Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Three – My First Real Friend by Sally Cronin


51uI0kWA+ML._UY250_Last time Sam arrived at his new home and began to get used to managing his mistress and master to ensure that he had the appropriate food and attention due to him……

Chapter Three – My First Real Friend.

It may surprise you to know that I learnt to speak Cat before I fully understood human talk. When I was twelve weeks old Sally took me to the place with the strong smells again and I remembered the sharp pain that I had experienced last time and was ready this time.

I did not understand the word that the man who gave me the sharp pain said when I sank my teeth into the soft part of his hand but it was very loud.

By this time I had learnt quite a few words as Sally and David talked to me all the time. At first I only got the basics like ‘sit’ and ‘good boy’ which always seemed to be accompanied by a small piece of chicken and because this treat was my favourite at the time I made a point of remembering these words as it obviously pleased her.

What I did not understand at the time was the conversation that Sally had with the man with the sharp object. He apparently told her that I would end up with a vocabulary of about fourteen to twenty words. How wrong can a man be.

However, on our return from this visit, to what I now know to be the vet, I was allowed a little more freedom and was introduced to the front garden of the house.

The previous owners had built the house in the middle of a two acre plot with nearly an acre of garden to the front, half that again at the back as garden then the remaining left as wild meadow.

The cultivated part of the property was laid out with hundreds of bushes and trees as the previous owners both belonged to families with garden centres who had obviously been very generous. The one drawback was the size of the lawns which required the hire of a local odd jobber with a wonderful smelly monster that he rode up and down on and which belched regularly. One of my favourite games was slipping out of the front door unnoticed and barking encouragement to monster and driver as they drove slightly crookedly across the lawn.

It was a wonderful playground for a young dog but the reason I had not been allowed to play out there until now was because another dog was also using it as his territory. He would crawl under the flimsy fence whenever he felt like it and for months I thought his name was “That Bloody Danny” since that is what my mistress called him each time she saw him peeing on her begonias in front of the house. His name was actually just Danny and he was a rather daft Spaniel who was also rather lacking in manners but more about him later.

There were also other creatures that used the gardens and meadow at the back of the house, such as foxes, feral cats and rabbits all of whom might have been infected with disease. Hence my fenced off area by the kitchen door with my kennel, sun beds and pool, affectionately known as Costa del Sam and one of my favourite summer hangouts. Funny that I would end up living on the Costa del Sol when I was five years old.

Back to my new found freedom. I was due to have a final vaccination at about fourteen weeks but the vet said that I should be safe enough in the rest of the garden.

Sally and David had been living in the house for about a year when I arrived and I did not know that I was not the first four legged person on the premises.

One morning Sally left me outside the front door for a couple of minutes whilst she went back inside for one of my new balls to play with. The moment that she stepped through the doorway I heard a strange sound coming from around the side of the garage that was joined to the front of the house.

“Pzzt.” It was a sound that I was unfamiliar with and being young and foolish I immediately tottered towards the side of the house.

I poked my head around the corner and found myself nose to nose with a rather mucky, aromatic, white and ginger creature with one eye that seemed to move independently of the other.

I leapt in the air and shot backwards convinced that this very smelly individual was going to attack me.

“Calm down for goodness sake otherwise she will be out here.”

I got every other word of this because despite this creature’s efforts to talk Dog he was disadvantaged by only having two or three teeth and he lisped rather badly.

“I’ve been waiting for you to be let out here, you’ve got it cushy haven’t you in your little pad out the back?”

I was beginning to understand a little more of this garbled delivery and wondered how this strange creature had managed to learn to speak my language.

It was almost as if it read my mind because it turned around and waving a rather bedraggled ginger tail in the air he looked over his shoulder.

“I grew up around sheep dogs and learnt how to talk to them very early on.” The creature strode off around the back of the house with me in tow, totally mesmerised.

As soon as it got to the back garden it turned and sat motioning with its head for me to do the same.

“She gave me the name of Henry, don’t ask me why but as she saved my life it was the least I could allow her to do.”

I was fascinated but at that moment Sally began calling from the front of the house and she sounded rather panicky.

“Sam, Sam where are you?”

Henry cocked his head in her direction and winked at me.

“Don’t worry I will carry on with the story next time you are in your play pen, off you go now before she gets hysterical.”

I turned tail and raced around the side of the house and wagged my tail beseechingly at her.

“There you are, good boy, I was worried something had happened to you.”

I desperately wanted to please her and when she picked my up I licked her face noting that she had just eaten something sweet and tasty.

After we had played ‘roll around on your back and get your tummy rubbed’ and ‘chase the ball’ Sally put me in my play area behind the house whilst she walked around the house with a large animal that made sucking noises. I had already demonstrated that I found the long cord attached to this monster rather biteable so she put me outside whilst she played with it herself.

I had only just settled my self down with one of my rubber toys that I enjoyed impaling with my small teeth when a ginger and white blur leapt up onto one of the wooden posts of my enclosure and from there to the top of my kennel.

Thank you for coming to read my story.. next time Henry spills the beans on his dramatic life so far.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

If you would like to browse through my books here they are.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Thank you for dropping in and as always I value your feedback. Sally.

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Two – My New Home by Sally Cronin


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Last time Sam had met his new mistress for the first time at three weeks old and had his first experience of the vet… not without blood being drawn!

Chapter Two – My New Home.

That was to be the last time I would be with my mother and sisters as the next day my new mistress arrived to take me away. I was too excited at seeing and smelling her again to notice that we were leaving my family behind. I was a little afraid when I found myself on her lap in one of those large smelly boxes again,  but this one seemed to be not quite so odorous or noisy and I found that if I tucked my nose up under my mistress’s chin I felt safer.

It was a longer trip this time and I dropped off contentedly after a little while. I woke when I felt a strange vibration under the box as if we were travelling across a very rough surface. We stopped and the man I now knew to be my new master got out of the box and came around to open the door for us.

“Well Sam, you’re home.” The ground crunched under their feet and we moved towards a much bigger house than my home had been. The front door was opened and the man went in turning with a small box in his hand. A flashing light made me blink and then my mistress carried me across the threshold into my new life.

My new house was detached and stood in the middle of two acres of garden and wild meadow. I did not know it then but the grounds surrounding us would provide me with not only a wonderful place to play and explore but also would be where I met my first and best friend.

At first I was in awe of the wide spaces that made up the inside of my new home. Shiny lino floors in the kitchen and wooden floors throughout the rest of the house made it tricky to keep one’s feet and us Collies are not known for our ability to accept slippery surfaces underfoot. Some say we are too bright for our own good and this is apparently obvious when you consider our reluctance to trust in anything new be it surroundings or food.

Up to this point I had enjoyed 24 hour milk on tap and because I was a growing boy and hungry all the time, had tolerated the hard and rather tasteless pebbles that my old master had served up three times a day for my sisters and me. Because Ireland is a little wet, an understatement I can tell you, our food was served in three small dishes under a plank laid across two oil cans. This kept the food dry and our heads as well when we ate.

My old master had given my new family a packet of the pebbles so that I could stay on the same food and not get an upset tummy.

Despite only being eight weeks old, I felt that perhaps it was time to establish my independence and although I was now hungry and missing both milk and my regular meal I declined the bowl of food that was put down in front of me and looked up at my new boss with a determined expression on my face.

This minor rebellion was to have long term affects and I can tell you in the next few days I was delighted to be offered all sorts of new and tasty treats in an effort to get me to eat. One of the main issues was that I did not like being out in the open when I ate. In my old home I was used to being under the plank which was enclosed and rather dark. Finally in desperation my mistress, who I had heard my master call Sally, put a dish of chicken breast and scented rice in a bowl in the fireplace. Of course there was no fire in the grate and the smell of the warm chicken enticed me to clamber up onto the tiles in front of the chimney breast and sample this latest offering.

It was definitely found to be more acceptable than the pebble dash and previous offerings and I was hungry enough to concede defeat.

After eating my meal I backed out of the fireplace and turned around triumphantly to establish with my new family that this indeed was acceptable food for a Collie. Instead I was met with hysterical laughter and the sight of my new master and mistress rolling around on the floor. Unfortunately I was unable to see the funny side of this behaviour but there again I could not see my face which was now covered in soot.

There were a few other events that I did not find particularly amusing including Sally’s persistence in putting me outside the back door, rain or shine immediately after I had eaten despite my being very tired and ready for a nap. It seemed to please her enormously if I had a wee wee and she got ecstatic if I did a fragrant package as she called it. There was much hugging and kissing before I was finally allowed to retire to a warm spot in the house for a much needed rest.

I spent a great deal of time exploring the downstairs of my new home as at that time my legs were still too short to get up the stairs, but from the aromas that wafted down, I felt that in time this area of my territory was going to provide a wonderful playground for me.

My own room in the house was the utility room and I must say my first night I felt rather scared and concerned. I was used to curling up with my mother and sisters at night, waking occasionally for a drink of warm milk or a wee outside in the yard. However, Sally had done a fair job of fitting out my new bedroom. There were layers of the local paper on the floor that stretched to the back door of the house. I had a fleecy blanket in the corner with some chewable toys and a rather lovely soft jumper that exuded her particularly comforting scent.

There was a lattice gate across the door into the kitchen where a dim light had been left on. I was warm enough but very lonely and for the first half hour I must admit that I did have a little cry to myself before falling into an exhausted sleep. It had been a very long and tiring day.

My mother trained me not to wee or do any other business in the straw where we lay so during my first night I was at a loss what to do when I woke up in the middle of the night.

I had no idea how long I would be there before Sally and my master David came down in the morning and I hoped that they were not the sort of people who liked a lie in.

Of course I could not tell the time but I do know that I tend to wake up at sunrise and go to sleep when it gets dark. It was mid summer so the sun came up very early and I stood by the back door somehow knowing that I needed to get through it to a yard or somewhere where I could wee. Eventually I could hold on no longer and I am afraid that I wet the newspaper on the floor. Just as I finished Sally appeared and viewed the pool in front of the back door.

“Never mind Sam, you have done very well and it is my fault for not getting up sooner.”

Quite right but very gracious anyway. With that she opened the back door and we had a very pleasant trot around the back garden and I thought I had better take the opportunity to complete my toiletry while I could.

The next morning I held on desperately and true to her word, Sally appeared just in the nick of time and I never wet in the house ever again.

Now a little bit about the garden. Our house was set in the middle of a two acre plot with a house next door and a field on the other side. The back of the plot was left to wild meadow that in the future would prove to be a delightful playground chasing butterflies and rabbits through the long grass. But because David and Sally thought I might get lost on my own out there, they had fenced off quite a large portion of the garden just outside the back door and this enabled me to be let out on my own in the warm summer sun.

Some enterprising school boys had a lucrative business making hand made kennels and misguidedly Sally thought that this would be top of my list of things to have. It was enormous in preparation for my adult my size but I never really liked it. David spent an entire afternoon climbing in and out of the dog house trying to entice me in but I felt that like my food I had to establish right from the start that I was not really a dog and would not be using this type of structure at any time in the future.

Sally used to come out with me in the afternoons and there were two sun loungers and my favourite toys and a paddling pool. Whilst she lay out in the rare Irish sunshine, I would sit in my pool and cool down. Instead of the kennel I would crawl under the sun lounger and snooze in the shade. It made for a very pleasant few weeks while we waited for my next set of jabs.

My humans had continued to experiment with various dog foods and fresh chicken and eventually we made an acceptable compromise. I even began to eat my meals away from the fireplace although I have to say that it was not until I was nearly eight years old that I tired of winding them up with my picky eating habits. Even today I have them very well trained and I have to say I am extremely well provided for.

Anyway, back to those first few weeks and some of the adventures that awaited me and the friends that I would meet coming up..

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

My books

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Thank you for dropping in and as always I value your feedback. Sally.

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter One – In the Beginning by Sally Cronin


It is two years since I shared my book Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story.  He arrived in our home in June, although we met earlier when he was only three weeks old, and over the next few weekends I will be sharing his story again.

51uI0kWA+ML._UY250_Chapter One – In the Beginning.

I was only three weeks old when I first met my mistress on an unusually warm Irish spring day in May. I was busy drinking milk at the time and barely lifted my head when I heard voices in the back yard where I had lived since I was born.

It was warm and comforting lying next to my two sisters as we snuggled close to my mother’s fur and from time to time a gentle lick would dampen my fluffy coat lovingly.

I was already bigger than my sisters but my mother was determined that we should all be treated with the same care and attention as each other. She was an experienced mother and she knew how to raise strong and healthy babies. This would be her last litter and she lay quietly and contentedly in the straw lined kennel.

Full of milk and very sleepy, I sensed movement in front of our home and lifted my eyes blearily. I could just make out two very large shapes but was not afraid as the smell from one of them was familiar.

Since the day I was born I had been picked up daily and held high in the air whilst a deep voice rumbled into my small ears and a strong but unthreatening scent filled my nostrils. I have no idea what the voice was saying but it sounded kind and I had no fear of it.

I was also used to a smaller body with little hands that pulled at my fur and tickled my tummy. I loved these small hands and the chuckling sounds that the shape made as it played with me and my sisters.

This new being was different and despite my desire to fall asleep after my lunch, I pricked my ears up and turned my face in its direction.

I heard two voices making soft sounds and then felt myself lifted up in the air and held closely against warm and human scented skin that was different from the smells I was used to.

I snuggled in against this scent and fell asleep hearing a soft voice saying a word that seemed to echo in my head. This was the first time that I heard my name and I have been called Sam ever since.

The days passed quickly and my sisters and I became more adventurous with lots of rough and tumble and nipping at heels and tails. We were allowed into the kitchen of the house from time to time and we spent more time with the little person with the sticky hands who chased and cuddled us as many times as we let her. We soon learnt that there were certain behaviours that were not considered acceptable; most of which involved teeth and making puddles on the kitchen floor.

My mother was content to let us roam around the house as she lay in a sunny patch of the yard where she rested away from her noisy and growing brood. We still pestered her for milk from time to time even though we were now eating some small dried pellets as well. They tasted funny and we all still preferred lying side by side close to our mother whenever we could, but I sensed that she was beginning to get impatient with us and would often stand up and move away.

I was getting used to my new name as my mother’s master started using it whenever he came into the yard. One day I heard his deep laughter as his small daughter also called to me. I did not understand at the time but it seems Sam was the first word that she ever said bypassing Dada and Mama in favour of her best friend. Trouble was she called my two sisters Sam too; which must have been very confusing for them when they went to their new homes and were given different ones.

Anyway, back to my new mistress and her husband who had never seen me before. As soon as I heard my name I bounded over to the two of them and was made a wonderful fuss of. My new mistress picked me up and tucked me into her neck which I licked and savoured. I remembered her scent from her first visit but this time my eyes were open and I was able to look into her eyes as she gazed down at me.

“Hello Sam – you’ve grown so big.” She looked over to the man and held me out to him.

“Here you go darling, meet Sam,” she said passing me into his strong hands.

I looked up into a face with kind eyes and warm smile. I felt safe and secure high up off the ground and as they talked to each other, my mistress stroked my head and back gently, reminding me of the loving licks of my mother. I stayed happily being fussed over as the voices rumbled above and around me and almost dropped off to sleep but all too soon I was back on the ground and was soon involved in a rough and tumble game of tag with my sisters.

When I was eight weeks old my sisters and I were placed in a box with mesh over the front and taken away from our mother. As we left the backyard we cried out to her but she seemed to recognise that this was just a temporary separation and settled down into a patch of sunlight by the wall.

We were placed on a seat inside a bigger box that made a very loud noise and had too many smells to identify. I smelt my mother and also the man and child but there were also harsh scents that hurt my nose. My sisters and I huddled close together and shivered at the strangeness of it all, but thankfully within a short space of time the noise stopped and the man got out of his side of the box and came around and opened the door on our side. The movement as he carried us made us feel quite sick and we were pleased when we found ourselves on a floor looking out of the grating at several pairs of feet.

We also smelt dog smells and another smell that stirred up some instinctive sense of mischief. I edged towards the grating and looked through; straight into the eyes of a large furry bundle in a cage opposite me. To my surprise it arched its back and hissed at me through the bars and I shot backwards landing on top of my smallest sister who nipped me on the ear.

After what seemed like ages the man picked us up and we swayed into another room that had sharp pungent smells that tickled our nostrils. I sneezed and heard the man laugh as he opened the mesh door and took me out.

He held me firmly on a cold metallic surface that smelt sharp and acrid. I sneezed again and then felt a new pair of hands grasp me firmly and a strange object was placed against my chest.

A deep voice rumbled in my ears. “Sounds very good Patrick, he is a fine fellow, are you keeping him to show?”

“No, while I was away on a trip to the North a lady came to see him when he was only three weeks old, paid for him there and then and my wife promised she could have him.”

There seemed to be disappointment in the man’s voice but he was an honest man and had never cheated anyone in his life.

“Pity, I think he is going to be a very special dog when he is fully grown. He has a different look about him, almost as though he is listening to everything we are saying.”

I was actually, although I couldn’t understand the words they were using, I was getting a handle on tone and emotion in voices and I sensed more than anything else what was being said.

However, these senses of mine went into overload as I felt something very sharp go into my skin at the back of my neck. Ouch, that hurt and I turned round and nipped the hand holding me firmly across my chest.

“Ouch,” responded my master’s voice and both men laughed as they examined the small puncture wounds in his hand.

“Ye he is going to be a feisty one alright.”

Despite the sore patch at the back of my neck I began to feel a little sleepy from all the excitement and as one by one my sisters were taken out and put on the table, I curled up at the back of the box and only woke when we were placed next to our mother in our kennel.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

My books

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Thank you for dropping in and as always I value your feedback. Sally.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair Extra… I nearly forgot to promote my own books!!!


Here are my some of my current books that I would like to share today.  I have also included some of the reviews for the books on Amazon and by bloggers.  The icing on the cake..

All except for Just Food for Health are available in E-versions for most readers. You can buy all my books from my own bookstore at the links beneath the titles below but also on

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

My latest book was published on July 27th 2017 – What’s in Name – Volume Two – Stories of life and romance. The print version of combined volumes one and two is available in the UK and Ireland

About What’s in a Name Volume Two

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.

Meet Queenie and Rosemary who have both lost their husbands and must face a very different future. One that will take courage and the use of new technology.

Sonia is an entitled princess whose father has reached the end of his tether and Theresa has to deal with a bully in the checkout. Usher is an arrogant narcissist with a docile wife and is used to getting his own way and Vanessa worries about the future of her relationship with her teenage son.

Walter is a loner and is happy with just his dog for company, Xenia is the long awaited first baby of a young couple. Yves is a dashing romeo who has the tables turned on him unexpectedly and Zoe… Well she can see into the future.

In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.

The most recent reviews.

What’s in a Name? Book 2 is a wonderful collection of short stories that will touch your heart. You will find romance, tragedy and heartache. Each story is titled with a male or female name which continues alphabetically from Book 1.

Sally Cronin is a consummate storyteller who has the innate ability to weave a fascinating tale that grips the reader from the first sentence. This reader felt lifted when the characters were exuberant and crushed when they had heartache. If an author can enable a reader to feel the joy and angst along with the characters she has created, she is an exceptional writer!

My favorite was the first story about Kenneth. This story touched me deeply as Kenneth watches the love of his life dancing on New Year’s Eve. I don’t want to give anything away by saying too much. Each story tells an unforgettable tale with a twist at the end. Surprises and twists abound in these fabulous stories. I couldn’t put the book down.

Sally Cronin has many other entertaining books to offer. Several of them I have read and highly recommend them all.

 You can buy What’s in Name- Volume Two: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0748MLZ1W/

and: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Stories-Life-Romance-ebook/dp/B0748MLZ1W

What’s in a Name – Volume One – Short Story Collection.

Twenty colourful stories of people who have been given the names of the great and legendary and find it a challenge sometimes to live up to them.

The latest review for the collection

What’s in a Name by Sally Cronin is an absolute gem of a book. Cronin is a gifted storyteller, and readers are sure to be moved and intrigued by this collection that was inspired by real-life occurrences. These are stories that will move you and stay with you long after you finish. I read through this collection in one day and have revisited it many times since. A book so enticing is a true testament to the skill of an author. To keep a book near, allowing one to relish in the many emotions it is sure to evoke, ultimately speaks to the treasures held within.

The characters come to life, and it’s impossible not to think of similar people we have met along our own journeys. I laughed and cried, found solace in heartfelt reflection.
A highly recommended read. This is a gift for the soul.

 You can read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

Also now in print available in the UK and Ireland only.

Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Volumes-1-2/dp/1905597797

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Sam – A Shaggy Dog Story – for dog lovers

Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.

If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

One of the recent reviews for Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

Brigid Gallagher rated it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Sally Cronin fell in love at first sight with Sam, a collie puppy. I must admit I too fell in love with Sam from the moment I saw his photograph on the cover of Sally’s book!

“Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story” is a delight from start to finish. Sam recounts meeting Sally and her husband David for the first time, finding his forever home with them, and settling into life as an “only child”.

He meets Henry a feral cat, who fathers three fine kittens with his lovely partner, and Sam tells us many tales of their friendship in his own doggy style. He enjoys long beach walks where he befriends Abby a white terrier, plays in deep snow on his second winter ” like young puppies getting soaked and exhausted in the process,” and enjoys road trips with Sally in her sporty car.

Sam eventually moves to Spain, where he enjoys chasing water hoses and amusing guests with his party piece of asking for more or “mawgh.” One day Sally is busy with work and tells Sam “You are beginning to sound like Oliver Twist, and if you don’t stop pestering me I will call you Oliver in future.” Sam replies! “Oh, Ee, Va” which becomes more emphasised as “ORH,EE,VA.” He earns a favourite food reward.

Sally’s writing style is gentle, warm and full of humour. Sam’s photographs will delight you, and his words will leave you feeling blessed that you bought Sally’s book

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Size Matters – Especially when you weigh 330lbs

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If I could communicate just a single message to you it is that
obesity, and the misery attached to it, need not be for life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tina rated it 5 stars

Size Matters is Sally Georgina Cronin’s no-holds-barred, true-life story of her journey from near-death obesity to vibrant health.

I first was struck by the author’s willingness to share so many personal things most of us would hold to dearly as private; things that would humiliate; things we’d be hard-pressed to look in the mirror and admit even to ourselves. I knew anyone willing to bridge this gap must be someone with integrity and a deep concern for her fellow human beings.

I wasn’t far into the book before finding the encouragement I needed. The last paragraph of chapter one said it all: “What began as a painful journey into my past became an exciting adventure in the present with expectations of a much brighter future.” Above all else, I wanted a bright future. And Ms. Cronin’s approach proffered that hope.

I’m not going to detail the specifics of this book, because a peek inside on Amazon will show you the table of contents and highlight the details of the program she developed. What I want to shine a light on is the inspiration she exemplifies and offers to all those battling a weight problem.

She knew almost any help given by the medical/scientific/etc. communities would offer template approaches to weight reduction, approaches she and many others have tried and failed at miserably. Because her health was in such jeopardy, she needed not only to urgently change her eating habits, but also to have the results be permanent. Thus began her journey within and her search for a sustainable healthy future.

It’s difficult enough to put one foot in front of the other on a daily basis in this fast-paced technological age. Everyone is multi-tasking and running fast to stand still. So when we find ourselves faced with a life-threatening condition, fear leads us to seek a quick fix. But quick fixes are almost never permanent and almost always detrimental. The author recognized this and strove instead to find her own way back home to herself.

Although despairing and contemplating suicide, she reached deep inside and found a way to kindle her common sense, which provided the ladder needed to climb out of the pit into which she’d dug herself. Admitting her weaknesses and acknowledging her strengths, she put the totality of herself into turning her life around. Plying patience and dogged determination, she climbed out of the suffocating abyss and surfaced into the fresh air of a promising and vibrant life.

I have never been obese, but I have carried extra weight at different times throughout my life. Taking off 10 or 15 pounds is hard enough. I can only imagine the devastation one must feel when facing the necessity of a 150-pound weight reduction. And I use the word “reduction” rather than “loss,” because I think the mind always seeks to find that which has been lost.

In my opinion, this book is not only a comprehensive text for permanent weight reduction, but also a “how to” guide for breaking the shackles of destructive behavior and tenaciously moving forward.

When asked in grade school to name five people who inspire us, most children look to either their families or noted figures in the world. And yet there are so many working humbly behind the global scenes who seek neither notoriety nor acclaim. I believe they’re referred to as unsung heroes.

This review is as much an acknowledgement of the author’s positive contribution to the world as it is of her all-inclusive approach to weight reduction in this outstanding book, which I highly recommend. Shed an ounce of weight, gain a pound of self-confidence. Sally Cronin is an inspirational example for all

 Turning back the clockAn anti-aging programme.
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Living forever is not an option!

However, feeling younger and looking younger is an option available to all!

The maximum lifespan a human being can currently expect today is around 120 years. However, not many of us really want to be even 90 or 100 years old, if it means that we are going to end up filled with medication and tucked away in a corner in some nursing home, unaware of our surroundings.

Making healthy diet and lifestyle choices as early as possible will help you get as near as possible to your maximum age whilst enjoying good physical and mental vitality. In my latest book I not only take a look at the physical aspects of aging but also the mental and emotional issues that we should address earlier rather than later.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Flights of Fancy – Short Story Collection

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A few years ago I produced an audio CD of 6 short stories and today these stories and another five stories plus my novella The Sewing Circle are published in Flights of Fancy.

Ghosts hint at a chance of coming back to say goodbye, exact a little payback, or simply to help someone else carry on living. Romance is not just for the young and nor are second chances. As for revenge, well … never underestimate a group of elderly ladies with contacts from the past!

One of the reviews for the collection

Sally’s lovely little collection of short stories and even a novella offers a variety of everyday life situations and then some. From romance to insecurities (body issues, anyone else?) and even a psychic bird, Cronin’s writing is sharp and edited to perfection. Perfect for a quick read or a great way to pass a few afternoons. This is the first I’ve read of hers, it won’t be the last.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Just an Odd Job Girl

 Imogen was fifty!

 

Life is unpredictable and will often throw you a curve ball that knocks you out of the park.

For Imogen this curve ball knocked her out of a twenty five year marriage and a lovingly renovated home into a single life at age 50. She had been a very contented wife and mother of two children, who for every one of those 25 years had thought her husband had been equally as happy. It was a shock to find out that she had been delusional and replaced so easily.

Her confidence was non-existent. She had forgotten any skills she possessed and was totally unprepared to enter the modern job market. Or so she thought.

One of the recent reviews for the book

on 11 October 2017

Her husband of over twenty-five years announces he has found himself a new and younger woman; a fast-tracker, as Imogen dubs her. This is a girl who is out to get man who has already established himself and made money, rather than marry someone of her own age and have to struggle their way to the top together.

Not only does Imogen lose her husband, she is left with no choice but to move from the family home and re-jig her life completely. It’s a daunting task; the children have flown the nest and she hasn’t worked in years.
Alone in her new little home on the edge of Epping Forest Imogen browses the local newspaper and comes across an ad from an employment agency. She telephones, makes an appointment, cobbles together something to wear and, for the first time in a very long time, compiles a CV.
The adventure begins.
From here the story takes Imogen to her interview, where Mr Jenkins ( call me Andrew) invites her to talk him through all the jobs, and there are quite a few, that she has previously undertaken.
Each chapter then describes unlikely and varied forms of employment. There is a lot of humour in the writing, but also some pathos too.
I won’t reveal the ending but, though it came as no surprise, it was just what was needed for this story, with a little comeuppance for the dastardly husband thrown in.

Reading a book like Just an Odd Job Girl by Sally Cronin reminds me that I should do this more often -I love thrillers and dark stories but a little lightheartedness, occasionally, goes a very long way.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Forget the Viagra – Pass me a Carrot… Men’s Health Manual –

51X6tXcHZRL._UY250_The latest headlines in the Media recently are constantly highlighting the fact that men are at risk as they ignore early symptoms of life threatening disease. Cardiovascular and Prostate disease if caught in the early stages can be treated and managed but surveys indicate that men do not know what symptoms they should be looking for.

Despite the title, Forget the Viagra, Pass me a Carrot! is not just about the physical causes of sexual dysfunction and the dangers of taking a drug that is bought without medical consultation, but about men’s health in general. A workshop manual takes the working parts, describes how they function, what can go wrong and how to prevent problems in the future. This men’s health manual – does just that – takes all the major organs, illustrates how they work, the symptoms to look for and also how to avoid the problems in the first place.

It is never too late to make changes that can give your body a great chance at a long and vital life.

Review – J.E. Spina September 2016.

This book was chock full of information on the workings and processing of the human body. Sally Cronin, the author, has produced an incredible resource for all. Everything you ever needed to know about diet, exercise, super foods, vitamins, what’s good and bad for your body and even how to breathe more effectively to keep your body working better.

There is a lot to take in but I felt that I gained an enormous amount of essential information that I always wanted to know.

Sally is a wonderful nutritionist who takes her profession seriously and is always available to answer questions or lend a hand to her clients. She also has a fabulous blog which I follow religiously. I love her books and look forward to more from this talented and articulate author.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

 Tales from the Garden

Newsflash: Tales from the Garden will be available in Spanish in the next few days!

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Fairy Stories for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden, forever.

With over 80 photos/illustrations, “Tales from the Garden” by Sally Cronin,reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees.

You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

One of the reviews

Magical!  on April 1, 2017

Author Sally Cronin mixes imagination, whimsy and magic to create this charming collection of short stories. Each tale takes place in the garden and lovely photos contribute to the enchantment.

First, we meet the Head Guardians of the Magic Garden. These powerful stone creatures introduce us to the fairy kingdom that lies under the old magnolia tree. According to the Guardians, which look like magnificent Lions to me, once every 500 years some very special people are allowed a glimpse into the magical world of fairies.

The Guardians let us peak at the inhabitants and learn more about their lives, which are quite entertaining. We meet the Dwarves Stoned Band, the King and Queen of the Fairies, the one-eyed pig, and other friendly creatures, and we watch them all cavort and celebrate birthdays and hold summer balls.

My favorite fairy tale story told how the garden folk fought against the Winter Fairy, thanks to the help of the Dragon, who has his own internal combustion system. But, the story that I loved the most is about Mollie (The Duchess) Coleman. Author Cronin’s mother tells about her favorite gardens through the years. Mrs. Coleman liked pink flowers, and believed in being dressed and ready for her say by 9:00 each morning. She closes her recap by saying, “If you catch sight of me perhaps you could do me a great favour and pop a large cut-glass tumbler of whisky and water, no ice thank you, on the table beside me.”

My pleasure, Mrs. Coleman. I would have loved to chat with you and savor a whisky in your lovely garden.

Sally Cronin writes with a warm, friendly voice and creates fairy tales with a modern feel to them. I highly recommend this delightful collection. Readers will enjoy relaxing in their own gardens, as they read these pleasant tales and gaze at the photos. This would also be a wonderful book to read to the youngsters in your life.

My mother read fairy tales to me and I believed in the wee folk. I did look for them under flowers and under the forsythia branches. Tales from the Garden continues the delight!

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Thank you for dropping and if you have any questions about the books please do not hesitate to contact me..If you live outside of Ireland and the UK and would like a copy of the print edition of What’s In a Name with both volumes then we can make arrangements.. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Merry Christmas.

Smorgasbord Pet Health – Christmas dinner for four legged Family and a FREE book from Sam, A Shaggy Dog


My usual Christmas post with some recipes for the fur family but this time Sam would like to share his story with you. If you would like a FREE Ebook of Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, then please email me and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or Epub for all other devices.

If you have already read Sam’s autobiography then perhaps you might like to send a gift to another member of your family who might love dogs.  Offer is available from today through to midnight December 24th. Please email sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Here is one of the recent reviews for the book.

Do You Speak Dog? on October 2, 2017

Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story is one of the most delightful books I have ever read. Sally Cronin gives her Rough Collie a voice, allowing him to narrate his own tale.

A few of the things Sam tells us about are his friends (cat, dog, and human alike), his favorite things (sausages, cheese, ice cream, snow), his job as security consultant, car rides while singing along with Sally, and walks along the beach.

Sam is very observant and intelligent. He learns to understand both cat and human vocal sounds. He also learns to speak a few human words! Mawgh is more; heyoo is hello; and Orh, Ee, Va is Oliver. ‘More’ and ‘Oliver’ are interchangeable, as they both indicate he would like ‘mawgh’ of a delicious treat he had just enjoyed.

Sam’s introduction to cats is very positive. When he is still a puppy, Sally and her husband David – the alpha humans in Sam’s pack – adopt a feral cat whom they dub ‘Henry.’ Henry teaches Sam many worthy things about life, and they become great friends. Also, a feral mama cat has kittens on Sam’s property, and he dubs himself their guardian. These experiences prepare Sam for when Sally brings home two kittens. He readily steps up to the plate, nurturing and protecting them.

Sam’s story is heartwarming and humorous, sure to amuse and delight adults as well as children. I read this book in one sitting and was disappointed when it ended. I wanted more, and so will you.

What I appreciated most about Sam’s story is that it leaves the reader with a heightened respect for nonhuman animals. They think and feel as we do; and anyone who thinks otherwise will be hard-pressed to hold on to that opinion after meeting Sam. I would like to see this book offered for sale through animal rights and humane organizations around the world. And for me, that is the highest praise…

You can read more reviews by clicking the cover.

I thought that we could not talk about Christmas without preparing something for the pets in the family. In the old days, and that was in fact only about 30 years ago, pets were fed on scraps as they had been for the thousands of years as our companions.  I appreciate that most of the animal foods available today may be rich in nutrients and full of vitality but I am afraid that I steer clear of dried food and prefer to go the natural route.

Sam our Collie established as soon as he came through the front door at 8 weeks old that the pellets that had been supplied by his breeder were inferior and he was now prepared for the good stuff.

He was not motivated by food in general, just specifically.  Mature cheddar (only the best), chicken giblets (crunchy and with a hint of corn) Ham (unsalted but roasted) and of course sausages (any variety, any temperature, any time)  I still find the occasional desiccated remains of a sausage tucked down deep in a sofa which probably says more about my housekeeping than his food storage habits.  He also in his last couple of years developed a taste for warm, peeled hard boiled eggs and would stand for minutes holding it in his mouth, whining lightly. He would make for the door to the hall in preparation for stashing for later but then he would return and sit with the egg between his paws.  He would nibble off the top of the egg and then suck the yolk out.  The look of bliss on his face remains in my mind today and I miss the old codger.

He never did take to dried food – he would deign to eat the very best of it in a small bowl beside his water.  He finally settled on Basmati rice (any other variety of rice that did not have that distinctive aroma was rejected) chopped cooked chicken and giblets, some carrots and green veg with a little salt free juice from the chicken.  I know some may say he was spoilt rotten but he was bright, intelligent and healthy his entire life and he always politely waited until we had started our meals before beginning his.  A perfect dinner guest.
Here are a couple of favourites that we prepared for Christmas – we fostered some cats in our time and had a small feral family in our garden in Ireland that also partook during the festivities as payment for the rats caught and left on my doorstep!

It is tempting to give pets the same treats that we enjoy but I am afraid that at Christmas treats like human chocolate are extremely dangerous. Chocolate is poison to dogs and can cause them to fit.  You can buy pet friendly chocolate treats at the pet store although I have never found cats too interested in it.

Too many high fat and sugary tit bits can also have a detrimental effect on a dog and cat’s digestion – and their first instinct is to vomit before producing rather evil smelling poop. To be on the safe side, only give your dog different foods infrequently. Having said that, most dogs and cats are used to turkey and chicken so the following recipes should be fine.

Spread the food over a couple of days, as you can store cooked turkey for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Give your pets a small amount on day one; say Christmas Eve, a little more on Christmas day and Boxing Day.  This is particularly important if your dog is only used to dried food as their digestion may not be able to cope with too much of this richer dish.

These days there are a number of ways to buy turkey all year round, not just at Christmas. You will need minced turkey for your dog’s treat and turkey breast for the cat (nothing but the best). In case you are wondering about the addition of a little seasoning to taste, both these recipes are perfectly good for humans with a little tarting up!

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Christmas Turkey Loaf for the Dog (and his guests)
Enough for 6 servings for a small dog and 4 servings for a large dog.
2 lbs. of minced turkey.
4 oz. of cooked and minced mixed vegetables (left-overs)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder (anti- worms and fleas – and good for humans too)
1 egg
8 oz. of oats
3 oz. of cooked rice
Mix the turkey, vegetables, garlic powder, egg, rice and oats together thoroughly. Put into a greased pan (use a little butter) and pat down the mixture until level. Stand in a roasting dish of water in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook for around 1 to 1½ hours and then cool. Cut into portions and serve with a little salt free gravy. You will probably be asked for second helpings and third with a small piece of cheese to finish off!

three cats
Turkey Surprise – For the Cat  (The cat is likely to be very surprised if it is not out of a tin!)  This is my Irish lot queuing up for lunch……

Should provide 4 servings if you can hide from the cat. If not it will probably disappear very quickly.
1 turkey breast cooked and finely chopped.
3 oz. of cooked carrots finely diced.
2 oz. of finely chopped cooked spinach
3 oz. of finely chopped green beans
3 oz. cooked rice
Unsalted chicken broth.
Mix everything together with enough chicken broth to bind the ingredients. Serve when lukewarm and watch your fingers.

sam photographs 239

Happy Christmas to all my furry blogging friends out there.. look forward to you dropping in to see me in 2018

A strange encounter this morning that brought a smile to my face. #Cats


I woke up early this morning and decided to get on with some writing. I got to the bottom of the stairs, and thought I was seeing double.

Some years ago I bought a rather regal black cat figure for my mother, which resided on the fire surround, and seemed to watch us wherever we were in the room.

When my mother died we took the cat back to Madrid with us where he went on to star in Tales from the Garden. When we returned to Ireland he came with us, and is now inside our hall, by the front door, as a welcome to visitors. He is tucked into a corner, with just his face visible through the glass surround.

However, this morning, he had company.

 

When we first moved in to the house last June, and were decorating, we would leave the front door open to air the place out. One day a black cat walked in, and as we stood watching carefully, he or she, inspected the downstairs of the house, and then left again. As it left, it looked at us both as if to say ‘You’ll do’!  Since then I have seen him (he is quite big and beefy) a few times, but he has run off into the bushes if I have approached him. However, from time to time I catch him checking us out.  A few weeks ago I looked out of my office window to see him sitting watching me through the glass for several minutes before wandering off. He looks well fed but my guess is that he has been feral for a long time, and well able to catch his own dinner in the farmland around us.

Clearly he had caught sight of my stone cat and was checking it out, probably for gender! I slowly moved my boy around to face the window, and went off and collected my camera from the office. I returned and sat on the bottom step of the stairs and watched to see what would happen.

I took several snaps of the two of them and then decided to try my own luck with our visitor. I went and got a saucer of warm milk, opening the front door carefully, only to see him darting under the car. However, once I was back inside and had resumed my seat he crept back out, and emboldened by his new friend, finished the offering with much relish and licking of whiskers. I think it has been a long time since he had enjoyed that delicacy.

 

 

I believe black cats are lucky, and in fact I like all cats. David is allergic to them so we have not enjoyed the company of a house feline. However, over the years, a number of feral cats have seemed to find me, and in our last house in Ireland, I discovered a dying cat under a bush in my garden. He was Henry who starred in Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, and went on to father two kittens with a young floozy who turned up in the garden one day.

Henry and Sam were great pals but the cat would never come into the house, preferring to sit on my lap in the sunshine having a brush or lying on the sunbed with me. He was completely feral and would disappear when strangers arrived and bless him, he did have a particularly pungent aroma.

Sam checking out Henry’s grooming (or lack of) habits.. ‘Mate, you need a bath’

Sam and Henry taking advantage of the Irish sunshine

The black and white Floozy and Henry’s offspring.

The Floozy would not let me touch her, but when I arrived home one day from work, I found her two kittens, who were a few weeks old at the time, on the front door mat. They both had their eyes caked shut with infection, and I looked around to find their mother under a bush watching carefully. I picked both the kittens up (with strong gardening gloves as they were spitting and scratching hellions) and with Sam overseeing the operation, I gently washed their eyes with warm, lightly salty water. I then put them back out on the mat and she collected them.  This went on for a week until one day there was just one kitten who still had a minor infection. His mother and sister watched from under the bush until I put him back down again and he was collected. The next day there was no kitten for me to tend to but they would follow me around the garden at a distance as my guard of honour.

As you can see from the photograph they lived to grow into strapping and healthy cats. We lived on a couple of acres down a farm lane and there was an abundance of rats which provided them with plenty to eat. I did however supplement with scraps and also popped in some anti-parasitic herbs and worming tablets regularly. They would often leave me a gift on the doormat. Usually a very dead and large rat and I was not sure if I was supposed to cook it for them or for me!

I usually rewarded this gift with their favourite treat which was raw liver…

Anyway, I will be interested to see where my relationship with the black cat develops, but I will keep our stone cat facing outwards, and I suspect that he might be back to visit his new friend, and for a saucer of milk again tomorrow.

©images sallycronin

 

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Two – My New Home


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Last time Sam had met his new mistress for the first time at three weeks old and had his first experience of the vet… not without blood being drawn!

Chapter Two – My New Home.

That was to be the last time I would be with my mother and sisters as the next day my new mistress arrived to take me away. I was too excited at seeing and smelling her again to notice that we were leaving my family behind. I was a little afraid when I found myself on her lap in one of those large smelly boxes again,  but this one seemed to be not quite so odorous or noisy and I found that if I tucked my nose up under my mistress’s chin I felt safer.

It was a longer trip this time and I dropped off contentedly after a little while. I woke when I felt a strange vibration under the box as if we were travelling across a very rough surface. We stopped and the man I now knew to be my new master got out of the box and came around to open the door for us.

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“Well Sam, you’re home.” The ground crunched under their feet and we moved towards a much bigger house than my home had been. The front door was opened and the man went in turning with a small box in his hand. A flashing light made me blink and then my mistress carried me across the threshold into my new life.

My new house was detached and stood in the middle of two acres of garden and wild meadow. I did not know it then but the grounds surrounding us would provide me with not only a wonderful place to play and explore but also would be where I met my first and best friend.

At first I was in awe of the wide spaces that made up the inside of my new home. Shiny lino floors in the kitchen and wooden floors throughout the rest of the house made it tricky to keep one’s feet and us Collies are not known for our ability to accept slippery surfaces underfoot. Some say we are too bright for our own good and this is apparently obvious when you consider our reluctance to trust in anything new be it surroundings or food.

Up to this point I had enjoyed 24 hour milk on tap and because I was a growing boy and hungry all the time, had tolerated the hard and rather tasteless pebbles that my old master had served up three times a day for my sisters and me. Because Ireland is a little wet, an understatement I can tell you, our food was served in three small dishes under a plank laid across two oil cans. This kept the food dry and our heads as well when we ate.

My old master had given my new family a packet of the pebbles so that I could stay on the same food and not get an upset tummy.

Despite only being eight weeks old, I felt that perhaps it was time to establish my independence and although I was now hungry and missing both milk and my regular meal I declined the bowl of food that was put down in front of me and looked up at my new boss with a determined expression on my face.

This minor rebellion was to have long term affects and I can tell you in the next few days I was delighted to be offered all sorts of new and tasty treats in an effort to get me to eat. One of the main issues was that I did not like being out in the open when I ate. In my old home I was used to being under the plank which was enclosed and rather dark. Finally in desperation my mistress, who I had heard my master call Sally, put a dish of chicken breast and scented rice in a bowl in the fireplace. Of course there was no fire in the grate and the smell of the warm chicken enticed me to clamber up onto the tiles in front of the chimney breast and sample this latest offering.

It was definitely found to be more acceptable than the pebble dash and previous offerings and I was hungry enough to concede defeat.

After eating my meal I backed out of the fireplace and turned around triumphantly to establish with my new family that this indeed was acceptable food for a Collie. Instead I was met with hysterical laughter and the sight of my new master and mistress rolling around on the floor. Unfortunately I was unable to see the funny side of this behaviour but there again I could not see my face which was now covered in soot.

There were a few other events that I did not find particularly amusing including Sally’s persistence in putting me outside the back door, rain or shine immediately after I had eaten despite my being very tired and ready for a nap. It seemed to please her enormously if I had a wee wee and she got ecstatic if I did a fragrant package as she called it. There was much hugging and kissing before I was finally allowed to retire to a warm spot in the house for a much needed rest.

I spent a great deal of time exploring the downstairs of my new home as at that time my legs were still too short to get up the stairs, but from the aromas that wafted down, I felt that in time this area of my territory was going to provide a wonderful playground for me.

My own room in the house was the utility room and I must say my first night I felt rather scared and concerned. I was used to curling up with my mother and sisters at night, waking occasionally for a drink of warm milk or a wee outside in the yard. However, Sally had done a fair job of fitting out my new bedroom. There were layers of the local paper on the floor that stretched to the back door of the house. I had a fleecy blanket in the corner with some chewable toys and a rather lovely soft jumper that exuded her particularly comforting scent.

There was a lattice gate across the door into the kitchen where a dim light had been left on. I was warm enough but very lonely and for the first half hour I must admit that I did have a little cry to myself before falling into an exhausted sleep. It had been a very long and tiring day.

My mother trained me not to wee or do any other business in the straw where we lay so during my first night I was at a loss what to do when I woke up in the middle of the night.

I had no idea how long I would be there before Sally and my master David came down in the morning and I hoped that they were not the sort of people who liked a lie in.

Of course I could not tell the time but I do know that I tend to wake up at sunrise and go to sleep when it gets dark. It was mid summer so the sun came up very early and I stood by the back door somehow knowing that I needed to get through it to a yard or somewhere where I could wee. Eventually I could hold on no longer and I am afraid that I wet the newspaper on the floor. Just as I finished Sally appeared and viewed the pool in front of the back door.

“Never mind Sam, you have done very well and it is my fault for not getting up sooner.”

Quite right but very gracious anyway. With that she opened the back door and we had a very pleasant trot around the back garden and I thought I had better take the opportunity to complete my toiletry while I could.

The next morning I held on desperately and true to her word, Sally appeared just in the nick of time and I never wet in the house ever again.

Now a little bit about the garden. Our house was set in the middle of a two acre plot with a house next door and a field on the other side. The back of the plot was left to wild meadow that in the future would prove to be a delightful playground chasing butterflies and rabbits through the long grass. But because David and Sally thought I might get lost on my own out there, they had fenced off quite a large portion of the garden just outside the back door and this enabled me to be let out on my own in the warm summer sun.

Some enterprising school boys had a lucrative business making hand made kennels and misguidedly Sally thought that this would be top of my list of things to have. It was enormous in preparation for my adult my size but I never really liked it. David spent an entire afternoon climbing in and out of the dog house trying to entice me in but I felt that like my food I had to establish right from the start that I was not really a dog and would not be using this type of structure at any time in the future.

2.2_david_and_i_kennel_training

Sally used to come out with me in the afternoons and there were two sun loungers and my favourite toys and a paddling pool. Whilst she lay out in the rare Irish sunshine, I would sit in my pool and cool down. Instead of the kennel I would crawl under the sun lounger and snooze in the shade. It made for a very pleasant few weeks while we waited for my next set of jabs.

2.3_my_first_introduction_to_a_sun_loungerMy humans had continued to experiment with various dog foods and fresh chicken and eventually we made an acceptable compromise. I even began to eat my meals away from the fireplace although I have to say that it was not until I was nearly eight years old that I tired of winding them up with my picky eating habits. Even today I have them very well trained and I have to say I am extremely well provided for.

Anyway, back to those first few weeks and some of the adventures that awaited me and the friends that I would meet.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

Thank you for dropping and and I hope you will pop in on Friday for Chapter Three – My new Friend.

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story -Serialisation – Chapter One – In the Beginning.


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Chapter One – In the Beginning.

I was only three weeks old when I first met my mistress on an unusually warm Irish spring day in May. I was busy drinking milk at the time and barely lifted my head when I heard voices in the back yard where I had lived since I was born.

It was warm and comforting lying next to my two sisters as we snuggled close to my mother’s fur and from time to time a gentle lick would dampen my fluffy coat lovingly.

I was already bigger than my sisters but my mother was determined that we should all be treated with the same care and attention as each other. She was an experienced mother and she knew how to raise strong and healthy babies. This would be her last litter and she lay quietly and contentedly in the straw lined kennel.

Full of milk and very sleepy, I sensed movement in front of our home and lifted my eyes blearily. I could just make out two very large shapes but was not afraid as the smell from one of them was familiar.

Since the day I was born I had been picked up daily and held high in the air whilst a deep voice rumbled into my small ears and a strong but unthreatening scent filled my nostrils. I have no idea what the voice was saying but it sounded kind and I had no fear of it.

I was also used to a smaller body with little hands that pulled at my fur and tickled my tummy. I loved these small hands and the chuckling sounds that the shape made as it played with me and my sisters.

This new being was different and despite my desire to fall asleep after my lunch, I pricked my ears up and turned my face in its direction.

I heard two voices making soft sounds and then felt myself lifted up in the air and held closely against warm and human scented skin that was different from the smells I was used to.

I snuggled in against this scent and fell asleep hearing a soft voice saying a word that seemed to echo in my head. This was the first time that I heard my name and I have been called Sam ever since.

The days passed quickly and my sisters and I became more adventurous with lots of rough and tumble and nipping at heels and tails. We were allowed into the kitchen of the house from time to time and we spent more time with the little person with the sticky hands who chased and cuddled us as many times as we let her. We soon learnt that there were certain behaviours that were not considered acceptable; most of which involved teeth and making puddles on the kitchen floor.

My mother was content to let us roam around the house as she lay in a sunny patch of the yard where she rested away from her noisy and growing brood. We still pestered her for milk from time to time even though we were now eating some small dried pellets as well. They tasted funny and we all still preferred lying side by side close to our mother whenever we could, but I sensed that she was beginning to get impatient with us and would often stand up and move away.

I was getting used to my new name as my mother’s master started using it whenever he came into the yard. One day I heard his deep laughter as his small daughter also called to me. I did not understand at the time but it seems Sam was the first word that she ever said bypassing Dada and Mama in favour of her best friend. Trouble was she called my two sisters Sam too; which must have been very confusing for them when they went to their new homes and were given different ones.

Anyway, back to my new mistress and her husband who had never seen me before. As soon as I heard my name I bounded over to the two of them and was made a wonderful fuss of. My new mistress picked me up and tucked me into her neck which I licked and savoured. I remembered her scent from her first visit but this time my eyes were open and I was able to look into her eyes as she gazed down at me.

“Hello Sam – you’ve grown so big.” She looked over to the man and held me out to him.

“Here you go darling, meet Sam,” she said passing me into his strong hands.

I looked up into a face with kind eyes and warm smile. I felt safe and secure high up off the ground and as they talked to each other, my mistress stroked my head and back gently, reminding me of the loving licks of my mother. I stayed happily being fussed over as the voices rumbled above and around me and almost dropped off to sleep but all too soon I was back on the ground and was soon involved in a rough and tumble game of tag with my sisters.

When I was eight weeks old my sisters and I were placed in a box with mesh over the front and taken away from our mother. As we left the backyard we cried out to her but she seemed to recognise that this was just a temporary separation and settled down into a patch of sunlight by the wall.

We were placed on a seat inside a bigger box that made a very loud noise and had too many smells to identify. I smelt my mother and also the man and child but there were also harsh scents that hurt my nose. My sisters and I huddled close together and shivered at the strangeness of it all, but thankfully within a short space of time the noise stopped and the man got out of his side of the box and came around and opened the door on our side. The movement as he carried us made us feel quite sick and we were pleased when we found ourselves on a floor looking out of the grating at several pairs of feet.

We also smelt dog smells and another smell that stirred up some instinctive sense of mischief. I edged towards the grating and looked through; straight into the eyes of a large furry bundle in a cage opposite me. To my surprise it arched its back and hissed at me through the bars and I shot backwards landing on top of my smallest sister who nipped me on the ear.

After what seemed like ages the man picked us up and we swayed into another room that had sharp pungent smells that tickled our nostrils. I sneezed and heard the man laugh as he opened the mesh door and took me out.

He held me firmly on a cold metallic surface that smelt sharp and acrid. I sneezed again and then felt a new pair of hands grasp me firmly and a strange object was placed against my chest.

A deep voice rumbled in my ears. “Sounds very good Patrick, he is a fine fellow, are you keeping him to show?”

“No, while I was away on a trip to the North a lady came to see him when he was only three weeks old, paid for him there and then and my wife promised she could have him.”

There seemed to be disappointment in the man’s voice but he was an honest man and had never cheated anyone in his life.

“Pity, I think he is going to be a very special dog when he is fully grown. He has a different look about him, almost as though he is listening to everything we are saying.”

I was actually, although I couldn’t understand the words they were using, I was getting a handle on tone and emotion in voices and I sensed more than anything else what was being said.

However, these senses of mine went into overload as I felt something very sharp go into my skin at the back of my neck. Ouch, that hurt and I turned round and nipped the hand holding me firmly across my chest.

“Ouch,” responded my master’s voice and both men laughed as they examined the small puncture wounds in his hand.

“Ye he is going to be a feisty one alright.”

Despite the sore patch at the back of my neck I began to feel a little sleepy from all the excitement and as one by one my sisters were taken out and put on the table, I curled up at the back of the box and only woke when we were placed next to our mother in our kennel.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

On Wednesday – My New Home.. I hope you will drop by for Chapter Two.

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Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Perhaps a gift for a Dog Lover!!


I thought that I might offer a few of my books as possible Christmas gifts over the next week or so… they are available on Amazon for Kindle and also in E-Pub.. there are links on the main home page at the end and you will find too if you pop into Smashwords.

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Sam – A Shaggy Dog Story

When David moved to Spain to work in 1999 we had only just bought our house in Ireland, I had just started a business and financially we would have lost a lot of money if I had gone too. However, it was far too good an opportunity career wise for David not to go and so for the next three years we commuted back and forth each of us flying in and out every three weeks as part of his package.

Sam was only a year old at the time and over that three years he and I developed a very close bond. We lived out in the countryside on a couple of acres about 4k from the wonderful beach at Bettystown on the coast about 20k from Dublin. I worked in my business which was a Health Food shop and Diet Advisory Centre and with my great staff I was able to split my day into three so that I could be home with my friend as much as possible. I was already a family member who was a feral cat that had arrived in the garden looking for a place to end his days as is their custom. However, we came to an agreement about that and he went on for another three years. The toothless darling even attracted a young floozy and fathered two hefty sons who incidentally were the best ratters around.

I wrote Sam’s biography in his own words from our first meeting at 3 weeks old, our travels, adventures, his friends including Henry the cat and his perspective on his long life.

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I give you… Sam – A Shaggy Dog Story.

Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.

From the first moment that I met Sam, when he was just three weeks old, his personality and charm shone from his button eyes. Like many pet owners, we were convinced he understood every word we spoke and he actually could say one or two himself. Rather than tell his story from our perspective I have given him a voice and let him tell his own.

I can only imagine what he really thought about his two and four-legged friends but I do hope he loved us as much as we adored him and the time he spent with us shining brightly in our lives.

If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

The book is available in print but obviously post is dire from here. But it is available on Kindle and Smashwords for other readers. You will find links on Sam’s home page.

For more details on Sam’s memoirs – www.moyhill.com/sam

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