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.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


"I`ll never get the hang of this ear thing...it`s so hard to be a puppy dog!"

Boris at 8 weeks...a bit lopsided. He is named for Boris Johnson - jolly but not too bright.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Where`s our rabbit then?!"


If you have ever watched THE DOGWHISPERER , you will have realised the importance of the dogowner as pack leader. I am well aware of this, never more so than when I rushed down into the lower dogrun the other day, hearing the familiar sounds of all sorts of mayhem and threatening death or retribution.

It turned out to be a complex crisis. One of the cats was up in the walnut tree - Florian can`t climb that one, so he was halfway up the nearest one, grimly hauling himself up, determined on Cat Dinner.

Meanwhile the old ladies, the Heroines of the Soviet Union, were having a catering meltdown of their own, and canine threats and curses were being screamed. I parted the crowd and found two partly eaten rabbits.

It is not the first time that they have caught rabbits, and quite frankly any bunny rash enough to tunnel into the dogrun is committing ritual suicide. But in this case the ownership squabble seemed to be getting out of hand. I ordered the whole lot in.

They slunk in, casting me looks that weren`t hard to interpret....

"She`s having our rabbits. She`s shutting us up so she can have both of them for herself. Rotten selfish pack leader she is...."

I left them to cool their heels, and disposed of their catch.

When I let them out later, they made a beeline for the spot where they had left their banquet. No rabbits. Not even fur, or any remains. Furious glares.

"See that? She did it! Ate the whole lot herself! Didn`t even leave us a scrap of skin! Ate fur and all!

I could see that they were casting around for a way to tip me the Black Spot, and possibly a plank for me to walk.....

Well, dream on! No mutiny aboard this Bounty!

(Although sometimes it feels more like the Titanic.....)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


...And there we were ankle deep in thick clinging mud. A sea of evil ooze extending to the horizon, swallowing up shoes, dropped objects, lost children and small animals, and slowly sucking down parked cars into the depths...

Ofc ourse, another dog show. What else? We all crowded into a tent in the middle of the mud ocean, . packed in like herring in a box, and on all sides the mud flowed in. It had obviously had a recent and significant contribution from cows, and the smell was truly amazing....and very attractive to Papillons. The crowds and the overpowering smell had them exceptionally excited.

And they did well. All were placed, and for Allegra another RCC - her second in a week. Truly`s return was very successful. She had travelled down with Merlin (very delighted to be partnered with a genuine female girl, but his joy was soon tempered, as during the night she bit him whenever he moved and woke her.) . It didn`t stop him being wildly excited by everything at the show (especially if it was black, hairy and needed exterminating.) His racous screechy bark echoed round the tent.

The people did less well. The mud penetrated everywhere and we were all soaked in it. My fluorescent orange wellies were much admired.

Then I discovered that the RCC Winners Stakes were being held - outside. We ventured out on to the wilderness of slime. Allegra had an advantage over the other gundog entrants in being too light to sink in, while they were slowly going down like so many shaggy Titanics. She showed valiantly, rolling her eyes at the other contestants and looking questioningly at me - were we in the right class? Who were these large hairy girls? Why were they slowly sinking? And we won again.

Off home we trailed, the trolley wheels carrying a huge cake of mud each, past bogged down cars waiting to be tractored out at £10 a go, and large dogs dripping and all reduced to the same colour of smelly brown.. It was wqonderful to reach hard ground. We sat in the car exhausted by the struggle through clinging mud. Never again, we gasped.....

We`re going again on Friday.

Anyone for ice cream? Strawberry? Vanilla? Chocolate? Mud?
Merlin - "Would you like to hear my beautiful voice? Again?"

Allegra and my fluorescent wellies win the day

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Tied to a chair! You see how she treats me!"

40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS..... 

....Well, it feels like that, doesn`t it? You expect to see the ark floating by any minute, with Noah looking out at the Papillons and shouting, "Two of those I absolutely refuse to take!"

Last show was a lot like that. In raincoats and wellies (mine fluorescent orange) we soldiered on, one eye on the dog, one on the rising floodwater, already ankle deep in the benching and parts of the rings. We changed rings, and still the water rose.

My lot seemed to like it. Papillons are very drawn to mud. Allegra in particular made it clear that she would like to get right in to the waterlogged bits - probably to roll, possibly to swim. Marcus made it clear he didn`t care, as long as he could be sure of an admiring audience of the opposite sex. Merlin was just hyper. He wouldn`t have noticed a plague of frogs, let alone torrential rain. (Actually, now I come to think of it, my lot would have loved a plague of frogs... there`s always great excitement when we have a hatch of toads at home).

Allegra did really well. So well that I needed a picture of her for the Club website, but had no help. I was reduced to tying her to the leg of my chair and trying for a head shot. She was secure (round turn and two half hitches, good sailor`s knot), but bid fair to take the whole chair with her in her indignant efforts to escape. I was left with a picture of her clearly saying "I`ve been tied to a damned chair!! How dare you!"

And then suddenly the rain cleared and the sun shone.

And we headed off for the big white bus, the seat next to the toilet (I often get that one somehow), and the hundreds of miles home.

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