuffling about in the undergrowth!

How has your dog kept its cool over the summer? Got any good Kong recipes? We’d love to give them a try!

Holly’s Little Bakery Dog Treats

While I was at Blognix, I met a fabulous baker called Nicola. Nicola owns Holly’s Little Bakery. Not only does she make delicious cakes, but she also makes gourmet, handmade dog treats. Nicola was kind enough to send me some for Poppy to taste. Here’s what Poppy thought.

The other day there was a loud knock at the door. Naturally, I made sure whoever was there ran away pretty quickly. Grrrrr! But then I noticed Mum had a lovely smelling box in her hands. It had to be for me because I’m the most important person here at Poppydog Towers so I snuffled around & barked in her face until she opened it & let me see what’s inside. It must be Christmas or something, because these presents were all for me! In the box were four packs of lovely smelling treats & a dog-friendly chocolate bar. I was so excited, I couldn’t stop jumping up & down!

Dog treatsMum & Dad didn’t know which one to let me try first: Peanut Butter & carrot, Lovely liver bites, Smoked Salmon Sensations or the Parmesan & Ham parcels. They decided to keep the carob chocolate & raw hide lolly til later, which was annoying because I wanted that first! Hope they don’t eat it! In the end, I tried all of the treats, one after another.

Delicious TreatsI liked the Peanut Butter & Carrot bones the most because Peanut Butter is my favourite, next to eating any food off Dad’s plate. But they are all really delicious. They are made with 100% natural ingredients, so they’re good for my tummy as well as my tastebuds. I can’t wait to try the carob lollipop on the rawhide stick, as I’m not allowed regular chocolate.

Dog friendly treatsThese are some of the best treats I’ve tasted. Plus, as they’re made with natural ingredients & handmade at Holly’s Little Bakery, I know that they’re full of goodness and there are no hidden nasties in there. At least, that’s what Mum & Dad were saying. All I know is that you can smell the real food in the treats & they taste amazing. Look at my face – would I lie?! I want all the treats… now!

PoppydogJust give me the treats and no one gets hurt!

Huge thanks to Holly’s Little Bakery for sending Poppy these treats. The fact that they smell like the ingredients & you can see the ham etc shows how natural they are. Perfect for the pooch in your life!