Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday May 19th 2019
Remember Dougie and Fergie, Hairy One’s erstwhile Highbury companions?
Puppy Maisie, who featured on the blog a few months ago, is their new ‘sister’.
One day, Maisie has her first very stinky pond encounter. She quite enjoys the adventure.
The consequences, however, are a different matter.
Her first bath! She wonders how any human could do such a terrible thing to her.
All the other stars were photographed this week.
Here is little May: she’s thirteen, and still enjoys short walks. I captured her in Kings Heath Park last Wednesday.
May is lucky to be alive. A couple of years ago, she began suffering from occasional bouts of sickness and diarrhoea. Over time, these bouts became increasingly frequent and more difficult to control.
She became so ill that she had to spend spells on a drip at the out of hours vet.
No-one could diagnose her illness, and she became more and more sick.
One day M., her owner, rushed her to the vet once again and was advised to have her put to sleep.
The vet told M. that prolonging May’s life would only subject her to unnecessary suffering; but, between the episodes of illness, M. saw that May was still her old self. She was convinced that May had a specific rather than a systemic problem.
She took May home to nurse her.
After a few weeks, May’s spleen burst. The spleen was removed, and since then she has slowly returned to her former self.
Now we have two delightful dogs whose idea of play is nothing if not idiosyncratic.
I have often seen Derek with his frisbee, and wondered what he was up to.
Last week, he ran after it when it was thrown but then stood on the same spot for about fifteen minutes. I assumed that he was staring at Isis who, as usual, was doing strange things by the edge of the wood.
After a while, his human collected him and persuaded him to move on.
Yesterday I watched Derek again. His frisbee was in front of him, but I couldn’t make out what he was attempting to do with it.
“Is he trying to dig something up”, I asked.
His human explained the routine.
First, Derek waits in eager anticipation for his frisbee to be thrown.
Next, he dashes off with it and puts it on the grass in front of him.
Now the game begins.
The challenge he sets himself is to toss the frisbee backwards in a straight line so that it spins between his front and back legs and lands behind him.
Naturally, he often misses his target, but Derek, undeterred, picks it up and tries again.
When the frisbee sails cleanly through both sets of legs, he turns round, places himself in front of it, picks it up and off he goes again.
Apparently, he will play this game over and over again until interrupted by his person.
Another obsessive is French Bulldog Frank.
Many times I’ve watched him playing his own version of football.
Today his human describes Frank’s routine.
The game must begin with his human kicking the ball as hard as he can. Frank then races after it. As soon as he makes contact, he speeds off, dribbling it with his nose.
When he comes to a halt, he waits for his person to kick the ball, and off he goes again.
When I say that I’ve never seen a French bulldog run so fast, Frank’s owner explains that many breeders breed for ‘pretty’ colours which, of course leads to interbreeding. Apparently, only three ‘original’ colours are accepted by the Kennel Club: brindle, white and piebald.
Frank’s breeder is meticulous in selecting dogs from a very wide pool, so that their pups are exceptionally strong and healthy.
Frank’s two sisters have qualified for ‘best of breed’ at Crufts next year.
Our last and youngest star is seven month old Gywn, a working Patterdale.
His predecessor, Theo, was a favourite playmate of my previous dog Ellie when they were both puppies.
I don’t think Gwyn’s had time to develop any eccentric habits yet, he’s just a very sweet little dog.
Although he’s young, he is very polite to Isis, just giving her gentle face sniffs. He is very friendly and loves meeting other dogs.
I notice that, to add to his charms, he has one set of white eyelashes, and one set of brown!
Aw, dogs! They’re delightful.
*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk