Monday, 21 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'R'

R - Rottweiler, Retriever

Crufts, The greatest dog show in the world, has been on while I have drafted some posts for this year's Challenge. The Best in Breed for the Working Group turned out to be Barney, a Rottweiler. 

I don't have any photos of him but it just so happens that a five months-old puppy has recently come to live in my village.

Max - Rottweiler puppy
Max walks quite well on a lead even at this age and he is getting used to meeting people. Now that he recognises me he wants to play and not sit still to be photographed.

Rottweilers are an ancient breed once used in wild-boar hunting and as a cattle dog. More recently they have been used for police work and as guard dogs.

I introduced you to the "Gang of Four" under 'L' for Labrador.Now it's the Retriever's turn in a second "Gang of Four," also owned by my daughter and her husband.

Black Lab Mutt (Gem), Retrievers - Cody, Scout and Lily
Cody and Scout were special mates since they came from the same breeder. Cody had been cared for there for a long time after his owner died. When Scout was a puppy and and the breeders had a licensing problem their dogs were being taken into care while the problem was sorted out. When the premises were being cleared Cody had hidden Scout in a cupboard and laid down in front of the door so that he would not be found.

They were both 'loaned' out with number of other dogs to stay with Gem and blind Sam (see 'L'). Cody and Scout proved inseparable and they stayed when the other dogs went back. After Sam passed on the new "Gang of Four" was formed when they were joined by Lily, a Golden Retriever puppy.

Cody being teased by Scout
Cody died last summer. He was a dog who had some favourite positions, usually spreadeagled on the floor.

With one eye on his tennis ball
They all like swimming in the lake, probably Scout most of all.

Scout coming back to land
Lily, looking angelic
But as befits the youngest she's the one always in trouble.

Anyone would think she had had a busy day

Saturday, 19 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'Q'

Q - Queens

Finding a dog's name beginning with 'Q' proved impossible. But knowing that Queen Elizabeth II bred Corgis opened up a different approach for me.

A Corgi from Germany
This is a dog I have not met, but it's photo appeared on a Christmas Card we received last year so at least I know where it lives.

The Corgi is a small herding dog associated with Wales.

A Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Queen has been largely instrumental in the popularity of the breed; she has had at least four Corgis at any one time. I have been unable to find a photo of her dogs without copyright restrictions.

However the George VI and Queen Elizabeth Monument has a bronze frieze showing the Queen Mother with her Corgis (on the right).

The Queen Mother, her Corgis and a day at the races
(A bronze designed by Paul Day; photo by Charlie Dave, CC BY 2.0)

The Queen that I knew best lived in America - Maxie, the Matriarch of the Gang of Four, who appeared under 'L'. 

Maxie waiting for the Trash Cart
This photo accompanied a letter I had published in "Dogs Today" in the UK in 2007

“Dear Dogs Today

The photo of a dog tag for Max in a letter about ID law (June issue) reminded me of my daughter’s nine-year-old Labrador, Maxie, who lives in Michigan, USA. She is affectionately known as The Trash Cart Queen (the American trash cart performs the same role as our refuse collection lorries).

When Maxie was a puppy and living on a development where the houses had no gardens, she and her brother Sam would often wander off. Despite both of them being well known it always seemed to be the trash cart that brought Maxie home, riding proudly in the cab.

Though Maxie, Sam and two rescued Labs became the owners of a fenced-off 10-acre plot out in the country, despite the fences Maxie will on occasions still wander off. Now being lazy, she has been known to sit down by the wayside so that she may be picked up by the trash cart and ride home in style, in what she seems to regard as her right. The trash cart crew have never had to resort to coercion or read the details of her address and phone number on her tag.”

As the Matriarch of the Gang of Four, Maxie 'earned' special privileges none of which she liked better than this.

Friday, 18 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'P'

P - Parson Jack Russell Terrier, Pippa, Pug

We have already seen a Jack Russell Terrier under 'J'. The feisty, energetic Parson Jack Russell is its recognised show variety. It was this man 

Parson Jack Russell, 1795- 1883
who bred the dogs named after him. The only Parson Jack Russell that I've met was a Parson Jack Russell crossed with a Border Terrier.

Ozzy - a Parson Jack Russell/Border Terrier cross
He wasn't at all interested in meeting me; he wanted to be off chasing the squirrels he could see.

With Pippa it's a different story, she strains at the leash to reach me. To look at her in this photo you would think that butter would not melt in her mouth.

Pippa - a Cockerpoo
Pippa featured in my North Yorkshire Dogs series here along with her playmates, Poppy the Westie and Morse, the black Labrador with the tongue.

Poppy, Pippa and Morse
When I meet Betty I always feel she has her beady eyes on me.

Betty - a Pug, toy dog
Pugs were known in ancient China and as you can see they have a definite personality despite their small size.

Novices wishing to become members of the Mops-Orden or Order of the Pug (a one-time Roman Catholic ladies para-masonic society) had to kiss a Pug's backside under its tail as part of their initiation ceremony. As members they carried a silver Pug medallion.

Perhaps I should add that that Pug's backside was made of porcelain!


Thursday, 17 April 2014

A-Z Challenge - O'

O - Otterhound, Old English Bulldog, Old English Sheepdog

This post has an old feel about it as the Otterhound is an old British dog breed.

Two Otterhounds
The Otterhound, one of the ancestral breeds for the Airedale Terrier (see A), is now a Vulnerable Native Breed. A scent hound it was, as the name suggests, bred for hunting otters.

Otters have been on the list of protective species since the late 1970s and otter hunting has ceased. The number of Otterhounds has decreased despite some switching to hunting mink.

As I boy I remember going on otter hunts on the River Chater in Rutland. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said I remembered the hounds - I never saw an otter either.

Old English Bulldog
This chap we met on a walk at the Portrack Nature Reserve at Stockton-on-Tees. This ancient breed was developed for bull-baiting around the 13th century. Now that;s a 'sport' I'm glad no longer exists.

I'm sure we would all recognise the 'Dulux' dog from the advertisements.

Old English Sheepdog
Once known as the 'Bobtail' English Sheepdog due it's docked stubby tail, the Old English Sheepdog makes many fictional appearances. The one I always remember is 'Boot' in the strip cartoon "The Perishers" in the Daily Mirror.

The first Perishers' cartoon
Other Sheepdog stars were Colonel in "One Hundred and One Dalmatians" and Digby in "The Biggest Dog in the World." 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Hungry? - Thematic Photography

The only way I could tackle this was to eat my way through the day.

Just a bagel and marmalade with cup of tea to start the day.

Lunch was a little more elaborate,

Lunch platter
Working clockwise this is what there was - 
  • Corn beef  sandwich (brown bread of course)
  • Tomato
  • Piece of Camembert 
  • Cracker with pate
  • Chocolate spread on bread crust
  • Grapes
  • Half a banana
When it came to our evening meal this is what I had - 

Liver and three veg (potatoes, carrots & green beans)
Followed by - 

Hidden under the yogurt and grated chocolate are pineapple chunks and blueberries.

I wonder what it will be tomorrow? Meanwhile check out what made others hungry at Carmi's thematic-photographic-290.

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'N'

N - Norfolk/Norwich Terrier, Newfoundland

I knew nothing about either of these terriers until I looked them up, apparently the Norfolk is a variety of the Norwich Terrier. You can distinguish between them by looking at their ears.

A recently groomed Norfolk Terrier
(By Flillia; 6 April 2008; PD)
The Norfolk was recognised as a separate breed in 1960 and has dropped ears; the Norwich Terrier's ears are pricked,

You would have no problem identifying a Newfoundland from its size, A large dog weighing in at over 70kg, it hails from the province of Newfoundland in Canada where with its webbed feet and water resistant fur it was a dog favoured by fishermen.

Newfoundland Dog (Young R├╝de)

(By Gunter Rott, January 2006; Newfoundlanddog at de.wikipedia; CC BY-SA 3.0)
These large dogs may be black, brown, white and black (Landseer) or grey. That Landseer 'colour' arises from a series of paintings by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer of the black and white Newfoundlands.

Lion, a Newfoundland Dog - 1824 oil painting

(By Sir Edwin Henry Landseer - ex Google Art Project)
Newfoundlands feature in poems and stories.

Boatswain, the pet of Lord Byron, became the subject of his poem "Epitaph to a Dog" and had a memorial built for him at Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire after his death from rabies.

The Boatswain Memorial (inscription)

(By Steve Dufour, 7 Sept 2007 - original photo by Ray Treece)
In literature the pet dog of Edward Fairfax Rochester in Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" was a Newfoundland named Pilot.

It should come as no surprise that J M Barrie had a pet Landseer Newfoundland (Luath) which was said to have been the inspiration for Nana, the nurse dog of Wendy, John and Michael in his classic story of "Peter Pan."

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A-Z Challenger 2014 - 'M'

M - Maltese. Mongrel/Mutt, Matriarch

I always knew what this post would be about. It just had to about Gem, the black Labrador Mutt, in the gang of four that appeared in yesterday's post.

However just so that you don't think I'm biased I'll include a picture of a breed of dog that I have never seen. She is a toy dog; one of those descended from dogs originating in the Central Mediterranean area.

"Vairette", a Maltese at a Championship in Birmingham
(By Sannse , 29 August 2003, CC BY-SA 3.0)
But in the "Gang of Four" the two Golden Labradors were the original "Dogs of Troy" and with pedigrees felt they were above such lowly beings as 'mutts.' I let them tell you the story of how Gem changed their minds.

"We had just got our new home sussed when one fateful day we ran out of food. We were left on our own while the mad English woman and the man that also feeds us went out in their car – we thought to buy some more. Then shock and awe, (a phrase we used way before George Bush had heard of it), they came back from the pet store with more than a supply of food.
With them was a small black bundle of fur with legs at each corner. Now we had to share our home with Gem, a six-week old puppy which had been left at the rescue centre in the store. We were not too sure what we should do. After all, we were upmarket pedigree dogs while Gem was just a black lab mutt and a refugee.

Gem, the mutt
We soon learnt as Gem grew bigger that she was smarter than she looked – how could such a young pup have become so ‘streetwise’ at such young an age? Nevertheless we had to teach her not to gnaw things that did not belong to her and not to pee on the kitchen floor. Outside she was such a little thing that the English woman with long legs had to bend right down to stroke and make a fuss of her.

Gem gets some attention
 We were more considerate as by this time we were tall enough to be stroked without anyone having to bend down and anyway we had learnt how to climb and sit on the furniture – how we liked the settee and the soft chairs. Mind you all three of us had to sleep in the garage with two cars.
Her fur  different to ours and when it grew long and it was a hot summer she was taken back to the pet store to have it clipped. She hated it! The first time she went she really showed what she thought of the indignity because when the mad English woman went to collect her she rushed out of the store and across the road and climbed into the front seat of the first car she saw with an open door. You must have thought she was going to be left behind. We can imagine what the car driver thought on being attacked by a black projectile as Gem hurtled in. The mad English woman had to rescue her and apologise on Gem’s behalf. Gem now is calmer when she’s sheared – but she doesn’t have to like it.
Houdini would have been a better name for Gem. It wasn’t long before she perfected ways of escaping from our corral. She could always find that loose bit of wire under which she could squeeze even if she had to dig a hole first. Before she was big enough to jump the fence she perfected a technique of climbing it, balancing on the top prior to making yet another break. Many times when those that feed us came home she would be sitting outside the fence and they never knew how she had got there.

Gem in 2013
Years later Gem became the star at an Olympics for disabled children in Michigan, despite the fact that she had had no training for this. She just loves being the centre of attention and being fondled. The fact that she was allowed to lick their faces made her day.

Incidentally we should explain that the three of us don’t really think our English woman is mad. It’s just that other humans think she and her husband must be mad to keep three dogs. We can imagine what they thought when, a year after Gem joined us, and three dogs at Deer Trail became four with the addition of a chocolate brown Labrador called Jack. With his arrival the pack, known as "The Gang of Four" was complete."

It was Maxie (on the right) who was the 'Matriarch' of the "Gang". Guess who has become the 'Matriarch' of a gang in her old age. (You''ll meet Gem's gang later under the letter 'R'.)

Gem, the Matriarch
Not bad for just a mutt!

(Depending on the source a mongrel or mutt is defined as|:
  • A dog of no definable type or breed.
  • A dog not the result of breeding and belonging to no breed.
Gem would feel insulted!)

When it comes to dogs I meet in the village one of the most nervous dogs I met  could also be classed as a mutt although there's a lot of the Border Collie in her.

When I was walking behind her she looked back, nearly every step, apparently worried at my presence. It took a long time, almost a year, for her to get over this. Now I'm pleased to say she comes to meet me and waits to be stoked before barking quietly to show her pleasure.