21 April 2008

Semi-trained wildlife

One of the most rewarding things that I have ever done was to breed a litter of Labradors.

Clockwise from bottom right: Clicquot, the mother, an English Lab bred in France. Clicquot and her daughter, Syrah (tied up because we were visiting a friend with 7 cats). From l to r, Moxie, the father, an English Lab bred in Wisconsin; Doc, a son; Buddy, a son (Canadians don't go in for complex name for dogs, on the whole). Mother and daughter again, on the shore at Lake Nitinat.

There are two more sons and another daughter on the Island, and a total of 6 for the family in this village. Doc, who belongs to the sire's owner, started hunting in Alberta at 6 months and has shown exceptional performance, and he is widely admired. One is proud, I have to say. The breeding couldn't be much better - both Clicquot and Moxie have a grandsire from Sandringham.

The Black Labrador, for me, is the finest of all dogs. I have now owned several. They are faithful, willing and wilful. They would thieve from the kitchen all day if you gave them half a chance, but that's half the fun. Or so I tell my wife.


Bearsy said...

I love dogs, although I haven't been in a position to own one since I moved to Australia; until then, there was always a dog in the household (and usually one or more cats).
My last was George, a lab-retriever cross (a 'bitser', as we say here). He was the most adorable old softy, who we acquired from a refuge. He loved everyone, except for men wearing overalls - the sort with the 'bib' up the front - I guess that says something about why he was in a refuge.
At one stage we had two mature cats, and acquired another two young kittens (don't even ask). The mature cats ignored the kittens and camped out in the garage, sulking, for several weeks. So dear old George brought them up, even teaching them to use the cat-flap.
One day they were playing round his feet when one leaped up and grabbed him by the unmentionables. The expression on George's face was classic. Instinct told him to growl and bite, but his affection for 'his babies' was such that he stood there quietly, with tears rolling down his muzzle, until the kitten relinquished its grip.
Then, and only then, he wagged his tail and licked the offending kitten. What a dog!

James Wolfe said...


Thank you for visiting. I have spoken to you before, of course, but I had no idea you were a dog lover. Or cat lover, for that matter. We always had dogs, gundogs, in my family, and cats were anathema. My wife loves both. My first association with a cat was a bedraggled 6 week-old I found in France, some 8 years ago, in a thunderstorm. We took him in while I sought his careless owners. Four years later, I flew him first class from Frankfurt to Vancouver. 18 months ago, I picked up another one from an ad by the side of the road, brought him home, the dogs licked him clean and now he runs the place. He beats the hell out of the puppy (fortunately she has no tackle), they chase each other around the house and he provides us with hours of amusement all day. The dogs adore him, to the point of checking his every sound. I love your story about George - it's the Lab in him, you know. Will you have animals again?

Bearsy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Araminta said...

This is so exciting and I love the photos and the layout. I am working on my contribution but I'm a bit worried that it won't be quite up to scratch! All my labrador photos are very old and mostly in store but I'll do my best!