Today is Festus’ 10th Gotcha Day. The day before, we went to visit his breeder and see the kennels. It was quite unexpected to get there the following day and get Festus. It was not planned, but it was for the best. Initially I wanted to share a picture from each year, then thought of two, but there weren’t enough to show all the highlights. I’ve decided to make a collage of 9 pictures and a highlight picture from each year. This means that this post has a total of 100 pictures with Festus.
On the top left picture is Festus on his first days at home. He was having a great time, chasing the cat, knocking down the Christmas tree, and chewing everything he could land his paws on, like all pups. In the top right picture is him with Chubbchubbs, our tom-cat. The cat never recovered from the shock that we got a dog. He is now happily living with my mother… and no dogs. In the middle right is Festus with the piglets from a newly opened urban farm in Bucharest. He also sniffed the miniature ponies and the goats. On the bottom row is a picture with us on holiday in Bulgaria, at a gorgeous castle situated on a cliff.
Highlight! Festus sleeping in the car. In this picture he is *obviously* a tiny pup, only 5 months old.
In our second year together, we went on holiday in Sibiu, Romania, where the first picture is taken. The second picture is of him and his grandmother, having a bit of catch-up. His relationship with Chubbchubbs didn’t improve as we were hoping, as you can see from the picture, they are still looking carefully at each other. Chubbchubbs fearing he will become Festus’s dinner and Festus annoyed with the unwillingness of the cat to play with him. In case the picture with the salad all over the place needs a bit of explaining… he liked only a certain kind of salad leaves, so he was actively searching for those. We moved to Liverpool.
Highlight! Festus and his human-father near the Christmas tree in Liverpool, city centre.
We’ve spent much of year 3 discovering Liverpool. The first picture, top left, is near the Liverpool Cathedral, followed by Festus recovering after the ordeal of having a bath. He is also enjoying his time at Formby, playing football, and relaxing in the park. He loves his yoghurt too, and was very keen to lick clean the yoghurt tub. In the bottom row there are two pictures of us on a holiday in Stafford (left) and one on a day out, in north Wales (right).
Highlight! His, very appropriate, football themed birthday cake. The small footballs were chocolate, we ate those, and he had a “lovely” mint carrot cake with a cheese frosting.
Year 4 starts with a couple of funny pictures. Festus always gets a treat if he has the patience to stand still with something on his head. In the middle row is a picture with my husband and Festus, having fun in a garden. It is where we went on holiday, in the background the self-catering cottage we’ve rented is visible. It was lovely there and we went a few times, for work commitments. He had another suitable cake, again, carrot cake because he loves carrots. in the bottom row left he is showing what he thinks of himself, that he is a lap dog. It’s not the only picture like that. The middle bottom picture is with him waiting to have his paw print made on a baby clay sort of thing. We still have it, on display, in the bookcase. In the last picture his Christmas sock is filled with a new lead; he is, most likely, eager to try it for walkies.
Highlight! Festus as a bunny.
In the 5th year we had a few more holidays, starting with Anglesey in the top left picture, to Harrogate (the fire place is in our holiday accommodation). The middle row starts with a picture of my husband and Festus on one of the cliffs at Brimham Rocks, such an amazing place to see, followed by them playing in Hyde Park, and Festus having a drink from a sheep trough after a walk. He was still playing like a puppy, getting so excited when he saw a ball.
Highlight! All three of us at Fountain Abbey (that’s the nearby church).
Another year starting with us in a self-catering cottage, as we were away with work and hotels aren’t exactly suitable for a big dog like him. In the picture in which he is getting pink, I kept some packages of dye from a 5k run I did, and had a bit of fun in the garden, he loved it. In the middle is a picture of Festus at Windsor castle. That is surely a highlight of the year, followed by a picture of them on a bench on the Cliveden estate. The bottom row shows three more highlights and it begins with us, on our way to Stonehenge. I’m sure Festus was more interested in the National Trust cows looking at him than any standing stones. We were not allowed with him at the stones, but there was plenty of space for one of us to wait with him, while the other was circling the stones.
Highlight! Festus and the extremely friendly horse the guys from the self-catering cottage we rented had on a nearby field. I fed him carrots, after I got permission from the owner, and Festus was very keen to eat all the carrots himself, and not the horse. They were in a friendly competition and did spent a lovely week greeting each other a few times a day. Every time we were out, the horse would come and meet us.
By now we were expecting Festus to have a bit less stamina, but he wasn’t fazed that he was almost 7. He loves his indestructible toy, a GoughNuts, still takes it for walks once in a while. He is also very interested in some TV shows, usually the ones with animals in them. By now, at 10, he recognizes David Attenborough’s voice and moves closer to the TV when he hears it. We bought a caravan and stopped renting self-catering cottages, giving us a greater range when it comes to holidays, as you can see in these pictures, from places like north Wales, Cumbria, and an abbey near London. For his birthday my husband decided to take him for a bike run, something Festus used to love as a puppy. In the last picture, Festus was allowed to pick anything he wanted from the bowl: oranges, pears, or carrots. I wouldn’t have imagined he will pick 1 carrot, but he did, every time; just one.
Highlight! Our holiday in Cumbria was surely the one Festus loved the most that year. He got to do a lot of new things.
Our 8th year together proved to be a bit more relaxed and we didn’t travel as much. He wasn’t bored though, as he paid attention to all the DIY my husband did, played in the garden countless times and after that tried to figure out how to drink water from the tap, and walked twice a day, as usual. In the middle picture Festus is playing, but the pigeon eats from his feeder without any fear (left of the picture). On the bottom row he is staying as close to me as he can. This is what he does, making sure we are all together as closely as possible.
Highlight! A bit of snow, always appreciated. He gets very excited when he sees snow, but the snows he was used to as a pup, seen in the first picture, are missed.
Last year he had the opportunity to spend a bit more time with a cat, in this instance, with Schrödinger, a cat that arrived at our door, spent a bit over a month, before going back to his owners. I thought he was a stray, as he could leave when he wanted, but he decided to stay with us. We got a cage for Festus, for the car, to make transport a bit more easier for him and for us, and he is very happy with it. It was a cage big enough for two dogs, but we didn’t put the divider in and it is good for his size. He got a new GoughNuts toy for his birthday, which he loves even more than the first one. These toys are not cheap, but they are so worth it. He still plays with them. At the end of the year we went to Cornwall, and he got his new toy with him.
Highlight! Opening Christmas gifts is an activity he enjoys doing every year.
This year was the busiest for us. In the first picture, top left, he is waiting for his father. He is relaxed when we are out, but he jumps up when he hears the sound of the engine. He recognizes the engine and if someone else parks in front of the house, he might growl if he is in a mood for guarding, but he knows it is not our car. Planting and gardening is something he always liked, so he couldn’t miss the chance of watching us play with mud. I also picked three pictures from our holiday in Scotland. There were many more pictures I could have picked from that long holiday, as it was a tour and we’ve been to all sorts of different places. In the right middle picture, he is the only one enjoying himself, after we had a punctured tyre on our way back from the south of England. I’ve also included a picture of Festus and his birthday cake, with candles. Following that picture, I shared a picture from Blenheim Palace, a place where he went for walkies many times, almost every time we are in Oxford. Lastly is a picture from a few days ago. He is staying near us when we are playing board games, as part of our advent fun.
Highlight! Doing DIY is one of his favourite activities. I picked this as a highlight because is so representative of Festus. He wants to get involved in our activities and we usually let him, supervised, making sure he can’t hurt himself. He is calm and waits for something to happen, looks at the tools, and he is not bothered by the sound.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my post, if you’ve read everything or just looked at the pictures. I loved writing it and looking back at all those lovely memories we’ve made in these 10 years. We are now getting ready to make more memories, this Christmas.