Friday 21 May 2010

For Taz.

This is for Niko, who as a dog owner would never, ever kick a dog.

If he knows what's good for him.

I've had dogs all my life, apart from between the ages of eighteen to twenty-seven.(No, not prison like you Niko)

The first was "Angus", a black and white crossbreed who probably was more of a guard dog than a family pet, as my four year old self was warned not to go near him.

Yet I did, and got a vicious(to me)nip, and a chase to the end of his tether.

The next dog I knew well was a Golden Labrador brought home by my brother when I was about eight. Called "Paddy" he was a major influence in my life. Playing puppy tug with his blanket one evening, he lost his grip on it and then reaffirmed it on my tracksuit bottoms and ripped them off in full view of older girls playing next door...

Yet he became my best friend of course. I went to college one day and came back to find him gone.

For the best.

He'd had a cough, the vet was called, throat cancer was discovered, and he was put down. My eighteen year old self, distraught and taking it out on my parents, made a bad situation horrible by railing at them, saying they should have fucking waited till I'd got home.

Part of me still thinks that...

A few years later, and I got owned by a tiny Jack called "Thunder". I'd just moved to a small village and knew nobody. Going to the pub with him I became acquaintanced with his many friends, he would jump up on a barstool and stare the landlord in the eye until he got his rightful pepperami.

Then I'd get a pint as an afterthought.

He died aged eighteen, and I vowed, no more dogs. They hurt too much.

I did not reckon on my daughter. I got a phonecall at work, saying I had a "surprise" waiting for me when I got home.

Hoping it was a Harley, I opened the front door and a tiny ball of hair, pink tongue and whipping tail climbed up my trousers and leapt into my hands.

What could I do?

Um...especially since I had been talking to a guy in the pub about a pup from his nieces' Parson Russell bitch's litter...

So I had two dogs. A drunken thought of breeding them took hold. And was fulfilled.

So now I have four dogs.


Rescue dog,(not from a dog charity, still had fallopian tubes) Mostly Jack Russell, with a hint of Yorky.

Gizmo: Parson Jack Russell. Biggest one I have ever seen. Looks like a small Foxhound.

Alpha male, have to watch him with other male dogs.


Escape artist.No hole too small, no fence too tall.


Worst name ever. Tolerates humans, anything, anything else is fair game. Upper canines protrude below lower jaw, but hidden by hair. Suprises her victims.

Then kills them.

I have stories.
Another time.


  1. Nice Conan, you old softy you.

    I haven't had a dog since my late teens. My folks had kennels in the early sixties, they had Dobermans, Rottweilers, Bull Mastiff's and Weimeraners. The family story, as it goes, is that the first KC registered Doberman's in the UK were sired under the name 'Mark Ace' shortly after I was born. One of them, the charmingly named 'Lugar', heh it was the sixties, won at Crufts and rewarded my mother with a mauling on the hand and arm. He was given to plod as a trainee police dog, he worked out well and then turned on his handler. When he was put down (horrible euphemism) an aneurysm was discovered on his brain. The legendary thin skull was to blame for his behaviour. The bitch 'Gerda' stayed with us until she died when I was 8.

    I remember coming home from school one day to hear snarling around the back garden, ran round to be confronted by this fucking wolf. Promptly shat myself, turned and ran, only for 'Thor' to bounce on top of me, knock me to the ground and sit on me and drool all over my blazer...He was an extremely large Tervuren Belgian Shepherd probably crossed with an Alsation, given the size of him. He was my buddy until my mid teens.

    I've often thought about getting a dog for the boys, but a fondness for travel at a minutes notice and the prevailing dislike of doggy smell has put me off. It might be time for a rethink...

  2. Nice post Conan, heartfelt and touching - man's loyalty to his best friend.

    I've had one dog in my life, as a high school teenager I helped out at a Boxer breeder's kennels, doggy smells and affectionate pups are my endearing memory of that time.

    One day the local free roaming alpha Labrador managed to get one of the prize pedigree breeding bitches pregnant, my friend who was walking her tried to fight off the amorous Lab and had the scars to show for her troubles for some time afterward. I, on the other hand, acquired one of the pups. I had him for 4 years, a smashing fun and loyal constant companion during my angst ridden teenage years. Just before I left for Uni managed to get himself squashed by the Glasgow Express bus - I was distraught and have never had the courage to acquire another dogpanion or forgiven public transport.

    If you are breeding yours again perhaps you could let me know?

  3. As a dog-lover (because of frequent travel I haven't replaced my last best friend and for the first time in my life am dogless), you have my official permission to kick Niko if he even THINKS about kicking a dog.

  4. Nice one Conan,

    I have always had dogs; from the Collie called Laddie (wonder why) when I was three, through my English Springer Spaniel (almost the dumbest dog in the World) to a Fox Terrier (the neatest wee dug in the World and only interested in picking fights with Alsations, Dobermen, Coos and the occasional face off with a Hunter in the street, to finally my Bullterrier (Tam). Tam lived with me in France from 10 weeks old (should have been 12 weeks for me to export him from UK but, he was big for his age) and as a pedigree of fine lineage was registered with the KC. His official name was Tam le Bam du Gers, honestly. He answered to the name of Tam and really anything else if the fridge door was open.

    The meanest looking pirate eyed dug you could not imagine and the gentlest most unaggressive dog I have ever known. Living in the deep country we never had one bit of bother from passing gitanes or any Rag Tag or Bobtail. Word must have been passed.

    The only trouble he gave me was when I left the gate open and whoosh, he was off a hunting the deer, foxes and boar. He brought home a 3 month dead fox once, stinking to high heaven but, he was proud.

    He finally died after developing an oesophageal cancer which was not operable. He is planted underneath his favourite cherry tree, the one from which he used to eat the cherries directly off the low branches. His shits were are masterpiece in modern art worthy of Tracy Emin.

    The cherries will be good this year in a few weeks. Late but good.

    I miss the wee bastard.

  5. Mark, when you have four dogs, you don't *notice* the smell anymore...
    Ally, all my bitches are spayed :¬(
    Jeanne, I don't think for a moment that Niko would kick a dog, it's just his usual belly-rumbling...
    Bugger. Aye, losing a dog HURTS. Coincidently, Thunder is buried under a wild cherry tree in my garden alongside a stillborn pup of Bessies.
    I'm not ashamed that I cried burying them both.

  6. I'm sure you're right that Niko wouldn't really kick a dog--but just in case. ;)

    My last dog was also a spaniel. Bugger is wrong though. His couldn't have been the dumbest because mine was. The sweet nature made up for it. And earlier a wee terrier (eek I said wee. I hang around you lot too much) that was about 8 inches tall but was convinced he could take on any other dog in the world and the occasional cow. Fortunately, they mostly just looked at him in utter bafflement why something so little was making so much noise.

    Any decent person should cry when they lose a dog. One of the hardest things in the world.

  7. Jeanne, there's nothing wrong in having an occasional's quite healthy for you, especially after drinking beer.

  8. Oh, is THAT what you Scots mean by wee... *smacks forehead* Americans are dim sometimes. Here I thought it meant something else. ;-)