A Dose of Dog

Being a temporarily dogless dog person is hard.

It’s hard because people assume that you’re not much interested in dogs and it’s hard because you don’t get offered a lot of dog opportunities.

Strangers think you’re a bit nuts if you make an inordinate fuss of their pooches, as I found once with the bloke who was walking absolutely the most gorgeous field spaniel puppy in our village. The puppy was very friendly and when thepuppy and I had thoroughly molested each other,  I offered to puppysit any time (this from a complete stranger) he said, in the politest way “Err. .. my wife and I don’t go out much, but, er, thanks.”

Idiot. What did he think? I was a mad woman bend on seducing him through the sheer force of my puppy lurve or that I was seeking some licit entrance to his home in order to rob him of his grandfather’s pocket watches? Could he not tell I was merely a bit desperate for some Essence de Puppy?

But enough with the whining. Fact is, I got a huge dose of Dog this weekend.

Saturday evening was a get-together with some friends who have a lurcher. Dill is the Julian Clary of dogs – constantly looks as though he’s wearing beautifully applied thick kohl eye-liner.

He greeted me with uncontrolled enthusiasm, and being a tall dog, could reach to lick under my chin, then, at the table later, stood calmly with his head in my lap while I scratched the bony bit between his ears.

The ears are the other things that make him special because they are like ultra-animated Yoda ears, flying upright and directionally in search of any odd sounds, or flopping relaxed.

Dill soars over stiles and five bar gates. He runs beside bikes and goes half-marathon training with his owner. He flops dramatically with a prima donna groan on his very large bed on the kitchen floor when tired. And yes, obviously, I’d dog-nap him like a shot.

On Sunday, there was a perfect dog walk with three working cocker spaniels, coats all gleaming with health and streaking about investigating every single scent on the top of the Cotswolds near Cleeve Hill.

They have a very clear order of dominance, with Rudeboy the oldest and wisest and the one with the most working instinct, Top Dog, followed by Rio, who is much more attached to treats and people (in that order) to show the tireless attention to duty that Rudeboy shows – and then there is Digsy, the youngest, sweetest and most attached to his mum.

One of the nicest things about going walking with these dogs is the joy of watching spaniels enjoying themselves hugely and the way these pack animals are immensely good-natured and friendly with other passing dogs.

The camaraderie extends to the owners too – especially on a sunny day. An un-dogged friend who joined us was astonished at how friendly other dog-walkers are and how it’s de rigeur to let the dogs meet and play rumbustiously while the owners have a chat before continuing their walk. It’s a part of life you almost forget when you haven’t got a dog to walk.

There are other things you miss too. I started to write them all down but quite frankly, the un-dogged just wouldn’t understand. Suffice to say, this temporary dogless status has been going on far too long now, and  it’s more than a bit sad that I can’t see an end to it. But hey, no moaning. The weekend Dose of Dog should last me for a bit.

Julian Clary

Rudi-boy

Rio and Digs

Digs – full pelt

The tongue temperature gauge very evident here

a breather

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About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
This entry was posted in Countryside, Dogs and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to A Dose of Dog

  1. speccy says:

    Such wonderful dogs- the pics are great 🙂

  2. janh1 says:

    Thanks. The Dill pic was a phone pic so I was surprised it came out so well. 🙂

  3. IsobelandCat says:

    Love it! And I identify with this so much, being also the mad woman who descends upon dogs for a cuddle. I was at the local fete on Sunday, lots and lots of dogs, and came back with fresh baked dog biscuit from a stall promoting themselves as dog walkers and dog sitters. Rosie, my delinquent dog next door, ate every crumb.
    I love my cat, but I would love to have a dog too. Dogs have a sense of humour and a capacity for enjoyment unsurpassed in any other animal I know. They almost dig in the ribs, and say ‘This is fun isn’t it.’ bless them.

  4. janh1 says:

    “Dogs have a sense of humour and a capacity for enjoyment unsurpassed in any other animal I know” Spot on, Isobel! 🙂 Did I mention that Fat Lily’s learned to talk? I’ve always greeted her with “Hello” and her greeting miaow sounds as though she’s saying it back! I’ll try and record it. A dog would never do that… 🙂

  5. John Mackie says:

    Hi Janh1

    I am, of course, new to dogs and still bedding in but your post sums up all the joys that they definltely bring.

    We’re doing a dog-friendly holiday this year. Totally new world, Infesting Pembrokeshire in tribute to CO and then charging on to Lulworth Cove to show Dougal my childhood swimming grounds when Dad was stationed in Salisbury.

    Obviously, I’ll be taking the hound to Whadden Road on the way past to show him the home of the mighty Robins – still in Division 2 unfortunately but there’s always next year. It goes without saying that I will also be introducing him to the Caryatids. Look out for the photo.

    On working Cocker spaniels? Dougal has his whole tail because he is not one (and because it was never going to happen even if he had been one), I know that working spaniels can be docked. The ones that I have seen up here are like Maggie, Tam O’Shanter’s horse, with ‘scarce a stump’ and I presume that they are intended for showing. Are those three fine cockers in your pictures displaying what docking really should look like?

  6. janh1 says:

    Greetings Mr M 🙂 Dougal will adore Pembrokeshire – Marloes Beach is made for dogs to run and run! Let me know when you’re in Chelters and I’ll meet you and Mrs M and Dougal for a cuppa and maybe a pig’s ear 🙂 (I knew you’d be delighted to hear that) I work about four minutes walk from the caryatids and by summer proper, work will hopefully be not as hectic as it is now.

    On docking, yes the short docks are seen on show spaniels whose tails were cut before the new ruling came in. Now only working dogs are allowed to be docked and the three above all have varying lengths of tail, so I think it depends what the docker feels like on the day! The tallest of the above has what I’d say is a three-quarter dock and swishes it rotationally while hunting, so the whole point of the dock – to prevent injury to the tail while working in thick brambles, thorn hedges etc – is, in my opinion, lost. Rio has not been docked – he has a long thin tail with a tuft of white on the end. Digsy, whose coat is mostly white, has the most ‘sensible’ length if you’re going to dock at all. The whole docking thing was always highly questionable. It’s a pleasure to see so many spaniels with tails again!

    • John Mackie says:

      Janh1, a tempting offer.

      Unfortunately, I think that we’ll be going through Chelters on a Saturday and you will presumably be off blatting somewhere.

      A pity, I know that Mrs M., Dougal and you would all get on famously. Maybe another year.

      • janh1 says:

        Tis true, I am prone to blatting on a Saturday but I’d make an exception for the delectable Dougal, with all due respects to you and Mrs M. 😀

  7. Love the pictures, Jan. Dog: it’s what makes the world go round. I wish you much dog in the coming months; not sure how I’d get along without Macaulay’s rather doubtful smelly joie de vivre. What a lovely madcap lens they are for life.

  8. Julian Clary is especially delicious!

    Every now and again, when I have swept another 3lb of fur off the kitchen floor, I wonder what a dogless (and to be fair, catless) life would be like. But then one of them leaps out of bed and – with a good deal of tongue hanging out – rushes over to say ‘Did I ever tell you how much I love you? And by the way, we haven’t been for a walk yet…’
    Then I know I’ll be sweeping dog fur up until someone sweeps me up!

    http://lorely-writingfromtheedge.blogspot.com/

  9. that pet owner interaction thing it doesn’t really work with cats.
    “where’s your cat?”
    “killing something/tearing up the furniture/sleeping, where’s yours?”
    “no idea”

  10. janh1 says:

    Well, we’d have more to talk about if we could somehow attach cat-cams that revealed the fascinating hidden world of cats; walking’…. stalkin’…. and… er… sleepin’ 🙂

    Anyway, Fat Lily is a whizz at retrieving now and her other party piece is doing an impression of a cat figurine on a windowsill.

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