Tuesday, August 26, 2008
We have been dog-sitting out daughter's rough collie, Jemimah (this is not she). Rough collies are very friendly dogs but wear a very heavy fur coat which may well be suitable for herding sheep in northern Scotland, but are distinctly de trop for sunny Bournemouth. Not that we have had much sunshine this summer, but even so it is warmish compared to Scotland.
She has settled down well in our family. At 9-30 am she is ready for her hour's walk on the golf course, and even before she has entered the course she has found a stick to be thrown for her to chase. The golf course is a public park so it is a favorite place for dogs to exercise (a euphemism for 'exercise their bowels') and the park has strict rules about cleaning up messes. It gives the term 'doggy-bag' a whole new meaning.
The other part of her routine is grooming. With such a long haired coat, tangles and tuggs are a common problem. These take a lot of brushing out and while she enjoys being brushed on her back and neck, anywhere else is likely to invoke a nip. So it is a two-handed job: one strokes her back and neck while the other attacks the tangles on her legs and tummy. Apparently they have sensitive skins so the combing out of tangles has to be very gentle.
When she has been groomed she is a very beautiful creature. She is a mixture of brown black and white with a shiny coat and an intelligent face. She is well aware of her beauty, indeed she is something of a princess. Over the golf course she is surrounded by other dogs who clearly appreciate her attractiveness, but she shows no interest in them. Indeed, I think that like Lorenz's ducks she thinks herself human and not canine at all.
I'm told that she sees herself as a man's dog, but that does not seem to be the state here. Her place in the household is as one of the privileged females, which she shows by lying at my wife's feet. She knows where her food comes from. As for the rest of the household, it seems to consist of a stick throwing machine.