Ben joined us on 31st December 2017. He is a rescue dog from Canterbury Dogs Trust and we think was 6 1/2 years old when we got him. All we know is that he was found on the streets of Fife, he was already trained and chipped and he was somewhat underweight and a bit shaggy when we got him. He had barely arrived at Dogs Trust and hadn’t even had his photo taken when we were asked if we wanted to meet him, he took us for a walk in the woods and chose us!
As most of our guests know, he has since settled in very well to The Bay Tree. He is extremely used to welcoming guests, human and canine, and he adores playing on Stone Bay, opposite us. During our refurbishment he has been very keen to help sniffing out furniture in shops and at auctions and more than once has had to balance on top of items being brought back to the hotel in the car!
In October this year, after speaking with various Bedlington owners, we met a lady on a remote farm in Northumberland, who had a pregnant bitch. Importantly for us, Belle is part working Bedlington (Ben is not a show Bedlington with the classic Bedlington cut).
We went to meet Ptolemy (we’d already chosen his name) when he was 3 weeks old and chose him from 1 of 2 liver (brown) boys – he also has another brother and a sister. Ptolemy will eventually go the same cream colour as Ben. Ptolemy was the quieter of the two boys and took to Alistair immediately.
We went up again just before Christmas to see how much he’d grown and to also introduce Ben. Ben has been getting a lot of extra love and attention so he knows he is still loved and we had tried to introduce him to Ptolemy’s scent and shown him pictures. He was aware something was happening and recognised Ptolemy’s name before they met each other.
On 5th January we went to collect Ptolemy and initially took him to a holiday cottage near his farm so that he could get used to us (we didn’t bring Ben on this trip) before a very long drive back to Broadstairs on 6th January. He cried in the car enroute to the cottage but we were travelling on very rough and uneven roads which were as unsettling for us as for him! Before the main journey home we paused to stop in Hexham and visit the local butchers (nearly as good as the Kent ones..!)
We have temporarily blocked off Room 1, Willow, on our ground floor, whilst we toilet train Ptolemy (our owners accommodation is on the 1st and 2nd floors which makes this much harder) and he has his own space in the library so we can play and also work, greeting and serving guests at the same time! We already have a temporary baby gate in place for limiting run arounds when the hotel is busy! He had his first (of 2) vaccines this week and he can then gradually start learning how to walk on the lead. He has a secure area outside Room 1 and a sandpit to toilet in (although he has also learnt how to dig like crazy in it!) He has already just about mastered the stairs and loves to run around our owners bedroom when we are getting dressed (although he inadvertently got wet rushing into Alistair’s shower not knowing what it was the other day!)
He has just had his first proper shower and (dog) shampoo which he was fine with!) He loves to chew everything (note his baby teeth will soon switch to adult ones so chewing helps relieve any stress and is his way of exploring) so small cardboard cartons have been invaluable although he also has a good selection of toys! Like Ben, he is mad about chasing balls and, like Ben, he his able to bark and hold a ball at the same time! Thankfully for us, he is able to sleep right through the night without any accidents! (Ptolemy and Ben each have their own crates in Room 1).
Ben is gradually getting used to having to share his space with a youngster although there have been some top dog warnings from him when his rests are interrupted by his younger brother! We expect it to take a few more weeks for them to fully get used to each other. For now, when necessary, we can keep them apart.
Ptolemy will commence puppy training as soon as he has had his 2nd vaccine. He hasn’t yet explored Broadstairs (in his sling) beyond the Eastern Esplanade where we are located but, weather permitting, will do so very soon!