How much do you trust your dog?
I don’t mean with leaving food on the table or being left alone with kids, but can you read the signs, and what’s more, take notice of what your dog is trying to tell you?
Maggie has a sniffer on her like no other dog I have ever known. When Hubby was in security, at home he taught her to seek and find ‘contraband’, this being some old baccy rolled in a denim cigar which was her ‘toy’. She never failed to find it, enjoyed the game, and had she ever had pups, we believe her babies would have been perfect for border control sniffer dogs.
Photo: Maggie and ‘babies’ April 2018
When we first moved to Lincolnshire in 2007, open fields and gates were the norm, and she would ‘lift’ pheasant or ptarmigan with no training, just for the fun of it. When they flew off, she would sit, tail wagging, and watch them go as if to say ‘See? I did that!’
The signs that there was something in the undergrowth was her nose to the ground and her tail going round in circles like some demented helicopter, and we were surprised she never actually took off. She never missed an inch, and nothing could hide from her.
It must be a springer spaniel trait because we have seen it in other dogs like her, and I remember an instance in the woods when she found a tiny rabbit kitten and flipped it, but didn’t harm it.
On the marina, new boaters to our pontoon were bemused when we asked them to walk up and down outside our boat so that Maggie could learn to identify their footsteps. This meant that should they come home after we’d gone to bed, she wouldn’t bark. Visitors she didn’t know made her alarm up and growl as they passed by, but should they try to come aboard uninvited, well, her barking was not exactly the welcoming committee.
Photo: Maggie and boat August 2016
Tonight walking her for her penultimate wee, she alarmed up walking past someone’s garden. There were no lights on in the property, so we were aware that something was amiss and let her lead the way. She sniffed the air, and looked over the low wall, then carried on further down the road and did the same, constantly alert.
I saw the fox first. It was one of two we are currently aware of and they like this particular property, practically knocking on the door as they stand on the porch steps.
Foxes are not unusual visitors to our road and we have often heard their mating calls or seen them darting across the road into gardens where we know there are gaps in the fence onto the pathway between our estate and the main road. We’ve had a few badgers too as there is an active sett in the garden of the large property on the corner there.
Luckily Fox and Maggie went their separate ways, but we were amazed at how her manner changed in that short time for a dog of her age.
Bless her, she’s still ‘got it’.
Photos: left: dog tired: July 2018 right: time to snooze: March 2019