Weekly photo challenge: Companionable – the dogs’ tales

I’ll confess. I did try to think of something different for this one because WordPress must surely be deluged with furry animal pictures for companionable.

But when I saw Vic’s beautiful collage of her dogs, I couldn’t resist adding my own four and a couple of others too.

First up, Pippa, as ever lying at his gate at the finca. The real GSD is Prince, and this is one of the few shots I took of him with the digital camera I’d only just bought as he died a couple of months later.

I loved Prince. OK I love all my dogs. I loved the way he was so intelligent and obedient and always got his own way.

‘Prince, don’t eat the lettuce, strawberries, whatever.’ He would look up, stop eating, and then wait for me to turn my back and continue eating whatever. After all it was my fault for introducing the dogs to fruit and veg and telling them how delicious they were.

‘Prince, don’t wipe your nose on the cream throws on the sofa.’ Another resigned look. Possibly a sigh. And another patient wait for me to turn my back so he could wipe his nose after breakfast on the cream throws. Who cares? It all came out in the wash.

He died when I was in the UK, sorting out my mother’s estate. By which I mean the house she left and some financial business rather than a grand estate. Partner stayed with him when he became ill one night, and then went to bury him up the river bed. In the middle of the night, he parked the Land Rover and sat on the bonnet, trying to find some tranquility. Instead the Guardia Civil found him. He explained what had happened and they left him alone.

Prince had been on the streets a couple of times, and when we homed him from the rescue shelter, he was recovering from dysentry and emaciated. He tugged at my heart every time he ate because he was more ribs than anything else, but eventually he put on weight. And he gained in confidence. Lots of it in fact. In order of dislikes, he first picked on motorbikes, then cyclists, then men with dork hats, then men with glasses, most men really, and even included one of my lesbian work colleagues in that list.

He would bark at horses, and other dogs. But when we took Pippa in off the streets, they became good friends and shared the gate together. They were each others’ companions as well as ours.

Oh, the other companion in the pic is Partner.

And back to the beginning, or almost. This is the first dog I remember, and I’ve written before about how the only photos of me as a kid where I look happy were when I had my arms around Good Dog Tar (short for Tarquin). He wasn’t the first dog of my childhood, but I have no pix of Brutus as I was a baby when he died.

Me and Tar, and the Rover, it was two shades of blue. I think.

Me and Tar, and a blue car

Me and Tar, and a blue car

Tar was about the same age as me but he looks quite old in this photo and vastly overweight. More like a bulldog than a boxer.

After Tar, my parents had a dog-free period to my intense irritation. So much so that I looked up boxer breeders and scribbled all over their AA road book – BOXERS!BOXERS! – at some location in Lancashire.

We never had another boxer. By then my father had found a Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder locally and decided to buy a pup. He passed the first interview and then took my mother. I wasn’t allowed to go.

When it came time to collect him, I was taken along though. I picked up the pup and held him in my arms all the way home. The breeder seemed suitably happy that he was going to a decent home.

Like Prince, he was intelligent, obedient but had his own opinions. He would not chase balls. He looked at us scornfully when we tried to get him to play with them.

‘You threw it, you go fetch it,’ he might as well have said. He turned around and walked in the opposite direction. Or lay down.

When I returned home after my world trip of 18 months he remembered me. I didn’t think that was surprising but my parents did. More chance of them forgetting who I was than Pompey would. My newly-found Partner was more worried about meeting the dog than meeting my parents. Luckily he passed the dog test. Others didn’t.

PomPom (my mother hated silly names for dogs so I called him PomPom to be annoying, he always responded)

Pompey

Pompey

Once we had our own house, I had a decent job, Partner had his own business, it seemed right for us to have our own dog. But I wanted a rescue dog. It seemed so wrong to buy from a breeder when there were so many unwanted dogs in shelters all over the country.

Back in the late 80s life was easy. Go to shelter, choose dog, pay money, take dog home. There was a proviso that they could come and visit but they never did. I was worried we might be knocked back because I was working in London for long hours, but as Partner had his own business he could take Ben with him.

When we left London, we figured another dog was on the cards. Two dogs are no more work than one. Apart from anything else, you can walk two dogs at once. Three can be a handful.

So off we went to the local shelter. I fell for a shy-looking dog hiding at the back of his run, but Partner went for the funny mix (spaniel/setter/lab?) barking away at us, probably saying ‘Pick Me! and get me out of this hole.’ So we took Ludo home except we didn’t like the name. He’d got red fur on his chest which made us think he was part Irish Setter so he got called Paddy.

Paddy and I gelled together. He was probably the only dog we had that actually paid more attention to me. If Partner told him to do something he would look at me for approval. He hated children. That may be why we gelled. When we rescued him, the paperwork said he was good with kids. And yet he’d been put in the shelter by a family not long after they had a baby.

One holiday, we were happily on a CalMac ferry on our way to some island or other in the Hebrides, Barra maybe? We were on an upper deck, legs outstretched and seated on the floor with the dogs next to us. As you do. Or as we do. A few kids approached to say hello to the dogs.

Lesson Number One. Possibly the only one. Do not try and touch dogs without asking permission. Paddy gave a low snarl. We told them not to touch him. He was fine with adults, but something in his past gave him a fear or dislike of children.

All rescue dogs have a history. They have invariably been abused by humans. No animal deserves that and yet I read about animal torture, cruelty, killings every day. That’s one reason all my dogs have been rescue dogs. Unless they have been abused past the point of no return, all they want is someone to trust, to look after them and in return you get the most loyal companion you will ever have.

Ben at the front, covered in sand, always a water dog – he was a Labrador after all – and Paddy behind. Taken in Scotland somewhere.

Me and two of my boys, Ben and Paddy

Me and two of my boys, Ben and Paddy

Oh and we don’t use haltis anymore. Before anyone mentions that.

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15 comments on “Weekly photo challenge: Companionable – the dogs’ tales”

  1. A beautiful post!
    Happy, sad, smiles and tears, I went through them all reading it.

    Happy….photos of dogs always make me happy 🙂
    Sad….the thought that all but one are now at Rainbow Bridge 😦
    Smiles….your description of Prince’s choice of nose wipes, and his action when your back was turned, brought back many a happy memory of my dogs.
    Tears……far too many to mention. The two most heart wrenching were thinking about you being in the UK when Prince left for the bridge (as you know, I can relate to that), and the thought of A sitting on the Landy bonnet alone with his thoughts 😥

    Phew, they really get into your heart, don’t they?

    I was wandering around the net recently and came across this poem, for me, it says it all.

    “It came to me that every time I lose a dog,
    they take a piece of my heart with them….
    And every new dog who comes into my life,
    gifts me with a piece of their heart.
    If I live long enough, all the components of
    my heart will be dog …
    and maybe
    I will become as generous and loving as they are.“

    Author unknown

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    • Ty Vic. It was nice in a way to put a post together with all the dogs in my life. Well, that I have photos of. Not sure if one ever existed of Brutus, and the only other one I never took a pic of was my parents’ last one, Bruno, he was a staffy type cross. After Pompey, they finally managed to bite the bullet and get a rescue dog. Better late than never I guess. He was a gorgeous dog with such a sweet temperament and always so pleased to see me.

      I love that poem. You are right, it does say it all.

      Debating whether to do another exciting dog post as I have another old pic of me hugging someone’s basset 😀 and loads more of me hugging Tar!

      I did think something different would have been interesting, but I loved your post, and any excuse to post dog photos is a good one isn’t it?

      I could have sworn DT would have come out grey – white paint on the house, white T-shirt, black gate, black fur on Rinny and Pippa, so I was distinctly surprised with this nice warm colour.

      Incidentally, did you note the other vehicle in the b&w photo? I’m trying to work it out, must ask A.

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  2. […] | Tranquil DreamsPhoto A Day Experiment (PADE) Day 2 – Books | Things To Rave AboutWeekly photo challenge: Companionable – the dogs’ tales | Every picture tells oneWeekly Photo Challenge: Companionable – 2 smart guys and their cars | through the luminary […]

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  3. You made the right choice posting about these beautiful companions. I like that you posted more than just a photo but that you told us the story behind them. Love the one of you, tar and the car 🙂

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    • Thanks Colliine for taking the time to visit, read and comment. Trouble with having lots of dogs in a previous life is that there is lots to write!

      I’m not a fan of photoblogs that just post photos, so when I started this blog, the idea was always to make sure that there was always a story to accompany the pic/s. Even for the weekly challenge (which I don’t always do). My favourite childhood pix always involve me with my arms around the dog.

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      • I agree with you. whenever I see only a photo I have lots of questions in my head. I like knowing the background of the picture – and always enjoy reading a little story.

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        • I do visit a few photoblogs, by which I mean they are people who know what they are doing unlike me, but the ones I visit do provide interesting text to accompany their photos. After all, what can you to say to another bird/flower/sunset photo if there are no words to point out why it is different?

          I try and keep the text shorter on here because I don’t think Duotone lends itself to long posts, and although it does a good job of the header photo, it doesn’t display subsequent pix well and they need blowing up if you want to look at them, so I try to limit it to no extra ones, or maybe one. This post was the exception rather than the rule.

          I tend to aim for this sort of post;
          http://wp.me/p2c8OG-1j

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  4. […] Weekly photo challenge: Companionable – the dogs’ tales | Every picture tells one […]

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  5. As you know I’m not a fan of the standard photo blog, but you and Vic have a special exception, and after both your Companionable posts, with even more good reason. Vic’s little poem made me smile, as did the stories of the dogs in your life. That’s whole thing with dogs, I think you have to get to know them, accept them as they are and realise even though they come to us as dogs in form, they have completely functioning characters and souls just like us 🙂 When people like you & A, Vic & T share you lives with dogs it warms my heart. Dogs are family.

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    • For some reason, GibElec or whatever they are called decided that my lengthy attempted reply to you blew the system so I was without power for hours.

      Thanks for the exception and the lovely thoughtful comment. This is not a photoblog as it states on the strapline. For varying reasons, most of which I outlined on my first post a couple of years ago (didn’t even have a photo!).
      http://wp.me/p2c8OG-4

      I don’t like photoblogs with just a pic. What use is it without some text? So it’s another flower or a bird or a building or a sunset, just or……or… or…. Posting a photo with details of which lens, body, filter, processing may well be great for photogs but it means nothing to me.

      V’s poem made me cry, but probably because it made me think of my dogs, her dogs, and all dogs really who are so undemanding.

      That was a nice turn of phrase although I would have been less elegant, ‘completely functioning characters and souls just like us.’ They need food, warmth and shelter just like us. They feel pain just like us. They are pack animals, so yes, mine have been my family.

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      • Sometime after my 3 were no longer with me in body, I was at a pyshic fair and had an “energy” photo taken – there they appeared in spirit, three orange balls, and they still visit me in my dreams 🙂

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  6. I enjoyed reading through both your blogs and looking over your photos. Your readers leave some great comments! I’d love to also, but it’s late and I’m getting tired. I really liked this post though and hearing about your dogs. Pets are so great. I could talk about them for hours.

    Nancy

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    • Thanks for that. I’ve got far more than two though! And natch my dog has his own blog that I don’t keep up to very well these days.

      My readers are great. They leave thoughtful and interesting comments on all my blogs. I would rather have a few genuine comments than lots of nothing in particular.

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  7. […] Weekly photo challenge: Companionable – the dogs’ tales | Every picture tells one […]

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  8. […] Weekly photo challenge: Companionable – the dogs’ tales | Every picture tells one […]

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