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, April 20, 2014


Sparkle Easter

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


It`s that time of year again.

We went out just at dusk, and suddenly the ground was moving.   Little dark scuttlings here and there.  Desperately excited dogs.


The toad hatch was underway.,

I have a wet area fed by a little burn which comes across the road at the gate in the field drain you always see me complaining about.    And that`s where the toads breed.  I leave them strictly alone, and there is nothing to disturb the tadpoles….and then suddenly they all come out into the world.   Not sure where they go. but there`s certainly a lot of them.

I was always taught that the toad is the gardener`s friend, happy to eat all sorts of pests.   Well, I`m not much of a gardener these days, but I do like toads.

The dogs are not so sure.  They dive on the little dark hoppers – and then relearn the lesson that toads taste REALLY nasty if you pick them up.  I believe that their skin secretions would be not at all good for dogs*, but the fact is in my experience they will only pick up a toad once and drop it immediately, so no danger, either to dog or toad.  But the size and the sudden movements make them so attractive to Papillons!   Cue hysterical barks and screams.   Every Papillon knows it is possible to bark any creature to death if you just try hard enough.   The toads are totally unimpressed, scuttling on in their nocturnal journey.

Toad hall
The entrance to Toad Hall

Probably the rest of  their lives seem uneventful compared to running the gauntlet of Papillons!

*  In the UK we do not have toads which are as toxic as many of those abroad, which could kill a dog if it caught one.

Thursday, April 03, 2014



I have been working on with the four puppies, whose show careers loom.

They could not be more different.

Cupcake`s two are quiet and gentle and very biddable.  The boy, Mr Wag, has already been to a Championship show, which he loved, and he qualified for Crufts first time out.  His sister, Plush, was not so sure, but the judge was very kind to her on the table and put her at ease.  Once on the ground, she was obviously feeling a bit insecure – and then the judge approached her.  You could see her thinking “It`s that nice man!” and she showed and was placed.

And then there are Solitaire`s two.   Very different.  Wild and flighty – must be the Swedish in them.   They are at present going through training, and are

Sparkle March 31  14
Sparkle, aka Notbambi

at class every week.

Sparkle loves it.  He swaggers and shows off and barks.  He defends me (and more importantly the ham titbits) from other innocent puppies.  And then he looks up at people and opens the big eyes very wide, and they all say “Awww!”  I think he is learning how to exploit this already.   I see him as an arrogant little rascal, who has already been lifting his leg (not too high, though, in case he falls over) for weeks.  Others see him as Bambi.

They expressed surprise at his barks and attempts to dominate other puppies.  I tried to explain that he was Not Bambi – more likely Godzilla.  They looked at him and chorused “Awww!”  I gave up, and confined Notbambi to his box, where he yelled and screamed to get out.

Tess is very different, and more of a problem.   Her trouble seems to be other dogs which are obviously Not Papillons.   She will walk, but has a tendency to suddenly climb up my leg, having noticed a bloodthirsty Cavalier puppy in the distance.  I will have to work hard on her confidence. 

And meanwhile, as I write this, Notbambi is working very hard on trying to mate his sister….

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