Monday, 13 August 2007

Family Boules

I know blogs that keep talking about pets (and children!) are exceedingly boring after one or two posts - but we have had a hilarious evening, so please bear with me.

First you have to appreciate that Sussex Spaniels are 'different' to other breeds of dog at the best of times - at the worst they are individualistic, bloody-minded and down right mental.

They generally fall into two categories:

1. The 'Beaters'
Ones that like to woof a lot whilst rooting around under every bush and brier looking for 'game' for you to hunt. They can fetch and retrieve a ball when you throw it but after two goes, sit down and tell you to go get it yourself if you want it back - you are the idiot who keeps throwing it away!

2. The 'Retrievers'
Ones that will not leave the clear footpath to enter the forest, but LOVE to go and get what you throw. Sometimes they will bring it right back to your feet but more often keep it safe in their mouths whilst you throw the second one for them to go and get .... a bit like filling up a shopping basket in fact.

Now our previous Sussex was a No 1. It came as rather a surprise then to find our second (Xena) is most definitely a No 2.

And to be even more weird, she disdains balls, sticks and soft toys - and LOVES to chase fist sized rocks - called her 'pebbles'. She collects them as she goes, but when her mouth is full, she empties out all but her favourite and carries on. At the end of every walk she arrives home with a minimum of two in her mouth!

So getting back to this evening. The girls decided to go down to the boule court after dinner, and Richard and I followed a little later with the refreshments.......and the dog. Seemed like a good idea at the time but I admit it - I do make mistakes, and I made one tonight. Thank goodness we also had her lead in the bag!

As we approached the boule court, Xena not only heard the girls' voices but also the promising sounds of heavy objects landing......and off she went like lightening (well as much as a short rotund animal ever can!) up the steps and full pelt after the boules being thrown. To the loud exclamations from the children, she proceeded to try and pick up the boules, and the jack, and generally had a great time with her tail wagging furiously.

I called her to heal and she obediently came, having found it impossible to fit a heavy metal 'pebble' into her mouth. The girls carried on playing only to realise that it was not the jack they were aiming for but a dark patch on the gravel - the jack had disappeared!

Fishing in a slobbery mouth with large teeth, I retrieved said jack and the game continued.

Xena, realising that all her wishes had come true, raced after the boules again, managed to pick one up and was waiting for the next throw eagerly.

With a cacophony of 'MUUUUUM!' in my ears, I tied her up to the bench in disgrace.

Except that is not a word in her dictionary - she then proceeded to bark and woof and whine, surging forward each time someone threw a boule. As the bench started sliding across the court, and the darkness became just a little too impenetrable, we decided to call it a night and headed home.

I know who won't be coming with us to watch the local petanque tournament in neighbouring Taussac this week!

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