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Just when things were getting interesting.

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I've posted a few threads and posts on here asking about how to get these silly long dogs to do when they say on the tin and have tried various methods that have worked on other manufacturers of dogs but these things just seem to not give a stuff. That is until you bite the bullet and make a right tw@ of yourself in front of the world's population. It is almost liek the dog is saying "I will only do what you ask if you dance for me. How badly do oy need me to do this favour for you? Then you must perform for me and tell me what you require of me through the medium of modern dance".


A small rag toy being whizzed about whilst you jump and roll about like an overly dressed member of The Royal Ballet (The Royal being the local pub ,not by HRH appointment) is all that was needed to get the rescue dog to switch on - "You have performed well Muse, I shall now give you what you seek".


So the dog was finally interested in doing something other than buggering off and within a few short lessons she was actually fetching the toy back to me. I mingled this with a few cheeky runs on rabbits when everyone was in bed and she was getting the idea a bit but not going up a gear more to finish the job. She'd run alongside them, behind them and on one occasion when one sat for her she sniffed it, ran off, came back, sniffed it again, gave it a play bow to see if it fancied a dance and then watched bemused as it ran off into the darkness without giving chase. I asked about acquiring some rabbit skins to wrap around a dummy to try and get her to the next stage but folk said not to bother. I got one off my mate and she ate it within a day.


I got chased by some furious folk with torches one night whilst out with her, I had a bigger torch but they outnumbered me so I figured the area of fist surface would fall in their favour by a large margin and high-tailed it through the woods to a relatively easy escape - it was a rush and a half but not something I want to stand a chance of having every time I go out with her. After that I enquired with the land owner about doing some shooting to help keep the pests down. They hadn't allowed anyone to shoot for 11yrs despite getting asked almost every month but as there had recently been poachers in the area who might be causing damage (erm....) then I could begin immediately.


I have been shooting there now for a couple of months and I love it. This hunting lark just leads to better and better things. I started out fishing and now I have a gun and a ridiculous dog, the freezer is stacked with rabbits and friends are even asking for supplies.


Now, the rabbits I was taking back home were being skinned and fed to the dogs who would rip into them like they were a box of Terry's All Gold but when we were out walking and a rabbit was spotted nothing was changing, the collie would give chase as best he could (He's fast but he barks at them to slow down) and the long 'un would lope alongside.

One day I figured that giving a full rabbit was not a bad thing and they'd probably like it even more so I had them outside whilst I was preparing some new stock from the night before. I chopped off the paws (rabbit's, not dog's)and tossed them to them. They went down like fury Twix fingers so I got three rabbits of equal size and chucked the to them. They all backed off at the sight and sound of the strange critters that usually ran away. My crippled collie had never seen a rabbit before as he is too slow to get to where they are before the other two have chased them all off, but he was the first in. A quick sniff, a snap of the teeth and an ear was missing. It was like watching a dickhead taste the wine before going along with the choice anyway - "It tastes like wine my good man, I'll take it!". One by one the dogs picked their lunch and found a secluded spot in the garden to enjoy their meal. Nothing was left over.


Over the next week or so the dogs were given a rabbit each five days a week along with the usual offal, pigs heads, trout and chicken carcasses. I mentioned to my shooting permission land owners that I had this dog that looked like a dog that could do some and they agreed to let me have a go with her. I forgot all about it until one day I was walking all three dogs along the right of way that runs parallel to their land when they called me over and asked to see her run a rabbit or two.

We all walked into the paddock area where the white tails play and I knew with three dogs and three humans there was no chance of getting to within a slipping range of one so i just said I'd let her off and see if she gave chase. The lead came off and we all held our breaths, well I did at least as she turned away from the rabbits and started to look at the tasty pile of horse dumplings that sat behind us. She then turned her head and froze for what seemed a minute as she just watched the tawny shadows watching her back. She took a few steps forward and a couple of the rabbits were not going to wait around for her to take her few more. This was her invitation to dance at the party.

She trotted over to the hedge and turned to our right causing six or seven tails to vanish into the hedge and earth to our left. We watched as she casually glided along the hedge and down into a dip in the undulating terrain. "Shit! She'll be back at the car" I thought. A few seconds passed and from the knee high patch of thistles and grass to our right sprung a rabbit with its ears down, body at full stretch when in flight and legs pumping for sanctuary. This was followed by another doing the same, then another and then another two. "What is that stupid dog doing?" was the only thing on my mind when a rabbit burst into the open towing a large sandy coloured dog shaped trailer. She was in "How are you doing? Nice day for a run isn't it? Well, catch you later!" gear and if you knew she'd been feeding on whole rabbits you could see the mouse in the wheel turning inside her head before finally the penny through the hole in the Dr Benardo's Charity boxes where the coin spirals down. "FOOOOOOD!" She took a few fast strides as she passed us and grabbed the rabbit. Unfortunately she couldn't multi-task like females like to brag about and got her feet all messed up. She bowled the rabbit and herself through the long grass a few times before gathering herself to her feet with el rabbit now in her mouth, shook it a few times and then turn to look at me. If I am out with all three dogs and she decides she wants to play fetch she will go get the toy but will then piss off to the nearest county to claim it as hers or to try and instigate a game of chase from the collies but as they know they have zero chance of catching her they don’t even bother. She will find a spot miles away and then drop the toy as it has become boring and will find something horrible to roll in instead. I waited with no expectation and was just about to say "Well the show is over folks, nothing more to see here, move along now" when she turned her body towards me and began to physically run towards me with the rabbit. she stopped righ in front of me and looked up at me. I watched the rabbit trying to get it's bearings back and actually said out loud to her, forgetting who was with me due to the once in a lifetime occurrence, "What do you want me to do with that then?" I kid you not she raised her head towards me and offered the rabbit to me. I obliged and took it in my hand. At this point during training she was rewarded for fetching the rag toy with a game of tug and she would go bananas on the end of it ragging it about so I didn't expect the rabbit to remain in one piece. Amazingly she gently let the rabbit go as she felt the weight change as my hand took the weight and then just stood looking at me whilst I finished the deed and laid the rabbit on the floor. I was gobsmacked. The landowners were pleased and said I could hunt with her every so often if I liked, I just had to let them know in advance.


After saying farewell we carried on with our walk and then relaxed back home. Later that evening I called them to eat and gave her the rabbit she took down earlier but noticed she was walking a bit stiff. I figured she had taken a bit of a knock during the tumble and watched her over the next day or two. It got worse. She could hardly put any weight on her back right leg so she was up to the vets. Turns out she has an inflamed Achilles tendon but needed to rest for a week for the swelling to go down before the vet could see if there was any further damage. A week later and the swelling was still too bad to tell. Another week passed and last Friday they diagnosed her as having a bit of inflammation thank God so she has another week on the sofa. Four weeks on the sofa and she hasn't once gone bananas at being confined to the house but she does look mighty miserable now.


After she is allowed short walks it will be steady increase in exercise to build her up and get her right but I am determined to not push her or anything because from what I saw that day and I am by no means an expert or even a novice but she just might turn out to be a good 'un.

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Update on the leg.


There seems to be a childish system at our vets, or at least that is how I saw it, it may be something they do so they know how far along the injury or treatment is.


Initially Lucy (the dog) started off with a big wrapping of red bandage that was stiff and she would bobble along to the back garden for a toilet break before heading back to the sofa to enjoy daytime TV or watching the world go by out of the front window. This bandage was not as stiff as a plaster cast but it didn't exactly give her any real movement. A week went by in this and she seemed quite put out at the beginning with all of the howling and whining when I took the other two out for a walk but after a few days she calmed down a bit and I think resided herself to the fact she wasn't going anywhere fun for a while. Sometimes I just wish you could tell them it was for their own good.

After a week she was back at the vets to see if the swelling had gone down. Unfortunately it hadn’t so she was given a replacement red bandage again and sentenced to another week on the sofa. Some days I’d take the collies out but other days we would all just sit at home to keep her company and make sure she wasn’t tearing around when we left trying to follow us. Her laziness and ability to sleep for 36hrs on a bank holiday was doing her a great favour during this time as she took to doing nothing like good one.

The week passed without much doing and it was back to the vets for a check-up. It was the day England were playing Sweden in the Euro’s and as my vet is Scottish I wondered if she was trying to curse the England team when Lucy came back from the upstairs bit with a yellow bandage on. I was told that the swelling was easing and to keep putting the magic juice (an anti-inflammatory) on her food and to rest her, standard practice now.


The third week came and went and she was getting itchy feet now. The sun was shining (remember that part of 2012?) and she would lay with her head on the top of the sofa, nose pressed against the window and whimper softly with a 100yrd stare into the scene before her. At this point I thought about swapping the sofas round as the one she was on was starting to look very used and not quite as padded as it used to, I was surprised there wasn’t a perfect dog indent in the cushions. Instead though I just swapped the cushions around and she wasn’t in protest of the idea.


Week four and back to the vets it was. The usual stuff happened and when she came back we had progressed to a green bandage, all must have looked good. I asked about the swelling and if they could see if she needed an operation. Thankfully no operation was required and she was given a further week of sofa rest – I was beginning to imagine her being put in the cooler again with a glove and baseball whilst the collies were busily digging tunnels.


Week five and yup, back to the vets. Off she went and came back with a new leg, it was a bit wobbly and shaking but a new leg all the same. The good news was that she was on a short, steady leash walk schedule for a while to build up her strength and not to overdo it. The bad news was the bill I was presented. Now, I love my dogs and I know you can’t put a price on their wellbeing, and vets know this. For five 15mins visits and four lots of stiff multi-coloured bandaging I was charged just shy of two ton. I asked how this was even justifiable and was given a standard response of it being their set rates and charges. I asked for a breakdown of the costs of their procedures for veterinary care and they could give me one as “each case is treated individually”. Well if each case is treated individually how can they have set rates and charges? “we just do”. Well I am changing vets to a proper farmer vets instead of a small animal clinic where they play on your emotions. The first question they ask now is “Is the animal insured?” and you can see them prepare everything from vitamin injection, extra vet nurses and even the most expensive machine that goes “ping!” if you say they are fully covered. I want a vet that says “rub some treacle on it and stop fretting” or just pulls out the captive bolt gun and says “I am going to make it all better in a minute”.


The first walk was a task. Trying to get a dog that for the past 5-6 weeks had only known the sofa, the garden and the vets to remain calm and focused as the front door is opened and it has four working appendages again is not something I wish to do for a living. The only way I could describe it was a bit like holding on to an electric fence where your arm starts doing that crazy waving thing of its own accord, then it’s turned off when you get a hold of the dog to ask it to settle and then it’s switched on again the moment you start to move forward again. Bloody animal.


Twice a day for two weeks this rigmarole went on for as I wasn’t taking any chances with her. She’s still only about 20weeks old in her head due to her poor start in life and she was just coming to the good when the injury happened. The issue now is that she has reverted back to her puppy state of mind but with an extremely strong hunting instinct. Anything that moves is fair game for a rigid body stare with everything in the world disappearing into the void of her grey matter. Shout, click your fingers, give a few gentle gestures on the lead and it is met blankly with a dog that has been to a hypnotist. I have even started saying to here “Lucy, back in the room” and funnily enough she snaps out of most times, I am currently trying to figure out the trigger word for her to squawk like a chicken.


Eventually I took the plunge and let her off the lead. I found a quiet place on the moors with nobody about and away from the warrens. I got the two collies in a down stay and with a trembling hand and a laughing bank manager reverberating in my ears I unclipped the leash. She stood there as I breathed a sigh of relief but I realise now the length it took for me to sigh was exactly the length of time it took for her say “Hello world, I am back!” and she was off to the horizon zigzagging, ears back, tail between her legs and her eyes rolled into the back of her head as she tore around. She turned and headed back to us. I looked at my eldest collie (the one she teased to hell when we were out before) and he looked at me as if to say “You b@stard!” and sure enough she clattered into him and then it was on like donkey kong. Lucy was back in the game.


It is now about 6 weeks of her being able to run free and everything is new to her again. She has lost every command she had before to virtually nothing so I have to start again with her from recall, to asking her to stop and her retrieving has all but gone. Never mind though, she is back up and running and the training can all be redone regardless of how much of a ball ache I think it is, just having second thoughts of allowing her to chase the fluff bottoms now.

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