Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The biggest scaredy-dog in the world

We were promised thunderstorms in the north yesterday and around 10pm we got a few rumbles but nothing much.

These few rumbles however were enough to have Jake the scared-iest Golden Retriever in the world running upstairs for our bedroom - he is not allowed upstairs, has never been allowed upstairs in the house and knows it, will not put one paw on the bottom step under normal circumstances - thunder and bonfire night cancel out all of those good intentions though.

We dragged him back downstairs and the thunder went away.

Then at 3am this morning we had the mother of all thunderstorms, bright as daylight outside with constant lightning and some hellish cracks of thunder for about half an hour.

I heard a scuffle on my side of the bed and there was Jake trying to crawl underneath it, shivering and a-shaking in fear he was, poor lad - we left him there until this morning.

On a positive note its his abject fear of bangs that brought him to us eight years ago, we were looking for a soft dog after having had a bad experience with our second German Shepherd (she was a nut) and in the local newspaper I spotted an advert for a small litter of Golden Retrievers, rang them and found that they weren't so local after all but in fact lived way up in North Yorkshire.

Traveled up there with the two girls the next day and searched around on a moorside for a long time until we found the gamekeepers cottage on a large country estate where the twelve week old Jake and three of his sisters lived, the rest of the pups having been taken already for training.

The guy who had bred them was a genuine gamekeeper on the estate and bred his Labradors and Retrievers for gun work, he showed us Jakes pedigree and its pretty impressive, there is not one generation in his family that hasn't been a champion gun dog including his father who lived in the local village, what a disappointment Jake must have been to them as a young pup when all of the ten strong litter were taken out into the field behind their house and a gun fired in the air to see how they'd react - Jake was back in his kennel before the "g" in "bang".

The only inbred characteristic that he has for being a gun dog is his universal refusal to bark, several barking gun dogs are absolutely no use to a gamekeeper when he is out on the moors searching for game birds and so the bloodline is kept tightly controlled and the barking gene is weak, Jake can bark but only does so once or twice a year and he scares the hell out of us when he does so - it usually means he's seen food and we've ignored his pleas for a couple of hours, he's a very patient dog.

So we have a very friendly (he smiled at our burglar and didn't bother to bark a few years ago) but also scaredy-dog in the family, completely useless at anything except for providing complete, unrelenting and unconditional love, although I suspect that he'd do the same to any other family who would feed him.

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