Thursday, May 20, 2010

This Boots was made for swimming...

May is proving to be an incredibly busy and hectic month here at Barkingham Palace. Aside from dogs coming through for boarding, my photography is also starting to take quite a hold, with three potential weddings in the pipeline. Add to that, the end of year accounting, and I feel as though my calendar is starting to bend under the weight. If I were less of a maths dummy and didn't have the attention span of a house-fly, I could perhaps do the accounts myself, but that is why the good lord put accountants on this earth - they like sifting through numbers, invoices, and receipts, I hate it! Me, I like dogs. Talking of which...

I recently boarded another Border Collie. I say in another in the context of in addition to my own, Ellie. Boots stayed with me eleven nights, while her owner went on holiday. I've known of Boots for quite some time as her and her owner, Barry, take part in the same canine display events that we take part in, or I go along to photograph. But I'd never really interacted with Boots as such. In fact, the only thing that I did really now about her was that she had an excellent recall.

As it turns out, Boots is probably the most Border Collie Border Collie that I have met. You can just see the working parent stock running through her. She gets obsessed with moving things like the hoover, mops, etc. She'll occasionally even try to launch herself after a car if they drive past her on the walks. She is very timid but oh so loving too. In terms of her temperament, you just can't fault her. Around the house, you just don't know you've got her. Take her out and she's a powerhouse of energy, with a particular penchant for water!

I love water-dogs. Just love them! It's taken me the best part of three years to get Ellie confident in the water, (more on that later.) but Boots, at just twenty-two months of age, just propels herself into it like a speedboat. Lucky for us, we have a medium-sized pond in our local playing field.

Boots and Ellie seemed to get along fine and built a mutual understanding that if either of them were to 'Collie Nip' the other, then it would be responded to in kind.  (Most Border Collie owners will know exactly what I'm talking about here!) As both Boots and Ellie come from farm dogs, then they both have have strong natural BC instincts.

Now, more on the swimming. My best-friend Sue and I have been taking Ellie and her Rottie, Teal'c, to various locations over the past few weeks. As part of that, Ellie has been exposed to more and more water. She's never been a fan of water at all. There was a brief period about a year or so ago where she got brave enough to wade in to her belly, but never to swim. However, through the exposure we've been giving her lately, I am amazed and very proud to see that she will now swim as readily as any other dog. In fact, I believe that she would happily swim across a river now. I did take a great video of her new found skill but it's on my phone and the Nokia software I use to get it off doesn't seem to like Windows Vista. Still, there will be plenty more opportunities.

There will also be more photos soon as I have just purchased a new 'snappy camera'. It's great having all my professional camera equipment, but when we walk, we often take our rucksacks for food and there just isn't the room for my hulking great camera to come too. So I've just bought a handy pocket-sized camera that seems fit for purpose.

And finally... My dad doesn't care for dogs, and my mum really doesn't care for them either, and my brother was actually scared of them for many years. So where does my undying love of, and interest in, dogs come from? I now have the answer. I was recently given a large collection of old family photos, with a great many of my Granddad, now deceased. In almost all photos there is a dog, and, quite interestingly to me, never once is one of his dogs on leash, even in the more recent photos. The latter tells me that he either loved training his dogs or he just had a natural affinity with them. I do remember him through growing up, and I know he always owned large dogs as opposed to little ones. And I remember that he used to let them share his cups of tea from his saucer. My granddad did raise me for some time in my childhood and so it's likely that is where the love of dogs imprint came from. So there you go... I really hope to get some of the old photos scanned and posted soon too.

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