Introducing… our canine companions

There have always been dogs in my life, from when I was born right up until I went to university. Both my childhood dogs died while I was a student, so my doglessness was inevitable. But then we moved to mum’s and got to know her three dogs, the Labradors, Teal and her puppy sister Snipe, and Midge the Jack Russell, also a pup.

Teal, Snipe and Midge - 2 August 2007

Teal, Snipe and Midge - 2 August 2007

That was in September. Three months later, my Christmas present from mum was Snipe who had adopted me during that time. I never intended for that to happen, but your most loyal canine companions tend to come into your life that way. Tom, my first dog, did the same thing when I was five. He was meant to be my dad’s dog but something happened during that car ride home when we picked him up aged 6 weeks and he swiftly became my dog. It also happened with Dilly, my Cairn terrier, who originally belonged to our elderly neighbour and friend. She bought her at 8 weeks, I took her home at 12 weeks.

Midge is also ours by accident. She’s a devout rabbiter and would happily spend many an hour practising her skills in the fields, any fields. Fields that don’t belong to mum but to other farmers who keep sheep. Who (quite rightly) don’t want dogs running loose through their fields. We spent nearly a year trying to make the yard Midge-proof and failed miserably. The dog’s not just a rabbiter, she’s also an escape artist.

Midge - 27 February 2008

Midge - 27 February 2008

Apart from when I was home. You see, I also managed to bond with mum’s third dog and it soon became a pattern that Midge stopped running off when I was at home but vanished into thin air when I left the house. So I started taking her to work and leaving her in the car during my shift. Which helped us bond even more… When I first moved down here, the only dog I brought was Snipe, who loved having me all to herself. But Midge was miserable and moped and rabbited. So she came too, on a week’s trial. When we went up to mum’s at the end of the week to get the chickens, the dogs came too and were happy to be back there, until I walked out of the kitchen in the direction of the front door. Midge was convinced I was about to get in the car and abandon her. So the week’s trial ended well (for her!) and she too has a new and much-enjoyed status as a city dog. The only condition is that she gets tied up or left in the car when I’m up at the farm where we keep the animals. That seems to be a compromise she can live with.

Snipe and Midge - 14 November 2007

Snipe and Midge - 14 November 2007

Whereas Midge’s needs are quite simple (cuddles and fuss and love and a warm bed away from any drafts or the nasty wet stuff that falls from the sky), Snipe’s actually a lot more demanding. Labradors take years to grow up and at 15 months, she’s still very much a baby while Midge, just a few weeks older, is as adult as any adult dog. Snipe plays for hours and her current favourite toy is an old buoy she found washed up on the beach a few months ago. That is her outside toy (for one thing, it’s meant to be outside and, for another, it’s far too big for her to throw about the house without costing us our deposit) and her favourite indoor toy is a multicoloured rope thing that came free with a sack of dog food. I’m trying to teach her to catch and she’s not that bad. Which is good, because the only things I’ve successfully taught her so far are to sit and fetch. “Lie down” is a mystery to her, as are most other commands. But she’s always walked at heel, it just happened naturally.

Snipe - 10 February 2008

Snipe - 10 February 2008

Her faults are generally linked with her age. When she gets bored, she chews. And chews. And chews. Since the move to Cardiff, she has been reasonably well-behaved and the only times that she’s slipped up have been when we’ve given her the opportunity. If we keep her distracted, make sure there’s no food or food leftovers (e.g. wrappers etc) left around and give her something she can chew, such as an endless supply of rawhide chews, then she behaves and doesn’t enter Marley-mode. It also helps to keep her energy levels at a low ebb through lots of exercise!

Both dogs have a firm sense of who they are and while discussions about who is really in charge are ongoing, both B and I have a wonderful relationship with our loyal canine companions. The house really would seem too quiet without them.

Snipe and Midge - 17 July 2007

Snipe and Midge - 17 July 2007

I hope their antics will keep you entertained 🙂

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by welshpurpletree on 10 September 2008 at 1:27 pm

    I love labradors, I’m very jealous. I saw Jennie this morning and she said Fergie isn’t doing very well, what do you think you’ll do with her?

  2. Been bottle feeding her, but she’s not so keen on that idea. Mum, on the other hand, thought the milk was brilliant… She’s eating pig nuts so I’ll just keep an eye on her and make sure she gets enough of what she will eat.

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