I know it is usually the other way around, but this week saw Tania leave with her dogs on Tuesday morning and, after a burst of activity hampered only by changeable weather, Mac and Mary (Grandpa and Grandma to the uninitiated) left with Clare on Thursday morning, for Clermont-Ferrand/Aulnat airport for their return flight to Southampton. They left in fog, rain and threatened thunderstorms, but we did learn that everyone arrived home in one piece (each) after the usual reassuringly uneventful journeys.
The activity mentioned consisted of a lot of artistic stuff in the new workroom, making stuff with Fimo – I knew that Clare and Grandma were very adept in this enterprise, but was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly and how well and with what enthusiasm Mac picked it up. As well as this, the job of cutting the wood left from the garage demolition continued. This was restricted to times when a set of circumstances intersected – not too hot, not raining and not busy with something else. Again, two chainsaws were pressed into use and again, I found that Mac had gone out and done a load whilst I was in the study. We were both disappointed, albeit for different reasons, that we were unable to do the entire job before Mac returned home. However …
It’s coming on.
Rob and Julie had planned to go away for a week. They had originally intended to take one of their dogs and asked if we could care for the other. As Julie is incredibly kind enough to look after Trevor and the Podge when we are away, and as they are good friends, we unhesitatingly agreed. On consideration, they felt that their dogs might not do too well separated, so could we possibly look after them both for a week. We suggested that they bring them over, we would put them together in the garden for a while and, after they had negotiated their relative positions in the pecking order and discussed rights and responsibilities, we would happily look after however many survived!
Rob brought them on Friday evening. The plan was that we would have them overnight – Rob and Julie were planning to leave on Saturday morning – and report back if there were any trouble. We put them together and allowed them to negotiate, stepping in only when they started behaving in a manner so belligerent and uncivilised that they could pass for the front benchers in the House of Commons. Didn’t happen much, for which we are duly grateful.
They quickly settled down into a simple arrangement which, with very little modification, is still currrent. Trevor, as the smallest, decided he should be in the top position (little dogs seem to be as bellicose as vertically challenged people – it’s often seems that the smallest shoulders carry the largest chips). Trevor doesn’t like Milo getting too close – Milo is big! Ulysse, after a very long time being dominated by Trevor, will try to dominate anyone he can. Neither of Julie’s dogs want to be dominated, so he contents himself with the odd growl (which fools no-one) but otherwise just accepts the situation. Trevor and Dimple are both accustomed to being top dog, so occasionally differ on policy decisions. They occasionally play together, occasionally argue, but basically seem to get on. It’s a bit like the coalition government, but without the backbiting.
Basically, they are all good dogs – but we have enhanced our border security to be on the safe side, and so we can allow them all to be free, if only in the small front patch.
Here are our new guests:
Milo, I am told, is a Lurcher. He is certainly more greyhound than anything else. Our impression of him is that he is, like most of that breed, mostly placid, undemanding, amenable and fundamentally lazy. Not a young dog – I seem to recall Rob saying he is 12 year old which, for a Greyhound, is a good age. He is still pretty fit and, when suitably motivated, can run quite quickly.
Dimple is a Smooth Fox Terrier. Seeing her and Ulysse together reinforces my belief that the two breeds are not related (which happily coincides with current theory). You need only look at the head and muzzle shape of the two dogs to see that there is little similarity. Where the two breeds are similar is in their propensity to wilfulness, and their love of play (provided it isn’t knocked out of them by a dominant Jack Russell - thank you, Trevor!).
Like Trevor (and the similarities of temperament are too many to recount), Dimple is mostly a very affectionate, loving, lovable dog. Like Trevor (and Ulysse, for that matter), she is less easy to love when her terrier demons take over.
We are looking forward to the rest of the week as the dogs become more comfortable in each other’s company although, after almost three years together, Trevor and Ulysse haven’t really progressed much beyond peaceful co-existence.