OF PIGEONS AND EARS
THE JOYS OF SPRING
HERE WE GO AGAIN…
HERE COME THE BOYS!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AGAIN!
EMAIL ME .
Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.
"IN DOG YEARS, I`M DEAD"
Sunday, July 17, 2016
It is a major difference. The first time I let the Granny Farm (the old ladies) out in the cleared expanse, they gazed around. Then old Prudence, not thinking, trotted off to what used to be her very private spot in the bushes to relieve herself. And it wasn`t there. Nothing at all. No discreet leafy cover for an old girl desperate to go. She stared around in growing panic. Everyone was going to see her! The dogs, me, the jeering magpies, the planes overhead! And she couldn`t hold in much longer.
Eventually nature took its course. And of course no-one was looking. The magpies jeer anyway. And I very much doubt that the pilot of the London shuttle (I live on the glide path for Glasgow airport) looked down at that moment from his instruments and said to the co-pilot, “Look! There`s Prudence having a pee! Tell the passengers!”
(Incidentally, never name a potential brood bitch “Prudence”. Poor Prudence was never able to become physically receptive when in season, and so never became pregnant. Very prudent of her. Try something like “Ever Ready” instead… )
Meanwhile, as I said, the wildlife is having to make other arrangements. Some of them a bit hasty. Which is probably why I came out to a big commotion the other day, and there stood Daisy, a retired Champion, with a small rabbit dangling from her jaws. The look on her face clearly said “This is SO much better than showing!”
|Daisy (Ch VOLPECULA YOU`RE SO VAIN) in her pre-rabbit days|
But it became all too clear that the others were of a “share and share alike” disposition. They were already planning which parts they would have. And equally clear that Daisy, a forceful personality, was not for sharing. It was her rabbit. I sized up the growing tumult, stepped in, and removed the rabbit. Universal dismay. I`m not sure which they were looking forward to most, the eating of the rabbit, or the fight to get it from Daisy. As it was, I became the villain of the piece. Sulky sullen looks. “She`s going to eat it all herself!”
But memories are short and soon they were hunting for another one.
Run, rabbit, run!
Monday, June 20, 2016
Figaro is with a friend. She has realised why he is called Figaro – he has a piercing voice and feels it should be heard. When she took him, he was loudly operatic all the way home, and really hasn`t given up since.
|Figaro - "I have a lovely voice!"|
Kaiju has been visiting shows with me. He is a happy soul, and finds the whole business very interesting indeed. And, thank goodness, he travels really well. At the last show he was a welcome diversion from the kind of judging that makes you want to give up the whole business and try flower arranging instead. His little head was never still as he watched it all, and made it clear that he would like to go in and ask those big boys to play with him. As the judge relentlessly rewarded her friends and paid back her debts, he was delighted with the whole thing. Maybe he will restore my faith in dog showing? We shall see… his turn will come next month. As will his brother`s.
|Kaiju - all legs and enthusiasm.|
Meanwhile he is at that gangly five-month stage, all legs, and joints tied together with loose elastic. You wait with bated breath for the whole thing to come together…well, I think he will turn out OK.
I am writing this while listening to the back garden being bulldozed. Yes, really. Once upon a time it was a nice garden, but it became too much for me, and turned into a rampant tangle of bushes and brambles and even a fallen tree. Now it will be restored (I hope) to grass. Eventually.
And then it will have to be cut. Well, not by me.
What a pity Papillons don`t eat grass…
Friday, May 13, 2016
The adults are well and full of it as usual. So full of it that I came out the other day to find they had organised their own lunch and were tucking in to a large fat pigeon. I am still racking my brain as to how they got it. A sudden avian suicidal impulse? A heart attack? Papillons, despite the size of their ears, cannot fly. Not even Plush, who is mostly ears. However, they got it, they were having a really good feast, with feathers flying everywhere. Fidget
was hiccuping feathers for some time afterwards…
|Kaiju, concentrating hard on those ears...|
Ears are the order of the day with the growing puppies, who are going through the awkward adolescent gawky stage. Kaiju seems to be diverting most of his energy to growing ears. He is determined to outdo his mother, the Ear Queen. His solemn anxious face, distorted by the throes of teething, stares out at me between two enormous wings. Of course I have impressed on him that ears can never be too big.
After all, if they really grow so big that you take off in a high wind, that will make the next pigeon so much easier to get…
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
The puppies, Figaro and Kaiju, are enjoying it, and spent a mad rampaging afternoon with their mother. Plush is young, and always up for it.
Here they are, photobombed by Angel, who always has to know what is going on.
Sunday, February 21, 2016
…down the puppy trail. Already the fat little furballs are toddling about, trying to get unwilling adults to play, and indulging in ferocious puppy battles which usually involve trying to discover which parts of your brother are detachable.
Their mother, Plush, has already decided that she has fulfilled the original contract, and just watches from a distance, making sure no puppy is actually reduced to its component parts while placidly ignoring the loud screams and growls. I have been putting her in with them at night, but she is beginning to
suggest that this is cruel and unnatural punishment. She gives me that “There is life after puppies" look.
|"What can we get up to now?" (six weeks)|
|Plush and the boys at 4 weeks|
At six weeks they are beginning to develop character. Kaiju, (the little monster) is a pushy explorer, but always loses to his brother Figaro (loud and clever) in fights. Kaiju, left by accident in a room with no other dogs, marched up and down, barking and growling, claiming territory. Figaro, however, was the first to make the important leap of logic that my feet are as much part of me as my hands, and not large alien beings. Six weeks is an age of discovery. But due to the constant bad weather, not of the outdoors. Winter puppies do miss out on that.
At this stage I have no idea how they will turn out.
Wait and see.
Friday, January 15, 2016
I knew the condition I would get them back in. I was not disappointed. Back they trailed in twos and threes, uniformly covered in mud.
Angel slunk in last. She was so covered in twigs and bits of conifer that all that was needed was a set of lights and a tinsel star for her to pass for a minute four legged Christmas tree. She was completely unrepentant and not at all helpful as I tried to remove the miniature forest , branch by branch. She had
collected them, and she would keep them.
Done at last and off she went to sulk. Angel, you must understand is truly and hopelessly spoiled, and sleeps round my neck like a furry scarf. (Fortunately she has not inherited her mother Solitaire`s interesting habit of…scenting the room frequently). She is totally arrogant, and is the only one not impressed by Plush having a family.
Plush, however, is quite enjoying the respect that being a mother earns for her from the others. Being a mother makes you important in the eyes of the pack. And she is doing really well. The two boys are now so big and fat that I would hesitate to weigh them in case they broke my little scales. And they are amazingly similar – might as well be twins. I will be interested to see whether the similarity increases as they grow up.
Meanwhile the weather is cold, and all is calm and quiet here.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Well, Plush has done it! Not without incident. She spend a day in rather ineffective labour, and after 8 hours produced a pair of hind legs – and promptly gave up entirely. I had to get the puppy out without any help from the bitch, which was not at all funny and will not be described here.
Off to the vet with madam, who clearly thought that was it over. The vet was a bit worried about the total inertia and how the remaining puppies were carried, so Plush ended up with a Caesarian and two huge bouncing boys.
I took away the woozy Plush and the pushy complaining boys. They had read the manual, and knew that they were due substantial quantities of milk immediately. It`s customary to offer a little help in this, and Plush had no complaint. And once plugged in, they made it clear that they had no intentions of coming off – ever. Meanwhile Plush was slowly coming to terms with her new situation, and clearly liked it.
So despite the rocky beginning, all has gone well. Her huge boys (which look amazingly alike) have stopped complaining and are growing and growing, almost visibly. Plush is completely out to lunch on Planet Puppy. And for once I am really not worried about the litter.
They are a week old today, and I expect at their rate of growth they will be on the lead in another week!
Saturday, January 02, 2016
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
I had a nice picture to post. but Blogger won`t let me...what else is new?
Friday, November 20, 2015
I have never had a dog quite like Sparkle. I have wrestled with huge coats, tangly ones, sparse ones, and been saddened by the creaminess of others.
Sparkle poses a different problem. To put it simply, he is a dirt magnet.
|"I am perfect just as I am" - Sparkle|
I think he goes out in the morning, takes a deep breath, and calls out: “Here I am, dirt! Come and get me!” And it flies to him in clouds, and settles everywhere. Add to this his ability to stain most parts of himself (including his tail - how the devil does he manage that?), and the usual filthy state of his teeth, and you have a problem that begs for an industrial solution.
His sister, Tess Trueheart, has none of these problems. She is clean, unstained with shining teeth. How can the two be so different?, I wonder, as I zip through a bath for her, and then prepare stain remover and three different whitening shampoos for his three baths to come. He is naturally quite offended by the different treatment he gets, and sees it as cruel and unnatural punishment. He likes the way he looks…and smells.
Well, he has always been an unusual dog, to say the least, and I put up with his passion for potato scones, his insistence on knee sitting at inappropriate moments and his endearing habit on peeing on my chair whenever I get up.
So I suppose I will just get the hot water and suds ready, and we will try again
Monday, November 16, 2015
|"Will I, won`t I?" - Plush|
Last week she visited a very charming and gentle dog, who did things to her which she clearly found inexplicable….however, all will soon be revealed. A test in a few weeks will tell us whether there will be January puppies.
Meanwhile the other girls decided to come in season, presumably in sympathy. As usual, a great nuisance. Fidget in particular feels very deprived indeed, and lets me know, often in the wee small hours in a high plaintive voice.
Kept from him, the ladies turn their attention to Sparkle. Now Sparkle is just a bit problematic. To put it plainly, he just doesn`t have any interest in girls. Not at all. And so he is puzzled, and eventually annoyed, when they persist in trying to get him to take part in what seem strange and unnatural games, and pushing their noses into personal intimate areas. It all ends in petulant snarls and a demand to sit on my knee, well away from them.
You may wonder at this point if Sparkle hits them with his handbag. I am not so sure. I have come across dogs before who were entirely innocent of any sexual intent – and then suddenly the penny drops and no bitch is safe, as he desperately tries to make up for lost time. I am watching him like a hawk.
For both Sparkle and Plush, time will tell.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
And indeed the journey was fine, apart from the late departure of the ferry “due to four arrests on the way over from Ireland” Best not to ask…
The venue had been changed. Well, its site had been. This show takes place in what I think of as the Big Tin Shed which, like the witch Baba Yaga`s hut, tends to move about a bit (although probably not on chicken legs). It had moved out of the city, down the M1 to a site formerly occupied by a prison, now demolished. We were given a postcode for the satnav. No problem. We rolled off the ferry in the wee small hours, and headed south.
But soon the satnav took us off the motorway, and into a network of lanes, getting smaller and smaller, until at last it announced triumphantly that we had arrived. We stared in dismay at a small building site on a dead end. And as we pondered the difficulty of reversing out, other headlights appeared behind us. All people deceived by satnav. And a bus. We all conferred, and the bus driver thought he might find the place. We all said we would follow. Suddenly
we had a convoy.
|Melanie off to a new life|
I somehow remembered the old film with Kris Kristofferson, who headed a trucker convoy under the handle of “Rubber Duck”. Our Rubber Duck was an increasingly frustrated bus driver, as we followed him in and out of country lanes, small villages, and side roads which looked unfortunately familiar. We could have welcomed the appearance of a smokey bear, especially one with a map and local knowledge. At last we found a gate, and a night watchman, and we all parked in a vast wasteland of a cleared site. And in the morning, there was the BTS, gleaming in the sun.
I got my lot out and settled….well, apart from poor Melanie, never a good traveller, who had found the boat and then the convoy, even with a travel pill, all too much and emerged as a small sad damp lump. Much drying ensued, but she was still distressingly sticky and undeniably sad.
And “sad” also summed up the judging. Not many there, and Tess Trueheart and Sparkle, who gave their all, were passed over in favour of really big dogs. The best thing for me was seeing my boys, Cupcake and Mr Wag again. And of course the good friend who handles them for me. But otherwise we were happy to be booked on the early boat home. Alas, the bus passengers had no such escape, and were forced to enjoy the facilities of the BTS (4 toilets and one burger bar) until late afternoon.
I hope Melanie will settle, as the boys have. Time will tell.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
I managed on and off with all the parphenalia of showing, which was a relief, and we were allowed to park next to the entrance. Right inside was the Papillon ring, with toilets and a coffee stall conveniently at hand. I decided I might enjoy this.
Well, given that winter draws on, Sparkle , after due consideration has decided it is time to cast his coat. He showed impeccably, but we moved down the ring in our own personal snowglobe as he showered hair impartially on all ( and especially on the judge). The judge was not appreciative.
Sparkle evidently didn`t care. He is convinced that he will look good naked, a mistake made by many males. He will be sexting next.
|"I`m so beautiful I don`t need a coat!" Sparkle|
Tess Trueheart, who loves to be outdoors, showed with her usual daft enthusiasm and was 2nd. Both were having a really good time. They adore shows – sometimes I wonder why, especially when I am tired and trying not to think about the journey home. They have no such worries.
Much gossip to catch up on, quiet amusement about that judge who bought a title, and a great deal of comment - not about the judging, but the toilets. Clean, scented with vacuum flush, sweet music and pot plants. That this created a sensation should tell you a lot about what dog show toilets are usually like…and how much they mean to exhibitors. I will not go into details. Suffice it to say that in one region the provider of toilet facilities is a Mr Pew, and that name is highly appropriate.
Safe home, but very late, already thinking about the next show, across the Irish Sea. I will see Mr Wag and Cupcake again, and Melanie is going, possibly to stay. As she is inclined to throw up when she even catches sight of a car, I have great worries about the ferry and have laid in a stock of pills. The whole thing will be a huge culture shock for her.
I`ve told her it will be a Great Adventure.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Meanwhile the sun shines, and I heaved the shiny new tarp over about 3 tons of coal. Wild excitement from the dogs. They screeched at the Big New Thing, and had hysterics when Solitaire decided to investigate it and only discovered how shiny it was when she slid off, landing on her ample bottom and
looking very embarrassed.
|My show team ready for home - Sparkle, Plush and Tess Trueheart|
Shortly now Dancer and Melanie will be off to new homes, where I hope they will settle. Dancer`s one brain cell will be working overtime when faced with such a big change, and I hope he will cope.
And I have just a few shows left this year. I am off to one on the dreaded Dog Bus, which I haven`t attempted for a long time. I just hope I can physically manage it. My show team, Sparkle, the dirt magnet, Tess Trueheart the happy airhead, and Plush the capable, have no doubts at all. They are, as always, very full of it. I hope for a better result with Tess than last time out, when her worst fears were realised – when I asked her to walk down the mat, 15 huge golden retrievers in the next ring turned as one and stared at her. Like her mother, Tess produced the predictable reaction – climb up my leg and ask to go home – now! But there should be no big dogs this weekend, and it will be outdoors, which she likes. And Sparkle and Plush couldn`t care less if there were velociraptors in the next ring. We shall be hopeful. Pointless confidence is the true mark of the dog shower. The next show will be The One…
Sunday, July 26, 2015
When I came to take them in, clearly something had happened. Prudence, Dora, Tamara and Truly were at the door. The last two slipped in and went to bed very quietly. Dora and Prudence ran about, wildly excited – Prudence`s eyes were rolling and clearly she was about to indulge in hysterics. I got them
in at once.
That left two missing. Were they still in the bottom run? I went to look.
They weren`t – but an enormous badger was. It looked up at me placidly. Badgers are not afraid of much. It showed no inclination to leave, but persuasion with the big yard broom worked, and it slowly shuffled off.
Still no Camilla or Fenella. I called and called. Why do these things always happen when it is getting dark? I went on calling.
Eventually Camilla came crawling out of the undergrowth. She was clearly very shaken, but I couldn`t find any injury. I brought her up to the door, and she howled and howled like a lost soul. Like Prudence she is given to hysterics, and not very brave, but I began to wonder if she was crying because Fenella had been
|Fenella, Cupcake`s great-grandmother|
I went on calling and at last heard a stirring of leaves, and Fenella came very slowly out from behind the old kennels. She was shaking all over, and her back legs, now not very strong at the best of times, were really wobbly. She appeared to have had a terrible fright. I carried her in and could find no injury, but she went on shuddering for quite a while afterwards.
I`ll never know what happened. A badger could have killed a Papillon – but they don`t take the initiative. And the old ladies, except for Truly, are not aggressive. (Fortunately Truly seems to have been sensible for once.) I hadn`t heard any barking. Clearly there was no fight. They just seemed to have had a terrible scare. And it took them a few days to get over it.
It could have been very different if the younger ones had come across the badger. I will keep an eye open in future, especially at dusk, when they are active.
Saturday, July 04, 2015
And he began to appear. He had not the courage of his wife. He hovered and dithered, terrified of the dogs, but determined on the food. And the penny dropped. Of course – his wife had sent him. “And don`t you dare come back without that nice dogfood! If you can`t get it, don`t bother to come back at all!” His life was now a misery…welcome to marrried life, son!
|"Us? Chase squirrels? Never!" - Plush and Belle relaxing in the sun|
I felt a lot less sympathetic when he began to dig out all my planters, presumably looking for the Huge Magic Worm in the bottom. I suppose he needs some illusion to keep him going.
The other wildlife specimen to watch has been a very fat squirrel. This one aroused a very great deal of interest among the Papillons. He has been frequently seen around the shrubs, on the ground, and a few chases have ensued. I thought nothing of it, except that it gave them a bit of exercise….
Until last night, when an uproar sent me running to get them in. And in they came, very excited and satisfied. There were signs of blood, and old Marcus came in last, chewing a paw. The paw was not his own....
I can`t think how they managed it. But I think Squirrelwatch is over, permanently.
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
She was my special girl, and for a time I thought that without her I wouldn`t go on with dogs. But all the others are still there, and with the encouragement of friends (and of Sparkle and his scatty sister Tess Trueheart) I have begun going to shows again.
With mixed results. Sparkle has decided to forget his training, and in the ring shows a great persistence in climbing up my leg. I am being very firm about this. Tess is her usual daft self, but in the last two shows has shown some signs of maturity (at last!) and an increased ability to keep her tail up. At the last show I paraded her and her best friend Plush round the ring before the show, and they flirted and pranced about and when faced with Notpap dogs clearly decided that together they were invincible. I could see Tess thinking that Plush would sort everything out for her. Fortunately this totally mistaken idea carried her through her experience in the ring, and she was well placed. Plush herself is very professional about showing, and is no problem.
|A sleepy Sparkle in the sun - "Why did you wake me?"|
Sparkle and Tess are very attached to each other. They still play like puppies. And Sparkle has gone back to guarding the girls whenever we are out together. The fact that his babyface just doesn`t fit that bill is quite beyond him.
The last show was a bit of an ordeal. A new showground, with very rough paths hurriedly laid down with recovered crushed old tarmac made the movement of anything on wheels almost impossible. We struggled to the far end of the showground in persistent rain, to discover that all the toilets had been placed in a tight cluster at the entrance. None where we were. The whole toilet situation at outdoor shows is always very fraught, with long walks and huge queues common. Next to the total incompetence of the judge, it is the favourite topic of conversation. (One of the features of this delightful hobby that makes you wonder why we still do this).
However, the dogs did not have this problem, and I was really pleased with how they had come on. Tess Trueheart saw a black dog in the next ring and did not collapse and ask to go home, Sparkle at last remembered the command “stand!” without it having to be expanded to “stand, you wee bugger!” , and Plush, as usual, was quite reliable. All were well placed.
On the whole, I think we will go on trying – at least for a while.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Cupcake winning the final award which makes him an International Champion. (He doesn`t look all that impressed…. But I am!)
Monday, May 04, 2015
Ably handled by my good friend Diane, Cupcake has hit the heights. He won the final CACIB this weekend, and is now, subject to confirmation, an International Champion – CIB CH VOLPECULA SET IN GOLD.
|Cupcake at a year old|
I never thought, that hot day when he walked out with one ear down (the other descended in sympathy a day later) and I had to suddenly rethink his career, that it would all end so well. He had little future as a Phalene, a drop-eared Papillon, in the UK, where, to be honest, they are not much liked and always come off badly competing against erect-eared Papillons. But anywhere else in Europe, Phalenes are seen as a different breed, and he would have real chances. So off he went across the sea to Ireland and a happy life on a farm with lots of freedom, fun and good fresh food. And shows… at which he did really well.
|International Champion - Cupcake today.|
I admit I really do miss him.
But he is happy and successful and will come back some day.
Meanwhile, “Ears to him!”
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Yes, I am recovering from a hit and run accident. It was quite a shock and I am still treating the bruises. The driver didn`t stop and careered on. The whole of
Asda was appalled.
|"Mum was knocked down by a WHAT?" - Sparkle|
Yes, Asda. I was knocked down in the vegetable aisle in Asda. The perp was an ancient guy in a mobility scooter. He drove at full speed into me, and I fell into the potato racks. If you are looking for a soft landing, I advise you to avoid potatoes, which are very….unforgiving, shall we say. He then crushed me against the display as he drove on past.
I was quickly surrounded by willing helpers, 3 of them also on mobility scooters. Those three were furious. “He was speeding! He has no right to be in charge of a scooter! Get security! Have him thrown out!” They set off to get security and have the old boy nicked, as the others offered tea and lots of sympathy. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the security boys searching…
I shopped and got home before the bruising really kicked in. One side became terribly stiff and sore. I could see my bruises recording the impacts of several particularly vicious individual potatoes .
I suppose this contradicts the usual assumption of the unspeakable boredom of supermarket shopping.
I`ll settle for the boredom.
And keeping one eye on the potatoes.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
I was a bit worried about him fitting in. He has not been an easy dog, I am told, and takes really badly to change. However, I picked him up at a show, and brought him home, late that night, to face the others here.
|"Admit it - you can`t resist me!" - Sparkle|
I need not have worried. They all seemed to remember him – except for the puppies, who screeched and yelled at him, sure that the Martians had landed . The others simply shrugged. “Oh yes, that little pest is back.”
Solitaire, however, was overjoyed. Her wandering boy had returned. She was all over him , tried to clasp him to her bosom and made strenuous attempts to wash him, which he fairly politely declined. (Solitaire still washes all her babies, if they will let her. The girls allow it, but Fidget, now 5, insists he is too old to be scrubbed by Mum)
Where was he going to sleep? He decided that himself. He headed straight to Fidget`s bed. I waited for bloodshed. But Fidget simply indicated that it was OK, and that was that. They settled in together for the night
And that was that. I had bought in lots of expensive food for him – sure to keep him in good body and coat. He ate it the first night. After that he held out for cheap tinned, and whatever I was eating. He seems quite settled. UNusual noises, like owls (we have lots of owls) disturb him, but he will get used to that.
I`m pretty sure he will be OK, and a happy future of Bambi impersonating lies ahead of him.
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
|"I`m still here!" - Allegra|
Well, not for the first time, Allegra had cheated death again. Years ago she had a bad accident, and a miraculous recovery after being given 24 hours to live. Then last year she collapsed with a liver problem. The vet treated her, and when I brought her back was astonished. “You mean she`s still alive?” I assured him she was feeling a lot better. “Well, not sure what I did right – but let`s do the same again”. Allegra responded brilliantly.
This time it is a cancer, but I am assured that it is a very treatable one in dogs. And again the irrepressible Allegra is responding well so far. She is eating ravenously, growing coat – and, much to my disgust, has decided to come in season. At the moment she has no intentions of dying off….she is more interested in having sex - either with her father, or Shelby, she has decided. I am having to keep a close eye on the invalid.
If it was up to Allegra, there would be no problem. She has decided to live forever!
Sunday, February 08, 2015
They were soon filled, and I reached into a pocket and pulled out the big string
She looked at it lying there, like the discarded skin of some exotic animal.
“What is it?. What does it do?”
I explained, reasonably, that it was a string bag.
“You mean things go inside it? How does it work? Where do things go?”
I kept a straight face as I pointed out the opening, and the handles, which pretty well exhausted this branch of string theory. She continued to be loudly amazed at the amount it held.
I lugged home the sagging bag, also amazed that
a) at my time of life I had gone back to using string bags, which up to now had been a vague childhood memory
b) I should have to explain this strange technology to a teenager. Or indeed anyone.
Sunday, February 01, 2015
Nevertheless, in the morning they all rush out for a very necessary moment….except for Dancer.
|Freya and her brother Dancer, the shovel trained dog|
He heads straight for the heating stove. It is fuelled by coal, and in front of it lies a little shovel. Dancer positions himself, and makes a neat deposit in the shovel - which, of course, I immediately dispose of in the stove. Then he goes out.
He must think there is a fuel shortage. Possibly he has somehow missed the 4 tons of coal under the blue tarp behind the garage? However, I think his offering although kindly meant, is not really going to make a lot of difference. Even if Freya and Melanie joined in, it would not significantly reduce my heating bills.
At the moment the only one likely to go to a new home is Freya. However, if Dancer does go, I can see myself having a hard time explaining that he is “shovel trained”!
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Over here, Sparkle has had considerable success and is as far as I know Top Papillon Puppy. Tess Trueheart his sister had often the bad luck to compete against him, and he would usually win. She did well, despite my lack of transport to any shows in the latter part of the year.
So, not too bad. Tess, having at last had a season, however, decided to become all girly, reaching for the lace handkerchief and the smelling salts at the least sign of trouble, but I am getting her over that. Her BF Plush goes from strength to strength.
|From L To R - Freya, Dancer, Melanie|
And then there are the puppies. Melanie is a soft clingy person, always wanting to sit on my knee. When introduced to the lead, she was appalled. Unloved and betrayed! By someone she trusted! She wailed, and wouldn`t move. When released, she ran off and hid….but after a bit, hiding became a bit scary, and she came looking for Mum, with one eye open for the dreadful lead.
Dancer, the boy, untroubled by any finer sentiments, or indeed by any discernable brain activity whatsoever beyond basic motor functions, strode out bravely on the lead. He looks promising. No-one ever suggested that showing required brainpower.
Freya – well Freya is just Freya. A law unto herself. Her reaction to the lead is to sit down, shake violently and make her eyes go very big. It usually works. After all, she is a very little person. I hope for a nice home for her.
Meanwhile I have to work on getting them socialised, as they have only experience of home and the vet. (They much prefer home!) Arrival at the vet usually means sad damp stained puppies being hauled out of a puddle of – well, whatever they have done on the way. Although my vet, after wiping down the sad sticky girls, is of the opinion that Dancer is the perp, as he usually emerges suspiciously cleaner than them.
And there we are. I am off to relatives tomorrow, but it will be a quiet day.
Meanwhile, Happy New Year, everyone!
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Tess decided it had all been too much, and became nervy and girly, having the vapours and taildropping in the ring, a problem she didn`t have before. Plush, on the other hand, who had been a little shy person, suddenly embraced adulthood and announced “I am woman – hear me roar!” I wondered if one could perhaps cure the other..
I took both to training. Tess was unsure – Plush full of newfound confidence.
I took Tess out and she dithered and taildropped. I put her back in the pen and took out Plush who proceeded to do everything perfectly, and was rewarded with lavish praise – and ham.
From the pen came screams of despair and fury. A very jealous Tess indeed. She could see it all and was beside herself. When I got her out, she did it all perfectly, with sideways looks to see if Plush could see her.
Problem solved , thought I, and took both with Angel to a show.
Tess behaved reasonably, and won. Then I took out Plush – cries of fury and jealousy. Plush did well, and next was Angel. And that was the last straw. I was busy with Angel and did not see what happened next, but I could hear the laughter. Tess had got out. And she went down the line of exhibitors, one by one, had a sniff at their feet, then looked up at their faces – “No, you`re not my mum.” At last she got to me, triumphant and tail-wagging, to receive a distinctly cool reception from Angel and an embarrassed one from me.
Tess is, after all, very young.
Here she is, joining in play with Belle and her 3 puppies, Melanie, Freya and Dancer -
Sunday, November 02, 2014
The two girls are keen on play, but the dog puppy always has to think about things a bit. In my experience many dog puppies are like this. I can remember Florian the Climbing Dog as a puppy sitting and thinking for hours with a very vacant look on his face.....of course I wouldn`t suggest for a moment that dog puppies are not very bright. I will leave that assessment to his sisters.
Here they are, on a November afternoon -
Friday, October 31, 2014
|Belle sees that they are all presentable|
And Belle was always in charge.
|Puppies on the go!|
|Black and white girl|
|Dog puppy - "If I stand, will I fall off?"|
|Tri girl - "Mum, I trust you not to leave me here!"|
Even the dog puppy enjoyed himself at last.
And then they were exhausted and fell asleep on my knee.
At which their mother and I heaved a sigh of relief!
Monday, October 27, 2014
I was cruising rapidly through Asda, when I was brought up short by this.
I am not much given to junk food. I gazed at this. Had I been missing some important trend? Vermin crisps? And foreign vermin at that! Was Macdonald`s now offering Big Rat? Macweasel Burger? Was there a KFC Spicy Fox Bucket? I really don`t keep up with fast food trends enough.
I looked closer. “Ranch raccoon with cream cheese” . Somehow I couldn`t see the cheese saving it. I think raccoon ranks (I use the word advisedly) along with stoat, badger and those listed above as meat I would never attempt to eat short of a total collapse of civilisation as we know it.
I will keep an eye on the crisp revolution, though, watching for the Next Big Thing>
Saturday, October 25, 2014
|Belle`s 3 - the dog to the left, girls centre and right|
They are a quiet crew. Very like their mum, they seem calm and gentle and even the usual puppy battles are very civilised affairs. They are devoted knee sitters. Belle took very well the shock of realising that they were growing up and now very mobile indeed. She still feeds them – too gentle to tell them that they are getting too old for that kind of thing.
Outside is still not their favourite place, but as the stood still in shock the first time, Solitaire, their grandmother, kept an eye on them. And then their great – grandmother, Red Sonja ambled over, washed their faces for them, and told them that they were quite all right, and had nothing to worry about. She gave me a look that said “Puppies are nice!” and when I tried to photograph them, (not easy) it was hard to keep her out of the picture, as you see.
|Puppy pic photobombed by Great-Gran Red Sonja|
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I thought I would try a video, and in vain tried to stir up some action…the most I got was yawns, a stretch, and a roll over.
Just wait till they are up on their legs! I will be longing for the peace and quiet I have just now!
Saturday, September 13, 2014
She started at midnight. Why do they do that? Her own mother was always very civilised, and used to begin at dawn, but I have spent so many sleepless nights whelping, and wondering if I will be able to get help when needed.
Well, she soon produced one. And she sat there, looking at it in horror. Clearly she had done something very dirty – and in the house! Would Mum be angry? I rescued the newborn and spent some time reassuring her that she had done the right thing, and Mum was very pleased. It took her a little time to decide that it was hers, and she should probably clean it up a bit.
Hours till the next one, again a little girl. And that was that. She settled down with her two daughters, quite relaxed and happy with them.
|All lined up, 2 days old. The boy is in the middle|
I was not relaxed. She had been scanned for three. And clearly she was not about to produce number three. Cue a call to a friend, and one to my vet. And the result was a drive through the early morning mists of Ayrshire to the surgery.
Another scan. Yes, there was indeed a third in there, with a strong heartbeat. Two injections of oxytocin had no effect, (but a strong cup of coffee for me worked wonders!) Eventually poor Belle was carried off for a caesarian. Fingers crossed and more coffee….and back the vet came with a strong protesting little boy, who had been warm and comfortable and now was plunged into a strange world where it appeared he had two very pushy sisters. Belle was totally puzzled, but quite prepared to have an extra who wasn`t there when she unexpectedly went to sleep.
Back home, and all well. I got her settled and really, she has never looked back. She is an ideal mum. eating well, willing to go out (especially when she found out how much respect a mother gets from other bitches!) and quite happy. I am a little less worried than I usually am with new litters in the first few days.
But meanwhile I will not be far from home.
Monday, September 08, 2014
However, I have the habit, last thing at night, of checking the next day`s headlines on my phone, and last night was amazed to find that Milliband, a man who has as much authority in this matter as Donald Duck (and a lot less charisma) was threatening an independent Scotland with armed forces at the border. I thought little of it and fell asleep….
And then I dreamed I was wakened by a hammering on the door. There stood a soldier, who demanded to know if I had a gun, as I was registered as having one. I said that I had.
“Well, pack a small bag and come with me. We are organising a militia to defend the border against the English army.”
In vain I protested that I was ancient, and so was the gun. And I was about to be taken off to war…..when the dream was penetrated by a loud honking.
|"Honk, honk, honk!" - Florian|
I woke and recognised the sound. “Honk, honk honk!” Pause. “Honk, honk honk!”. Florian`s deep, resonant, desolate bark. Prudence is in season, and he was lamenting his sadly deficient sex life. I know he would go on for hours, telling the world about the unfairness and misery of it all.
I looked at the clock. 3am. You will gather that sympathy was the last thing on my mind. I got up and gave him a piece of the said mind, threatening to take him to the vet and sort out his problem for once and for all. He wisely shut up.
And I went back to bed and wondered how that border war would have gone, in the dream world I had left….
Maybe just as well Florian chose to honk.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Well, no. She was a bit puzzled, but I gave her lots of support, and once we got into the ring she looked round and thought “This is what I do!” and swaggered about. Vast relief. Even a false fire alarm, which led to a hasty evacuation, didn`t trouble her at all.
|"You mean I won? Really?" - Tess|
Meanwhile her brother had behaved impeccably and won his class, and indeed became best Puppy Dog. When we got to her turn, she was very full of it indeed. Maybe too full. Her idea of walking round and showing herself off involves frequent ecstatic leaps up my leg. Probably a show of affection but highly undesirable. I shuffled round on my bad knee, trying to keep her feet on the ground and muttering unspeakable things. How much easier when I used to show Truly and could swear in bad Swedish!
However, despite all this she became best Puppy Bitch, and so had to compete with her brother. His behaviour, of course was impeccable. And impeccable wins. Tess will have to learn that merry frolics in the ring do not please judges.
And then she was reunited with her brother. She recognised him at once and made friendly overtures. Would he play?
|Sparkle, totally well behaved|
Alas, he also remembered her. Probably only too well. I think his main memory might be of how hard she used to bite to keep him in check and discourage his….unwanted overtures, shall we say? He gave her a dirty look and moved off quickly, looking back to be sure that she didn`t get a sneaky one in from behind. He probably still feels the draught from those perforations.
A good day for me, though, as it was a win/win situation, with brother and sister competing.
Tess Trueheart came home looking very pleased with herself and immediately went out and applied herself to her favourite hobby – getting really dirty as quickly as possible.
Saturday, August 09, 2014
But I have to admit that I have occasionally thought how good it would be to repeat the last litter, and perhaps have another Sparkle and another Tess Trueheart . Just a thought.
|"It`s very relaxing to be retired!" - Solitaire|
I mentioned this to another dog person and spoke of what might have been. “Oh but you can, “ said he; “My friend had her bitch accidentally caught by a dog, and the KC allowed a 5th litter on appeal”.
“But, “ said I “that would be by her own dog at home.” And I had a brief but arresting vision of Solitaire, with her little bundle tied on a stick over her shoulder and my railcard firmly gripped between her teeth, eyes shining with anticipation, sneaking out to the station and boarding a train to the north of England, heading for a secret assignation with her previous husband.
Well, Solitaire is an excellent mother, but she hasn`t a romantic bone in her body. The emotional brief encounter simply isn`t going to happen. Retired is retired.
And anyway, she doesn`t know where I keep my railcard.
Friday, August 01, 2014
And there stood Daisy, crouched, and clearly stalking a large fox. Marcus, no fool, was hanging considerably further back, and the look on his face clearly said “This is the big girl`s business, and I will just stay well back here, ready to offer wise advice and back her up until her nose bleeds.”
Daisy meant business. I could see her thinking “What does the fox say? It will say a lot when my teeth meet in its throat. I wonder what fox tastes like?”
I called them in. Marcus came in like a shot. Daisy wouldn`t move until I stepped forward and the fox just melted away into the field. Cue dirty look from Daisy, who had clearly planned to haul her trophy in to amaze the other bitches. The fact that it was much bigger than her had not registered at all. Papillons are quite convinced that they are the size of tigers, and just as fearsome to vermin.
Later, when Tess Trueheart and her mother had to go out, I made sure to go with them. One foxhunter in the family is quite enough.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Another of mine goes off to try his luck without me. And again it`s a funny feeling.
A very prominent exhibitor asked if I would be willing to share Sparkle in a partnership. She had fallen for him when she judged him in the spring. It was a very good and flattering offer, and I thought it over and felt that given my age and travel problems it would be silly to say no. He would get to many more shows, and be in really good hands. I don`t tend to get to any shows south of the midlands nowadays. This would let him achieve his full potential.
However, it seems to have worked out, and in a strange way. Sparkle has become obsessed with their older dog. Imagine the most intense Justin Bieber or One Direction teen groupie, and you are getting near it. He can`t have the dog out of his sight, and will not strut his stuff unless he knows that dog is present. Personally I have never seen anything like it. Dogs do form attachments, but this seems a bit excessive. But the others in the partnership think it is OK, and certainly Sparkle is happy and confident – and winning! Clearly he has quite a future ahead of him.
Always something new in dogs!
Saturday, July 12, 2014
He is just over two years old, and as you may remember, after some deep thought in his puppy days, decided to be a Papillon. And as a Papillon he did some winning. Then one hot day, he appeared with one ear down. I had a look at it, and found a tick. It was a very small tick, but I was sure it was the culprit. I removed it, and waited confidently for the ear to come up again. Two days later the other ear had come down in sympathy. And that was that. He had made a career decision, and was now a Phalene.
|Cupcake at 7 weeks|
Well, it`s not so easy being a Phalene here. Some judges simply do not like them, and all in all it is an uphill struggle with them. But in Ireland, under FCI rules, Phalenes are a separate breed, and compete with each other on equal terms. So to Ireland he went, to an expert friend who has done really well with him. And in only nine months, he has gained his title.
|Cupcake at 9 months|
It`s a new feeling, this business of not handling my dogs myself, but at my time of life it makes sense, and it is quite a good feeling to sit back and wait for results. Of course this will also happen with Sparkle, except that he will stay in this country and I will see his progress and of course I will be showing his sister. And meanwhile Mr Wag, who has really taken to Irish life, is only a few points off his Junior Champion title.
|Champion Cupcake today!|
Irish Ch Volpecula Set in Gold
It`s all happening!