Saturday, 28 May 2011

Poppy dog - wonder dog

Pops walking through the park to the plot
As I walked into the allotments yesterday morning a small group of children from Fernhurst  first school were going to the Community Plots.  These plots are next to mine.  I gave Pops some water and biscuits and put the kettle on for a mug of tea.  Then I noticed that on the show field there were a huge number of young children playing.  Quiet  meditation was going to be out of the question!

I decided to get on with watering, and planting some squashed and chard plants.  One by one the classes came on to the Community plot and were given a talk about the plants.  The grape vine had clusters of small hard grapes - the children wanted to taste them but their teacher explained how plants need time to grow and ripen.  They then went into the poly tunnels and discovered the ripe strawberries and they were allowed to pick. a few each.  A few picked green ones and were disappointed, but were helped to find ripe fruit.  They tasted spinach, broad beans, saw the frogs in the pond and a variety of  flowers growing.  They saw bees and bugs including ladybirds, butterflies, spiders, and a male and female blackbird caring for their chick..  They then came back to the Geo Pod where there where pots of carrots one by one they came and pulled up a carrot.  Some  were plump some thin.  They all ate their carrots and wondered at the sweet fresh taste.  It was lovely to hear.  They went back onto the show field and then it was the turn of the  next class.

So where does the wonder dog come in.  Well Pops' first owner, loved her but could not cope with her, she is a fox terrier collie cross.  She took here out twice when she was a puppy and then stopped because she pulled.  She began tying her up in the kitchen at first just at night and then 24/7.  She was a wild, hectic and naughty dog when I got her.  Worst of all she had a very high pitched, distinctive bark.

When I first took her to the allotment she barked at birds, people, cars, helicopters, and just barked to be naughty and get attention.  Two "witches" complained about her - saying,

"Smack her on the nose when she barks."
"Hit her with a rolled up newspaper."
Hit her hard that will stop her!
"Control that dog!"

I pointed out the noise from the strimmers, rotivators, and the helicopters flying over head then  I decided to keep quiet.  Dogs have to be on the lead at the allotments, therefore, I put in posts around the plot so that Pops could be near me while I worked.  Which made her feel more secure. However,  even my friends on the allotment would come over to visit and say

" I knew you where here I could hear Poppy."

At home she was quiet with only occasional barking sprees.  I allowed her to bark at pigeons but disapproved of her barking at cats, small, birds, bikes, cars. She did not bark at dustcarts, lorries and buses as she is terrified of them  She was very frightened of  all traffic and scrabbled along the pavement  hugging the fence or wall. Or she would leap across me and howl like a Banshee at the cars.  She is more confident now but is still anxious on busy roads.

Gradually as she became happier and more secure the barking  when we were out has stopped.  When at the plot she still goes on a short barking spree, sometimes because that is what dog do, but often the attention of a nearby human who gives her a fuss and cuddle when they are by the plot.. She loves being tickled on the tummy and will roll over in sheer joy when someone offers to pet her.  She in return will try and place a lick on the persons nose. 

Poppy is very gentle with children and last week a little autistic child came to see her and give her a hug - she was so gentle, he sat down and she just snuggled into him and made him laugh by licking his tummy.  It was lovely to see his joy in her attention and closeness.  She is popular with children and many visit her with my permission to stroke and cuddle her.  Yesterday some of the children from the school also came over for the Poppy cuddle experience - she is so sweet gentle, and funny it  made  them laugh. Her first year was spent seeking approval so now she shows such joy as people take time out to give her a hug.  I heard the children  wondering what kind of dog she was they finally decided that she looks looked like a black fox - Their teacher told them a female fox is called a vixen.  I think that is how the children will remember her.  A black vixen!

 Oh dear I  have digressed - back to why is she a wonder dog?  She did not bark once all the time the scool children where on the next plots and when  86 children and 10 Teachers walked down the side of my plot and then across the front of it on the way back to school. Pops did not bark.  She just stood at the gate to our plot wagging her tail as they trooped past.  

I am very privileged to have her as my dog. She isn't perfect and does have a very naughty streak but she is so full of enthusiasm for life, playful and loyal. I am blessed.
Pops resting after play chasing  with other dogs.  

With blessings
Merry Rambler

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