Night Nurse…

Sniff, snuffle, wake up… open eyes…. yawn, stretch…. still dark… go back to sleep…

‘Ello, though… the two legs is moving… and she’s not s’pposed to! At least, not on her own…

Where do you think you are going?

Alert! Help! Oi!

Crawl off sofa…keep one eye on her… tap dance on floor in front of bedroom door… give it a scratch  or two with the paw…

Phew…  rescued… I’ll just check the bathroom is clear for her…


You could, quite clearly, see the thoughts and emotions of the Small Dog as she responded to the perceived emergency. She has been coming to terms with my much-reduced mobility over the past few days, even deigning to place the ball in my hand so we can play fetch. Normally, she throws the ball and I do the fetching,,,

But I’ve not seen her in ‘night mode’ before.

When I fall asleep, she is usually on her bed in the hall…so she can guard all the doors.

But she must have tiptoed back in while I slept so that she sleep on the sofa… and keep an eye on me. There was absolute panic on her face for a while until Stuart came to the rescue… even though he had been asleep too.

Once I am up and in the wheelchair, she goes back to her bed and snores away… And we wondered why she was so tired all the time…





A family of dogs

First posted on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo, 2018

There have not always been dogs in my life, but there have always been dogs in my heart. All of them, except the setters, who were family and Echo, who was a gift, were rescue dogs. And all of them have known how to smile.

The first was a dog I never even knew. His name was Paddy and his life ended before mine began. My mother wrote his story once and sent it off to her publisher. It was returned with a note saying that it was a beautiful tale… it had made the office smile and weep in turn… but it was ‘too far fetched’ to be suitable for publication.

It told of a stray dog who had wandered into the lives of my grandparents when they were a newly married couple. They had bought a neat little house in which to set up home and, in spite of the onset of war, they soon became a family.  My mother was born, Grandad was sent to fight in Burma and Paddy moved in to take over the care of the family.

In spite of the hazards of war, the world was, in many ways, safer and simpler. Paddy would take the basket to the shops and bring home the necessities. He would watch over my mother and, in later years, collect her from school. During the war years, he made it his business to make sure she was taken safely to the air-raid shelter when the sirens sounded and stayed by her side until the all-clear. Even so far north of London, this was not an empty precaution… in March, 1941, an incendiary bomb fell on the house and the scars, like the shelters, still remained into my own childhood.

There were dogs around when I was born… my great grandparents had a house full of Irish setters. Rory was a great, gorgeous creature always ready to laugh and play. Bonnie, his sister, was a pretty, delicate fairy of a girl, while Meg, their mother, already touched with  grey around the muzzle, mothered us all impartially.

My own first dog was Kim, a German shepherd. Kim was not really ‘mine’ as I was tiny at the time, and we did not have him for long. My mother was devastated when he was killed by the number 77 bus. After that, and with married quarters, it was not until after I started school that Sandy came into my life. By this time, we were living with my grandparents. Sandy was a collie/labrador cross who became my friend on the day my grandfather picked me up from school with the soft little puppy in his arms. Sandy did not have an easy time, and had to be nursed through months of illness, but he lived to a ripe old age.

My first real experience of grief was when Rory died. I had lost one of my great-grandmothers, but had been too young at the time to be aware of more than the grown-ups reaction to her passing, though I remember the scene vividly. She was someone I barely knew, but Rory was my friend. I will never forget great-grandad coming to tell us in person, his handsome old face streaked with tears. Meg went soon afterwards and Bonnie did not survive them for long… I don’t think they knew how to live without each other and, at the time, I felt equally lost without their presence.

There were no more dogs for a good many years, not until I was thirteen and came home to an offhand comment from my mother. “There’s a fur on your bed…” Thinking it was a new ‘fun-fur’ coat that was all the rage, I dumped my school bags and ran upstairs… and found the German shepherd pup we named Sheba. I cuddled her all night… and we deflea’ed the pair of us next morning.

We moved to an isolated property where Sheba was joined by Cindy, a lurcher. By this time, Sheba was a huge, menacing creature, who stood almost as tall as me on her hind legs.  She would attack the fence to warn any passers-by to stay away… and yet would let my two-year-old brother drag her in by the tail. Cindy was found bound, starved and discarded… my mother put her in the pushchair with my little brother and brought her home. We did not think she could survive the wounds and starvation, but Sheba lifted her and made her eat. The two were inseparable until tragedy struck. Sheba was shot by boys playing with a pellet gun. The pellet lodged in her brain and her fits were dangerous. The vet said we had no choice.

There was no chance to have a dog for a good many years after that as I married and left home. There were occasional cats, Fred, the guinea pig, the odd bird… but no dogs. My mother always had dogs, my boss in France had a dog, Bilbo, who filled the gap until he was kidnapped, and my mother-in-law had a poodle who changed my opinion of the breed for the better. But it was not until my sons were in their teens that I was able to share a home with dogs again.

Molly, rescued from the most appalling circumstances, and Echo, my laughing girl…a gift of love given in grief… joined us after the death of my partner. Their presence healed my heart and their loss broke it. I never thought I would have another dog.

And then, unexpectedly, there was Ani…

Ani is the latest, and perhaps she will be the last, to bring the gifts of love, companionship and simple joy into my home. She was acquired from a rescue to be an assistance dog for my son, following Paddy’s lead. But my son recovered far better than we could ever have hoped and Ani stayed with me.

I have learned so much from loving and living with dogs. Their presence has filled my days with laughter and an example of joyful living in this moment. Watching some of them recover from the most appalling treatment has taught me how to accept and how to forgive. I learned from them how to grieve and how to live with happy memories instead of the weight of loss. And, perhaps most importantly, I have learned that the love that wants nothing for itself can heal almost anything.

The Small Dog on Old Dogs…

It is getting harder and harder to get up off the floor these days… for both of us.

I struggle a bit, but can still manage. If she goes down, she stays down until the cavalry come to rescue her. We had to get my boy down to help pick her up the other night, as her leg gave out…and it just flops about a bit when she tries to use it. She’s not happy about that. She s put lots of non-slip mats down for em to get a grip on…but they don’t seem to work for her.We’re both having to learn to live with changes, but while mine are coming on gradu’lly, hers seem to come all at once…

We just have to learn to live with it, I s’ppose. There is an old saying says that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, you may not be able to… but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn them. And that seems to apply to two-legses s well as four, because since she’s been poorly, she seems to be getting waited on, hand and paw… and she isn’t doing anything. I couldn’t get my head around it. I mean, what a lifestyle! And does she appreciate it?

I watched her. She’s just sitting there at the desk.

She doesn’t need to ask for a drink… there is always one beside her. He brings her medicine… and nice, chocolatey things to take the taste away. He uses the groomy thing on her muscles… and she only has to smile.

If I smile, and especially if I try to sneak in to give him a give him a cuddle… he just complains about fish breath. Or being squished.

But there had to be some way she was getting him to do all this nice stuff. I couldn’t see it.

Then, while he was in the kitchen… I saw her in action. Sneaky…

All she did was cough.

Just a little cough. Nothing much… nothing desperate… not even on purpose

… and the Ball Guy downs tools in the kitchen and comes running…

Was she okay..? Did she need..? Could her get..?

I mean, isn’t that what two-legses are supposed to do for us four-legses? Cats seem to manage that kind of service! Why not dogs? So I settled down for a snooze and a think.

Next morning, I waited till it was all quiet. He as working at the kitchen table. She was at the desk. I just sat still… and coughed. Quite deliberately.

She looked round all quizzical, then her face cleared and she did that “I know what you’re up to” look. I grinned back. And coughed again. Louder.

Nothing happened, except she was finding it hard not to smile.

I tried again. Each time, looking over expectantly at the door…

…meanwhile, she is in hysterics… quietly laughing herself to pieces on her chair. Well, they say laughter is the best medicine… and I only want to help er feel better, after all…

It took a few tries before I got the volume right and he came. I am going to have to work on the Ball Guy’s training on this one though… It never takes him long to catch on to be fair, and he’s really good with walks and treats and stuff. And especially with her.

And, if all else fails, I just have to look cute… that always works.

Much love,

Ani xxx

Willow Willers reviews “Laughter Lines: Life From The Tail End” by Sue Vincent

Yet another five-star review for the small dog…


The Small Dog Considers …

He’s bringing tea and coffee through,

With toast and honey, biscuits too,

To pick her up when she feels drained…

And I thought I had got him trained!


I’m sort of glad, though, to be fair,

‘Cause, what with all the missing hair

She’s not the way she used to be…

And prob’bly needs more help than me.


She says I do enough all day

By keeping tennis balls in play

And warming feet and guarding doors

…And cleaning chocolate crumbs from floors.


It’s not enough, what can you do?

The years we had together flew!

We’d time to learn each other’s ways

Put so much laughter in the days…


But soon she’ll cross the rainbow bridge

And I’ll stand quiet by the fridge

And wait there for the final ‘treat’…

And know that love is death’s defeat.


Paulette Mahurin Reviews Notes from a Small Dog

A wonderful review from Paulette Mahurin, author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, The Seven Year Dress and Where Irises Never Grow… all of them deeply moving works, and the profits from the books have been helping to save dogs from kill shelters for years.

Review: Notes from a Small Dog~ Four Legs on Two

In these days of so much devastation and sorrow surrounding so many impacted by Covid, political turmoil, and economic woes, it is a gift to encounter something uplifting to read. Notes from a Small Dog was exactly what I needed. This delightful small book packs a big punch. Well-written, straight to the heart, from the beginning of Ani’s introduction to the computer to her adorable antics throughout I didn’t stop smiling. As I’m writing this review I’m aware of how light my body feels, especially my left chest area deep inside where my heart is filled with gratitude. Being an avid dog lover this was more than a sweet read. It spoke to so much I love about dogs and how they are simply my best teachers. From the pen of a talented author who beautifully expresses the loyalty and companionship unequaled by dogs, comes a wonderful book. Not just for dog lovers but anyone who wants to feel good this is the one for you.

Notes from a Small Dog

Four Legs on Two

Sue Vincent

Available in Paperback and for Kindle, via Amazon UK, and worldwide.

The Small Dog on Ageing…


She fell on her face and she looked none too happy…

And recently she seems to feel pretty crappy…

Most mornings, I hear her, when rising from bed,

And where once she’d be singing, she’s groaning instead.


Now me, I can sympathise, getting no younger,

I still want my walks but without the same hunger,

I still need my ball and my toys and to play…

But these days, I’m happy to sleep half the day.


We’re ageing together, my two-legs and me,

Where I can still run, she’s slowed up mightily,

I’ll still make a run for a half-open gate,

The only thing she’s heading fast for is ‘late’.


But while we’re both here, we’ll believe in forever,

In loving and living and laughing together,

For one thing that never grows old is the heart

And once filled with love no two hearts ever part.

Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two: A Review

Another wonderful review for the Small Dog! Thank you, Di…

Available in Paperback and for Kindle, via Amazon UK, and worldwide.


Notes from a Small Dog, Four Legs on Two.
ISBN 9781910478271

This is my fourth Ani book by Sue Vincent, and definitely my favourite.
A combination of verse and prose, it captures a dog’s eye view of food, cheese, balls, snow, ownership and emotions, with the occasional entry from Sue herself.
This has 142 pages, 146 including the end credits and details of other publications.
The photographs match the chapters, especially Indignant Small Dog where the chosen picture is priceless above the first sentence
‘She hid the ball!’

I laughed out loud at that and kept that smile on my face until turning the light off.

We frolic with Ani in the snow, cheekily pilfer morsels from plates, plead with big brown eyes, and generally get our own way, even when we’ve been in the dog house.
We share long buried bones, commiserate when she’s forced to have a bath…

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Laughter Lines by Sue Vincent

A wonderful review from A. C. Flory…

Laughter Lines by Sue Vincent

I just left a 5 star review for Laughter Lines: Life at the Tail End by Sue Vincent. And I still haven’t stopped smiling. The review should be up on in a day or two, but this is what I said:

I have never been a poetry person, but there’s something about Sue Vincents poems that really strikes a chord. They’re earthy, and funny, and poignant, and paint word pictures of things we’re all familiar with. Who has not dunked a biscuit [cookie] in coffee only to have it break and fall in the cup? Such a small, every day thing, and yet Vincent makes it laugh-out-loud funny.

Continue reading at Meeka’s Mind, the blog of A. C. Flory

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