Saturday 20 October 2007

Poor little Gigot

It's the weekend, so the humans are flying about everywhere. Dad runs a "deer walk" in Challock Forest, where it's the rut for the 200 or so fallow deer in there. Westies, faced with a fallow deer tend to give chase, yipping in frustration as they fail to keep up, so we are grounded for this one and dad goes off on his own.

The walkers have a great time - "Probably the best Deer Walk ever!" enthuses dad when he gets back. Apparently, being a small group they were able to get some nice close long sightings, and listen to the big old bucks roaring out their challenges. At one point they's left the immediate area of the rutting stand and moved off to near some dense young chestnut coppice, when up one of the cleared strips they saw a young person (not one of their group) stroll through.

This person (probably completely un-awares) had worried all the deer off the stand, and into the chestnut. Suddenly one big full-grown buck with huge, fully palmated antlers came trotting out of the chestnut 20 feet from Dad's group, more concerned with avoiding the person, than looking in front of him. He spotted Dad's group and stopped, then turned with great dignity, antlers back, nose high, high-stepping front feet, and trotted off back into the chestnut. Dad says the whole group had stopped breathing at that stage. Awesome!

Mum and Dad have also been out and about shopping (mmm - dog treats!), and then came back and we got our walk, off to the Rec for a game of plastic bottle. Sometimes we play "plastic bottle" (Dad throwing or kicking, me chasing and nailing, then running around with bottle in ever increasing state of chewed, squashed-ness).

Sometimes we play "chase the seagull from miles away" - this involves me in full-bore, head down, gallop from good distances, bearing down on seagulls on the football pitches. Sometimes the 2 games get confused and I've still got the bottle ("Powerade" sports drink tonight) wideways in my mouth when a seagull needs chasing. The look on the gull's face as a madly charging juice bottle comes racing towards it with legs going like pistons underneath and a tail sticking up behind, is priceless

We meet "Gigot", a small Bedlington out with his new Mum and Dad, his new stable-mates a brown lab and a small long haired beastie. Poor Gigot is in a sorry state, having been rescued just 3 weeks ago from what sounds like a house of horrors. 3 weeks ago he was one of nine Bedlingtons kept by some awful bloke - all nine dogs were tangled fur, a mass of sores from parasite bites and swollen red feet from walking in their own excrement and wee.

They were cringing from the old owner, so that new-Mum had to take the dog straight out to the car while the new Dad did the paperwork "else I'd have killed the bloke", she said. Gigot's tail is almost bald near the base and his fur gives way to scabby patches here and there. They were (compulsorily) re-homed, one ending up with this family.

Gigot is now all trimmed and cleaned up, his poor feet (although still a bit pink) are nearly back to normal, and he's under the vet and anti-biotics for his sores and skin lesions. He's a gentle soul though and is slowly getting used to the fact that some men will treat him properly.

We dogs (we're quiet and careful anyway near any unknown dog - Dad seems to be very proud of us being on our "best behaviour" for Gigot, understanding that he needs gently socialising.) My Dad crouches and talks to him gently, and extends a hand to be sniffed. After a while Gigot accepts a bit of a fuss round the face and then comes right in close to Dad to be petted gently. His new Mum and Dad are almost moved to tears to see him being so "brave" and making such good progress. When they first got him he was very upset and scared at any unknown people or dogs.

We'll look out for you, Gigot - you are among friends. "Gigot", by the way, comes from the fact that Bedlingtons look very lamb-like when they are fully furred up and clean.


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