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, March 27, 2011

Fidget - "the shortest way between two points is a straight line...please?"


Back tired from another show, at which Fidget behaved, had a good time, but did not impress.

 He is an erratic traveller. He realxes and sleeps on motorways...but he doesn`t do corners. So for the country road that crosses the river and winds up to the M6, I have to hold him on my knee, where he moans and rolls his eyes every time we go round a bend. At the motorway approach, he is put in his travelling box and settles down.

It could be worse - I have memories of a friend`s Afghan who used to let fly at both ends on the first corner we came to. Afghans can produce..... quite a lot. We always seemed to be cleaning out the car at the same farm gate fairly near her home, and wishing we had a hose....

Much of the discussion at the show was not about dogs. It was about the cost of showing them. It has become a very expensive hobby, and entries at some shows are starting to go down. The show organisers put the price of entry up to compensate for this - as though you were a shopkeeper who couldn`t sell an item at 50p and said "well, I`ll put the price up to 75p to compensate." And the cost of fuel for travel is a matter for national debate at the moment - personally I advocate switching to cooking oil at 90p a litre, but have had no takers so far.

 Wait and see. We will be using dog droppings to power our cars to shows before long.

Judging by what I pick up every day, that will give me a fuel monopoly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"He got right up my nose!"


We have been making frequent visits to the vet these days. Fidget has very weepy eyes, (and when excited he weeps even more), and Ella has a nasal infection which involves a runny nose and lots of sneezing.

Fidget was quite sociable, as he usually is - until the vet let him sniff his hand. He read that like a book - a very scary one. This man did truly awful things to dogs, many of them involving needles and thermometers inserted where no glass tube has any right to go. His hackles rose and he backed off hard.

Ella was originally examined by one vet, but when brought in for her treatment she was received by a different one. She batted her eyelashes at him hopefully - surely those pockets were full of chicken? He stared at her, then at the case notes, then back.

"It says here nasal irrigation. But she hasn`t got a nose.! What exactly is she?"

Ella glared at him over her full two millimetres of muzzle, clearly seeing any hope of chicken receding rapidly. Here was a man who didn`t believe in Chin!

I explained what she was.

"There aren`t too many of these about, are there?" he asked hopefully.

However, the procedures were done eventually, and I brought my two resentful patients home for a really comforting meal and a cuddle, both rather damp from their respective ordeals.

We are united in hoping for no return visits.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A large class underway on the famous green carpet


Back from Crufts, and it takes time to recover. It is a long day, with a lot of walking for me.

Both Fidget and Ella distinguished themselves by managing to come 5th in their classes. Fidget has improved greatly in behaviour - or perhaps he was just overawed by the enormous hall. He totally forgot to bark, did not bounce, and paid me considerable attention and so actually knew where he was supposed to go. We had no accidents, and I even had time to study the dogs next to me in line, and feel a little better about my lad`s shortcomings.

Odd things stay in the memory....the little dog who appeared to have no legs, just feet sticking out from under his coat....the man sitting near me who decided that the judge was only looking for "really big red ears"...the woman next to me in the lineup who went down to reassure her dog, then stood up with a glazed expression, and confided "I`ve just knelt in pee". The Crufts green carpet is famous, but by the fourth day is....well, rather thoroughly used. You can`t actually hear it squelch, but the thought is always there.

I seem to remember years ago that the catalogue used to state that the said carpet would be "donated to charity" when the show closed. Let your mind run riot. Cut into room sized sections, dried out, and bestowed on the "deserving poor"? (Perhaps the nasally challenged poor?....)

I notice that that statement has now been removed from the catalogue. I expect the carpet is now removed by brave volunteers in biohazard suits. And I don`t want to know what happens to it after that.

Some things are best left unsaid.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011



Unexpectedly, Daisy has returned to me. I am busy helping her to integrate with my unruly lot.

As she left here at 8 weeks, it is all very strange to her, but it looks as if she will settle well - Papillon bitches are very resilient, and the others are willing to accept her. Solitaire alone is jealous, and is demanding a lot of attention.

Merlin deicded she was his personal present, and was very attentive - until he was told to get lost. Marcus, her half-brother, established that she was not in season and yawned. Her father showed no interest, but her mother, Fenella, did a double take and stared hard...and then you could see her wondering just what had caught her eye, and dismissing it.

Meanwhile Daisy is occupied in having the change eased by frequent application of chicken, and wondering what on earth happened to the two Chin, and whether it is catching, and her face will eventually flatten too.

I wonder how she feels about pheasant....?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"Catch me if you can, sucker!"

"Just wait till next time....."


We have a lot of pheasants here. They breed on my land, and at the moment courtship is well underway.

Now the pheasant is not exactly the brightest of birds. My former neighbour, Old Peter, used to do a bit of shooting....but never pheasants. He always said he would be ashamed to shoot anything that stupid.

One large male who even among pheasants must have qualified as the village idiot, paraded along the hedge the other day, uttering frequent guttural calls which probably translate as "Come and eat me - I`m over here!" The dogs, on the other side, went ballistic and had to be taken in.

The next day he was parading in the next field. And Truly got out. She sped towards her feathered lunch at near light speed.

Now you would expect any normal bird to take to the air and leave the whole situation far behind. But pheasants are not normal.

Instead,he chose to run.

Truly was after him like a tiny red and white cruise missile. The dumb bird legged it down the field, but it was clear that he had nothing like her speed. The rest of my gang cheered her on to the echo, jumping up and down at the gate.

She closed on him, she had him - and then at the last minute he flew, with a huge clatter of wings.

Truly`s eager teeth closed on empty air. Her face was a study......

"Oh shit! My lunch could fly! Who knew!"

She stalked home in a fury. The rest of the gang, equally amazed, had for once nothing to say.

She has been very quiet since.

I am sure she is making plans. Probably involving flapping her ears very fast indeed.

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