New family member “Fleet”

Fleet is an ISDS registered Border Collie who was born in June 2016 with just one job – to be a working sheepdog only things didn’t work out.

He was put up for sale online as an 8-month old by a farmer and leading sheepdog traillist that paid a small fortune for him as a puppy and we happened to stumble upon the advert and agreed to buy him within 24hrs.

Noticed some refererence to full titles and seemingly impressive bloodlines on the ad but didn’t take much notice because it makes little difference to us anyway and then when we got home and I had chance to look at his papers properly, I did a quick search on Google.

Turns out Fleet is the son of Ricky Hutchinson’s “Sweep” – currently one of the world’s best sheepdogs having won ten opens in the last two seasons.   He and Fleet’s Grandfather “Roy” have also competed and won the International Brace Championships together twice so God love him, Fleet was born into a world with high expectations but you can’t force what isn’t there so he made his way to us instead.

Until the day we met him at the farm,  Fleet had never seen toys before and didn’t know what to do with a tennis ball when we threw one for him.

He had developed compulsive circling from prolonged periods of confinement, lived outside in very small kennels and slept inside a hard plastic tub on a concrete floor with a concrete water bowl.   We knew that there was nothing about him we wouldn’t be able to manage and agreed to him coming home with us the same day.

Fleet sheep
A few of the 900+ sheep Fleet was supposed to work


Fleet kennel
Photo of Fleet cowering inside his kennel the day we first met him


Fleet scared
Cowering again once outside his kennel


Finger of death
Another bollocking


fleet and mark1
Fleet super excited to play with Puddi and Puddi with manic eyes that say she’s had enough.



Fleet and mark
Husband Mark looking really pissed off because Fleet wasn’t the nasty ass, vicious farm dog he half hoped he would be.. now we had to take him home



Ricky Hutchinson with Fleet’s Dad (Sweep) and Granddad (Roy) as featured on “One Man and His Dog”





Vintage Seaworld

assasin orca

For all of the wrong things Seaworld has done both to its orcas and their trainers, it has also done a lot of good and must be given credit for its earlier work in research and education in helping to dispel the myth that these are vicious, man eating killers we should fear at all costs.

It took giant leaps in marine mammal training and within a relatively short space of time, took the ocean’s top predator and turned the world’s opinion full circle.

Then it stopped.  It failed to really progress much further and the bigwig bosses saw the financial gain and got stuck. We may as well still live in a world that thinks killer whales roar like lions (as seen in the dire movie “Orca!” which was so bad I literally belly laughed)

Seaworld could still manage to claw its way back and turn public opinion around once more if bosses were willing to put both hands up, admit there have been some appalling policies, procedures and general practice but pledge to put all their time, effort and money into righting wrongs and hatching plans that will actively work towards doing something with killer whales rather than allow them to float aimlessly in tanks and wither away.

It might even be able to retain some of its shows and public displays as well provided they aren’t done so often on a daily basis and for the sole purpose of entertainment. Whilst the remaining orcas are suitably placed and rehabilitated for example, members of public could maybe still view trainers as they are working with them.

I would love to see killer whales up close and personal from behind the safety of glass but only if those on the opposite side weren’t languishing as a result of my own selfish and personal greed.  Until then I’m planning to bob about on the open ocean and spew buckets / hurl my guts up over the side and wait until these creatures decide to show up and allow me the honour of seeing them at home. 

Alongside concerns that Seaworld isn’t doing right by its animals my next worry is for young and aspiring trainers because bosses care even less for them than they do the killer whales.   It feels like nobody is looking out for the whales apart from the trainers and fewer people are looking out for the trainers trying to look after the whales. 

Sadder still is the trainers clearly dote on these animals and you get the sense they all form particularly strong bonds and close friendships because of the way in which they all work together.

Beautiful beyond words to see these huge, powerful and immensely intelligent creatures carefully gliding through the water with and alongside humans and seeing the trainers playing hide and seek with what appears to be genuine affection.

On the other hand it’s tragic that we had such an amazing opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and friendship that should and could easily have been but somehow managed to lose along the way.

You catch glimpses of some truly beautiful moments in this video which is so bittersweet because it’s both breathtaking and heartbreaking all in one go.

Vintage SeaWorld

The Connections Between Choice, Punishment, Stress, and Aggression

Unfortunately the blog / post in question has been updated and article is password protected.  Real shame too because it was excellent.

Anyway including link to blogger / post and hopefully it’ll be back up and viewable again at some point because it really was a brilliant piece of writing.

Muddy Puddi

Puddi pics (now 7 months old) taken by my 17yr old daughter Hannah.

We’ve come a long way these last five months or so and gone from having a dog that detested rain and jumped over puddles to one that’s become a water fiend / swims like an Olympic champion and roams woods and dense forests to find muddy swamps she can dig in and generally get as shit up as physically possible.