January 26, 2016

A Girl and Her Dogs: Pip + her hounds, Humphrey, Maude, Ralph, Ethel, Wally and Daphne


We took a little break from our "A Girl and Her Dog" series, but I wanted to make sure to bring it back in the new year. And I'm pretty excited to be kicking it back off with one of my absolute favorite pack on Instagram right now - Pip and her hounds, Humphrey, Maude, Ralph, Ethel, Wally and Daphne. 

Aren't they the cutest bunch? 

I am always looking forward to the daily shenanigans and adventures they all find themselves in, as well as their awesome huddle and cuddle sessions {here, here and here}. And those ears - you can't look at Pip's Instagram and not fall in love with all those flappy floppy long ears. Oh, and there is an added bonus -- Pip crochets. She crochets cute things for her pups {sweater? check. mermaid tail? no problem}. 

Each pup has his and her own story and Pip is here to tell us a little bit about it. From when Pip and her partner, Steve, decided to bring home a pup but ended up with two, to another that was just there, to one that has Pip still waiting for her kitchen renovation and little offsprings, this family knows what it's like to go through trials and overcome them {with the help of wonderful strangers and friends}, have fun even when it's raining out {I mean literally.. fun walkies on rainy days out} and have each other's backs no matter what. 

Here is all about Pip and her hounds.

The Girl: Pip 
The Dogs:
 // Humphrey and Maude - Basset siblings
 // Ralph - Half Basset and Maude's son
 // Ethel (mummy), Wally (daddy) and Daphne (their daughter) - Miniature Dachshunds 
Pip's favorite snack: Peanut Butter M&M's. Thankfully they aren't available in France or I'd have Kardashian thighs! 
Dogs' favorite snack: Homemade chicken soup on their biscuits and homemade doggy treats 
From: Originally from London and moved to Rural Southern France in 2010 
Find them on Instagram: @Philpush

I was never allowed dogs as a kid. My dad "just didn't like them" so I never thought of having a dog as a pet. When my partner Steve and I got together 14 years ago, we already had a brood of five kids between us and decided that rather than add to that, a dog would be a good idea. He'd always had bassets as a child so naturally that led to our choice. Evidently better the devil you know, so they say. We researched and found a reputable breeder, spoke to him about a girl, went to see her and came home with two, as you do, you could call me "impulsive" and Steve "easily led." Well, we couldn't split siblings could we? That's where it started. 

Maude is very vocal. She sounds like Chewbacca. She cannot sit still if food is around. She has "ants in her pants." She will have her face in anything that is available. She can get really grumpy and grizzles. 

Humphrey is the total opposite. He always sits patiently and being the gentleman, he always waits for the others to finish or take before accepting anything. 

I have a degenerative spinal condition and use a wheelchair on long days. Holding the bassets and steering my wheelchair along became a challenge. I found Ethel on a dreadful winter day whilst browsing on a whim for puppies advertised via the British Kennel Club. I hadn't been looking for another dog but she was just there. I called, named and sent the deposit that day. She was 5 days old. I waited impatiently whilst she could get her passport so we could bring her back to France.

During this time, Maude had taken a stroll, gotten fat over a period of time. After visiting the local vet she evidently had taken advantage of the advances of the local French lotharios, tipping a beret and offering their services. In February 2011, she had a litter of 8 puppies. My daughter whose birthday was approaching asked if she could keep a pup - the biggest, heaviest and fattest. Ralph. 

Ralph is our trigger barker - causes Mexican Waves of terror amongst the others. A car, the postman, the growing and barking in the front, then peeing himself with happiness when you greet him. He loves to snuggle and always goes to Maude for ear licks and warmth. He is the heaviest at 35kg and will happily crush your lap if allowed. 

Ethel arrives and instantly fits in with Ralph due to similar age. 

Ethel is the matriarch. She is the protector and the schmoozer but primarily the boss. She stands her ground with everything, giving a twinkle of her pearly white teeth. Soft like velvet and pig tracking extraordinaire. If we don't call her she will stay out in the garden barking at "PIG" all day. Her batteries never run out and she exhausts me watching her! 

At this point we have 4 dogs. We are going to Toulouse on a day out to buy our kitchen units for a revamp. We passed via the pet store, the kids ran out and told me there was a chocolate long hair sausage pup in the window. You know, when you just know that he won't be staying there or you'll worry about him? Wally came home. I still await a kitchen 3 years later. 

Velcro Wally. Loves everyone and has to find the crack in-between the cushions on the sofa to put himself snug into. Barks behind Ralph as he is smaller. We call it the "little man syndrome." Whenever he has been outside and we call him, he comes in at high speed from the front door all the way throughout the house twice. Always like a blur and is a constant by the preparation table in the kitchen "just in case." 

April 2014, Maude takes a walk off of our lands whilst I'm in the UK with my kids. Steve cannot find her and then early in the morning gets a call from the local vet. They were called to a road accident and had to euthanize the dog at the scene. They immediately recognize Maude and took her to surgery. I returned 24 hours later fraught. I put the post on Instagram for some moral support and started getting direct messages. I never knew people really cared, like genuinely. 

Within a space of 24 hours, we were donated over 3.5k euros. Maude was saved. We could never have afforded it. I was humbled beyond words. I still am and when I recollect the story, people are truly amazed by the generosity of strangers. Strangers that became friends. Maude had a privileged road to recovery due to the kindness of people via Instagram, with CT scans, physio and all manner of therapies. It's been a challenge with her, she sustained a loss of hearing in the left side, loss of sight in one eye and frontal lobe damage to her brain. But to be fair, I played a small part in her recovery, as the rest of the pack looked out for her, guarding, sitting, waiting and most of all, their patience during the recovery was amazing to watch. She had 24 hour cover. They had her back. 

Ethel and Wally reproduced in May of 2014. Ethel delivered on my bed. On my pillow. She obviously felt at home there, so when the last pup was a girl and was dappled so beautifully, she wasn't going anywhere. The puppies were the most wonderful times in my pet ownership to date. The Spanish Inquisition was given to every person that showed interest in them. They are now with two of my IG followers that are now like family. 

And then there was 6 for us. 

Daphne is the most ridiculous dog. She licks every surface EVERYWHERE. When she wags, her body almost folds in half. She is the longest of our sausages and the only one that fetches and brings back. She is the one that loves everyone all the time. 

So I sit here surrounded. Surrounded by my furry family, my confidants, their intuition to lick the tears on bad days and just be there. That love is immeasurable. When I began Instagram, I just wanted to share a few pics with a few friends that were still in the UK. I'm truly humbled and flattered by the other awesome human beings that IG has brought into my life. Instagram has changed my little world. For the better. 

Thank you Pip, Humphrey, Maude, Ralph, Ethel, Wally and Daphne!
You can see more of the life they share on Instagram at @Philpush

Photos via Pip. 

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