My beautiful Purdie, who lives in my heart forever.
Dogs are such Characters
Dogs have their own character and personality, and when you own one, you learn in daily life,what they like and don’t like, and what their temperament is like. Training them is like bringing up a child, they are sometimes co-operative, other times they don’t want to know, but with love and patience, we can teach them how to respect their owner.
We rescued Prince, our first dog when he was 6 months old. He was a beautiful collie retriever cross, with soft black fur, and the collie flash under his chin. He was nervous and frightened, having been so abused and beaten by his cruel and ignorant owners, who had apparently bought him solely as a guard dog. When he showed no signs of aggression, they took out their frustration on him until a vigilant neighbour reported them and he was rescued.
Initially he was nervous at leaving the dog rescue lady who was the only person who had shown him any kindness, so we kept her with us for the first hour whilst we played with him to get his confidence. My husband John spent a lot of time with him, and right up until the day Prince died, John was always special to him, as he restored his faith is human nature.
He became a wonderful family dog, he was gentle with children, and friendly to everyone. He was also friendly with other dogs, never showing any signs of wanting to fight with any of them. If a dog was snappy, he just used to walk away from it, and turn his head and look the other way, as if to say, I am not interested, and it worked. The collie in him meant he loved to play ball, so keen was he, that we often played Piggy in the Middle with Prince in the middle, and he had been known to join in a game of football with the local lads,whilst out on a walk. He thoroughly deserved the name Prince, as he was a true gentleman in doggy world.
Purdie came next. She was roughly 2 to 3 years old when we rescued her. She was very beautiful. She was described as a collie retriever, and the gold shimmered through her dark brown coat, and the dogs home referred to her as brindle. But she couldn’t catch a ball in her mouth, and was a comical sight when she tried to. There was a distinct look of German Shepherd about her, and her motherly protectiveness seemed to bear that out. She had been neglected, shut in all day, and then let out to wander in the evening, no-one seemed to care about her.
Purdie was so entertaining, she used to clown around, lying down in puddles, jumping in an out of streams, and enjoying every moment of her life, in a way that dogs always seem to. She was the life and soul of the party, loving to romp and play fight with other dogs, but never with aggression. I loved her feistiness, and the way she did crazy things like swimming after swans, and then when they turned round to confront her, she ran a mile.
There was also an occasion when she saw a cat on a garden fence, and full of bravado, she leaped up and down, showing off really. She didn’t dislike cats, she lived with Charley, our little tabby, but she thought she would be the big I am, but this ginger tom was having none of it. He jumped off the shed, and chased the squealing Purdie away, who was really all mouth and knickers. The lady who lived there explained that the cat lived with 2 dogs, and always had the upper hand.
She came into my life just before my husband died, and for the eight years I had her, she was my mainstay, keeping me sane just after I lost him so suddenly, making me laugh when I really felt like weeping, taking care of me with such loyalty and devotion, so when I lost her, it left me with such a void in my life.
After we lost Purdie, Keith and I decided we would like the experience of bringing up a puppy, so we got Leo, a beautiful golden haired retriever. When he was young, we took him to puppy classes, and at that time he seemed a bit of a tearaway, that is until he was neutered. He became a very shy dog, both with people and with other dogs. He is naturally friendly, but seems to lack the courage to go right up to them, unless they are in our house, where he seems to have more confidence.
When we meet other dogs, he gives them a wide berth , even the very tiny ones, who soon get the measure of him, and often chase after him barking. He is different behind the fence, barking at any dog that dares to pass our house. His bark sounds deep and ferocious, and after reading in a dog guide that retrievers guarding ability is low, I tend to agree, although maybe the fact that he does bark is enough to keep burglars away. I hope so.
Leo is like a naughty boy, he would eat for England if we let him. Inside Leo is a fat retriever waiting to get out! We are working hard to keep him slim, but I’m not sure he appreciates it. He, too, is loving and loyal, but an interesting trait is his stubbornness.
Sometimes if he can’t get his own way he sulks, and always after we have been on holiday, instead of exuberantly running up to us, he spends the first hour ignoring us, but finally gets over it by getting up on the sofa and stretching his not so small body across my lap. If the cover is not on the settee, he feels he has achieved a victory.
He is now 6 years old, and incredibly handsome. We have frequently been asked to show him, but have never done it, as we don’t feel his nervous temperament could cope with it. Our late cat sussed out just how soft he was, using his head as a stepping stone to get onto Keith’s lap. He is obsessed with digging,so to protect our lawn, we have had to make him his own special area in the garden.
I have loved all my dogs, each one has a unique character, but one thing they all have in common is their loyalty. They were all gentle with children too. They have all returned the love we have given them, and owning them has so enriched my life. Each of them has a place in my heart for ever.