Author Archives: petnannycaroline

A little more personal….

Fitting in is something that just doesn’t seem to come easily to me and in many ways I am very grateful for that shortfall if indeed it is a shortfall.

I’m a doggy person without fitting in with the dog scene, a horsey person without ever being one of the horsey set. I am self employed business person who considers herself a business person through necessity.

I am a dog walker who doesn’t see becoming a dog trainer as an upgrade and an artist who doesn’t want to go full time.

I never quite knew who I would fall in love with, if indeed I would and as for children it never really fit. I am very nurturing and there was talk of me having triplets when I was a child myself ( oriental child, coloured child and an orang-utan! Sorry if that is somewhat inappropriate) however I was very unlikely to have ever become a mother.

I fell in love and don’t want to marry, which is just as well because my partner wouldn’t marry me ( haha). Indeed my mam has always threatened to show her bare bottom in Fenwicks window if I ever marry. We stay in a relationship because we want to be there. Our expectations are few, our financial joint commitments are chosen ones. Yes of course there are implications for me in time however this was and is a mutually agreed decision.

So why am I writing this on my blog? Because in many ways I aspire to have that relationship with our animals and my animals.

Why aspire? Well can I ever truly achieve it? I control, we control so much of their lives that I genuinely don’t believe I can achieve a complete mutually beneficial relationship where no one is getting more from the relationship from the other. However I can aim for as close as I can get.

Maybe I do have one relationship that is very close to an absolute ‘pure’ relationship! Bathtub the barn cat. At present he is free to mate, leave, come, share his life with me and I chose to have no control over this at present. Yes I feed him and medicate when he needs it however he is free to do as he pleases. It’s tough on me, I feel I can’t keep him safe and I have the moral argument of having an entire male cat roaming the countryside producing more feral cats. I feel once that decision is made I’ve tipped the balance towards ownership. It’s an important lesson for me. He has a hard, fearful wonderful life at present.

It brings me back chillingly to a man I used to know. He taught me many things and some I wish with all my heart he hadn’t. One of the things he made me face, which I wasn’t ready to face was the morality of keeping animals. Now I do face it and feel the weight of responsibility heavily. Yes any of you who see my photos and see what I get up to know how much I adore and revel in my guys yet I know, that much I expect from them, is tough. Flute is a great example, I limit him every single day. He would live and die by the hunt and I spend my days with him trying to avoid that shocking truth. Tipsy well I feel we have a great compromise in life though he would definitely chose more and more frequent everything and who can blame him.

So whilst I ponder about and seek that impossible goal, go give the guys and gals an extra walk or indeed let them chose what they do next. In fact I believe I just saw one of my customers led to the pub by their very insightful cockerpoo, how could she have possibly known that was just the perfect boxing day activity haha?

Happy walking!


It’s all about the dogs…..

Or is it?

I can’t lie I came into the pet care service because of my deep, enduring love for animals, especially dogs.  Seems like a dream to be able to spend all day with dogs, walking in the countryside and training them to be the perfect dog….in fact I get told this regularly how wonderful my job is.

Just like all careers there are drawbacks, bonuses and stresses. There is also heart ache, break and affirming moments not to mention frustrating, awe inspiring and infuriating times. Yet whilst we are all, customers and pet care professionals, focussing in the dogs we simply can’t forget about us.

Without us the dogs are nothing.

So we need to be a huge dominant force in the mutual relationship that is owner, dog and carer. Sometimes an owners needs need to become foremost over both dog and carer.

What have I learned since my operation on my back in December and my subsequent leg break? If you don’t have health you have nothing. Its a vital cog in a fluid, ever turning wheel. Just like life and nature everything has a function, role and place.

Once health is restored it gives you fresh eyes, fresh enthusiasm and a need to review all you do. Time to see what is needed, not just return to what has always been done.  Human/ dog focussed needs.

I started this post in July…for some reason it was never finished so I thought I would pick it up now.

Providing a service for people for their dogs is a delicate balance. You love the dogs but not the way owners do, you make decisions about the dogs but not as an owner would. You train them again with a different perspective however always with all team players involved.

Often new customers will look at my service looking to fulfil not only a need but for a want, they want their dogs to become sociable dogs that get the chance to run free and play with complete abandonment with their new playmates whereas I too wish to allow dogs to be dogs, to mix, run and play with other dogs. Yet we all know it is way more complicated than that. Most dogs won’t be sociable with all dogs, just like I don’t actually like all people. Most dogs genuinely don’t benefit from all out non stop play. Just like me going crazy everyday on a trampoline with my daft mates or friends going out drinking everyday. Its all about balance.

I have learnt so much along the way yet it scares me a little how much I have to learn. What scares me most is how long term chronic pain affected my overall patience and the ability to see it from a customers perspective with people. Passion and knowledge can affects your view. I am pleased to have found my inner compassion and empathy again even if on a day to day basis no one will see any difference I can feel it.

The dogs have been so generous and have treat me better or the same as ever and for that I am so very grateful, they are a credit to us all. Baring the odd dog who reacted when I was on medication ( now isn’t that fascinating with both Flute and Lolly being utterly alarmed at the strange smelling imposter in front of them) we carried on slow or fast, creaky or otherwise.

Yet again it is time to say thank you. Thank you to all who helped, waited and went along with any plans or arrangements I put in place to enable us all to get through.

Keep on walking!


Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017 is my 20th as Petnanny! What a phenomenal thought.

I would love to have told my 28 year old self that I would still be around in 20 years yet would that have made me lax or unmotivated? One of the biggest decisions of my life and a huge leap as a person.

I celebrated my last walk at Christmas like I live my life….a little celebration, an appreciation of the here and now, of the wonderful people in my life and of course my charges whom without I wouldn’t be Petnanny! I picked up mam and we headed for a walk that she could manage with her overused knees. Luckily she is the same speed as Bob so it was a companionable walk, laughing at their antics and looking forward to a trip to the dog friendly cafe for coffee and a snack.

Once walked and dried ( dirty beasts though mam had managed to stay spotless as ever) we headed to the cafe. It was our first visit to this particular cafe and though small the important details were all there. As soon as we arrived, fresh water was supplied and we were shown where the dogs treats were if we wanted any ( of course I would have probably choked on my pecan pie had I just brought them to watch me eating thats not how we roll haha). Once the cake was chosen ( or in mams case, jalapeño and cheese scone) and coffee ordered the treats were dished out and the eating commenced. The other customers were a couple with a young girl who was very excited to show us her new sunglasses ( she wore them with panache) and promptly requested cake after spotting ours.

I am nearly always proud of our guys and gals ( this is the real world and sometimes their are capable of being real ratbags) and this was such an occasion and a truly wonderful low key way to end my walking year.

Hope you enjoy the photos and of course if you are on Instagram or facebook it would be lovely to see you over there.

Petnanny instagram

Petnanny est 1998 facebook page

Merry Christmas all!


Trio of collies

I had really enjoyed drawing Homer, my dread of drawing had gone with my pain. No pain meant I could sit longer and really enjoy taking the time. However drawing the trio of collies was not as pleasurable!

I loved the look of the dogs, had enjoyed meeting two of them previously and their luxurious hair meant I could show light and dark which always helps with a portrait. Unfortunately one of the dogs I wasn’t going to be photographing or meeting and the photos weren’t quite as easy to read. Then there was the support….Velour is a curious paper. Do you remember the Sulvanian Family? They are/ were flocked plastic and the feel of them is very similar to Velour….kind of plush?

Usually used with pastel they give a real feel to fur drawings and the effect can be stunning. Unfortunately I react badly to pastels and whilst pencils work well on velour it is very unforgiving with pencils as you can erase or add to many layers ( you can add many layers with pastel).  So whilst drawing I was a puffy eyed, blotchy, itching mess. Delightful! The odd drawing I will do and as this family had commissioned me before and loved the specific look I achieved with velour, pastel and pencil I went with it.

I was of course pleased with the finish result and the lady who received the gift was over the moon at having her favourite dogs on paper adorning her wall. It made my last commission before Christmas a delight as it was small ( I do love a small intimate drawing) and back to my favourite combination of pastel paper support with coloured pencil medium.

I hope you enjoy the picture unfolding and the finished piece and see which style you prefer!

trio of collies

Collie commissions abound!

Often as an animal artist you have a repeat of commission subjects. This, of course, makes total sense. For example if you have a border collie and you see a particularly good portrait of a collie in a style you like then you are more likely to commission that artist to draw or paint your border collie.

Drawing similar subjects can help you, my drawing hits a rhythm where you draw the longer fur with the curls and it biomes almost automatic however this time the two commissions had a very different look and style. The support differed greatly and the actual drawing was very different.

First was a dog I had drawn before, an unusual event as most are drawn once. It was also the same lady who commissioned me to draw him, sadly this time it was to be a memorial piece. So hard to remember whilst I am drawing him with his big open mouthed grin. He was a lovely dog and being a pub dog he was sociable and welcoming.

My second commission was a two of collies two rough collies and a border collie. Again unusual as I had drawn two of the collies before however this time it was for the daughter and she wanted it the same style as her previous piece. I will do a further blog post for that portrait and I hope you enjoy comparing the pieces in their style.

I hope you enjoy seeing the progress of Homer’s drawing and the finished piece.


Homer wip

Never work with children or dogs!

for blog

Who ever said don’t work with children or dogs may have been wise however he may also have been a little grumpy.

Petnanny events have always been for charity and pretty flamboyant and full on. This time however I wanted one to reflect who I am and who the company is. Not a big grandiose affair, nope I wanted an intimate ( steady on missus), friendly get together where we just enjoyed being with our dogs and their friends.

With the perfect hall for us, a shout out to bring some food, it was quickly sorted ( baring the usual risk assessments etc etc which was done before our get together).

What could possibly go wrong?

Lots and lots of things. I can account for the dogs as they’ve known each other for many years, however add owners and children then it starts to get more colourful! Oh and of course food, toys and more food.

Now I can take no credit for Arya and Freya, that belongs solely with their parents. Both were gentle, sensible ( 3yr old and 1 yr old so sensible for their age) and simply loved the dogs. They ran, ate, fell down, got back up and said hello to a lot of dogs, no squealing which surprised me.

The dogs ran, played, begged, did scent work, searched for food together, played some more, hung around, had a lie down and settled lovely when they were put on a lead for the start of the buffet. Once everyone had eaten a good amount of food they were let off ( the dogs) and baring Lola puggle being a food ninja ( truly impressive skills) and the odd hopeful sniff of the table no food was stolen not even from the hands of babes.

My mam, Sheila, had joined us with her puggle Tilly and thoroughly enjoyed herself. That is a great barometer for me as she is easily put off events, bad behaviour or anything untoward is quickly noticed and whilst nothing would be said, she would make her apologies and go home.

I am so very grateful to have shared the afternoon with dogs that we should all be so very proud of, some lovely people with a simple love of their dogs and wow we have some phenomenal cooks within our group!

Well done to Freya, Arya super children and their parents. Well done to Flute and Tips ( my ibizan hounds), Tilly ( Puggypuggle), Truffle ( staffie x and queen bee), Lola ( Ninja Puggle), Carmen ( pharaoh hound), Jack ( very calm not normally calm jack russell), The posse Stan and Elsie ( staffordshire bull terriers), Winnie ( best dress worn, pug) and Raymond ( reindeer extraordinaire pug), Rez ( Vizsla), Ember ( daddies girl and stage star), Fluffy ( tibetan terrier), Cooper ( the teenager who made me very proud Labradoodle) and last but not least Gatecrasher Dougal ( he wasn’t at all shy about it and demanded to be part of the gang).

Thank you for joining me and bringing such amazing food, you all made it a wonderful afternoon and thank you Justine for helping as ever.

A special thanks to Sue and Graeme I imagine it was tough to come and I was so very pleased to see you both. A special mention to Fluffy’s family who came so we could see Fluffy and for him to mix with his old pals.

Time to go and eat another amazing home made flapjack that was left over ( how did that even happen they are gold!).

Working hard towards a goal is worth every moment you have days like today. Seeing owners handle their dogs so well is fantastic and for me the day was made seeing two dog mad toddlers being able to enjoy safe dogs without fear ( more likely parents would feel the fear to be fair).

Till the next time!


From found child to emergency Vet visit

The last time I covered dear Maddi and Martha I found a lost, wandering two year old child in underpants and a jumper.

I have walked Mama ( as I write them on my list) for many years, I made the difficult decision to restrict my area. Once I had found cover for those who wanted help Mama went the wonderful lady, Yvonne who, along with Autumn and Cait, helped me whilst I was off.

Today Yvonne needed some time caring for her own family. It’s always lovely to see the girls so I was looking forward to a trip to the training hall with Mama in tow. Maddi especially loves the hall, I am sure she enjoys the sound of her feet on the wooden floor, throw in some scent work and she is one giddy labrador.

However today wasn’t to be about Maddi’s love for flappy feet sounds, it ended up being all about Martha.

As soon as Martha wobbled down the stairs alarm bells sounded. Not enough for me to worry yet, just a niggling doubt. Martha is a giddy silly girl so its not unusual to see her flump about. Walking to heel is a gallumping affair, getting in the van a bounding leap!

It only took a couple of minutes to hear a racket coming from her cage unfortunately it wasn’t immediately safe to pull over so as soon as I was able I pulled over and found Martha unconscious, eyes very dilated. Still breathing I made sure she was safe, as comfortable as she could be and jumped back in the van.

Most vets will see any dog in serious trouble, luckily I have a great relationship with the vets in the area so headed straight for the closest which also happened to be her own vet. The last time I had taken Martha to the vet I had gotten lost and that preyed heavy on my mind. Pulling over to see how Martha was I was greeted with a scared, panting little lass so with a gentle hug, reassurance and again making sure she was positioned safely in her cage I rang Justine ( another star of the Petnanny child found saga and yes once again dressed in true Wilkie style) who helped with directions and once again checked up address for me. Autumn had offered to pick up the two dogs furthest away and was on standby should I need more help.

Once in the wrong carpark ( my fault there are five to choose from) I saw a wonderfully helpful gentleman who was walking his lovely Shih Tzu. He not only helped direct me ( once Martha was checked, who by now was looking more normal and her panic subsiding) he ran to next car park to make sure I found my destination.

Once found, I promptly parked up in a loading bay with my lovely gentleman ensuring my van didn’t get a ticket and in we headed to the vet so I could get back park the van whilst Martha was supervised.

I thanked my knight in a trilby, blew kisses at the bemused, bright eyed Shih Tzu who looked like it was the first time he had ever ran with his owner, parked up and headed back into the vet. Martha’s mam was once again contacted and reassured her daft lass was looking a lot more like the bouncy labrador she normally was.

After a thorough check and blood test she headed back into the van for Nanny supervision and I once again was met with wonderfully helpful people. The lady, who runs the hall we hire, offered to open the Hall up so I didn’t hold up Autumn and Justine, meaning I could feel less pressure to get there asap to let them in the hall as I had the key.

The remaining pick ups were blissfully uneventful apart from one of the customers having had their drive dug up by the water board! My ears were constantly tuned in to Martha’s side of the van in case she had another seizure.

Mood, emotions and demeanour are so very important when working with animals and dogs seem to be especially affected by tension so I put my face on and prepared for what could potentially be an ‘interesting’ time at the hall.

Well I can tell you it was a true delight. With Martha safely settled, Maddi enjoying a play around the halls grounds I could really enjoy the utter immersion in doggy fun time. Their faces were so vivid with passion, passion for smells, food and friends I could have happily stayed there all day just watching.

I felt my own tension disappear and seeing Martha’s face relaxed and fear free I am just so grateful there are such lovely helpful people, a wonderful group of dog friends and the chance to enjoy them as you never ever know when that might change.

Martha’s results came back and more tests are required on Friday so all being well she will be fine and dandy soon, gallumping and bounding away.