Friday 18 March 2016


Towser is all done and wants just to get off that table
Another bit of red-tape comes our way hot on the heels of Water Charges, Property Tax and Goat Herd Numbers. We hear on the radio that it will become mandatory from 1st April that all dogs must be micro-chipped. We can hear 50% of our neighbours guffaw-ing with the same response they had to finding out that we actually went out and got our dogs licensed when this was mooted. Yeah Right.

Dog Micro-Chip docs.
The locals seem to have a fairly loose, open minded approach to such things - I am not sure how many people have started paying the water rates, but it is still a hot political potato and the take up has only been in the 30-50% area to my knowledge. There are also plenty of folk not yet paying Property Tax, not registering septic tanks and so on. We are probably unusually stupid in this respect and suckers for everything but a) I still feel like a guest in this country, and it would be unreasonable to come here expecting a welcome and acceptance but to straight way start breaking the rules. b) once we had signed up to dog licences, I think it would be quite a risk to not do the micro chip thing - their database might be a bit ropey but I think that at least they'd be able to check whether the licenced dogs were tagged. And c) we know our luck. Get Liz to tell you her TV Licence story one time, and you'll agree.

So, in we booked to the Castlerea vet to an evening clinic and we took the dogs along tonight to get them done. The micro chip is a tiny pellet the size of a grain of rice, which the vet injects just under the skin between the shoulder blades. The needle looked fairly big (like one of my sheep ones) - the bore had to fit the pellet, so I expected some shouting, especially from Poppea, our drama-queen. Fair play to Pops, who we put in last. I got a small squeak from Deefer and Towser but not a whisper from Poppea; just a pained look and a tensing of the face around the eyes.

Happy St Patrick's from the chooks
Next, of course, as this as all about getting owner personal details onto a Government database, came the paperwork. Triplicate forms - dogs names, breeds and dates of birth, owner name address and phone number and a fair amount of vet details. Bar codes everywhere. The authorities claim that this will help them (the dog warden etc) find you if your dog gets lost and will stop them having to euthenase the poor mite but I can't help feeling that it is more about making sure they get the €20 per year dog licence money from all the nation's dogs. Ah well.

Frost on pussy willow.
The chipping was only €25 per dog and there are charity animal welfare organisations who will do it for free if you are hard up. We, at least, are legal. I remain amused that we only knew this was going on because we had heard about it on our radio station of choice, 'Today FM'. We have had no notification from Government nor seen anything in newspapers. You would think that at least the dog licencing boys would be posting out mail shots to their "customers" or the vets, who stand to make that €25 per dog, would have been contacting clients.

Blue sky for my Kiltybranks dog walk today
Meanwhile our run of blue skies continue all be it with frosty mornings. I've been able to get out on some lovely dog walks and today I returned to Kiltybranks where I can let the gang off the leads. Regular readers may recall that I have found down there a bloke (Paul) who does his own turf cutting and has become a bit of a friend. He goes down there with his collie 'Sam' who has befriended our 3 dogs and, while we humans chat, Sam chases around the guy's turf cuttings pursued by 3 mad westies.

Frosty spider web.
Sam is a long legged, fast dog given to 'Lassie Super-dog' leaps from cut to cut across canyons which leave my short leggedy westies miles behind trying to decide whether to try to jump the gap or run down into it and back up. You see Sam flowing across the tops, barely touching the heather followed by three mad, white, bouncing, tongue-lolling shapes trying to sprong through the heather like salmon trying to jump up a fish-ladder. Today, Paul's partner (Sharon) was there too, so the dogs had a new person to schmooze up and her being a goat breeder, I had a new source of advice on how to tell if Nanny Óg might be about to kid. Nan is, of course, playing her cards close to her chest still.

The flowering currants (Ribes) take a frost hit prior to opening
I spent my St Patrick's Day over at the Sligo house helping K-Dub to start the flooring. The floors downstairs are going to be a bit special. None of your B&Q laminates or cheap tiles there. This is going to be a grid of 4' squares made out of the thinner size of old scaffold boards, infilled with huge slabs of Indian limestone. You can probably not see that in your mind's eye but, trust me, with the boards sanded down and sealed and the stone also sealed it is going to look spectacular. Photo's when some of it is complete.

Bacon and cabbage Roscommon style.
Enough for now. I wish you good night and a happy St Patrick's weekend from our dog-legal, micro-chipped Friday Night pizza and red wine heaven.

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