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, July 26, 2015


It had been a wet day, and as a result I let the old ladies, sometimes referred to as the “granny farm” out later than usual.  I left them to get on with it.  They are a quiet lot, and normally they just dot about, no doubt exchanging chat about their stiff joints and the senseless doings of the younger generation.

When I came to take them in, clearly something had happened.   Prudence, Dora, Tamara and Truly were at the door.   The last two slipped in and went to bed very quietly.  Dora and Prudence ran about, wildly excited – Prudence`s eyes were rolling and clearly she was about to indulge in hysterics.  I got them
in at once.

That left two missing.   Were they still in the bottom run?   I went to look.

They weren`t – but an enormous badger was.  It looked up at me placidly.   Badgers are not afraid of much.   It showed no inclination to leave, but persuasion with the big yard broom worked, and it slowly shuffled off.

Still no Camilla or Fenella.   I called and called.   Why do these things always happen when it is getting dark?   I went on calling.

Eventually Camilla came crawling out of the undergrowth.  She was clearly very shaken, but I couldn`t find any injury.  I brought her up to the door, and she howled and howled like a lost soul.  Like Prudence she is given to hysterics, and not very brave, but I began to wonder if she was crying because Fenella had been

Fenella head
Fenella, Cupcake`s great-grandmother

I went on calling and at last heard a stirring of leaves, and Fenella came very slowly out from behind the old kennels.   She was shaking all over, and her back legs, now not very strong at the best of times, were really wobbly.   She appeared to have had a terrible fright.  I carried her in and could find no injury, but she went on shuddering for quite a while afterwards.

I`ll never know what happened.  A badger could have killed a Papillon – but they don`t take the initiative.  And the old ladies, except for Truly, are not aggressive.  (Fortunately Truly seems to have been sensible for once.)   I hadn`t heard any barking.   Clearly there was no fight.  They just seemed to have had a terrible scare.  And it took them a few days to get over it.

It could have been very different if the younger ones had come across the badger.  I will   keep an eye open in future, especially at dusk, when they are active.

Saturday, July 04, 2015


It has been a  quiet time recently, especially with the hot weather.  We have sat out a lot, and watched the wildlife – too many magpies, and the infamous Mr Black, a blackbird whom I assume to be very henpecked.  His wife used to come and wander intrepidly among the dogs, stealing bits of their food.  Then she vanished, obviously sitting on eggs.

And he began to appear.  He had not the courage of his wife.  He hovered and dithered, terrified of the dogs, but determined on the food.   And the penny dropped.  Of course – his wife had sent him.  “And don`t you dare come back without that nice dogfood!  If you can`t get it, don`t bother to come back at all!”  His life was now a misery…welcome to marrried life, son!

Plush Belle June 15
"Us?  Chase squirrels?  Never!"   - Plush and Belle relaxing in the sun

I felt a lot less sympathetic when he began to dig out all my planters, presumably looking for the Huge Magic Worm in the bottom.   I suppose he needs some illusion to keep him going.

The other wildlife specimen to watch has been a very fat squirrel.   This one aroused a very great deal of interest among the Papillons.  He has been frequently seen around the shrubs, on the ground, and  a few chases have ensued.    I thought nothing of it, except that it gave them a bit of exercise….

Until last night, when an uproar sent me running to get them in.   And in they came, very excited and satisfied.  There were signs of blood, and old Marcus came in last, chewing a paw.   The paw was not his own.... 

I can`t think how they managed it.  But I think Squirrelwatch is over, permanently.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


I haven`t been here for some time, and the main reason was that Allegra died.

She was my special girl, and for a time I thought that without her I wouldn`t go on with dogs.    But all the others are still there, and with the encouragement of friends (and of Sparkle and his scatty sister Tess Trueheart) I have begun going to shows again.

With mixed results.  Sparkle has decided to forget his training, and in the ring shows a great persistence in climbing up my leg.  I am being very firm about this.  Tess is her usual daft self, but in the last two shows has shown some signs of maturity (at last!) and an increased ability to keep her tail up.    At the last show I paraded her and her best friend Plush round the ring before the show, and they flirted and pranced about and when faced with Notpap dogs clearly decided that together they were invincible.  I could see Tess thinking that Plush would sort everything out for her.  Fortunately this totally mistaken idea carried her through her experience in the ring, and she was well placed.   Plush herself is very professional about showing, and is no problem.

Sparkle relaxes June 15 vig
A sleepy Sparkle in the sun - "Why did you wake me?"

Sparkle and Tess are very attached to each other.   They still play like puppies.   And Sparkle has gone back to guarding the girls whenever we are out together.  The fact that his babyface just doesn`t fit that bill is quite beyond him. 

The last show was a bit of an ordeal.   A new showground, with very rough paths hurriedly laid down with recovered crushed old tarmac made the movement of anything on wheels almost impossible.   We struggled to the far end of the showground in persistent rain, to discover that all the toilets had been placed in a tight cluster at the entrance.  None where we were.  The whole toilet situation at outdoor shows is always very fraught, with long walks and huge queues common.  Next to the total incompetence of the judge, it is the favourite topic of conversation.  (One of the features of this delightful hobby that makes you wonder why we still do this). 

However, the dogs did not have this problem, and I was really pleased with how they had come on.   Tess Trueheart saw a black dog in the next ring and did not collapse and ask to go home,  Sparkle at last remembered the command “stand!” without it having to be expanded to “stand, you wee bugger!”  , and Plush, as usual, was quite reliable.  All were well placed.

On the whole, I think we will go on trying – at least for a while.

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