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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Doesn`t click, doesn`t scroll - has to go.


Not much to report here. Bad weather in January has stopped most activity...

Except for the annual invasion. The sleet comes down, the mice come in. Why shouldn`t they look forward to a warm winter like everyone else? It`s their equivalent of flying to Florida for three months.

Not house mice - I never see them. Field mice - tiny reddish guys with long tails and very little fear of people. They sit up on the kitchen table and look at you with shiny black eyes, all innocence - "I just popped in for a snack". They eat neat round holes in bags of dogfood. They store food in all sorts of places, such as winter boots. They have to go.

So it`s war on fieldmice, and the dogs are enthusiastic volunteers.

The other night one came into the living room and shot about like a tiny fur bullet riccocheting from one corner to another. The bitches became very single minded in the chase, with Tamara assuring her son Merlin that this was absolutely What You Do when faced with rodents - indeed running screaming about the room was de rigeur. Every time the quarry shot under a chair or table, a row of Papillon noses were thrust under, sniffing so profoundly that I was amazed one of them didn`t inhale the tiny thing, facing me with another huge vet bill - "to removing rodent from nose, £500".

Unfortunately there`s no winning this war - there are millions of the little illegal immigrants just waiting their turn in the woods and fields, shivering in the rain and pointing out the lights of the cottage to each other - "there, that`s the promised land, flowing with milk and honey - well, lots of Tesco dog food anyway."

Nothing else much to report. Shelby liberated a large tub of Flora and went head first into it, coming up with a happy greasy mask and necessitating a lot of emergency deep cleaning with baby wash and a sponge...I think his wrinkle is still a bit oily. But his cholesterol level must be really low.

Shelby takes no part in the war on mice. His tactic of staring the intruders down with enormous stern eyes cuts no cheese with them.

And so far they are the only things in the house that he has shown no interest in eating.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Allegra - "I`ve got stitches in my tummy and this party hat really does nothing for me..."


Allegra has had slight urinary problems for some time and has consumed a mountain of delicious pink pills (in liver sausage) as a result. I became worried in case it was something more serious, and on Monday she went in for an Xray.

I came to collect her and walked into the surgery. On the lightbox was what seemed to be an Xray of the pelvis of a small dinosaur. You could tell it was a dinosaur because it had obviously been fossilised in the act of laying quite a large egg.

"That`s it" said the vet. " That`s Allegra. Amazing size for a bladder stone! Especially since her bladder is so tiny. The stone fills it. She has been managing to pee around that for some time, and it will have to come out."

There followed considerable discussion of her very tiny bladder. I was amazed, considering the lengthy bus journeys she had endured needing fewer comfort stops than I did.

The vet was enthusiastic. While they were in there they could re shape, enlarge and reposition the offending organ. I firmly restated the renowned veterinary maxim - well, it should be - "If it ain`t broke, don`t fix it" What else were they going to offer while she was on the table? Collagen ear implants? Tail enhancement? Every time the vet looks at me he doesn`t see a person. He sees his retirement villa in Provence....

Well, Allegra went in for the removal of the Egg. I was worried. She has never had a bad experience. And when I collected her, she was so dazed and confused that her ears had flopped .

But she is a c onfident soul. A few hours at home and a nice meal did the trick and she now insists that she is cured, and why should she wear this ridiculous party hat (that`s what the vet calls the plastic collars) when there is no party in the offing and it obviously doesn`t suit her?

Truly is being very superior about all this.

Just you wait, Truly. With luck, next month you will be laying more than an egg...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Merlin ponders the difficulties of life as a puppy dog


A traditional endpoint to Christmas and New Year festivities, at which you take down the tree and face the year head on.

Well Christmas and New Year were quiet, punctuated by a horrible virus - I went to visit my realtives on Boxing Day and was invalided home just in time - 8 hours in your own loo is bad enough, but 8 hours in someone else`s........

It`s a hard time for puppy dogs. Storm and Shadow (whose sojourn under the walnut tree paid off at last) are still looking for homes.

The younger Merlin is facing the hardships of growing up as a puppy dog. Quite aside from looking like a tiny walking haystack, he has social problems.

Puppy bitches are usually cute and forward in the doggy social stakes - they rapidly find their place among the girls, and the boys are all in favour of them anyway, But puppy dogs are pond life. The adult bitches see them as a total nuisance, always underfoot, and the males write them off as "surplus to requirements." and give me looks that say "Why did you keep THAT?" At the moment only his mother loves Merlin - and sometimes aunty Solitaire when she feels like playing. He is feeling his way carefully in canine society, and prefers to stay indoors, laze about and pester me, or just to sit and think about the meaning of life and where his pink toy has got to.

Even his devoted mother undermines him - whenever he heads for my knee she intercepts him and gives him a quick wash with an apologetic look - "He really wasn`t clean enough to come up".

Well, he has to grow up. The showring beckons. And despite the unpromising start to the show season (so glad I didn`t go to that one ! ), his debut looms and no doubt I will take him.

That`ll give him something else to worry about.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

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