Welcome to my Blog
It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…
This time, Retrieve this… As a gentle warning, if you don’t like dogs (and, in particular, golden retrievers) you may want to look away now.
Jasper’s Kennel Club, posh Sunday best, name is:
Boekelo Bilbo Baggins
Jasper for short.
He is, accordiong to the KC certificate, which provides the information without a flicker, a retriever (golden), colour: gold. His lineage involves ravening hounds called Cream Caramel and Treacle Tart. Those people on naming duty knew retrievers: they will eat absolutely anything. Fussiness is not a trait.
Jasper has evidenced a wish for a checklist of things since he came into the world in February 2015, all of which form the basis of the Retriever Parenting Manual for Humans:
A square meal. Well, any shaped meal. And snacks. Meals and snacks. As often as possible and…Just leave it at as often as possible. Preferably not of things that would poison him – there was the Yew Bushes Incident, where we uprooted several metres of yew beds to prevent him snacking on them. We were new to the match-the-lethal-potential-food-to-the-pet game at that point. The Christmas Cake Snacking Disaster is also fresh in our minds each Christmas, proving that a retriever can make short work of cake ingredients before being stomach-pumped at the vet’s as a kick-start to the festive season. Jasper’s feint before diving into the bowl was worthy of Cristiano Ronaldo (without the histrionics).
Someone to hug (that includes all members of our household (after all these years, that also encompasses the cat). All cuddly toys count, too. In addition, over-excitement when friends appear, and helmeted motorbike riders with yet another Deliveroo delivery for the Offspring, and posties (not to chase in a cliched, so-last-century kind of way, but with a sophisticated eye to a stroke and a pat on the head from them. The posties’ quiver of terror would be such a disappointment. Retrievers primarily deserve type-casting on the grounds of greediness and soppiness.
Latitude to bark. Canine rights encourage a good bark, especially when it is someone who lives in the house and is stealthily approaching the front door with the evil intent of taking off their coat and making a cup of tea. And anyone else. As guard dogs go, retrievers are fairly discerning – as with their attitude to menus – but that deep, throaty sound from behind the door would intimidate most, even if they are bringing him a new toy. Barking is the accompaniment to Jasper’s other principal distraction from food:
Joy unconfined. And utterly futile. In equal measure. No matter, and no matter that if a squirrel lost its bearings and was caught in Jasper’s demonic clutches, it is 50-50 whether he would know what to do next. A game of fetch would not be off the table. Only a problem if it tried to snaffle any of his hard-earned food (that would include branches of trees and twigs that had fallen in the garden). Our daughter periodically brings up unfounded and malicious allegations concerning The Faceless Squirrel Mystery, where a squirrel was found…without its face. The crime was discovered in our garden many moons ago. As far as I am concerned, that is a lie and fake news, and I shall dwell on it no further (not least because it makes the cat nervous).
A good walk. Come rain or come shine – I draw the line at snow and ice. The jingle of the straps on his harness as I grab it from the hall cupboard alert him to the promise of a stride across hill and dale in all conditions, fearlessly squaring up to the dachshund from three roads away, ready to Frolic with Intent. And methodically nosing up to the darkest and dankest corners of our various routes, the darker and danker the better, to partake of whatever essences have been left for closer inspection. A connoisseur, potentially better employed at airports for bag checking if he would not eat lingerie and any secreted snacks from the luggage.
(In combination with a good walk) a resigned smile from his human when he has uncannily avoided all the bins on the circuit, and calculated and executed his very special homage to Nature the maximum feasible distance from relevant receptacles.
Free-range. We have never trained Jasper. He has worked with us tirelessly in partnership to reach a reasonable accommodation on his needs, wishes and requirements. His instructions to us are clear and unequivocal. Try avoiding that gaze at any time after 4 pm (tea is at 5). Trying it on at random times after 1:30 pm is often worth a punt. The combination of starvation, pleading and stunned disappointment is worth a BAFTA.
A nice quiet place to have a nap/sleep/stretch out/snooze, all day long and all night long these days, subject to the other important things on this list. When I say all night long, I’m of course referring to until on the dot 7:00 am every day. Weekends are obviously not a thing with him. Breakfast is his most important meal of the day (apart from his other meal and anything else he can lay his slobbering chops on). That is followed each day by shamelessly settling down after his petit dejeuner for a constitutional doze, while I wrestle with my eyelids and the kettle for some coffee.
The above are in no particular order (aside fromm probably the food part).
Some pointers on our devilish feline next time.