The Dogs

You may have seen them in the photos, or mentioned in passing in a post, but they have never had a formal introduction; until now.

Jackie and Scooby, with special guest star Bruder with an honerable mention for Horeck who went ‘walk about’ four months ago never to return; all three (four) a big part of our lives in Poland.

(Edit, 23rd June) Zara joined the family in May and has settled in well, although Jackie remains the boss and suffers from bouts of jealousy.

Jackie (Gosia dad calls her Black Mamba) is the boss, no question about it, as the lone female she can kill with a glance and moves with a lightning strike and snap should any of the males misbehave or break any of her many changing rules: Eating before her, going too close to her if she is eating, seeking human affection before she has had any, barking at her, trying to play with her, looking at her in a funny way and the most cardinal sin of all trying to mount her. Any of the above missdimeeners will result in swift retribution, even random dogs that we meet whilst out walking; irrelevant of size or temperament, will be brought down to size and sent scampering off should she take a dislike to them or they try to break any of the above rules. Of course that is if you are lucky enough to get her attention in the first place, as a spaniel; a Sproker spaniel at that (a Cocker, Springer cross) she regards all other dogs with an indifference that royalty would be proud of; it’s quite clear in her mind that she is human and socialising with other dogs is not the done thing. She was born to hunt and that’s what she does from the minute she knows we are going for a walk, taking off at a hundred miles an hour, nose to the ground; springing into the air as she hits the long grass searching for her pray; pheasants, hares, deer, foxes and cats are all on her hit list and she will happily pursue them all once she has flushed them from their hiding place. We often comment that she must travel at least ten times the distance we walk, if not more, whenever we venture out. I know I shouldn’t have favourites, but Jackie is most certainly mine, after all she has being with us since a pup and just finding these photos again made my smile a big smile 🙂

We saved Scooby from a certain death whilst visiting friends about three months ago, a passing comment about a spaniel type dog that someone had that was proving to be too much and the visit to the vet was inevitable, was all that we needed to pay a visit and offer to take him off their hands. The big problem with doing this is that you never know the type of dog you are getting and we too have struggled with him; his aggressive behaviour to other dogs and people, not to mention his sex addiction that drives him to try and shag anything from a motorbike, its rider, its passenger or its accompanying dog (male or female).
In saying that he is a happy dog that loves affection and as time goes by he is calming down. It’s clear that he had a tough life before and his aggression may be the result of bad treatment at some stage.
We did take him to the vets, after he bit me for the second time as I tried to prevent him from having his wicked way with the milkman’s 10 year-old daughter, and despite several warnings that I’d have his balls cut off if he bit me again, that’s what happened. We have seen a marked improvement in his behavior since, besides the ongoing feud with Bruder, there have being no serious dog fights of late and his desires are a distant memory, along with his ‘eggs’ I shouldn’t joke, but better this than him getting put down for biting someone!
For some strange reason he is camera shy, I don’t think he likes the flash, and he turns away or dissapears fast whenever the camera points in his direction. He also has the funny habbit of circling the area where he is about to poo, behavior I normally assosiate with a dog settling down to make a bed or going to sleep; a very odd dog, but he has melted Gosias heart and is slowly gaining everyones acceptance despite his incessant barking. He’s just excited 🙂

Bruder runs the neighbourhood watch scheme, alerting Rzemien of any impending danger, transmitting the message to be passed onto to all other dog relay stations in the village should anything unusual happen. Sadly he is one of the chained dogs of Poland, but he is left free to roam for a spell each day and when we are back at Gosias parents he joins the dog walking pack, so he has a better life than some.
Always eager to please, walking at perfect heal until you urge him to go for a run, and above all very protective. I’m not sure if this has something to do with his Border Collie genes (along with a few other breeds) but in the past he saved the local shop keeper from assault and recently intervened and taken Scooby down when he snapped at Gosia who was trying to calm him down; a good dog to have by your side. As he has recently taken on the mantle of the top dog at Gosias we have had trouble introducing Scooby and fierce fights would break out if they came into close contact, but time and a little bit of discipline has helped to calm the situation and they now tolerate each other when we go out walking.
Until recently he was a devout follower of Horreck, a Manchester terrier type, who despite his advanced years, broken tail and limp was considered to be the alpha by most of the village dogs. He would roam free and sometimes disappear for days as he lived the perfect dog’s life, only returning to his box in the kitchen when he needed food and rest, and a little bit of love. It was a sad day when he never returned, but he was close to fifteen and had lived his life to the full, and I’m almost certain he will have died trying to win the affections of a lady and eventually met his match with another challenger.

Edit April 2013: Unfortunately on our return to Poland we discovered that Scooby and Bruder are no longer with us, foul play is suspected, but cannot be proved. We have consoled ourselves with the fact that at least they had a good 8 months whilst we were here; certainly for Scooby who was saved from a certain death when we adopted him.

It’s hard to go for a walk with Jackie without thinking of them both and they will be remembered for a long while to come.

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