Sunday, February 10, 2008

Buckley, natal and ascendant

This is Buckley atop his two brothers. Even at birth he was going for the sunshine. Never content with the bottom position. It is an original oil - details on my store.

Back to Buck and the adventure of the silk ribbon. I left my doings on the coffee table - all sorted out. I turned on the news to see if, indeed, man had bitten dog, and toddled away to brew a strengthening cup of coffee or 6. I failed to realize the significance of Buck remaining at the coffee table.

Buckley has a cheerful and hopeful nature, and where hope of getting some foodstuff or other in his belly, a tenacity unparalleled. I don't know whether other sealyham terriers are made of the stuff that Buckley is. He is a
descendant of a breed invented by a Captain Edwardes, a sporting gentleman and owner of the Sealyham estate in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Captain Edwardes purpose in conjuring up this wonderful breed was to have a compact terrier, white in color (so as to be easily distinguished from a fox or badger in the excitement of the hunt.) He wanted a fearless, tenacious dog who would be used to engage fox, otter and badger in their dens until such time that the Edwardes bird could blast away.

To achieve this temperament, a sealy pup was pitted against a pole cat when the pup was 10 months old. If he was fearful or reluctant to engage the polecat and dispatch him, the pup was shot. I must insert here that Buck would have been in doggy heaven tout suite if the old Captain was still around to wage war on anything furred and fanged.

Maybe circumstances in Buck's well ordered life have not triggered the determined hunter lurking in the gene pool. Yes, I have seen steely determination, but that is more food related than not. He occasionally has a good natured go at the cat but she is entirely humorless and soon gives him to know that she is not to be disturbed as she sits in mystic contemplation on the kitchen window sill. Squirrels are legion in our backyard. Buck takes no notice.

He is hell on moles. Winkling them out of their tunnels in Savannah's sandy soil, is the work of a moment for him. He soon has the yard looking like the battle of Verdun and eventually produces the corpse of Mr. Mole for my approval. I never approve. It's the little hands that get me. Of course, I always think of "The Wind In The Willows", so there you are. Who, in the context of Mr. Mole, would not be saddened?

Another component in Captain Edwardes' test tube, was the ability to hunt with a pack and get along with other dogs. He also had to be amenable to humans and obey commands. Here we are in dicey realms with Buck. He does get along with everyone and mostly every thing. He is friendliness writ large. Sadly, he's big on bon homme, but listening and obeying are low on his list.

He and I went through obedience classes together. I really tried. Buck simply loved meeting all the dogs. He leapt in the car with great glee every Wednesday. He was the smallest dog in class but by far, the most active. His class was comprised of five labs, two mastifs, two standard poodles and two cockers. He could hardly contain his pleasure at all the different smells his new friends gave off. Smelling faces and fanny's was why he thought we were all assembled. Sitting, staying, dropping, coming to his owner on command, were all mere distractions to the real business at hand. As a team we got a C. We repeated the class and got C-.

My fault more then his, I suppose. At any rate, we are far from ready to take intermediate obedience. Buck is happiest setting his own schedule. He checks the laundry room two or three times a day. Before, I knew his fiendish proclivities, I never gave a thought to leaving the laundry basket on the floor next to the washer. But an incident occured, the memory of which, still makes me blush. The cable man arrived to work on some problem or other with the TV connection.

Buck had been going through the laundry looking for lady's underwear. Upon hearing a strange male voice he anticipated meeting a new friend. But why forgo one pleasure for another. He emerged with a pair of my (sad to say) large white cotton undies hanging rakishly from the side of his mouth and sat in his best obedience school manner at the man's feet. Henceforth, the laundry basket is out of his reach. This does not prevent him living in hope.

Another favorite pursuit is to check on the regularity of the cat. This disgusting habit has forced me to move the kitty litter in some out of the way place known but to the cat and God. it is practically impossible to anticipate what he will get into. Once when he was a pup, a teenagish pup, he jumped onto the open oven door while my back was turned. i was doing the dishes and turned around to find that Buck had nimbly stripped the insulation strip from around the oven glass window. He was busily dealing with it like a strand of spaghetti. After screaming, which caused him to drop the strip and look at me like I was revealing a side of myself he had never seen, I was able to stuff it back and never have to tell my husband.

He has been in the dishwasher twice, so why i thought some sewing project was safe, speaks to my delusion that Buckley has matured into a quiet companion. In the twinkling of an eye - or at least in the span of time it takes to brew a pot of coffee, Buck had seized all. I could just hear him say in doggy speak -"oh, pooh! no food!" He tore into the skeins of silk and the ribbons. I threw all the chewed on things away and am still awaiting the emergence of a particularly lovely lavender and green bias silk ribbon. Not of course that i could salvage it. No just because I know he swallowed it when I screamed (again, and oft). A week has gone by and i assume the ribbon has passed without complication. Buck has never skipped a beat. What with checking the laundry room and searching for cat doings, and of course, the mole problems, he keeps himself busy.

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