Tuesday 31 July 2007

Call of the Wild

Behind us, the big building site is progressing well, but the bit immediately behind us is destined to be car parking, and is scraped clear and currently used by the builders' cars. Bordering on this is a foxes' earth, and the foxes come out and yowl and yap when it gets dark, sending us carreering down the garden at speed. They are long-limbed skinny ones, so we think they are this year's cubs, now grown up to full size

We race down to the beech hedge and shout and yap at them till we are told off and dragged back indoors bythe spoilsport humans. Yesterday though, Haggis decided to try a new tactic and told the foxes what Westies could do - Owww-oooooooooooo....OWWWWWWWWWWOOOO. He was magnificent. It was like "Call of the Wild" out there! Go "H" !!

Meanwhile, Dad's been up mowing around the allotment in a rare dry opportunity and come back all green-footed.

Mum has made up the bed with some oh-so-posh, brand new Fenn-Wright-Manson Egyptian cotton sheets , duvet cover etc and sends Dad an email at work that says the "mutts" are barred, and that if any of "them" get into the bed before she does, she's off out looking for a cookbook with dog recipes. Seems a bit harsh

Dad decides to thoroughly wash the ol' green feet before he gets in!

Scaring ourselves to death with the inland waterways pre-holiday guidance DVD. Those boats look very very very long!


Sunday 29 July 2007

Staying Over, at Dylan's

I'm in love! There is a new man in my life. Slightly portly, and under the vet for his diet, he's now regaining his trim puppy good looks. He is Norfolk terrier Dylan (15 months), whose humans are friends of Mum and Dad. We were all invited to stay over last night at their house, and to sleep in the big, well appointed Summer House.

We were already a bit tired, the three of us, from a busy day helping Mum and Dad in the garden (especially me, who helped by digging a big hole between the tubs of old, spent daffs and tulips in the chicken run), but it was great to have a run up and down Dylan's garden. Then as the evening wore on and the humans got fed and lubricated, we all of us invaded various of Dylan's beds, till when the humans were rattling out "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Rock and Roll is King" on the guitars, or lazing in the outdoor hot spa-bath, there were sleeping dogs in every possible corner of the rooms.

A brilliant night, and many thanks to Dylan and his people for entertaining us all. Now it's breakfast time and Mum and Dad are off to find Diamond for bit of eggs and bacon.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend


Saturday 28 July 2007

I Clavdivs

After they enjoyed the BBC drama "Rome" so much, the humans had to shoot out and get the 1976 series "I, Claudius" on DVD boxed set, and we've been watching it ever since. On the TV titles, the "u"s in "Claudius" were always depicted as "V"s, and it's been a family joke ever since, to pronounce them that way. Little things..... But let me tell you, there are no dogs, no animals, no barking in it at all, nothing of interest to a westie, so my pics today are of the three of us plus Felix curled up on the settee "watching" I Claudius.
Meg is in her favourite position on the "far end" (Dad thinks her favourite position is where ever he wants to sit). I am (as ever) up on the back of the settee, either looking down on them all, or with my nose squeezed into the crack between the settee and the wall. Haggis here is curled up with Felix looking quite cute. Which ever one of them is on the sofa first, the other seems to wait till they're settled and then kind of squidge in alongside. Not sure what felix is doing with his head on one side in the front-on shot. Stretching maybe? Weird cat.
Dad has treated himself to a new shredder for the garden, so this afternoon we whizzed through all the cuttings of vibernum, bay and paulownia in double-quick time. Dad is delighted. he can finally throw out the old noisy rattly blunt thing given to us by the Pud-Lady, even though it was beyond its sell by date then.
Have a great weekend

Friday 27 July 2007

The Grass was as High....

It's a warm sweaty night, so our walk, mercifully, joins the dots from pond to stream to drainage ditch to dyke. At each, we are allowed to scurry down the bank and paddle (or swim, if we lep' into a bit that's deeper than we thought, Haggis), but if we don't fancy that, then we can rush up and down the bank and try to guess what all the excitement's about. As you know, I am on an "impress the humans by staying clean and dry" campaign, so I don't go in, while Meggie and H get quite sordid. Mind you I do join them in the "rolling on your back to dry yourself" action, even though I am dry. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The abandoned fields (no longer farmed, but still escaping the developer's bull-dozers) out back of Dad's allotment, are very bright at present, with wild flowers. We have yellows from ragwort and bristly ox-tongue, purples from willow-herbs (rose bay (= fireweed) and "greater"), thistles and teasels, darker purples from tufted vetch, whites from wild carrot, ox-eye daisy and convulvulus, we have clovers (red and white), and we have the dark terracotta of old dock flower spikes, now turned to seed.

It's all chest-high on Dad, so we are pleased (and we might be in a minority here!) that the dirt-bike boys get out there cutting and wearing paths through those fields. If it wasn't for those guys those fields would be denied to us by now. They might be noisy, but they definitely improve access. As long as they are responsible and don't run us over (so far they are, and they don't!) then more power to their elbows!

Have a great weekend


Wednesday 25 July 2007

Round and round the mulberry bush

The cemetery again and the three of us on flexi leads. Rabbits everywhere. But Dad's hanging on tight this time and the mobile doesn't go off (though we almost got away when Dad tried to juggle the three leads and a poo-bag to pick up Meggie's donation). Never mind - we get a good run around up the "far end" while there's nobody about

So, frustrated by this lack of escape, I am taking up the baton of squirrel chasing, moving the skill on from Megan's tutor-ship. While Meggie chases a squirrel to the tree and then, when it disappears upwards she hops around indecisively, I run at the tree aiming to be drawn in by the gravity towards the trunk and then run around the tree in a full circle (or even two) checking out all angles in quick succession.

I further aim to score bonus points relative to the Meg and the H, by being a prim and proper Miss when it comes to the one muddy puddle on the Rec. Both M and H are drawn inexorably towards this as moths to a candle flame, and invariably come away with black majorette boots. My mission is to return from every walk with immaculate feet. as white and fluffy as when I set out. (OK, as beige and no more scruffy).

Have a lovely evening

Monday 23 July 2007

Soggy Dogs

Rain, rain and more rain. The news full of footage of floods and heart break. We are fortunate down here in Kent to have, so far, just the rain. We get a quick walk, dashing out round the Rec (at Meggie's insistence) so we can all do what dogs a-gotta do, and I can have a good game of "plastic bottle". There's always one on the Rec and Dad boots it about so I can chase it down and nail it. My favourites are the Yazoo Chocolate bottles, which I can have a sneaky slurp from the end of in between nailing it.

We are towelled off on our return, looking like drowned rats.

Mum is buried in studying, Dad in Harry Potter.

Have fun

Sunday 22 July 2007

Speaks like a Magistrate

Remember that stag's head oak I described on April 17th? At the time I said it was one of Dad's favourites and that it always looked like it was on the verge of death, but somehow struggled on. Well for months afterwards it sat there sulking and leafless, and I wondered whether I should admit that it had finally succumbed. But No; it is in leaf again, as far as that goes.

One exciting thing I neglected to say yesterday was that we saw a kingfisher at the "bottom" pond, just below the "Cloud Chamber" sculpture (see www.StourValleyArts.org.uk). No idea what he/she was doing there. The pond is not natural - it was built a few years back using a grant obtained by Friends of Kingswood and as far as we know there are no fish in it. It is not stream-fed, so there's no obvious way of fish getting there. perhaps kingfishers eat newts too? But it was definitely a kingfisher - that's one bird you cannot mistake for any other!

Meanwhile, Mum is dining out on the fact that she was described by a person we know only briefly, to a mutual friend as "speaking like a magistrate". She is chuffed to bits with this, of course!

And so, on the last night of "Rome" and the last Harry Potter (Mum had read it by 02:24 last night), I'll wish you good night


Saturday 21 July 2007

6 Miler in Challock

A good day for an intrepid exploration of Challock Forest, although the walk gets a very small turn-out presumably because there have been big black clouds threatening and the news is full of floods and land slides, the walk is advertised as "The 6 Miler" - not everyone's cup of tea, and finally everyone's presumably stuck indoors with the new (and final) Harry Potter book.

No matter. We get a lovely walk - none of the threatening rain falls except for a small shower when we are well hidden in a chunk of thick chestnut coppice. These pics are of us mooching around one of the ponds to cool off. You can see from the final pic, that we got fairly manky, but then, what are wood walks for?
Since then we've been to a garden centre for a pruning saw and Dad has had at some of the garden's overgrown bushes and trees - the Vibernum, Bay and Paulownia for a start. I helped by standing under the ladder and breaking the fall of the sawn off bits - in case they should get damaged hitting the concrete.
And the day has gone on getting better - Mum and Dad have just come back from shopping with a bulging pack of meaty raw-pork ribs for us. We do love those and it keeps us quiet for a while - this is "a good thing" apparently, especially now that Mum has been to Tesco and has returned with the aforementioned work of wizardy fiction, in which she will now be buried to the exclusion of all distractions (like cooking food, playing with dogs etc) until completion. 700 pages? ETA Sunday night, if not before. Book will then be handed to Dad who should finish is some time in July 2008
Have a great weekend

Friday 20 July 2007

Italian westies

Ahhhh - gotta love Hugo-the-Dane's humans. They went all the way to Italy (Venice in fact), and were still thinking of us. They have sent home the following two lovely pics of Italian Westies and the message
"Hi to you all, Here are the photos we took in Venice that we told you both about. Hope you like them."
Of course we do - and looking at the harsh shadows, the bright sunshine they were photo'd in makes us all wonder about your stories of rain, rain and more rain.
Meanwhile, Dad is all excited at the moment because the old faithful green Picasso that I've known since I was a pup being collected by Mum and Dad from my birth place, is getting chopped in and a shiny new car will be on the drive from Wednesday.
But now it's Friday night and the humans are topping up on the red wine and sifting through the DVD's to see what's worth watching.
Tomorrow Dad leads a six mile walk through Challock Forest. Haggis and I are allowed to come. The feeling is that the aging Meggie is no longer up for a 6 miler. She's good for about an hour and a bit (2-3 miles) but after that she starts to slow up and might start to be a bit of a liability to the walkers. Dad (and we) can do the 6 miles in 2 hours on our own - 2 and a half to 3 with the walkers, some of whom are quite ancient themselves.
This is quite traumatic and sad for Dad, who's taken Meggie with him every walk for about 11 years, always by his side even before Haggis was even invented. She is his first ever dog (not the first dog he's had dealings with, but they'd always been someone else's dog) so this is like being forced to admit that she's mortal, and aging. This is the first time he's ever had to say "You be a good girl" as he leaves with us 2. Mum will look after Meggie and maybe take her for a quiet gentle one round the Rec'.
We'll look after him, Meggie

Thursday 19 July 2007

Ooops! Wrong one Haggis

Out walking this morning on the Rec, myself and the H had shot on ahead of Mum and Meggie, chasing squirrels. Now, the H is given to occasionally jumping Meggie, when the mood takes him - usually when we're all in the forest, or after a good hunt. It's a sap rising thing. Both are "done" so it can come to nought, but we guess H+M have been there (they produced 8 pups between them when they were young lovers) and it still feels comfortable to climb on. Meg stands there looking either resigned or as if she might be enjoying the attention, while H has a few lazy, half hearted goes, and then dismounts

He's never tried it with me, though, even when I was in season, although one school of thought is that he was picking up the remembered scent and did seem to pay Meggie more attention as a result.

Well this morning, way up ahead of Meggie, and with a squirrel safely rounded up and tree'd, he seemed to forget himself and wandered over to me and jumped on. The cheek! I am not into that sort of thing at all and told him so in no uncertain terms, turning round and "RAFF!" ing at him. Fair play to H. He kept his composure, strolling around till Meggie caught up and then jumping her almost as an apology.

Only Mum saw the amusing side, deciding that we had all been watching too much "Rome". "You're messing with your Sister, you little low-life" (mis)quoth she, after Atia of the Julii

Deefer (Octavia of the Julii)

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Ancient wisdom

Confucius he say "Dog who roll in wet soft fox poo while on walk will get bathed in warm soapy on her return, whether she likes it or not. " I have a strong suspicion that Dad texted home "Any chance of a bowl of warm soapy on the terrace for our little blogger?" as it was waiting for us as we returned. I was not, as usual, released from the lead round by the side gate, so there was no escape.

I am now that fragrant girlie :-((


Tuesday 17 July 2007

Not that dexterous then?

Ha! Mum is always saying we have to do what the humans say because they are a superior species, on account of the bigger brain and opposable thumbs

We are walking tonight across the cemetary, which is streaming with bunnies. We are all three on the "Flexi-" extendable leads now and Dad, with big hands, is just about able to hold the three handles in one hand. We are making it tricky for him though, as we zigzag to and fro spotting rabbits, making like a maypole with the leads, with Dad as the pole. He suspects that our mission is to run enough rings round that we end up "bolas"-ing him round the legs like an Argentinian cowboy

Avoiding this on his part demands a certain dexterity, but then he gets a mobile phone call from the Hon Sec of the local "In-Bloom" committee, of which Dad is Treasurer, so he can't not answer it. Suddenly he is juggling three flexi leads and a mobile. Here I feint to the left (anti clockwise) and then whip to my right, executing an escape manouvre which will here-after be known as the Deefum-Shufti, almost giving him whiplash in the little finger in the process. Not so dexterous now, Dad!

I am free - and I treat the assembled gaping spectators with 10 minutes of charging round the bushes and trees, now you see me now you don't, zig zagging hither and yon in pursuit of bunnies (which are also zipping about from cover to cover) trailing 6 feet of blue tape lead and the big blue flexi reel handle retractory thingy. Dad is having caniptions at the thought of the lead becoming entangled in a bush but keeps his cool, chatting to the Hon Sec till the phone call ends, then rather coolly (I thought) stamping on the handle as I whizz by (foolishly coming back into range at that point). I am nearly garrotted due to going at warp 4 and stopping dead.

Fun while it lasted though!
Deef (cough cough) -er

Monday 16 July 2007

Steely-Eyed Killer Dogs

Tonight I am steely eyed killer dog, intrepid hunter, stalking through the undergowth (Alstromeria) in persuit of the elusive prey. This involves a fair amount of crashing and banging as I use my "stealthy woodcraft" and SAS tactics to get behind the rectangular pond, and at one point a wobble-rattle-splosh as the chunk of wood I am balancing on on the edge of the pond falls in, as I lep' off in the nick of time.

The prey is highly dangerous and can turn on you in an instant, so the utmost care and vigilance is required. It is capable of the most amazing turns of acceleration. This work is crucial to the family survival. I am totally engrossed and in a world of my own. I can't understand why Meggie and the H look on from their comfortable repose on the terrace, with expressions of boredom.

The prey? Swarms of half-inch long frogs!

Yay me!
Deefer the Brave

Sunday 15 July 2007


We wake to a beautiful thunderstorm at about 5, then 5.30, then 6, then 6.30. By now Mum and Dad are not entirely impressed

They are off today judging gardens for Gardening-for-Wildlife around Kent. We approve. Wildlife is rodents, and anything that encourages rodents into a garden has got to be a good thing. Talking of which, on the menu tonight is bunny - in mustard sauce to be precise. This is definitely "A good thing" too.

Hot and muggy though. Thunderstorms to follow, I'll warrant.

Deefs (but Mum still says "Hello Rat" when she comes home.)

Saturday 14 July 2007

Poor little mite

Woe is me. I am not a well dog this morning. I am sick in the hall, I do a poo on the bathroom carpet, I wee on Mum's side of the big bed, then on the walk this morning I produce the most liquid diarrhoea Dad has ever seen, and to cap it all I'm off my breakfast. Dad supposes that I have found something gruesome in the garden and eaten it (given that, he says, I will eat anything going!). So I am under close observation pending a possible visit to the vet

Meanwhile all is quiet round here. Mum is frantically studying for the latest round of Open University essays and Dad is keeping a low (quiet) profile and feeding her the occasional coffee. This is good - this means we get to spend plenty of time with Dad, either walking or sitting around or doing stuff round the house and garden.

Have a great weekend

Thursday 12 July 2007

Yoked Yorkies

Bit of fun on the Rec tonight. We were out there and just released from the leads, so H and I were having our usual funny five minutes, chasing around when we set eyes on a small family group - Mum human, small boy human and 2 Yorkies. Our curiosity aroused we headed on over. As we closed, we could see that the Yorkies were yoked together on one of those double-ended leads and that the small boy was holding onto them. But not for long.

The Yorkies came bounding over and pulled the lead clean out of the little boy's hand. Mum staggered to her feet fearing the worst, but as we all joined in a huddle of sniffing each others bums (like you do) and wagging our tails, the smaller Yorkie took fright and tried to bolt, only to find that the larger, keener Yorkie still wanted to chat. Total confusion reigned, but the only damage was to little 'un's pride. We were all quickly gathered up and went our separate ways

Leads on the Rec? Whats's that all about?


Wednesday 11 July 2007

Led astray by the H

It wasn't my fault, guv. It was a gorgeous evening and we were getting, as promised, "proper" walk, all round the fields NE of the town. From the Cardox works, we headed East out towards the railway line south of Nagden Farm. We'd all been mooching along together, Haggis and I charging about hither and yon chasing scents and the occasional bunny.

Then suddenly , at a metal gate, Haggis suddenly turned left off the path and shot across a huge field of long grass. Of course, I followed. The field is at least 400 yards wide and we were quickly stretching out some distance from Dad, who was looking after Meggie. Dad says no amount of whistling, shouting and clapping slowed us - we were on a mission! We are using the excuse of wind, long grass, the red-mist of pursuit, and I'm using the excuse that I am still apprentice to the H, so if he says it's OK, then it probably is.

Dad tells of anxious moments, climbing as high as possible perching on top of the farm gate scanning across the field, and beyond that to the dyke-banks and the creek levee in case we should get that far. He will never know where we went, but about 10 minutes later heard the unmistake-able but very distant sound of Haggis howling. Now there is a sound designed to travel, and it does. Dad jumped off the fence and started walking towards the howling but then suddenly, 400 yards away across the field, he saw a white face appear, turn to wards him as he shouted himself hoarse, and then we two racing towards him for a relieved and happy re-union.

You have the humans at that point, don't you, bang to rights. They can't kill you because they are so relieved and don't want to punish you, but by golly they'd like to. Frustration!

Hee hee!

Monday 9 July 2007

Steer-able nose

Thought you might like this gorgeous picture taken by First-Dad of my brother Archie (front), Real-Dad Hector (left) and Real-Mum Mollie (right). These guys love a game of footie. The boys especially do a fine line in running themselves ragged (hence the lolling, hot tongues) dribbling the ball about. Mollie not so much, but she sometimes either runs at the boys shouting, or even runs to the ball, trapping it professionally under a forepaw and stopping the game till either First Dad boots it away, or the boys just start up again. Nice photo, I think you'll agree.

(New) Dad was taking the mick at the weekend, about my highly manouvre-able nose. He swears he has never seen a dog so able to twitch the black "button" bit of the nose, so far from side to side. By tightening muscles down eitgher side of my snout, he says, I can pull the nose so far round the cartilage septum up the middle must nearly break (or has already!). It looks like I am aiming the nose left or right to smell round corners without moving my head.

And why not?
Just part of my cunning plan

Sunday 8 July 2007

Fairlight Photo's

Here are a couple of shots of Fairlight Hills. We are Meggie (rolling), Haggis (sitting) and myself (standing). Look at that view! You have Hastings behind you as this pic is taken, and in front you can see across Fairlight village, Pett village, Pett Levels and eventually Rye and the Rother, then out onto the shingle foreland of Dungeness (in the haze somewhere!)

The second pic is just of the three of us posed on a bench among the gorse bushes. Me (left), Meggie centre and H right gazing out to sea in his "A long time aso in a Galaxy far far away..." pose
Sorry - website is still not working right and again I can't enter a title anywhere. Not sure if this is something I have done, or whether the site has a hiccup.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend

Saturday 7 July 2007

Fairlight and the Pud Lady

What a busy day!

(OK something wrong with the site tonight - I can't add a title, so I have no idea what this is going to do)

The first sensibly sunny day for about 2 months. The sparrows are shouting from the Albertine like it is spring time and they are announcing nest sites they've found and trying to attract mates.

We are off down to Hastings to visit the Pud-Lady, and on the way we get a nice walk at Fairlight Hills, a sandstone cliff area just East of Hastings, where Dad used to spend a lot of time as a kid. All gorse bushes and rabbit holes - good Westie territory.

Back from Hastings we are at the Allotments barbecue, which is good Westie territory too due to the amount of people willing to sneak us the odd bit of sausage or burger. Diamond brings Asbo, and some exciting events ensue, but Dad has just been asked by Diamond not to "rat Ragworth up" so I guess that means I'm not allowed to tell you about them. Suffice to say, "Asbo" got another ASBO. What can I tell the readers, Diamond?

Photo's to follow tomorrow, but for now I'm all in.


Thursday 5 July 2007


Our thoughts today are with Dad's friend Shirley, whose 12 year old Westie, Penny, passed away last night from kidney failure. Penny was a very sweet dog and Shirley loved her dearly. She'll be sorely missed. She had a lovely life and died very elegantly, with no suffering.

We are all just back from an excellent walk all round the boat yard. It had finally stopped raining (but looks like starting again now) - we are all wondering when Summer will come. Out in the fields, Meg never fails to amuse with her hand-stand peeing technique. Not for Megs the bitch-squat. She quite often takes all the weight on her front legs and lifts her back end clear of the ground, like a 2-legged cock-the-leg. At the edge of a path, if she fancies weeing in the long grass, for better scent retention, she can even lift her back end, then swing it round to the side, over the longer grass with a cantilever action, wee from height onto the grass, then swing her bum back round before lowering her back legs back to the ground.

I need to brush up these gymnast skills. I just squat.


Tuesday 3 July 2007

I Blame the Parents

News comes our way of Old-Dad sitting on the sofa watching Doctor Who, and being handed a real-beef burger in a bun, cooked by First-Mum. OD takes the burger on its plate, using his left hand to steady the burger while he opens the lid of the bun, reaching out with his right hand for the sauce bottle on the coffee table. To do this he momentarily takes his eye off the burger, and when he looks back, having grabbed the bottle, the meat is gone. It is running at 50 mph down the lounge, in the teeth of Real-Dad Hector

OD leaps up and roars, charging down the lounge in pursuit of the escaping meal, but FM lep's up even faster and stands, arms out, barring OD's way. "Don't you touch him!" she yells - "I'll make you another one!". So Real Dad lives to fight another day, and I can blame the parents for my propensity for nicking toothbrush heads

My pic is of Meggie (right) and I looking out of the back door at an impressive thunderstorm, raging in the skies over the M2. Haggis is out there shouting at the thunder (How dare it!), but we girls are keeping dry.


Monday 2 July 2007

YOUR dog....

"Your Dog", says Mum's email to Dad half way through the working day (in "bold, too, so I know I'm in trouble!), "has eaten another of my electric toothbrush heads....". Mum doesn't know how I got this one as she thought it was in a drawer. At Dad's work they suggest that maybe Haggis is not as dim as everyone says, and has sneakily opened the drawer, so that I'd get the brush-head out and get into trouble. But Haggis, like Kalamazoo in the song, "was cool and he never said a mumblin' word.

Some things will remain in the realm of "for dogs to know and humans to only wonder at". One thing though - why do I become Dad's dog whenever I'm naughty? Dad mind you, does not seem unduly worried - he drops in on the butchers for steaks for the humans, and comes away with some gorgeously meaty raw pork ribs for us! He's not entirely convinced that the brush was in a drawer at all......


Sunday 1 July 2007

Scary bridge

Nice long walk this morning - what we call the "Blackcurrant fields" loop - all round south of the town's football and cricket grounds. There used to be blackcurrant fields here but they're all grubbed up and currently a clean field of wheat is there, green and immaculately weedless (so... probably not organic then?)

Only one problem with this route - we have to cross a 20 yard railway foot bridge which, for some reason, freaks me out. I am OK on the steps up to it (even though they are open concrete slab type) but once on the span I hang back to the full extent of the extendy lead (while Meg and the H trot across not a care in the world), then when it can no longer be avoided, I scoot across, legs bent, ears down, tail down, belly as close to the floor as a pup can get it while still walking. I whoosh across like this, racing to the full forward extent of the lead - the sooner I'm off that span and onto the steps down, the better.

Dad has no idea why I'm like this, as I've never had any kind of traumatic experience on it. Must just be the non-solid nature of it and the fact that I can see I'm up high because the flat metal strip mesh goes right to the walking-surface.

On the way back from the field we cross what everyone thinks is the longest railway footbridge in the UK. At about a quarter of a mile, it goes across both branches of the lines at Faversham junction - the line for Canterbury and the line for Whitsable. But that one doesn't faze me at all - probably because it's got sheet steel "walls" and I can't see out. I can race about on that one full of my normal confidence

There's no accounting for dogs