Doggy, Hill Farming, Humour

Pedro’s Summer (do)Glog!

 

The sheep are sheared and drenched, the lambs are all injected and sprayed for blow fly and lice, and Maa’s been done for horse fly and midgy (she tastes most peculiar) and she’s finished the paperwork (boring), so we’re off out — it must be Summer.

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Keeping Cool!SONY DSC

Posing in the sunshine!

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Walks now limited by bovine population explosion.

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So we’re going to dig another pond with Alan’s new little helper…

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Who is quieter and less temperamental than the old one who had to be taken away.  Driven onto the lorry with much slipping, sliding, huffing and puffing of blue smoke — Alan was sad.

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But the topper has broken so, while Alan mends it, Maa and I have got to cut all the thistles by hand — that’s why I’ve got to do the blog — Maa’s too stiff!.

Cheers all!

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animal psychology, Communication, Doggy, Hill Farming, Humour

Working dog? Superdog

Here he is!

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Not working!

Is he a Welsh Sheepdog?

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Well, sort of.

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He certainly understands sheep.

He knows when they are ill.

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A caring-dog for any of our lambs that are poorly.

He’s much more than that.

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Intrepid mountain-dog and finder-of-the-way-home-dog.

‘Responsible-adult’-dog.  Always alert, sensor-of-danger-dog.

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Night-hound, watcher-of-your-back-dog.

Ratter, humane catter, licker-up-of-mess-dog.

He’s a parson’s nose disposer.

He’s not a ‘blind-dog’ but he’s a seeing-in-the-dark-dog, a hearing-for-the-relatively-deaf-dog and a sniffer-dog for the finding-something-dead-job.

But most important — he is a remembering-dog.  Working with the terminally forgetful.

If the chickens have not been turned out or the cratches not filled with hay he will fix the farmer with his beady eye (see above) and throw glances at the chicken house or the cratch until the farmer says,”Oh yes, we’d better see to the chickens,” or the hay or the 101 other forgettable chores on our little farm.

spring 2012 209 Pedro

Pedro

 

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Doggy

The Sheepdog’s Apprentice

Pedro is more of a general-purpose farm-dog and having a little helper is as much of a trial as a boon. But there is nothing like showing another what you do to make you realise what a full and interesting life you lead.

Pedro and the work-experience student

Pedro and the work-experience student

Marley has come to stay for a couple of weeks while Alison and Dan have a little respite in Spain, he is ten months old and curious and learning to be good.

The sheep took one look at Marley, from a distance and on a lead, and withdrew to the uppermost margin of the field where they gathered, in a defensive formation, ready to stamp their feet and advance as one, heads low, armed for butting, should he approach — they understand dogs completely, especially young ones.

Pedro looked askance at their reaction — the sheep have ignored him for years, ever since the day when he had been placed to block their way — he held his ground like a good dog should and each of them, in turn, jumped over him!

I am taking them for a walk to wear out the youngster but something strange has happened to Pedro — he is in mentor-mode.

Pedro and Marley

He shows Marley the ropes — the fences, the hedges, the tracks.  He shows him all the holes in the fences where the foxes and the badgers come in — he doesn’t have to explain, he just shows him how to sniff them and, by golly, he’s got a good nose!

He sees, with his nose, where the badgers get in from the rain forest-

Thi is where the badgers have burrowed under the fence -- can you smell them??

This is where the badgers have burrowed under the fence — can you smell them??

and what they have done to the pasture — this is the time of the year when the badgers scratch off the turf to feed-up on worms and grubs before winter.

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Badger damage — the rootling of the earth pig (Welsh name – smells the same)

This is a run --can you smell a fox -- when we find a good bit we'll roll in it.

This is a run –can you smell a fox — when we find a good bit we’ll roll in it.

He shows him where the toadstools grow.

Marley

(No Sue, my last blog had nothing to do with mushrooms, magic or otherwise)

And now we’re going home for tea and a nice lie down — Pedro looks tired, it’s a big responsibility.

Pedro and Marley

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Doggy, Humour, Pedro's glog, Sheep

Pedro’s New Year Glog

I wasn’t born to be a sheep dog — more of an urban animal really — bit of a Jack-the-lad, I suppose.  Not a yobbo — urbane, they say — I’ve been to the theatre twice — outdoor, don’t you know — I’ve seen Hamlet!

Sheep Dog or what?

Sheep Dog or what?

I’m a Generic Hound, sometimes called an Original Dog, with nothing added and nothing taken away — they haven’t nibbled away at my genome (that’s what I’m told by my friend, the geneticist), I came with all my natural potentiality then just had to find a niche — that’s where I live now — in my niche.

Supervising Shearing at the Niche

Supervising Shearing at the Niche, thanks to Peter Jenkins for the picture (all rights reserved).

It suits me, I like the out-door life and the rain and if you have a good brain and understand their lingo (human’s that is, despite their undoubted intelligence, sheep have little conversation) it’s not difficult.  One starts by just ‘helping out’ a bit and before you know it you’re on ‘One Man and His Dog’, except that she’s One Woman and, quite honestly, there is very little chance of us attaining celebrity because of her, what shall I say, declining powers.  I can understand  her perfectly but she doesn’t always think situations through or, indeed, even close the right gates, but we muddle along.  It’s not that she doesn’t understand me, one flick of the eyes and she knows exactly what I mean but she’s wilful — thinks she knows best and, to be honest, since the operation I really can’t be bothered to assert myself.

Ady -- my trusted lieutenant.

Aby — my trusted lieutenant.

Aby helps, she’s my ward, I raised her from  a new-born lamb when she was orphaned and had to live in the new wet-room, then the kitchen — she’s the only creature that I’ve ever allowed in my basket.  Not now — she’s got very big and clumsy but she still talks a lot, much more than the other sheep.  She’s had lots of lambs of her own now but none of them are quite like her.  We have a soft spot for each other, she and I, she lets me lick her new lambs which the others would never do — they stamp their petulant little feet and I wouldn’t mess with any of them.

Abby and others 2012 073

Aby with her 2012 lamb who is called Eighty-one and will be having her own lamb in April.

Proud Guardian!

Proud Guardian!

I do most of the remembering, I’m the time keeper, I know when things should be done, and I deal with security and pest control — I manage the cats and catch the adult rats (they really only cope with the young ones).

Protecting Boss from pesky cat (demonstrating sophisticated emotion) Jealous dog -- they do PhDs in that.

Protecting Boss from pesky cat (demonstrating sophisticated emotion). Jealous dog — they do PhDs in that.

It’s not all work, I have holidays, mainly beach retrieving holidays.

Here I am in Ireland.

Here I am in Ireland.

Wishing you all the best for 2015, Pedro

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Doggy, Humour, Wales

Feelgood Friend

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I feel another half-baked theory coming on — pet owners live longer than other people, probably just because they are more active (getting up in the night to open doors, clearing up messes, taking long walks, searching for missing balls, disposing of bodies, washing duvets etc.).  This fits in with the bowls and ballroom dancing phenomenon —  any doctor will tell you that their oldest and healthiest patients are those who still engage in these strange physical practices.  The key, it seems, is activity — any activity.

Happiness is also supposed to be good for you and is definitely infectious — perhaps it is a zoonosis (something you catch from animals).

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All of this crossed my mind this week-end while on a camping holiday on the Gower peninsula in South Wales — we only went for a couple of days because it’s November and the weather forecast was appalling.  The timing was not negotiable as Alan had been invited on a brewery sponsored trip to see the Scarlets play rugby against Glasgow at Llanelli and Llanelli is just a knock-on from the Gower — I was to pick him up after the match.

He found me in the camper van, parked in Morrison’s car park outside the stadium — I didn’t recognise him, not because of the strangeness and unsteadiness of his gait but for some reason he had donned a flat cap and a muffler — a throw-back to his childhood, perhaps.  The rain was driving and the wind howled around the van  which became super-cooled.

I had booked into the camp-site earlier but it was already dark and stormy.  That was when I made the acquaintance of the owner of the adjacent livery stable — an animated man with a coat over his head who danced  around the camper van in the heavy rain and the glow of my brake lights as I exercised a 17-point turn in his cluttered yard.

As I drove Alan back to the Gower he was relatively oblivious to the idiosyncrasies of my driving style and we found the pitch again with ease, it was the only one with a crooked number which I had adjusted earlier with the near-side bumper.

Next morning I awoke under the pile of duvets and the survival blanket, I was warm– Alan was alive, despite the hot water bottle having fallen out of the end of our bed and into the dogs basket during the night.  The sun was shining through the cracks in the window insulation.  There is something rather wonderful about the quality of the light on the Gower.

Something about the light -- there should be a Gower school of art -- perhaps there is!

Something about the light — there should be a Gower school of art — perhaps there is!

If you like wide open beaches, the Gower is for you.

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The sunshine bought out the crowds — we must have seen eight people in the course of the day, most disguised as seals and frolicking in the surf —

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I think wet suits are quite sinister and expected our dog Pedro to pick up 0n this but it seems that they smell rubbery, like ball which is even better than stick and, it turns out, surfers are exactly his type of person.

A dog day that starts with a hot-water bottle is going to turn out well.

The Gower is his sort of place and I am left musing how strange it is that spending a day throwing balls for a wet dog can make a human feel so happy.

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Communication, Doggy, Humour

Dog Friendly Accomodation

Not just dog friendly — pig friendly — horse friendly — duck friendly — goose friendly — and, yes, human friendly!

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We stayed in a place once, recommended by the Cornish Tourist Office as dog-friendly, where Pedro had to sleep in the car and the landlady sniffed at the gap under our bedroom door.  When we surprised her in the act, she accused my husband of smoking which he had not been doing (although he might have smelled of tobacco!)

Thus we are sceptical about such claims of tolerance and frienship.

Not so at the Crooked Inn, Trematon, near Saltash, Cornwall, England (for far-away friends).

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Here we were welcomed by the host, a large, elderly, golden Labrador who met us in the car park and led us into the bar, explaining the rules to Pedro on the way under his breath.  Inside was a heaving Friday night bar where unseen wagging tails flagellated our passing legs.

Food was being served and dogs lolled under tables.  One of the locals was tired and emotional and obviously disliked tourists, he growled at Pedro and was bundled away by his friends several of whom then came over and introduced themselves.

In the dinning room, Pedro was calmed by under-floor heating and ate fat from excellent sirloin steak.

No one woofed in the night, not even when someone fell over a goose and set of the alarm.

Breakfast was generous smoked haddock with a perfect poached egg, garnished with lemon and fresh lime.  Outside the huge pig wandered free, unmolested by the running dogs and ignored by the over-coated horse.  The puddle-ducks dabbled and the geese gaggled and Pedro prepared for the serious business of the day

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Doggy

Charismatic Canine

Pedro, our dog, ought to have his own blog (not a weblog but a doglog — a glog), but then maybe no-one would ever visit mine.  His posts already get all the likes and comments. SONY DSC When we first moved to Wales, when he was still young and intact and the world was full of willing bitches, Pedro was irrepressible, unrestrainable, clever (he still is) and devious (that too).  He earned us the reputation of the feckless English who could not even control their own dog. In this farming area he should have been shot; you can’t have big, powerful dogs just wandering about: dogs will always be dogs.  The thing was he didn’t just wander; he had purpose and inherent cunning.  He was never seen anywhere near a sheep, although he regularly crossed their fields, he always kept out of sight, a commando — along the stream or in the ditch.  There were no give-away signs of the sheep gathering or running, they didn’t even smell him. While bitches wailed in disappointment angry farmers locked him in barns only to be bedazzled by his escapology; he is always very biddable when caught, it’s a fair cop, chwarae teg in Welsh; he can speak Welsh and do door handles, knobs and latches.  One farmer is still scratching his head, like Sherlock Holmes: you see both doors were locked from the outside and the only window was a good twelve feet from the ground; I’m told he’s taking holy orders, the farmer, not Pedro. 043Ped closeup It was pure charisma that kept him alive; he would boldly approach the man with the shot-gun, wagging his tail, as if he’d known him for years.  Perhaps he had licked his face one night recently when he lay drunk in the hedge while trying to get a bit of shut-eye on his way back from a lock-in at the pub.  Perhaps the farmer recognised in Pedro his own younger self; they do say that the Welsh (careful) are a passionate race and have their own traditional ways of courting, not dissimilar to Pedro’s. Anyway he survived and I have written about his adventures elsewhere.  I’ve never known anyone, human or otherwise, who knows so many people.  He’s a dog who comes home, after a night out, in the post van (You know how postmen feel about dogs).  The postman lets him out at the gate and he trots home. We benefitted indirectly from Pedro’s fame; farmers know a good dog when they see one, even if he is with that damn silly English couple.  When introduced to us at chapel they would say, ‘Oh yes, Pedro’s people.’ SONY DSC But all that changed when something happened down the valley, news of it drifted up on the wind, came through the key hole and under the door, Pedro sniffed, he trembled, he whimpered… To be continued.

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