…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Monday is menosukhi day - the one in which I go all sentimental. For a few weeks this means you are sharing my memories of two darling creatures, Jade Dog MacWoof and Jasper Cat MacMeow.

As I gave you Jasper's antecedents a couple of weeks ago, it follows that I ought to tell about Jade's family tree.  It is not so clear however, in spite of a chance meeting with the mother.  That was one of those flukes of timing that have one wondering.

On her purchase papers it stated Rhodesian Ridgeback x English Staffordshire.  Certainly I could see both of those in her.  The latter was mostly hidden except on occasions of "I didn't do it mum!", when the goggle-eyed sideways look of 'should I run now?' was pure and true Staffy.  But the tail.  The tail never fit the picture.  Plus a few behavioural patterns.  Just every now and then I would swear there was a bit of German Shepherd in there somewhere.  Then at the vet's on a vaccination visit, she got all excited around an absolutely beautiful Ridgeback female waiting beside us.  Conversation struck up as it must.  Sure enough, this was the mother!  The lady was a breeder and had been quite taken aback at her prize bitch succumbing to the wiles of a neighbour's dog - which she swore to me was English Staffordshire.

Anyone who knows anything about the size difference we are talking here is going to question mark this.  Not impossible I suppose.  Apparently he was of brindle colouring hence the black flecking in Jade's tan.  Aha. ' Could have been from the GSD in the male's gene-pool also', thinks YAM.  I wasn't there to debate heritage.  Seeing the stunning mother was enough for me.  It also explained why the pet shop sale and not through usual breeder's channels.  Seeing for myself the credentials on that side at least, relieved me of any lurking concern regarding inappropriate breed-for-greed activity.

For the first 6 weeks of her presence at No. 36, Jade was kept (when not with Jasper in the back yard) in the sunroom , newspapers underfoot, toys, bedding, the lot.  This was useful in training as she learned the words "guard the house" meant she was being left alone for a while.  Only five minutes to start with, then extending that so she would learn there was always going to be a return of the care-giver, regardless how long. 

This large, enclosed verandah extended off the two front bedrooms and each had a door leading onto it… only one door was ever used for Jade access as, later, I wanted to surprise her with the other.  There was a bit of crying, but not so horrible as to tear the heart.  She was showing her smarts very early.  At week 4 though, the whining started to take hold, mainly because she was really bonding and wanted to be with me - or Jasper.  "Why be in when I can be out?"  She was asking.  A factor in this was I needed her to grow to a size where she wouldn't follow Jasper through the wrought iron gates!  I also intended that she be an in-house guard dog during the times I had to be absent.  Therefore it was essential this started from day one.  Peeking round the second, unfamiliar, door during one of the whine times I watched her standing staring at the handle of the used door with a laser-like gaze.  It was a precious moment for, as she made a leap for the lever-style catch then landed heavily without success, she let out her first bark!

Oh, the expression on her face was priceless.  Who did that?!

Of course I couldn't contain myself, I was so excited that it was deep and clear, not a yippy squeaky sound at all. So within seconds of astonishment at her own voice, Jade also had to deal with me appearing like some kind of magic from another place.  Watching the workings going on behind those eyes, I realised I had a thinking dog on my hands.

Sure enough, the next day, she was waiting by the second door, fully expecting I'd be peeking again.  To circumvent this, after the fourth day of being second-guessed, I waited and re-entered by the original door.  ...that only lasted the once.  Next day she had settled directly in the middle and was surveying both doors!  Thus began a life-long love of hide and seek with mum.

You're all thinking, yes well, that's fairly standard with most of the better-brained dogs.  Let me tell you
though, this is where I also became aware that I was receiving some training in my own turn.  During that final 6th week of 'incarceration' I knew she had to graduate for two reasons.  One was that she had learned to toilet properly and mostly on command.  She was, after all, now into her fourth month of life. Second was that when I entered to release her on what would be her last full day in the sunroom, she wasn't there.  That is to say, she couldn't be seen.  Walking further in I saw straight away that the other door was open.  She had grown sufficiently long in body and leg to reach the lever.  Not only that, she snuck  round the other room, up behind me and barked!!!

Now who was surprised?

I was grateful that every other room in the house had knobs and not lever handles.  I could have spent my days in anticipation of ambush.

Next week - Mum Jade learns how to walk...


  1. That's where I met you first at number 36 and the amazing J's. would not change a thing. My best friend and sister,, and I loved Jade dog as much as you did.

  2. Hari OM
    It was, they were and you did. &>


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