September is my favourite month for many, many reasons.
The end of September always makes me a little sad but but I am always looking forward very much to the next one.
It is filled with lovely things for us:-
It is the month we take our main annual holiday
It is the month of Burghley Horse Trials
It is the month of harvest
It is the month of Sandringham Game Fair
It is a month when we do most of our walking
It is the month when the best fungi appear.
It is the month of Food Festivals across the country. Ludlow being our favourite.
It is the month for Bramble picking & making Jam.
It is the month of Indian Summers when the heat has left the sun but the cold months are not showing themselves yet.
It is the month we got our hound and collected him when he was just 8 weeks old.
And it is the month we got married
It’s safe to say that Max does not like the water.
He’s spent an extraordinary amount of time getting wet with weekly baths to sort out his skin problem so I can understand the aversion to it.
But even before the allergy started, he wasn’t the first into the sea or any body of water that you’d throw a stick into.
He might venture into the shallows to retrieve a treat but we have lost a lot of balls and toys on the beaches of norfolk because he just won’t go in to get them if a swim or deep water of any kind is required.
Add a bit of competition though and that is a completely different matter as we found out recently.
We have my sis’s JRT, Hamlet with us for a while again and we took Max for a walk with him to a pond nearby and as soon as there was a chance that Hamlet might beat him to the retrieve, he was right in there.
Swimming no less!!! (well, it actually looked a lot like drowning a lot of the time to be fair).
It was such a lovely evening that we stayed for ages, wearing out the boys and enjoying the sun set.
We have been enjoying the Kate Humble and Steve Leonard ‘The Wonder of Dogs’ programme on BBC2 Thursday nights which explores all the amazing things that a lot of us don’t know about our best friends.
Sadly it is now finished but it covered the science of breeding, intelligence, breed traits, how humans have ‘used’ dogs in history as well as how we have welcomed them into our homes.
It is done in hand with an open university course so it is scientific in it’s approach but it is executed with a huge sense of fun. If you have the slightest interest in dogs or our relationship with them, you will find it fascinating and it can’t do dog reputation any harm after some of the horrendous and tragic articles in the news about dogs lately.
We have taken quite a lot of stick from friends and family about the parentage of our JRT Max who was supposed to be 10″ long (the last coat we bout him was 20″ long). He displays traits that you’d find in other breeds and not JRTs (he points – sort of ha ha). He isn’t mad and yappy like a lot of terriers and he isn’t very terrier like in many other ways.
Fox Hound, Dalmation, labrador, beagle are to name but a few of the breeds that people have wondered what he really might be. Pretty much anything other than a Jack Russell!!
We did everything right when we got him, we met the parents, went to the home where he was born and all of the things that the sellers told us about the others that they had from the same parents was pretty true.
He is a great family dog, he loves kids and he does look like his mum and his dad.
Clearly there is something else going on somewhere though and the breed traits and DNA tests that were covered in the programme a couple of weeks ago got us thinking.
So JC sent for a home doggy DNA kit (is there ANYTHING that Amazon don’t sell?) and the results were emailed through to us this week.
So!! To all those doubters…….
He is in fact very much a Jack Russell Terrier but he also has a bit of Fox Terrier in him from grandparents and from his great grandparents there is…………………..
We had a wonderful weekend away with friends last weekend. Their luscious long legged lady, Agnes came with them.
She and Max officially love each other to bits.
It is very sweet to watch them and they never seem to tire of the endless entertainment that is to be had from play.
They conk out every now and again but the spells of rest are short lived and they are off with their playfulness once more.
The expressions are hilarious and even though there are teeth on show during the whole game, there are moment when they really look like they are having a bit of a kiss and a cuddle.
It is exhausting to watch but completely engrossing.
Their physical closeness and joy that they find in each other is very sweet. If they were human, you’d tell them to get a room! It is intimate and physically close and there is nothing but play and fun in that closeness. Highly recommended I’d say!!
It is also an exercise in outwitting your opponent and moving just that bit quicker than them.
Other times they look like they are just whispering the very best secret ever to one another.
There is nibbling, fake biting and getting as much of your opponents actual head into your mouth as possible
Tantalising and incredibly funny to watch.
There was a LOT of sleeping on Monday with no more playful distractions.
This recent hot weather is really tough on dogs and it is so sad to hear that there are still people leaving their dogs in cars to die or walking them on hot tarmac until their feet burn and blister.
Our old boy, Hamlet has always loved the sun and used to spend hours on the lawn lapping it up. (He may have been a lizard in a previous life).
He still enjoys it but he certainly gets hot and the heat that we have been getting have seen him struggling. He has a heart murmur too so we have to be quite vigilant and not let him get over hot. he has had odd little funny turns in the past which may be related to his ticker, heat and dehydration so we do as much as we can to try to prevent repeats of these.
In order to avoid the heat of the day I’m getting up at about 5.30 to walk them and JC has been hosing them down to cool them off when it is particularly bad. I’m not sure they actually like this ‘shower’ but it certainly makes them more comfortable as it evaporates out of their coats.
When faced with the prospect though, they don’t seem to appreciate the benefits and they have been known to hide. Max definitely does a runner when he sees the hoes or the tin bath.
They even hide after they have been drenched (although I’m not sure what they think that will achieve). Bless!
Ice cubes in their drinking water have helped and getting them to lick ice cubes instead of gulping lots of water is great for keeping them hydrated without the risk of them throwing it back up.
Max isn’t great at doing ice cubes and tolerates them in his water but Hamlet likes to have them thrown for him to catch and crunch.
He’s quite an enthusiastic little dog (read bonkers!!) whether it’s going out, chasing a ball or catching a treat so catching ice cubes brings a bit of a wild look in his old eye.
He would stand there waiting for them eternally I think.
As always, hugely entertaining and endlessly funny.
what can I say about Agnes?
In fairness, the title does most of it for me.
She is a very lovely saluki cross lurcher from a rescue charity
she is about 2 years old
she loves chasing squirrels
she can jump higher than ANY dog I have ever seen
she is as fast as grease lightening
she is VERY, VERY gorgeous
Max adores her
and she is very well loved!!
She lives with and loves friends of ours who are local and she came to us for the day recently. She and Max have great fun tearing about the place chasing one another until neither can keep their eyes open a moment longer!!
It’s like a whirlwind but they are a treat to watch and could not be more different to one another – agnes is fine and delicate, gliding over the face of this lovely earth like a whisper, whereas max is solid and makes the noise of a heard of small elephants when he is on the move (no matter what the pace and no matter what the surface!!)
I’m not particularly keen on pigeons.
They are pests in the city and they are pests in the countryside.
They will roost almost anywhere, eat anything and make the most smelly, dirty mess. Yuck!!
I’m not alone in my disliking; my niece is unreasonably fearful of them and there are lots of people who invest a lot of hours in the pursuit of killing them.
Someone who illustrates his own disliking in a much more entertaining way is Max of course.
He diligently guards the bird feeders (when he’s not helping his greedy little self to anything that falls to the ground!!) and goes charging into the garden to skidaddle them whenever his vigilance has faltered and they’ve had the temerity to return!
His pursuit of them doesn’t stop there though, there is a barn on a walk that we do over the weekends that has doves in it and he clearly doesn’t distinguish, they’re all the same as far as he is concerned.
The noise he makes is deafening and reverberates around the barn. Bales don’t get in his way, machinery is no deterrent and once he is on his mission, he is difficult to drag away.
Needless to say, the pigeons (or doves for that matter) don’t hang around for long with that kind of din but the sight of a raging terrier stotting about on the ground below them must be more amusing than truly terrifying.