Our New Puppy!

The First 48 Hours…

Introducing our new family member – Roxie! She’s a 4 month old Cane Corso adopted from the Dogs Trust, https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/ and like most puppies, she’s a bit of a handful!

Until seeing Roxie for the first time, the breed of Cane Corso (say, can-eh cor-soh) was not one we’d come across before. Essentially, they are a type of Italian Mastiff, not particularly well-known in the UK with an impressive history and lineage.

Breed History

Both the Cane Corso and the Neapolitan Mastiff share a common ancestor that was particularly popular in Roman times, when Roman soldiers brought them back from Greece and bred them with dogs already resident in Italy. Due to their strong and powerful build, as well as their intelligent, loyal and protective nature, they were frequently used as war dogs as well as being kept as guard and farm dogs more generally.

In the 1970s, the breed was almost at the point of extinction until two Italians, who were enthusiasts of Molossers in general, set up a centre to save the ancient breed. Thanks to their efforts, and many others who supported and assisted them, we’re now lucky to have our very own Cane Corso puppy today.

The information and guidance we’ve received on this type of dog is that fully grown she’s going to need walking at least a mile every morning and every evening, will need to be given a “job” such as hunting out treats and toys so as not to become overly protective of the house and family and to slowly begin socialising her from a very early age with other dogs and their owners.

We’ve also been told that these dogs aren’t ideal for everyone just because of their size and protective tendencies if not properly trained. This breed of dog takes a substantial amount of work to be a suitable family pet so be sure it’s the pet for you and that you’re prepared to put the time in before opting for a Cane Corso.

The First 48 Hours

Since bringing Roxie home on Thursday evening from the Dogs Trust local to us, it’s been exhausting! I feel like a new mum again especially since she’s only a young puppy and seems very unsure of stairs, refusing to go up them for the past 2 nights, so the husband and I have taken it in turns to sleep on the couch until she gains some confidence. She has today managed to have a wander around up there so maybe this evening we’ll all make it to the bedroom!

As she is going to be a very large dog, we’ve already been informed to be careful not to over-exercise her at this age so as to better protect her joints in later life. That being said, she has enjoyed chasing a Frisbee round the back garden today for 10 minutes to burn off some of that never-ending puppy energy, as well as some very short walks to the end of the street and back as she’s still quite nervous out of the house and garden.

As you’d expect with a puppy, especially one who’s been rescued, Roxie hasn’t yet been house-trained. She’s working on it and so far, despite a few inevitable accidents in the kitchen, she’s slowly learning what’s expected of her.

She’s also learning that she’s not allowed on the couch, just because she’ll soon be too big for it, so all in all we’ve been really impressed with her ability to pick up the house rules as quickly as she has.

The great thing about adopting a dog from the Dog’s Trust is that you get access to their Dog School for a 6-week training course for a very reasonable fee. For any puppies I think that this is important, but especially for one that will grow to be as strong and powerful as Roxie is expected to, it’s going to be absolutely vital. We get helpful guidance and support on the latest training and behavioural guidelines, very much based around positive reinforcement rather than other methods, so lots of treats and cuddles which Roxie just absolutely loves of course.

You also get post-adoption check ins at 2 days, 2 weeks and 4 months but can contact them at any time during the dog’s life for help and assistance with your doggy-friend. The obvious benefit is that you get to help a rescue dog who probably hasn’t had the best start in life giving them a new home and a fresh start.

Cane Corso Puppy
Look at those Puppy Dog Eyes!

If you’re thinking of adding a dog to your family, be sure to check out the Dogs Trust which has centres throughout the UK and can be found online at https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/.

Guinea Pig Sitting!

My Very Important Job This Week!

This week, whilst my eldest daughter is off on her holidays with her boyfriend and his family, I’ve been left in charge of her babies – technically guinea pigs not children – but they’re still her absolute pride and joy. No pressure then!

We always had dogs when I was growing up, never rodents, so I thought I’d better read up on caring for them in their “mummy’s” absence so that I could keep them both in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed! I had a good read of Blue Cross’ website to get a decent overview from a respected source on how to care for these little guys:


A few things worth noting about guinea pigs, also known as “cavies” I’ve discovered from Blue Cross are:

  • Boy guinea pigs are called “boars” and girls “sows” (just like real pigs to which they bear no relation nor are they from Guinea);
  • Need to be kept in groups of 2 or more as they get lonely on their own;
  • Can live for between 4 to 8 years;
  • Have sensitive hearing so avoid subjecting to loud environments;
  • Curious and friendly they are also shy and like to be under cover at times so ensure that this is provided for in their hutch which can be kept inside or outside preferably in a shed or weather protected area that is also predator-proof;
  • Allow them to graze outdoors frequently in a run as well as letting them wander in a suitable area indoors if they are house pets;
  • Important to clean them out daily to avoid them developing complications like “bumblefoot”;
  • Hay, dry-food mix and fruit and vegetables make up their daily diet and fresh water needs to be provided daily in a water bottle;
  • Long-haired guinea pigs need to be groomed regularly and all varieties should have their teeth and feet regularly checked for problems;
  • Avoid breeding them as this is something that very much should be done by experts only given some particular complications that can occur – so ensure males are neutered if keeping in mixed groups;
  • Don’t keep in the same area as rabbits as the piggies can be hurt or intimidated by these bigger animals;
  • Like playing in tubes, pipes and cardboard boxes – ours have little balls too that we pop food in for them to forage to keep them entertained;
  • When handling pick up with both hands, with one hand gently holding underneath and one on top, held close to the body so they feel safe;
  • Are friendly and sociable and enjoy being held or stroked if this attention provided regularly. One of ours loves his chin being stroked!
  • Great pets for children but, due to the level of daily care required, an adult/older child will need to be responsible in providing this as it would be too much for a young child to do alone;
  • Will communicate vocally, loudly squeaking at times! Whenever the fridge door opens or they hear their mummy coming, ours squeak like crazy thinking it means food-time! Different noises mean different things so it’s important to spend time with your piggies to get to know their cues.
  • When happy will “popcorn” and “zoom” about their cage i.e. run and jump in glee!

There’s so much more of course but just this list alone gives you an idea of how much more there is to guinea pigs than certainly I ever imagined before having them.

I knew my daughter would be missing them so I sent her a good night Facebook post from her baby boys every night so she knew that they were alright. I quite enjoyed it and she did too:

It was a really nice way to keep in touch whilst she was on her first grown-up holiday without us actually and I really enjoyed playing nanna to these two funny and cheeky boys 🙂

New Editions to the Family: Guinea Pigs

28 April 2019

After trying to decide on the most suitable house pets for our family for a while now, today we finally settled on two adorable guinea pigs, who have yet to be named.

They appear to be settling well into their new home although we’re following the seller’s advice to give them plenty of space to relax and get used to their new surroundings before handling them too much.

It’s been a while since we’ve had pets actually. Previous pets have been Chloe Faye’s house rabbit, Thumper, and Lee’s guinea pig, Monster. Now that we’ve settled into our new home, and got an idea for what would work, it seemed a good time to reintroduce pets to our family.

Given the fox family that frequent the garden, these will of course be house guinea pigs too.