The resident H&H hound thought it was high-time she got online and introduced herself, and we couldn't agree more! Meet Imani (Immie for short), the fluffy face behind Hubble and Hattie!
We thought what better way than for her to share her story with you, so take it away, Immie!
'Back in November 2001, I never would have thought that I would be leaving the island of my birth – Northern Cyprus – and taking a very scary plane ride to begin a new life in the UK.
|Me in my old home in Cyprus|
'Why ever my adoptive mum decided that, out of all the dogs at the rescue centre on the island. it was me that she wanted to give a forever home to I will never know, as I was a fairly pitiful sight; too scared, at first, to go out on the walk with her. In fact, she carried me for a good part of the way! She wanted me to enjoy the freedom, and run around like the other 8 dogs that were walking with us that hot day. When she put me down again, I ran back in the direction of the rescue centre at first, but then something made me change my mind and I ran back to her and the others and continued the walk. Lucky for me that I did as she decided that, even though she and her partner were in Cyprus on holiday, she was going to take me home with her ...
'After much frantic arranging and long-distance calls to a quarantine kennel back home in the UK, I left my unhappy start in life and flew the 4000 miles to my new home in Dorset, arriving on November 12, 2001.
'The six months I had to spend in quarantine were helped by twice - and sometimes thrice - weekly visits from mum, and we would have a lot of fun playing with toys that she bought me, which I'd never done before! The rules were very strict; I wasn't allowed out of my kennel, and mum had to be locked in there with me. Very often the weather wasn't good enough to go out in the run, and so we would sit together on the dias that was my bed, and mum would brush me to get me used to being groomed, which I'd also never had done before!
'Eventually, one fabulous day in May 2002 - the 20th to be precise - my 'jail term' was up and I was allowed out of quarantine. What I didn't know until that point, however, was that my mum and her partner already had two dogs, Westie sisters called Hubble and Hattie, And the thing of it was, Hubble and Hattie weren't very pleased to see me at all. Oh, we all got along okay, and there was never any fighting, but the sisters made it quite clear that I was one dog too many at Winkle Cottage ...
'Nevertheless, my life was happy and I was glad to be in England rather than Cyprus, where all the other dogs bullied me, and I never got enough to eat as I was too timid to fight back when the other rescue dogs would steal my food. Now, I had enough to eat, lots of treats, a fab garden to play in, and two walks a day. Life was pretty damn good!
'Fast forward ten years and now there's just mum and me at Winkle Cottage. Hubble and Hattie both died in 2007, at the good age of 14 years. I know mum has thought about getting another dog or – heaven help us - a cat (yuck!) but I think she knows that I might find that a bit difficult to get used to; anyway, it's really lovely with just the two of us.
'Mum still feels very sad about Hubble and Hattie I know, but the fact that she's remembered them in a very special way, by naming an imprint after them that publishes books designed to improve animal welfare and encourage understanding and compassion for all animals, has helped her feel better about them, and she knows her gorgeous girls would be thrilled to bits that the imprint is named after them!
'So now, as always, I go into the office every day with mum and 'help' her work on the Hubble and Hattie books. So far we've produced over 25 different ones, with many more planned for 2012 and beyond. And, best of all, I'm actually in several of them! Check out our dedicated website - www.hubbleandhattie.com - to see the sort of thing we're doing.'
Want to keep up with Imani's comings and goings? Friend her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ImaniCricket to see more great photos, plus keep up with all the latest news and stories from our favourite publishing pooch!