Friday, February 17, 2012

Charlene Straw & Storm

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Charlene Straw and I live and work in Nottinghamshire, Great Britain as an administration assistant.

My furry friend is Storm and he is now 10 months old and he’s a blue merle collie cross or I like to call him a Colzu. His Granny was a shih tzu and his grandad a border collie so his mum looked a bit like a big grey shih tzu and his dad was a border collie so most people just think he is a proper border collie but he’s really dainty and cute.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My husband gets up with Storm each morning at 6am to let him out for a wee and give him his breakfast of puppy biscuits, rice and a blob of yoghurt. Then he makes us both a cup of tea and brings it back up so we can all lay in bed and listen to the radio for a while before I have a shower and Dar takes Stormy for a little morning stroll.

What's brewing?

Sorry, it's not coffee -- me and my husband are tea mad. We have at least 4 or 5 a day in big mugs. I like it with half water half milk and 1 sugar. Dar just has it like a normal person.

Any treats for you or Storm on this occasion?

Sometimes if Storm’s yoghurt pot is nearly empty Dar lets him have it after breakfast and he carries it round making sure he gets every single bit of flavour out of it.

How were you and your dogs united?

We’ve had 2 dogs so far. Deefa has been gone 8 months now but it still feels so fresh. He was a very happy accident when two of my friend’s dogs were left alone in the kitchen for too long. Me and Dar had just got our first house together so I leapt at the chance to have our first dog. I chose the blackest dog of the litter and as he grew up his eyes turned gold and black speckles appeared on his 2 white front legs. It was hard work to begin with but he grew to be the reason me and my husband had for living. Life was perfect with him for 6 years and 11 months.

I got Stormy the day after we had to put Deefa to sleep when he got meningitis. The vets tried for a week to save him but nothing worked and we had to let him go. It broke our hearts as we loved Deefa like he was our little furry son. We took him wherever we went. If we weren’t at work we were with him. We took him on special weekend adventure walks and we even took him on holiday to Cornwall with us twice a year. He loved to swim, even without us throwing a toy in first. He was a dream dog and did whatever we asked of him. He didn’t even need a lead on most of the time, he was so good it was like he read our minds. He was such a loving dog, most nights he would sit on my husband’s knee as we watched TV.

That week when Deefa was in the pet hospital was horrific. At first we had hope, then as the days went on it started to dawn on us that we were actually going to lose the one person that meant most to us in the world.

That’s when I started looking on websites at puppies, because I knew if the worst happened I couldn’t have a home with no dog to greet me when I got back.

The very next morning after Deefa was put to sleep me and my mum went to pick up the first available collie puppy I’d found on a pet website. I still wanted another collie boy but not a black one like Deefa. He had to be a bit different and I’d found a blue merle with blue eyes. I knew he was the one.

How did Storm and Deefa get their names? Any aliases?

Deefa’s name was easy, I’d always known that was going to be the name of my first dog ever since I was a kid when I first met a springer spaniel with the same name; I thought it was a brilliant name really clever but really simple.

His cute names were Special Deef or Baby Deef because he was such a special loving cuddle bum. He was so happy to see me whenever I got home at night he would weave through my legs in a figure of eight like a cat while I stroked him as we waited for the kettle to boil so I could make his dinner.

Storm’s name was because I really loved all the names you hear for sheepdogs like fern and mist and Rain so I wanted a cool nature name for him too so I ended up choosing Storm. They say a dog grows into his name and wow he really did. He is wild like a hurricane.

We sometimes call him Stormy-Pie or Stormy-Sausage, no idea why that popped in my head -- I think its just cos hes so cute I want to eat him up.

Does Storm have a favorite place to go for an outing?

Stormy seems to like wide open spaces to run like a nutter.

Deefa was happy wherever we took him, he would run on the beach or sniff through all the paths in the woods we live near. Storm is totally different. Maybe as he gets older he will be the same as Deefa but right now we don’t take him in the woods or anywhere that’s not just a great big open space or he just gets a bit crazy and shoots off out of sight and scares the life out of me. So for now he seems to love being either on the beach or in a big field and he has to take his frizbee along too.

Storm’s not done bad with his life so far: he’s 10 months old now and we are soon to go on our third trip to Cornwall with him for a week of playing frizbee on the beach and paddling in the sea all day long. It’s a dog’s life alright!

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Cat. Storm sits in the window seat in our front bedroom watching the world go by and if he sees a cat walk up the street he goes nuts. Starts to whine and runs down the stairs hoping to find them down there and then runs back up again to watch them some more. I’m pretty sure he’ll calm down with time and realise that the cats are not in the house and running down the stairs gains him nothing.

He also hates blackbirds when they make that chirping noise to each other to say this is their territory. He watches them in the back garden and as soon as I open the back door he goes running out and barking if he knows they are out there to tell them this is his garden not theirs.

Deefa was quite similar, but he liked to chase squirrels in the woods and starlings in the garden because they made too much noise when they all came at once to eat on the bird table.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

All the above. He has a big plastic dog bed full of toys. He loves his soft squeaky toys to carry round and shake about. He has several tennis balls that squeak and we play fetch with while I get to stay sat on the sofa, and he has a few different frizbees that we take out on the field or to the beach and my husband can throw really far which Storm loves and goes racing after them. He also has a big pile of sticks in the house just to make sure he doesn’t eat the furniture while I’m at work which he loves to sit and chew on. My house is like a flower bed, covered in wood chips.

Deefa just loved his frizbees. He would come up to you all the time begging you to throw it with it hanging off just one of his big front teeth. He also had three toy ducks that quacked when you squeezed them and he would carry them round too. Two of them were a bit beaten up and didn’t quack anymore but he still loved them all the same.

But his favourite toy was my husband who would roll round the floor with him and they would bite each other and play fight like a complete pair of idiots. Dar was definitely Deefa’s favourite.

What is Storm's best quality?

His smile. No matter how gloomy or down your feeling. I’ll be there on the sofa watching TV and he’ll come up to me with that great big crazy grin on his face and you just can't help yourself -- you have to smile back. It really is amazing. When we’re out walking people just can’t resist him, they have to come up and say hi to him because he’s just so adorable.

Deefa was far more aloof. He was quite a nervous dog and wouldn’t make friends with just anyone. I think that was the bit I loved about him best. He wasn’t interested in other people or dogs he just wanted to be with me and my husband and walk for miles on the beach or in the woods. It was just us, no one else mattered. To Deefa it was like they were invisible.

It's quite a shock to the system having Stormy, he’s making me be more sociable again because he wants to go up to people and say hi so I have to go too. I’m starting to get used to it now and find it quite fun. My husband might take a bit more working on though; he and Deefa were the two grumpy old men.

If Storm could change one thing about you, what would it be?

Probably just that me and Dar wouldn’t have to go to work so we could be together and have fun all day long.

What is Storm’s proudest moment?

Deefa would of said bringing his orange shark toy back to us after we threw it in the water for him to swim and fetch time and time again. He never wanted to stop, even when he got so tired he started to sink and I had to say that’s enough. Then he would drop it on the sand and wriggle all over it and get himself covered in the stuff and end up looking like what we called a sand pig.

Storm’s only 10 months old and hasn’t had very long to make many moments yet, but probably his proudest moment so far was when he leapt into what he thought was a big puddle to fetch his floating kong only to realise it was deeper than he thought. His head went totally under and then he just bobbed up and started swimming for the first time ever like he had been doing it all his life. He brought his toy over to us and expected us to just throw it again like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. He was only 6 months old at the time and my heart was in my mouth, I’d been about ready to rip off my boots and dive in after him but he didn’t have a care in the world.

He also has crazy-o-clock about 8pm each night where he runs round the house with a toy for about 5 minutes like a maniac bouncing off everything in sight. His speciality is kicking off from the sofa like he’s pushing off from the side of a swimming pool. It’s like something you would see in a matrix slow motion film.

If Storm could speak in the movie about your life, who should do his voice?

My husband would have to do that, he’s always done our dogs' voices.

Deefa’s was a slightly snobby looking-down-on-you low voice most of the time except when we went round to visit Dar’s mum and stepdad and then he would shout excitedly NANNY!!!!!!! GRANDAAAAD!!!!!!!!! And go running at them and nearly knock over Dar’s mum and jump all over Grandad cos he was normally laid out on the sofa watching TV.

Storm’s voice is a more high pitched whiney crazy voice, he’s not finished growing yet though so that might still change as he ages. I think the best way to describe his voice would be something like Scrappy Doo “Ta dadada ta daaa! PUPPY POWER! LEMME AT EM!!!”

Visit the official Charlene and Storm blog.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Great interview! Storm is such a cutie. We lovde visiting their blog!

  2. Storm is so adorable. I can see how much you love him by the way you talk about him. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ha, ha, ha!! What a fun interview, Charlene!! I loved every word!! ;-}
    I am star-struck.... I feel like on one hand, I'm reading a celebrity's interview.... But on the other hand, I'm reading my "Blogging Friend's" interview!! ;-D
    I am glad that both Deefa and Storm are mixed breeds.... They're "Meant To Be", or "Oops Babies", such as my Rose!! Mixed breeds are the best kind of canine!! BEAUTIFULLY UNIQUE for sure!! ;op
    I like this blog!!

  4. Great interview Charlene! Storm is really gorgeous and looks so sweet and smart!
    I am glad to know this wonderful blog, too.