For those who have not read the cast of my adventure it does include my five cats, one of who was is a mad French rescue cat, who has no teeth and had obviously been through the mill, my beautiful old cat Molly, who is seventeen years old this year, and who, I know will break my heart one day, our fluffy part Ragdoll cat, Diddies, who is loving living in France after being terrorised by so many cats in such a small place when we lived in England. Then, last but never least, our youngest two, Daisy the Oompah Loompah, and tiny tinky Tilly, who is the most prolific hunter of them all.
But my story today is not about my cats, it is about my dogs, and dogs in general.
As you know we have two Welshies, both were re-homes, for various reasons, not least being that Welshies are the most willful terrier of all.
We have Wiglet,who we re-homed just over a year ago, she has a smile like alien (Welshies are renowned for smiling at you when they are happy) is possessive about food around Harley, and wants to eat Tilly. She comes from hunting stock and since we have had her she has killed two pigeons, a rabbit, a rat and nearly two of the cats!! But we love her, and we knew what we were taking on when we took on a Welshie; and look at her, butter would not melt!
In fact let me explain to you about Welshies, they look like teddy bears.In fact do you remember the famous vintage toys for children to help them walk? Well they were based on the Welsh and the Fox Terrier. In fact the Welsh is now becoming even more infamous because the new Chancellor of the Exchequer had one in England! There correct name is Welsh Wire Hair Terrier.
They are the most willful and loyal of terriers. Bred for hunting small rodents they are focused on their prey, and therefore not always trustworthy when not on their lead because if they see something then they will go, and their instinct will kick in and they, quite simply, cannot hear you when you call them.
So to the story, and before we start let me introduce you to Harley my beautiful boy, who has lived with us now for over three years and made us love this breed. He is my boo boo bear, and snuggles up to me every night,
On the afternoon of New Years Eve we were at our friends house, and they have a lake. Now you may remember this is the time of the beautiful, breathtaking frosts, (see it is like living in Narnia) and their lake was frozen solid.
Rich took the dogs out for a walk, Harley is a good boy and does not have to be off his lead but Wiglet is an escape artist and she does in their garden. Thank God she was on her lead because Rich looked up to see this:
It’s a Coypum a sort of water rat in France, and there it was shuffling it’s way across the lake to search for food. “Shit” (or merde! If we are going to speak French) thought Rich, I hope Harley has not seen it. So he called Harley over gently hoping to grab him.
Now Harley, being a Welshie, thought “Why is he calling me over? Mmmmm let me see what he is trying to hide” and immediately caught sight of the Coypu and shot off in hot pursuit straight onto the ice on the lake. Wiglet was going mad trying to join him and Rich had to pull her back to the house so that he had his hands free.
By the time he got back to the lake Harley and the Coypu, which was as big as Harley, were having an almighty fight in the middle of the lake, on the ice, with the ice cracking all around them. Rich was screaming at him to come to him, but he is a Welshie and all he wanted to do was kill the coypu (poor little thing).
I was upstairs but could hear Rich screaming Harley’s name from an acre away. I have never moved so fast, I don’t even remember pulling my boots on. When I got to the lake Harley was in the middle and I cannot describe the terror I felt when I heard the ice cracking. I gently started to call him and clap which meant he took his eyes off the coypu for a couple of seconds giving it a chance to back away to the edge of the lake and it’s Hide, Harley was following it snarling and barking, and the coypu was hissing and spitting at him. I cannot tell you how terrifying those few minutes were, they seemed like an eternity, and the thought of your dog going through the ice really does not bear thinking about. Would I have gone in after him? You bet I would! I was already mentally working out how best to make my way across the ice, and looking for large branches Rich could hold as a means for me to get back to the bank. I could not watch my dog die.
When Harley got near to the bank Rich grabbed him, and I cried, and to be honest so did Rich. I know that all those who have experienced the love of a dog will understand this feeling. Dogs give you everything, unconditional love, and all that they ask is that you love them in return.
Dog’s are a reminder that love is free, that we should cherish every moment, and that loss is a part of life, because they are with us such a short time but leave a dog shaped hole in our hearts that cannot be filled. But dogs also remind us that you should not fear loss, because it may stop you giving your heart in the first place. Missing out on all that love you could have had.
I had already made a decision that one of my new year hopes, and yes, aims was to go out with my dogs, even if it is just in the garden, and spend at least half an hour with them a day. Watching them doing ‘zoomies’ around the garden is a gift. Have I managed it? Almost, and although I have been really busy the last few weeks, and it below freezing every day I have still gone out in the cold most days with them. In fact the two little buggers have now come to expect it!
So I am going to say to some of you, you are never too old for a dog, even if you cannot take it for walks,get a small dog. There are so many who, like ours, need homes, and some of their stories would break your heart, but they will still love you. So open up your doors, and your hearts and let them in.
I have to go now, it it getting dark and they are waiting for me.