Fox Terrier About Town

Adventures of a Vivaceous Pup in Fancy London

Archive for General

Cherry Liquor, Xth Century Villages and Puppy Toys

Photo Alexandre Foulon

Photo Alexandre Foulon

I know when I am the one with separation anxiety when walking around Medieval Portugal I find myself indirectly looking for toys for my puppy… What are you up to right now, my pup? Are you too missing me? Even in the delightful company of Andrea Smith, features writer for CataVino, and sampling the delicious Ginja in chocolate cups!

This late September will be our revenge against the ridiculous rabies quarantine… It shall be a weekend in Paris, where they love and welcome doggies EVERYWHERE you go. Ah, Paris, you and me little puppy, strolling along the Seine… shopping for perfume at Annick Goutal, just doorsteps from Coco Chanel’s apartment… jumping on the back of a handsome Frenchman’s motorcycle and roaming the cobblestone streets of rue de Lille…

Baby Grrrr And The Giraffe On A String

Napping in hot summer London after giraffe massacre

Napping in hot summer London after giraffe massacre

[text] – Good morning. Today is not a beach day so I’m working at the hotel. How is baby grrr?

[reply] – Baby grrr is currently fast asleep after a strenuous morning chasing a headless giraffe on a string. It is now a leg and tail-less giraffe too!

Macmillan Posh Dog Day in Chelsea SW3

Tamara buys us tickets to attend the Macmillan Dog Day and of course, very Tamara, forgets to tells us that this is a very posh thing full of celebrities and lapdogs dressed with outfits better than Paris Hilton. SO I showed up dressed as if I was attending a Monteria (hunting shoot in Spain) We meet delightful people and Tamara signs us up for three dog shows: Puppy About Town (which we miss because we are too involved in conversation and on Pimms), Puppy Heeling (which we enter even though Dashwood only heeled in Puppy school and when we go out he either steers in front of me the first five minutes or goes off the lead when we hit the Hammersmith boathouses), and another fancy one that we also miss because of more Pimms and more conversation.

When we are leaving the little dog show enclosure after the Heel competition – which we remained amongst the sixth finalists (Go Puppy Classes, Go!), the reporters from The Field Managzine hover over the both of us, interview us for their August number and take a picture of us both and my riding boots, which they adore and must-must manage to get in the picture. I kneel to ground, ensuring that my black explorer Prada dress is not flying off too much because of the rising wind that seems to increase as the afternoon goes. I think they had a look at me, French hand-made riding boots and Out of Africa-meets-posh Milano, with fox terrier champ puppy, and they thought we were definitely the right crowd for The Field. Alas, little Puppy and I get immortalised for posterity in the pages of the oldest country magazine in the world, printing since 1853! I will subscribe definitely!

Persian Carpets Are Not For Puppies

Murphy Warned About Puppies and Carpets

This Spot Is Not For Puppies

Ben comes from Istanbul and I am in Blackfriars at a board meeting. I have taken puppy with me because the clients want to see him. It’s okay to bring a puppy to an antiques warehouse. He seats on my lap at the meeting and I entertain him by letting him chew on a toy that I brought with me. He wriggles sometimes but now he knows that I am the boss – or he is beginning to know, and we can negotiate less wriggly movement. Every day is one little step forward for a puppy, one giant relief for his owner, me, in gaining the battle of Who Is The Leader Of The Pack, or whatever sentence they use to basically define what Mums do with their offspring. I was the leader of the pack when I was the head teacher of 24 six year old kiddies in New York City Dwight School. In those days, those little upper class muppets did what I told them to do and I never thought about packs, top dogs or any such thing.

Ben is back and he opens the door and there I am puppy house in hand and puppy wriggling inside. The foyer is literally covered in $20,000 Persian antique carpets. Ben lets puppy out of the house and little foxy starts trotting around like a lamb. Then he starts sniffling the ground. And before we can say “No!” puppy squats his back legs and starts to wee on the carpets. Ben goes livid and I jump over the carpets to snatch the peeing puppy from the ground. Puppy stops weeing and doesn’t know what is going on. Ben then spends the next 20 minutes soaking the pee off the hand-tinted carpets with rolls of toilet paper. The wee comes off and the carpets seem okay.

Lesson One: when puppies sniff the floor, they are looking for a fine place to pee.
Lesson Two: Ben has developed a magnanimous sense of understanding of puppy behaviour, or he just knows how mortified I was and did not want to rub it in anymore
Lesson Three: Add Ben to a couple of more night prayers because he deserves it

The One Week Acid Test

He has to be right where I am. Next year he\'ll be typing at the laptop, probably

He has to be right where I am. Next year he'll be typing at the laptop, probably

So now I know what it takes to bring up any living creature that pees, wees, poops, cries, and additionally, grunts, tries to bite you if you brush him, and you have to have an eye on just in case he is looking for electric cables to chew. No, a baby would be a doodle compared to this. I eat babies for breakfast! I didn’t mean that. What I meant is that babies you put them in cradles and then you are off to whatever you need to do – like conference calling clients, and you are done for the next 2 hours at least.

With a puppy, after you get up between 4.35 am and 5.20 am daily because he collapses in his house at about 9.00 pm and he REALLY needs to pee, life has completely developed into having eyes behind my back, wolf ears that hear behind doors, and sixth sense that tells me when some noises are just not right. I feel like Robocop in hypermode.

I have survived a week. We have survived a week. I can do this.

First 48 Hours Is The Acid Test

Asleep inside his house, after a long day of many novelties

Asleep inside his house, after a long day of many novelties

I cook steamed rice and chicken and serve goat’s milk and this puppy jumps around at the site of food every time. It’s a relief. The night comes and I have to put him inside his house, which he does not like. He cries and barks in his squeaky puppy grunt, but I close the door of my study and then the doors to the open plan kitchen, and then the doors to my bedroom. Still, I can hear him. But, no,no,no. Everyone has told me not to go because the show would then never stop. I fall asleep. At 4.35 I wake up. I put my feet to ground to have a better sense of any movements at the other end of the house. He is crying. I get up. Good morning new day. The puppy flies out of the little house and we both go out into a pitch-black garden, bitterly cold in the depth of February. The little pup runs around like a mouse high on cheese. I feel sad he was locked up all night. There’s got to be a better way, but for now, this is what it is, poppet.

Dashwood Comes Home

Seconds after he is home, Dashwood sits on the carpet in his unique gypsy style and begins to explore his new home

Seconds after he is home, Dashwood sits on the carpet in his unique gypsy style and begins to explore his new home

I visited Dashwood every week until he was almost ten weeks old. The breeder did not want to hand him over to me whilst his brother was still unplaced. I understood. Now, if I would have known the dynamics between the two brothers, I would have grabbed Dashwood the second I set eyes on him. But that is another story for another chapter in this blog.

It is Friday 8th February and about 2.00 o’clock in the afternoon. There I go in my Golf, with the little puppy travelling house, the cuddly blue bear inside the house, the blanket and my heart leaping with emotion. I write down every feeding tip, and syrupy vitamin he still has to take, and telephone number for the vet, and… I wrap him up in his brown blanket and put him in the little house and drive into the Friday traffic. Cold, cold but sunny February day. In the car he is making funny moaning noises every time we have to break and his house rattles a bit.

When we get to North Kensington, the Gas workmen are wrapping up and when they see me getting out of the car with a little puppy in a little house, they all mill around us and welcome Dashwood home in true Cockney style, with jokes and funny puppy names that rhyme with teapot or something Britishly absurd. We are home, at last, after almost a month of wait, my puppy is home. Life is never going to be the same, ever.

Names, Toys and Puppy Houses

Dashwood first day at home with his first chewing toy

Dashwood first day at home with his first chewing toy

Choosing a puppy name can be the most stressful part of the whole process. I wanted a glorious-sounding, true English name, for a true English breed, a gallant name, a brave name, an uncommon name. My friend Ben suggested “Sausages”. I must clarify that Ben is a true English gent, and as such, full of eccentricities. Naming my puppy like pub food was not on my menu. He then went for Mr Snodgrass, a Dickensian character from the Pickwick papers. It was a tongue-twister. I tried with different people, just to see if it was me, but everyone battled with the name to no end. I finally came up with the one, the name that was always there for my puppy: Dashwood, from Jane Austen’s novel “Sense and Sensibility”, and well suited for his lineage as his father, the big Crufts champion, is called Willoughby. Ben has refused to call him Dashwood to-date, so this one pup in addition to posh pedigree, has two ultra posh names which probably puzzle everyone at the park.

When you bring a puppy home you need to have:

cuddly toys to sleep with;
soft toys to play with;
something to sink those puppy teeth on;
a little puppy house, because fox terriers like sleeping in houses!
a warm blanket to stuff onto the house and turn it into a warm cave;

I go to the Westbourne Park Road pet shop and buy all this kit in complete clueless motions. I am just learning all this as I go along.

Five Generation Pedigree

Dashwood’s Kennel Club Family Name is Russmews Battle of Wills born to breeder Mr DG & Mrs A Wurtzburg. His father, champion Baglan Battle Hymn of Russmews and mother Sarabel So Alone of Russmews were quite old when they had him, over 10 years at least.

The lineage extends, on his father side, to a lineage of champions that include Townville Tarique, Sceftesbr Cabinet, Gavingale Diplomat, Baglan Some Boyo, Scheftesbr Chianti, Blackdale Ambassador, Townville Texan, Townville Tassie, Blackdale Eurocrat, Louline Pemberton, Valken Downtown Boy, Valken Skylark, and many more Baglans,Blackdales, Townvilles, and even Norgeian and Swedish hounds.

Two Little Pups In Russell Mews, West London

This is Dashwood at six weeks

And so I drove in my car, heart beating inside my chest at the prospect of meeting my puppy. When you really love animals, there is a magic anxiety about meeting them for the first time. It can be a puppy, or the penguins at the zoo. Animals are beautiful creatures that amaze us and slightly scare us. As soon as I parked the car outside, multiple barks came from within and the breeder, a beautiful, whitehaired lady of about sixty-something came out. The puppies were in a room next door and she went to get them. The first puppy was handed to me. I just did not know how to hold him. He was so soft and tiny and wriggly. “Would you like to hold the other one?”, she said. The other puppy had been running around the wooden floors playing with a stuffed animal in the shape of a lamb, or hiding behind the furniture in places where it was almost impossible to catch him. When both puppies were on the ground, they just went in all directions. The lady and I chased them like loose chicks in a farm. I was having the time of my life.

I picked up the second pup and he launched to lick my face all over as he alternated with chewing my pigtails. The joy and energy of this little puppy was contageous and my heart simply melted. I wanted that puppy so badly it almost hurt.