What a truly delightful book! I really enjoyed reading it, very lighthearted and uplifting. Once I started I didn't put it down till I'd finished it. Very realistic and shows many sides of our lovely dogs, how they may think and act, and possibly why. I think any age would enjoy the read - I'm sure I will read it again!
"I have recently received a copy of a book entitled "Pippin and Seren - Life at the Old Mill Cottage". It is a story of two Shelties, Pippin the older dog, and the new puppy Seren who came into his life when his dam MIsty died, and follows several short stories of their lives and adventures together.
"Pippin and Seren - Life at the Old Mill Cottage" written by Fred Clough.
For many years we have loved and shared our lives with Shelties in our family, sometimes one, sometimes two, including breeding two chubby little puppies. About two years ago after our ten year old bitch Misty sadly died, leaving Pippin all alone, we decided it would be good to provide him with a new companion. My wife Mair found a beautiful eight-week-old Blue Merle Sheltie bitch of good pedigree - Seren (the Welsh word for Star) - who she hoped to 'show', and perhaps breed one day.
It was fascinating watching the old dog Pippin and the new puppy Seren interact in their new relationship - I could not resist putting words into their mouths, and so the story “Pippin and Seren – Life at the Old Mill Cottage” was born!
I imagined their 'conversations' as Seren sought to learn from Pippin with incessant questioning, and Pippin taught her how to behave properly, what to expect from 'people', and about her new life at our Old Mill Cottage in Wales. One could almost hear Pippin saying:
Soon the stories revealed their imaginary (and real) adventures in the woods and garden, excursions to the beach and Dog Shows, and conversations about Life at the Old Mill Cottage. Pippin shares his wisdom with the curious young Seren, teaching her 'people talk', and ‘dog talk’, sharing life in the garden with the birds, the fox, the rabbits, and ‘making friends’.
“One day a baby rabbit came hopping across the lawn in front of Seren’s very eyes. Pippin was away exploring in the bushes. Seren stood amazed, then she approached it slowly and playfully as if not to frighten it. But it quickly dashed away through the fence to safety when an angry Pippin arrived. Perhaps Seren wanted to make a friend of the little rabbit too!”
I enjoyed portraying their different personalities, having hopes and dreams as well as fears. Seren questions Pippin: -
"You have lots of wonderful memories, but do you have dreams?"
"Yes I have dreams, but not like Misty. She had nightmares, I have daydreams. I used to dream that I could be a cat."
Seren burst into giggles when she heard this. "What a silly dream. I thought you didn't like cats?"
"You know I loved Dusty, and I thought I'd like to live his way, being wild and free. He could go out into the fields and hills whenever he wanted, never on a lead, and he could find his own food by hunting. …I can't feed myself like cats. I wish I could... So I had a better dream. Every time I look out there across the road to the sheep fields, I wish I were a real Working Dog, out in the fields all day..."
Of course they have their share of fun and mischief, especially in Dad's precious vegetable garden: -
"We are going to have some fun now” Pippin chuckled.
I wrote because the Shelties inspired me, and I enjoyed being under their spell. The stories reflect their real life setting in the Welsh countryside, supported by beautiful illustrations by our daughter Jen Delyth which also reflect that Celtic tradition. Although originally conceived as a dog storybook for children, “Pippin and Seren – Life at the Old Mill Cottage” has been appreciated by readers of all ages.
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