It occurs to me that some of you might like to hear how Miss Scruffy Muffin is getting on. This is the waif of a Cairn terrier bitch whom I rescued from a puppy farm after years of servitude. By the way her new name is ‘Missie’.
Well, put simply, she is doing well. The big worry was that she and Rocky the Rottweiler would not get on but my impression is that Rocky quite likes her. After all, she does not nag him nor take his toys away as my terrier Jenna used to. For her part, bit by bit, Missie is becoming aware that Rocky is the fount of all knowledge and that if she follows him, then she can’t go far wrong. The amazing thing is that even with her short stubby legs she is prepared to walk further than an ageing Rottweiler who is a little past his prime. But when she gets back home, she is puffed and she’ll flop down onto her bed to await the next event of the day.
For the time being she is not allowed full unfettered roaming rights around the garden. If left to her own devices she would find her way under the hedge and she would be off discovering the world. However she is not yet worldly wise enough to be allowed to put herself at risk. On the other side of the hedgerow bordering our garden, there are horses and she might become stamped on by one of them. Importantly the fencing contractor is due any day.
She has however discovered the hedgehog which is Rocky’s favourite foe after dark We already know that whereas a Rottweiler will just bark at a spiney ball of fleas, Missie would work out how to turn the creature over onto its back and that would be unfair to harmless but prickly creature. Missie is not stupid. I personally have no doubts that this little madame of a terrier has a killer’s instinct. The moles have since been removed from the lawn but the field mice are going to discover one day soon that they now have a dog warden to contend with.
It has been fascinating to watch a creature which had previously been confined to a breeding cage for five years discover the delights of this world. Even in the matter of food there is just so much for her to learn. For her, the clue as to what is good to eat always comes from Rocky and whenever he is remaining close by in the kitchen, obviously alert as to what might drop from the food table, she now stands alongside him waiting to see what crumbs might fall her way. She has discovered milk, meat rinds, gravy, rice, bread, milk chocolate and camembert cheese, indeed almost everything she is not supposed to eat. To her it all makes a change from bland tinned dog food. The most amusing thing is whenever she finds what obviously she regards to be treasure, say a sweet biscuit, she will pick it up and scurry back to her basket, so as to inspect it, lick it, break it up and eat it. She simply loves custard cremes. Obviously care has to be taken by the humans that whatever little tasty morsel she is given will neither upset her stomach nor stick in her throat.
She has also picked up the routine of the household. Indeed she now almost anticipates the events of the day. It is not the length of the walk that matters so much as there is a walk. She will now accept my wife leaving to go out, so long as somewhere in the house, I remain pottering about. She doesn’t like to be left alone and as one walks away from the house, you can hear her howl. Even in damp Britain during the summer months there are some times when it is not wise to take her out only to leave her in a hot and stuffy parked car.
Everyone who has met her has remarked that she is a pretty little thing, even though her last trim must have been given by a peasant wielding a set of garden shears. At least the black hairs in her coat are now beginning to glisten and the grey hairs are brushing out. Her body mass is filling out which improves her overall appearance. According to the vet, she has already put on almost a kilo of weight, some of which must be the conversion of body fat to muscle. However, soon will come the time when the portions of food given to the little dumpling must be reduced.
One thing is very apparent. She has a feisty streak in her character. There are occasions when she can be provoked into a reaction. If I stamp my feet then she will respond by barking and lunging at my shoes. She may have spent most of her early life locked away in a dog cage but she has not lost her fighting spirit.
Still it is early days yet. As every day passes her self confidence seems to grow. I think she is now actually believing that she has been released from doggie prison. Bless her.