Monday, 7 December 2009

North Yorkshire Village Dogs

I talk to dogs and a year ago I started a series of articles about the ones I meet.

North Yorkshire Village Dogs

In a North Yorkshire village there is every breed of dog between Airedale and Weimaraner, without taking any account of the many cross-breeds. This series is about a few of the dogs which may be met on walks in the lanes and fields around the village.

Bess, a nine year old black collie cross with white paws and chest is always pleased to see you when she is on her lead. She knows that if she lets you stroke her without her jumping up she will be rewarded with a biscuit from her owner's pocket.

Bess was bought from a Leicester rescue centre when she was two by a university student; Bess later moved to live with the student's mother and to her current Yorkshire home. Described as a black fox because of her tail and ears, she is able to keep her ears together in the centre of her head or spread them wide apart and even point them backwards at the slightest sound.

Trained with her owner by an ex-RAF dog handler, Bess behaves well when on or off her lead and responds to commands to ‘sit' at the kerb and then ‘walk on' when crossing roads. Since she was attacked by an Alsatian, Bess is not too keen on other dogs if she does not know them, warning them off quite fiercely when she is on her lead.

Micro-chipped and covered by pet insurance for £17 a month; Bess's visits to a vet are just for annual distemper/rabies injections. Her owner ensures that she receives flea treatment regularly. However Bess is not too keen on having baths even when she has rolled in something best not described.

When on a walk Bess always checks the fields for the horses from a local riding school. She watches these intently when they pass by her garden too. She loves to chase rabbits, squirrels and even ducks, but appears to accept that she will never catch them other than by accident.

She is safe with children, but her owner watches just in case. One place where Bess is really welcome is when she visits people in a care home where she is always wanted back.

As with many pets Bess likes her comfort; she sleeps on a duvet on the bedroom floor - long gone is the intention that she would be a ‘downstairs' dog. She knows however that she may use two covered chairs but not any other furniture. Bess is a loyal pet who loves to run in the fields and a local park. She has a collection of toys including some that squeak but her favourite ‘hamburger' is in need of urgent replacement as she has chewed it almost to destruction.

That Bess is slightly overweight is a fact that is hidden somewhat by her thick coat. She is fed each evening; her meal consists usually of a Pedigree Pouch topped with some ham and cheese. Titbits are won from time to time; but Bess's idea of bliss is the ice cream treat she gets each evening. Then it's time for her duvet and dreams of tomorrow's walk.

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