SOLITAIRE DOES THE DOUBLE
WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES…….
OUT INTO THE WIDE WORLD
"SHE GAVE ME AN EARFUL!"
EMAIL ME .
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"
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!
Thursday, January 24, 2013
|Dido`s Grand Canyon|
Last night the old ones went out for their last run. They came back quickly - and old Dido was wet and covered in mud. It wasn`t raining, and at sixteen she is not too adventurous. I was puzzled. Then a friend suggested the obvious.
"She fell in it."
The poor old girl had wandered up to the gate in the dark, as she does, only to find the equivalent of the Grand Canyon had suddenly opened up across her usual route. Fortunately she wasn`t hurt.
Meanwhile Sonja is a lot better. She is devouring Tesco Value Sausage Rolls. I wonder what is in them. Tesco beefburgers are one third horse, we have just discovered, but these are on an even lower nutritional level. Roadkill Rolls? Rat? Sonja doesn`t care, and chomps on .
As an invalid she feels entitled to the best bed, and doesn`t care how she gets it. She removes Shelby from the softest bed by simply standing and staring him down - he gets more and more uneasy and eventually runs away.
But last night she found little Marcus sound asleep in the best bed. She studied the problem. Clearly she concluded that he was a nonentity, and slowly climbed into the bed and sat on top of him. Poor Marcus, a small lad, awoke to find that the sky had fallen - on him. Sonja is a big girl. She settled her furry ample bulk on him, like a hen with chicks. Marcus had no desire to be hatched. Muffled squeaks and heaving, and at last he struggled out, looking distinctly flattened and very offended....after all Red Sonja is one of his romantic conquests.
But that was a long time ago.
Now he only represents a small inconvenient obstacle to sleep.
I suppose quite a few husbands are eventually demoted to that level.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
|Red Sonja, aka Red Sofa|
"More pills please!"
This didn`t clear, and so we had a visit to the vet. She had a going-to-vet bath. Alas, one of the effects of spaying a Papillon can be drastic coat texture change. When you wash the ample Sonja, the result looks like an explosion in a cotton wool factory.
I took this fluffy fat apparition to the surgery and after blood tests and 3 injections we came home with pills, which, to Sonja`s delight are administered in chicken liver pate. She gazes longingly at the pill bottles. And she is being tempted with cat food. The old girl (now fourteen) is living high these days.
Life is quiet for Belle and Cupcake, Sonja`s grandchildren. They should have been at a big show yesterday, but the weather said no, so they are all dressed up with nowhere to go.
They don`t care.
And after looking at the show results, neither do I.
Next stop Crufts.
Friday, January 04, 2013
No, not departed this life. She has been earmarked for a new home for some time. And at last I found one - a very charming elderly gentleman who had lost his Papillon in an accident and found, as many do, that he couldn`t live without one.
Well, Gracie was an instant hit, and all was settled. We left her being cuddled in her new owner`s arms, with a look on her face that I have seen on Papillon bitches before: "I see I have inherited a house and a servant. Well, it is no more than my due."
When we got home, Solitaire seemed a little bereft, but half of a fish supper soon reconciled her to the loss. And after all she still has Cupcake and Belle.
They have no plans to leave.
Monday, December 31, 2012
But on the whole I`d rather not.
Instead I spent a happy time having the field drain, which has proved totally inadequate for the change in our weather, inspected for possible improvement. Although it occurs to me when I look at the relentless overflow that maybe I should just harness the rushing water for hydro power and reduce my bills. Meanwhile it piles up silt at my door, and the puppies love to play in it.
It has indeed been the year of muddy dogs. Can`t remember one as bad. A monsoon year, with some of the wettest outdoor shows ever. People wearing out their wellies and developing webbed feet.
A reasonable year in the showring, despite health problems. And I have great hopes for the puppies. Well, if we didn`t have those fond delusions, we wouldn`t make plans for the coming year - which will, of course, be a glorious one.
And I hope yours is too.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
As the festive day nears, I am sitting listening to the wind and rain beating on the windows and trying not to think about the flood running past the door (the field drain has failed again and I am not going out in that to shovel silt out of it.)
Even the puppies are a bit subdued by the weather, but always willing to prove the old saying that there is nothing more friendly than a really wet dog. They feel that their real vocation is sitting on me, especially if they have some mud to spread.
Nevertheless, they have been to their first Really Big Show at the NEC no less, and did really well. A huge hall full of strange dogs, many of them large, can be scary for a puppy and I had my doubts. No need. Cupcake and Belle were enchanted by the noise and people and different dogs. And in the ring they behaved perfectly, with the result that Cupcake is now going to Crufts with Angel.
Really, the puppies don`t offer much to write about. They don`t misbehave, don`t get into trouble, aren`t even very destructive. (I wonder if they are really Papillons?). Quietest litter I`ve had for years.
It has been a mixed year for me, with far too many hospital visits, and the puppies have been a highlight. (I`m trying hard to think of another!)
What`s on the horizon? Well,perhaps a home for Gracie. I have no worries about her settling well.
And in the New Year the intense excitement of the chainsaw men. All my electricity comes in on overhead wires,and the company hires contractors to prune any trees which have grown too near to the cables. What actually arrives is a group of young chainsaw maniacs straight out of a Tarantino film, with glazed eyes and an unnerving habit of revving up their saws. "We`ve come to fell the trees!" And so they would, if I didn`t follow them about shouting "No!". The one who assessed the situation said they would only deal with "the willows and crab apples". I have no crab apples, and the only willow is at the front of the house. Trouble ahead.
Apart from that, a rest until the show season starts - which is not long.
And then off we go again!
Meanwhile, Merry Christmas, everyone!
Monday, December 03, 2012
I never understand the attraction snow has for dogs. It`s cold, wet, and they are much closer to it than we are. Where`s the fun in that?
For Cupcake, Belle and Gracie, it was their very first snow. And they were delighted.
It goes without saying that I did not join in!
Saturday, December 01, 2012
"We`re ready - let`s go again!"
Thoughtful Cupcake and bouncing Belle
The puppies are coming on. They went to their first breed show last week. Very exciting. Lots of other Papillons. They behaved impeccably - Cupcake very laid back, and Belle very serious and anxious to get it right for Mum. And it was Belle who was Best Bitch Puppy, much to her surprise and mine.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
We set off in the car, puppies on my knee, and all went well till we hit a diversion, off up hills and round winding twisty roads. Belle, OK till then, gave me a look of hopelessness and threw up all over her indignant brother. Cue towels.
Well, we had a long wait before Cupcake had his chance - a very slow judge beside whom glaciers looked speedy. (Lots of time to dry him out). But when I got him in, he behaved excellently, and was 3rd to two adult dogs...obviously a puppy would not be put first.
More waiting. I had joked about how long the hall had been booked for, but it wasn`t so funny when we were actually evicted from it to another cold one - because they had to get the first one ready for - a wedding reception. Really? Would the wedding guests realise by many not so subtle signs that the hall had previously been occupied all day by dogs doing.....well, what dogs do? How much cleaning would it get?
Belle, very serious
Not my problem. We moved, and I still waited for Belle`s turn. She competed with twenty-odd other puppies, and I was very doubtful, but when we got in there she rose to the occasion and showed herself off beautifully. I was surprised and pleased. Belle is a very self-composed little lady, and quite different from Cupcake, and probably has a sense of duty.
Mind you, ham helps!
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
The puppies grow on, and have been admired at another Puppy Parade at a Championship show last weekend. Their behaviour at the show was exemplary. They made lots of friends, and showed off, and clearly enjoyed themselves. Their half sister, Angel, showed off even more, and won again.
Angel at a recent show
(photo by Raper)
Their behaviour on the way, was something else.
Knowing their...little weakness, I had visited the vet for travel sickness pills. Alas, he had only 2 left. So little Gracie was left with her mother. The other 2 were packed, and off we set.
Not far down the road the barking began. The puppies were in separate boxes, to minimise mess, and one of them didn`t like it. Probably Cupcake. On and on it went. A horrible squeaky puppy bark. Just what you want to hear in the wee small hours on the motorway. When we stopped, it stopped, so I wasn`t quite sure if it was Cupcake or Belle. We just had to wait till exhaustion set in....and appreciate the silence.
And how did they arrive?
Well, the pills worked. They were not sick. Just rather damp. But to make up for the lack of their usual performance, they had both indulged in a Brad Pitt in their travel boxes. And then sat in it.
Alas, there is no pill for that.