1st November 2018

My Dog Has A Drink Problem and Rowan Summer Instore

  This super cute photograph is of Harry my adorable Labrador. Many of you will have spotted him in his basket under the counter. Harry is a hit with young children and happy to be cuddled and patted, he is better than any toy box.  Harry is an extremely special little fella. You see, Harry started off life as Jager, born on 1st May, 2014, at the Auckland Guide Dog Breeding Center. For the first year of his life he was in a programme called Puppy Walking. A wonderful volunteer family gave him lots of love, attention. and introduced him to a whole host of sights, smells and experiences, aimed at  developing  obedience, social skills and most importantly a whole lot of confidence. Jager  went on ferries, trains and buses, he bravely ventured up and down  escalators and lifts,  and with extreme will power resisted the urge to chase cats and to not gobble his dinner down until he had been given the command "ok". Jager tried so hard, he always wanted to please. He was certainly sociable, affectionate and wanted to be everyone's friend. However, knowing what I know now, I can look at his adorable puppy photograph and read exactly what is going through his mind...He's thinking "I'm standing as straight as I can and trying to stay still, I want to be brave, to wear my red coat and be a super Guide Dog, but I just want my mummy and I am so nervous and want to cry." Jager somehow managed to get through his Puppy Walking Phase and enter into the really serious second year of training. The dogs in his group were constantly tested at locations throughout Auckland.  As Jager jumped into the smart Guide Dog branded van, he shook and held his head down, as his harness was placed on his shoulders his legs wobbled and he tucked his tail between his legs. He did his absolute best, he wanted to please and excel, he wanted to be a real Guide Dog and wear his handsome red Jacket with pride but if the truth be known, little sensitive Harry just wasn't Guide Dog material. After a tough year  my darling boy was withdrawn from the programme and placed in foster care, awaiting a new 'forever home'.
   This is where my side of the story begins. My  previous Lab,' Winston (Churchill, not Peters) had passed away and after a cathartic grieving period, I applied to adopt a 'withdrawn' guide dog. This was not a smooth process. Somehow over the Christmas of 2015 I managed to contract Legionnaires Disease through mishandling potting compost (not a nice illness to have so always wear gloves and a mask when handling commercially purchased compost.) While in hospital my mobile phone and lap top languished at home, completely ignored and way, way down on the priority list. Towards the end of my hospital  stay, and with  the pressure off, my husband flicked through my missed calls and chanced upon a message from Fiona, the head honcho in charge of Guide Dog Adoption. My neglected missed message was to inform me that a 2 year old black Lab' named Kurt was needing a new home. Kurt had medical problems,  and was potentially a great liability. Apparently he swam  like a fish (not all Lab's swim and our previous one, much to our consternation refused to get anything more than his paws wet), he was extremely energetic and most importantly he was black. Winston was a yellow Lab and I felt a change of colour would be for the best. The huge downside was that Kurt would require a special diet, regular medical checks, and no doubt like all dogs, get crook just before a long public holiday weekend. Kurt was  potentially, a ticking time bomb, Blimey, how can you fall totally in love with a dog from a short voice massage, he had  all the attributes I wanted in my next hound? Without telling me, my husband  decided that Kurt was not the dog for us (he did find a home if you were wondering) and our wait continued. Some 3 months later, and now fully recovered my mobile phone rang. I remember the call well..."Hello Fran, it's Fiona here from the Guide Dog Breeding Center. In an instant I uttered the words."is this the call I have been waiting for? Have you got a dog for me?" Fiona laughed and said that she had a two year old yellow Labrador available for adoption and both he, and us would be given a two week trial. I asked could he swim and Fiona assured me that he was a superb swimmer. Jager was duly dropped off, unbeknownst to him he  just had his last ride in the terrifying Guide Dog Van. I was shocked when I first saw Jager. He was incredibly tall and extremely skinny. His face was so slender and he appeared to be very skittish and  nervous. He certainly was not the sturdy, confident black Lab that I had on my mental wish list and we subsequently found out that he was terrified of swimming! HE WAS ADORABLE and within a matter of minutes we had all fallen in love with him. As you can guess the rest is history and Jager became Harry.
  Each  guide dog litter is named after a letter of the alphabet and Jager, was born into the J litter. We couldn't come to terms with this name, it didn't trip of the tongue, no disrespect to anyone called Jager, but we felt a dog should have a 'proper' name. We trialed a few options, Geoffrey after my Dad who is an adorable gent but may have taken offence having a dog named after him.  Paxton was also a candidate. Joseph Paxton was the English 19th century distinguished  gardener, architect and member of Parliament, but this was a rather powerful name that didn't really suit such a  'weedy' dog. Borak was on our list, remember - I had originally wanted to adopt a black Labrador. Maybe the name wasn't the best for our handsome fella with his yellow coat!  We finally settled on Harry, not after Prince Harry, although my Harry does have a gingerish face, but after my uncle Harry, who from memory was quite tall and skinny in his youth, and was quiet, humble and kind. Harry very quickly got used to his new name, although we occasionally tease him, rather cruelly I think,  and shout out "Jager Come" . Ever obedient, and wanting so hard to please, he dashes up to us, but I know in his head he associates that name with a rather anxious part of his past that he would rather forget. 
  Harry has been a total joy. We are mindful that on his adoption papers the reason for withdrawal was given as 'general anxiety and lacks confidence'.  It wouldn't enter our heads to shout, to chastise, or to punish him, he rarely puts a foot, or should I say paw,  wrong. I do however,have a bit of a problem at the moment. We have  had an awful lot of 'coming and going' in our house this year. My daughter has moved to Melbourne, Harry adored her and can't understand why she has  vanished. She regularly re appears but after only a few magical walks and tummy tickles she has gone again. My husband  travels overseas, Neil is super organised and plans his trips with military precision. The packing process would start days out, clothes laid out, lists compiled and worked through, and bags and cases lined up. Harry would eye all this up and internally start to quiver. Neil now  ensures all packing is done at the very last minute, the suitcases are well hidden and as he leaves on a 3 week trip he fondly calls out, "home soon Harry, be a good boy".
  All this upheaval is  enough to turn a dog to drink! Well actually it has turned Harry to drink. Harry has developed Doggie OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) No this is not a joke. Harry is showing his anxiety by excessive drinking, as in three times more than the recommended amount. This is potentially not a good thing. My vet did explain all the associated problems but I tried to hurry him along, as I firmly believe the longer he talks then the higher his fee  will be. Needless to say, his condition was explained at great length and I  was offered a seat as my bill was totted up!  Anyway, having carefully monitoring Harry's water intake and trying, and thoroughly failing to monitor Harry's mental health, I have started a gradual and measured reduction in the water  available to him. Hopefully this technique will work and all his kidney functions will right themselves without any trips to a canine psychologist. If his medical treatment is lengthy and costly, rest assured the price of my wool is going up and my lovely staff are taking a pay cut.
  On a much lighter front, Harry, always eager to please, played an important part in the recent appeal on behalf of the Blind foundation. Along with his pals, Vossy, Orson and Orbit, he sat on the main street in Devonport whilst myself and other volunteers shook collection buckets enthusiastically and got everyone who failed to avoid us, to part  with their hard earned cash. Whether collecting for Guide Dogs, or the Blind Foundation I know we are able to raise far more money if we have a few beautiful Labradors with us.  Last Saturday morning, accompanied by our four magnificent dogs, we did rather well. We had to laugh though as none of the four dogs, sitting obediently, and happy to take all manner of pats and cuddles were real Guide Dogs. Our hounds were all failed Guide Dogs, although the politically correctly termed is 'change of career dog'  As you know, Harry failed on his sensitivity, Vossy has a food obsession, Orbit dislikes men wearing hats and Orson loved to chase cats. Actually Orson did get through to his very final walking assessment which was performed around the streets of Devonport. The infamously aggressive  library cat proved just too much of a temptation for Orson and he got his card marked with a BIG FAT FAIL! Thankfully the dratted moggie met a sticky end on Victoria Road and all the North Shore Puppy Walkers  heaved a huge sigh of relief. Vossy (food addiction failure) came to stay with Harry this last weekend. I hid the cats bowls, ensured no food was left out on the bench and removed all secret stashes of chocolate. Vossy, has in the past, consumed rather large amounts of chocolate, left lying around by a  house guest. Although Vossy made a full recovery the consequences for Helen,  Vossy's owner were not in the slightest bit amusing and Helen's vet now has a shiny new car, a jet ski and a holiday home in Wanaka!
Now I suppose I had better let you know what's happening at Wild and Woolly Yarns. After an extremely lengthy and impatient wait all our Summer yarns have arrived. I have to say, the displays on the shelf look rather marvelous, the pattern books are fabulous, whoever said knitting shops were daggy, boring and dusty needs to take a peek in my store, its absolutely delicious. We just need the summer sunshine to arrive and then we really will be in business!

Here's just a taster...

Rowan Summerlite DK, $10.50. Made from 100% Egyptian Cotton, this yarn is beautifully soft and comes in an array of wonderfully chalky shades. 'Rowan Summerlite DK' pattern book 'Little Rowan Explorers', 'Little Rowan Cherish', and Magazines 61 and 63 are bursting with pattern ideas for this quality cotton.

Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK, a luxurious yarn developed with babies and young children in mind. This is a machine washable blend that is wonderfully soft and perfect for the special 'littlies' in your life. Give it a big cuddle, it's $14.99 per ball. We have the most amazing pattern books for babies, toddlers and children to accompany this luxury yarn. Choose from 'Modern Mini Knits', 'Baby Knits' or 'Little Rowan Kids'.

Rowan Handknit Cotton, $10.50. Our slightly more weighty cotton that has been part of the Rowan stable for many years. We have chosen summery seaside shades to reflect our relaxed North Shore lifestyle and to complement the designs featured in Rowan Magazine 63.
Rowan Softyak DK, $19.99. A blend of cotton and yak results in a trans-seasonal yarn with a stunning soft handle and luxurious finish. The yarn has a slight melange effect due to the yak fibres remaining undyed. 'Rowan Softyak DK', 'Simple Shapes in Softyak' this is a compliamentary publication with a purchase of Softyak, 'Little Dudes' and 'Little Rowan Explorers' will give you plenty of inspiration for modern and exciting designs.

Rowan Big Wool. Yes I know it seems crazy having stock of this super chunky merino wool as we head into the warmer weather. However, so many of you have called into the shop especially to purchase a garment amount of this iconic Rowan Yarn and were dissapointed  that we only had the dregs (but nice dregs) of our winter stock. I am expecting a very large box of Big Wool to arrive in the shop by Wednesday of next week. I also have the complimentary pattern books Big Wool-4 projects, which is your s with a purchase of a Big Wool. We will  pop a post on Facebook for those of you wanting to grab a few balls of this super quick knitting wool the moment it arrives.

And finally for those of you who are collectors of the Rowan magazines I have managed to 'acquire' a few copies of the hardback coffee table book 'Rowan 40 iconic hand-knit designs', This book celebrates the 40 year history  of, probably, the very best wool company in the world..If you wish to grab a slice of knitting history they are $60 per book, that's just 12 coffee's or a flash new lipstick. You choose!
   As I have said before, I can write pages and pages of newsletter on the subject of England, my dog, my childhood memories and my garden. Writing about my business is a little more difficult. I know the point of the newsletter is to promote Wild and Woolly and to get you all to rush in and buy wool, but I find it difficult, there are only so many times I can use the words 'soft, luxurious, beautiful etc. Its boring, please just trust me, all our yarns are fantastic, so do call in and take a look.

That's your lot for now, so happy knitting from Fran, Marya and Olivia.
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