Escher the Country Dog
Escher, a German Pointer Chocolate Lab cross, is staying with us. But it was a little premature congratulating him on graduating to country dog status. Almost the next day he jumped three fences, his delighted nose discovering a long-deceased sheep at the bottom of the neighbour's rubbish pit. And did he take the slightest notice of me bellowing? No.
Escher is a Country Dog...
When Escher first came here I did wonder if he'd fit into the country ways. The horse manure I was spreading on my garden proved irresistible. But he was a teenager, and I expected him to get into a little, light, country trouble. Country paddocks offer a variety of old smelly, rotten, disgraceful things to munch on, or roll in - traps for the unwary urban dog.
Escher the Urban Dog
Obviously there are always safety issues concerning livestock, and fences have to be respected at all times - no jumping or barging through any loose wires. And a good country dog has to respond quickly to calling. Two minutes later is two minutes too late! So I have to keep a very vigilant eye on Escher - a large raw bone makes an excellent distraction. That super-nose can so easily get him into trouble.
Stop When Your Tummy is Full!
The Hazelnut Orchard is a lovely place for the dogs to wander and snuffle around, when invited. Recently the orchardist (Non-Gardening Partner) was trimming suckers with the three dogs keeping him company. The acceptable country canine behaviour is as follows : crack some of the fallen nuts, gently chew the insides, and then, when your tummy is full, stop.
Oops. Not so Escher. He kept on eating, and eating, and eating. Later that evening, after three huge hazelnut carpet-vomits...
There's a correct style of sleeping for a country dog, too. After all, you're in your dog box each night, even if it's raining or frosty cold. The no-nonsense pose of nose on paws, de rigueur for the outdoors kennel, is also expected in the house.
But Escher doesn't get it. He has two house-snoozing positions. In one, he curls up in the silliest ball, looking like - oops - a round fat dollop of poo (he is, after all, a brown dog). It's one way of keeping warm, I guess.
In the second pose he's obviously warm enough, and so lies inelegantly exposing all (which is rather little) with his chin stretched out. Oh dear me. Can this be comfortable? Winnie the Border Collie, nose correctly on paws, is somewhat bemused, while Tiddles the tabby cat is too shy to look...
Escher Asleep by the Log-Burner
OK, so this weekend we're erecting a tall chicken-wire fence around the neighbour's smelly corner. Escher - behave! Love you, big brown country dog.