Thursday 26 February 2009

The Adventures of Frodo the Faller (2)

Deciding that the dog show world was not for our beautiful naughty boy was a blessing in disguise. Frodo had not started his Falling career at that point so we, or rather I (for my husband is patient with my wild dreams and ambitions but does not commit himself as readily and foolishly as I) was regretting his foreshortened profession as a Top Stud Dog, since to achieve any success or even desirability – in the eyes of breeder/owners, that is; I don't think the brood bitches care one way or the other what their mates look like – he would have to be paraded, sorry, exhibited, at many a Championship Show in order to gain his 'tickets'.

Now tickets to people mean travel but to dogs they mean kudos for the breeder/owner and the chance to get their leg over in the case of male dogs. The bitches stand to be 'served' and it doesn't seem like a very enjoyable experience for them. Unfortunately, they cannot lie back and think of England and have to suffer the indignity of being 'tied' for anything up to an hour, with twenty minutes being the average. This is the time when unfortunate free-mating dogs in public can find themselves doused with cold water as well-meaning, shocked humans who find the whole process disgusting and even more so when displayed by dogs and cats, attempt to separate them. The torrent of water merely panics the dog and bitch who cannot escape from each other even though, soaking wet and cold, that is probably their dearest wish. It's Nature's way of ensuring ejaculation and impregnation. On the one occasion we had a dog and bitch mating I had hoped that observing the 'tie' might have a salutary effect on our eldest daughter, then nine years old. I have no idea if it did – she is now a happily married mother of three.

In my imagination Frodo had achieved and excelled in all the necessary stages of his calling and had become Sovereign Top Dalmatian, indeed, Supreme Super Stud of the Natural World (though there's much that's rather unnatural in the Canine Canon) I had not considered how I was going to manage his active life as a Dog in Demand. Where were the matings to be performed? Should the trysts take place in the kitchen or maybe the conservatory? How was the bitch to be accommodated during her stay? Perhaps the spare bedroom would suffice. Even more, I had not thought about the times – and there must be some – when his services were not required. Did we really want our boy humping everything in sight, including our other dogs, our cats, the furniture, my mother-in-law's legs?

No, Frodo the Stud Dog was really a non-starter, particularly when he began Falling, of which more anon.

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