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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"
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
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.
|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, aka Notbambi|
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….
Monday, March 03, 2014
They have learned to walk on the lead and I think Tess has gained some confidence. I worried that they would have forgotten me and this house. Not a bit of it. They sailed in as if they had never left, to be narrowly inspected by their mother, who obviously assumed the worst – fleas, distemper, missing limbs, plague – and greeted with absolute delight by Plush, who sees them as her family, and began at once to wash them. They rioted about and it was as if they
|Sparkle, aka "Awww!"|
Except, of course, that they have grown. I can see quite a lot of growth potential in Tess – knobbly knees are a good indicator – and Sparkle`s head looks too big for his body. All that will sort itself out of course. And then I will be able to predict their future, which I hope will be really good.
Meanwhile, I am getting ready for Crufts. It is a big event, in a huge venue, and I just hope I will be up to all the walking about….it is more than a half mile walk just to reach the building from the car park, and then you have to trek through all the halls. I am not up to too much trailing about these days. But it is the great dog event of the year, and I wouldn`t miss it, even if Angel and Belle are not too likely to win.
I will of course report fully on it in due course. Watch this space!
Sunday, February 23, 2014
It was because of eyesight.
I have had two operations to replace the lenses in my eyes. They had to be months apart, and then I had to wait for my eyes to “settle”. The original lenses were reduced to fragments by an ultrasound probe and sucked out, and the plastic replacements inserted curled up, to snap open when in place.
The operations were the best part of the hospital experience. The preparatory treatment and listing were so disorganised (“I can`t get blood from you – go and get it done somewhere else!” and “how can your two eyes be so different?” ) that I was very relieved when at last just before I was taken into surgery a large arrow was painted on my forehead pointing to the eye to be done. I felt at least that something would go right.
But it did go right. I was amazed to find that for the first time in my life I could see horizons, without very strong glasses. I could count the leaves on distant trees! Everything was so clear! My optometrist said it did his heart good to see someone who had had such an extreme prescription walking about without glasses.
|Plush, looking quite grown up|
So now I am back at the computer, and can deal with text input.
Meanwhile – well, nothing much has happened. Sparkle and Tess have gone for a holiday and a little education to a good friend. Plush and Mr Wag are now attempting shows. Mr Wag loves it. He swaggers and struts about and wags hard at everyone. Plush is not so sure, but will do it. How much success they will have, I truly do not know, but we will try.
Meanwhile Crufts looms for Angel and Belle, so wish us well!
Monday, December 30, 2013
The rest, having been out once in the torrential rain, were totally unwilling to go again, even when the rain eased.
|Success for Cupcake|
Well, he would need quite a few more Green Stars to be a Champion, but I am well pleased at the moment He has made a good start.
Maybe next year will be his year!
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The other day,, when I went to let out the puppies, Sparkle was staggering. He rapidly got worse. After phoning around for help, which I couldn`t get, I packed the collapsed puppy in a dogbox and set off up the road. (I have to walk about half a mile to civilisation, where I can get a taxi.) By the time I got to the vet, I was too breathless to speak.
The vet was doubtful, and said “I think it is neurological”. These are not words you want to hear. However, she put him on a drip and went off to do bloodwork. I went off to get a hot coffee to pick me up a little.
And then came the phone call. His blood sugar, she said, “was through the floor”. He had had a hypo.
I have read about this. It happens in toy puppies between six and eleven weeks, usually with no apparent cause. Suddenly they have hypoglycaemia. And it is a very urgent emergency. But within an hour I had another call, saying he was sitting up and taking interest, and in another hour was told he was wagging his tail and eating his dinner and could go home.
And he has been fine since. But I now feed him little and often, and watch him all the time.
i had to take him back the next week for his blood to be checked, and I took Ella as well, as she had a sore eye, hoping for eye ointment.
Now, I should explain that I had gone to the Expensive Vet, not my usual, simply because it was by far the nearest in an emergency. I didn`t suppose Ella was an emergency. Imagine my horror when the vet, one known for his pessimism, said she needed an urgent operation “or she could lose the eye”, and carried her off then and there to do it. I suspect that an eye ulcer could have been treated otherwise, but what could I say?
So now I have an invalid for Christmas. Ella, I should say, is not at all amenable to eye drops at all, let alone 6 times a day, but by now we have got past the screaming, fighting and eye bugging stage. We are resigned to it. I however, am less than resigned to the bill. I will be paying this off forever.
I hope your Christmas is suitably merry, and free from incident – and vets!
Monday, December 09, 2013
When I say “we” I mean the present team of Angel and Belle, Cupcake having followed the old advice – “Go west, young man” – and being busy abroad. The girls travel together, and sometimes Belle is not even sick!
In this case she avoided vomiting over her partner and we actually arrived clean. Mr Wag and Plush had also come, to strut their stuff in the Puppy Walk. They were fascinated by all that was going on, with their little eyes very wide indeed.
As it happened, both girls won their classes. This meant that they would both have to go into the challenge for Best Bitch. I found someone to help and in we went. She said she would prefer to hold Belle, as she had some inkling of Angel`s devious activities.
|"My brother and I - he was given away - am I to be next?" - Belle|
Belle, was fairly shocked. She gazed at me, and showed desperately to me, in the hope that she would be taken back. Clearly she remembered that her brother had been handed over and taken away. Now it was her turn?
Angel was in no doubt. Her rival on the show team had been got rid of. She stood alone. At last! She swaggered and posed and cast unspeakable looks at poor Belle. To cheer her up, Belle was offered a titbit – and Angel swooped and took it out of her mouth. The message was clear –“You get nothing - you have no connection with us any more!” (Belle`s handler was amazed at this truly awful behaviour…Angel manages to amaze lots of people, usually not in a good way)
And afterwards it was her turn to be amazed as Belle came back to me. What had happened? Had I not got enough money for her? Angel accepted the inevitable – she and Belle were a team again.
As to Mr Wag and Plush – well, Plush was queen of the Puppy Walk, and did everything on a loose lead perfectly. As people commented, she is yet another Mummy`s girl. I do seem to turn these out. Mr Wag, on the other hand, made it clear that he would not be walking on any lead any day soon.
I think I have a struggle to come with him.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
They took to it quite well. Mum was there, so were the other adults, and there were mounds of fallen leaves to snuffle through and a good chance of getting your paws dirty.
|"I didn`t think the world would be so big" - Sparkle|
They are now answering to Tess and Sparkle. I have to confess that the boy, Sparkle, had been answering to “Doughnut” and I felt I had to put a quick stop to that before it caught and held for life. I really don`t need any more bakery products in this pack. He is an adorable tail wagger – indeed the whole fat little body wags with delight, while his sister is more serious. She enjoyed the outdoors more, though and was more adventurous. Their mother kept an eye on them, and shows no sign of getting tired of them.
|"I can cope with whatever it throws at me -if Mum is there" - Tess|
Apart from that, my life seems to be filling with hospital appointments – very festive. I am waiting still for the other eye to be done, but it looks as if I will be seeing Christmas through glasses with one lens removed.
But not through any other kind of glasses – I don`t drink.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Solitaire`s two are fat and furry, as broad as they are long and toddle about with very waggy tails and a serious expression. Life is full of challenges and surprises.
|Plush - very serious|
Cupcake`s two, on the other hand, have begun their education. They have been to training class. It was a bit of a shock the first time, and Plush decided that if she shut her eyes it just wasn`t there. Mr Wag gave it some thought and decided at last that his basic philosophy would apply here, so he went round and wagged his hardest at the strange dogs, with very good results. However, when Plush at last accepted that she was at training, not visiting some circle of hell, she walked on the lead. Mr Wag will not do this. He has made it clear that it is girlie nonsense, all very well for his sister but not for a real man.
|Mr Wag - "Why should I wear a collar and lead?"|
Their next educational step was to visit a show. Not to take part – just to take in the ambience. They were immediately appropriated by friends and passed round a lot of knees. It was greatly appreciated. Meanwhile Angel, who won Best of Breed, was assuring them that dog shows were Great Fun. Cuddled and stuffed with titbits, I think somehow they agreed with her….
|Solitaire`s little boy at 5 weeks|
They may have quite a future ahead of them.
Friday, October 18, 2013
They have already been visiting. They were taken to a friend`s house to meet lots more Papillons The reactions were very interesting.
Plush Puppy decided that the best approach was to sit quietly under my chair and study the problem. When she was sure she had it down, she went out and mingled. She is a quiet but determined soul, strongly motivated by food. When we tried some lead training, she was so obsessed by the ham that was offered as an incentive, I don`t think she noticed the lead at all. Walk up and down on the lead? Bring on the hot coals! She intimated that she would
|Plush Puppy and Mr Wag|
Mr Wag has a simple philosophy about new and challenging situations. “When in doubt, wag. When in serious doubt, wag harder!” His little tail was just a blur as all these strange dogs converged on him. And it seemed to work too. He will never have trouble fitting in.
As yet, I don`t know what their future will be. I have Solitaire`s two coming on, and I will not be keeping four puppies.
Meanwhile the house motto seems to be “Puppies rule!”
Saturday, October 12, 2013
The door trauma is forgotten – even by Sonja, who possibly still thinks she narrowly escaped an unwilling trip to Narnia (The Lion, The Bitch and the Bad Door) or worse.
|Solitaire`s family - the girl is on the right|
Meanwhile, Solitaire has done it again. She efficiently produced two beautiful puppies, one of each – and did it in daylight, bless her. I hate those night time epics, when you wonder if you will be able to get help if you need it. But Solitaire started at 8am, and was finished by 12.30. She is very pleased with herself, and so she should be. They are pretty, fat and beautifully marked, and mum has plenty of milk, so I am hopeful.
Dad is Swedish, so this is quite an experiment.
This will be her last litter. This time she is really retired.
I hope she believes me this time!
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Most of the dogs adapted. But we had problems. Florian, usually out to lunch on the planet Zog. Shelby, full of strange Chin flights of fancy. Sonja, rather dim. Those 3 were Door Refusers. They would not go through the Bad Door. Sonja in particular was appalled by it. She seemed to suspect it opened on to the planet Mars.
Of course I just carried them out in the end. Then came the fun of getting them in. Florian was carried in. Shelby refused totally – till it rained. (Rain solves a lot of Chin problems, I find…concentrates the Chin mind amazingly, does the threat of being wet.)
And that left Sonja. She would not even be caught to be taken through the Bad Door. I left the door open and all the lights on, and went in for a while, sure that she would eventually come in to the house.
|"Who knows where that door would take me?" - Red Sonja|
No Sonja. When I went out looking for her I found her curled up in a large flowerpot. That was her chosen bed for the night, sooner than face the terrors of the Bad Door. I was able to carry her in, and she was amazed to find that her own bed was in there after all.
But eventually the locksmith arrived, very punctually. “This big guy in a hat at the far end of the road wouldnae let me pass till I showed him the paperwork!” he complained.
I looked at him. Big and fat with a huge beer belly , inadequately contained by a faded T shirt, long greasy hair, a scruffy white van – he must have ticked all the wrong boxes on my Good Neighbour`s security list. I wisely said nothing.
But he fixed the lock and at last we could use the normal door again.
And Sonja looked very smug indeed about it.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
No, not dead. He has gone abroad to seek his fortune, as many young Scots have in the past.
We were in Ireland at a show, and he was admired by an Irish friend. She studied him and then offered to take him and show him for me in Ireland, under FCI rules, where Phalenes are judged separately, (unlike here where you are depending on whether the judge of the day is willing to accept drop ears as equal to erect ones.)
|"It`s a very big world out there for a little dog..." - Cupcake|
I had to think about it. I am very fond of Cupcake, and he is seriously attached to me. But this lady has a wonderful way with dogs, and hers live long active lives. And, as I have pointed out to Cupcake, dropping his ears was not the best career choice in this country. Eventually I decided the offer was far too good to let go.
So Cupcake was handed over, and was very puzzled indeed. Where was Mum going? I told him to be good.
And off he went. As it turned out he settled in well. And of course he will be coming back to me in time.
I still remember his new handler`s face when I told her his name. I could see her thinking “And I have to say that out loud in the ring…?”
But he is in very good hands.
We shall see if he manages to make his fortune.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Almost immobilised as a result of an eye operation and warned that if I do anything, lift anything, bend down, I will damage the eye, I feel very confined and limited at the moment. Obviously no shows this weekend. And just try to live a normal life – with puppies!- without bending down. I suppose I am pushing the limits, but as yet the eye is still there.
Autumn is sweeping in, and usually at this time of year I am on wasp watch, but this year there aren`t many, thank goodness. Not that they trouble me, but with dogs they are a danger. But this time I can`t locate any nests.
My usual technique for dealing with them is fairly spectacular. It involves a bottle of white spirit and a cane with a candle fixed to the end. I locate the nest, which here is usually underground, and wait till twilight, when the wasps return for the night. Then I pour in the white spirit, light it, and s they say on the firework box “retire immediately”.
This method is not foolproof. Using it, I have discovered that conifers transform into torches in seconds, and that putting out grassfires is a slow and dirty business. It does for the wasps, though.
For a wasp nest indoors, obviously the above method is not recommended. If. as usual, the nest is hanging above, I would suggest the Two Idiots method. This involves one machete, one dustbin with a tight fitting lid, one ladder, and two men with more machismo than sense. None of these items is too hard to find….the machete is probably the most difficult.
Idiot one climbs the ladder and stands on it beside the wasp nest with the machete. Idiot two stands below with the dustbin open. Then comes the action – Idiot one slashes the nest free of the roof, and Idiot two neatly catches it in the bin and slams the lid on.
I don`t need to tell you of the many possible outcomes of this manoeuvre. Chaplin, or Buster Keaton, could have made much of it. The least troublesome is that Idiot one falls off the ladder….the one that doesn`t bear thinking about is that the wasps miss the dustbin altogether. I suppose there is the remote possibility that Idiot one cuts his own arm off – remember, we are not dealing with intelligent people here. Intelligent people ran a mile when the wasp nest was first discovered.
Speaking of which, I remember one particularly wasp-plagued summer when Old Peter, my neighbour was busy having his fruit harvest packed in the fruit shed. Suddenly two shots were fired. I ran out to see women running in all directions, screaming. Thinking murder, i ran up to see – and ran straight into a swarm of demented and rather smoky wasps. What had happened?
“Aye well, said Peter, “we`re behind with this fruit as it is, and then we saw the wasp bike hanging from the roof and the women said they wouldn`t work in there. So I sorta lost my temper and just gave it both barrels of the twelve-bore…”
This method is absolutely not recommended.
Unless you are Quentin Tarantino making a film….
Saturday, September 07, 2013
I haven`t exactly been shouting it from the rooftops, but we do have puppies.
The problem is that they weren`t exactly planned.
Well, that`s not strictly true, as Cupcake obviously had great plans, and Dora didn`t exactly say no. I rashly supposed that he was young and hadn`t done anything. He had, and here are the results.
This is Petra:
|"I`m not really a guinea pig - it`s just a passing resemblance" - Petra|
And this is her brother, Mr Wag:
|"I`m not wagging it stuck up here on a table!" - Mr Wag|
And no, I have no idea what their ears will be doing.
Neither do they.
Monday, September 02, 2013
It would be easier to send this out to everyone by pigeon than use Blogger these days.
Not enough. When we arrived, Cupcake, as usual was dripping and wet. Belle was fine. The bedding was fine. Angel, who had shared with her, came out sulking, with one ear down.
|"I sure got an earful!" - Angel|
Well, out came the spirit shampoo, and on with the cleanup of the toxic spill. Angel was not co-operative. She informed me that she was disgusted and wanted nothing further to do with this show. I ignored this and scrubbed away at the ear, wondering why I bothered at all.
Somehow I got the ear clean. Angel stated that it would never go up again. I had had enough ear nonsense from Cupcake, and was very firm with her. And sure enough, by the time she was due in the ring the ear was dry and up and didn`t really smell too bad. She swaggered about as usual and was 3rd in a large class.
Every show, something new and exciting!
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
She was amazingly unimpressed. She parked herself determinedly on my knee, and when I got up to leave, having given stern warnings about her Houdini alter ego, climbing like a monkey and leaping tall buildings at a single bound (at this the stud dog owner looked in disbelief at the rather portly little lady standing unhappily before him), she shot into her travelling box, ready for off.
|"Never again!" - Solitaire|
Alas, she was staying, at least for a few days.
And this time all went well. She did not escape over the fence into the fish pond - I had visions of her swimming across that to freedom - and got on quite well, if not enthusiastically, with the dog. I set off in the train to get her back.
I was met at the station, and she was ecstatic. I took her off to the platform, had a cup of tea and we waited for the train home.
To check the times, I walked a few yards over to the big board. Screams and thumps broke out behind me, as Solitaire wailed that she had been Abandoned and Deserted in a travel box by a cruel owner. All the station staff at once converged on the abused animal, and I had to run back and spend some time explaining about the honeymoon and separation anxiety and going home - lots of raised eyebrows at that.
On the train she had to be left in the luggage area at the end of the compartment, where she wailed softly, and I wished it was easier to transport animals in this country. Eventually she fell asleep, and I could relax.
Home, and delighted to be there. And a huge welcome from her brat daughter, Angel, who amazingly had really missed her, to the extent of waking me four times in the night for a cuddle.
And now we wait and see.
Monday, July 29, 2013
So when Cupcake appeared with an ear down, I thought it was a reaction to the weather. Nevertheless, I had a look at the ear, and discovered a tick. Tick removed, I thought that was it.
But the ear stayed down. And another day later the other ear came down in sympathy. Cue trip to vet, who couldn`t find much wrong, but gave him eardrops anyway.
The ears stayed down.
|"They just dropped!" - Cupcake|
And I had to admit that this looked permanent. Cupcake had decided to become a Phalene, the drop-eared version of the breed.
I think he was as puzzled as I was. Suddenly ears were blocking his peripheral vision, and I suppose his hearing was affected too. It made him look very solemn. Belle his sister stared at him. Was he really her brother? What daft fashion had he adopted now? Was this a Goth thing? Would he be getting skull earrings? Was he even hoping to become a Chin?
And we had a show coming up.
Well, I took him in his new identity, and he managed to be third in his class. And he was admired.
So I suppose I just have to come to terms with it. I have had a word with Solitaire, his mother, who looked very innocent and assured me that it was nothing to do with her, but I have my suspicions.
Thank you all again for your good wishes about Velvet. Unfortunately she had a sudden and very bad relapse, just when I thought she was really well, and things went from bad to worse. She had to make a last journey to the vet. I have been really upset, and haven`t felt like blogging for a while.
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Meanwhile there have been a few shows, and at one of them Cupcake was handed over to a friend who had cast some doubt on my handling ability, to see if she could do better. I quietly disappeared.
Alas, Cupcake experienced a bit of a culture shock. He had discovered that the world is bigger than he thought, and some parts of it don`t have your mum in them. As the dogs went round, he discovered my empty chair at the side of the ring, and fixated on it desperately, sure I would reappear in it any minute. He didn`t wimp out - his tail never went down - but I was a bit taken aback to find how strongly he had imprinted on me. During the following day he kept close, and watched me carefully for any further sudden disappearances.
|Angel - "I seem to have missed everything"|
Other than that, life has been quite placid....apart from the other night, when I was out with the granny farm, giving the old ladies a last outing. Suddenly chaos and uproar at the gate. I ran up - and there was a balloon. A big silver party balloon. It was a windy evening, and it must have escaped, to end its days bobbing up and down at my gate.
The old girls simply knew that the Martians had landed. In the reflections on the silver surface they could see distorted alien Papillons. They screamed. Old Xena, who couldn`t see it at all, charged about roaring - "Point me at the enemy and I`ll finish it off!" The chaos grew.
And then the balloon gave up. It sagged to the ground and deflated. Suddenly it was just a still silver puddle on the ground. The old ladies were still suspicious, but I could see the general consensus was that they had managed to bark it to death (all Papillons believe firmly that they have this ability.) At last I got the whole panting over-excited gang back to their beds.
Angel immediately rushed out. What had she missed?
"Everything," I told her, quickly disposing of the silver remains.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
A couple of weeks ago I let her out first thing in the morning, as usual, and was greeted by a salivating, staggering twitching wreck. She had been her usual lively self the night before, and I had no idea what had happened. Had she somehow eaten poison? I am very careful about poisons.
I have been in dogs a long time, and what crossed my mind was that this looked like the later stages of distemper....but that seemed impossible. She is of course immunised.
The vet thought different. He did complete bloodwork, and no kidney or liver problems showed up - indeed, no problems at all. Any poison would have affected the result. Normal temperature, so not an infection. He did more tests, and concluded that it was probably granulomatous meningoencephalitis. It normally attacked toy bitches of about her age (4). It comes on suddenly. The cause is unknown. He said that the definitive test was to examine spinal fluid, but suggested that since we had excluded all the other possibilities, we should just go straight to treatment. She had a 50/50 chance of survival.
The treatment was massive doses of corticosteroid. It was difficult to get anything into her. She did not know me at all. I had to syringe water into her, and push food down her throat. This really scared her. Most things scared her.
|Velvet - note the eye ulcer|
And the steroids began to work. The twitching and staggering eased away. She could walk. She still wouldn`t eat - until I used a liquid high nutrition feed for invalid animals. I was syringing it in, and she tried to eat the syringe - and ate the rest of the food by herself.
After that the recovery was gradual and complicated by eye ulcers aggravated by the large steroid doses. She began to recognise me, and knew her name. The tail stayed down and she was still nervous, but a good appetite had developed, and she put on all the weight she had lost.
Yesterday she went to the vet again, and was pronounced OK. A huge relief. I think the vet was quite surprised - but Papillons are tough little beasts.
I took her home and let her out to relieve herself - and bad-tempered old Camilla attacked her. She ran off into the tangle of shrubs and trees that used to be a rockery, and although I went in after her, she ran from me too. There followed hours of searching, and general despair. She knows her name, but will not come when called - in fact I am just not sure how much intelligence remains after the illness.
At midnight, after searching garden and fields till it got dark, I let the last 3 girls out, before going to bed....and suddenly I was looking at 4 girls. Velvet had come back. She must have holed up somewhere, waiting till it was safe, as she thought. Vast relief.
I am now waiting to see how much of her personality comes back. I think it is going to be a slow process.
Sunday, June 09, 2013
The other day I had Cupcake and Belle out with me. Just the two of them. And the rabbit. It appeared a few yards away, and they both spotted it. They stared. Then they looked solemnly at each other. What was it? Clearly they thought it was rather cute...and what was all that noise?
|"Well, looks like I made it this time!"|
All that noise was Truly, in one of the small runs on her own because it`s safer that way and I didn`t need an all-bitch meltdown that particular day. She was jumping up and down, all four feet leaving the ground, screaming "Kill it! Kill it! KILL IT!" She looked in disbelief at the two youngsters, now staring at her in amazement. What was she shouting about? Swedish is such an incomprehensible language!
Eventually bunny decided to hop off, leaving a very frustrated little Scandinavian person, and two mildly interested and puzzled young Papillons.
Truly was furious. Lunch had passed her by...and what was the young generation coming to?
I must admit, I was surprised. Most of my Papillons feel exactly as Truly does, and the pack have had a few rabbits in their time. Belle and Cupcake seem to be very gentle indeed, to the extent that they could be mistaken for Chin.
Score one for bunny
Meanwhile, a trying time. Kallista died of a massive stroke, and I am nursing young Velvet through encephalitis. Not an easy week, this.
Saturday, June 01, 2013
Last time I went there, I had a new crate for them. The catch is a bit fiddly, and I didn`t secure it properly. I settled them, and headed for the loo. As I went into the cubicle I happened to look down - and there were my two little girls, Belle and Angel, walking demurely to heel as they have been taught. I rushed out with them, to be accused by a large florid loudmouthed woman of taking them in deliberately. Why? Who knows! (Don`t worry, there aren`t many such characters at shows that I can`t deal with.)
|Belle - "I`ll follow Mum anywhere!"|
Meanwhile, someone brought me back Cupcake. Where had he gone? Possibly to the Gents? I could imagine him looking at the sign that said "Ladies" and thinking "I can`t really go in there..."
The fashionable thing to use is a lightweight crate made of canvas, and you see lots of them at shows. To be fair, I have two of these and used them in Ireland some years ago. I also used them here....until the day I came to fetch her to the ring, and was greeted by Allegra, head and shoulders out of the hole she had dug in the side of the crate. She was delighted with her cleverness. "I knew there was a way out! And I was the one who found it!"
|Allegra - "Leave it to me to solve a problem!!"|
As anyone who reads this knows, I cannot ever be angry with Allegra.
I can however throw canvas crates into the nearest skip, accompanied by lots of bad language.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Cupcake in particular hates travel. He begins to dribble before he even gets into the car. With travel sick pills he will not actually be sick, but has been known to make....offerings...from the other end. There is no pill for that. (Although the old saying about swallowing corks of varying size till you hit on one that fits comes to mind...) He longs for a method of transport that does not involve four wheels and going round corners.
|Belle at one year old|
Angel loves it. She sleeps all the way, on her back with her legs in the air like an upended beetle, in her little travel box.
This time the shows were back to back - two consecutive days. Angel was delighted. She would love a show every day. Cupcake shuddered - two car journeys!
Two very contrasting shows. We did reasonably at the first - but the judging was so slow that all sense of continuity was lost and the cafe did a roaring trade. The Event Manager stood by with a watch, reminding us when the hall let would run out. Fortunately Belle and Cupcake are very reliable and do not get bored, and anything that slows Angel up is a good thing.
Home very late from that one and off early again to the next.
|Cupcake - just a year old now|
This , in contrast was efficiently quick in judging - but results were strange. Cupcake was thrown out, but I didn`t feel so bad when I saw other top quality dogs go the same way. At last I got an explanation. "She only puts up dogs that stand like statues and keep looking at her." Well, Cupcake didn`t like her. He is too much of a gentleman to protest, but when she tried to attract him to look at her, he simply and eloquently turned his head away, and kept it turned. Angel? Stand still? Look at the judge? Amazing she was placed at all.
I headed off to the Afghan and Pharaoh rings, where my friends and relatives were having great success.
I find two days running pretty exhausting nowadays, and will be glad not to do it too often.
Angel, on the other hand, was very disappointed to wake on Monday and find that we really weren`t going again!
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Needless to say, the dogs highly approve of this. And so, I think, will the local vandals. I don`t give much for the trees` chances, even behind deer fencing. The council will get a grant for them provided they are cared for - well, knowing council workers, I still don`t have much hope for them.
Meanwhile it all makes work for the working man to do, and reminds me of the joke that sums up my experience of council workmen :
One morning a man was looking out of his window, and saw a strange thing. The road had a broad grass verge, and two council workmen were working on it. One would dig a large squarish hole, then move on a few yards and dig another. Meanwhile the second man followed behind and filled in the holes.
Our man was consumed by curiosity. He went out and asked "What are you doing? One digs a hole, the other fills it in - it makes no sense!"
"Aye well," said the council workman, "I can see it would look a bit confusing. You`re just not getting the full picture. You see, the guy who plants the trees called in sick."
Monday, May 06, 2013
I went to investigate. They were screaming abuse at a man walking along the garden fence.
|Not a sight often seen at my gate...|
Now I get a few of those. They usually shout that they will go where they like and they have a "right to roam", and I face up to them and reply that that`s OK because I have a right to call the police and that`s what I`m doing right now.
This one didn`t respond to that. He just kept on trying to get to the house.
And then the helicopter arrived. A police one, hovering about in a search pattern. The noise made any further conversation impossible.
Well, Bank Holiday Sunday, and the whole area as dead as the far side of the moon. I reckoned that they must be looking for him.
I had another look at him, now trying to climb over the gate at the back. If they were looking for him he must be an escaped criminal, or worse, a fugitive from the nearby Secure State Hospital, where the insane axe murderers go.
Well, he didn`t have an axe. Or any weapon. He shambled along, and looked harmless....but then so did Hannibal Lecter. I saw a way out and waved to the helicopter, and pointed to him....
And the helicopter landed at my gate! No, that doesn`t often happen. Out came the crew, in helmets and kevlar vests, and all was made clear. He had indeed escaped from hospital and was officially described as "very demented but quite harmless" They had been searching for 6 hours.
Meanwhile two cars full of police and a van with more of them had pulled up at the gate. They were more impressed with the helicopter than anything else going on. "I`ve never seen one up close " confided one constable.
I had to make a statement, and was thanked for "helping a police operation".
They put him in the van and off they went.
I calmed down the old ladies, and in particular Fenella, who was still demanding that Something Should Be Done, and phoned my relatives, who came and collected me.
On the way out we passed my Good Neighbours, who were understandably at their door looking out. I explained.
"Yes, we could see something big was going on....
But we knew you`d be all right!"
Saturday, April 20, 2013
|Electronic dogs - Belle, Angel and Cupcake|
So I packed them up and off we set away over the hills on a beautiful sunny day to the vet. My vet is a bit distant, but really good. The premises are very basic - a converted cottage in the main street of a village where you sit on kitchen chairs and the filing system is a card index box - but the treatment is excellent, and really not expensive, probably because they have very few overheads. (My previous vet was financing a huge vet hospital, an expensive lifestyle, and his own retirement, mainly from my account).
We arrived to an atmosphere of chaos. The efficient lady who managed the card index was absent, and the two vets struggled with an avalanche of well-thumbed cards. But I got my lot to the table and we struggled through all the paperwork, and at last the chips were implanted.
Angel didn`t care. Belle cared desperately and screamed and gave the vet her big-eyed "you have betrayed my trust " look. Cupcake didn`t even notice. For him the worst had already happened - he had been taken over winding roads in a car. For distant shows he is dosed with pills, but not this time. He had arrived soaking, and he sat on the table with his head down, dripping copiously from the mouth. He would not have noticed ear amputation.
Well, I got my 3 newcomers to the electronic age home, and looked at them, and began to speculate. What about a control chip? I picked up the Freeview remote control. Suppose it could control dogs instead?
I suggested to my 3 that they would now be entirely under my control, and that one click on the remote would bring them literally to heel. I received 3 looks of utter scorn. They sauntered off, secure in the knowledge that no advance in science would ever lead to Papillon control.
Shelby looked after them, unimpressed. He does not believe in new technology.
Shelby is tattooed.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I expect it is difficult for anyone outside the UK to understand the feelings that the death of Margaret Thatcher has revived. Because she destroyed British industry, and incidentally whole communities, she was, and still is loathed in many areas north of the home counties. She created a UK of service industry and in particular finance industry - and look where that has taken us!
|A well-known Wicked Witch|
In Scotland, she defined Toryism, and so to this day, Scotland does not vote for them. The jokes that go around are that Scotland has more Pandas than Tory MPs (we have 2 Pandas), and that no Tory MP would ever be harmed in Scotland because here they are an endangered species.
Now we are facing huge Tory eulogies (do they forget slinging her out?) and a Ten million pound state funeral, at a time of austerity when people are being taxed for having a spare room, and food banks are proliferating. Our government sees nothing incongruous in this.
Meanwhile there is a groundswell of opposition. A Faccebook campaign led to that old song "Ding Dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead" rising to #3 in the top 40, which means that it is due a play on BBC radio - and there is no doubt as to who the witch is. Cue much public heartsearching on the Beeb, and a strange decision to play part of the song, with "an explanation" (which will no doubt be yet another Thatcher eulogy). Not a wise decision.
I think the spectacular funeral will provide a focus for opposition, and there may be riots. There have already been street parties arranged to celebrate her death. Our Tory government just does not or will not see that the anti-Thatcher feeling is not just about her, but is a measure of how much they are hated by those who are suffering under the "austerity" they have imposed, and see no effort to provide economic growth.
My position on this is quite straightforward. I do not believe any politician whatsoever deserves a state funeral.
And I remember from years ago, on a radio phone-in when this enormous funeral was first suggested, a young lad calling in -
"I think a state funeral for Mrs Thatcher is a wonderful idea! Lets do it! .......
Do we have to wait until she`s dead?"
Thursday, April 04, 2013
The bigger dog is usually calm and laid-back and confident. The little fellow has something to prove.
I have two such problems at the moment.
One is Marcus. Marcus seems to be having a mid-life crisis - common to males, I believe, but instead of dressing half his age or buying a red sports car (which I could easily cope with, apart from wondering where he got the cash), Marcus is set on World Domination. All other males must submit to him.
Now in the past I have had males who would have reduced Marcus and his ambition to a small greasy stain. But things are different now. My males are
|Marcus the Merciless, ruler of the world|
Fidget - a big soft pudding
Merlin - a wimp "OMG, they are all senior dogs!"
Florian the Climbing Dog - mind on higher things
Shelby - Chin, and so by definition pacifist
Marcus roars at all of them, threatens them with death, and enthusiastically bumbites them when their backs are turned. He gives the impression of a small furious but ineffectual wasp buzzing round a herd of mammoths. The others hate it, but have no idea what to do about it beyond barking and looking hopefully at me. Sometimes Shelby swats at him, and he flies across the room.
I keep a very close eye on things.
Truly is a different problem, although the size is about the same. She is a warrior, and much hated by the other girls, many of whom she has bitten in the past. Her body language seems to inspire attack.
|Truly, my little red viking|
Yesterday Daisy decided to take things in hand. Backed up by an eager gang of bitches she advanced on Truly and began to tell her in no uncertain terms what she was and what was now going to be done to her.
The little red viking didn`t wait for the end. She reached up and bit Daisy, right in the middle of her tirade, and then headed for the door at a respectable fraction of lightspeed. She came in triumphant, just avoiding the screaming pursuit, and curled up in her favourite seat.
"Someday one of them will get you", I said, having made sure she was safe.
Truly, who has seen off a fox in the past, gave me a look of nordic contempt.
"So much the worse for her!"
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
|Traffic I`m really glad not to be out in |
We were at a local show last weekend, and it took place in a blizzard that would have made Captain Scott think twice. I could see the venue just vaguely from the car park, and it was difficult to get the dogs in without each one accumulating a little cap of snow.
As the judging went on, the snow drove relentlessly down. I could see the judge glancing out at the weather, then speeding up. People left early. We worried that we would never get home. We did not wait for the puppy class.
|"You can have enough of this white stuff!"|
Last night we had a further blizzard, leaving 4 inches by morning. And it snowed on. Even the dogs - even the young ones - lost some of their enthusiasm. I didn`t dare go out, remembering my last trouble on the road.
Damp dogs everywhere. All very jolly. Even the Chin managed to get wet...and nothing looks worse than a wet Chin. especially when it is scowling at you for allowing this weather to happen.
So we stayed in and watched the disruption on TV, and I shuttled dogs in and out and tried not to think about the next heavy snow promised for the weekend,
Monday, March 11, 2013
|My road didn`t look too bad...|
I passed my Good Neighbours` house and sstarted up the hill towards civilisation.
The first warning was the Water van stuck at the side of the road. The driver indicated that he wasn`t going any further. He made some pithy comments about the nature of his job and the inadequacy of the pay. Then a tractor appeared, hauling a car up the hill. I realised the road surface was a sheet of ice.
I proceeded with caution. Nevertheless, I fell twice.
Realising that the third time was very unlikely to be lucky, I turned for home. I met the tractor, having another go, and was entertained by his spectacular skid, ending up in the hedge at an angle.
|My Good Neighbour and I studying the ice slide...note the abandoned car. |
I headed back on to my road, and found my Good Neighbour about to drive off. I suggested that this was not the morning to take out a car, and we both walked over to the hill and watched the spectacle of the tractor, hauling another car, trying and failing to negotiate the silver car roadblock (now abandoned), and sliding back gently and inevitably on to the car it was pulling.
"I think I might leave it till later" said my Good Neighbour.
And we both went back home to large pots of hot tea.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Cupcake, who behaved impeccably and looked good, just wasn`t liked, and came 5th.
|Angel - "We wuz robbed!"|
Cupcake had been upset when I took her out of the crate to be shown, and wailed that he couldn`t be left alone. So he was put in with my friend`s dog puppy, with whom he gets on really well.
Yes, they did get on really well. When I came back they were playing a certain game much favoured by puppy dogs, with great enthusiasm, taking turns to be on top. The bench was surrounded by fascinated tourists, with cameras. I hurried to get him out, hoping that the next meme to go viral on YouTube will not be "bonking dogs at Crufts" (with "I like to move it" as soundtrack).
It was fascinating to see all the foreign dogs, most of them champions, and most having the same fate as Angel. It was good to meet old friends. But it was also very tiring, as was the journey home through endless roadworks and drizzle.
Maybe better next year.
Monday, March 04, 2013
|Papillon show travel box...|
I was looking around the venue this weekend, when I was brought up short by a huge apparition. It was black, almost five feet high, made entirely of metal, with rivets and steel bars much in evidence. A huge impregnable metal cube.
|...and Velociraptor show travel box|
No, I didn`t go over and look through the bars.
I don`t judge Velociraptors. They are not included in the Toy Group, or even the Hound one (for which I am profoundly grateful). I expect the Kennel Club would fit them into the Utility Group some how....
Although as dinosaurs, they possibly belong on the judges list.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Last Wednesday, home from training, I was carrying the plump Sonja to her bed, when I tripped over something, and having to save Sonja first, I couldn`t save myself. I fell and hit my head on the door.
I lay there for a little, trying to work out if all of me was still functioning. Sonja, never the sharpest knife in the box, stood and looked at me. "Why are you down there? Do I still get my dinner?" (I suspect that if it had been Truly she would have checked my vital signs and called an ambulance.....very efficient, our smart Truly.)
But in the morning, somehow the problem had migrated. I looked in the mirror - and there was the mother of all black eyes.
I didn`t go out for 2 days. I should have gone to the Health Centre for a prescription, but I felt that if I went in there looking like that, they wouldn`t let me out again. And it kept on spreading. Definitely not going away.
Eventually I went to the shows I had entered, and people pointedly refrained from comment....I think I am too formidable for jokes about drink and fighting.
I still have the multicoloured eye. I suspect it glows in the dark.
I hope it goes in time for Crufts.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Last weekend we went to a show in a venue which had previously seen the exhibitors and dogs huddling round industrial heaters. This had been remembered, and exhibitors were piling in wrapped in duvet coats, scarves and heavy boots, looking like anxious penguins. I was no exception.
|Cupcake and Belle|
But it was warmer this time, and both Belle, who behaved in a most ladylike fashion, and Angel, who strutted and sneered at the opposition in a very unacceptable fashion, won their classes. Belle, having fluttered her long eyelashes and gazed earnestly with her deep black eyes at the judge, was rewarded by becoming Best Puppy in Breed.
I would like to be able to get it over to Angel that being, or at least pretending, to be a lady in the ring pays dividends, but I despair of that. She is a wicked little bitch, while Belle is a gentle Lady Dog, a variety of which I have had precious few over the years. Female Papillons are on the whole evil, and totally up for it.
Ella was in season, and as usual took to her bed ...."women`s troubles." She is totally anti-sex, and especially with Shelby, the other Chin. She screams and bites him - just as well, as he is far too big for her.
Poor Shelby is puzzled and frustrated. You can see him thinking "but she is the only girl here who is perfect at both ends!"
Sonja is quite recovered, and really missing those pills in pate. I am still slipping her sausage rolls, though. Little does she know that she is going back to the vet on Friday to have a small growth removed, mainly because she has decided that her new hobby will be licking at it incessantly. Party hat for a while, Sonja! And if you are lucky, more pills!