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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Of course she is perfect! She is mine!"

"She was worth it all"


Merlin does it again!

Yesterday, at a very civilised time of day for once, Truly presented us with a little girl, delivered with the usual Swedish efficiency and minimal help from me (apart from a considerable amount of ice cream and encouragement to "push harder, dear".) The new arrival took only a few seconds to find the milk supply and latch on.

Yes, another Merlin daughter. When informed, he did not reach for the cigars, but a strange blank look came into his eyes, and he looked about nervously for a place to hide . He already spends a lot of time with his two Allegra girls, now entering the "teenage"awkward stage, but clearly it had never occurred to him that these little blessings might just keep on coming.

Truly, on the other hand, is quietly smug.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blanche and Velvet at large
Off into the unknown with us - Allegra, Merlin`s 4 daughters and a friendly Border terrier
Collision course!

Allegra and I had a beautiful walk

The lovely autumn landscape we walked over.


The puppies were introduced to the wider world last week, as we had a wonderful autumn walk on a nearby farm and estate. They had the company of their half-sisters - Merlin`s older litter.

It was a revelation to them. Blanche decided that she would quite like to play with these older girls, and galloped off after them. Velvet is more of a people dog, and consequently spent a lot of time just avoiding being stepped on. She is the smallest of the four, and soon discovered that running as fast as she could with her little legs just didn`t take her nearly as far as the others, already disappearing into the distance.

Allegra, who accompanied them, was more interested in the farm Border terrier, and kept inspecting her closely eventually accepting her as quite OK for a Notapap.

The autumn colours were beautiful. Quite lost on Allegra, who preferred the attractions of the odd piles of horse manure - indeed, she would have preferred to spend the whole afternoon in the stable, with all those wonderful smells. Mind you, the horses would have to go. She spent quite a lot of time and energy alerting me indignantly to the presence of these huge and totally unacceptable animals, and then waiting expectantly for me to get rid of them.

The puppies were put to bed for a rest and we went on walking, across the farm where my friend rides, and over a nearby estate. Very healthy for me, and for Allegra, who for maternal reasons has not been getting out enough. I am determined to put some muscle on her, and she is very agreeable to that. Also a coat, as she is now bald as a egg - many Pap bitches just throw it all away when they have a litter, and the phrase "in the pink" takes on a whole new meaning when the skin shines through. I keep reminding her that winter is coming and threatening her with one of my big collection of knitted coats left over from my Crested days. (I used to practice my fairisle patterns on them and they are very varied and really tasteful...)

However, my memories of trying to persuade Papillons to wear coats are not good. I had a little dog years ago called Clovis, who developed a mysterious hormonal problem and became bald. I made a coat for him and put it on. He ran and hid in the bushes, and would not come out for anything. I could see him thinking - "If the dogs see me in this they`ll kill me. And if the bitches see me in it, I`ll kill myself."

Allegra`s daughters, however, are not short of coat and well prepared for wind and snow.

Probably much more than I am

Friday, October 09, 2009

Allegra, now bald as an egg, puts the girls through their paces. (Sorry about "Hancock`s Half Hour" in the background.)

Velvet, looking very smug indeed

Blanche, somewhat ear challenged but still doing cute really well


Recovering as the show year winds down - only a few to go and mercifully those are indoors. Our championship shows are mostly outdoors, which is fine if the weather suits, but really I feel the autumn cut off point for showing outside should be brought forward.

The last outdoor show of the year is always a bit dodgy as to weather, and this year we had a sunny cold windy day, just fine for a brisk walk with the dogs....miserable if you were stationary at the ringside. People huddled together for warmth and the more enterprising ones bought dog blankets from the stalls to shiver under. I coughed all the way through it, and have coughed ever since.

Wind usually makes the dogs a bit more lively - not what Merlin needs, as his little spring is already wound up tight and only the sudden appearance at the ringside of a willing and ready Pap lady could make him more distracted. As it was he had to cope with Tibetans in the next ring which definitely needed An Eye kept on them. As I wrestled with his nanosecond attention span, another problem arose. I use vocal cues in the ring. Alas, the little dog next to us was also called "Merlin". Two very puzzled little dogs looked back and forth in confusion. "How does that strange woman know my name?"

It was the second unsettling moment for Merlin in as many weeks.

We had gone to Belfast as foot passengers, and as we were carrying the dogs to the boat, a kind person offered to take them over in their car. So there was Merlin, being handed over at midnight to a stranger in a car park, and being put in a strange car. He was far from happy. It was clear to him that I was fulfilling the threat I make to all of them when they annoy me. At last he was really being sold in a car boot sale.

When I got him back at the other side, it was clear that his relief was tempered with confusion. He was glad to see me - but did this mean that he had not only been sold, but had been returned as unsatisfactory goods? It`s tough, being Merlin.

Truly on the other hand, is well and truly expecting - maybe 3, according to the scan - and is eating relentlessly with Scandinavian efficiency.

The puppies are full of it, and driving their mother to try to exhaust them in order to get a rest. Allegra is really good at that. Velvet is very confiding, and cute Blanche is still hoping for a good home.

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