Well Today I went picking up at the shoot with Olli, even though I have somehow torn the ligaments in my shoulder and felt like staying in bed. I took some pain killers, packed a hip flask of Apricot Brandy (purely medicinal obviously!) and off we went.
Olli was so thrilled to be there, and he worked beautifully all day. He walks to heel, looking up at me every few yards to check in and make sure he is doing the right thing, he sits beautifully just in front of me through each drive, watching the skies and waiting to work, and when a bird falls he is on it in a flash and brings it back to my hand every time. He is a close worker and there are a couple of spaniels on our shoot, namely his Auntie and 1 of his sisters who are better at going a long distance in heavy cover to find birds. They are more independent and work alone, but then they also do their own thing a bit too much sometimes, and have some fun while their mum is frantically blowing her whistle! Olli never embarrasses me, and is so obedient when we work, my whistle normally stays tucked in my coat. So it got me thinking about all my dogs and what I get out of them.
Olli is a keen steady gun dog, and a grade 5 agility dog. Lily is now Grade 6 agility, brilliant around stock and very loving. Twiggy is loving, brilliant with other dogs, keen to please and intelligent, and if she doesn't make it in agility it wont make her any less of a wonderful dog to own. There are so many competitive people out there, who expect only the best from their dogs all the time, and are not satisfied with 2nd place. A lot of parents are like that with their children too, always pushing them to win and berating them for anything less. Well I am not one of those people. I am not worried whether they are 1st or last, as long as we had fun doing it! Yes Lily does ridiculously wide turns sometimes, most of the time, but she loves what she does, and I love running her as she is so genuine. No Olli wont go miles away from me and hunt on his own, but he does work very hard and always retrieves every bird I send him for, and he loves his agility. All the other dogs have their faults, but its what makes them special, and I wouldn't swap any of them for the world. What I get out of my dogs is the best feeling, and whether they are superstars or the best cuddlers in the world, I couldn't wish for more. So a few photos of my lot, just doing what they do, and being happy.
|Cove saying "Hello"|
|Lily & Olli on their favourite place.|
|Twiggy helping with the gardening!|
|Cove relaxing whilst I cook tea.|
|Stanley in one of his odd positions in the sunny window.|
|Lily Cove & Olli having a laugh in our favourite tree.|
|Cove & Lily trying to look like farm dogs!|
|Olli retreiving a pheasant to hand.|
|Waiting quietly in the woods.|
|Dave running with the best toy!|
|Becki still running and happy at 13.|