Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A-Z Challenger 2014 - 'M'

M - Maltese. Mongrel/Mutt, Matriarch

I always knew what this post would be about. It just had to about Gem, the black Labrador Mutt, in the gang of four that appeared in yesterday's post.

However just so that you don't think I'm biased I'll include a picture of a breed of dog that I have never seen. She is a toy dog; one of those descended from dogs originating in the Central Mediterranean area.

"Vairette", a Maltese at a Championship in Birmingham
(By Sannse , 29 August 2003, CC BY-SA 3.0)
But in the "Gang of Four" the two Golden Labradors were the original "Dogs of Troy" and with pedigrees felt they were above such lowly beings as 'mutts.' I let them tell you the story of how Gem changed their minds.

"We had just got our new home sussed when one fateful day we ran out of food. We were left on our own while the mad English woman and the man that also feeds us went out in their car – we thought to buy some more. Then shock and awe, (a phrase we used way before George Bush had heard of it), they came back from the pet store with more than a supply of food.
With them was a small black bundle of fur with legs at each corner. Now we had to share our home with Gem, a six-week old puppy which had been left at the rescue centre in the store. We were not too sure what we should do. After all, we were upmarket pedigree dogs while Gem was just a black lab mutt and a refugee.

Gem, the mutt
We soon learnt as Gem grew bigger that she was smarter than she looked – how could such a young pup have become so ‘streetwise’ at such young an age? Nevertheless we had to teach her not to gnaw things that did not belong to her and not to pee on the kitchen floor. Outside she was such a little thing that the English woman with long legs had to bend right down to stroke and make a fuss of her.

Gem gets some attention
 We were more considerate as by this time we were tall enough to be stroked without anyone having to bend down and anyway we had learnt how to climb and sit on the furniture – how we liked the settee and the soft chairs. Mind you all three of us had to sleep in the garage with two cars.
Her fur  different to ours and when it grew long and it was a hot summer she was taken back to the pet store to have it clipped. She hated it! The first time she went she really showed what she thought of the indignity because when the mad English woman went to collect her she rushed out of the store and across the road and climbed into the front seat of the first car she saw with an open door. You must have thought she was going to be left behind. We can imagine what the car driver thought on being attacked by a black projectile as Gem hurtled in. The mad English woman had to rescue her and apologise on Gem’s behalf. Gem now is calmer when she’s sheared – but she doesn’t have to like it.
Houdini would have been a better name for Gem. It wasn’t long before she perfected ways of escaping from our corral. She could always find that loose bit of wire under which she could squeeze even if she had to dig a hole first. Before she was big enough to jump the fence she perfected a technique of climbing it, balancing on the top prior to making yet another break. Many times when those that feed us came home she would be sitting outside the fence and they never knew how she had got there.

Gem in 2013
Years later Gem became the star at an Olympics for disabled children in Michigan, despite the fact that she had had no training for this. She just loves being the centre of attention and being fondled. The fact that she was allowed to lick their faces made her day.

Incidentally we should explain that the three of us don’t really think our English woman is mad. It’s just that other humans think she and her husband must be mad to keep three dogs. We can imagine what they thought when, a year after Gem joined us, and three dogs at Deer Trail became four with the addition of a chocolate brown Labrador called Jack. With his arrival the pack, known as "The Gang of Four" was complete."

It was Maxie (on the right) who was the 'Matriarch' of the "Gang". Guess who has become the 'Matriarch' of a gang in her old age. (You''ll meet Gem's gang later under the letter 'R'.)

Gem, the Matriarch
Not bad for just a mutt!

(Depending on the source a mongrel or mutt is defined as|:
  • A dog of no definable type or breed.
  • A dog not the result of breeding and belonging to no breed.
Gem would feel insulted!)

When it comes to dogs I meet in the village one of the most nervous dogs I met  could also be classed as a mutt although there's a lot of the Border Collie in her.

When I was walking behind her she looked back, nearly every step, apparently worried at my presence. It took a long time, almost a year, for her to get over this. Now I'm pleased to say she comes to meet me and waits to be stoked before barking quietly to show her pleasure.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - love the story of Gem, while the making up of each chapter of the Gang of Four's life is great fun .. and I can see them all -especially want to get away and enjoy that bit of freedom, yet wanting to be home .. and then the streak of jet catapulting herself into the car .. wonderful imagination .. cheers Hilary

Alan Burnett said...

Lovely post : Your love of dogs shines through in your writing.

Anonymous said...

lovely pack and I love dogs too. wanted to hv one but can't cos I am allergic to fur. Anyway, good luck with the rest of the challenge, do check out my blog at thanks.

Julie Flanders said...

Here's to mutts! My Clancy is one and I wouldn't have him any other way. Love the story of Gem. :)

Kristin said...

I cannot imagine a big black dog hurtling herself into my car unannounced. Ack! Must be amazing having all those dogs to keep up with. 2 was the most we ever had.

Jo said...

Gorgeous story, the dogs write very well don't they?

I love the Maltese she is so pretty.

alberta ross said...

Agnes have you thought of poodles - they are meant to be non allergenic because they don't have hair as such - it's more like wool - worth a research or two

as for the mutt up until we had guide dogs all our have been mutts - think they are amazing

like the sound of yours very much:)

Susan Kane said...

No, you are not crazy at all. You have a love for dogs and they reciprocate.

Lucky dogs, lucky you.

Over here from the A to Z.

Lisa said...

What a great story! And especially because it's true, the best kind. We have only ever had "mutts." Our first was Laydi, a black lab-border collie mix picked out of a litter by our daughter. She was more than perfect with our two kids. She stayed with us for 12 and a half years. When they left, she did too. We waited over a year, then found Bonaparte, a maltese-miniature short-haired red dachshund mix who is soon to be two. He has become the little dog to love I never dreamed I'd find. I think "mutts" are wonderful!