I’ve got a problem.
A couple of months ago I bought two puppies – originally nameless they became Blake (Scrappy) and Percy, then Percy became Wilbur.
They joined the household of Stella, our two-year-old Pointer-Springer Spaniel cross.
So far so good.
They’ve both had their tails docked which is something I’ll write about one day & don’t feel in the mood to discuss; I hope that is ok. And, that isn’t really the problem.
You see, we semi-rescued Stella.
We bought her in one of the lockdown windows shortly after my dog Maisie died of cancer.
We don’t know much about Stella’s past although we suspect she might have come from a puppy farm (she was about a year old when we got her), she was, to put it mildly, a little damaged.
For the first two or three weeks after she came home I had to physically drag her out of her crate to let her pee or poo – she was terrified.
She was silent, not uttering a whimper.
She would hide.
Over time and with lots of work she has come into herself.
She still has some issues – she barks at my partner and daughter whenever they approach (very loudly – she eventually found her voice), she can’t be let off the lead outside as she tends to run away and she has strong jaws.
The jaws are the problem.
I’ll explain in a moment.
You might have wondered about the pup’s names.
Well, Blake is named after William the poet and Percy after the other great Romantic. My son Rami studied A-level English and loved the Romantics. I sometimes call Blake ‘Scrappy’ as to me he has more in common with Scooby’s nephew than a brooding late-18th century poet.
I gave Percy to my sister as she had been wanting a dog for ages and when the two siblings became available this seemed a fantastic opportunity. My sister lives in Edinburgh so the boys won’t see much of each other, although we exchange photos.
My sister’s son named Percy, ‘Wilbur’ and so the story goes.
Wilbur lives closer to the seaside than Blake and possibly has the better deal.
Anyone who has had a puppy knows that they like to chew.
They are essentially tail-wagging, peeing and pooing chew machines.
And this is the problem.
You see, I am sure when Stella (named after Stella from A Streetcar Named Desire and Stella Artois from Kensuke’s Kingdom (we like books in our household)) was a pup she didn’t have any toys or chews.
Now the pups’ chews (we have bought lots of chews – plastic bones and stuffed toys are the favourites), Stella has discovered a new world.
Stella – chew bandit
The problem we have is that Stella is an adult dog and her jaws are mighty and powerful and very quickly shred the soft-toys and gobble Nylabones. (Real bones don’t work as they bring out an aggressive streak in her that is otherwise sublimated.)
Before the pups, if I bought Stella a chew she would ignore it. Even a stuffed rat called ‘Rodney’ lay unloved by the side.
She has learned to covet the toys (She has also learned from the pups how to run after and retrieve a ball).
And her carnassials destroy the toys.
Poor Rodney the rat lasted a few hours before his tail and ears were removed, our stoat a matter of minutes.
Stoat just before his denouement
Stella steals toys off Blake, she is only interested in those Blake wants.
It is like two toddlers constantly vying for attention.
Fortunately neither of them are bothered by Yoda our tortoise.
I suspect in time Blake will outgrow the chews or at least the toys, or he will be big enough to grab them back off Stella. Who knows, they might fight; hopefully not – for the moment when Stella robs the Blake-toy, he cowers.
They provide a window into the human soul.