WHAT I`M READING...LE PAPILLON & LE PHALENE - GRAND COEURS EN PETIT TAILLE - Jean-Marie Vanbutsele
THE LAST FILM I SAW....
" PACIFIC RIM" - great fun. Gojira meets Neon Genesis Evangelion
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"
I was judging at a local open show, and all ready to go into the ring, when an exhibitor, who should not be talking to me, ran over and told me that my cousin`s house had exploded. A gas leak. His partner had been blown out and was OK, but he was missing.
He is my closest relative. As you can imagine, my mind was hardly on my judging.
But afterwards the news trickled in. They were both OK. The dogs, which had been outside, were OK. And even the one which had been inside and was also blown out, flying through the air, was all right.
The house, of course, was not. The whole front had been blown off, and what was left looked like a saggy dolls house. Nothing could be salvaged. It was all too unsafe.
Dog people can be really good. There were many offers to take the dogs, and eventually some of them went quite far afield. The two shocked survivors went to a relative, having been checked over at the hospital and found to have only minor cuts and bruises.
I think the insurance company will be quite generous to them. And no doubt a little surprised.
Normally in a house gas explosion, no-one walks away from it.
I was at the vet today with one of mine, for an unimportant eye check.
The waiting room was full of anxious dogs, many quivering in fear. You will never convince a dog that the vet is there to help him....the vet is a terrible figure, brandishing needles and thermometers.
A large man came in, with a totally nondescript large mongrel. It appeared to be pretty scared. Clenched in its teeth was a pink ball, clearly the equivalent of a security blanket. Every time it dropped the ball, it would begin to shake and glance compulsively from side to side. Its owner would quickly replace the ball.
(Every dog in the room came to attention. "Ball! He has a ball!")
At last the receptionist, not the sharpest knife in the box, began to take his details.
"What breed?" she asked.
The owner looked down at the mutt, now gripping the ball desperately.
"Well, I wish I knew. I`ve often wondered. But, you know, I like to think he`s a Lolly."
A strange blank look came over her face, the look of one who has yet again seen the world get far ahead of her. Clearly she didn`t like to ask.
He took pity on her.
"A Lolly. You know - a cross between a Labrador and a Collie."
The room erupted in laughter, the ball was dropped, all the dogs made a dive for it......
And then the vet came out and collected the Lolly.......
Woola is the latest canine sensation. He has been imported from Mars (Well, actually from the Pixar film JOHN CARTER). and is riding a huge wave of popularity. I can see that these dogs will be a must -have....just wait for Paris Hilton to get one.
And I thought...on the Import Register?
Breed MARTIAN HOUND
General appearance : Like a cross between a toad and a turtle.
Temperament: Loyal, faithful, useful in war or home defence. Not liked by postmen....
Size: approximately that of a small Shetland pony
Head: Massive. Brachycephalic. Slight resemblance to a frog....if you tend to have nightmares about frogs....or to John Prescott, (another nightmare)
Mouth: Undershot. Teeth long, sharp, pointed, and arranged in 3 neat rows.
Legs: 10. Some loose skin permitted.
Gait: Amazingly fast...about 80mph. Would need a really large ring ...possibly a football pitch. Handler permitted to use motorbike or fast car.
Disqualifying faults: Successful attempt to eat judge. ( Are you going to look to see if he is entire, then? Good luck!)
Here he is in action, near the end of this clip:
And then I wondered....would he pass the KC vet checks?
But fortunately not up it. A friend and I took some of our dogs to Loudon Hill, a dramatic volcanic plug that rears up out of the moorland in the neighbouring county, for a walk in new surroundings. Loudon Hill is popular with climbers, but we confined ourselves (thank goodness) to walking round the bottom, on what I think are old Iron Age fortifications.
On the way there I tried the experiment of Fidget and Angel travelling together. It was a failed experiment. Fidget announced repeatedly that he just could not stand the nasty little bitch, and eventually they were both very sick. Fidget is not normally sick, but I suspect he just wasn`t to be out done by her.
Of course they were both fine when they got out. Throwing up means no more to a healthy dog than a sneeze. It means quite a bit to the person who has to clean it up....
And off we went into the unknown. Fidget, once he realised he was in the company of two lovely bitches, was in his element. He rushed off to guard them. (They were less than impressed.) Angel, who probably had less confidence in my stamina, and may have been wondering where we were going, kept checking that I was still on my feet and coming. It was clear she really cared for me.....after all, if I dropped dead on the hill, who was going to feed her?
Actually I coped quite well, and was pleased with myself. I am definitely getting better.
It was a lovely walk, and the views were spectacular.
I was exhausted when I got home.
Angel and Fidget were not.
If anyone knows how to exhaust a Papillon, please let me know......
We actually made it to Crufts. I had the help of two kind young friends and was very grateful for it. But I got through the day with no trouble (and further help from the couple, who plied me with food and carried boxes and were generally first rate.
Fidget likes shows. He likes them even better when I open up the chicken he gets as bait in the ring and discover it has gone off in transit. That made it at least 10 times more attractive. He indicated that he would do anything for it. I shoved the smelly packet in my pocket and we went into the ring.
And indeed he behaved impeccably. However, on the table, when his teeth were examined,he opened his mouth and breathed a blast of decayed chicken breath all over the judge. Fortunately judges are made of strong stuff, and she didn`t even recoil.
Well, he kept his interest and attention in a big class, and I was very pleased that he was second in good company. I made a big fuss of him. He realised that he had done something right. Would he get a reward ?
I left him with a meal on the bench, and went back to spot the foreign dogs in the rest of the classes. Some, of course, wee absent. I looked for the Luxembourg one, and the Serbian one. Then suddenly the Suit appeared. The kind of suit you only see in old pictures of life behind the Iron Curtain. Large, fitting where it touched, and seeming to have a life of its own. It had to be the Serbian. I was mesmerised.
But his bitch was very pretty and moved well, and won.
Well, the Best of Breed winner was one I would have chosen, and did well in the group. I saw lots of people, some of whom I only really meet at Crufts. And then it was time to go.
I was delivering a bitch in season to someone, so I collected her and she was put in the car. So was Fidget. And the penny dropped. This was his prize! Oh yes, he liked his prize! He was silent and full of plans all the way home.
Somehow I think the biscuit I gave him when we got home was a very poor substitute.
I had forgotten about the can of chainsaw oil sitting outside the garage. Time had not overlooked it, and it had at last sprung a little leak.
The only one to find it was Angel. She must have sat beside it and soaked her tail. Of course it spread through the coat, and a very oily little bird sauntered in, leaving me totally puzzled and the floor distinctly shiny.
And as it turned out, she must have wagged that tail in close proximity to lots of other dogs. Cue a day of bathing dogs, and very free use of Fairy liquid. I have to admit that Angel is still just a bit...well, greasy in patches. No, she doesn`t care.
There is nothing quite like a really affectionate oily puppy.
Fidget escaped the oil, but not the bathing. Crufts looms this week, and a couple of industrial strength baths await him, to say nothing of the final glamour dip with the American shampoo, the French one and the French conditioner, before the long road south.