Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Canine Companions

I suppose that in all honesty I really cannot blame Skip for the subject of today's post, but he did mention dogs - or rather, a dog - in his post on Monday.  You can see it right here if you have not already read it.  Dogs are frequently at the forefront of my mind as I spend quite a lot of my time with one, walking Fern, the springer spaniel, a couple of times a day.  As it happens, only a few days ago I watched a television programme about dogs - but maybe we'll come back to that another day.  Today I'll just tell you about the dogs that have been part of my life.

(OK, you can move on to another blog right now if talking of dogs just makes you yawn or if you are one of those non-dog people.  I quite appreciate that there are dog people and there are non-dog people.  Surprisingly, even some of my best friends are non-dog.)

My wife, commonly referred to as the Old Bat, and I have kept dogs almost all our married life.  We acquired our first almost exactly a year after we were married and apart from short gaps after the demise of each, there has been a dog in our home ever since.  That first dog, Sandy, was a rescue dog, a collie-cross.  We were a little concerned about how she would react when our first child was born, especially since she had by then been with us for more than five years.  But we needn't have worried; she just accepted the baby as hers.  When he (the baby that is) was left in his pram outside a shop, Sandy was the most attentive guard, warning any would-be cooing women to keep their distance.

Our second dog was big and black, a flat-coat retriever.  He was named Rags by the children for a reason that made perfect sense at the time.  It might even make sense now if I could remember it.  Rags adored children and he thought it the equivalent of his birthday and Christmas rolled into one when he was taken to meet the children from school.  My daughter learned to walk by hanging onto his tail, something that never bothered him.  He entered into the spirit of the game when he was made to lie on the floor with his head on a cushion and the doll's blanket was laid over him.  I shall always remember the day the whole family took him for a walk across the snow-covered golf course.  The children each had a large, plastic sack to use as a toboggan.  When we came across a steep part where other children were already sledging down, my younger son called to Rags to sit on the sack with him.  As soon as they reached the end of the slide, Rags ran back to the top and joined the end of the queue for another turn.

Rags was succeeded by Bramble, a golden retriever.  She, too, was happy about children - and lambs.  While on the farm one spring, two lambs had to be brought into the house as the ewe died in "childbirth".  Bramble was quite happy for them to attempt to suckle her, even though she had no milk, of course!  She became most distressed when one or other of the lambs called out and she was unable to check that all was OK.  There was one spring when we had a lamb in the garden to bottle feed.  I made a pen for it on the lawn, but Bramble worked out how to open the pen and we found her sitting inside while the lamb was happily chewing the wallflowers.

Our present dog, Fern, is another who adores children.  When our grandson was just walking she was still a puppy and they would chase each other round the dining table.  When Ben fell, Fern would stop and wait for him to get up.

This is Fern (a few years ago now) with one of her young friends in the park.


The Broad said...

Delightful post -- made me smile all the way through!

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Go ahead.
Blame me.
I'm perfectly happy to accept responsibility for this post.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Thank you kindly, ma'am - and sir.