Pete and I have always wanted dogs when he retired but since I work from home anyway we decided that now was the right time for our first puppy. Having coped with the red legged partridge making a mess everywhere and enjoying a little company throughout the day (albeit a bit of a one sided friendship) Pete thought it would give me a good excuse to get out and about during the day and help to rebuild my self confidence.
Pete's one fear all his life has been dogs though he has improved over the last years so a puppy was the only choice for us so he could build his confidence slowly.
We settled on a staffy, not too big, a face with expression so maybe a little easier to read for Pete, sturdy enough to put up with muddy shoots and very friendly when socialised properly.
After some research and a host of online scammers and likely puppy farm traders, we eventually found our little Jess. A blue and white KC registered pup with a family tree as long as your arm.
Our first hurdle was to get her used to the sounds and smells of a shoot and we decided to take her before she was allowed on the ground as she hadn't had her second set of vaccinations.
We took her to Headley in a 'dog carrier shoulder bag'. We also enlisted the help of our good friend João who has had a lot of experience training dogs.
I started with her on my lap in the car with all the doors and windows closed, when she settled, we gradually opened the windows so the noise became louder. Eventually we put her in her bag and walked slowly closer to where the shooting was going on, João took the bag, let her have a good sniff at cartridges and guns keeping her calm and distracted, and eventually she was ignoring the noise altogether.
We continued with our shoot with no drama and have since taken her to Mill Farm too, where she behaved perfectly despite being eager to get on the ground and run around.
Due to the nature of my cancer being triple negative and mainly because 2 of the 3 cancers they found in my right breast were not detected until after removal despite ultrasound, mammograms and MRI scans, I couldn't convince myself that it was not also lurking in the other breast. I had several discussions with my Surgeon, Oncologist and the plastic surgeon that was going to rebuild me and between us it was agreed, and approved by the poweres that be that we would have the other breast removed. Apart from anything else it would be easier to reconstruct me with a bit of symmetry.
The second mastectomy was done and I think I missed maybe 2 shoots.
I'm now putting on weight to give them enough material to perform DIEP flap surgery. Basically they use skin, fat, blood vessels and muscle from the abdomen to build the new boobs. so I am now nursing a huge belly, I have had offers from many to use their tummy fat, but, sorry to those, it has to be mine
Pete has been struggling with his own health, two replacement knees and 1 hip, the other giving him huge amounts of pain, and with his breathing issues and looking after me he decided to retire.
A bit of a shock to our lives all round but a good one and how things are changing.
Our lives revolving around our gun dog and shooting, the next step was for him to have his own pup.
We found a breeder and now have gundog number 2... Cujo (remember the book by Stephen King and the horror film?) .....and he just keeps growing and growing
With our ever-growing family and Pete's passion for lusty cars, well it had to be a Range Rover.
Of course he chose a black one with blacked out windows and a big engine - well you know who normally drives those!
We could now get all the family,all the gun stuff and even a couple of overnight bags plus all the doggo bits in with ease, the bumpy tracks to here there and everywhere have just about disappeared and Pete has a poweful car with all the toys he could ever think of and more, who could want for anything else - well.... he's looking at guns again!
East Grinstead Sussex
Tunbridge Wells Kent
Northall Clay Pigeon Club
Fletching, East Sussex
Clay Pigeon Shooting Association
Findon, West Sussex
Mill Farm, Hankham Hall Road
Fletching, East Sussex
off Pearsons Green Road
Paddock Wood, Brenchley
Kent, TN12 7DG
Markyate St Albans
Offering private 1:1 or group shooting lessons in Sussex
Offering essential and advanced basic training and 1:1 instruction in Surrey